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Cowboy steel indoor safety?


Currahee

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Anybody experience shooting steel indoors? 

We shoot outdoors and any lead richochet bits are usually landing in the dirt where they stay.  But what about hitting concrete?  Does this increase the risk?

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Howdy Currahee,

 

Years ago I was invited to some winter indoor cowboy "practice" shoots. No steel. They hung those plastic/rubber self-sealing targets. You could see them move when hit. It was not a competitive event, but it did keep the rust from forming on both the guns and the shooter.

 

Rev. Chase

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I have shot steel at a range with enclosed bays. The bays have a rear earthen backstop, but the roof is concrete @ about 20' high, the walls are filled cinder block with 3/4" PR plywood and an open-air front . The range is located very close to an International airport and the overhead concrete baffles are required if the range is to stay in operation as 737's and such fly over all the time.

 

Even with targets set at proper angles, the splatter from all of the guns (rifle, pistols, shotgun) is considerably more noticeable than open air ranges, especially shotgun splatter. I've dug lead out of myself on numerous occasions, both there and open-air ranges. The other problem was that smoke and the fine dust kicked up had no place to escape so you breathe that for the entire match. 

 

If the indoor range was truly an indoor type, enclosed concrete walls/ceilings range, I wouldn't shoot steel there. If the range had concrete floors/walls/ceilings, no way in hell would I shoot steel there.

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Lead Back Splatter is a product of Physics.  The target faces have to be set at Back Angles at the bottom to deflect spent bullets and shot DOWN.  The floor under the targets MUST be lined with thick carpet or wood to absorb spent bullets and shot.  NO targets can be at right angles to the firing line.  The bay walls would need to be lined with material to trap spent bullets and shot.  The overhead would require baffles, probably wood, to trap spent bullets and shot.  Absolutely NO rebar target stands.  Absolutely NO reactive targets whether for Rifle, Pistol or Shotgun.

 

Then, large fans are needed behind the firing lines to "Overpressure" shooting bays, with exhaust fans at the far end, vented OUT of the shooting bays.  The overpressure and venting are extremely important.  

 

If even ONE of these requirements is NOT met, the range is NOT SAFE to use.  Don't go there.

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Bad idea.  When I was a wee laddie, Dad brought home a bullet trap for in-basement use with our Crossman CO2 pellet guns.  Something like seen below.

 

We put a couple of sheets of 3/4" plywood behind it, "just in case."  The trap was also rated for .22LR but with a minimum distance of about 25 yards, which we didn't have in our basement because we lived in a normal-sized house.  Even the .177 pellets, even centered in the opening, created a fair amount of lead mess right in front, and I have no doubt that we were breathing lead dust too (which explains a lot, I've been told).  If shooting .177 pellets made a lead mess when shot into a purpose-designed trap, that tells you all you need to know about the safety and wisdom of shooting every other sort of lead projectile at any other sort of steel indoors, in my opinion.  (I'm not talking about indoor shooting ranges with all appropriate backstop, walls, floor, ceiling, and ventilation -- in which case it might be at least not a completely bad idea.  But I still wouldn't do it.)

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Edited by Nostrum Damus SASS #110702
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I've spent years shooting falling plate (rack) matches indoors and even that fairly simple match requires certain precautions, primarily  plywood sheet above the rack to prevent breaking the light bulbs.  A good ventilation system is essential.

 

Trying to setup a standard  SASS stage inside with steel is going to be much more difficult and not worth the time and expense.  If there is a reason you MUST should inside, then skip the steel and use IPSC targets or maybe staple paper plates to cardboard on wooden stands.  And forget about using shotguns.

 

 

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The Alaska 49ers' shoot indoors from Oct. to May.

What we do is put down 3/4" plywood at the backstop and then put our stands on top of them.

Then we set the shooting positions at about 15 yds. for rifle, 10 yds. for shotgun and 7 yds. for revolvers.

The targets are angled down and back. we have minor splatter issues.

 

We use one set up and shoot that setup multiple ways.

Been doing it for 20+ years with no major issues.

 

And YES we shoot shotguns indoors!!!

 

Marshal Stone

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In Germany, many shooting ranges are indoors. We have been shooting our regional championships at one of these for 20 years. There is no difference in terms of targets, weapons and ammunition compared to open ranges.

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On 6/11/2024 at 6:12 PM, Marshal Stone, SASS #53366 said:

 

The Alaska 49ers' shoot indoors from Oct. to May.

What we do is put down 3/4" plywood at the backstop and then put our stands on top of them.

Then we set the shooting positions at about 15 yds. for rifle, 10 yds. for shotgun and 7 yds. for revolvers.

The targets are angled down and back. we have minor splatter issues.

 

We use one set up and shoot that setup multiple ways.

Been doing it for 20+ years with no major issues.

 

And YES we shoot shotguns indoors!!!

 

Marshal Stone

 Ever have your lead levels tested?

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