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#3249335 - 08/23/09 How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets?
jimmyp Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/28/03
Posts: 12356
Loc: Georgia
We are considering building a range on our new hunting lease and were wondering if we could get a thicker sheet of steel maybe 30 x 30 inches or so and set it on a 30 degree angle to direct bullets into the ground, how thick would it have to be to stop anything from a 300WM on down from say 25 yards on out? I have never shot steel except my fathers barbacue pit which was 1/4 mild steel and my 222 remington shot right thru it at 50 yards and dinged the far side. My Dad dinged me of course for this stunt...so the question...how thick?
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#3249405 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimmyp]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 18270
Loc: Mississippi
Jimmy,

I don't shoot at steel any closer than 200 yds with a jacketed bullet in any caliber, this means .17 and up. It's very dangerous to get closer than that. So please don't do it.

25 yds is ok for low velocity lead bullets. NO JACKETED BULLETS & nothing over 1000 fps.

Some recommend shooting at steel with jacketed rifle bullets no closer than 300yds.

We used 3/4" T1 steel. It doesn't pit or cup, so it won't throw a bullet back at you or into the wild blue yonder.

It's expensive, my sizes are 6x6" @ 200. 10x10 @ 300 and 12x12" @ 400 yds.

Smallish but will make you a better marksman.

Be safe,

JM.


Edited by JohnMoses (08/23/09)
Edit Reason: cant remember thickness

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#3249455 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: JohnMoses]
Taconic11 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 1128
Loc: Lands of Ethan & Ira Allen
Good advise.

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#3249512 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: Taconic11]
warpig602 Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 3620
Loc: Phoenix, Az....now Iowa
We have steel plate matches here once a week at ranges of sometimes 15 yards. When I used to help with the qualifications for the local PD years ago they would shoot steel even closer than that with FMJ ammo. I would say haveing non pitted steel would be more of a concern than the distance. Just my .02

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#3249657 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: warpig602]
stillbeeman Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 2794
Loc: middle Tenn
At my club in XX, we had a Dr shoot himself in the hand while rapid firing a pistol at a swinging target at 15 yards. Don't know what sort of bullet he was using.


Edited by stillbeeman (08/23/09)
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#3249666 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: warpig602]
jpb Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 06/30/01
Posts: 7125
Loc: northern Sweden
Originally Posted By: warpig602
We have steel plate matches here once a week at ranges of sometimes 15 yards. When I used to help with the qualifications for the local PD years ago they would shoot steel even closer than that with FMJ ammo. I would say haveing non pitted steel would be more of a concern than the distance. Just my .02

The original poster was asking about rifles (300 Win Mag) if I understand it correctly. Not pistols...

But I have been wrong before! smile

John

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#3249670 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: stillbeeman]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 18270
Loc: Mississippi
ricochet injury

It happens.

Hi Jpb,

Having shot steel in 3 gun matches for years I wanted to bring up the fact that pistol as well as rifle ammo can cause deadly ricochets.

The short distance he stated was too close to shoot anything safely using a rifle or pistol non frangible jacketed bullet.

If i had just said don't shoot it with a 300 mag and he or someone else shot it with a 223 or a pistol using the wrong ammo and got hurt I'd feel bad for not explaining dangers of using any type of firearm with non frangible jacketed bullets at close range.

Best,

JM.

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#3249684 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimmyp]
jimdgc Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 516
Loc: North TX
We recently rebuilt our range using steel baffles. AR500 steel 1/2" thick will stop a .470 NE 500 gr. solid at 10 ft. We had it tested at White Laboratories. Setting the steel at an angle with a sand pit under it should work. We have 2" of recycled rubber bonded to ours. The steel and rubber can be purchased from Range Systems.

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#3249799 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jpb]
warpig602 Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 3620
Loc: Phoenix, Az....now Iowa
Originally Posted By: jpb
Originally Posted By: warpig602
We have steel plate matches here once a week at ranges of sometimes 15 yards. When I used to help with the qualifications for the local PD years ago they would shoot steel even closer than that with FMJ ammo. I would say haveing non pitted steel would be more of a concern than the distance. Just my .02

The original poster was asking about rifles (300 Win Mag) if I understand it correctly. Not pistols...

But I have been wrong before! smile

John


Indeed, I was responding to the gentleman who was givng his opinion on safe distances. Accidents can happen at any range, I guess it's up to you how much of a risk you're willing to take. I can say I have never seen an accident at close range but that doesnt mean they dont happen. Just the same i'm sure accidents are possible from 200 yards away.


Edited by warpig602 (08/23/09)

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#3250210 - 08/23/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimdgc]
jimmyp Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/28/03
Posts: 12356
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: jimdgc
We recently rebuilt our range using steel baffles. AR500 steel 1/2" thick will stop a .470 NE 500 gr. solid at 10 ft. We had it tested at White Laboratories. Setting the steel at an angle with a sand pit under it should work. We have 2" of recycled rubber bonded to ours. The steel and rubber can be purchased from Range Systems.

this is what we are going to do. Angle the plate by 30-35 degrees down so the bullets go down into a sand pit. A 1 inch thick by 36" x 36" width/lenght plate is 400 pounds, I would surely rather have to deal with 1/2 plate at 200
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#3250436 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimmyp]
Klikitarik Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/13/03
Posts: 13302
Loc: Alaska - N63º, W162º
It seems obvious to me that you're intending to create ricochets - controlled and contained ricochets. I can't see where this would be a problem as long as your angle is carefully chosen in order to create safe deflections. Obviously one would also have to be careful to insure that the deflected bullets could not encounter other hard objects or surfaces which might create dangerous secondary deflections. As for the thickness of metal needed to avoid deformation, I don't know for certain but think- based on some experience- that 1/2", even if it isn't the hardest steel, should work for a deflection plate. You might test some smaller pieces first to be sure. (And shoot them with the fastest, not necessarily the hardest or heaviest bullets you have. Speed creates penetration when metal is the target.)
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#3250548 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: Klikitarik]
jimmyp Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/28/03
Posts: 12356
Loc: Georgia
Good point, I should buy a 1 foot square plate, position it at a 35 degree down angle and shoot it with something fast before buying the entire darn thing.
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#3250937 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimmyp]
86thecat Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 11/23/06
Posts: 1901
Loc: Southern Black Hills SD
I have a couple of 1/2 inch plates to set up (for pistol)and am going to mount them with two pieces of 1/4 x 2" flat bar, welded to the back at +- 30 degrees. The flat bars will pivot on a pin at the top and there will be a stop so it can only swing back but not forward. Should deflect rounds down and allow the plate to move back with the impact but not pivot forward enough to deflect bullets back at the firing line. Just remember to allow for the angle when cutting the plates, a circle will need to be cut as an oval and square will need to be cut as a rectangle.

There was a one inch thick mild steel plate at 100 yds (hung plumb) at the range and although rifle bullets had not punched through it, the surface looked like the moon. Some craters were more than 1/2 inch deep.

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#3251625 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: 86thecat]
whelennut Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 4791
Loc: Minnesota
We were shooting at a contraption made of steel last weekend and the target has a spring on it so it pops back up.
My friends daughter was observing on the firing line.
She started crying and holding her neck and then we noticed she had a welt on her neck that looked like a second degree burn. It didn't penetrate the skin luckily.
It was intended to be a pistol target and some guy was shooting his 30-30 at it. (Maybe 30 yds away.)
He won't be invited back next time!
whelennut
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There is only one kind of dead, but there are many different kinds of wounded.

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#3251675 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimdgc]
temmi Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/09/06
Posts: 10068
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: jimdgc
We recently rebuilt our range using steel baffles. AR500 steel 1/2" thick will stop a .470 NE 500 gr. solid at 10 ft. We had it tested at White Laboratories. Setting the steel at an angle with a sand pit under it should work.



I know we are talking about rifle bullets but our Naval Reserve Center had an in door pistol range set up just like that in the 70s. We shot .45s a lot.

They said it was old Cruiser Armor whatever kind of steel that was.



Edited by temmi (08/24/09)
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#3251828 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: temmi]
ltppowell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 10/12/04
Posts: 34927
Loc: SE Texas
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#3252042 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: ltppowell]
dogcatcher223 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 14145
Loc: Kolorado
I just built a steel gong out of a cutting edge from a loader bucket. It is 24"x12". We plan on hanging it from chains we welded to it, so it could swing. I was concerned about ricochets, but figured as long as it was 500yds+, it would be ok?

Is my thinking flawed?

Thanks.
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#3252128 - 08/24/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: dogcatcher223]
ltppowell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 10/12/04
Posts: 34927
Loc: SE Texas
My vote is yes. We shoot steel all the time and I have never seen a bullet striking a surface squarely become a problem. Even at close range, shrapnel is about the only problem, but apparently it happens.
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If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.

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#3253422 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: ltppowell]
jimmyp Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/28/03
Posts: 12356
Loc: Georgia

good thing he had that hat on.

If you shoot something square, there is the opportunity for a return, I cannot see that opportunity if the plate is slanted down unless the surface becomes pocked or distorted in some fashion.
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#3253687 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: jimmyp]
shinbone Offline
Member

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 70
Loc: northern Virginia
I used to work with a guy who used a .223 to shoot varmints on his farm. One day he decided to see how much steel his .223 would penetrate. He propped up a steel plate against a saw horse, walked back about 50 yds and shot the steel plate while standing. The slug impacted the steel plate, and then a slug fragment bounced back and hit my friend in the abdomen and penetrated his liver. He had to have surgery to remove the fragment and spent a week in the hospital contemplating inelastic collisions.

Another video of a ricochet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS4tcLg5oCg

--shinbone

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#3253786 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: shinbone]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 18270
Loc: Mississippi
The Shin bone's connected to the....Leg Bone,

The Leg bone's connected to the......Hip Bone,

Sorry,

But since your name has now stuck that song in my head I had to do it. grin

Best,

JM.

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#3253818 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: JohnMoses]
CGPAUL Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/15/04
Posts: 1692
If you want to see the effect of cuping in mild steel, shoot one hung above snow. Do not be within 30yrds of the target...the snow looks like it was shot with a shotgun!

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#3254301 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: CGPAUL]
Oldtrader3 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 275
Loc: Washington State
I actually have a scar on my left shoulder from accidentaly shooting at a steel backhoe blade that was covered by Kudzu in a gravel pit. I fired a 152 gr, 7.62 Nato FMJ from a .308 Winchester into the gravel pit and hit the blade about 20-25 yards away.

The core of the bullet ricocheted and penetrated my shoulder about three inches. The deformed bullet core was stopped by my upper arm bone. I noticed smoke coming from a .30 caliber hole in my shirt, plus, my shoulder felt a burning sensation and blood was dripping off my fingertips. A sign that all was not well!

Since I had been a Corpsman in the Army Infantry, I always carry a Army Field Surgical Kit in my car when shooting. I took a hemostat and removed the bullet and put a dressing on the wound.

Anyhow a lesson learned, the moral of this story is: don't shoot at hardened steel with high velocity, FMJ, centerfire-rifle ammunition, period!
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#3254317 - 08/25/09 Re: How thick of a plate of steel to stop hunting rifle bullets? [Re: Oldtrader3]
medicman Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 3576
Loc: Ontario Canada
Originally Posted By: Oldtrader3
I actually have a scar on my left shoulder from accidentaly shooting at a steel backhoe blade that was covered by Kudzu in a gravel pit. I fired a 152 gr, 7.62 Nato FMJ from a .308 Winchester into the gravel pit and hit the blade about 20-25 yards away.

The core of the bullet ricocheted and penetrated my shoulder about three inches. The deformed bullet core was stopped by my upper arm bone. I noticed smoke coming from a .30 caliber hole in my shirt, plus, my shoulder felt a burning sensation and blood was dripping off my fingertips. A sign that all was not well!

Since I had been a Corpsman in the Army Infantry, I always carry a Army Field Surgical Kit in my car when shooting. I took a hemostat and removed the bullet and put a dressing on the wound.

Anyhow a lesson learned, the moral of this story is: don't shoot at hardened steel with high velocity, FMJ, centerfire-rifle ammunition, period!



Having the tools and presence of mind does keep enquiring minds from wanting to know. Gun shot wounds of any kind must be reported to the police in Canada. I take stapler in the bush in case of significant laceration or penetrating injury. Not admitting personal foolishness...priceless.

Randy

PS thanks for your service as a corpsman.
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And I know the blood still cleansess
Deeper than the sin has gone
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