Shooting Steel Safely

Shooting Steel Safely

Haycock 45 here today we're going to talk about shooting steel we get so many questions about that I've answered a lot of people on Facebook and on YouTube about you know how far should this steel be away and isn't that dangerous don't you get ricochet and have you ever been hit by a piece of lid and all that kind of thing flashback splatter back and ricochet and we have an FAQ on a very brief thing and I answer people sometimes if I can I can't answer everybody one of the things always say though is you sheet steel at your own risk okay in a lot of ways it goes against common sense doesn't shooting something hard I like that and when I growing up that's what my dad always taught me and anybody that knew anything about shooting it'll shoot rock I'll shoot anything you get ricochets nothing hard it'll bounce back at you know that kind of thing so here we go look at all the shooting competitions where there's IPSC IDPA steel shoots what's the speech you called the steel challenge I think you're famous shoot cowboy reaction I mean everything involved shooting steel now so what's wrong with everybody is everybody's stupid maybe everybody's willing I guess we could say to take the risk now the risk is generally limited if you've got our protection good eye protection and and you're smart about it you can shoot steel fairly safely again there's always a risk you make your own choice just like when you get in a car or you skydive or you shoot a bow and arrow whatever you do you know life is full of risks now what I want to do is is give you some ideas that will make it safer not totally safe but safer I will give you an idea about my my the evolution of shooting steel right here kind of took place this is one of the very first plates I had made when I moved here and bought this place back in 1818 in 1986 that I love shooting plates and I had them angle it a little bit you noticed on the pedestal it is angled a little I think my first set of plates I didn't have that angle and then I don't find one of those but then I time I had some made because I was getting a little bit of lead back I said well angle that a little bit because some of its coming back well you still get it why do you get it because when you hit the imagine throwing a water balloon it's kind of like throwing a water balloon at a flat surface if you can imagine that not that most you've ever thrown a water balloon right and in where that water is going to go is just going to go in all directions and mostly downward but well it gets to here and it can kind of come back out now it's not going to come back out well if it's a bullet going thousand feet per second it's not going to come back a thousand feet per second but still could have enough velocity and big enough piece that could could hurt you and I've seen that happen that has happened to me I'd get a little bit back alright so then my next stage of brilliance was well let's see what if I had someone make me some of these and put them on a pedestal kind of like a lollipop right then if you hit the plate up here it's far enough down where you won't know that is not as likely to happen and it wasn't as likely I didn't get as much back but still it would happen I mean who's going to shoot perfectly I mean you're shooting shooting them at whatever 25 yards or something you're going to hit here you're going to hit here so it's the same as this then okay so it would it'll go down here and it'll it'll splatter back it kind of guides it back alright so I then evolved to swinging plates and discovered the Shepherd hooks and all that this is of course the plate this is one of the extra plates for the plate array they're the swinging plates and that's how it's designed it's as they slide over that pipe and when you hit it it just you know goes downward it doesn't have anything down here to call stuff to come back now I guess it could up here we never have anything come back if you had up here and that's kind of rounded and then plus it's because it gives makes a world of difference when you hit it then it just splatters downward and even behind it a little bit okay so swinging targets is kind of the answer all right that's why as you see almost everything that can be is swinging that and then plus you don't want any edges on it like I mean not pass up a lot of good targets just old things lying around some old piece from an old car or someone from construction site you look at it yeah is a big kind of a flat piece of metal but it's got an edge over here I saw one bad accident a match in the 80s as fate would have it the guy was just watching it was even competing he was a brother or something of somebody a young guy and it was early competition before IPSC in this area and we were shooting it's ray and I don't lay in some kind of weird steel thing it had edges on it and a piece came back he was standing over there minding his own business and he caught a piece in the cheek and they take him to Mercy room he was bleeding like crazy so it can't happen so you want flat steel you want it dangling if at all possible so it'll give and like the swingers and most of those plates over there and you know coffin the cowboy and all that and you also want it hard steel if you possibly can because hardened steel is even better because this is regular steel mild steel you get craters in there then you get a little bit of the same thing maybe you might get some little pieces coming out away from the target or more likely so the harder steel you can find the better the harder steel you can afford okay ar500 you know it's highly recommended so that's important now let me show you I wanted to show you on the on a swinging the kind of the dynamics and you can look at any target go to a shooting range and here obviously in all the videos I'm not dodging bullets all the time and dodging shrapnel it's not hitting the camera knocking John around so obviously it's not too big a problem or we wouldn't be doing it even though you do it at your own risk don't try this at home sort of disclaimer it just goes straight down for the most part and then that's it it's outward and down let me show you here I have set up here closing the violin back up just a little bit John and and we'll talk about distance – I think the IPSC rules back when I was doing that where you weren't allowed to set steel closer than eleven yards if I recall I don't know if that's changed or anything I always kind of keep that in mind you know ten ten eleven yards next sort of thing and but the closer you know the more risk now let's just pop those two dangling pieces of steel now I'm going to shoot around those uh those the 2-liter and the twelve answers and not hit them on the stand but I've got some lying on the ground and maybe this will kind of demonstrate let me shoot from right here so I have to shoot around the stuff so you'll see what I'm talking about look at that there we go I think we got about everything on the ground and nothing came back and you know and hit the the ones just sitting there minding their own business so theoretically how dumb would that be I could have been sitting there in a chair that close and I would not have gotten any shrapnel on me theoretically okay it takes nothing to penetrate one of those twelve answers not much on the two leaders of course for the 12 ounces you could you know you breathe on those things and they break the lumina MS it's thinner than paper I think so that kind of shows you it's just going down into that stuff I've got a couple more there by the coffin now the coffin is set back on oh I don't know about what six or eight inches that's interesting it almost didn't get those sitting right there because they're not directly beneath it they're almost but the actually the plane the position of that coffin is it is about eight inches o to that side of those so even that close you know it might not get it but you see that happening videos occasionally okay so that's the dynamic that's the physics you know of what what bullets do it's really any kind of bullet didn't whether it's our frangible a jacketed or a hard cast a soft lid there's not much difference now there is some and we're not going to go into the differences of all that that would be some incredibly involved scientific experiment we you could do but there's really not much difference when you hit a hanging pleat hanging piece of steel it's it's generally not gonna come back at you especially if it's perfectly flat and it's hard not that coffin had a bottom edge on it you wouldn't see me shooting at it from here you know like those plates eyes mistakingly had made alright and you look at the range you can see that's why that shooting trees made the way it is there's nothing there no edge that you can hit they've got that that angle right there in the middle so it's going to die vert the lid and so there's no edges okay so they end up almost like a swinging plate over there on the far range now the animals have pedestals now they're sitting on pedestals just like this if you look at our range to videos either they're old but you can see kind of what those look like it and everything ah but it's far away I wouldn't I wouldn't want to shoot it one of those thing right here you know especially if I thought I might get down low on the leg and you could end up at the same situation as that plate with the pedestal on all right plus we just shoot at them with low lower valadon shoot out a much or at all with like a 308 or 30.6 or anything like that and just as a little aside we used to have the targets that are on this chapter to range those thick small 1 inch thick targets and I had them down here about where the propane and Barrel 9007 a couple of times we actually got a 2 to 3 jacket back all the way over here because it would drill in and it couldn't go all the way through and it had to go somewhere and actually came back so weird things can happen again that was soft steel soft steel you notice when I shoot up with rifles with high-powered rifles 30.6 308 you know eight millimeter mouths or those kinds of things I just shoot at those red plates up there and they're hanging and they're all hardened steel there AR 508 addressing that issue what should you shoot with a high-powered rifle how far away and all the I think we want ar500 steal that all possible and I think it's recommended by most of the manufacturers of those targets to be at a hundred yards at least it's like a minimum I think mostly that's because of target damage okay I as far as safety I wouldn't want to shoot out on any closer much than they are I probably okay at like 50 yards you should be fine if it's AR 500 because it's not going to create a crater it's not going into it it's just going to you know splatter just like it does here with pistol rounds okay but so that's it's about 75 yards those red plates and again most people will tell you it has to close the maker of those targets would but that's my problem that's on me if they break soon and they do they get kind of brittle and after about a year I have to replace it because I must we've been shooting them and hitting them but and what with but you know they don't last forever because I have them a little bit closer than you really should okay but that's okay it's worth it to me to be safe if I don't want to put them much higher up on the hill and get I could get them to a hundred yards but I wouldn't have the backstop that I have so that's for a different safety reason alright so they're actually safer for me being a little bit closer so hardened steel perfectly flat the hardest steel you can afford even close that now the swinging plates there most of them are on the range rated clothes are not hardened steel all right but they swing and they just get hit with pistol bullets if they start developing a lot of serious craters in them and I might start getting a little bit back and I'd have to change that out okay those plates those rectangle plates down along the bottom this betos like me talking about steel targets those are hard to steel okay and then of course the cowboy the coffin the the big tombstone that's all hardened stuff and these two are hard in the steel right here they got they look kind of crater because they've been painted so many times over and over but that they're hardened steel so that's another reason I feel bad about shooting out them fairly close here you know for the demo so again just to sum it up you don't really want to shoot at something like this it's fun to see things get knocked over but it closed right now if it was over there way over there and I'm shooting out with a handgun to be okay but anywhere you know within whatever 25 35 yards or something these pedestals bad bad stuff don't want that you want it swinging if at all possible okay so shootout steel at your own risk make we're good glasses and I'll tell you another thing if you've been into me shooting matches you learn to whether it's some splatter going on or something I learned quickly to to make sure if I'm watching a match or someone shoot not to be turned sideways because most of the time you don't have as good a protection on the side of your glasses you may have the best lenses in the world that would withstand a nuclear weapon or something but if you don't have some really good protection along the sides and they make things you can put on there you could what you know as fate would have it Murphy's always around that little piece of lid the one piece that's going to come back that day is going to as you know it's going to come back at you just when you turn your head and go right there in your eye or something yes oh so you're better off actually looking straight on at the targets when somebody's shooting – just for a clue all right what else you wear is up to you if you want ballistic clothing t-shirt pants it's up to you see anyway uh just some tips on how to be safe shooting at steel we most of us do it we can do it a lot and again it flies in the face of common sense and maybe what you've been taught so if you've never been around a shooting range a shooting match where Steel's available shoot at maybe this providing some information because you might wander in somewhere and actually be shooting at a range no they've got this stuff set up I guess you can shoot it that happens it ranges this one reason it most ranges they won't leave steel targets out because someone will come and there'll be something like this set up it's designed for a pistol round some I'll shoot it with a 308 or do you know Dan and then also create an unsafe situation maybe so flat hard and at the right distance and we're good protection and just be smart about it life is good since I'm still here let me thank SDI for all their help SDI is a fully accredited online gunsmithing school check them out at SDI edu we'd also like to thank Bud's gun shop and Federal Premium for all of their support you can find us on full30 also now and you can find the links to our Facebook pages and the other YouTube pages and the description of any video so I invite you to check out the description and every video where any video you'll find what you need to know and you'd better do it

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39 thoughts on “Shooting Steel Safely

  1. Hello! Would like to mention shooting at large mass heavy equipment rubber tires. On farm thirty years ago grandparents had massive old rubber tire used for small garbage burning pit. Don't think it was a tractor tire because there was no tractor threads. Think it was off an early model front end loader or large combine. Was very thick for a tire and would rebound bullets. Was a kid and never used high power rifles on it only small caliber. Something to think about seeings as lot of people now days go to rock or gravel pits to shoot sometime and there will most likely be tires off heavy equipment.

  2. Love your videos,i wish my past was better so I could enjoy shooting, 😐 never hurt no one but they wont let me buy a gun bummer

  3. I only recently started going out shooting again. I took a long break for personal reasons. Shooting steel has already caused some rethinking.

    My first day out, I was behind my friend by about a yard and watching. His last shot somehow ricocheted and hit me in the right temple. It took the glasses off my face and I bled a little.

    The very next weekend one of my shots at a far away target struck steel and then struck my friend in the collarbone. He was able to find the one that hit him… it was barely even marked with damage. But it hit him hard enough to welt.

    I have changed my steel targets to swing. I attached chain and used old scrap metal T-Poles. Works great

  4. Conversely you can shoot the ground in front of your target and ricochet up. In the army we’d shoot the M16 on rock and roll with a sweeping motion 2-3 feet below the target from an elevated position.

  5. What if you shoot a second bullet at the same target as it's swinging back straight? Does it cancel the purpose of the angle? Do I have to wait for the target to swing back in position?

  6. There was about fifteen of us shooting 50cals at steel targets no closer than two or three hundred yards, had a round ricochet off the target, come back and strike one of our captains in the chest. Luckily it just hit him and bounced off.

  7. Forgive the novice question, but wondering about plinking with .22s Should the same rules apply as in this video? Was going to get a pop up target for one, but if not I would go with a hanging/swinging target

  8. AVE showed a trick how to remove a bearing out of a hole by stuffing a greasy rag down the center. I suspect the physics is similar. The lead in the billet functions as the greasy rag and the jacket is the bearing. Those just might be the same physics that are functioning on any shape that has edges or cups pointing back to the shooter…… Keep the target smooth…..

  9. I don't shoot rocks , bricks or concrete blocks to ere on the side of caution. Shooting steel with lead bullets poses very little risk, they should just flatten out. I would stay away from FMJ, green tip, penetrating rounds, etc….he is right as always, swinging targets should be safe.

  10. What about a slight angle sideways, would that help? Angling up/down seems it could very well return directly back, but one angled to the side seem impossible to return anything to sender, kinda like pool/snooker.

  11. I have almost no range experience, but why on earth would you shoot a steel target when you could make a cheap wooden one?

  12. Hanging or swinging targets are definitely the way to go. The steel "dueling tree" is an excellent style which gives proper feedback and actuates in a relatively safe, sturdy manner.

  13. I think that first target would have worked a lot better if you had shot at the other side, so the angle would aim the shrapnel down.

  14. I watched the whole thing to see if he was going to throw one of those plates at the gong. I'm sure he wouldnt miss.

  15. USPSA Competition Rules
    January 2019
    2.1.3 Minimum Distances – Whenever metal targets or metal hard cover are used

    in a course of fire, precautions must be taken so that competitors and Match

    Officials maintain a minimum distance of 23 feet from them while they are

    being shot. Where possible, this should be done with physical barriers. If

    Fault Lines are used to limit the approach to metal targets, they must be

    placed at least 26 feet from the targets so that the competitor may

    inadvertently fault the line and still be outside the 23 feet minimum distance

    (see Rule 10.5.17). Care should also be taken in respect of metal props in the

    line of fire.

  16. Great video. 
    Common sense? Maybe, maybe not. 
    A lot of things we think of as "common sense" are learned. And common to you or me, is many times not-so common to someone else; and vice versa.
    I for one didn't know many of the things he taught us in this video; the soda bottles under the targets was a great demonstration.
    Thank you Hickock!

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