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Old February 22, 2020, 12:29 PM   #26
dyl
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The plates I've bought came with recommendations for > 75 ... or was it 100 yards for rifle. And 10 yards for pistol. For rifle what I've read is it's the speed that causes surface damage.

I've shot my plates at 7 yards with pistols to try point shooting, but you get some little fragments brushing your face (and glasses / safety glasses) occasionally so I keep it around 10 yards. Haven't tried frangibles.
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Old February 22, 2020, 01:36 PM   #27
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Even the plates are angled down, the ground in front need to have soft surfaces to capture the ricochets, or they could just skip on the hard surfaces and hit the shooter. 100 yd for rifle seems safe.

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Old February 22, 2020, 02:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyl View Post
The plates I've bought came with recommendations for > 75 ... or was it 100 yards for rifle. And 10 yards for pistol. For rifle what I've read is it's the speed that causes surface damage.

I've shot my plates at 7 yards with pistols to try point shooting, but you get some little fragments brushing your face (and glasses / safety glasses) occasionally so I keep it around 10 yards. Haven't tried frangibles.


Even with frangible you get some peppering, in my experience. It is noticeably less, however, than FMJ and smaller pieces.


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Old March 7, 2020, 01:18 PM   #29
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I was doing a 3 gun shoot and saw a girl with a 9mm get a bleeding forehead cut from one of her ricochets vs. plates at 15-20 yards.
It's not uncommon to see (or feel) ricochet lead or gliding metal behind our local indoor range when it's steels day. That range is set up for 17 yards and is pistol only.

Wear your protection.
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Old March 8, 2020, 09:27 AM   #30
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I shoot here on the farm at ~8x15" steel railroad tie plates. Some are dimpled from use with deer rifles shot at under 100 yds. That said, I've been nicked by fragments at 20+ yards on several occasions. RR tie plates are not hardened for those that are interested...but they're free...I do have some reactive flip up round 6" plates that do not cause a problem beyond 15 yds. Setting the angle on either type is critical to avoid splinters. YMMv Rod
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Old March 8, 2020, 07:05 PM   #31
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I have had 'kickback' off a tree stump and also at the range at which angled steel backstop should prevent this. This is not a pure ricochet but rather full bullet straight kickback. Prolly 8 or 10 times in @68 years of shooting. It would seem impossible at a range with slanted steel backstop - but it happened anyway. Got smacked good and they closed down the range to investigate. I asked a physics prof friend who was at the range, and he said kickback can occur off any surface except water.
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Old March 9, 2020, 08:39 AM   #32
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I always try to use the new sintered bullets.
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Old March 10, 2020, 02:14 PM   #33
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I have also seen/been hit with spall from 9mm/40 on a 3-gun pistol range. The shooter was somewhere between 5-10 yds and he got hit in the leg and actually fell on his knee because it hurt that bad. These were fall-away plates, as in they were not directly secured to anything, they were just sitting on a pylon. I got a few fragments in the face (was wearing safety glasses) and after we made sure he was okay (shooter just got some bruising), we all took a moment to realize that this is why you wear safety gear. And we also made sure to turn the plates a little so they faced more downrange.

We never shot at any plates with rifles under 60yds, but they also checked everyone's rifle ammo to make sure it was not above a certain velocity (no M855 or similar). So definitely part of the recommendation is damage and the rest is ricochet.

Always wear your safety gear.
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Old March 10, 2020, 05:08 PM   #34
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We never shot at any plates with rifles under 60yds, but they also checked everyone's rifle ammo to make sure it was not above a certain velocity (no M855 or similar). So definitely part of the recommendation is damage and the rest is ricochet.
Did they allow M193?

M193 has a higher velocity than M855, but M855 has a penetrator tip. I suspect had more to do with why they didn't allow its use on steel targets.
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Old March 10, 2020, 06:04 PM   #35
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Sounds like the best strategy is to take the plastic off a face shield and shove it down your pants.
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Old March 10, 2020, 06:21 PM   #36
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Maybe they were right about it after all.....
"Never shoot at a flat, hard surface, or water."
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Old March 23, 2020, 07:52 AM   #37
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Yes, it can be a very serious problem and danger. You hear a lot of things on the internet, a lot of nonsense. Most you can just ignore. But I would heed caution with steel plates and take shooting them very seriously.

Last edited by Carl the Floor Walker; March 23, 2020 at 08:07 AM.
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Old March 23, 2020, 08:26 AM   #38
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Here on our farm, I was nicked twice in 5 rounds, yesterday. The gun was a .41 Magnum with LSWC's at ~950 fps and the plates were railroad tie plates mentioned in my previous post. The range was 25 yds.

Checking the plate afterwards, I found that it was almost perfectly perpendicular to my line of shot...I re-rigged for a downward angle as a result. No damage to me other than the BB gun pellet feel of the fragment hitting my jacket.

I'll add, "ck the plate angle" to my to-do list before shooting steel again!

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Old March 23, 2020, 12:14 PM   #39
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My plan is to hang the gongs from 1" by 1/8" bar, not chain. I'll have little bits of pipe over the horizontal member that supports all the gongs. The 1/8" bar will be welded to the bits of pipe, extending down. Bolts will attach the ends of the flat bar to the gongs. The bolts will be an inch or two longer than necessary, to make the gongs angle toward the ground a little.

The idea is to let the gongs swing backward and forward but not from side to side, which would be annoying.

So...any dire predictions regarding the design?
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Old March 25, 2020, 06:40 PM   #40
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The target stand is built and mostly painted. I have to paint a few details. I used truck bed paint, which is very tough.

I have my first gong attached. I will have to take it off to paint the flat bar that holds it up, but it's basically done. If anyone has safety-related comments to make, I am listening.

This squirrel gong is 3/8" steel. I kind of wish I had gone for 3/8" for all 4 targets now that I see how heavy they are.





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Old March 26, 2020, 10:56 AM   #41
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Would consider the slight extra expense of hardened bolts?
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Old March 26, 2020, 02:42 PM   #42
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I know that could save my life, but it would cost several dollars.
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Old March 27, 2020, 01:17 PM   #43
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To answer the OP: the recommended min distances should indeed be followed, though many don't without issue. It is more for shooter and bystander safety than for target health.

There is always an element of risk involved but if hung correctly at at least a 20 degree angle, the most likely thing to send spall back at you is a secondary ricochet. That being a fragment deflecting off the target, and then hitting another surface that sends it off in an unexpected direction. That could be mounting hardware, the side of a pit in the target, a rock on the ground, etc. I've found that mounting with round bolt heads like on carriage bolts leave the least likelihood of this since they're about as low profile as you can find. I would avoid hanging on shepherd's hooks because then you have a big protrusion out the front off of which to deflect.

Secondary deflection is also why it's important to avoid pitting (caused by higher velocity - like 5.56 has - more than mass since in the energy equation velocity gets squared). Spall can deflect off the sides of the pit/crater and head back towards the shooter.

All that said, if hung and maintained correctly steel targets of the right material (AR500, AR550, etc) can be quite safe. Many, many people use them regularly without issue. If you're interested in learning more about why angling is recommended, swinging, hardness, I wrote an article.

Stay safe, have fun.
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Old March 27, 2020, 01:39 PM   #44
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I can get grade 8 bolts, and I can get carriage bolts, but I don't know if I can get grade 8 carriage bolts.
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Old March 27, 2020, 06:59 PM   #45
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I got some grade 8 hex bolts, finished welding and fabricating, painted everything, and shot a few rounds. Makes me wish I had started shooting steel a couple of years ago. I see why people like it. With paper targets, I feel like I have to do breath control and get a perfect sight picture and so on. With steel, I just aim in the general direction of the target and let fly.

It even helped me reconcile with my troublesome Model 60, which, after a ton of work and money, is now a very pleasant rifle to shoot.

Now we'll see how long it takes the cows to knock the stand over.



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Old March 27, 2020, 07:06 PM   #46
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Can anyone recommend a bright-colored paint that sticks better than Rust-Oleum? The black gongs are covered with truck bed coating, and it's holding on great. The orange stuff pops right off. What I really want is bright-colored truck bed coating.
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Old March 28, 2020, 08:36 PM   #47
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Redhoundtargets, you might want to have a physicist or mechanical engineer troubleshoot your article. Some of it is not quite right. For one thing, momentum, not energy, is conserved in collisions.
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Old March 29, 2020, 10:02 PM   #48
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You can buy ammunition that blows into dust! When it strikes steel. It also is good on human adversaries.
I personally, while teaching a class of 8, was hit by a returning 160g 38 Special reload, that hit a divot, caused by some silly person shooting steel with a 12 gauge slug! I saw it coming back, ducked to one side, it hit me in the back of my right hand. Split it wide open. Run it under cold water. Till it almost stopped bleeding. All my Students encouraging me to go to the hospital.

This is a huge No-No in Toronto Canada! Gunshot wound? I would have been there for at least ten hours. Still have the scar, I am sure I could invent a good story? Just forgot it.

Continued the class all 8 passed, you had to score 90% to pass. No more than two misses. This was a requl mandated by the OPP Ontario Provincial Police.
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Old March 30, 2020, 04:15 PM   #49
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I can't believe how great steel is. So much less aggravation than paper. I get a lot more shooting done, and I'm moving way back. I shot paper at 7 yards, and I'm shooting gongs at over 20 yards.
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Old March 30, 2020, 05:09 PM   #50
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Steel targets is what keeps are range going through memberships. Especially when crowded, it bis just to dngerous having people running back and forth with paper targets. A consideration for paint is walmart $1/can white. Easy to see, excepting winter. Would not waste money on good paint for target surface.
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