What's considered too close for shooting steel targets?
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:51 AM   #1
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Default What's considered too close for shooting steel targets?

How close is too close to steel to stand while shooting? I had my target a couple feet above the ground and I could see on the gravel where all the rounds were splattering to and that was only a foot in front of the target. I am just plinking with a .22

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Last edited by canebrake; 03-04-2012 at 07:55 PM. Reason: TTTP
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:39 AM   #2
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Here is a pretty good read.

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f55/steel-targets-how-close-can-i-safely-shoot-them-32635/

I'd say stay about 25 feet back. And if your shooting steel in good condition you should be fine.

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Old 03-04-2012, 06:12 AM   #3
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Nice article, I thought about steel but have decided against it.
I use the plastic lids on jars, cans, and containers for targets.
There was a youtube on a guy shooting a rifle at steel where the bullet came right back at him.
I have had BBs return and hit me numerous times.
Shooting safe is smart shooting.

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Good article. The steel I am using is perfectly flat with no dings or dents. I have one piece for trying out bigger calibers to see what it will do. I have tried to attach a picture showing the splashes of lead they look very cool I think

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
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,50 caliber...is a whole different story.

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Old 03-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hectocotylus View Post
Good article. The steel I am using is perfectly flat with no dings or dents. I have one piece for trying out bigger calibers to see what it will do. I have tried to attach a picture showing the splashes of lead they look very cool I think
Isn't that a disc? Those are dish shaped and curved aren't they? Some time ago I tried using a curved dozer blade as a backstop 9.22 long rifle) and got a lot of shrapnel coming back at the bench for the few rounds we fired (you could hear it flying past). I have no reason to believe it was anything that would seriously injure us but we stopped using it.

More recently we made a couple of gong targets out of flat steel plates (1/2" and 5/8 inch thick steel plate) hanging from a frame by chains. The first one is 6"X5", my son tested it out at 50 yards and 100 yards shooting CCI 20 grain FMJ .17 HMR out of a Savage Model 93R17FV. He got cratering in the target on all shots at both distances. The deepest craters are about 1/16th" deep and 1/4" wide. We will be welding the craters up and grinding them flat again in the next few days. We will not be shooting the .17 HMR at steel any more in the future (whole lot of energy in that little rascal!).

We did shoot FMJ and some old HD hollowpoints in .40S&W and cast lead .38 Special (or was it .357 mag?) both of which did not mar the steel surface in the slightest at 30 yards.

We did not have any fallout at the bench from any of the rounds fired.

This is a picture of the target before it was tested.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:15 PM   #7
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Cooperism

"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

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Old 03-05-2012, 01:02 AM   #8
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I have found that steel targets and bullets should not be mixed. Yes I know you place them at "X" distance and at "Y" angle and everything will be fine. Right? Wrong. Bullets don't always do what we think they are suppose to do after they hit steel, and I have an ugly scar to remind me of that. A paper target suits me just fine, and it is all I will allow one of my students to shoot at. Steel can be fun, but it is a risk I choose not to take.

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Old 03-05-2012, 10:20 AM   #9
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I have discovered that a slight angle at the lower end leading away from the firing point stops all bounce back. use about 5% minimum this will keep all the shrapnel going down not back

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Old 03-05-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I have discovered that a slight angle at the lower end leading away from the firing point stops all bounce back. use about 5% minimum this will keep all the shrapnel going down not back
My steel targets have the chain welded to one side so they are at an angle, but I don't know if that directs the shrapnel down or not. I would have to do some testing with paper shrouds to find out.
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