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Old April 1, 2013, 03:30 AM   #1
dakota.potts
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Is it safe to shoot hard objects down range?

I see people talking about shooting objects like cans and I'm wondering if it's safe in terms of fragmentation. I know we shoot at steel targets but they're thicker and designed not to fragment as far as I can tell. For something like a tin can this might not be the case.

I had a thought that gluing some pennies to a white sheet of paper might make for a target that I could easily see hits on but I'm not sure if fragmenting or ricochets would be a danger. I may just take some plastic bottle caps failing that but before I shoot at anything other than a paper or steel target wanted to find out what the wisdom here was.
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Old April 1, 2013, 05:20 AM   #2
cgaengineer
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Is it safe to shoot hard objects down range?

Most bullets should glide right through cans and into your backstop. Pennies will likely fly but not sure how much energy would be retained in them.
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Old April 1, 2013, 08:17 AM   #3
Rifleman1776
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What kind of gun/bullets will you be using?
Know your backstop. What ranges are you talking about?
Really....pennies? What is the point of that?
Hypothetical question.
There are frangible bullets. I loaded them for a .243 as a dog/coyote round when I had cattle. Hit anything and they went to safe tiny pieces.
That would be kind of expensive shooting to destroy pennies, though.
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Old April 1, 2013, 08:33 AM   #4
Come and take it.
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Just make sure your pennies are 83 production or later. It would be a shame to ruin a copper penny which will only increase in value over time.
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Old April 1, 2013, 01:13 PM   #5
dakota.potts
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Pennies were just kind of a hypothetical. Here I've heard soup cans, computer hard drives (not to call anyone out) that kind of thing and I always thought that sounded kind of unsafe.
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Old April 1, 2013, 01:26 PM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about shooting things like you have listed above.
I shoot old Galv. Steel garbage cans, 55 gallon drums etc all the time. I have never had a FMJ round go "rogue", always an equal number of entry and exit wounds so to speak.

Keep in mind almost everything you have listed are a very soft metal, like Aluminum and copper. If you were shooting 1/2 steel plates or old cars I might be more worried.


PS: Coins are no match for rifle rounds either

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Old April 1, 2013, 01:28 PM   #7
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Rule of thumb: hard objects that will shatter if you hit them (sorry, when you hit them ) don't make good targets. So, no glass, hard drives, or other things made from hard, breakable materials. Hard objects made of thin materials that will just end up with bullet holes in them, like cans, are fine. Hard objects like steel plates, rocks, etc. -- anything with ricochet potential -- are OK only at safe distances.

Other hard-things-that-shatter that are fine to use for targets are small, crisp, edibles such as animal crackers -- those are fun, and clean-up isn't really an issue. Bigger things, like melons, are fine from a safety standpoint, but are hard to clean up -- if you use them, be considerate about where you put them.
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Old April 1, 2013, 01:50 PM   #8
dakota.potts
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I'd never thought of something like animal crackers. I'm trying to figure out a small target that would be very obvious when I hit it as I have a hard time seeing my hits on paper.

That or I could just get a spotter scope...
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Old April 1, 2013, 01:55 PM   #9
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Animal crackers have been mentioned so I will add Ritz crackers and vanilla wafers. Slightly larger target than the typical animal cracker...and they make a more delicious snack IMO.
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Old April 1, 2013, 02:27 PM   #10
sigcurious
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Quote:
I'm trying to figure out a small target that would be very obvious when I hit it as I have a hard time seeing my hits on paper.
Seems like for that, the easiest thing would be to buy some shoot-n-c style targets. Alternately, you could just stick little pieces of aluminum foil to your targets with some spray adhesive.
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Old April 1, 2013, 02:44 PM   #11
FISHY-A-NADO
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I have used spent 12 ga. shotshells on occasion as well as the bright orange clay pigeons. Problem with that is you only get one hit per target and the cost adds up for the pigeons but you will definitely know when you hit it.

I have also used the shoot-n-c targets mentioned earlier. Depending on the size you choose and the distance you are shooting, you may still need a spotting scope to know for sure where you hit.
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Old April 1, 2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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Necco wafers also make good reactive targets - they essentially vaporize when you hit them:

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Old April 1, 2013, 11:00 PM   #13
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Heh.

My dad, as a kid, shot a perfect bullseye, dead center, through a penny testing a .22 rifle he wanted to by. The penny, lodged in a fence pole, flicked back and hit him; he carried it on his keychain 'til the day he died.

Old toilets are fun, but dangerous at close ranges - I had a spent .32 round bounce off my chest, thanks be to God. Huge Sangria jugs full of water are also a dubious exercise, although my son still thanks me for that experience. While visually stimulating, huge shards of glass will fly past your head!

Damn, that was fun, though!
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Old April 1, 2013, 11:11 PM   #14
dakota.potts
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Those are awesome stories! Thanks for sharing
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:41 AM   #15
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Way back in the day, I shot on the rifle team at high school. After classes, we'd rush to the range before the coach could get there and stick DumDum lollipops in the sand and hang Lifesavers on the screws extending from the target holders. Along the ledge of the sand trap we lined up JuJuBees. A lot more fun to shoot at than paper targets.
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Necco wafers also make good reactive targets - they essentially vaporize when you hit them:
+1
They make really good targets. Been shooting at Necco wafers for 60 years.
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Old April 2, 2013, 09:20 AM   #17
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Don't go shooting any trees with handguns anyways...

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow...002913032.html


My father used to hot load his own 30-06 rounds and see how many trees he could shoot through in his youth, little different story with a handgun though.
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Old April 2, 2013, 02:37 PM   #18
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About 3/4 mile from the place we lived in WV was the killer sign post. A young hunter came up missing and the search party found him dead near a sign post.

The post had a Forest Service sign on it. That post has a u shaped channell. The hunter fired at the sign, the bullet went through the sign and hit the post, changed directions, came out of the sign and killed the hunter. The gun was a .22 magnum.
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:31 PM   #19
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Metal target frames can bounce a bullet back into the shooter. Happened at Fort Polk in 1976.

One of the neatest reactive targets I ever shot was a can of recalled foamy shaving cream. A friend was a rep for a company who recalled a bunch of the stuff. He ended up with a couple of cases which needed disposal.

It was great fun seeing the cans launch leaving a trail of white through the air.

Of course this was before EPA regs basically outlawed this practice.
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:35 PM   #20
dakota.potts
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Your standard metal target frame can do this?
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Old April 3, 2013, 02:06 AM   #21
Bluehighways
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Back when the local gravel pit was still open to shooting I would bring milk cartons and juice bottles filled with water. They give a nice show if you hit them with any centerfire rifle round, and the plastic doesn't fragment, making them easy to pick up and take home in a trash bag.

I also used to shoot bowling pins. They're INCREDIBLY tough and will withstand many many rounds from high powered rifles before finally breaking. I got twenty retired bowling pins from the local bowling alley manager by just asking politely if he had some to spare.

There are many sections of abandoned railroad track near me, and I used to walk along the old tracks and find steel plates that the railroad had discarded when laying new ties, back when those rail lines were still used. They make great rifle targets, as long as you're a safe distance away. NEVER trespass onto railroad property if the line is still in use. You can get arrested.

The plastic jugs were quite a show with rifles, not so much with handguns. The bowling pins and steel plates are not for use with handguns at all. There is way too much risk of a ricochet.

I once caught a .45 jacketed ball off a steel plate in my abdomen. It didn't break the skin, but gave me a hell of a blood blister through a sweatshirt and the bullet was HOT when I put it in my hand.

I also caught a .38 special wadcutter in the abdomen after it bounced off a bowling pin. Again, no penetration but a big blood blister and a hot bullet. I still have both of those pieces of lead as a testament to my young stupidity.

I got very lucky. Either one could have hit me in the face / eye / ? .

Hard targets can be fun and safe, but make damn sure you're far away and everyone else is too. That's my 2 cents.
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Old April 3, 2013, 10:14 AM   #22
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A word of warning - do not shoot military helmets. I always thought their design was primarily to defend against shell fragments, but learned through some, er, "durability testing" that they will deflect shotgun shells (well, birdshot at least, not so much against a slug), .22lr (kinda figured as much, just wanted to see), and .45acp (kinda shocked by that one, just put a huge dent in the helmet, but no penetration).
With all of these projectiles bouncing off, and the helmet being rounded in design, it's kind of hard to tell what the bullet is going to do after contact with the target. That said, next weekend we're testing a buddy's 9mm on it, will post results here if I remember.
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Old April 3, 2013, 10:41 AM   #23
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" A word of warning - do not shoot military helmets...<snip>...That said, next weekend we're testing a buddy's 9mm on it, will post results here if I remember."

We want videos!
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Old April 3, 2013, 05:58 PM   #24
WW2
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Charcoal Briquettes

Take a few from the BBQ supplies and you will have a target that explodes in to a black cloud of dust when hit.

Probably should not use matchlight or similar as ignition is remotely possible.
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:21 PM   #25
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Old golf balls can be fun as well.

Years ago I made a fun target that consisted of a piece of 3/8" round stock that was about 2' long. Drilled small holes on each end and installed cotter pins in them. Took two 1/2" x 1/16" x 6" pcs. of flat steel and bent them in 'U' shapes. Cut two more pieces of 3/8" round stock about 2 1/2' long(for legs) and welded the U shape flat steel on one end of each leg. Took golf balls, drilled small holes through them and threaded pieces of 1 1/2' long small garage door cable through each golf ball tying a knot on the ends to hold golf ball. The other end of the cables I attached metal key chain rings. Grab the 2' long piece of rd stock, remove a cotter pin and slide the key chain metal ring(with attached golf balls) onto the rd stock. Replace cotter pin. Stick the hooked legs in the ground and place the rod with the hanging golf balls into the 'U's'. Cotter pins on outside of U's.

When balls are hit,they spin and spin.
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