Are steel targets dangerous?

Discussion in 'XDTalk Chatter Box' started by 18436572, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. 18436572

    18436572 XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Are steel targets dangerous? I am a newbie to range shooting and I was just curious.
     
  2. slugger6

    slugger6 XDTalk 90K Member Founding Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Messages:
    91,306
    Likes Received:
    466
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    Ratings:
    +1,151 / 56
    They can be if they are too close to the shooter. Ricochets have been known to cause injuries.
     
  3. 18436572

    18436572 XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0

    Thanks, how close is too close with a .40 cal ? I was going to ask about ricochets but I didn't know how to spell it.
     
  4. Decisively Ambivalent

    Decisively Ambivalent XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Depends, it is a lot to do with physics. I can't say what a safe distance is myself but I usually don't get closer than 10 ft. Sometimes it is not ricocheting bullets, but fragments that can bounce back at the shooter depending on certain rounds.
     
  5. GT Jon

    GT Jon XDTalk 10K Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    10,816
    Likes Received:
    139
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Ratings:
    +301 / 9
    I've shot 9mm and .45acp at 9-11 yds, no fragments came back at me. Your mileage may vary.
     
  6. thenug

    thenug XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0
    Usually about 10 yards is recommended. You can shoot steel closer if you have the targets leaning forward at 45 degrees to the ground. You still see almost all the target and the rounds are deflected down and away from your shooting position. Just remember that the closer you push the more vulnerable you become. Always wear safety glasses.
     
  7. Spike

    Spike XDTalk 500 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Make sure the target is directly facing you and not at an angle. That will help prevent ricochets. Based on the local Steel Shoots you will still get some flattened lead flying around.

    Nice Nick, by the way. You into Mopars?

    - Spike
     
  8. ac guy

    ac guy XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Sanford, NC
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I've been hit more than once by .45 rounds coming back, at 7-30 ft. You feel it, but it doesn't hurt.
     
  9. lowcountrytj

    lowcountrytj XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Southeast GA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I just built a swing style target set up that I can change out to different size targets....My targets are made of 1/4 steel.I have shot as close as about 10 feet.
    The stand is amongst some cross ties and a couple of stumps...above it is a tree that the limbs hang over ....with that said I have shot approx 80 rounds and I have fragged the H*ll outta everything around it. I have knocked off limbs above also.
    My rounds ,all which are FMJ 180 grain always flatten but I do see alot of splatter .
    I have heard some horror stories of ricochet but I would be more concerned with fragments.
    Safety is key....follow your instincts!!:D
     
  10. scooter123

    scooter123 XDTalk 1K Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,552
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0
    Generally, I would avoid shooting steel and anything less than 15 yards. I've been hit with fragments at 25 yard indoor ranges when a neighboring shooter hit the edge of the bullet trap. No real damage done but it's a good reinforcement for wearing eye protection.
     
  11. 18436572

    18436572 XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0

    I am into all fast cars but Chevys are my favorite.


    Thanks for the input everyone. I built my own steel target with a slight lean forward and I shoot at 25 to 30 yards. Safety glasses are a very good idea.
     
  12. jcj81

    jcj81 XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    IDPA rule book

    Steel targets should not be shot at distances closer than ten (10) yards (30 feet).

    USPSA rule book
    CHAPTER 10: Penalties
    10.5.17

    A shot fired at a metal target from a distance of less than 23 feet (7.6 yards), measured from the face of the target to the nearest part of the competitor’s body in contact with the ground

    Just for some reference














     
  13. ac guy

    ac guy XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Sanford, NC
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    It would be interesting to see the velocity of a ricochet at different distances from the point of impact. Anyone seen any data like that?
     
  14. insatiable ONE

    insatiable ONE XDTalk 4K Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4,597
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    i'm lost, let me know when I find myself
    Ratings:
    +113 / 1
    August 31, 2003
    Steel reactive targets: Safety and use


    From The FBI Training Bulletin
    There are presently a variety of steel targets on the market allowing a wide range of firearms training techniques. However, many of these targets do not provide adequate protection from bullet splatter (the bullet fragments that are reflected when a target is hit), so accidents can occur. It is important, therefore, that the user know what factors make training on steel targets as safe and effective as possible.
    When shooting steel targets, a "splatter zone" appears. This zone is the area in which the great majority of bullet fragments eventually wind up. The total amount of splatter in this zone is primarily dependent on the following four key issues: 1) Angle of deflection, 2) Target hardness, 3) Bullet design and 4) Target placement.

    Angle of Deflection
    The type and design of a steel target determines the angle of deflection. Testing for angle of deflection is done by shooting a steel plate target surrounded by a plywood box. After shooting numerous rounds, the path of the bullet fragments is assessed by examining the marks left on the plywood. As the bullet shatters on impact, the majority of the fragments spread out at 20-degree angles from the plate surface. This area, which forms thin triangular shapes to the left and right of the target, is referred to as the "splatter zone." It is not a safe place to be as a full 95% of all bullet fragments can end up here. The remaining area, including the shooter, is referred to as the "safety zone," and receives only a small portion of bullet fragments. Although the safety zone is not absolutely safe, with proper protection, normal training can be carried on without undue risk.

    Target Hardness

    The hardness, or tensile strength, of a target measures the amount of force that can be applied to the steel before deformation or damage occurs. Hardness is most commonly measured by a Brinell number ranging from 150 on the soft side, up to 700 on the hard extreme. While the average target is made of the cheaper steel with a Brinell number of 265, some targets have a Brinell number over 500 and can withstand repeated .308 rounds without deformation or damage. Intuitively, it is apparent that a harder steel target will last longer. More importantly, a harder steel target is actually safer. In repeated testing, hard targets produced very consistent splatter patterns and returned little or no bullet material back to the shooter. Softer targets deformed sooner and often resulted in extremely unpredictable splatter patterns. Specifically, many fragments were larger and traveled in virtually every direction, effectively rendering the safety zone non-existent. It is recommended, therefore, that steel targets be made of the harder steel. Initially they will be more expensive, but, based on longevity and safety, they will be more cost effective in the end.

    Bullet Design

    A high quality, higher power factored ammunition is essential to reduce splatter. Simply stated, to minimize the size and pattern of splatter, drive the projectile harder. Consequently, a lead bullet with a low velocity is the worst option for steel target training. For safe training, it is recommended that only higher power factored bullets be used. A desirable round to produce consistent splatter is a jacketed hollow-point with a velocity of 1225 fps. Another issue is the "correlation factor." This generally refers to how well a bullet holds together to give controlled expansion and penetration. In the case of steel target training, the best bullet is a frangible style round. The high velocity, frangible design of such bullets creates a predictable shattering effect on impact.

    Target Placement

    Even with the best targets and bullets, training can be dangerous if targets are placed incorrectly. Metal targets should not be placed parallel to each other with out a barrier between them. Splatter from one target could ricochet off another target (secondary splatter), and return to the shooter. Metal targets that are used in a grouping pattern should be staggered so as not to be in the 20 degree angle of deflection splatter zone of another target. Placing plywood to the sides of each target easily solves both of these problems. Because the wood is soft, it will absorb the splatter and not cause dangerous secondary splatter. The wood will, however, need to be replaced frequently to be an effective barrier. Another cause of secondary splatter can be large rocks or concrete. The best surfaces are made of sand or fine gravel. If concrete is used, it should be covered by wood or pea gravel.

    Other Safety Issues
    Since splatter can only be minimized and never totally eliminated, proper eye protection must be mandatory on all firing ranges. Eye protection should be OSHA tested and have side protection built in. Long sleeves and hats are optional but recommended. Instructors and observers should stand behind the shooter and obey all safety precautions as well. In short, training on steel targets can be safe if done properly. Buy your targets from a reputable manufacturer, use high velocity, frangible ammunition, place targets correctly, and take proper safety precautions.
     
  15. RedBaron

    RedBaron XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Marion, NC
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    i've been hit by a .22 ricochet in the forehead. Stung like hell.
     

Share This Page