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Ricochet Question

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Our club has started shooting steel challenge recently and a few questions have come up about the very close shots that are closer than 10 yards, especially in centerfire.

 

Has anyone ever had any issues with those close plates within 10 yards? 

 

I have never seen any concerns talked about on this forum. 

 

And is there any special setup tricks to eliminate even the possibility of any ricochet?

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Absolutely!  A shot on a mounting bolt can certainly result in a ricochet coming back to the shooter or the RO, even the spectators in worst case. 

 

I got a fragment in the lower lip that finally worked its way out where I removed it with tweezers about a month later.  It was a very thin disc that measured 3/8" in diameter, and I bled like a stuck hog for a few minutes.  Didn't hurt much though...  

 

Best thing is to ensure a longer distance.  10 yards is a usually considered the MINIMUM, and longer is much better for reducing ricochets.  A good downward angle for the plate helps immensely too.  

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53 minutes ago, Ken6PPC said:

Absolutely!  A shot on a mounting bolt can certainly result in a ricochet coming back to the shooter or the RO, even the spectators in worst case. 

 

I got a fragment in the lower lip that finally worked its way out where I removed it with tweezers about a month later.  It was a very thin disc that measured 3/8" in diameter, and I bled like a stuck hog for a few minutes.  Didn't hurt much though...  

 

Best thing is to ensure a longer distance.  10 yards is a usually considered the MINIMUM, and longer is much better for reducing ricochets.  A good downward angle for the plate helps immensely too.  

Don’t steel challenge targets have set distances they must be set up? I don’t think you can just move them farther away if you want.

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Are you shooting the legitimate steel challenge stages or just a general steel match using the same name?

 

There is no way to reduce the ricochet risk to zero.

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Sarge,

You are correct.  

There are a few stages with 21' or 7 yard shots as well as a few 24' or 8 yard shots.  

No option to move them and still be an official stage for score.

 

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Legal stages for classification.  

 

Mostly searching for some rebuttal if questioned about the safety.  My only response so far has been that thousands of matches are shot each year at these distances.  Secondly, distance is only one of many factors that can contribute to a richochet.  Target quality and bullet type are factors as well.  I have been tapped by some fragments when targets are out to 15-20 yards and beyond.  

 

Does anyone have a trick to help angle a target down slightly if your targets are the "hanging type" from a bracket on top of the 2x4?

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Targets for steel challenge already hang at a slight down angle.  When steel is hit the fragments go out in a circle in the same plane as the hanging target.  If you angle the steel a lot, the fragments still go out in the same plane as the target, buy arch back and fall on the shooter.  Our club tried this, because a yahoo CRO with an Engineering degree declared the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.   Bull.  It took a while to prove otherwise to him.  We went back to normally hanging steel targets.

 

No matter what you do you are bound to be hit with a fragment sooner or later.  Just make sure everyone, including spectators, is wearing eye and ear protection.

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Angling the plate down a bit directs more of the splatter downward but some definitely travels in all 360 degrees. The 8 foot side berms of my personal home range gets chewed up maybe 20% as much as the ground beneath the angled plates. 

 

I think more attention needs to be paid to the type of eyes people are wearing to shoot matches with steel plates. I see a lot of glasses that offer protect from the front, but a shooter spends only a small fragment of time actually facing the targets shooting. Most of the time you are looking down loading mags or 180 degrees to the plates talking etc, and a clear path to the eye is the last thing you want in those positions. 

 

I also see a good many shooters using glasses that probably would not stop a direct frontal hit from a decent sized fragment coming back from a close plate. Maybe I am extra sensitive because my dad lost an eye to college baseball and my uncle to a BB, but I have been hit by a good bit of material, at home and at matches. Took a direct ricochet to the head from a cast .45 reload (just the bullet base bounced back). It was winter so it just glanced off my thick wool cap but it still hurt. And that was at 15 yards. My Revolution glasses would have stopped it (I hope) but maybe not some walmart specials. 

 

All that being said, being so cautious as to torpedo the sport is no bueno. We could just stay inside and knit afterall. Get the right eye gear and accept that even knitters get poked on occasion. 

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Hard, flat steel, with rear mounting. And fast enough bullets. I think those are the best ways to reduce issues.  And yes, you are still going to get hit occasionally 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, zzt said:

  you are bound to be hit with a fragment sooner or later.  Just make sure everyone, including spectators, is wearing eye and ear protection.

 

I've been hit with splatter twice - once, inches from my right eye.

 

Gotta have eye protection.     :cheers:

Edited by Hi-Power Jack

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2 hours ago, Blockader said:

I think more attention needs to be paid to the type of eyes people are wearing to shoot matches with steel plates. 

 

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There are certain target locations that can be an issue depending on how gar behind the line the berms extend and the height of the berms.  The stop plate in Five to Go comes to mind.  Normally, this stop plate faces the shooter, but if the berms don't extend past the firing line you can get some pretty high velocity frags heading toward  bystanders. To mitigate turn the stand CCW a bit.  Fragments that have to travel over the berm generally have pretty modest velocity.

 

Stating the obvious - hats and polycarbonate (or similar) eyewear which wraps around the side.  Regular eyewear is an absolute no-go at a steel challenge match.

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Splatter and ricochets are different but not necessarily from the safety point of view. We used to run steel targets at 7 yd (no hardball).  I have been hit by splatter many times but not a ricochet. But something that got my attention was the presence of bullets, not fragments, in front of solid targets. The target distances were then all increased because concerns about ricochets are founded in experience, not theory.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎3‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 9:07 AM, zzt said:

Our club tried this, because a yahoo CRO with an Engineering degree declared the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. 

 

Only if you are shooting laser weapons.

 

I have been hit pretty hard by fragments off of poorly maintained plates.

The weirdest was the time a whole bullet flew almost straight up and fell on me in the next bay.  It didn't land hard but it sure got my attention.

 

Edited by Jim Watson

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15 hours ago, Jim Watson said:

The weirdest was the time a whole bullet flew almost straight up and fell on me in the next bay.  It didn't land hard but it sure got my attention.

Similar thing happened to my buddy. He saw a slow moving 45 slug coming back at him while shooting steel. That will get your attention.

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I get hit every match it seems -- it's just part of the game. Fortunately no serious hits so far. You can minimize ricochet by angling plates towards the shooting box. The rectangles on Smoke & Hope and the stop plate on 5 To Go especially should be angled.

 

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I've been hit with splatter many times.


Found this high speed vid of bullets hitting steel:

 

 

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Cool vid.

Steel targets are also frequently put on round steel posts. I know it's hard to believe but some shooters hit the pole and not the steel target. So you end up with a round surface with dents in it. Not ideal for minimizing ricochets. I put my steel targets on dead trees or a tree that just ticks me off. Should be safer.

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This might just be my observations, but on the plates at our club, the worst seems to be .45acp, followed by .22LR. I agree with those that have stated that plate condition makes a big difference in ricochets. Poorly maintained plates, especially those with deep craters really introduce random splash and rebounds. We spend a lot of time maintaining our general plinking steel targets at our ranges, and use a separate, fairly pristine set for SCSA events. So far, it's worked well. 

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