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Close Range Steel Safety Testing

Close Range Steel Safety Test

So we are working on getting the upper range finished. And one thing that has been a nagging issue up there is steel that is safe to shoot at close ranges.

Why is this a thing you ask?

Well…we were always trained that shooting steel with 5.56 had to be at least 100 yards distant. 308 was 200 yards. Some of this was to protect the steel (what my old boss called burning steel) and some was to protect the shooter.

Here’s the problem. While this range is not a public endeavor, it is very possible that someone could take a shot at some steel at close range.

Frankly, I see people on the internet do it all the time and it has bothered me. See comment from old boss above.

So…if…we are going to break the 100 yard rule, let’s buy some steel that gives us the best chance for success. I didn’t say sure thing. I said best chance. TAKE NOTE: this is dangerous anyway you approach it.

Late last year, a staff member showed me this high-angle steel made by Superior Ideas Steel out of Florida. It has two angle settings: pistol and rifle. The video is shot using the most extreme rifle angle. 35 degrees.

Seems pretty neat. But what works for us quite well was the use of T-posts as the bases. Our facility is permanent and using 2×4 wood is a no-go. But we have a few thousand yards of T-posts! And stock them anyway for fencing.


First: We bought this target from SI. They don’t know us from Adam.

Second: everything you see in this video assumes a certain amount of risk to the shooter and vehicle shown. Don’t take that warning casually.

Third: the use of extreme angled steel on targets isn’t universally accepted as safe and we are not representing it as such.

Flat steel that gives when struck, is represented as breaking up a bullet into a 360 degree vertical kill zone. So the chances of something coming straight back at the firing position are small.

Extreme angled steel is represented as throwing fragments down like bumping a ball off the side of a pool table.

The argument against extreme angled steel is…if even some of the fragments go up instead of down, the greater the angle, the closer the fragments are to flying over the shooter’s head.

And the closer one gets to the steel, the worse the angle numbers look. No free lunch here. Dangerous things are dangerous.

My summation:
To me, it doesn’t “feel right” to shoot 5.56 close range at flat steel. It wigs me out. So we will keep experimenting with this type of target and purchase a few more for the Upper Range.

One way or the other, we’ve got to get this solved. Might have a SWAT team out this summer. And those boys ARE expecting a functioning, safe range!

No pressure!


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