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Howdy, I am new to all this and trying to absorb everything still. I have been to watch a few local matches and  had one thing bugging me while watching, why are the steel targets set up so close? Is it a rule that some have to be 3 yards away? I have seen folks get pieces of lead imbedded in their face at that distance so just wondering why it’s not set out farther for safety reasons if nothing else. 

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After 20 years of shooting this game I'd be lying if I said my opinion on this topic hasn't changed over time. I remember the first time I set a pistol target at 7 yards at the club that I started at.

Matches are "generally" considered more fun when the targets are of generous size and placed closer to the firing line.   Additionally, the distances referenced from the handbooks are solely

At what point in SASS history do you believe speed was unimportant? The game was began by speed shooters that simply had the thought that a Cowboy IPSC version would be fun.   To the be

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They are too close and the angles too close to 90.   The match directors book says P6

Pistol targets
• Minimum distance is 7 yards; maximum distance is 10 yards.
• Minimum pistol target size is 16” x 16”. .
Shotgun targets
• Minimum distance is 8 yards; maximum distance is 16 yards.
• Minimum shotgun target size for 8 yards is 8” x 8” (MGM size poppers allowable)
• Minimum shotgun target size for over 8 yards is 16” x 16” average.
Rifle targets
• Minimum distance is 13 yards; maximum distance is 50 yards.
• Minimum rifle target size is 16” x 16”.

 

https://www.sassnet.com/Downloads/MatchDir/MDSDvH.pdf

 

the targets should also square up to the shooter to keep splatter going down, not out to the sides. 
face angles when shooting steel should be 25-35 degrees from vertical.  The closer the Target the more the angle needs to be to push the splatter into the ground.  
 

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The target distances listed in the match director's book are recommendations and not mandatory.  The match director has the ability and responsibility to put the targets at any distance they deem as safe and fun.  It's a balance.  A lot depends on the quality and angle of the targets.  Old pitted targets will throw back splatter.

 

As a general rule, we set pistol targets (16x24) at 6 yards.  The rifle targets (16x16) are set at 12 yards.  The shotgun knockdown targets are about 8 yards.  We have pretty good AR500 steel targets and get very little splatter, but it does happen.  I agree that 3 yards is too close.

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Matches are "generally" considered more fun when the targets are of generous size and placed closer to the firing line.

 

Additionally, the distances referenced from the handbooks are solely recommendations.

 

And with the use of high quality, properly set steel placed on well designed stands those targets pose no more splatter danger at 3 yards than at 5 yards or 8 yards.

Pitted, cupped steel on poor frames is a danger at 10 yards.

 

I have placed steel at 3 yards before (many, many times) without injury - because I insisted on good plates, hung with hangers that force correct angles to direct splash downward into the ground - while also taking into account frame locations and ground consistency.

 

We are shooting lead projectiles at steel targets - there is always an opportunity for rearward splash. 

It is why we require eye protection and good match directors will do everything they can to mitigate the risk no matter what target array they set.

 

But if the steel or the stands are splashing back and "imbedding" lead into peoples faces - there is a much bigger problem with the steel or the stands than the distance.

 

Or to put it another way...

Lead coming back hard enough and fast enough to draw blood at 3 yards - does not suddenly turn into a rainbow colored unicorns good night kiss at 5, 8 or 10 yards.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Lead coming back hard enough and fast enough to draw blood at 3 yards - does not suddenly turn into a rainbow colored unicorns good night kiss at 5, 8 or 10 yards.

 

 

Which is also why it's a good idea to spend the extra dime and invest in milspec ballistic glasses instead of settling for ANSI-rated safety glasses.

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8 hours ago, Not Dead Ed said:

the targets should also square up to the shooter to keep splatter going down, not out to the sides. 

This brings up a point I've thought about for a while. Some seem to get hung up on the targets being square to the firing line (or stage) and not the shooter.

I wholeheartedly disagree; I think they should be square (perpendicular) to the shooter's line of fire or direction of the bullet. I was at a big shoot in California several years ago with a long, common firing line with all of the targets square to the firing line and with shooters firing at angles to the firing line, I caught a piece of lead across my ear and it bled for over an hour. I started thinking that targets not square to the bullet path was a bad idea, but traditional thinking is that the targets should be square to the stage; I think that is unsafe.

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Good quality targets, proper hanging angle, squared up to the shooting line and having the shooter shoot the target straight on make a world of difference. Recently shot a match (not Cowboy) with steel targets set at 8 to 10 yards. These where knock down targets. Due to the angle that the shooters engaged to targets there was a pretty good bit of splatter hitting people behind the firing line.

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As others have said, those distances are recommendations, not required. Tens years in with plenty of big and close matches and no scars. Use good steel, hang it correctly, and you won’t have a problem.

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This is a long time topic that has never and will only end when the game ends. No doubt that target condition is paramount. Many clubs spend their money on buildings and props when they really should be buying good targets first. Placement is also a major key to controlling the lead feedback. I like targets that hangs square to the shooter in such a way that it can swing back when hit. The swing does two things... it absorbs some of the energy, and it helps to direct the feedback to the ground. Stands make a big difference. IMO there is nothing worse than using Rebar for a stand. Also writing the scenario such that the shooter is in front of the targets rather than cross range from them when shooting makes a big difference. The target size and distances listed in the SHB is constantly being pointed out as only a recommendation, like the founders didn't know what they were doing or didn't understand what the game was or how to play it.  Well I guess that reasoning actually had some merit after a while... because the Game changed more toward speed than Game playing.  Large Close targets certainly are a big part of that style game.  No doubt that many folks enjoy such a match. The game of old is not what many folks want now days and I agree with some of that. Long distance and small targets that take too much time are rarely used in a action game. Yet they use to be used, and there use to be MUCH more action than now days. Humm??  The Club that provides a good middle of the road mix gets my vote. Generally I like a little game playing and targets that are easy to hit yet still require the shooter to at least somewhat aim the gun. If you look around you can find clubs that play the game both ways. There is still something for everyone.  

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41 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

This is a long time topic that has never and will only end when the game ends. No doubt that target condition is paramount. Many clubs spend their money on buildings and props when they really should be buying good targets first. Placement is also a major key to controlling the lead feedback. I like targets that hangs square to the shooter in such a way that it can swing back when hit. The swing does two things... it absorbs some of the energy, and it helps to direct the feedback to the ground. Stands make a big difference. IMO there is nothing worse than using Rebar for a stand. Also writing the scenario such that the shooter is in front of the targets rather than cross range from them when shooting makes a big difference. The target size and distances listed in the SHB is constantly being pointed out as only a recommendation, like the founders didn't know what they were doing or didn't understand what the game was or how to play it.  Well I guess that reasoning actually had some merit after a while... because the Game changed more toward speed than Game playing.  Large Close targets certainly are a big part of that style game.  No doubt that many folks enjoy such a match. The game of old is not what many folks want now days and I agree with some of that. Long distance and small targets that take too much time are rarely used in a action game. Yet they use to be used, and there use to be MUCH more action than now days. Humm??  The Club that provides a good middle of the road mix gets my vote. Generally I like a little game playing and targets that are easy to hit yet still require the shooter to at least somewhat aim the gun. If you look around you can find clubs that play the game both ways. There is still something for everyone.  

 I whole heartedly agree, I also shoot USPSA and 3 Gun matches which are a lot more challenging. I love the idea of cowboy action beacuse I can get my son involved. Just a little concerned that splatter is going to get us in the face at some of these matches. Will definately have to pay attention to how the local clubs are setting up their steel and the condition of it too next time we go to watch.

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1 hour ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

I started thinking that targets not square to the bullet path was a bad idea, but traditional thinking is that the targets should be square to the stage; I think that is unsafe.“



You are incorrect.

 

Throw a snowball at a brick wall.  Which way does the snow splash?  All directions from the point of impact.

 

Bullets splash off steel the same way.  If you place the target square to the shooter, about half the splash will come back towards the firing line, and folks at the loading and unloading tables will get sprayed.

 

If the shooter is catching lead splash, the likely causes are pitted targets, secondary ricochets off the target frame or ground, or target face not angled towards the ground.

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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Plus, the range itself may dictate the target distance.  If the range is only so many yards deep, then the target distance will be limited to the range depth.

 

Sometimes folks try to squeeze in another stage where the range may be coming to a point. That limits their options.

Edited by Frontier Lone Rider
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A (lead) bullet that strikes a plate will travel off that plate in a corresponding angle.   

Generally somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees from the plate. (again assuming good steel - pitted, cupped, deformed steel is not predictable).

And this applies to the up and down angle - AND the side to side angle of the steels placement.

The angle of deflection must be taken into consideration not only for the shooter - but for every other person on the range as well.

 

Yes, the targets should always be squared to the firing line AND the shooter "should" be squared to the target.  

Engaging targets either set at an angle to the firing line or firing at squared targets from angles other than straight on creates opportunity even with good steel to direct splash towards the firing line, loading/ unloading tables, spectators.

 

If the stage "demands" an angle shot because of design or theme - attempt to utilize frangible (clay pigeons, etc.) or non splashing (paper, cardboard, etc,) to avoid creating that corresponding angle that returns lead toward the firing line. 

Or invest in splash mitigation measures (barriers, walls, hay bales, etc.) or restrict others from being in the known splash zone (hard to do on common firing line ranges).

 

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Match attendance has shown that very large targets at 3 to 6 yards for revolver is the challenge that the majority of cowboy shooters are looking for. A little farther out and some will go to a different match.

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We replaced all of our targets over 3 years with AR 500. After 12 years, no pitting and reduced splash back. We angle our target faces. And for the pistol targets we put straw bales.  The worst splash back comes from the knockdown shotgun targets. Flat base, flat face, steel arms. No matter how we place them shot hits someone occasionally.

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1 hour ago, Smokin Gator SASS #29736 said:

Match attendance has shown that very large targets at 3 to 6 yards for revolver is the challenge that the majority of cowboy shooters are looking for. A little farther out and some will go to a different match.

3 yrds is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. 6 is tolerable for sure.  I've shot most WR matches and never seen any targets at 3 yrds, in fact I've only seen targets that close at one match, and I have never returned. 

Edited by Snakebite
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1 hour ago, Smokin Gator SASS #29736 said:

Match attendance has shown that very large targets at 3 to 6 yards for revolver is the challenge that the majority of cowboy shooters are looking for. A little farther out and some will go to a different match.

Interesting, at this distance there's not much of a challenge really, you don't even have to aim, just point and shoot, ha Though that is part of why I think it will be a good starting point for my son, easier for him to hit and hopefully get more involved in shooting matches with me wether CAS or USPSA, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Robyn Gold said:

Interesting, at this distance there's not much of a challenge really, you don't even have to aim, just point and shoot, ha Though that is part of why I think it will be a good starting point for my son, easier for him to hit and hopefully get more involved in shooting matches with me wether CAS or USPSA, etc.

The challenge is to increase the speed that you can shoot and hit the targets along with the transitions from gun to gun.

Edited by Smokin Gator SASS #29736
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To make CAS more challenging,  you may want to try shooting double duelist or gunfighter.  Better yet,  frontier cartridge duelist or frontier cartridge gunfighter. 

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31 minutes ago, Robyn Gold said:

Interesting, at this distance there's not much of a challenge really, you don't even have to aim, just point and shoot, ha Though that is part of why I think it will be a good starting point for my son, easier for him to hit and hopefully get more involved in shooting matches with me wether CAS or USPSA, etc.

Robyn, You would be amazed at how easy it is to miss a big, close target

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When spotting one often doesn't have to be close to the shooting line.  Standing back helps protect against lead splatter and cap fragments from percussion revolvers and keeps you out of the way the shooter and timer operator.  I don't look at shotgun targets when they are engaged if there is no shooting order.  One can see whether targets fell after the shooter is done.  I look at the ground letting my hat catch any returning shot.

 

When shooting I use soft cast bullets and small shot to protect myself and the timer operator from returning lead.  Also, maximum velocity loads are not anyone's friend.

 

For greater distances try SASS Wild Bunch.  

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OK . . . . AGAIN . . . . Back splatter is dictated by Target Condition, Stand Design, Gravel Base of the range.  targets need to be in good condition (Already Said).  Targets need to be hung with about 15 degrees back deflection at the target bottom.  Target frames should not include any "right angles."  Mounting targets on Rebar will guarantee splash back.  A range with a Gravel Base will guarantee splash back.  Target distance, with correct targets is immaterial, as it velocity.  Simple Physics and Geometry.

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2 hours ago, Robyn Gold said:

Interesting, at this distance there's not much of a challenge really, you don't even have to aim, just point and shoot, ha Though that is part of why I think it will be a good starting point for my son, easier for him to hit and hopefully get more involved in shooting matches with me whether CAS or USPSA, etc.

 

 

And THAT is one of the many reasons SASS is so popular with families.  When everybody is having fun then everybody is having fun. :D

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5 hours ago, Smokin Gator SASS #29736 said:

The challenge is to increase the speed that you can shoot and hit the targets along with the transitions from gun to gun.

SASS 2021 The evolution of the game. Speed is king. I'm guessing that in a few short years you'll just have two dump targets. One for pistol and one for rifle. Shortly after that, it won't be Cowboy Action Shooting and SASS will ride off into the sunset.

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5 hours ago, Robyn Gold said:

Interesting, at this distance there's not much of a challenge really, you don't even have to aim, just point and shoot, ha Though that is part of why I think it will be a good starting point for my son, easier for him to hit and hopefully get more involved in shooting matches with me wether CAS or USPSA, etc.

Not trying to start a fight but when I see statements like this I have to ask....

Every match you have been to, have you shot it clean?

And if you did were you amongst the top 2-3 shooters in overall time?

The challenge in CAS is not just hitting them but hitting them all and quickly and in the correct order.

I also shoot IDPA and three gun, admittedly not very often perhaps once or twice a year.... I like the longer runs in 3 gun and the accuracy requirements of IDPA.

That said I am usually in the top 5 or 6 overall (local matches) and if I had the time/ammo to practice them I would probably do better. I don't see them as  particularly difficult to be competitive in.

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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3 minutes ago, Marshal Chance Morgun said:

SASS 2021 The evolution of the game. Speed is king. I'm guessing that in a few short years you'll just have two dump targets. One for pistol and one for rifle. Shortly after that, it won't be Cowboy Action Shooting and SASS will ride off into the sunset.

At what point in SASS history do you believe speed was unimportant?

The game was began by speed shooters that simply had the thought that a Cowboy IPSC version would be fun.

 

To the best of my knowledge - we have always kept score by TIME and missed targets. 

 

Cowboy Action has many different identities - from game playing to distant targets to large in your face targets.

EVERY single one of them is about going faster (posting a lower time) than the guy/ girl next to you.

 

If you are unhappy with the identity your current club offers - start a new one; get involved with the operations, write stages.  As challenging or distant as you see fit.

 

But Cowboy is, at it's core, supposed to be attainable by all shooters - to provide the opportunity for success to Buckaroos and Grande Dames.

 

Ringing steel is FUN - shooters that have fun return.  And they brings friends and family with them.

 

At the end of the day - no matter what you write or the steel you set - the "fastest" guy or girl will still win the day.

 

But the lesser shooters that you frustrate or disappoint by your version of Cowboy may decide it's more fun to do something else.

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There are quite a few factors that affect back splash off steel targets.  Angle of targets to ground,  shooter and firing line, placement proximity to other targets, target deformation, fixtures around the target, and ammunition used to name but a few .  I've investigated two incidents where the injuries from back splash on steel targets required hospitalization.  Yes, more than just distance, but there is a reason SASS, many training organizations and steel target manufacturers recommend 7 yards as a minimum set up distance.

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My prediction: This is going 4 pages

 

(if the moderators leave it alone)

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1 hour ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

Not trying to start a fight but when I see statements like this I have to ask....

Every match you have been to, have you shot it clean?

And if you did were you amongst the top 2-3 shooters in overall time?

The challenge in CAS is not just hitting them but hitting them all and quickly and in the correct order.

I also shoot IDPA and three gun, admittedly not very often perhaps once or twice a year.... I like the longer runs in 3 gun and the accuracy requirements of IDPA.

That said I am usually in the top 5 or 6 overall (local matches) and if I had the time/ammo to practice them I would probably do better. I don't see them as  particularly difficult to be competitive in.

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

Still new havent shot a full match. Have shot one stage and did it in 36 seconds even with fumbling on the shotgun reloads. 
Yes I shoot USPSA clean and 3 gun clean though I prefer not to run so much LOL

 

Didnt mean to open a can of worms. Just was wondering about the close targets and safety. 

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1 minute ago, Robyn Gold said:

Still new havent shot a full match. Have shot one stage and did it in 36 seconds even with fumbling on the shotgun reloads. 
Yes I shoot USPSA clean and 3 gun clean though I prefer not to run so much LOL

 

Didnt mean to open a can of worms. Just was wondering about the close targets and safety. 


Baptism by fire happens daily on the SASS Wire.

 

Welcome, and keep shooting Pard! :D

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Just now, Robyn Gold said:

Still new havent shot a full match. Have shot one stage and did it in 36 seconds even with fumbling on the shotgun reloads. 
Yes I shoot USPSA clean and 3 gun clean though I prefer not to run so much LOL

 

Didnt mean to open a can of worms. Just was wondering about the close targets and safety. 

That is impressive to shoot clean. It is one of my personal goals at every match.

It gets better the faster you go. Also one of my goals.

36 is pretty good for a start. Doesn't take long to get under 30, then most take some time to get under 25. 20 is the next big one but persevere and you will get there.

2 1/2 years ago I was aiming for consistent 16-17 on targets at SASS recommended distance but for a lot of reasons that is unlikely to happen now.:(

Now back to 19-20 and spending more time looking for clean and just happy to still be shooting with my pards.

As far as a can of worms that is the meal du jour around here. Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable and I apologize.

regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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When you get it down to 10 -  10 - 4 in under 10 seconds like the Kid from Canada .....

 

Any hoo Welcome and remember to have Fun ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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1 hour ago, Robyn Gold said:

Didnt mean to open a can of worms. Just was wondering about the close targets and safety. 

Are you kidding? Some folks on here live to argue debate certain topics. You just made a lot of folks happy. Now, start threads on changing Frontiersmen, shooting Outlaw, who are gamers, should Steam Punk be a shooting category, and are we historical enactors or fantasy shooters and everyone will love you.:P

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2 hours ago, Robyn Gold said:

Still new havent shot a full match. Have shot one stage and did it in 36 seconds even with fumbling on the shotgun reloads. 
Yes I shoot USPSA clean and 3 gun clean though I prefer not to run so much LOL

 

Didnt mean to open a can of worms. Just was wondering about the close targets and safety. 

You shoot USPSA clean?  No misses,  don't hit no shoots, no procedurals? How much USPSA have you shot? A clean match is not a thing in USPSA like it is in SASS. They pretty much only refer to no procedurals as shooting clean. They don't announce or give out clean match awards.

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