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Hello,

I keep reading about shooting steel targets with various rounds. I'm assuming the bullet splatters on impact.

This would make a great addition to the stuff I usually use. The question is, how thick would the steel have to be?

It would be hit with a .22 LR. I once had a steel backstop that would absorb one .22 LR hit, but not two in the same place. Additionally, it did not seem to significantly slow a .22 MAG. It was not, however, very thick.

The target would be hit mainly with .22 LR, 9mm hardball, and perhaps 00 buck from a distance of about 15-25yds. The 9mm hardball is what I'm most concerned with as I've found it to zip right through a lot of things and have to use a large mound of earth as a backstop for it.

Please refer to the target thickness in inches as I have no idea whatsoever what "gauge" means when used to refer to steel.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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I recently went to a friend's private range and spent the afternoon shooting 1/2" steel plate. THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of rounds of .22, 9mm, .40, .45, 12 gauge buckshot slammed into that target over the course of the day and never once did a round penetrate. However, rifle ammo (.223, 7.62x39, .308) would punch a hole clean through and keep going. Also, it's not advised to shoot hollowpoint ammo on steel, as the rounds tend to fragment and fragments can fly back at you.

-Rob
 

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Josh, FMJ handgun rounds tend to splatter rather than penetrate when they hit steel plates. The same can't be said for rifle rounds. Anything under 25 metres is generally too close as you get hit with the splatter. I have small scars on my shins from it penetrating long pants during an extensive, "close and dirty" range session.
 
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My father-in-law made some out of 1/4 " steel. A friend fired at one from his Mini14 at about 50 yds. It barely moved. Upon approaching the target, we saw a large hole directly in the middle. I now only use those for HG rounds. 3/8" or 1/2" steel is better and lasts longer. The back splatter problem is easy. Just cant the targets about 20 degrees away from any people (assuming that we're talking about movable plates). I was hit in my miniscule bicep during training once. It's a lesson one doesn't forget (the impact didn't hurt as bad as the scorching burn). I hope this helps.
 

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Hi Josh,

All things being equal, I love shooting steel spinners with a .22 and there is no more fun than sighting in a round steel disk and hearing the "tink" when the bullet hits it. 1/4" is for .22's and 1/2" for larger centerfire calibers. Rifle steel targets must be at least 100 yard+ or you'll be shooting holes in them.

I enjoy shooting "reactive" targets and never turn down the opportunity to "ring some steel".

Chris
 

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It is as much a matter of the hardness of the steel as the thickness - at least until we start talking rifles.

I am not an expert on steel hardness but most decent size cities have a steel supplier that routinely carries T-1 and maybe even T-5 steel. 1/4 inch in that size is more than enough to stop magnum handgun rounds without too much distress.

Handgun metalic silhouetts are made from 3/8" T-1 IIRC.

I have some popper made from a hardened steel - don't know the technical name but they rate 500 on the Brinnel scale (I think it is referred to as AR-500). That will stop a rifle but it will dimple when shot at 25 yards or less. Our shoothouse is made of the same stuff but it is covered in rubber to soften the blow.

Jim
 
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I have seen steel spinner argets rated all the way up to 30-06. Those would be my choice. I think Cabelas sells them, but you may need to request their shooting supply catalog.
 

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This has been my backyard pistol backstop for about 20 years.
Untold thousands of bullets have hit it.

The steel is mostly 1/4 and 3/8 inch plates.
It's not a hardened steel. It's the stuff that the offshore oil industry uses to build rigs and platforms.

Such as a .223 will zip through it like butter, so I limit it to pistol rounds in the 1,100 fps range.

I shoot it as close as 5 yards with fast bullets.
A fast bullet disintegrates into very small pieces and powder and flies off the sides of the steel plates, about 90 degrees to the shooter.

A slow bullet, about in the 600 fps range, breaks up into large pieces, some as big as half the bullet and have been known to fly back 15-25 yards. Short of hitting you in the eye (you DO were glasses) a fragment might cut the skin.

I have been hit with a number of small pieces of splash back over the years and NEVER got so much as a scratch.
But I've heard of people getting minor injuries. I suspect that might be caused from damaged steel plates "turning" hunks of the bullet back at the shooter.

Any time you do something like shooting steel plates there's a danger of something weird happening but, I believe, it's a very small risk.



 
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