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Old 04-12-2019, 07:08 PM
hunting909

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Are any special safety precautions necessary when shooting at hard targets??



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Hey everybody. When I was somewhere around 13 I got my first BB gun. I have several unfond memories of me firing a shot, and that little BB coming right back at me. With memories like that, after graduating to .22's and beyond I was always reluctant to shoot at hard targets. However, after watching steel targets shot on you tube and hearing about them here I wanted to ask the experts...you... as to what must be done to do it safely. Such as... must you use a certain type of bullet, do you have to stay back a certain distance, is there anything that must be done to avoid a ricochet, is there anything else that I need to know?? Thanks!!
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:37 PM
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Hello

I have constructed a number of steel targets to shoot at and there are a couple of items that I watch.

I construct them with a eye on the back side so the front side is perfectly flat without any bolts protruding. Secondly, I hang them with chains so that a bullet hitting the chain will not ricochet.

Most importantly, I make them such that they are hanging at a forward tilt such that the splash of lead is deflected downward.

I only shoot 22 Lr at my steel targets and using the above, have never had any ricochet.

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Old 04-12-2019, 07:59 PM
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I use a 1/2" mild steel plate as a primary backstop for 22lr with a sheet of conveyor belt material hanging about 4" in front of the steel. Without that belting the targets got shreaded up from lead coming back towards me
I shoot a 22 springer air rifle and thought a dead tree that was cut down 15 yrs prior would be a safe backstop. 25 or so yards in the woods seemed safe until a mushroomed pellet came back at me and went another 10-12 feet further. The soggy wood was springy enough to bounce that pellet right back at me.
We shoot CF handguns at hanging plates and do angle the front downward. Never had and lead or copper come back at us but did find both metals in our pool which is 30some yards from the steel and perpendicular to our line of fire. That's rather scary.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunting909 View Post
Such as... must you use a certain type of bullet, do you have to stay back a certain distance, is there anything that must be done to avoid a ricochet, is there anything else that I need to know?? Thanks!!
The targets are often hung so that the top is angled towards the shooter and the bottom away from the shooter. They also often have some "give" so they swing a little when hit. That helps to deflect any ricochets downward. At close ranges (bullets still moving fast) the bullets generally just vaporize or fragment rather than ricochet. Talking 22lr lead bullets here, not CF or steel-core bullets.

Unlike the "angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection" resulting from inelastic collisions that you learned in physics, the bullets are going to ricochet perpendicular to the metal target, if they don't just vaporize or fragment.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:09 PM
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Like the above users stated, targets hung suspended with chains/straps and angled down are the best way to absorb and redirect energy

Use hardened steel like AR500 or AR550. Mild steel will form craters. Those concave craters will then throw spall back at you when you hit the rim of the crater. Learned that the hard way a few years ago. Hardened steel will shatter the bullet.

Distance vs velocity and bullet diameter is key. A 3/16" steel target at 50 yards that would easily shrug off a .22 round nose bullet will be pierced by a .17WSM

A decent quick tutorial of steel target choosing: https://shootingtargets7.com/selection
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:23 AM
Viper225
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Wear hi quality safety glasses religiously while on a Range.
Use targets that are angled back at the bottom so they direct the splash down.
Watch target angles when shooting two Stages in a single Bay at the same time.
A good plan is to shoot steel no closer that 20 feet.

Get out and have a good time shooting Steel Challenge.

Bob R
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