Champion Duraseal Targets

The Darndest Stuff for Shooting Practice
6

Dave’s Model 57 with a set of Kirinite grips from Eagle is a .41 Magnum but
it so far hasn’t blow apart any of the DuraSeal self-sealing targets he occasionally shoots at.

Some years back I acquired three samples of the doggonedest targets I’d ever seen — a trio of long-lasting bullet stoppers from Champion made from some stuff called DuraSeal and they really work.

Initially I used them as props for several articles about shooting practice in preparation for small game hunting in the fall with .22-caliber rifles and pistols. But a few years ago, I developed a true appreciation for these clever targets when I placed them at a distance to practice with a then-newly-acquired Model 57-1 Smith & Wesson in .41 Magnum with a 4” barrel.

I had owned a 6” M57 for a quarter-century, having purchased it from the old John Jovino Company in New York, but I wanted a shorter version for packing. Mine came second-or third-hand from a guy who needed money and this revolver — alas without the original blue box, cleaning rod and screwdriver that came with S&W handguns back in the day — had been sitting in his gun safe for several years. He had purchased it from someone else and I doubt more than a couple of boxes of ammunition had been fired through the gun. A deal was reached and I beat hasty feet to the gun range with several boxes of different handloads and factory ammunition.

These three self-sealing targets are kept behind the seat
of author’s pickup, so they are handy when needed.

Range Time

Once I had the sights adjusted satisfactorily, it occurred to me I had stashed the Champion Targets behind my truck seat. I set these first at 25 yards, and happily discovered big-bore magnum bullets don’t really hurt these targets so much. One model in particular, the black double diamond and “gong,” was especially fun to shoot at as I’d hit the upper and it would cycle over to put the other half of the target in the upper position.

I recently checked the Champion website only to discover several DuraSeal target models are “out of stock,” and let’s hope that is only temporary because they are a superb accessory for shooting practice and training.

My Model 57 is an accurate specimen in which I use loads featuring the old 200-grain Speer half-jacket semi-wadcutter hollowpoint ahead of 15.5 grains of Alliant 2400, or Nosler’s 210-grain JHP propelled by 20.0 grains of H110. They both pack a wallop and one might expect them to do serious damage to a rubber target but the DuraSeal models have consistently come through.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a few individuals to shoot and an important part of the process is building confidence. It’s one thing for a new shooter to punch holes in a paper target, but there’s really nothing comparable to the delight on their faces when they rock one of those rubber targets time after time.

New shooters like reactive targets, and my beat-up old orange varmint, black crow and double diamond / gong provide plenty of action. The lineup also includes facsimiles of bottles, soup cans and a wobbler featuring a white bowling pin substitute, and two different ball targets — one designed to swing from a string and the other for ground shooting to make it roll.

These things have a couple of other advantages. You take them home and clean them up and some models approximate the size of small game or the kill zone of a deer-sized animal. If you can hit one of these things at 100 or 200 yards away, you’ll be able to notch a tag when the season rolls around.

Over the years, Dave has used his targets during various gun tests,
including this Ruger rimfire about ten years back.

See that heavy weight? It allows the rubber target to rock back and forth
when hit, but it rotates the target back to an upright position for a follow-up shot.

Moving Around

Reactive targets have yet another purpose. Occasionally one encounters people who think they’re just hot stuff because they can poke hole after hole in a paper Bullseye. But toss one of these rubber targets out and they learn pretty quickly that if one can’t follow a target as it moves, bragging about one’s capabilities might be a little foolish.

I’ve been able to hit these Champions while they were rocking back and forth (thanks to a weighted bottom) on their metal frame. That’s no small feat with a handgun recovering from recoil, but it can be done. For the record, I’ll also affirm one can miss such a target altogether!

I’m somewhat convinced —— having spent time over the years shooting at these targets and following them as they moved around — helped me put a bullet into a wounded mule deer buck about three years ago at the bottom of an Easter Washington canyon. I’ve recounted this story before so cutting to the chase, the buck had been hit hard in the vitals but managed to get up and start hobbling toward the brush. My rifle unloaded and cased I grabbed the 4” .41 Magnum and as the buck wobbled away, I bonked him down with a head shot at about 20-25 yards. This is where practice pays off!

I used to keep hard tin bean or chili cans for this kind of thing (aluminum soda cans are too flimsy and they literally tear apart). Tin cans work, but at the end of the day, one has a target with some pretty sharp edges around the exit holes, and I’ve experienced cut fingers and seen others suffer likewise. Resealable rubber targets don’t do that.

Practice with a handgun is paramount if you carry one daily or even if your intent is just competition or hunting. My most recent range visit found me shooting both the .41 Magnum and a lightweight Commander in .45 ACP. My next visit will probably find a couple of different sidearms in my range bag, as one should be competent with any firearm they own. Your life, or your dinner, just might depend upon it!

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