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6/24/2014 7:43 AM  #1

Hanging Metal Targets Safely

This came up on another website and I thought it would be a good thing to post here as well with this information.  You can never talk about safety enough, IMHO.

Metal targets should be hung in the following manner to allow bullet deflection - downward.  Aside from safety, it also prolongs the life of your metal targets.


6/24/2014 4:42 PM  #2

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

Good idea!  Thanks.



7/10/2014 2:45 AM  #3

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

great piece - our club shot metal for 20 years .what we also learned is do not put any heavy plate targets closer than 35 yards or you will get metal splatter all the way back to firing line.we are talking big pieces that draw blood.


7/10/2014 8:14 AM  #4

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

You bet, dag!  We set our metal out at a minimum of 50 yards, and outlaw "wheel weight" lead (though there is no real way to inforce the wheel weight rule).  Soft lead only, and only metal targets that do not have potholes in them.  This AR500 metal seems to fit the bill nicely.

     Thread Starter

7/11/2014 11:47 PM  #5

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

you brought up a very good piont snuffer.we had a 3/4 inch thick  12 inch circle that our one range officer insisted on puting up at 25 yards.he claimed need easy target for poor shooters. well you got it even soft lead at 25 yards  will put deep ijndentations  in the face with 50 and 54 cal .  the more  ball marksit got  the worse big pieces of lead splatter it want a fun metal target get a 3 inch wide bar 2 1/2  feet long and hang it at a 40 degree angle at 50 yards.that one drives eveybody crazy with all the plazama torches around anothe on is make a wavy snake body and hang it up at angle


7/12/2014 11:44 PM  #6

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

I'm glad we have this site here as I hope it will help educate folks on metal target safety, and yes I too have seen even the .45 soft lead ball crater soft (non-armored) metal targets hanging straight down at 100 yards.  I truly believe AR500 metal hung at a good deflection angle at a minimum range of not less then 40 yards (though we set our minimum at 50) is by far the safest route since the impact of the ball is immediately deflected downward with the target moving rearward therefore not allowing the gong to absorb the "straight on" impact of the ball with all its energy.

As for easy targets at 25 yards for poor shooters, I think the Range Officer's heart was in the right place but I'm not sure where his mind set was?

I'm of the opinion after 40 years in this game that most poor shooters never bother to learn to shoot simply because they don't practice.  Our club has several of these, and it's also the same ones that hold up the line each month by dry balling, clogged nipple, or swabbing with to wet a patch that they've fouled their load.  Eventually it just kind of ticks a person off when they don't even know how to fix the "miss-fire" they so frequantly have created - yet they won't bother to educate themselves to move forward with a trouble free outing even after we educate them over and over.  Geez I've been wanting to say something about this for a long time.

Sorry for straying off course.  Poor shots at 25 yards.  I'd suggest a 100 yard 7 Ring Black - paper target (NRA TQ-4) and tell them their first goal should be to keep 5 shots on the 14" x 14" target paper, their 2nd goal is to keep 5 shots in the scoring rings, their 3rd goal should be to keep 5 shots in the black, and their 4th goal should be to repeat their 3rd goal and tighten their group.  Then maybe, just maybe, they might be getting closer to shooting at a 12 inch gong from 40 or 50 yards.

     Thread Starter

7/13/2014 12:08 AM  #7

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

Yup, bigger gongs, not shorter range. We had one that was 18" or more, square, at 50-60 yards. It was good for visitors and encouraging newcomers, but we found most folks fairly quickly moved on and accepted the challenge.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West
"Speed's fine, but accuracy's final." Bill Jordan

10/07/2014 9:56 PM  #8

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

i have personally witnessed a ball deflecting off a gong and coming back to the firing line striking someone in the chest. gladly it did not leave an injury.


7/18/2015 3:02 PM  #9

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

I even withnessed the same problem at a fun shoot where bowling pins where used. Lead came flying back at an alarming rate ... It was quickly decided to abandon those bowling pins and find some other fun target...


8/10/2015 8:18 PM  #10

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

Safe gongs are hung at a downward angle and should not be of soft metal, but rather a minimum of AR400 (at ranges beyond 75 yards, and AR500 at ranges under 75 yards. The gong must be hung so there is no restriction of transferred energy (something behind the gong that stops its swing) when it is hit. Properly hung gongs of proper metal are safe to shoot, and they should be set at a minimum of 50 yards.

We set our club match gongs at - (1/2" thick x AR500) 50, 55, 60 yards, and (3/8" thick X AR500) 65, 70, 75 yards. All are swingers that are hung with chain in a downward angle from wood frames with nothing to obstruct the gongs rearward movement when hit.

We do have plans for shooting further (offhand) at gongs (80, 85, 90, 95, 100 yards, and these will be AR400 x 1/4") unless 3/8" x AR500 is available.

Never hang nor shoot at any gong with a crater in it. Never lean a gong against something when shooting at it - the ball/bullet will come back towards you.


     Thread Starter

12/16/2015 9:19 PM  #11

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

So, this past weekend Sunday we had our regular December Club match that would have been on the primitive steel target range.  However, for several different reasons we decided to do something a little different.  It was raining all day, so we shot under our covered firing line on the paper range.  We didn't want to do another paper match.  So we used several different self-healing (durra-seal) rubber targets.  They worked really very well.  Very reactive and the 58, 54, 45 & 40 used didn't tear up the targets too bad.  They could probably be used for several 100 shots or more.  The best part is the safety of minimum risk of ricochet or spraying splatter.  A good back stop is very important for this type of target.  Thoughts?

Parkawood -

12/17/2015 5:59 AM  #12

Re: Hanging Metal Targets Safely

This is a good thread. I'm glad to see it coming back up. At our club (Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club in Palm Bay, FL) we have a few steel silhouette targets laying around in our target shack. We have one spot on our range at approx. 50 yds where a steel pig target gets hung during our twice monthly shoots.
One thing I can tell you is having a SAFE steel target to shoot at definitely animates several members of the group, increases chatter and challenges and is a lot more fun as a "group activity" than poking holes in paper and looking through spotting scopes.
We're going to be reviewing that activity to make sure we're doing it in the most safe manner possible and I suspect some of the information and ideas in this thread will come into the conversation.
Thanks to all for the input.


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