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Is it safe to shoot steel with a shotgun?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by 2-tap, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. 2-tap


    Jul 18, 2012
    Just purchased a new 12ga and i was wondering if its safe to shoot the steel targets i made for handguns. If so whats the minimum distance? All my targets are 3/8 thick plates.

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  2. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    You can shoot'em, I'd prolbably stay back 15 yards or so and I'd certainly only use lead shot... You'll figure out how much bounce back you pellets have pretty quick.. Just keep some eyewear on and you'll be fine..

  3. Unk


    Jul 27, 2010
    West Central FL
    Not uncommon to get an occasional pellet ricocheting back...if you shoot at close steel a lot, it can pock mark the target face.

    I'd stick with smaller size lead shot at 20 yards or so and a swinging as opposed to fixed target. ALWAYS wear shooting glasses...and require the people behind you on the line to do so...ricochets are addressed " To Whom It May Concern" and could easily be a spectator.

    You'll learn more shooting at paper pattern targets or clay birds but the ring of steel ain't bad.
  4. 2-tap


    Jul 18, 2012
    Yea all of my targets are hanging so they can move on impact

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  5. If they are mild steel, I would start out at 30 yds or a bit more just to see what happens as far as steel cratering. ANY cratered steel is BAD.

    Move in as you determine one range doesn't do much damage.

    Ideally, you should probably use some type of Abrasion Resistant plate ( AR 500 or AR400) AND the target face should be angled forward a bit AND the target should move.

    What most people fail to advise is for ALL people in the vicinity have on a billed ballcap with the bill forward over a good pair of shooting glasses. The billed ballcap stops pieces of bullet that fall downward to the shooter/gallery and could get between glasses and eyes.

    I'm sure someone will come on and tell you it shouldn't be done but shooting in general has risk. It's just a matter of how much risk you are willing to take or subject others to.

    While shooting any steel, you will get pieces back. They can hurt or cause injury.

    That said, I shoot steel all the time, have shot carbines at 50 yds in a class. (steel was 1" AR500).. I shoot hardened and mild steel with pistol as close as 7 yds (1000's of rounds).

    I personally have not shot SG's at steel so maybe my advise is BS (never saw that on the internet-- Ha)

    Good luck
  6. 2-tap


    Jul 18, 2012
    They are ar400. Ive had several people say its not safe yada yada. I just recently started shooting steel with our 9mm, 45, 22, and i have a high point carbine 40. Cheap gun but a blast to shoot. A couple weeks ago i got a 10mm man that think knocks the crap out of them. Anyway after every range session i check the ground for fragments and so far i havent found anything further than 10 yards from the steel plates.

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  7. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    Perfectly safe. Steel is gonna bounce back more so I'd avoid it. If you're wearing eye protection it's not likely to hurt you, but not worth it.
  8. TKM

    TKM Shiny Member Lifetime Member

    You will get hit. Plan accordingly.
  9. Caver 60

    Caver 60

    Jun 12, 2007
  10. CJStudent

    CJStudent Fenced In

    Nov 3, 2005
    I've done it at a cowboy shoot and when qualifying for work (40 yards with #7 shot). Close up, you will get pellets coming back at you; just accept it and plan accordingly. I never had any reach us from the 40 yard line during work quals, though.
  11. fasteddie565

    fasteddie565 Combat Diver

    I shoot 00 buck, slugs and bird shot at my AR 500 IPSC targets all the time, no pock marks as the shot is normally fairly soft.

    The key is how the steel is supported. Mine hand in a frame and lean forward, with the ability to swing. This absorbs a lot of the energy.

    NEVER EVER set your steel (Leaning up against a solid background, for instance) so it cannot move to absorb the energy of the shot.