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Texas Jack Daniels

Target Shape - What is optimal?

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I say have the "cute little buzzards or chickens" as SG knockdowns and stick to larger targets for rifle/pistol. We have a couple coyote KDs.

We have rectangles (I think 18x24), squares, coffins, circles, boots and hats that are all pretty big. If I use smaller targets, I try to move em closer.

Sometimes I put targets at a mid distance for both rifle and pistols from the same firing point. In which case, I always use big targets.

We have Cowboys and Indian Heads (like the nickel) and sm circles and squares that I use sometimes but always try to pull them in a little closer.

The big rectangles are easy to hit (well, for some) and probably everyone's favorite, but using all rectangles is boring. Shake it up, use different shapes just don't put an 8 inch circle at 20 yds... you'll hear about it if ya do.

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3 minutes ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

Sometimes I put targets at a mid distance for both rifle and pistols from the same firing point.

Target setters will appreciate that, especially if the target stands need to be staked.  

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Again, faulty.

 

Having square targets has nothing to do with lessening accuracy in the game. You want to vary the degree of accuracy needed, do it with target size/distance.

 

If someone wants to argue that we need odd shaped targets and in the same breath wants targets with holes in them, ask how hitting a hat brim or the toe of a boot rewards accuracy.

 

Phantom

 

 

The fact that accuracy isn't lessened with the use of square targets is EXACTLY what I said!!  Square targets have NO effect on accuracy, thus making them the "optimal" target!!  Speed is also not effected!  In the next couple of sentences I said that speed was influenced by target size, distance, and placement. it therefore only stands to reason that accuracy will be somewhat equally influenced by those same three!!  No hat brims or toes  or headdress feathers to skew the results!!

 

The only way your argument works otherwise is to make every target the same size and shape, i.e. all round or all square or all diamond etc... or to make parts of irregular shaped targets non scoring zones.

 

I'll bet that with something of value on the line as a wager, that you can put a round on that cowboy target with the voids under his armpits and the gap between his legs, if the target is set at a reasonable distance, ten out of ten shots if you allot the correct amount of time to acquire the target and remain on that target long enough to properly break the shot.  You will do it faster than some and slower than others, but barring a gun or ammunition malfunction, you can consistently hit those targets time after time.  Those other targets do not really change actual speed or accuracy.  They DO test your ability to combine the two!  That is what is rewarded.  The rest is merely luck!

 

 Luck is often rewarded, when it is good.  If it is bad, not so much.  The most skilled competitor is only as good as his/her preparation, equipment, AND LUCK!  Luck can NEVER be taken completely out of any competition. I give you the edge hit, the shot that barely made on one or another corner of your square, and the AD that somehow found some portion of the correct target!!

 

 

4 hours ago, Assassin said:

The fancy shapes are very nice and pretty to view. From the perspective of a stage writer, target maker, buyer of steel, and target carrier, I prefer squares, rectangles, and diamonds. It takes twice as much time to cut shapes and you lose 25% or more material vs. plain old squares. Circles aren't bad but there's still lost material. The size of a man's chest is roughly 16 x 16. We are shooting bad guys, right. For those that don't cut, carry, and set up targets its easy to say let's have all those cool shapes. They also stack neatly back into storage. And, I've carried my share of targets.

 

And, assuming everyone has to shoot the same targets and scenarios. Yes they do. However, what's a little difficult for a really good shooter becomes very difficult for a not so good shooter.

Those cute little buzzards or chickens may be the reason folks don't come back to your match.

 

As to what we're shooting, bad guys ain't all that had to be dealt with back in those days.  That charging bull or the animals in the stampede or that varmint that's getting' your livestock or what you're aimin' at to fill your empty belly are also what they shot at!  AND they didn't particularly CARE where they hit it so long as they put it down!!  I've never, and I doubt many others have ever,  been threatened or attacked by or had to kill and eat a square, a circle, or a diamond, (not counting a pie or cobbler or casserole of course!).  I recognize that these simple geometric shapes are more convenient and cost effective, but perhaps a less than constant diet of them would add a little excitement to the game.  I'm NOT being derisive, so don't anyone take offense, but we ought not to "dumb the game down" too much!

 

I'll admit that this is my opinion, but all the rest of these are about as much. B)

Edited by Blackwater 53393
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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Just for fun, we did an experiment last year, where we put a 4" red dot in the centers of four 3' square rifle targets set at 35 yds. 

The previous month, 26 shooters had 11 misses on the same black targets with no center dot.   At this shoot (with the dots), 23 shooters had ZERO misses.  - - - - Aim tight, miss tight.  

 

Mentioned this 2 or 3 times already, but it seems like a good time to say it again. We have a plywood saloon girl prop. She holds playing cards in her hands. She is set in pistol distance, but the cards are shot with the rifle. (Stage is written so you should have 4 shots to hit 2 cards)The 1st year we used it, people moaned and whined that it was going to be too hard. We had about 45 shooters. If I remember correctly, only a couple missed 1 card and no one missed both. In fact, several shooters drilled the cards dead center and proudly displaced them in their hat bands.

Edited by Marshal Chance Morgun
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....so its settled

 

Car doors at 5 yards is optimum

 

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36 minutes ago, Chuck Steak said:

....so its settled

 

Car doors at 5 yards is optimum

 

Where does anyone say this??

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1 hour ago, Marshal Chance Morgun said:

 

Mentioned this 2 or 3 times already, but it seems like a good time to say it again. We have a plywood saloon girl prop. She holds playing cards in her hands. She is set in pistol distance, but the cards are shot with the rifle. (Stage is written so you should have 4 shots to hit 2 cards)The 1st year we used it, people moaned and whined that it was going to be too hard. We had about 45 shooters. If I remember correctly, only a couple missed 1 card and no one missed both. In fact, several shooters drilled the cards death center and proudly displaced them in their hat bands.

What does this have to do with "optimal target shape" ???

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Posted (edited)

 

PEANUTS!!!  CRACKER JACKS!!!  POPCORN!!!!  SWEET TARTS!!!!

 

Should be good for another 3 maybe 4 pages ..... yes????

Edited by Colorado Coffinmaker
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Well written stages/ interesting sequences/ shooter movements and  target placement are what makes a shoot entertaining - certainly not the variations in target shape.

If your idea of "entertaining" vs. "boring" is based on the target shapes - I highly recommend you attend some different shoots.

 

The optimal shape is SQUARE - it is consistent and measurable.  It also lends itself better to vertical target placement and clean sightlines to avoid overlaps with reasonable spacing.

 

The SQUARE can also serve double duty as a DIAMOND if the sequence or stage design requires.

 

The optimal (not only) size is 16 inches by 16 inches - simply for quantity of plates (you get more plates of reasonable size for the same cost as 24 x 24). 

And the weight of each is more manageable encouraging the placement of MORE targets.

 

Visual size perception of the 16 inch plate is easily adjusted by distance.

 

I have been known to use shapes other than square; but only when there is valid reason to do so (target sequence requires/ is assisted by a visually different target, etc.)

 

Optimal is an easy answer - it is 16inch squares.

 

Doesn't mean that is the only target that can or should be used - it simply means that if you are choosing to use something other than the optimal - have a supporting reason for your choice and "entertaining" is not a valid answer.

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I'm curious.

If most of you have admittedly go to Cowboy shoots for the 'Friend's and Fellowship',  then 

why would all square or rectangle targets be boring and cause you to stop attending?

 

..........Widder

 

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15 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Well written stages/ interesting sequences/ shooter movements and  target placement are what makes a shoot entertaining - certainly not the variations in target shape.

If your idea of "entertaining" vs. "boring" is based on the target shapes - I highly recommend you attend some different shoots.

 

The optimal shape is SQUARE - it is consistent and measurable.  It also lends itself better to vertical target placement and clean sightlines to avoid overlaps with reasonable spacing.

 

The SQUARE can also serve double duty as a DIAMOND if the sequence or stage design requires.

 

The optimal (not only) size is 16 inches by 16 inches - simply for quantity of plates (you get more plates of reasonable size for the same cost as 24 x 24). 

And the weight of each is more manageable encouraging the placement of MORE targets.

 

Visual size perception of the 16 inch plate is easily adjusted by distance.

 

I have been known to use shapes other than square; but only when there is valid reason to do so (target sequence requires/ is assisted by a visually different target, etc.)

 

Optimal is an easy answer - it is 16inch squares.

 

Doesn't mean that is the only target that can or should be used - it simply means that if you are choosing to use something other than the optimal - have a supporting reason for your choice and "entertaining" is not a valid answer.

 

Again, your opinion!!  What is "entertaining" to some folks is "seek a transfusion", "bury me now" boring to others!!  I won't argue the economics of this because you're mostly correct about the "size and number of targets to a sheet of steel" factor.  I'll also stipulate to the "square is the optimal shape" claims in order to satisfy any debate about preference of the majority of present day shooters!!  

 

I've attended and participated in shoots of most every level in 28 different states! I've written stages, set targets, and assisted in running more than a few matches over the years. I can't recall EVER shooting a match where the targets were ALL square!!  I don't claim to be anyone's top shooter or major competitor, but I know what I like and for the most part what the folks that I associate with enjoy.  We DON'T all enjoy the same things, which makes for lively conversation on the trip home or around the table.  One shouldn't presume to tell ANYONE what is "entertaining" or "challenging" to ANYONE else!!

 

A match director/producer who puts on a safe, well organized, smoothly run match shouldn't have to "explain" or justify to anyone why he put a certain target or target sequence  in his match so long as the targets were properly separated, arranged, and unobscured to the firing line.  He SHOULD accept constructive critiques and decide what measures to take when faced with a large number of dissatisfied shooters. BUT!!!  Those of us who LIKE and ENJOY the occasional chicken or cowboy or coiled snake or buffalo should not be summarily dismissed because we are less enthusiastic about one size fits all targets and a steady diet of 10-10-4 stages!!

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Variety is the spice of life, ya know.

And I would never stop shooting Cowboy shoots, just may yawn a bit.

Or... take over stage writing. I have and I love doing it.

I love using our big rectangles but a match full of squares? bla...

Of course I will write in what the masses want so if our shooters want squares, by golly, I'll give em squares!

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There was a "jail bar" target at a range here several years ago that consisted of four ~4" wide strips of heavy steel with three gaps of the same width between the "bars". There was talk of a hanging, and I never saw it again. :lol:

 

Looked something like this.

JailBarTarget.jpg

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53 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

I'm curious.

If most of you have admittedly go to Cowboy shoots for the 'Friend's and Fellowship',  then 

why would all square or rectangle targets be boring and cause you to stop attending?

 

..........Widder

 

 

Said I'd be bored. Never said it would prevent me from attending/participating, and for the very reason you offer!!  

 

I'd get a little more excited and entertained by the discussion that followed such a match and would likely be a gleeful participant in that discourse!! ;) :rolleyes: :lol:

 

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2 hours ago, Blackwater 53393 said:

 

Said I'd be bored. Never said it would prevent me from attending/participating, and for the very reason you offer!!  

 

I'd get a little more excited and entertained by the discussion that followed such a match and would likely be a gleeful participant in that discourse!! ;) :rolleyes: :lol:

 

 

This I know..... you will be a happy and gleeful Cowboy when you work the action of your Henry 'Soft Stroke'... :D

And to make sure I stay on the subject..... it will be fun to shoot at squares, recs, circles and diamonds...

 

And the new butt plate from LongGulch makes it 'right'.

 

..........Widder

 

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Wow, holy mackerel, and tornado targets Batman !!!!!!  This is a lot of responses.  

 

If you know me I am about customer satisfaction, customer retention, and the math behind it.  Remember, I am the guy who analyzed 40,000 scores to propose we change to total time. 

 

So where are we at? 

1.  Most targets from a steel plate with minimal cutting. 

     1.a. 18 out of a 4x8 sheet if 16" squares, 8 if 24" squares 

     1.b. Everything else is more torch/plasma cutter time and has more scrap steel 

 

2.  It doesn't make any difference.  Everybody shoots at the same thing. 

     2.a. Agreed, except for the whole marketing thing about wanting happy shooters (aka customers) who come back.

     2.b. Older and novice shooters tend to have a larger group size.  They want to feel like, although not as fast, they can at least hit the same targets our semi-pros do. 

 

3. Targets that do not lend themselves to success aren't such a good idea.

     This includes:

        3.a. Diamonds where 75% of the target will not be part the group coverage if you pull the trigger when you first have steel (i.e. the left or right corners) under your sight.  

        3.b. Triangles (and the notorious peppers at EoT) where the target gets narrower as you go down.  Most new shooters shoot low.  (My 25+ years of observation)

        3.c. Any target that is wide and narrow. low and high shots are misses. too much and too little sight. 

        3.d. Any target that has holes in it. (i.e. arm holes). 

        3.e. Card suits are terrible.  Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades all have very little contiguous target area. 

        3.f. Stars

 

4. Target that seem to be good are:

     4.a. Large (not huge) 

     4.b. Without protrusions (that cause a new shooter to pull the trigger to soon) 

     4.c. Without holes (arm holes,...)  the bullet can go through 

     4.d. Squares, Large solid... buffalos, bears, cowboys, are good.

     4.e. Tombstones are good 

     4.f. Circles are OK but not great (for the same reason as diamonds). 

     4.g. One time I made a train.  5 targets; locomotive, coal car, 2 passenger coaches, and a caboose.  They were 16 in tall and 32 in wide.  No holes in them and everybody liked them.

 

5. Simple shapes are boring 

     5.a.  One time I cut out 24 bears, vultures, pigs, etc. (all from 16x24 rectangles).  A lot of work and looked great.  Eventually the club quit using them for reason 4.c. 

     5.b. Spend your time and money on stage decorations might be better

 

6. Variety is good 

     6.a. Don't make all the targets exactly the same.  

     6.b. For example; mix up some 16x16 squares with one large solid cowboy. 

 

7.  Great idea I heard...  Paint a border on the target in a contrasting color with the center  (i.e. black border and white center)

     7.a. Increases the probability of a hit for new shooters coached to aim at the center color (i.e. white).  

 

Now I didn't talk about target placement, the 100 different sweeps, stage design.  Just the target itself.  

 

This was awesome response 

I hope those who make targets, write stages, create matches find this useful. 

 

Many thanks.

 

Sincerely,

TJD 

 

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Here are a couple setups that mimicked what a lot of folks have talked about. The first shows an Indian shape target. The Indian heads here have an effective size of 16x20. Yes, there is additional steel creating the Indian silhouette outside that 16"x20" square, but there is at least that much, solid target for the shooter to hit. Notice that the way the silhouette is cut out that there is not too much waste. The center plate is a 16"x20". 

IMG_20190602_084337.thumb.jpg.37e2175cadb1bacc6f1b10fbd88b3349.jpg

 

The second example shows what you can do with target shapes to differentiate a shooting string. For instance, you can put one round on each square, three on each headstone, and two rounds on the coffin. You are helping differentiate the number of shots on the target not only by its place in the string, but by the shape as well.  Those headstones are roughly 15x23 an the coffin roughly a 17x25 minus the geometry.

 

IMG_20190602_084317.thumb.jpg.3eff7ec280327fe9ca8cbdc5e29d833b.jpg

 

 

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That looks like a very nice set up.  And I see the tilt to minimize splatter.  

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3 hours ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

 

3 hours ago, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

 

This is a great example of what can be done with some thought in order  to put some variety in the stage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second example shows what you can do with target shapes to differentiate a shooting string. For instance, you can put one round on each square, three on each headstone, and two rounds on the coffin. You are helping differentiate the number of shots on the target not only by its place in the string, but by the shape as well.  Those headstones are roughly 15x23 an the coffin roughly a 17x25 minus the geometry.

 

IMG_20190602_084317.thumb.jpg.3eff7ec280327fe9ca8cbdc5e29d833b.jpg

  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, watab kid said:

like the cowboys a lot , 

Funny... Cuz I think they are one of the worse.

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Stand and DeliverIMG_20190602_084317.thumb.jpg.3eff7ec280327fe9ca8cbdc5e29d833b.jpg

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14 minutes ago, Assassin said:

Stand and DeliverIMG_20190602_084317.thumb.jpg.3eff7ec280327fe9ca8cbdc5e29d833b.jpg

Looks like it...ugh!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Looks like it...ugh!

Aww come on Phantom - play nice.

It doesn't matter if it is stand and deliver or not - this is obviously more entertaining than ANY stage utilizing only square targets.

After all, they used different shape targets and multiple colors of spray paint.

 

I know when I'm deciding what shoots to attend - that's among my first priority...

Are your targets a bunch of different shapes and colors?

 

If that's the case - I don't even care about size, distances, sequences, movements, round counts, props, facades, stage writing or awards.

 

I know if they use three or more different shape targets - it has to be a good match.

Edited by Creeker, SASS #43022
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7 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Looks like it...ugh!

 

4 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Aww come on Phantom - play nice.

 

No need for that.  In addition to agreeing with you that squares are the 'optimal shape', I agree with the 'ugh' sentiment when looking at a stand and deliver.

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Chickens may not be optimal but they are the most desirable.  AFAIK Bar-3 Chickens are the only style of targets where the entire set was stolen.

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Aw c'mon, you can't tell me it's not fun to watch a speed burner bust out a low-teens stage sometimes.

And when it's 95 degrees and 90 % humidity, it's nice to not have all sprint stages.

Variety... the key to fun and interesting matches. All S&D stages? yes, boring but sometimes ya just gotta.

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For those that are wondering

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ah... Who cares about playing nice!!  Let’s forget about the shooters with mobility issues, like the cowboy with the partially paralyzed foot and leg. Never mind the lady with arthritic knees!! Let’s make sure there aren’t any of those (UGH!!) stand and deliver stages where folks like that, those who can STILL shoot fast and can perform transitions quickly, might get an even, competitive chance! While we’re at it, most shooters are right handed! Let’s forget about making any stages more friendly for the southpaws or (GASP!) making our stages neutral!! 

 

I mean, there aren’t really that many folks like that! We won’t miss ‘em if they decide that they can’t be competitive or they find that it’s too strenuous or that it’s no fun to have to always be at a disadvantage.  HELL! If they decide not to come out and play any more, it’ll just make things simpler and less expensive for us!! :rolleyes: (sorry! no sarcasm emoji available!!)

Edited by Blackwater 53393
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