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Steel targets


Deuce Dynamite

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Hello,

I've only been to 3 matches and I've seen a variety of different target sizes. I have noticed the large square ones seem to be the most common (well in my limited experience). I have a buddy who can make me some. What size (inches) would you suggest for practice? Thank you kindly!

 

Deuce Dynamite

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  • Deuce, I have a company named Alro Steel near me.  They frequently have "drops."  The drops are discounted because they come from other projects Alro is making cuts for.  They are usually round.  If you live in an industrial area, you probably have a similar company near you.   I visit from time to time.  I seek out the round 16 or 18 inch 3/8ths inch thick plates.  I've found as long as I'm only shooting lead load cowboy velocity loads, they work great.  You do not want to shoot jacket or rifle ammo on them though.  If you are going to have a plate cut to size, go with 16s.  You can get the cuts without waste.  
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For some of us old timers the movement to LARGE targets has taken over in recent years. At almost all matches there are no targets smaller than 20". Many are actually going to 24". Only a few old targets are used that are 16". Certainly almost no-one buys a new target smaller than 20" now.:(

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I cut all of our targets, they are all square, rectangles, or diamonds. Steel isn't cheap, I have no waste when cutting targets. Those fancy shapes look nice. However, the legs, hats, hands, horns, etc, are all weak and will fail quicker than the rest of the target. Therefore, we don't have many target failures, we do have hanger failures. Our smallest targets are 16 x 16, except for some 8 or 9 inch squares that I put out really close. Then, they range up from 18 x 18, 16 x 20, 20 x 20, 24 x 24. I've never seen anyone miss the really close 8 or 9 inch squares, seen a bunch of shooters miss the 24 x 24 squares at 7 yards. Ours are AR500 and I cut them on a plasma table.

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Be careful of lending your targets to other people.  I've had a few that I lent out and reminded the person they are for slow moving lead bullets.  They come back a few days later with a bunch of .223" holes through them. 

 

"I don't know why your target failed.  We only used 55 gr bullets."

 

Go figure.

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Current SASS guidelines indicate 16" squares, we have gone to 18" circles & squares as well as cowboys, bears, buffalos, bells, etc. I would also try to use 3/8" AR 500 steel to get the most life out of the targets.

Here is a section of the SASS Shooters' handbook:

 

Targets are set at close to medium range. While there are no absolute rules, the following are distance recommendations by firearm, if using a target size of approximately 16"x16":    Revolver targets: 7 to 10 yards.  

Shotgun targets: 8 to 16 yards. o  

Rifle targets: 13 to 50 yards.

 

TB

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2 hours ago, Happy Jack, SASS #20451 said:

For some of us old timers the movement to LARGE targets has taken over in recent years. At almost all matches there are no targets smaller than 20". Many are actually going to 24". Only a few old targets are used that are 16". Certainly almost no-one buys a new target smaller than 20" now.:(

If you practice on a smaller target, those bigger ones will be easier to hit.

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Check with your cub.  They may have some targets they have retired.   We had some heavy shotgun knock down targets we replaced with reaction targets.   We offer the old targets to club members and they were quickly sold. 

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Get what you can. My own personal targets range from 3" to 3' .   

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I picked up some discarded rail road plates some 40 years ago.  They are remarkably tough!  We initially shot at them with high powered rifles at 100 yards.  

 

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I still use the same plates in my bullet traps.  

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4 hours ago, Diamond Jake said:

Be careful of lending your targets to other people.  I've had a few that I lent out and reminded the person they are for slow moving lead bullets.  They come back a few days later with a bunch of .223" holes through them. 

 

"I don't know why your target failed.  We only used 55 gr bullets."

 

Go figure.

Man that sucks! I have a bunch of 1/2 inch ar500 steel for that but most of it's under 10 inches

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Something that I picked up when I was playing with a bow, the smaller the target, the smaller the group. I had been using paper plates when an archer friend told me to use the round 79cent stickers from my 2 liter sodas. [Pre upc.] My groups shrank right down. I have half size sass marshals on my little 25-40 yd range for my rifle work, larger for my pistol but I increase the recommended sass  distance. Only way to improve on anything that you do is to challenge yourself. 

2199AB1E-6359-4624-9BCD-C75F3CE7FCCD.jpeg

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16 minutes ago, Baltimore Ed said:

Something that I picked up when I was playing with a bow, the smaller the target, the smaller the group. I had been using paper plates when an archer friend told me to use the round 79cent stickers from my 2 liter sodas. [Pre upc.] My groups shrank right down. I have half size sass marshals on my little 25-40 yd range for my rifle work, larger for my pistol but I increase the recommended sass  distance. Only way to improve on anything that you do is to challenge yourself. 

And how do you develope speed??

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2 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

And how do you develope speed??

No one ever seems to recognize that...

Speed is MUCH harder to "learn" than  accuracy.

 

Yes, it is important to be ABLE to hit the middle body of those stupid bow legged cowboy targets at 7-10 yards with the pistols.   

 

But it is INFINITELY more important to be able to use the entire height and width of a 20" - 24" plate to your advantage at 3-4 yards.

 

I try to run for speed; but I can (sometimes) tighten up my shooting to account for small and distant.

 

If you're running for accuracy; letting it go full throttle on a large close target is much more difficult.

 

 

 

 

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You’ve still got to run your guns at speed but slow enough to hit whatever your target is, doesn’t matter what the gun is. A fast miss is still 5 seconds. Your speed will naturally increase with practice and learning smooth transfers between your handguns, rifle and shotgun and their different operations. Large close targets certainly make things easier but learning to hit smaller or farther targets will only make it easier to hit that 20 inch plate at 7 yds, not harder. My speed days are long gone, the best that I could do 15-20 years ago were 5th place duelist plaques at multiple state and a regional shoots and multiple clean shoot awards. My suggestion to the op would be to have a variety of targets made with his largest being the smallest that he is shooting at the different shoots that he attends. I was once at a state match where a 4x8 sheet of steel was set up and shooters still had misses. 

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3 minutes ago, Baltimore Ed said:

You’ve still got to run your guns at speed but slow enough to hit whatever your target is, doesn’t matter what the gun is. A fast miss is still 5 seconds. Your speed will naturally increase with practice and learning smooth transfers between your handguns, rifle and shotgun and their different operations. Large close targets certainly make things easier but learning to hit smaller or farther targets will only make it easier to hit that 20 inch plate at 7 yds, not harder. My speed days are long gone, the best that I could do 15-20 years ago were 5th place duelist plaques at multiple state and a regional shoots and multiple clean shoot awards. My suggestion to the op would be to have a variety of targets made with his largest being the smallest that he is shooting at the different shoots that he attends. I was once at a state match where a 4x8 sheet of steel was set up and shooters still had misses. 

I don't think this is good advise for our game. 

 

It's quite easy to show down a bit for smaller / farther targets but very hard to speed up if one doesn't work on pure speed.

 

Make the targets as big as you can. They are more versatile. Small targets for our game (and that is what we are talking about here on the SASS Wire), have a very limited distance range that is useful.

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Advice from Three Cut.  "The only way to go fast is to try to go fast."

 

You can slow down a bit and hit more distant, smaller targets.  If you can't cycle faster, you'll never get faster regardless of the target size or placement.

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The advice shared about the importance of speed practice is right on.  Sure, you wanna practice your accuracy skills but 

there shouldn't be a lot of practice required to hit an 18" or larger plate at 6 yards, which is basically what a good many of

stage scenerios are set.

 

But speed is something that just don't happen because you dream about it.   Ya gotta push yeowndangself.   And sometimes, ya

gotta push yeowndangself faster than you think possible just to find out your capabilities.

Besides, its fun.

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

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Deuce has only been to 3 shoots and is imo a cas greenhorn. He has a long ways to go to get to the skill level of Phantom, Major BS and Null N. Vioid. I wish him well and would welcome him to a terrific gun sport full of very fine folks who will help him become a better competitor. I seldom practiced but at my peak did attend every match that I could squeeze in around shift work and my family. I would urge him to do the same. I still say that practicing on a large target will certainly make it easier to hit it at speed but it will also make it easier to miss a smaller target at speed but while practicing on a smaller target will allow him to speed up when larger targets are used and not have that miss. A 12 inch group on a 12 inch target is fine, a 20 inch group on a 14 inch target isn’t. But nowadays I shoot cas, WB or BAMM for the fun of playing cowboys and indians or army with real antique guns or repros with super people. 

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Getting a little off track here, but in ice hockey we used to call it over speed training.  Drills were run at a speed much faster than game speed.  In this case work at manipulating the guns as fast as you can, not worrying about accuracy, but rather the manipulation of the firearms.  

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When buying AR 500 steel and having it cut up into targets, the local company I dealt with charges for the whole 4x8 sheet of steel.  They don't routinely keep that hardness of steel in stock and have to special order it.  Cutting the targets 16" wide eliminates any waste.  Our standard pistol targets are 16"x24" and the standard rifle targets are 16"x16".  

 

 

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There is good advice here and some not so good.   I'd be a little leery of taking speed advice from someone who isn't really that fast.    20 second stages just doesn't cut it as fast anymore.   You can learn to shoot top speed and hit on any size target.  If someone needs a 20" target to get teens,  well they will get their butt kicked by the good shooter that can do the same on 10"

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1 hour ago, Smokin Gator SASS #29736 said:

Of course you have to push the speed to get faster. But it's  still ridiculous to me when people refer to any target smaller then 20 inches at 4 or 5 yards as a "bullseye" match.

Show me where anyone said it implied that... Please...

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"This is SASS not bullseye." The standard reply to every discussion about target size and distance for many years.  The other action shooting sports have large in your face targets a step away along with smaller, partial, distant and moving targets yet no one complains that they are "bullseye" matches. They are action shooting matches as are SASS matches.

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2 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

There is good advice here and some not so good.   I'd be a little leery of taking speed advice from someone who isn't really that fast.    20 second stages just doesn't cut it as fast anymore.   You can learn to shoot top speed and hit on any size target.  If someone needs a 20" target to get teens,  well they will get their butt kicked by the good shooter that can do the same on 10"

With all due respect; good advice is good advice - regardless of where or whom it originates with.

 

If anyone subscribes to the theory that someone must be physically able to "do" something to teach, train, coach or espouse it - they negate the information available from a number of educated sources.

 

Stages in the teens - 20's or even 30's are always relative to a vast number of factors including target size, distance, sequence, movement, staging, prop manipulation etc.  

 

I would hesitate to discount anyone's input wholly based on scores achieved on a stage/ match of unknown variables.

 

Lastly, perhaps I am missing something; but, when using 20" plates - a shooter that can run X time on 10" plates will not kick the butt of anyone else that can run the same X time on 20" plates. 

 

10 hits is 10 hits - regardless of whether the entire 20 inch target is utilized or just the middle 3 inches.

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4 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

With all due respect; good advice is good advice - regardless of where or whom it originates with.

 

If anyone subscribes to the theory that someone must be physically able to "do" something to teach, train, coach or espouse it - they negate the information available from a number of educated sources.

 

Stages in the teens - 20's or even 30's are always relative to a vast number of factors including target size, distance, sequence, movement, staging, prop manipulation etc.  

 

I would hesitate to discount anyone's input wholly based on scores achieved on a stage/ match of unknown variables.

 

Lastly, perhaps I am missing something; but, when using 20" plates - a shooter that can run X time on 10" plates will not kick the butt of anyone else that can run the same X time on 20" plates. 

 

10 hits is 10 hits - regardless of whether the entire 20 inch target is utilized or just the middle 3 inches.

I worded most of that last one poorly.

     I completely agree that you can learn from anyone, and I never said dont listen to those who aren't fast. Just be leery, I've seen a lot of advice on how to go faster that had nothing to do with going fast.  One of the absolute best rifle to pistol transitions ive ever seen was by a gentleman who averages over 2 minutes a stage.    At the same time if someone who runs 30 says something is the only way to go fast.  I'd ask someone who runs low teens if they agree.

 

 As for the sub twenty second stages.   If you take a shooter who can hit it on 10" targets, and give him 20".  Its really easy to throttle up, and his times drop drastically. At the same time take someone who is going all out on 20"and barely making it. who do you think runs a greater risk of missing? Who is going to be more consistent, faster, over the match?

 

 The few times  I actually practice speed I generally do it on 9" rounds. I'm content with running around 3 sec sweeps from holster, knowing that when the barn door targets come out I'm good for at least a half sec faster. Rifle I'm worse at so the times slow a bit but it's still consistent. 4 sec on the 9" and half a second or better on the larger.   I'm good with going to a match knowing I'm in the 3 sec range for both  that won't run with the big dogs but it's not far off

 

   

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I've got a saying I put on my cart 20+ years ago.

 

"Anyone can hit a target, not everyone can go fast".

 

It's easy for a fast shooter to slow down to hit a small target, much harder for slow accurate shooter to speed up.  You can't teach speed, you have it or you don't.  Quite a few things you can do to cut stage times (transitions), but you must practice shooting fast to shoot fast.

 

Saw it every year at Bordertown way back when it started.  For those that don't know, BT was pretty much the first big match to have really close, big targets.  Very few clean shooters from out of town, and lots, I mean lots of jacked out rounds from rifles.

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Try this once. Just shoot the guns as fast as possible without targets into the berm. The average shooter can't shoot any faster than when they are shooting at targets. The faster shooters won't shoot much faster either. Speed development is just that, speed development.

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On 9/28/2020 at 11:59 AM, Deuce Dynamite said:

Hello,

I've only been to 3 matches and I've seen a variety of different target sizes. I have noticed the large square ones seem to be the most common (well in my limited experience). I have a buddy who can make me some. What size (inches) would you suggest for practice? Thank you kindly!

 

Deuce Dynamite

 

 

Get whatever's least expensive yet still high quality.  That way you can get more of them to allow you a larger variety of set ups. In this case size really doesn't matter. Mine happen to be 14" circles.  When I'm practicing for a big close match I set them extra close.  When practicing for a more difficult match I set them further away.  Easy peasy. 

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16" square AR500 with two holes.  One in the center on one side, one hole in the corner.  That way you have squares and diamonds to shoot at, depending on which hole to use.  Diamonds can be hard to hit if you tend to pull you shots either low or high.  They make for good practice and good feedback if you tend to pull shots low or high at speed.   As SB said, move 'em in or out as needed.

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