April 20th, 2016

$99,000 Gold Cup Was World’s Most Expensive Plinking Target

Million-Dollar Target

John Weber, a 70-year-old from England, was given a metal mug by his grandfather in 1945. Though his grandfather had a “good eye” for antiques, John never thought the metal mug was worth much. He played with it as a child, and even used it as a target for his air rifle. The mug, assumed to be brass, has languished in a shoe box under Weber’s bed for decades.

Well, it turns out Weber’s old mug may be the world’s most expensive plinking target! The cup is actually made of solid gold, and is a rare, ancient artwork, crafted over 2300 years ago. The unusual mug, decorated with twin, opposite-facing female heads, was appraised with a value exceeding one-quarter million dollars ($250,000)!

According to news reports, Weber decided to have the old mug (thought to be brass) appraised when he moved from his house. He was shocked to learn that the mug is a Persian gold treasure, beaten out from a single sheet of gold before the time of Alexander the Great. Experts said the type of gold and the way the cup was hammered was “consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing” dating back to the third or fourth century BC. The Achaemenid Empire ruled most of the Middle East and was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Could this cup be one of Alexander’s war trophies? What stories could it tell from the past 2300 years?

Ancient Gold Cup Brings $99,000 at Auction
The rare cup was sold at auction by Duke’s Auction house in southwest England in June, 2008. Though the Cup was valued much higher by experts, it only fetched £50,000, or roughly $99,000 U.S. Dollars (at 2008 exchange rates). John Webber said he was still very pleased with that result.

CLICK HERE for Auction Description (Item 378).

Achaemenid Empire (in green)
Million-Dollar Gold Cup

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April 20th, 2016

Gongzilla — Giant 72″x72″ Triple-Element Steel Gong

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

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