Steel Targets for Handgun


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52grain
October 24, 2010, 03:30 PM
Does anyone have any experience with any of the commercially available steel targets? Midway has several in their catalog.

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?tabid=4&categoryid=17793&categorystring=655***7234***&pageNum=1

We are looking for a Christmas present and I was a bit worried about durability and ricochet . The person in question has a .40 S&W handgun and usually sets up about 20-25 ft from the target.

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Freedom_fighter_in_IL
October 24, 2010, 04:02 PM
I've been "sprayed" from fragmented round ricochet's while using 9mm at that range. It's not fun at all. I personally don't like steels with pistol for that very reason.

52grain
October 24, 2010, 04:12 PM
I've been "sprayed" from fragmented round ricochet's while using 9mm at that range. It's not fun at all. I personally don't like steels with pistol for that very reason.

This is the kind of information I was looking for as I don't shoot handguns. What style projectile were you using? If I made something to hold clay pigeons, I don't think that the round would fragment, but would the target spray the shooter or bystanders?

The public range that I shoot at has some steel targets that are set up at a downward angle. I assumed that that was done for ricochet, but it probably wouldn't do much for fragmentation except maybe set up a glancing blow.

Oldfalguy
October 24, 2010, 05:40 PM
I was shooting at a new public range with daughter and wife at resettable target setup with 6 round heads and below them a big piece of angle iron/steel.
Never had a ricochet-
Did see daughter fire and it appeared her shots were hitting waaay low and I realized she had missed the target 3" low and hit the angle portion and the rounds went straight down- The setup really worked well.
I think standing steel will give you more trouble but the kind that get knocked down are less prone to problems.
But its the miss that hit a stand that important-
I'm trying to figure out who made this rig and get another one and will just leave it at the range for others to shoot as well.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
October 24, 2010, 05:41 PM
If I remember correctly I had some 115g FMJ RN's loaded up on that particular trip. They were set up on a downslope and that may or may not have helped. I guess if they weren't I would have gotten smacked even worse. Good thing I was wearing shooting glasses because one piece hit me square in the glasses and one right in the forehead. One actually penetrated skin slightly in my bicep. I do not know if this may be an isolated case, but thats what happened to me.

Archie
October 24, 2010, 06:06 PM
I've shot hundreds if not thousands of rounds at steel targets. Handgun bullets tend to fragment completely when impacting steel and the fragments all fly off tangential to the plane of the steel plate. Those CANNOT spray the firing line ...

UNLESS...

There is a secondary hard surface, like a concrete pad underneath, or the base of the target stand itself; the fragments will fly tangential to the second surface as well,

OR...

The metal plate itself is cratered, which will 'scoop' bullets or fragments and bounce back toward the firing line.

I have seen jacketed rifle bullets penetrate steel targets and strip the jacket and send the jacket back toward the firing line. (The rifle in question was a .223/5.56 NATO chambered weapon.) This happened at - for rifles - fairly close distance; twenty-five to thirty yards.

As a demonstration, I personally fired seven rounds of .45 ACP FMJ hardball ammo into a steel plate at three FEET without mishap. But the target was stationed over dirt and there was no secondary hard surface and no pocks on the target.

Just for the tally books, cratering or cup shaped pocks can happen in mild(er) steel plates as a result of very high (for handguns) velocity loads.

Obviously, conditions vary. One should test targets one shot at a time to determine the effects of the loads being used and the quality of the metal targets prior to shooting any closer than ten yards or so. Any serious cratering or penetration indicates the targets are not suitable for the loads being used.

As always, the Secretariat will disavow all knowledge and you're on your own.

M2 Carbine
October 25, 2010, 11:02 AM
I've been shooting steel targets since about 1967.
Archie's post is good info.

I shoot steel from about 5 yards to about 50 yards.
Close up I do get hit with a lot of splash back. It doesn't hurt and I can recall only once, a couple months ago, that a little piece of lead was big enough and sharp enough to give me a scratch.
Of course glasses are a must.

This is a handy target and just yesterday friends were shooting it from 7 yards to 13 yards.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/ThompsonNS3.jpg

These are my backyard targets. Untold thousands of rounds of 22 to 45 have hit this steel with me being 5 to 25 yards away.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/Backyardrange1010.jpg

Currently I am using the right hanging target for timed shooting with a S&W 22 J Frame. At a distance of 5-7 yards I shoot hundreds of rounds at that steel every couple days.


This young lady is shooting at (and hitting) the small white steel target. I like shooting the steel plates from 50 yards because you can hear if you are on target or not.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/50yardsNat3.jpg


Shooting light loads close up will get you hit with somewhat large pieces of bullet.
For instance, I don't shoot light 38 Special loads closer than about 10 yards because the slow bullet does not splatter on the steel and hunks of bullet, as large an half the bullet, can fly back. Won't really hurt you but might give you a small cut on your face.
So I keep my steel shooting loads in the 800 to 1,100 FPS range.

Travis McGee
October 25, 2010, 06:08 PM
Related target topic: when your teflon frying pans are worn out and sticking, don't throw them away. Shoot them! Of course they will get torn up after a while, but in the meantime you have a "free" dinger to shoot at.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
October 25, 2010, 06:13 PM
Related target topic: when your teflon frying pans are worn out and sticking, don't throw them away. Shoot them! Of course they will get torn up after a while, but in the meantime you have a "free" dinger to shoot at

Ahhhhh the recycling mind at work again!!! I like it!!!!

bigfatdave
October 25, 2010, 07:00 PM
Related target topic: when your teflon frying pans are worn out and sticking, don't throw them away. Shoot them!

That's right!
Any old pot or pan gets retired to the range in this household. Annoyingly, the Goodwill and Salvation Army shops around here don't have cookware, or I'd always have metal to blast at.

Hk Dan
October 25, 2010, 07:02 PM
As a USPSA/IDPA guy, we shoot steel all the time. Yes, you can catch some ricochet from time to time, especially if you're closer than 10 yards. It isn't very abusive, usually enough to let ya know you're too close and not enough to make you bleed.

Higher velocity rounds tend to explode on target, completely fragmenting at about 20 degrees from the plane of the steel. Lower velocity rounds like .45 ACP tend to send more complete chunks back at ya. Your .40 fits the high velocity criteria.

have fun man!

metalhd9034
October 25, 2010, 07:55 PM
Five friends and I pooled our money together and bought 6 Autopoppers from MGM Targets.com - http://www.mgmtargets.com/products/product_page.php?cat=1 They don't have to be re-set, and I can attest to their durability. We shot them with everything from .22 to .45acp to 7.62x39. The only thing we had to watch for was making sure we were at least 50 yards back when we were shooting them with .223 or larger. All we did was bolt them in a row to a sheet of plywood and place it in front of our berm. There's very little chance of riccochet either since the target face is on a springbase that knocks over, and then returns to the up position when hit. The bullet has somewhere to expend it's energy, so therefore it doesn't come back at the shooter. Very cool design, great company, a little pricey compared to other cheaper brands, but the warranty/great design is well worth the money IMHO.

Red Cent
October 25, 2010, 07:59 PM
45FMJs at three feet! Lordy, not me. Shoot a bunch of lead or coated lead at steel targets. I have went to cowboy competition where they set up targets slightly under limb over hang. You can watch leaves get hit and come off thirty-forty feet up and all around. Generally any richochet comes from dimpled targets hung vertically straight and/or comes from the target stand or other things on the ground.
Good demo is take a cardboard box and remove top and bottom. Tape box to the steel target looking through the box. 360 of splatter. Angle the box as suggested, tape up another box and watch.
I use paper.
Man, 3 feet!

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