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Discussion in 'General Competition' started by DGH585, Oct 22, 2017.
What is a popular bullet/round for shooting steel plates?
Any FMJ will do, but I prefer not to use the lightest bullets available in 9mm (115gr.) because sometimes they won't knock poppers over especially if you hit low. I shoot 147gr and sometimes 124gr.
Generally speaking, because steel does not score like paper, the fastest bullet you can run is the "best" But there are different kinds of steel for different competitions. Static steel, hinged plates, falling plates, dropping plates, poppers and Texas Stars/Polish plate racks.
Poppers for sanctioned competitions like USPSA and IDPA are controlled by calibration with a round fired that meets the minimum power floor for each venue (115 PF for USPSA and 105 PF for IDPA). So if you can't drop a popper in those venues with a 115 gr going 1,000 fps then it is not calibrated correctly. You do not need 124s or 147s, you just need to hit it correctly. Local action matches are generally not subject to a calibration challenge. The power floor for USPSA is 125 and for IDPA it is 105 (bullet weight times velocity).
Static plates, as in the official Steel Challenge, SCSA, does not have a power floor requirement or calibration, rather just a minimum bullet velocity because the plates only have to be "dinged". So in that game guys run 105 grain 9mm to get the most speed.
Falling plates, hinged plates and dropping plates are not subject to calibration either, but rather treated as props which work correctly or not. Most of these will react to a .22LR.
Stars and Polish racks are dynamic falling plates and are not subject to calibration, however, a local match may use a minimum floor round to check function.
So the answer is? There is no one bullet weight for steel. If you are talking USPSA and IDPA, your gun has to make the power floor right off the get go, whether you choose a 9mm, 40S&W, 357SIG, 10mm or .45acp. No one is better than the other. If you are talking 9mm only, most guys are running 124s or 147s, however some run 115s and others like the softer shooting 160s to meet the floor. The 115s are faster snappier for the same power floor. IF you are talking the Steel Challenge, 95/105s are the ticket in a 9mm.
Bullet construction is of no matter. Guys run jacketed, plated, cast, and coated. Doesn't matter on steel. However, some local matches may restrict it to cast, coated or plated only. SASS, Cowboy action only allows cast and coated, no jackets.
Making your hits on steel is far more important than bullet choice, as the clock is rolling with each miss. Learn the fundamentals of stance, grip, sight picture and trigger control, then don't miss, or if you do, miss really, really fast. Here is a video from yesterdays USPSA match that shows some steel and a couple of Texas Stars. Guy is running a 9mm Major Open Division gun (125s going over 1,340 fps). It is really cool in slow mo
I'm glad to see ya'll have fun like we do. Lord knows I've done some stupid stuff over the years. Nothing unsafe but imagine grabbing a mag and realizing you forgot to reload it and only have 6 rounds in it after the gun locks open plus I have drop mags in the reload process, all in the same day. LOL
Most popular I think is a toss up between 9mm and 22lr. for steel challenge. I've run 95 gr. Bayous for years but am trying 115s to see how they work for me.
I used to shoot 153gr LRN cast bullets in my Glock 17. Not any more - too much lead fouling in my barrel. I shoot WWB 9mm 115gr FMJRN now. But I may go to 124gr FMJ for plates.
I have always liked aguilla 124 as a do all range ammo for all shooting events. I keep the 147 stuff to use with the can.
From a energy standpoint, I would use whatever bullet imparted the energy into the target and not into deformation or fragmenting. A faster lighter bullet that does not deform will impart more energy that a slower heavier bullet, or a bullet the loses energy by deforming when it hits the target.