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Hey all-

What's the best 9mm ammo for shooting steel targets?

Bruce



Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"It is better to be considered a house cat and sit on the lap of pretty girls than to be feared as a tiger and hunted by men."- T. Takamatsu
 
Posts: 2245 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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What are you trying to accomplish with your shots?

If it’s just to make a “ding!” then it’s whatever your gun is most accurate and reliable with. In my experience with most shooting disciplines and targets, it doesn’t really matter as long as the gun works correctly for every shot.

If, however, it’s to knock over reactive plates/poppers/etc., then it’s whatever load delivers the most momentum to the target while being accurate enough and reliable. Look at the ballistic figures for whatever you’re considering and multiply the muzzle velocity times the bullet weight. Whatever has the highest result would be best, assuming of course, reliability and adequate accuracy.

When shooting at reactive steel, the 9mm is at a definite disadvantage as compared with the 45 ACP and 40 S&W. Of all the steel poppers I’ve shot, I’ve seen 9mm loads fail to knock them over on many occasions, but only once with 40 S&W—and that was on a target whose plate was tilted forward at a significant angle.




“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
—With credit to Mark Twain, even if he didn’t say exactly that.
 
Posts: 36763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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#1 -- what sigfreund said

#2 -- your favorite bulk FMJ, based on your other thread about looking for torso-shaped steel targets
 
Posts: 4764 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm just looking for 1) "DING!" and 2) less shrapnel. I picked a few jagged pieces out of myself (the bridge of the nose was impressively bloody) at MOAC 2016.

Does TMJ fragment less?

Bruce



Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"It is better to be considered a house cat and sit on the lap of pretty girls than to be feared as a tiger and hunted by men."- T. Takamatsu
 
Posts: 2245 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know if FMJ fragments more or less than anything else. Frangible bullets will fragment the least, however I'm not really sold on them.

Shrapnel is generally minimized by:
- Keeping your distance from the steel target. Some target companies recommend a minimum distance of 15 yards. I've shot at steel as close as 5 yards with pistols, but we were definitely feeling fragments here and there.

- Angle the target downwards, so more of the splash goes to the ground than up into the air. Probably 15-20 degrees angle is enough.

- Do everything possible to avoid pitting your steel. Pitted and cupped surfaces throw fragments at uncertain angles. Smooth steel supposedly throws fragments at a consistent 20 angle to the plate's surface. Heavier steel (3/8" vs 1/4" thick) cups less. Even AR-500 steel shows surface pitting with impacts from bullets moving more than 2200-2400 (-ish) fps. Don't shoot rifles at steel unless the target is at least 100 yards away, although 200 yards is better. Don't shoot steel-core bullets at steel targets. Don't shoot hard copper-monolith-solids bullets at steel targets. A target that swings freely on bullet impact tends to pit less than a target that doesn't move on impact.
 
Posts: 4764 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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This is a link to the Action Target guide to using steel targets. (Clicking the link will download the guide.) I didn’t read through it just now, but as I recall, they say the safest handgun bullets are hollow points at a peppy velocity (despite what many trainers believe). In any event, I haven’t seen any FMJ handgun ammunition that runs at least 900 fps that doesn’t fragment and splatter when it hits steel at handgun training distances, and that’s good. What’s reportedly most dangerous are low velocity projectiles that hold together when they bounce off plates rather than disintegrating.

Action Target and other steel target manufacturers recommend shooting handguns at undamaged plates no closer than 10 yards, so I won’t mention how close I’ve shot them. I’m pretty careful to follow that 10 yard advice when training others, though.

The times I’ve heard of fragments hitting shooters with enough force to cause injury is when the bullets hit something other than a clean target. As explained in the above guide, brackets, mounting bolts, etc., can cause fragments to travel in unpredictable directions. I just heard of someone taking a good hit in the face with a fragment from a bullet that hit the edge of a deflector strip in front of a rack of resettable plates. Most of my training with steel targets is on plates that have nothing to interfere with the fragments’ traveling in straight, predictable lines.

Despite all that, though, high quality eye protection rated for impact is a must.




“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
—With credit to Mark Twain, even if he didn’t say exactly that.
 
Posts: 36763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Old Air Cavalryman
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Perhaps these offer a good solution for you:

http://www.polycaseammo.com/project/inceptor-rnp/




"Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying who shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I, send me."

GCO member


 
Posts: 6575 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice!

I ordered a few boxes to see if they will reliably cycle the guns.

Thanks,

Bruce



Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"It is better to be considered a house cat and sit on the lap of pretty girls than to be feared as a tiger and hunted by men."- T. Takamatsu
 
Posts: 2245 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Something to keep in mind about using frangible (composite) bullet ammunition is that the first big steel target killer is velocity. I have read at least one statement by a steel target manufacturer that high velocity frangible loads can damage their plates even though the bullets disintegrate and don’t cause fragment hazards. That might not matter if all we do is shoot frangible bullets, but switching back to conventional bullets might be a problem.

You might want to test and check carefully before firing large numbers of such loads at your targets.




“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
—With credit to Mark Twain, even if he didn’t say exactly that.
 
Posts: 36763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A coated lead bullet will offer less frags than a jacketed IMO. Distance to target & target integrity are important. If the steel is badly dinged up, bullets can go anywhere.


IF YOU AREN'T HANDLOADING, YOU AREN'T SHOOTING ENOUGH!
NRA Instruc: Basic Pistol & Met Reloading
 
Posts: 7620 | Location: ca, usa | Registered: February 17, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
Something to keep in mind about using frangible (composite) bullet ammunition is that the first big steel target killer is velocity. I have read at least one statement by a steel target manufacturer that high velocity frangible loads can damage their plates even though the bullets disintegrate and don’t cause fragment hazards.

I have personally experienced this.

My AR500 steel tends to show slight surfaces dimples at MVs above 2300 fps. With my 16" barrel carbine and 75-77 grain ammo, I experience such dimples at 60 yards from muzzle to target. I wanted to practice on steel positioned in an erosion gully, alternating between handgun and carbine. But in this instance I was close enough to steel that I would damage its surface.

So I bought some Fiocchi 45 grain Sinterfire ammo. Even though the bullets are frangible, the MV was so high that I experienced slight surface dimples at 80 yards from muzzle to target. Thus, FGMM 77 dinged up targets less than frangible 45.
 
Posts: 4764 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
Thus, FGMM 77 dinged up targets less than frangible 45.


Thank you, fritz, for that confirmation.
Useful information.




“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
—With credit to Mark Twain, even if he didn’t say exactly that.
 
Posts: 36763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Any thoughts on what 65gr 9mm and 1525 fps will do to 3/8" AR500? I just bought the damned things and don't want to damage them.

Bruce



Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"It is better to be considered a house cat and sit on the lap of pretty girls than to be feared as a tiger and hunted by men."- T. Takamatsu
 
Posts: 2245 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
Any thoughts on what 65gr 9mm and 1525 fps will do to 3/8" AR500?


Just a thought, but I wouldn’t. When I first got an Action Target dueling tree with 3/8" AR500, I used some 357 SIG running about 1330 fps with it, and the impacts left marks on the plates. They were very faint, but could be seen and felt. The plates have been hit countless times with common 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP without anything similar occurring, so I decided to not use 357 SIG on AR500 steel.




“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
—With credit to Mark Twain, even if he didn’t say exactly that.
 
Posts: 36763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Retired, laying back
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:

Just a thought, but I wouldn’t. When I first got an Action Target dueling tree with 3/8" AR500, I used some 357 SIG running about 1330 fps with it, and the impacts left marks on the plates. They were very faint, but could be seen and felt. The plates have been hit countless times with common 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP without anything similar occurring, so I decided to not use 357 SIG on AR500 steel.


Had the same thing happen to me with some hot 38 super loads behind a 135 HP bullet on an Action Target 3/8" AR500 8" gong. Left very faint dings but you could feel them when you run your finger over the plate. I normally shoot plated at under 1200 and have no problems.



Freedom comes from the will of man. In America it is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment
 
Posts: 540 | Location: Northern Alabama | Registered: June 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Middle children
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quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
Any thoughts on what 65gr 9mm and 1525 fps will do to 3/8" AR500? I just bought the damned things and don't want to damage them.

Bruce


If you are talking about that new Polycase ammo then it's hard to tell what it will do to the steel. Their injection molded polymer obviously has much lower density than lead or solid copper. So the lower density across a similar geometric profile as a standard 9mm bullet may not cause dimples even with the higher velocity depending on how it disperses energy upon impact. You will probably just have to try a few and see.

If that polycase ammo keeps you from getting another copper jacket in the face over the course of several thousand rounds, and you do have to eventually replace a ~$50 piece of steel, that may still be worthwhile.




I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.

-Vince Lombardi
 
Posts: 2110 | Location: Ohio | Registered: September 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Brett B:
If that polycase ammo keeps you from getting another copper jacket in the face over the course of several thousand rounds, and you do have to eventually replace a ~$50 piece of steel, that may still be worthwhile.

I believe he's using IPSC-shaped steel. $50 will buy a 45% size (roughly 8" x 13.5"). Figure $85-90 for a 2/3 IPSC target (12" x 20"), and $200 for full size 3/8" thick steel. Bruce must confirm what size(s) he purchased, but I think he invested about $200 in steel.

For ongoing practice, cardboard IPSC targets work quite well out to 10 yards. Masking tape is our friend.

Steel targets at 10-15 yards is reasonable, especially with mid- to full-sized IPSC. At least with my steel, pistol-velocity ammo doesn't damage the steel's surface.
 
Posts: 4764 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I bought this one, and the small one:
GT targets IPSC

I emailed them. They say they're tested to 1600fps with 124gr jacketed bullets so they should be fine.

I will report back.

Bruce



Hanlon's Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, that reads "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

"It is better to be considered a house cat and sit on the lap of pretty girls than to be feared as a tiger and hunted by men."- T. Takamatsu
 
Posts: 2245 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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