Forum Friends - I need your recommendations please - Here is my scenario - My LGC has a tenured member that has shot Steel Challenge for many years and he decided to set up a one a month Steel Challenge shoot at our club to encourage folks like me who have never shot Steel Challenge to give it a try. The matches are run by this trained Range Officer and he is gun safe and strict BUT when I walked up on his match last month and watched for about 30 minutes - I was hooked - because he was working with a first time steel shooter behind and on the firing line to teach the basics while others were repainting the steel.
I have 3 acres in my back yard where I can legally shoot and having suppressors I am set up with a Ruger 22/45 and several 9mm's that I can suppress. I even purchased a timer last week so I guess I am starting to get a little more serious about giving this shooting sport a real try.....Now my thought is and always has been - buy something that is good quality but not off the deep end related to pricing so I would like to ask for recommendations from the forum on what targets would be good for my back yard set up?
I would like to start off by purchasing 5 round steel plates (need advice on the best size to start with - 6",8",10" ) - and what style and/or brand. I will not be shooting these with anything larger than a 45ACP. I want to buy quality and in looking I see that companies like CTS has 2X4 hangers as well as T-post hangers....Not to say I want to go with CTS but this is what I see come up quite often when I do searches....Also my soil will allow T-posts to easily be driven in the ground and/or I can dig a post hole for a 2x4 very easily also to hang the targets on.
Finally - My back yard set up is to allow me to go out and practice, practice, practice. I realize I will be limited on my layouts but if I continue to enjoy this shooting sport my plan will be to add more targets of other sizes later...Right now want to start simple....
Ready to listen and learn form those here who know....Thanks in Advance guys....Mark
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Shooting steel is just shooting. I know that seems like a smartass answer but bear with me for a minute. Steel tends to become a bullet magnet (or a miss magnet in some cases). We tend to get to steel and a couple of phenomenons happen. One, we accept the entire piece of steel as an aiming area, and two if/when we miss, we are already on the next target and have to come back to it. Sometimes this doesn't happen on paper, sometimes it does. With steel we get so wrapped around the axle in making the steel ding quickly, that our process goes out the window.
My recommendations are this. Start simple. Two steel targets. Paint them a solid color, white, black, gray, whatever. Take a can of red paint and make a small dot in the center of the target. Practice driving the sights to that dot. Start with simple transitions between the two targets, nothing complex. Most of the time in shooting multiple targets that what you loose timewise is lost in the transitions between the two. So, you want to aggressively stick the sights between the two targets and limit the amount of time you allow yourself to go between the two. Start simple putting one round on each left to right. Then switch it up and go right to left. Once you become comfortable, start placing two rounds on each. Of these four rounds you don't want it to sound like 1-2 (Pause) 3-4. You want the cadence to sound like 1-2-3-4.
Hold yourself responsible for placing the rounds near the red dot in the center of the steel. Become invested in process of what it takes to hit the steel, and not the results of just hitting the steel.
Here's another tip. Seeings you invested in a timer, shoot six rounds on a single piece of steel a few times. Look at what your splits are between the shots in the six shot strings. Now, on the timer, shoot one shot on each. Look at the times between the two shots. What you want is to get your transitions down to 1.5 times the time of your single splits on the initial six shots.
Math, no one said there would be friggin math in this. Let's just say that for the sake of me going to public schools that it takes you 1 second flat between shots on the initial six shot drills. Your transitions between targets should be no more than a 1.5. If your splits are a .5, then your transitions should be no more than a .75. If they are .2s, your transitions should be no more than a .25 and so on. That is a rule of thumb to keep you honest.
A lot of gains can be made by just dry firing this with a timer.
If you are on instagram, this is the type transitions I am speaking of.
Hope this helps.
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Steel challenge is a game about switching gears. Every stage has targets that you absolutely slam, while others you have to aim at. A lot of steel challenge is learning that.
Draws are a lot more important in steel challenge than USPSA as you have 31 draws that count compared to 10-15 or so in the average USPSA major match. Transitions are also important, but the transitions are tricky as I mentioned above.
Having a home practice range has its advantages. Namely you can practice parts of the stages. For example I might setup Roundabout, and spend time work my way through the stage. First just the draw, then I add the second plate, then the third, finally I slam through the final two.
The most versatile practice setup is 5 12" plates, plus 4 10" plates.
With that you can setup:
Five to Go
All very hard stages.
Later on buy 2 18x24" plates and you can setup everything but Smoke & Hope. Which all you need is 2 more 18x24" plates to complete the practice set.
As far as brand, I am sponsored by GT Targets and have a lot of their stuff, they are also big supporters of the sport. But even when I wasn't sponsored by them I liked the design of their hanger system.
But in case you want to shop around here are some suggestions on what to look for. I suggest getting ones that use a 2x4" as the center post. That has two advantages, it is one less thing to cause frag, and you can adjust the height both for stages that have higher plates, and for the terrain of the range you are setting up on.
I suggest avoiding targets that have a hanger that sticks through a slot in the plate. Those produce a ton of frag. Ones that have a completely solid face (like GT Targets) and ones that use a rounded head bolt produce much much less frag. Also the targets should have a slight backward angle that directs most of the frag downward and not back at the shooter. Finally they should be made out of AR500 or better steel no exceptions.
Now some setup suggestions. Always angle far to the side plates toward the shooter as they would be facing to shoot the target. Namely on Five to Go, Smoke & Hope, and Speed Option. Factor in terrain, the heights are with respect to the shooter box. So if the ground slopes upward cut the sticks shorter, if it slopes downward cut them longer. Good matches use a surveyors level, and cut the stick to the inch to get everything perfect level, for home practice you don't have to go to this extreme, but if you should factor that in if practical.
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Start off with the five 12" ones, you don't even need to set up the eight prescribed courses, just practice moving target to target.
A welcoming RO and shooting group is key to getting more people into the sport. It can be intimidating your first time to the line. Everywhere I shoot welcomes new shooters with open arms and will slow down a bit when they get to line, ask if they have questions, and give pointers after their runs.
I will warn you the sound of lead bouncing off steel is addictive.
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Let's see, divide by, no, carry the, no, that's not right either.
Yo, dude! 1.5 times the .2sec split is .3 sec, not .25
I'm not letting you anywhere near my checkbook.
A mind is a terrible thing.
Guys - Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to provide the details you did in the above posts. I think my plan is to take what has been recommended here and get me a set of 5 quality AR500 plates that use the carriage bolts and 2x4" hangers - BUT - I am also going to follow Mr. JJones recommendation and only set up two to start with and paint the plates white with a red 1" stencil painted dot in the center of each. My first 3-5 sessions I will follow JJones instructions until I can consistently blister that 1" red circle.....Starting with the slow consistent movement from left to right as slow as I need to to accomplish consistent center strikes and then do the same from right to left.
Only after I can do this multiple times consistently will I then add the other 3 plates and with that set up my first course.
Another slight set back - I learned today that my brand new CE Pocket Pro 2 timer on its highest sensitivity level will NOT pick up my rimfire shots when shooting suppressed.... Called CE and the lady said that is why the timer has a 2nd buzzer so that I work against the timers internal stop watch....so I will have to shoot supersonic rounds or just take the suppressor off my 22/45 Lite....Not a big deal - neighbors will not be real happy but that is part of living in the county.....and I have about 10k rds of 22LR to start my lessons......
One final question please guys - What are your recommendations on the distance I should start at for these drills? I am thinking 10 or 15 yards since that seems to be the distance I see in many of the courses that use the 12" plate.....
Again thanks to all of you for providing this information. I WILL listen and follow your directions/suggestions/recommendations......
Who knows - a year from now I may go on the circuit and become the Senior (over 55) Mississippi Redneck State Steel Challenge Shooting Champion....Like to set my goals realistically high.....Mark
Where in Mississippi are you? There's a guy down around Hattiesburg that can fix you up with whatever set up you want in terms of steel for competition.
The DAA Shotmaxx watch as a built in accelerometer that should work with a suppressed 22. It works with Airsoft. The bad news is that it is expensive and the quality of the unit can be hit or miss. The new version is allegedly better than the one I had.
I second the "you can get a crap load better with dry fire" suggestion.
I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew...
Hey, at least he wasn't pushing for .23. Have you taken a class from Jerry? He'll definitely push you.
Tha1000 - I am going to start with the second buzzer option on my Pocket Pro 2 unit. I have been playing with this option and for backyard use I think it will work great.....
Also - email sent to you on the Hattiesburg contact....
I replied and got your out of office. He's in Columbus, not Columbia. So, your clean living pays off. No shipping!
I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew...
Here is a link to the Steel Challenge web site. You may want to download the rule book, which has the courses of fire so you can lay them out.
I would recommend you shoot a few matches first. We all started somewhere so don't let that get in your way.
Let me know if you have any questions, I will be glad to help any way I can.
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