can FMJ be used with steel reactive targets (that are rated for that caliber)?


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silverlance
February 18, 2006, 11:07 PM
I'm tired of paying $5 in target fees on top of range fees each time i go to teh range. So, I plan on buying several reactive targets. But will FMJ, say, 9mm, go through reactive targets rated for 9mm? Do I have to use LRN?
What about .22?

I know this question seems rather silly, but i've seen folks go home with swiss cheese for metal targets.. always figured they tried to push the rating envelop, though.

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wally
February 18, 2006, 11:39 PM
Our club uses plates that are "armor" rated for .223 at 100 yrds. They laugh off all hand gun rounds, although .44Mag is the max allowed on the pistol ranges.

FMJ 9mm & .40 S&W mearly messes up the paint. .22 work although you generally have to hit the top half of the plate to make it fall. If set for .22s the bigger calibers often knock down multiple plates because of the vibration when the hit plate come to rest. Its a good compromise to require .22 shooters to effectively have half sized targets. Loads of fun with both centerfire and rimfire handguns.

Good eye protection is an absolute must and if you do it enough you will get hit by splatter that might draw a little blood. I'd say on average I get hits I can feel every 1500 or so rounds, maybe one in five of these will leave a welt you can still see the next day and maybe one in twenty will draw a little blood. Paradoxically, at least to me, I seem to get more splatter hits with .22s than the 9mm or .45s I think the collision energy is not enough to "dust" the bullet and somtimes a fairly large fragment will come straight back, so far my only blood draws have been on the hands, but it sure does re-inforce the absolute need for safety glasses.

Our plate racks have 12-15' bearms on three sides and a sacraficial roof over top so splatter doesn't rain down on the other ranges.

Mild steel plate will get eaten up badly, so cutting up what you find at a junk yard to make your own will not likely be satisfactory.

I forget the supplier of our club's plates and rack, but I've a few targets from http://themetalman.com/targetindex.html that have held up well in informal sessions setup at my friends rural property, although they don't get near the beating of the club's plates. I've some rifle rated ones that are barely dinged by milsurp FMJ 7.62 NATO ball at 100 yrds.

You'll have to use what your range allows, my previous club required lead bullets at all steel plates on handgun ranges. With my current club's set up FMJ is fine, I think its how much distance you have before the splatter can hit anything or in our case the "sheilding" built to contain it, that will set the policy.

--wally.

silverlance
February 19, 2006, 12:37 AM
I will make sure to check out your site and insist that my gf wear the ansi glasses that she so often likes to take off.

strange imho how splatter can ricochet RIGHT BACK at you even when it hits 25 or 50 yards away.

i suppose i should probalby also wear full fatigues so more of my body is protected.

Crosshair
February 19, 2006, 01:23 AM
I just make my own out of I-beam steel. I love the local scrapyard.:)

Radagast
February 19, 2006, 04:58 AM
Non steel core FMJ is probably safer on steel targets than cast lead, as the soft lead in the FMJ deforms easily, losing most of it's energy. All of the bounce backs of more than a couple of metres that I have seen have been with hard lead bullets. Low velocity rounds are also likely to bounce, as they do not deform when they hit the target.

Warning! Richochets can cause injury. A lead .40 cal that I shot at a steel plate caused a decent cut to my girlfriend's face after coming back 15 metres.

Cratered plates are the most common cause of bounce backs, the crater acts as a lense, returning the bullet in the direction it came from.

Bisalloy is the best material for steel plates, mild steel will work for a while but eventually will become cratered.

kirkcdl
February 19, 2006, 05:56 AM
Here's an alternative to steel,I have one and it's great... http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=92018

Also,Dillon carries other sizes if you'd rather build your own: http://dillonprecision.com/template/p.cfm?maj=50&min=2&dyn=1&

JMusic
February 19, 2006, 08:54 AM
I have my own range set up for 25 yards and use plate steel 1/2 thick to shoot into. Only issues is when you shoot it with a high power rifle. I've shot up to .454 C into them with no problem.

Interesting story for the ones talking about rebounds. I was shooting 255 grn laser cast bullets into these targets from my Ruger 45LC. These were mild loads about 800fps. As I was shooting I suddenly was knocked down. Something had hit me in the center of the chest. I had Bibs on and immediatley felt the area and it was extremely wet. I thought I had shot myself!!! I had left a full flask of Drambue in the front center pocket from the night before. The slug had penetrated the bibs and hit the flask causing it to rupture. Make sure you load them fast enough to spash. The slug was flattened out a bunch and fell out of my pant leg. It had the clothing imprint on the slug. Ruined my flask too.:what:
Jim

wally
February 19, 2006, 09:16 AM
Warning! Richochets can cause injury. A lead .40 cal that I shot at a steel plate caused a decent cut to my girlfriend's face after coming back 15 metres.

Cratered plates are the most common cause of bounce backs, the crater acts as a lense, returning the bullet in the direction it came from.


+1 Absolutely! Edge hits on the plates are generally the worst offender -- little risk to the shooter with these, but downrange and to the sides can be very dangerous, which is why most ranges won't allow random use of steel plates. Safe location wrt to what's downrange or serious containment (our club's solution, along with careful choice of location) is a must. I've been hit with more bounceback debris while watching than when shooting (straight back is much less common than off to the sides and above), so its very important all people in the area wear eye protection!

If the plates crater you are asking for trouble unless the distances are 100+ yrds and proof you've chosen the wrong plate material.

All bounceback injuries I'm aware of are minor -- on the order of what you get riding a motorcycle from road debris or large insects, pitty the fool not wearing eye protection though. Failure to wear eye and ear protection at our club will cost you your membership!

--wally.

redneck2
February 19, 2006, 09:26 AM
I bought some targets that are a rubbery vinyl material. The bullet goes through, but the hole "heals" itself. These will take hundreds of hits, are relatively cheap, and eliminate bounce-back

Chuck R.
February 19, 2006, 10:25 AM
I own my own range and have started buying steel targets for it. Did a bunch of research before deciding to buy T520 alloy from Artzen:

http://www.arntzentargets.com/index.htm

The T520 will resist any handgun round, and 7.62 FMJ at 100 yards doesn’t leave a mark. I’ve shot it from 100-300 meters on my range and have yet to put a scratch on it. They are EXPENSIVE , but IMHO worth it. They make portable stands for their targets.

I’ve also got a couple of ˝” “mild steel” swingers that I use strictly for handguns. At normal distances they’ve held up well, but I will be replacing them with T520 as time (read money) permits. Mild steel is OK, but will crater over time, once cratered you run the risk of bounce backs.

As the others pointed out safety glasses are mandatory, and pay attention to how you mount your steel. A slight downward angle helps with the splash back.

Do a Google search for “Steel Targets” and you’ll find loads of info.

Good Luck,

Chuck

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