How practical are steel targets for handgun shooting....?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Hokkmike, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Very practical. I bought four for my backyard range several months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed beating on them with everything from .22's to AR's. For rifles, I use something other than FMJ so as not to leave divots.

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  2. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    The only time my hand guns are shot at paper is when working up a new load or when I first get a new gun to check POA vs POI. After that it's strictly steel. Various sizes and distances but almost always 7 to 10 yards.
    Occasionally out to 15 or 25 yards.
     
  3. roval

    roval Member

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    i have the same target but only allowed to set up steel at 25 yds i use a hand cart to move it around and practiced setting it up fairly quickly so as not to be " that guy" that holds up the firing line. it has one divot on the main beam from a black hills 357 mag load where even a portion of the jacket got embedded evrything else just glances off.
     
  4. roval

    roval Member

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    i shoot steel for handguns at 25 and 50 yrds . sometimes i will pace out 10 steps from 25 yrd line for 35 yrds. i shoot 6 to 10 inch gongs, duelling tree with 6 inch paddles, 22 lr duelling tree with 4 inch paddles and this below( stock picture- mine was the earlier variant with 2 bolts for the chest plate). the head is life size to slightly smaller( my head is bigger) and flips back if hit with a strong enough round. the chest plate looks huge through your sights at 25 yrds. "Headshots" are not difficult at 25 yrds and anybody should be able to hit the chest plate somewhere.

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  5. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    I won't shoot pistol steel at less than 15 yards, and I make sure can swing, and its angled down.

    I won't shoot rifle steel at less than 100 yards, cause I don't like replacing it.

    I don't shoot steel core ammo at target steel, period.
     
  6. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    Since my club put in steel targets it is all I shoot anymore. They are on chains and are at 25 and 50 yards. Far more fun than paper. I have been hit by splatter at the 25 yard range 4 times however the velocity is so slow it doesn't cause any pain. I have actually turned around and gone home when I didn't have access to the steel although I only live 4.5 miles away. I'd say shooting steel is very practical.
     
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  7. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I love shooting steel. No pasting/resetting of targets and you get a immediate feedback.

    As to distance, if you can consistently hit the target at 10 yards, then 3 yards will become easy mode. Shooting at distance can prep you for shooting close, but the reverse isn't as true. Truthfully as someone who has shot a lot of USPSA and Steel Challenge - a person sized target at "self defense ranges" (eg, 7 feet and less) barely requires me to use the sights.
     
  8. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

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    Working up loads it's paper, and for establishing a good zero as well. But for the most part we shoot steel. I've collected a number of railroad tie plates over the years (~8x15, or 8x10), that make good handgun targets. They don't crater even with magnum handgun rounds outside 15 yards, but a deer rifle with muzzle velocity greater than a .30-30 will still crater them at 100. At 1/2" thick, a 5.56 penetrator green tip will nearly punch through. For the most part, we use 3/8" rebar bent to an "L" shape, inverted to mount them on the ground. This allows angling either up or down for splatter control. We paint them white for most use, but leave a number rust colored for realistic game shooting practice.

    The plates are fun, & about the right size for defensive torso practice and if turned side-ways, simulate the chest area of our KY whitetails for handgun hunting practice. Best of all, they're CHEAP...keeping an eye out for discarded ones when you cross RR tracks will give you what you need, and they come with the spike holes for easy hanging etc.

    Splatter is a concern, and we never shoot inside 15 yds, and the plates are angled to minimize return...we all wear glasses when shooting as well. I've been hit several times with pieces of bullet jacket from 15 yds...maybe 4-5 over a 15 year stretch, and never been injured. For close in defensive training, we use paper, basically anything inside 15 yds...early on we found that bounce back splatter was too dangerous closer.

    Best Regards, Rod
     
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  9. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    The hanging angle of the target, temper/hardness, surface condition& distance to target would be my primary concerns with steel targets. I belong to a shooting association of which I'm a land share owner that primarily employs steel targets on the handgun shooting ranges. There have been incidents that I've heard second hand of but only one incident that I actually witnessed with target rebound bullets hitting an individuals vehicle parked behind the firing line.
    As for myself I won't shoot a steel target closer than 20Yds.
     
  10. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    When I was still out at the ranch, I had a 18" gong over there under that rock cliff. It's behind my old hoss.. About a hundred yards. Use to sit out on the front port and bang away it with a 6" model 28 and my two DW 10mm 1911s. Nuthin' to it.. :cool::evil:
     
  11. FFGColorado

    FFGColorado Member

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    Shoot at steel a lot. Either a tripod set up or a plate hung from a 'shepard's hook'..free swinging both.
    Min about 7 yards, handgun only...furthest about 100 yards for various rifles. Many, many rounds of HG and rifle ammo(including 556)..never an issue and we all wear eye protection...Also the closest targets are downhill from the shooters so plate also angled down.
     
  12. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I shoot steel swing targets and love them. But I shoot them at 20-35 yards.
    Honestly speaking if you can hit a 6” plate consistently at 30 yards, a silhouette target at 7 yards becomes stupidly easy to hit at self defense speeds.

    It’s two different types of shooting, but I believe shooting at small targets at a decent distance has made me much faster at close range.
     
  13. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    I've been hit numerous times by lead spatter and case fragments bouncing off of steel targets. Drew blood a couple times. No big deal. Obviously you should be wearing good PPE. The manufacturers have to cover their ass, so they give you a relatively safe number. There's nothing magical that happens at exactly 10 yards. I've been hit a couple times from as far away as 60 yards (with pistol bullet fragments).
     
  14. MySuomi

    MySuomi Member

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    I shoot steel all the time with handguns. Typically set up at 25 yards outdoors. I put down a large tarp to catch my brass. All of the steel is on chain so they flex when hit. Even with that I am surprised at how much lead fragments are on my tarp after a shooting session. Definitely wear eye protection regardless of distance.
     
  15. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    This ^^^

    When I shoot handguns now, I almost get no enjoyment out of shooting paper targets anymore. Steel targets are becoming just about the only way for me at this point. With handguns anyway. I like the audible signature of each ring when you make your transitions and I have gotten faster and more accurate at "combat" style shooting since using steel.

    Yes I have caught fragments but I wear eye protection and have stood as close as 10ft. It doesnt happen often but if they are a lil angled fragments will disperse into the ground for the most part. It's a use your own judgement, use at your own risk kind of thing. I am pretty comfortable with em, but not stupid. There is always a chance you could catch some lead if you are closer than 30ft.
     
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  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    At home I shoot more steel than anything else.





    Even at the farm, we play with steel.





    That said, I always wear glasses when shooting, paper, clays, animals or steel.
     
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  17. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    You have the life my friend. I have been setting up a pretty respectable steel range arrangement but it's currently set up at a friends house and not quite like yours. Which is perfect
     
  18. FFGColorado

    FFGColorado Member

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    Man oh man, lucky you. When I win the lottery, I'm gonna buy some 'out there' land and build my own shooting range. Kinda like Hickok 45's. :)
     
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  19. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    I like steel because of the instant feedback. Shoot mostly swinging targets with pistol. Rifle is not shot at anything less than 50 to 100 yards.
     
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  20. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    Bert-n-Ernie...

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    GR
     
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  21. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Exactly what I used for years until I finally splurged for some AR500. I still set up the tie plates. If you ever care to share a pic of the rebar arrangement I'm curious to see how you set yours up. I have had to be clever over the years coming up with different ways to hang em. Once they're all shot to hell you can go dig up 5-6 more to replace em.
     
  22. Offhand McFlan

    Offhand McFlan Member

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    I never shoot at the 7 yard segment of my local range, only the 25 yard one. If you can hit something at 25, why sweat it? The only exception is shooting offhand, from the hip. A few times when I was the ONLY one there, I popped the 25 yard target from the hip while walking up on it to retrieve my results, more like within 7 yards while moving. Other times I just walk in the woods and choose an errant soda can or other junk as a victim, from a variety of ranges. Do I always hit what I aim at? No way! But I get to know myself and do improve in an offhand way. Personally I think steel targets beat paper ones because you "feel" it. You know you hit it and you can aquire the next while the last is still ringing. Once you know youre that much ok, why sweat it? Fire away! That's all you'll get in an SD situation: The blind confidence based on your past results and the grace 'o' God. You're probably never going to engage in a firefight in true combat stance actually using your sights.You'll be ducking behind a piece of furniture or a car while shooting over your shoulder and pooping your pants.
     
  23. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

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    We had a target we called the 'little metal man', a B29 size silhouette on a ground stake. It made a double action shot our of me; stuck it in the ground at about 30'. Problem was, I was an old bullseye shooter, and let the perfect defeat the good. Got used to pounding the center of that with Smith .22 kit gun till the little guy was bending at the waist.
    Still like to shoot steel; have some dangling tie plates at camp, which some (damnfool) other members insist on shooting with centerfire rifles at about 35 yards, the craters make splashback an issue. I have one really hardened target that will suffer 5.56 hits at that distance, but they're too expensive to get many of them.
    (No grousing; that's with an iron sighted AR, snap shooting off the hind legs).
    There's another tie plate at 80 yards, and that's fun.
    Moon
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Anecdote Alert, the Thrill of Steel.
    Although a friend has shot a couple of deer, she treats the ones on their 10 acres like she does the songbirds, a feeder for pretty wildlife.
    But a buck too big for his own good showed up and she asked me to help check the zero on Hubby's rifle (Hers was stolen.)
    So we hung a target, shot and twiddled. The holes in paper just above center were indicative, but as we were fixing to leave, she noticed a plate rack at the berm and got one more round out.
    Bang - Clang!
    The paper showed her, the steel CONVINCED her.
     
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  25. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    Thanks for your reply all. Much appreciated.
     
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