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jvackar 08-27-2011 08:20 AM

Bullets for shooting Steel???
I am a reloader and want to start shooting steel targets. Other than Sinterfire bullets is there another frangible bullet to use on steel? I prefer Hornady XTP bullets but do not know if these would be good for shooting steel?

neilage66 08-27-2011 06:58 PM

Is all lead out of the question?

I have a scar (not FN SCAR) to prove that FMJ and steel don't mix too well sometimes.

Jay 08-27-2011 07:31 PM

If the steel targets are set up right, there won't be a risk of ricochet. I shoot my steel targets from as close as 7 feet, and the bullets are deflected into the ground about 2 feet in front of the targets..... FMJ...JHP... and lead. Over thousands of rounds.....


jjfuller1 08-27-2011 09:35 PM

ive been shooting steel all along. not once have i had a problem. actually every shot has gone straight thru with a nice little hole. granted, ive only been using .223,.308.. they cut thru 1/2 inch steel like paper

canebrake 08-28-2011 12:47 AM


"For people who are concerned about lead spray from steel targets, we point out that spray is distributed in a circular pattern perpendicular to the angle of impact. It goes up, down and sideways regardless of the aspect of the target. (You can test this with cardboard shrouding if you wish.) Thus, nothing much is accomplished by slanting the target at minor angles. Eventually, of course, you will achieve ricochets, but target display will suffer." - Jeff Cooper 2003

Steel Challenge

danf_fl 08-28-2011 08:01 AM

We ran tests for the USAF on shooting steel back in 1987 using the same setup as Cane's reference to Jeff Cooper explains.

The USAF determined that on the range we used, a distance of 15' was the minimum we were allowed to shoot steel with pistol ammo. There was no restriction on what ammo, only the distance and that the target was perpendicular to the ground.

jvackar 08-28-2011 08:47 AM

Thanks for the input everyone.

Lindenwood 08-28-2011 11:22 PM

Out of curiosity, does birdshot tend to ricochet more, and more directly, rather than splatter? I've heard someone mention ricochets during shotgun steel matches, but I've shot steel with birdshot and never noticed it.

CHLChris 08-29-2011 12:13 AM

Are you talking lead birdshot? I don't have any experience, but I read that entire ActionTargets article and it sounds like the smaller size of the lead birdshot would NOT make it react differently, only speed. As long as the distance is such that the velocity is still over 750 fps, then you're fine.

Lindenwood 08-29-2011 01:51 AM

Ah gotcha. I was just curious since someone mentioned it :) .

I wonder if the guy's observation was due to the higher volume of lead hitting the target simple resulting in more lead being dispersed on impact? I mean, a 1-1/8oz load is like 4x the lead as a standard 9mm bullet, so it would make sense that there would be more of it splattered around?

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