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  #1  
Old 01-01-2020, 10:17 AM
Zippo Guy Zippo Guy is offline
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Shooting Steel Targets

We have an unsupervised shooting area that we use. There are benches and tables with berms at the usual distances, but that is about it, no RSOs. We are on our own when it comes to targets and safe shooting.

I have purchased some steel targets that hang on chains and have an old 7 1/2 gallon propane tank that I have taken out for targets. Other shooters have complained about these as they are afraid of ricochets.

What can I do to make these as safe as I can for myself and others? What distance is too close? Is one caliber better than another for plinking steel? How do I angle them so the bullets go in a safe direction after impact?

I don't shoot any rifle calibers so I'm really only talking about rimfire and handgun calibers. Any advice is appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2020, 11:22 AM
tanner's owner tanner's owner is offline
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For pistol caliber shooting, I’d use the standards in idpa or USPSA- between 24-30 feet IIRC. Angling the steel where the top is closer to the shooter will help deflect the bullets downward.

That said, splatter will travel. Have been on stages w/o steel on the other side of the berm of a stage with steel and have had splatter from the steel rain on us.

Anything round (propane tank) may increase the chance of an errant ricochet.

Just my take
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2020, 12:02 PM
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tgt_usa tgt_usa is offline
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no ricouchets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippo Guy View Post
We have an unsupervised shooting area that we use. There are benches and tables with berms at the usual distances, but that is about it, no RSOs. We are on our own when it comes to targets and safe shooting.

I have purchased some steel targets that hang on chains and have an old 7 1/2 gallon propane tank that I have taken out for targets. Other shooters have complained about these as they are afraid of ricochets.

What can I do to make these as safe as I can for myself and others? What distance is too close? Is one caliber better than another for plinking steel? How do I angle them so the bullets go in a safe direction after impact?
...
Steel targets at [nearly] Steel Challenge matches are thick enough a *solidly* mounted to a broad heavy base. The large footprint and mass mean the base doesn't yield to bullet impact; so the bullet absorbs *all* the impact and shatters into dust. Here's a post somewhat describing *failing* to insure that a steel target is inflexible:



https://forums.1911forum.com/showthr...ot#post9274673
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2020, 01:11 PM
shooter59 shooter59 is online now
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10 yds min for handguns, proper steel, no cratered steel, angled 20 degrees down, and.......and this is a BIG and, watch the surface you place the steel on.

Sand is best, pea gravel works, hard dirt, grass.....but not on coarse gravel if you can help it, or unless getting splattered seems like fun.
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2020, 01:26 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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I too have shot at open areas with steel and have been concerned about "splatter" and not being "that guy" that ignores the safety of others.

I found that inviting others to participate helps tone down the negative "impact" of using steel!

Smiles,
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2020, 02:05 PM
Tenring1911 Tenring1911 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanner's owner View Post
For pistol caliber shooting, Id use the standards in idpa or USPSA- between 24-30 feet IIRC. Angling the steel where the top is closer to the shooter will help deflect the bullets downward.

That said, splatter will travel. Have been on stages w/o steel on the other side of the berm of a stage with steel and have had splatter from the steel rain on us.

Anything round (propane tank) may increase the chance of an errant ricochet.

Just my take
Been my experience as well.

Good eye protection is a must, dont mind the bleeding scratches on my arms occasionally, but had my glasses almost removed from my face once. This incident even scratched the Rudy project impact X lenses. Rudy replaced them for free, some stage designers need to account for other stages.
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2020, 03:01 PM
woody b woody b is offline
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I've been shooting steel for years in my back yard range. Before that in public ranges. I've never been hit by anything serious, or seen anyone injured beyond a small cut. A few things I've noticed over the years. With one exception (which I'll talk about later)I've never seen the shooter get hit by anything. Usually the bullet fragments of any size bounce either down, up or at a sharp angle. I can find fragments for 15 feet or so to the sides of my steel targets but nothing more than a couple yards back toward the shooter. We usually shoot steel at 15 to 25 yards, but never closer than 10. I've got a plate rack with three 6 inch falling plates. Above it I've got six, 8 inch plates that hang from a 2X4. (I'll get a picture soon). My back stop is a stack of rail road cross ties. There's nothing but woods in the direction I'm shooting for over 2 miles.

What hits have I seen to either the shooter, or bystanders? Once, at a public range, with a BUNCH of steel targets my brother in law got hit in the cheek with a fairly big chunk of lead. It stuck in his cheek. Not big enough for stitches, but it took a week or 2 to heal. The shooter was shooting a .45 caliber carbine 20 yards or so to our right. At my backyard range only have one at a time shooting, and everyone else stays basically behind the shooter.

The only time I've saw a fragment come back at the shooter with any energy was a target hanging on a chain. (this was at the same public range). It was a fairly large (12 inch) round target. I was ringing it kinda rapidfire. I guess I got it to swinging and it "batted" the bullet right back at me. The fragment went through a flannel shirt, a t shirt, and stuck in my belly. (no problem I've got padding LOL) No "real" injury, didn't even need a band aid. Had it hit bare skin like my neck or face it would have hurt pretty bad though. This target was pretty much hanging straight up and down. Since then they have the targets hanging at an angle, to deflect the bullets downward.

I "think" you're not supposed to use frangible ammo on steel. I never have. Using full metal jacket (metal jacket, with the inside end of the bullet exposed) occasionally has small pieces land on the bench, or on top of our heads, but it has no energy as it bounced up in a big arch then fell back down. Total metal jacket ammo doesn't "sprinkle" the table and shooter. There's dime sized pieces that go straight in the ground, or toward the side.

My advice, always wear safety glasses, and a hat with a brim. You may feel a small piece hit you every now and then, but it's a bunch less that getting pelted with brass standing beside a shooter.
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2020, 04:20 PM
1saxman 1saxman is online now
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Turn on your sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ABGIJwiGBc
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2020, 09:47 AM
hardluk1 hardluk1 is offline
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My AR 500 steels hang on both chains and and produced T-post holder . The chains use a bolt and nut thru the steel then a large washer the chain and another nut added so the steel hands canted to the rear at the bottom , about 15* of angle Bullet impact sprays down into the ground . Other hang from T post used a angled mount with a heavy spring . I shot at these for years from 7 yards on back and never had any bullet frags hit me or others but you can see a side to side cut line in the grass under the steels from copper and lead

Link to what I use on t post below and cost have gone up over the years but they work well .

https://www.amazon.com/Highwild-Post...99F1AHF9MXN3VR
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2020, 03:17 PM
woody b woody b is offline
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Here's a picture of the splatter I'm talking about and a couple other pictures(if I upload them correctly). Most of the time I just see pieces like this after I'm done. If one does hit or anyone else somewhere it's barely felt. Shooter59 mentioned the surface under the targets. The area under mine gets filled with small fragments. Raking them around with a shovel helps with the splatter. Perhaps most, or all of the small pieces are kicked up from the dirt, instead of directly off the targets. I've seen them land, they always down, not straight in.
We always have to shoot the empty paint cans.
Attached Thumbnails
fragment.jpg   trough.jpg   Steel.jpg  
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I thought this was a gun forum. The rules read "This sub-forum is for general gun-related discussion only. No political commentary or other off-topic discussions are allowed, nor subjects that barely have anything to do with guns or shooting. The only section where off-topic discussion is currently allowed is in the special sub-forum created for site supporters.
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2020, 05:25 PM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooter59 View Post
10 yds min for handguns, proper steel, no cratered steel, angled 20 degrees down, and.......and this is a BIG and, watch the surface you place the steel on.

Sand is best, pea gravel works, hard dirt, grass.....but not on coarse gravel if you can help it, or unless getting splattered seems like fun.
^^^ Besides this, minimum 10 yard^^ and in addition make the steel AR 500 which they have as thin as 1/4 inch for rimfire, 3/8 for the others.

Always have eye protection on. The fact is, ricochets can happen. My friend was standing behind me shooting his AR, got hit in the forehead one time at an indoor range from 25 yards ( no serious injury). The target was paper and the round somehow came straight back over my head and hit him in the forehead.
He confessed he brought 5.56 , 62 grain green tip steel core ammo which is verboten at most ranges.

Maybe lose the propane tanks too...
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2020, 09:49 PM
Fishbread Fishbread is offline
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I only shoot steel made by HangFast, which I found here on the merchant forum. Their hangers angle the steel enough that in over 100,000 rounds I've never had skin broken. My range is set up for 2gACM style shooting and I'm currently running 13 targets of various sizes and shapes. I've only been hit by pistol frags a couple times total. Rifle never. Targets here are 15 yards and out. Rifle never closer than 50, and that seldom as it reduces the life of the steel.

The angle is enough that the bullet frags dig a nice ditch under the steel. Fun to see in the snow.
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  #13  
Old 01-05-2020, 10:48 PM
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HangFast HangFast is offline
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bang & Clang

Here is the Hang Fast System demonstrated

https://youtu.be/841MbR8CVPY
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  #14  
Old 01-21-2020, 01:28 PM
gnappi gnappi is offline
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Targets on chains are not a good idea. An indoor range we used to have access to started using them and I stopped going. Several shooters were hit by "return fire" from hanging pots, not good.

Immovable objects are no better. A friend was shooting at an old car in the boonies with a .45, one came back and hit the brim of his ball cap and knocked him cold. When he woke in the dark, he got in his car went home to sleep and in the morning realized his handguns an gear were still in the boonies. It's Lucky some kid didn't find it all.
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  #15  
Old 01-28-2020, 06:00 PM
zeke zeke is offline
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We put a limit on 25 yards at our range for the steel targets, which are free swinging mounted on conveyor belt material. There is a separate 22 range because 22's at the heavier targets are inclined to bounce back. The 22 targets are 1/4 500 brinell, which will swing back.

A very probable cause of "whizzers", is the shrapnel hitting the ground (rocks etc) directly below the targets and ricocheting away. Keeping conveyor belt material on ground below the targets largely eliminates that, and is alot easier/less maintenance than dumping sand.

We do not hang anything but brinell 500 or harder anymore, as the divots on mild steel can send rounds directly back at you, even past 100 yds on rifle range. Bringing a gas cylinder would be forbotten.
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  #16  
Old 01-29-2020, 04:01 PM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is online now
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I hate to bring up what we did during my childhood.

but I will say: I love steel and other reactive targets - nothing better
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  #17  
Old 01-29-2020, 05:53 PM
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Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
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Steel if really fun to shoot. But, I have seen people 30-feet from it getting facial cuts from FMJ and Lead bullets bouncing straight back. Always wear glasses when shooting steel.
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  #18  
Old 01-30-2020, 06:51 AM
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Good steel targets are designed and mounted so as to minimize ricochets.
Propane tanks... aren't.
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  #19  
Old 01-30-2020, 08:18 AM
Colt191145 Colt191145 is offline
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I shoot steel in my backyard. Closest is 25 yards, the farthest is 50 yards. No injuries in ten years. The bulk of my shooting is done with cast bullets in pistol calibers. Cast bullets splatter on steel, no jacket that separate from the core.

I shoot steel at a downward angle and all the plates are angled toward the ground. The only thing that gives me concern is high power rifle calibers with jacketed bullets. Not only for ricochets, but because these bullets can damage the steel plates enough to cause problems.

If my range went out to 100 yards that might help, but in my opinion pistol calibers with cast bullets is the way to go for steel.
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