I have a couple of steel plates, 5/8" thick to start shooting at. I have chain welded to the back so they can be hung.
What is a min safe distance to shoot from?
I am shooting a 338 RUM with 225 gr AB and 280AI with 160 gr AB.
I personally do not care to shoot at steel closer then 200 yards but that is me personally. THat has as much to do with that I am shooting them with and how hard they are on steel targets as much as anything else.
TO be honest, if your shooting a conventional cup jacketed bullet, anything past 100 yards should be plenty safe. With the harder accubonds I would not shoot closer then 200 yards because there will be larger bullet frags coming off those bullets when they hit the steel. They will also be harder on mild steep plate as well at the closer ranges.
One thing to remember is that if you can get a bit of cant on the steel it will direct the bullet frags down into the ground. Since you have the chains welded to the back of the plate, I suspect you already have this angle when the steel is hanging.
With my Allen Magnums I do not shoot at steel closer then 500 yards, rips the gong right off the chains. Need bigger chains I guess!!!!
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You don't say what kind of steel it is but if it's regular mild steel I'd not even think about shooting it at less than 300 yards just for the survival of the steel. Safety wise I'd agree with Kirby on the 200 yards. I've seen a lot of videos of lead and pieces flying back from steel at 100 yards and less.
A friend of mine put up some 5/8" mild steel at 200 and 300 yards where we shoot. He'd been shooting it with 243s and 30/06 rounds. I asked him if I could try the one at 300 with my 7mm AM. Shots one and two put nice big holes through it and shot #3 tore the steel off the chains. Guess who had to go out to 300 yards, pack the steel back, get it fixed, pack it back and put it up.
I now have a couple of plates of AR500 and they work so much better. Steel is, in my opinion, better used at longer ranges. anything closer than 500 yards or so and you can use clay pigeons, pop cans, etc. and save your steel for the longer fun stuff.
I was kind of thinking 300 yds myself just to save the steel. I also saw the video of the 50BMG and it got me to thinking!
I'm not sure what grade it is but I'm sure it is softer than AR500.
Kirby, thanks for the tip on the angle. I will take a look at this. I may be able to adjust the angle by putting a bolt through the link that is welded to the plate. This would cause the top of the plate to lean forward more than the bottom.
Call any local steel service center and ask them if you can look thru their scap bins. The AR500 has a color code of orange/black, so keep an eye out for that . When you find it they might just give it to you or sell it to you for scrap price (.33, when i took some scrap in this spring ) as long as they dont have to process it in any way i.e burn or shear etc. Hope this helps.