Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!
JamesF

Attn: RMs, MDs, and steel shooters: We abused our AR500 so you don't have to

Recommended Posts

We've had a lot of people that show up to our 3-gun matches wanting to shoot steel jacketed ammo at our rifle steel over the years.
 
I've always known it wasn't a problem, but rules were rules.  I don't know how many of you noticed but 3GN altered the rules at some point (I think just this year) seemingly to allow steel jacketed ammo:
 

Quote

9.1.2 Tracer, incendiary, armor piercing or steel/tungsten/composite core projectiles are NOT allowed and are prohibited from use on all steel targets.


 
That part of the rules used to specifically mention steel jackets.
 
Anyway, I've long been of the opinion that what you really need to watch out for is people shooting hot 55gr out of longer (20"+) barrels, especially if you get down to (what's generally considered to be) the minimum safe distance of 50yd.  Other disciplines like PRS-style matches where not everybody is shooting a .223 tend to institute a speed limit stated in FPS.
 
We were going to test this just for our club, but we decided to make a video out of it for your enjoyment.  We shot M855, M193, 5.45 7N6, steel jacketed ("bimetal") Tula 223, and plenty of other ammo at a new piece of AR500:

 

Enjoy: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47VrSrlF498

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All my .223 practice and match ammo is of my own manufacture.  I see no need to shoot 3100 fps pills when something much tamer will get the job done.  For hoser ammo I shoot 50 gr Nosler soft point ammo and for distance I shoot 77 Nosler Competition JHP, both run near 2600 fps.

 

On my personal steel (AR500) I've shot as close as 75 yards with no damage to the steel.  For grins I did shoot a few rounds of PMC Bronze at the plates at 100 yards and they did dimple the steel slightly.

 

I think its more velocity rather than bullet that destroys steel.  I'm sure the penetrator type bullets will still do some damage, but not many who reload will bother with those bullets.  Keep velocity below 2750 fps and I bet your steel will be safe.

 

Bill

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Flatland Shooter said:

I'm sure the penetrator type bullets will still do some damage

 

Oh you'd think, but if you watch the vid you might be surprised what steel core 7N6 does to the target.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a guy inadvertently shoot our MGM star at about 13 yards with 223 and it held up just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mosher said:

We had a guy inadvertently shoot our MGM star at about 13 yards with 223 and it held up just fine.

 

Depending on the muzzle velocity, I don't doubt it.  The main danger in shooting inside of 50 yards is spall.  You get a lot more stuff coming back at you than you do with pistol rounds.  That goes for shotgun slugs as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could give a rats a$$ how many videos are made. I've heard all the excuses and justifications it seems like thousands of times. Fact is they do damage steel targets, and they are our targets, so our rules apply. After spending thousands on steel targets I see no justification for people to save a couple of pennies per round just to punch holes in our targets. 

 

Don't bring banned ammo to any of our matches, to include steel projectiles and over speed (M193). Use it and get caught, match DQ. Its in the match rules, please follow them.

jj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, RiggerJJ said:

I could give a rats a$$ how many videos are made. I've heard all the excuses and justifications it seems like thousands of times. Fact is they do damage steel targets, and they are our targets, so our rules apply. After spending thousands on steel targets I see no justification for people to save a couple of pennies per round just to punch holes in our targets. 

 

Don't bring banned ammo to any of our matches, to include steel projectiles and over speed (M193). Use it and get caught, match DQ. Its in the match rules, please follow them.

jj

 

Wow, dude,  You would have thought we made this video to personally attack you and your match by that response.

 

We were going to do this test anyway to see what ammo we should allow at our matches, and decided to film it and share for the benefit of others.  If you don't want to learn anything from it, you don't have to learn anything from it.  Nobody's going to beat a door to your place demanding to shoot Tula, calm down.

 

If you had bothered to watch the video, our conclusion was that M193 or any hot 55gr (to include Wolf Gold 223 which is steel-free ammo loaded by a Taiwanese plant that makes M193 for the Taiwan military) is a bad idea out of longer barrels.  It makes a decent crater at 100yd and a huge one at 50yd.  M855 is a bad idea period. And the steel jacketed stuff was nearly indiscernible from lead/copper 69gr and 75gr.  Very little damage because it's not moving fast enough.

 

Also, 7.62x39 steel jacketed lead core ammo (which is almost ALL 7.62x39 ammo) doesn't do ANY damage to the targets, not even a little pin prick at 50yd.  I'd be beyond happy if everybody showed up to our matches shooting steel cased 7.62x39 because our steel would last forever.  But that won't happen.

 

Also, surprisingly (to me at least) 5.45 7N6 surplus ammo had pretty identical effects on target when compared to 69gr and 75gr .223 lead core/copper jacket ammo.  We won't be banning that at our matches, either.

Edited by JamesF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

For your info, I did watch the video. And I don't need to be told to calm down... Your conclusions are pretty sound except for steel jackets or bi-metal. They will crater or even penetrate depending on velocity or barrel length. 308 steel jackets will always penetrate even at longer distances.

 

Most MDs have ROs use a magnet to check on stages to verify steel or not. Problem is, you can't tell the difference between steel core and steel jackets with a magnet.

 

Every spring it seems this subject comes up and somebody says "this or that ammo didn't hurt my targets, so I want to use it in your match".

 

Major difference in your targets and ones used for most 3 gun matches are that we use a flash type target, which have more mass to move than a strap hung target. Strap targets are well known to last longer just from the simple fact that they take a hit better. 

 

BUT, 3gunners have pretty much demanded the use of flash targets for ease of hit verification, espcially at longer distances, and having volunteer ROd that may not have the best of vision.

 

I have tested all that stuff you did, and also 308 ammo. ANY projectile with steel in it, and over speed ammo WILL damage targets. Cool thing is, the stuff that causes damage is CHEAP. A shooter that wants to perform well at a major does not use cheap ammo. Please, leave that stuff at home and bring your match ammo. When in doubt, if it says 556 M193, or the bullet sticks to a magnet, don't bring it.

jj

Edited by RiggerJJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We didn't test 308 ammo.  I've never seen anyone bring 308 ammo that attracts a magnet to our match.

 

We use strap hung targets at our match and our max range is 200yd.  It works really well for us, when the targets are painted brightly it's easy to call hits at 200yd with the naked eye, even on our 6" target.

 

What I have seen a lot of at our matches is people bringing steel case 223 ammo.  We followed the 3GN rules on this in the past and officially didn't allow it, but when people showed up to our match I would give them a pass the first time around.  Some of the steel we shoot at our matches is steel that I and the other gentleman in the video lend to the range for matches and I already knew that the steel jacket 223 wouldn't damage the steel.

 

Now that 3GN has officially changed their tune, we're following suit.  You can do as you like obviously.  We're making an effort to cater to the consumer who ultimately pays for these targets through the match fee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Blah blah blah...... Steel this, jacketed that. Targets are  consumable. Any match that thinks they are a one time purchase shouldn't be running matches. And who the hell cares if a flash target that is used at 2-3 hundred yards has a few craters?? BTW J.J. I have a lot of steel jacketed 308 military M-80 ball made by Winchester in the 60s and it hasn't even scuffed my personal MGM flash targets that I use for practice from 100 and out, out of a 22" M-14 barrel so I am calling B.S. on the 308 deal!!!

As for M-193 being "over speed", that is the mil spec on 5.56x45mm out of a 20" barrel. You better just put a barrel length restriction on 5.56x45mm rifles that come to RM3G down to 16" and no longer.......My reloaded are in the same 3250 fps range out of a 20" barrel.... So you better ban reloads out of long barrels as well.......better yet, just tell competitors to use a "spec load" from whom ever you think won't hurt you precious steel. Maybe a 55 grain bullet at 2600 and NO 308 allowed???? Count me in!!!!!

Edited by kurtm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, kurtm said:

Blah blah blah...... Steel this, jacketed that. Targets are  consumable.

 

Pretty much this, especially once you get inside 100yd. Every .223 round we tested to include the 75gr left a dimple in the steel at 50yd. 7.62x39 however, with a *gasp* jacket of steel left what looked like a 9mm smear at 50yd. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We did a similar test - I should post the pictures. Someone even donated a round of M855A1, which did quite a number on AR500 at 50 yards. The issue is NOT that steel jacketed bullets will necessarily damage targets (most will not; they are soft steel and usually running on the slow side). However, there are two legitimate reasons that we continue to ban any ammo that attracts a magnet at our matches:

 

1) Steel jacketed bullets are indistinguishable from penetrator core bullets by using a magnet. A magnet is the only efficient way to screen out penetrator ammo, so that is what we use. The steel jacketed ammo just gets swept up by that test, and we see no reason to put a more elaborate regime in place just so a few folks can cheap out on ammo.

2) Steel projectiles spark when they hit rocks, which can cause fires in dry brush. I was at a match last week when exactly this happened - the match staff were lucky to get it under control before it made the nightly news.

 

I'm with JJ, and get sick of hearing people rationalize why they should be allowed to shoot their choice in cheap ammo at my potential expense. This is not a cheap sport - get over it. If a Match Director wants to deal with the downsides to make their match more attractive to their customers, that is of course their prerogative.

Edited by StealthyBlagga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, JamesF said:

We didn't test 308 ammo.  I've never seen anyone bring 308 ammo that attracts a magnet to our match.

 

 

Factory M80 ball is sold TODAY with a steel jacket. I had a very angry match sponsor who I had the displeasure of DQing earlier this year for exactly this reason (IIRC it was brand new Winchester or Federal commercial ammo).

Edited by StealthyBlagga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno man, if you can't tell the difference between M855 and Tula/Wolf steel case without a magnet, you might want to find jobs other than checking ammo.

 

If someone's dumb enough to load M855 penetrators with the green paint wiped off into steel cases to try and get a pass, they're also dumb enough to load 28 rounds of M855 into a magazine with the top two being regular brass ammo in order to get one over on you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know lots of people shoot at their own steel and nothing bad happens. I get it!

BUT, first Johnson 3-Gun, factory .308 winchester...turned out to have bimetal jacketting. Right through the targets, not a dimple, a hole. This was back in 2007...so we didn't have the magnet rule, we just said steel core was a no no. 

The guy (a good friend and a good guy...bought new factory to be safe) knocked down the target...he was first shooter. Went down to fix it, and there were holes in ALL of our targets that he had hit. He was crushed. Got his wife to bring him some other stuff.

 

Same thing happened with .223. 

You say it's the speed...well, are you chrono'ing??? USPSA doesn't even chrono anymore. So, setting a speed limit means nothing if you don't back it up.

Why do we have that rule? Could it be the guy that put expensive rounds on top for the magnet??? That's why we often magnet before and after...that was steel core.

There was a while that one rule set (I think Superstition or maybe USPSA when they still chrono'd) let you cut one of your bullets up...they had the tool to cut it and then you could prove what the core was made of. I think that's a waste of time.

Some golf courses say you can't wear steel cleats. Do all steal cletes screw up the grass? Nope. Their grass, their rules.

Does magneting the ammo save the targets all the time? Nope. People sneak by. But, if you don't shoot rounds that stick to a magnet, we have a better chance of making our targets last longer. Since we put out over 80 steel rifle targets at a match, that is a bonus for us.

Our targets, our rules.

 

It's great you're trying to experiment and see what damages targets, but in the end, be it hot rounds, or bimetal, or steel core, or tracer, or green tips, your targets re going to get shot up and you're going to have to replace them. Soft steel that is really dimpled is dangerous up close...and it totally depends on your target. Straps take the hits a little better than short action flashers (metal mans, Rocky Mountain Targets flashers) and they take the hits better than the old angle iron attachment MGM's, which take the hits better than stationary steel. It all depends on how fast the target moves to get out of the way and let the bullet deflect. 

 

We aren't going to change our rules any time soon (even if 3GN did) because we need to try to make our steel last as long as possible. We use rifle steel under 100 or around 100 OFTEN, so we know those targets are going to take a beating....especially at He-Man. (You should've seen our little pesky poppers hung up as flashers after He-Man a few years ago. They made it through the match...but they were a mess. No bullet holes either, and they were at 100 yards with tons of .308's and some .223's punching them. But, they were cracked and dimpled, and sad! Magnetting helped save us holes so they did make it through the match.)

 

Sorry this is long. And have some fun testing steel. Shooting is always a good thing!

My $.02!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JamesF said:

I dunno man, if you can't tell the difference between M855 and Tula/Wolf steel case without a magnet, you might want to find jobs other than checking ammo.

 

If someone's dumb enough to load M855 penetrators with the green paint wiped off into steel cases to try and get a pass, they're also dumb enough to load 28 rounds of M855 into a magazine with the top two being regular brass ammo in order to get one over on you. 

 

I evidently have more experience inspecting ammo than you do. I have seen several brands of commercial ammo with a brass case and a steel jacket (I gave an example above, and have seen it in .223 also). M855/SS109 ammo does not necessarily present with a green painted tip either. Conversely, I have seen steel cased ammo with non-steel projectiles. You simply can't be sure just by looking. Moreover, I expect everyone that runs the timer to be able to perform this check, so I need a test that does not rely on them having the same extensive expertise you claim.

 

When I am checking ammo, I typically will catch the last round as the shooter ejects it and check it with a magnet. There is still no guarantee that I will catch every cheater, but it improves my odds considerably.

 

As mentioned, it's your match so it's your rules. Just don't expect other Match Directors to follow your lead for the very good reasons we have given above. Oh, and you should make your competitors aware that your tolerance of steel projectiles is NOT the norm at other matches... it would suck for them to travel to a major match and find out the hard way that their ammunition is illegal.

Edited by StealthyBlagga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Stealthy on the sparks and fire danger, and that is a perfectly good reason to ban them from your match.......but as the old proverb says...... don't pee down my leg and tell me it is rain! We have let people use anything they like at our local monthly match yes even M-855 and have done so since 2013. In that time I have had to re- plate only 2 of our flash targets due to cracking only. A couple have some divots, but at longer range they are just fine! And no we don't live in a fire danger setting like "Aridzona" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, StealthyBlagga said:

 

I evidently have more experience inspecting ammo than you do.  M855/SS109 ammo does not necessarily present with a green painted tip either. Conversely, I have seen steel cased ammo with non-steel projectiles. You simply can't be

 

 

on one of my sojourns I picked up and used a good supply of SS109 that did not have green tip. (or any color for that matter)

So....................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY! THIS THREAD IS PROGRESSING NORMALLY!!!

 

"No magnetic ammo. It's too destructive of steel"

"Hey look, I (we) (they) shot a bunch of steel with all kinds of ammo, and the bi-metal (mild steel penetrator) (zinc plated) does less damage to the steel than some gilding metal loads."

"Well we're still gonna disallow it; and besides it starts fires..."

 

I'm carrying my remaining 7N6 ammo and a 12" 

AR500 striker plate from now on as an emergency fire starter kit.

I hope I can get a fire started at a rainy 3 gun match before I die of exposure....EXPOSURE TO THE EVILS OF BI-METAL AND STEEL PENETRATOR AMMO, THAT IS...

 

 

ericm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's only 9!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest problem with all the anecdotes of "such and such ammo will put a hole clean through a target, I seent it!" is that you're talking about used steel!  It's already got hits, and you can easily put a hole in a used target even with mild ammo if it's beat up enough - especially if your hit lands right on top of a decent crater that's already there.

 

This is the reason why we used a brand new target, and marked all hits with a sharpie instead of painting over them.  We wanted to make sure we weren't counting any doubled hits! If we had painted between hits, you wouldn't be able to tell.

 

 

2 hours ago, ericm said:

 

GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY! THIS THREAD IS PROGRESSING NORMALLY!!!

 

"No magnetic ammo. It's too destructive of steel"

"Hey look, I (we) (they) shot a bunch of steel with all kinds of ammo, and the bi-metal (mild steel penetrator) (zinc plated) does less damage to the steel than some gilding metal loads."

"Well we're still gonna disallow it; and besides it starts fires..."

 

Haha pretty much.

 

Living in the green part of the midwest, we have zero fire risk at our range and not many rocks to throw sparks.  Our berms are dirt and usually covered in green grass.

 

For S&Gs, I brought my 5.45 AR with me to the range and shot the s--t out of one of our newer pieces of AR-500 at 50yd.  Probaby put 90 rounds of 7N6 on it plus five of lead core/steel jacket silver bear to clean out the corrosive stuff.  When I went downrange to inspect the target, it was awesome how little damage there was.  I think Wolf Gold .223 (no steel, will not attract a magnet) does more damage out of my 17" AR than 7N6 does out of my 16" 5.45 AR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, StealthyBlagga said:

 

I evidently have more experience inspecting ammo than you do. I have seen several brands of commercial ammo with a brass case and a steel jacket (I gave an example above, and have seen it in .223 also). M855/SS109 ammo does not necessarily present with a green painted tip either. Conversely, I have seen steel cased ammo with non-steel projectiles. You simply can't be sure just by looking. Moreover, I expect everyone that runs the timer to be able to perform this check, so I need a test that does not rely on them having the same extensive expertise you claim.

 

Not exactly what I was getting at.  Have you ever seen any steel case Tula/Wolf/Barnaul/BrownBear/SilverBear ammo with a steel core?  I have not, and it's pretty easy to tell what you're looking at if it has a steel case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JamesF said:

Living in the green part of the midwest, we have zero fire risk at our range and not many rocks to throw sparks.  Our berms are dirt and usually covered in green grass.

 

Until a few weeks ago I would have agreed with you.  

 

An older shooter (77 years young and stubborn as h***) always brings out three or four old military rifles from his collection.  That day he was shooting steel at the 150 yard berm.  We don't know if the fire started due to some pine needles in the area or the cardboard backer on the target frames, but it did get started. No major damage because we were able to get on it before it spread.

 

We checked his ammo.  He was shooting 7.62x54r though an old Mosin-Nagant.  The ammo was old surplus stuff (he thought he purchased it about 25 years ago).  It came as twenty shells wrapped in paper held together with pieces of string.  The tin "spam" can had a painted yellow stripe that according to a resident expert indicated this was steel core ammo.

 

Ammo that sticks to a magnet is not permitted at this range, but then we are on the honor system.

 

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×