The first targets used in competition at Creedmoor were 6x4 feet iron targets that weighed more than 400 pounds. The target centers, bolted onto the iron slabs, were divided into squares or rectangles rather than concentric circles and rang out like a bell when struck by bullets. Additional iron slabs could be bolted together to increase the width of the target for various ranges. For example, the iron target used at 800 and 1000 yards was 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide for windage.
SSUSA author Hap Rocketto summed it up best:
“Even before the smoke cleared, the clanging of the lead slug against the metal target gave a satisfying feeling to competitors on the firing line waiting for the target marker to signal the location and value of the shot.”
One of the first mentions of the term “hospital target” was at the early Sea Girt matches. In those days, regular centerfire rifle targets had paper or board backers. The “hospital targets” were reserved in case one of the regular firing points became incapacitated and were covered with white cloth until needed—like a hospital sheet.