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The 8 stages get boring. I do not suggest to get rid of them, just add some more stages to select from.

I run level 1 matches and the best feedback I get are about the fast outlaw stages, never the SC stages.

Movement is not recommended as the sport is a starting point and ending point for a lot, not all, of competitors. I have a lot of seniors that shot USPSA that don't move so well any more. For beginners, it takes the edge off of starting out running a full blown 32 round USPSa course.

What about authorizing reduced size targets for Outer Limits and Speed Option for ranges without 35 yard capability?

Another favorite are the outlaw stages that are more difficult but have a 2 second option plate.

Some of these ideas will not be agreeable to all but they are the things that bring positive feedback, compliments and returning competitors.

I don't see this notion of asking how to change SC as fixing something that isn't broken as much as how to improve what isn't broken so that more people will participate.

My two cents.

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Good Morning all!

Great to read all this discussion about Steel Challenge.

I love the idea of More stage designs as well as bringing the option of the old stages. Double Trouble and zig zag was a favorite.

Here's some of our SCSA struggles as we started a new club earlier this year at SWPL

  1. We only have 6 bays. our first match ran 8 with 2 bays "sharing" the stages.
    1. We accomplished this by setting up all steel and stands on the shared stages and lay the stage down and raise the other ones
    2. It works but slows down the match
    3. Requires a healthy amount of range staff to help the unfamiliar (Limited in our club)
    4. We reverted back to 6 stage match
  2. We don't have much crossover from the hugely successfull USPSA match the club runs
  3. Bay depth,
    1. We are fortunate to have 1 bay to accomodate Outer limits or Speed option. Width was challenge but made it work.
  4. Biggest challenge is increase interest and assistance in marketing.

Any input from the members here to increase attendance is much appreciated.

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Good points. So the general consensus is we don't need no stinkin' new stages. If you want to practice OL or SO and you can't run them at normal distances set them up short and don't list as classifier on the tablet.

I'd probably suggest giving some direction to people wanting to do short stages for OL and SO. If you want to keep approximately the same target difficulty (in terms of effective width, though not height)...

OL:

12" plates at 70 feet

10" plates at 50 feet

10" stop plate at 45 feet

....would keep the same relative target difficulty on a stage that fits into a 25-yard bay. Note that it changes all the plate sizes, otherwise you'd have some plates in front of others (different from the original layout), or several plates very close to each other.

SO:

12" stop plate at 70 feet

10" far plate at 50 feet

Front three plates stay the same

...does the same. This one doesn't change all the plate sizes, just the farther two, but keeps the same width difficulty, and they are far enough apart that we don't have to worry about plates being on top of each other.

I still would suggest that they be NOT considered for classification.

As for new stages----people can already (at Level I matches) run outlaw stages, and have them count for score. I don't think we need to add any more official stages, as people can already make up new ones that they want for local matches. Keeping the 8 official ones as the only stages for higher levels is a good idea, IMO (even though we are probably going to add a fun super-speed stage for a separate speed medal, separate from official match score, at our next Level II match).

Unless someone can come up with a new stage that really DOES present a new type of shooting problem using the same plate sizes we already have, that would fit into a 25-yard bay?

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Totally new stages. Movement would be good. Why not bring back some of the oldies but goodies, like Flying M and ZigZag? I already think the current selection has enough fast hoser stages, so stages that are more technical would be good too.

Movement would NOT be good. A LOT of people shoot Steel Challenge because their is NO movement except outer limits which is 2 steps.

People with back problems knee surgeries, knee replacements, ankle fusing and the list goes on and on.

Keep your movement stuff over at USPSA. Dont screw up Steel Challenge by adding running.. Man, I cant even tell you how many shooters i run into that say they only shoot Steel Challenge & GSSF because it's easy on their body and they are glad Steel Challenge is Static..

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What up, Flack Jacket! I bet you can guess who I am...

Here's what I would suggest for discussion:

1. Leave the 8 approved stages alone! I practice with an old-school GM who still complains about how SC needs to stop changing the stages, lol. Like he says, the beauty of the consistent stages is that they are consistent, so you know exactly where you stand against the guy in the next bay over as well as the guy on the next continent over. Similarly, we can compare our times against folks from a decade ago as well as today. (How cool would it be for a twenty-something shooter to compare his times against a twenty-something Rob Leatham!) The beauty of SC is in the data tracking, and it would be a shame to screw that up.

2. Now that times are reported to Headquarters for classification purposes, perhaps a rule (or suggestion) might be made to sanctioned clubs that monthly matches run a certain number of approved stages for reporting/classification purposes (4-8 stages, for instance) and then the individual clubs may be allowed to run additional "outlaw" stages if they so choose. This way, a club may keep it all traditional or mix it up with a few outlaw stages so as to keep it interesting.

3. I'd include in the "strongly suggested" section that the outlaw stage designs be limited to steel plates that are the same size as those used on the approved stages. The reasoning here is to encourage consistency within the overall program and discourage "arms races" erupting between competing SC clubs for more and more plate racks, Texas stars, etc, etc. I don't know if I would go so far as to require the number of plates to be restricted to 5 (as with the sanctioned stages) but I would definitely make a rule limiting the number of plates to no more than 8 so as to reduce the necessity for forced reloads. By that same token, it might be wise to require a minimum number of plates in the outlaw designs.

4. Okay, so notwithstanding what I said in #1, I support no movement because I encourage new, elderly, and disabled shooters actively participating SC. I cringe at how many folks never try SC simply because of Outerl Limits. There's a reason that the West Coast Steel series in Piru took movement out of the lineup... and I promise you that nobody is complaining about it. Does this mean that I support the elimination of Outer Limits? I'll leave that discussion for another thread...

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Outer Limits is kinda Grand Fathered in i guess. But it's nice to have a Competition with No Movement and No Reloads to

just Shoot for Sheer Speed for the Win.. And also cater to people that cant run or are in wheel chairs.

Maybe call the 8 Stages we have now Steel Challenge 8A Stages

and come up with 8 new stages and call it Steel Challenge 8B Stages.. Or something like that, just an idea..

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Clubs are currently permitted to run outlaw stages in level 1 matches. I don't recall the exact wording but it was published in the BoD minutes and I'm sure I've incorporated it into the new rule book.

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So

Good Morning all!

Great to read all this discussion about Steel Challenge.

I love the idea of More stage designs as well as bringing the option of the old stages. Double Trouble and zig zag was a favorite.

Here's some of our SCSA struggles as we started a new club earlier this year at SWPL

  1. We only have 6 bays. our first match ran 8 with 2 bays "sharing" the stages.
    1. We accomplished this by setting up all steel and stands on the shared stages and lay the stage down and raise the other ones
    2. It works but slows down the match
    3. Requires a healthy amount of range staff to help the unfamiliar (Limited in our club)
    4. We reverted back to 6 stage match
  2. We don't have much crossover from the hugely successfull USPSA match the club runs
  3. Bay depth,
    1. We are fortunate to have 1 bay to accomodate Outer limits or Speed option. Width was challenge but made it work.
  4. Biggest challenge is increase interest and assistance in marketing.

Any input from the members here to increase attendance is much appreciated.

So, given that SC allows (if not encourages) outlaw stages, maybe an option for exploration would be to do 3 bays traditional/classifier stages and 3 bays outlaw at a 6 bay club like SWPL. This allows for a significantly easier setup (half the measuring!!!!) and would allow consistent participants to experience all the stages 3-4 times within a calendar year. It would also spice up the competitions with random stages, which might invigorate more of the USPSA crowd to come out.

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Keep the game the same. Adding movement changes the dynamic. I get bored with steel challenge, but that doesn't mean that the game should change. Trap and skeet are always the same yet plenty of people including myself enjoy the occasional round. No, I don't practice it every week, but some do.

ETA there is a local outlaw steel match that has 4 stages that look similar to steel challenge, but then has two USPSA style courses. One normally is 32 rounds on steel, I've seen it with double Texas stars. Most people that enjoy steel challenge do not attend this match as they don't like all the reloads and movement. Ultimately the MD like his match as is and sets it up every month so it is hard to argue with the man putting in the work. Especially since I haven't been able to make it to one of the matches in years.

Edited by ziebart

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Hello, I would suggest that the start position for Outer Limits be changed to a start cone in front of each start box. The current set up with one cone in the center of the range is more of a 'punishment' than a start position, it does not make any sense. The stage is great as is ....no other changes needed.

OH YEAH, ZIG ZAG is one of the best SC stages ever.

thanks for the new class system, regards, Karl @ GT

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I went and found the reference I was looking for regarding outlaw stages. This is from the Jan 2016 BoD Minutes:

The Board discussed Steel Challenge Shooting Association and found consensus on two positions: One that the 8 official Steel Challenge stages have value which should be protected in order to support the SCSA brand, but two, the sole use of those stages should not be viewed as a barrier for SCSA activity. SCSA-affiliated clubs may develop their own stages for use at Tier-1 SCSA matches as long as at least two official SC stages are included in the match.

Karl - Which version of Zig Zag the original or the one called Zig Zag 93? Diagrams are on this page (http://www.handgunsports.com/AMERICAN-SP.HTM)

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I went and found the reference I was looking for regarding outlaw stages. This is from the Jan 2016 BoD Minutes:

The Board discussed Steel Challenge Shooting Association and found consensus on two positions: One that the 8 official Steel Challenge stages have value which should be protected in order to support the SCSA brand, but two, the sole use of those stages should not be viewed as a barrier for SCSA activity. SCSA-affiliated clubs may develop their own stages for use at Tier-1 SCSA matches as long as at least two official SC stages are included in the match.

It's also in the current (well, 2013 Provisional) rulebook--Appendix C,Match Levels, Must Use Official Stages: Recommended (so not mandatory)

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Zack I shot with Karl a bunch. He loves Zig-Zag and it was always the tighter version. The two versions you are talking about are really different. Thats a good thing.

I really agree with the boards thinking on the stages. Leave the 8 stages alone. and run outlaw stages with sanctioned ones if you want.

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Hopefully Karl or someone can post a stage diagram. I am always looking for stage ideas.

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Hey, Bill is correct ZIG ZAG is the original stage from SC (not zig zag 93) the guys at Old Bridge would always drop one stage and shoot ZIG ZAG for the big SC match, and we had a zig zag side event several times. The TEXAS SC match had a zig zag side event a few years back, Richie LaBracca won the side match with a single run of 1.11........ a great stage.

later

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Looking at the original Zig Zag diagram, it looks pretty awesome.

Agreed. I like the height variances of the plates. I'm going to run that stage soon.

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While we are on the topic of stages let me ask you guys/gals this:

Which plates do you angle towards the shooting box? For me the only ones I angle are the four 18x24 rectangles on Smoke & Hope and the stop plate on 5 To Go. I'm curious to know if any other plates are commonly set at an angle versus being parallel to the front of the shooting box.

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Awhile back, I asked on this forum who turned what plates, because I saw a number of match videos in which plates weren't facing straightforward, and I wanted to know what people did. Results were....varied. :)

I got an extremely non-committal answer when I officially asked about it, with a "they should all be facing straight forward, though small variations are legal, plus making sure spatter doesn't go the wrong direction" etc etc...when I referenced a World Speed Shooting Championship video in which certain plates were obviously turned to the shooter.

So I got curious, and calculated the loss of target area if the plates were faced straight flat forward, parallel to the 180 line instead of being faced to the shooter. Here's the percentage of plate width lost if the plates are NOT faced toward the shooter:

Loss Stage
22.41% 5 To Go (right)
16.76% Smoke & Hope (outer)

9.38% Speed Option (far R)
7.15% Accel (right)
7.15% Accel (left)
7.15% Speed Option (left near)
6.54% Roundabout (right near)
5.37% 5 To Go (left)

3.47% Speed Option (near R)
2.38% Pendulum (outer)
2.22% Smoke & Hope (inner)
2.03% Speed Option (far left)
1.94% Outer Limits (center to near)
1.94% Roundabout (left)
1.75% 5 To Go (4)
0.88% Showdown (front)
0.71% Showdown (back)
0.16% Outer Limits (center to far)

(If the plates are faced forward, effectively, from the shooter's perspective, the plate is the same height, but a narrower width. And a slightly different shape, though I ignored that to make my life easier. Percentage is based on width difference.)

A club that turns all the plates marked in red, and faces them toward the shooter, is going to show significantly faster times than one that doesn't. (5% doesn't sound like a lot, but it'll add up. And those top three are REALLY going to make a difference.)

For several years, we faced everything flat forward. But after seeing some World Championship videos with turned plates, and having BJ Norris mention that certain plates are almost always faced to the shooter, we talked about it and now, for our matches, we face all plates flat forward, except for:

--the outer plates on Smoke & Hope, and

--the right-most plate on 5 To Go

...which we face toward the shooter.

We talked about it, and while that Speed Option right plate is losing a significant amount of facing area, we knew that many people faced them straight forward, so we said "It isn't over 10%, we'll leave it" though we aren't really happy about it.

Truthfully, I'm not sure why it isn't common to simply face all the plates toward the shooting box, other than for Showdown and Outer Limits. (For those two, face the plates directly forward because they have multiple shooting boxes AND it makes very little difference---under 2% in all cases.)

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Here are a couple other interesting pieces of Steel Challenge history.

The Zig Zag stage design was originally one of those used in the Action portion of the Masters. IIRC, it was included in the 91' Piru & 92' Five Dogs events and modified to the wider version in 93' for Fresno. When the Mikes brought back the SC in 97', it was NOT used, out of respect for the Masters (as well as the limited number of stage sponsors they were able to obtain.)

Also during the 90'-93' Kerby Smith years, the movement was taken out of Outer Limits, with everything being shot from the center box. It was like shooting a long, on-center version of Showdown. The Mikes restored the movement in 97'.

Kerby also tried a (D-Master) classification system for the "Amateurs" in 90' & 91' as well as a separate "Run & Gun" steel field course event in 93'.

He loved the Steel Challenge very much and was a forward thinker who did his very best, trying many new ideas to innovate, evolve and grow both the event & steel shooting as well.

Jim

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I'm planning to photograph each stage at WSSC this year to see exactly how they are setup. I'll post them to the thread after I take them.

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How they are set at WSSC is irrelevant, unless they are done by a consensus of the sanctioning body. What we need is a way to set the targets the same all of the time. It evidently needs to be part of the rules for stage layout.

The safest way is to have each target facing the shooting box. A target that is perpendicular to the shooter allows the bullet to impact more force on the target and not ricocheting at an angle. We need the board to set forth a rule so its always the same at each club.

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How they are set at WSSC is irrelevant, unless they are done by a consensus of the sanctioning body.

Given that USPSA is running WSSC I would fully expect the stages to be set up perfectly. I am fortunate to have an extra day at the range before shooting starts so that any issues I perceive can get brought to Troy's attention and addressed. I would ultimately like to see the stages set up the same across the country but recognize some variances are going to happen. I figure if they aren't right at WSSC then we have big problems on our hands.

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"Given that USPSA is running WSSC I would fully expect the stages to be set up perfectly. "

Zack what I am getting at is there is no guidance on how the targets should face in the rules. So there is confusion and disagreement on the subject and differences from one range to another. It has been an ongoing issue for years.I just want it laid out in the rules so there is no disagreement. I don't care what the rule says, just that we all play fairly by the same rules.

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