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RickT

Club bans FMJ in SC Matches

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Bad Targets are the biggest culprit in bullet pieces coming back at the firing line. Either beat up steel that is cupped or steel that has bullet dents are both dangerous and should be replaced by minimum AR400 plates. The worst targets are those that don't have a smooth face I.E bolts heads or hooks of any sort showing through will splatter back at the firing line. The collegiate steel challenge program has outlawed clubs from using any plate that has any thing sticking through it. They are safer. At large matches...multi day...it is best to put hay bales at the base of the plates. It stops the build up of lead and jackets at the bases from being thrown back at the line.

I honestly don't know why any club uses targets with bolts through them or hooks through them. They don't ring and they hide the bullet hits and they are unsafe. slow cast bullets are far more dangerous than jacketed. The soft cast bullets just don't come apart on impact as well as jacketed bullets

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The three clubs I shoot Steel Challenge at use GT Targets steel plates.  There is nothing exposed except the flat face of the target.  You still get hit with some splatter.

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Like many others, I've been fragged as well.  Never enough to cause injury.  Very rarely has it been jackets I've been hit with just small lead fragments.

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I made a one-time only mistake shooting a 9mm SD round (147gr PDX) at a steel plate during a practice session (Just myself/wife in one bay and an instructor two bays over).  The instructor mentioned that he could hear a fragment fly overhead some 100' from where we were shooting!  We probably only shoot SD rounds once every 4-5 months and I'm never again going to shoot one at steel, but makes me wonder  about JHP which is commonly used in competition.

 

Two things I'm getting religious about in our scaled-down matches.  First, all targets parallel to the berm; I know for a fact that my Five to Go stop plate will send fragments in back of the next bay shooting position if it's rotated.  Second, I'm going to move some of the 7-8 yard targets back, replacing them with larger targets where possible.  You can't be too safe.

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On 6/5/2017 at 11:08 AM, RickT said:

I made a one-time only mistake shooting a 9mm SD round (147gr PDX) at a steel plate during a practice session (Just myself/wife in one bay and an instructor two bays over).  The instructor mentioned that he could hear a fragment fly overhead some 100' from where we were shooting!  We probably only shoot SD rounds once every 4-5 months and I'm never again going to shoot one at steel, but makes me wonder  about JHP which is commonly used in competition.

 

Two things I'm getting religious about in our scaled-down matches.  First, all targets parallel to the berm; I know for a fact that my Five to Go stop plate will send fragments in back of the next bay shooting position if it's rotated.  Second, I'm going to move some of the 7-8 yard targets back, replacing them with larger targets where possible.  You can't be too safe.

 

Regarding the PDX, that seems odd since it is only a 147gr bullet going 1000 ft/sec (approx, according to the box) and Open guns shoot 125 gr going 1300 ft/sec while Limited shoots a 180 gr going around 950....and those just aren't an issue in the vast majority of cases.  Wonder if the "bonded" made a difference?    I  wouldn't have thought so.

 

I've shot Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot (124, 124 +P, and 147), and some Ranger-T at steel targets with no issues.

 

As a comment:  For your 5 To Go plate, how deep are you into the bay?  In our case, while our bays aren't hugely deep (less than 25 yards for the bay we normally put 5 To Go in), when the plate is rotated to be flat to the shooter, the spray still goes into the berm because there is plenty of berm left--the plate is set deeply enough into the bay.  (And, of course, our plates are angled slightly downward.)  

 

If we set the plate parallel to the back berm, given the angle to the shooter, the bullet will be much more likely to not completely disintegrate upon impact, and larger fragments will be flying in various directions, and more will be directed sideways than normal.  Flat to the shooter (though angled downward) gives the best likelihood of bullet destruction, and angling downward will deflect most particles downward (though obviously in an arc).  

 

(As people have said, a flat face with no protruding bolts will also make a large difference.  Hitting the upper side of a large bolt will deflect bullet particles upward.)

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Angling the plates does not stop fragments from going up.  We have 5 bases angled so the post leans 20 degrees forward.  The splatter goes out in a 360 circle.  The stuff that goes up is lofted back towards the shooter and falls like rain.

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14 minutes ago, zzt said:

Angling the plates does not stop fragments from going up.  We have 5 bases angled so the post leans 20 degrees forward.  The splatter goes out in a 360 circle.  The stuff that goes up is lofted back towards the shooter and falls like rain.

 

That's interesting since the vast majority of SC matches don't experience much of a problem with this---at least not to a "falls like rain" level. 

 

Yes, some spatter comes back every once in awhile.  We are shooting projectiles at steel, this happens.  However, angling the steel does change the amount that goes in the various directions.  If the plate is angled downward, less of it will be projected upwards.  There are plenty of high-speed videos out there of bullet strikes on steel showing what happens when the plate is flat or angled, and the difference is noticeable. 

 

Additionally, if the plate is angled too much, it can be seen in high-speed video that the bullet doesn't fragment nearly as much, and larger chunks come off in certain directions, which is why having the plate facing the shooter is better than the plate parallel to the rear berm in cases like the rightmost 5 To Go plate.  Small spatter doesn't travel far, but larger chunks can.

 

Yes, projectiles at speed are going to cause spatter.  However, good targets, facing the shooter, angled slightly downwards, mitigates most of this, which is why the vast majority of clubs out there don't have any problems with it. 

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I finally got dinged yesterday hard enough to draw blood.  A 22 rifle fragment off the roundabout stop plate.  I was keeping score and standing just to the left and behind the shooter.

 

The fragment hit so hard and solid it took a second to compute what it was.  

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The club in question did decide to ban FMJ, with plated, lead & coated being ok.  Doesn't effect folks shooting 22lr, but will impact new shooters.  The new ammo regulations, when in effect, won' help either.

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I have been hit enough times that drawing blood is a given although most of it is pretty weak and just falls to the ground. After an SC event in my state a number of us were practicing and swapping guns to compare things on our last stage when I got hit the only real serious time. I loaned my G34 race gun to another Glock shooter (shooting his ammo) and was standing directly behind him and about 1' to the left when a piece of  a jacket spun right past him and imbedded into my nose. Lucky I was wearing wrap-arounds. I have seen bullet jackets flatten out and become mini-shurikans. Thankfully in general the bigger the mass the shorter distance they go. But pieces from adjoining bays are more common from what I have seen. I have been hit by small pieces from the bay next door at almost every venue I have shot at.

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It seems like this is a big enough problem that USPSA or whoever should commission a study and issue a best practice notice or something.

 

The club was in Norcal?  Which match?

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The Laguna Seca (CA)club which shoots at a small range in Soledad.  I receive the club's e-mails, but no longer a member.  It's unfortunate that the incident in question involved a plate rack, but I also see in a recent e-mail that  they are going to set a minimum velocity for folks shooting the larger (usually slower) calibers.  I guess this makes sense even with lead/coated rounds as the Cowboys have a maximum velocity since they don't want fragmentation; their targets are severely angled and the bullets "squish" and impact the ground.  Steel challenge desires exactly the opposite outcome requiring greater velocity.

 

Once potential issue at this club's range is that the ground is hard as rock which I understand isn't ideal.

 

This isn't a club that gets a number of walk ons so I suppose the regulars can adjust to the new rules.  It sounds like the club is also going to do some of their own testing using a witness box or similar around a test target.  I applaud this idea but there are so many variables that it may be very difficult to get enough useful information.

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On 6/16/2017 at 3:25 PM, zzt said:

...The splatter goes out in a 360 circle.  ...

 

One of the bays at our range has had 6 mini poppers bolted onto wooden pallets since a match in spring. For a while now, the pallets have been cut in two by splatter. Like cut with a bad saw.

 

One of the guys says he was once hit with a whole bullet that came back from a tire used as backstop or prop. Not hard enough to penetrate but hard enough to hurt.

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Posted (edited)

This is why I use mil spec mil-prf-31013 rather than ANSI Z87 glasses. 

 

Wrote a thread about it here. 

 

https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=210728

 

My Smith Optics Aegeis Echo glasses will stop 22 short and #8 shot.

 

For $35....no brainer for any action shooting participant. Should be mandatory! 

 

.

Edited by Covfefe

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Yesterday I shot at Ontelaunee for the East Coast Steel Challenge monthly match.  Each month the layouts are always the same.  All eight SC courses, always set up exactly the same way, and in the same bays.  We have had some wet weather this season.  The puddles around the bases give you a good visual indication of where the splatter is going.  Yesterday, there were literally small trenches cut into the grass and dirt from the splatter.  They were 6' to 8' long and less than 1' wide.

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Yesterday I shot at Ontelaunee for the East Coast Steel Challenge monthly match.  Each month the layouts are always the same.  All eight SC courses, always set up exactly the same way, and in the same bays.  We have had some wet weather this season.  The puddles around the bases give you a good visual indication of where the splatter is going.  Yesterday, there were literally small trenches cut into the grass and dirt from the splatter.  They were 6' to 8' long and less than 1' wide.
Yup... been shooting that match all year. The splash can be impressive with the puddles

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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Curved and pitted surfaces are the biggest problems..... I have seen plates with conveyor belting hoods or halo's in use to mitigate against the risk of splatter... but they sure were awkward to move when it came time to tearing the range down....

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So we have been shooting steel targets for close to 40 years in recognized competition and now they are a problem?

If they offend your sensibilities then don't shoot steel.  If you educate yourself on velocity, how to angle the plates, and distance from the plates you minimize the potential risks and get some good shooting challenge in.  Just understand that splatter happens and yes, you may get hit with a frag at some point.  It is rare but it does happen. 

DougC

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The Plates that you will have more chance of getting hit are the ones with the hangar that goes thru the plate and is exposed in the front.. Those are Dangerous..

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