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RickT

Club bans FMJ in SC Matches

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A local club where I occasionally shoot SC has banned any jacketed ammo in their SC matches due to three participants having been hit with shrapnel.  I reload so this doesn't affect me, but my anecdotal experience is that such incidents (of people getting cut) are extremely rare.  I will say that while their targets are not visibly cratered they are old and the side berms are not particularly high.

 

One member who runs a match described as a "Steel Shootout", not affiliated with the particular club, cited 8 incidents in a 17,000 round match, where shrapnel either "stuck in human flesh or hit someone in the head/neck area with injury", this at a range that already bans jacketed ammo.  The injuries were all believe to be from plated ammo based on, I assume, presence of copper in the fragment.  I have no idea what type of targets might have been used at this range, but that could have been a significant factor.

 

My wife and I have only participated in perhaps 30+ matches, some small, some larger (WCSC and WSSC), but the frequency cited seems hard to believe.  Couple that with sources that describe slower speeds as being a contributing factor belies the correlation with plated versus coated/lead.  I run a small match on a scaled down bay thereby reducing the average distance to target.  We've had one shrapnel incident where the offending frag required tweezers for removal, but I attribute that to a deflection off of an adjacent piece of steel.  I'm going to ask the range owner for target hangers that tilt the targets downward a bit since this is felt to decrease airborne fragments.

 

I'd be very interested in hearing the experience of others, either personal or pertaining to any ranges at which they shoot SC.

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I've been fragged a lot of times, but two weeks ago a jacket finally got me.  Embedded in my arm while I was ROing a shooter.  I dug what I could out after they finished.  It was a smallish piece, maybe 1/4", and it broke in two.  My body pushed the rest of it out by Monday, so it took 9 days.

 

No longer a fan of jacketed projectiles on steel.  The week before my hit, an officer in Tulsa that was doing a boring CLEET recertification got hit in the left eye while packing up to leave.  Jacket came off a piece of steel 25 yards away and sort of laterally.  He lost his eye.

 

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I've been hit by very small fragments too many times to recall -

don't know if they were steel or lead.

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I've been hit many times.  A couple times it felt like it might have been hard enough to leave a mark but it didn't.   Don't have empirical data to back it up but my anecdotal experience is that cast bullets are worse for frags than jacketed.

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Posted (edited)

I've been hit too many times to mention while RO'ing SC and luckily nothing serious.

Most of the times it's when shooters were using that steel cased wolf ammo and on the larger targets.

Edited by shoots100

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Dr Mitch said:

No longer a fan of jacketed projectiles on steel.  The week before my hit, an officer in Tulsa that was doing a boring CLEET recertification got hit in the left eye while packing up to leave.  Jacket came off a piece of steel 25 yards away and sort of laterally.  He lost his eye.

 

 

That's long been my biggest fear being around action shooting. All those times you watch someone pop their glasses off between shooters to wipe the sweat down and put them back on while people are shooting in adjacent bays, etc.

 

Scary to hear that we finally have an unfortunate instance where it has occurred.

 

Do you have any more information on what type of eye protection he was wearing at the time, etc?

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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if the club is having ricochet issues, they would be far better served replacing their steel and/or making sure their participants are keeping their reloads above 750fps.  Having said that, I would assume that solid lead is safer than jacketed but would pit my money one of the prior two being the real culprit.  

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I shot in a large well attended falling steel match about a month ago and got hit in the lip by a fragment.

 

I cleaned out my fold up wagon used to transport my gear at the range and there were many pieces of fragments in the wagon. I'm sure this is typical of SC shooters using a wagon.

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16 minutes ago, Pasley said:

I've been hit many times.  A couple times it felt like it might have been hard enough to leave a mark but it didn't.   Don't have empirical data to back it up but my anecdotal experience is that cast bullets are worse for frags than jacketed.

This is clearly the norm.  Certainly, it's been my experience only recalling one tiny scratch from the countless low speed particles.  The bolt heads that are found on most hanger systems can reflect some fragments back toward the shooter.  MGM targets with their hook hanger may be similarly susceptible.  Targets in good condition, appropriate eyewear and a hat/visor with a brim are the keys.  I just hate to see a club ban FMJ which will all but eliminate new center-fire shooters.

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22 minutes ago, RickT said:

This is clearly the norm.  Certainly, it's been my experience only recalling one tiny scratch from the countless low speed particles.  The bolt heads that are found on most hanger systems can reflect some fragments back toward the shooter.  MGM targets with their hook hanger may be similarly susceptible.  Targets in good condition, appropriate eyewear and a hat/visor with a brim are the keys.  I just hate to see a club ban FMJ which will all but eliminate new center-fire shooters.

+1

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12 hours ago, Dr Mitch said:

I've been fragged a lot of times, but two weeks ago a jacket finally got me.  Embedded in my arm while I was ROing a shooter.  I dug what I could out after they finished.  It was a smallish piece, maybe 1/4", and it broke in two.  My body pushed the rest of it out by Monday, so it took 9 days.

 

No longer a fan of jacketed projectiles on steel.  The week before my hit, an officer in Tulsa that was doing a boring CLEET recertification got hit in the left eye while packing up to leave.  Jacket came off a piece of steel 25 yards away and sort of laterally.  He lost his eye.

 

This is why you never take your good wrap around shooting glasses (aka Rudy) off while anywhere near shooting.

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12 hours ago, RickT said:

...

One member who runs a match described as a "Steel Shootout", not affiliated with the particular club, cited 8 incidents in a 17,000 round match, where shrapnel either "stuck in human flesh or hit someone in the head/neck area with injury", this at a range that already bans jacketed ammo.  The injuries were all believe to be from plated ammo based on, I assume, presence of copper in the fragment.  I have no idea what type of targets might have been used at this range, but that could have been a significant factor.

 

My wife and I have only participated in perhaps 30+ matches, some small, some larger (WCSC and WSSC), but the frequency cited seems hard to believe.  ...

 

At a recent match on one particular stage we had 3 people in my squad get hit hard enough to draw blood. We did complain about the steel to the MD.

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It's a target problem more than a bullet problem.

 

I only shoot centerfire at SC and similar all steel matches. Ban plated or jacketed bullets and I no longer shoot that match.

 

I have been hit by stuff from adjacent bays and from same bay. I've been hit hard enough to draw blood 3 times in 4 years.

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My home club bans jacketed ammo on steel, and +P, +P+, LEO and Personal Defense ammo as well.  The ban came as a response to an RO being hit hard enough with a piece of jacket to hit bone near his elbow.  He was taken to a nearby hospital.  Plated , poly and lead bullets are permitted.

 

I'm the MD at this club's action, steel and games matches.  We have tried everything we could think of to minimizes splatter.  I will tell you that the best thing is to have targets that are perpendicular to the ground an facing the shooter.  The splatter mostly goes in a 180 deg circle in the plane of the steel.  I know this for a fact, because we built a 4' wide plywood shroud around our Polish Spinner.  The splatter marks are greatest in the center and follow a Gaussian distribution out from there.

 

We did try angled holders.  The ones we bought hold the target forward at a ten to 12 deg. angle.  I get hit with splatter from them when ROing, but not from vertical.  The splatter falls on you from above.  The angle turns out to be just right for the splatter to be thrown up and forward, where it arches over the baffles and hits the shooter and the ROs.

 

Dead soft lead bullets are the best, whether they are copper plated or not.  They just squash almost flat and fall.  There is still some splatter, but no where near as much as with cast or hard lead bullets.  The regular Brinell 17-21 bullets shatter into largish chunks and spray.  This is also true of copper plated hard lead bullets such as X-treme.  Rainier copper plated are dead soft, and the best plated bullets I've used so far.

 

I will also say that your berm may be part of the problem.  Our berm is about 30' high and is the backstop for the 25 yard pistol range.  It is about 40' wide.  It had not been mined for decades.  There were bullets littering the surface, and it was not unusual to find separated jackets embedded on the down range side of the lane separators.   Think about that.  A bullet was fired down range, hit something in the berm, and a piece of debris flew back 25 yards and hit with enough force to embed in wood.  We finally convinced them to clean the berm.  The hired a contractor who brought in a crew with picks and shovels.  They lasted half a day.  They came back the next day with jackhammers and went to town.  They took 47,000 lbs. of lead and jackets out of that 40' wide berm.  We no longer have anything flying back towards the shooters.

 

I RO at local USPSA Matches and we have a lot of Open shooters who shoot nothing by JHPs.  There is a lot of steel used at one club.  In two years I've never been hit (at a USPSA Match), nor have I seen anyone else hit.

 

At one of the East Coast Steel Challenge matches, I arrived later than I wanted and the only parking left was about 10 yards out from the firing line on Stage 8.  Walking down the path towards the Stage, I looked at my car.  It was covered in lead fragments.  It was windy that day, so that may have contributed.  However, that just goes to show that splatter can travel significant distances.

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Just before the STI/Handgunner (2006-2007?) ceased operation they imposed a 1200fps speed limit on ammo due to frag issues. That's when I switched to 147g @ 1150fps instead of 124's to make major.

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12 hours ago, MemphisMechanic said:

 

That's long been my biggest fear being around action shooting. All those times you watch someone pop their glasses off between shooters to wipe the sweat down and put them back on while people are shooting in adjacent bays, etc.

 

Scary to hear that we finally have an unfortunate instance where it has occurred.

 

Do you have any more information on what type of eye protection he was wearing at the time, etc?

None.  Took everything off, and thought he was a safe distance away.  

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With the exception of steel/bi-metal jackets (maybe), it's unlikely a bullet problem. It's most likely a target problem like stated above or a berm problem. I only shoot jacketed bullets and will continue to do so.

 

The club that banned +P, +P+, etc on steel might as well ban Open division.

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The +P, +P+, etc. ban was not due to velocity.  It was because of the bullet types used in that ammo.  Open and Major velocities are permitted.  My Open Major loads at that club use Rainier plated bullets.  As it happens, they are more accurate in both my guns than the Montaga Gold JHPs.  When I use up the last 2600 JHPs, I'll switch to all Rainiers.

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I've been fragged many times and have seen others get fragged hard enough to draw blood. My biggest problem is 22 LR brass getting ejected into my face or down my shirt. I have burn scars from it :(.

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On 5/18/2017 at 7:32 PM, NMBOpen said:

Just before the STI/Handgunner (2006-2007?) ceased operation they imposed a 1200fps speed limit on ammo due to frag issues. That's when I switched to 147g @ 1150fps instead of 124's to make major.

 

Action Targets says that is the wrong solution to prevent frag. Faster bullets fragment into smaller parts.

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The velocity limit is not always for frag, it is also to protect the steel.  For example, one manufacturer recommends velocities under 1250fps.  

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From my research and personal experience, it seems that speed kills steel.  FMJ seems to make it worse.  I've dimpled steel with .223 fmj, but it is untouched with V-Max bullets at roughly the same velocity.

 

Speed seems to help with fragments.  I've been hit with pieces the most from slow, jacketed bullets.

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Well I RO'd a Steel match this Saturday.  It had three legit SC stages and three outlaw stages.  The outlaw stages had a lot of closer steel.  I was continually pelted.  It was those shooting hard cast lead bullets that did the most spraying, but everything sprayed a little, except my ammo.  I was shooting Rainier copper plated.

 

I'm a little amazed by this.  As Ii mentioned earlier, I've never been hit by anything while shooting any of the East Coast Steel Challenge matches (RFPO and Open), nor while ROing them.  Same with steel at my home club.  We run outlaw matches and keep steel at least 30' away from the shooting station.

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On 05/18/2017 at 7:25 AM, RickT said:

This is clearly the norm.  Certainly, it's been my experience only recalling one tiny scratch from the countless low speed particles.  The bolt heads that are found on most hanger systems can reflect some fragments back toward the shooter.  MGM targets with their hook hanger may be similarly susceptible.  Targets in good condition, appropriate eyewear and a hat/visor with a brim are the keys.  I just hate to see a club ban FMJ which will all but eliminate new center-fire shooters.

 

Been hit by small hunks. Once by a 45 hunk about 90 grains that imbedded in my shoulder (was ro-ing).

 

Another club recently "uograded) from carriage bolts to shepards hooks. Nearly EVERYONE was fragged last match. Most no seriously,  but one had a 22lr chunk go under her scalp and needed an er visit. With cops being called for "gun shot wound". Husband filmed incident where wife's own frag got her. But they were going to bring him to the station b4 showing the video!

 

 

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