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If you're shooting at steel plates at a distance, is there a way that you can tell where you're hitting it?

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If you're shooting at steel plates at a distance, is there a way that you can tell where you're hitting it? Empty If you're shooting at steel plates at a distance, is there a way that you can tell where you're hitting it?

Post by mikemyers on 5/15/2020, 3:17 pm

I think this is an impossible thing to accomplish, but who knows, maybe someone has a good solution.

At my range, I can either set up paper targets (which is what I usually do) or shoot at some large steel plates that are kept hanging a little beyond the 50 yard line.  Lots of people shoot at them, and every so often someone gives them a fresh coat of black paint.  Is there some way to do something to the plates, after which I can see my own hits on the plates?  Hopefully it would work for both 22 up to 45.  The best I can think of is spraying them with a coat of white paint or something - that might leave a noticeable mark.

I've been using it as a go/no-go device.  If I hear the PING, and the plate starts swinging in the air, I hit it.
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Post by zanemoseley on 5/15/2020, 3:33 pm

I use white paint for my AR500 rifle targets. Can see hits at 600 yards. Just buy the cheapest white spray paint you can find.

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Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 5/15/2020, 3:34 pm

paint & bullet splatter
not really conducive to precision training but sometimes it's necessary to make some noise.
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Post by bmize1 on 5/15/2020, 7:53 pm

There is a product out that attached to the back of the plate and has a red light to signal a hit.
I don’t remember how the light mounts, but I think it is behind on a separate post.
I’ve seen them advertised somewhere in the recent past, but do not remember the name of it.

Or you could use a suppressor......

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Post by james r chapman on 5/15/2020, 8:48 pm

IHMSA we used spotters! Lol
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Post by CrankyThunder on 5/16/2020, 6:14 am

HI Mike:

At my steel plate rimfire euphorium, I use white paint exclusively.  

Go to Wal Mart, get  a case of their aerosol white spray paint cans at $0.99/can, and have at it.  

I have tried higher quality/more expensive aerosol spray paint and while they performed better with respect to paint running and covering up the hits on a single pass, did not crack the performance/value curve to make me reach for the higher priced cans.  

Sometimes, I will get a can of black paint or red paint and paint wal mart smiley faces on all the targets.  

with the white paint, I am able to confirm my zero but it is not as precise as a paper target.

Regards, 
George (aka cranky)
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Post by mikemyers on 5/16/2020, 6:27 am

This good friend of mine, and coach, now has me dry-firing while thinking "watch the dot, wait for the bang", with the gun being fired by my subconscious mind, rather than me thinking about it.  By paying attention to the dot when the gun finally does go CLICK it's easy to tell if I disturbed the aim by how I manipulated the trigger.  I'd like to continue doing the same thing with both dry-fire and live-fire.

I'm no longer shooting at a bull, just a white wall.  It's instantly obvious as to whether the gun remained stable, or not  When I'm satisfied that this is going well, I'll start using targets again.  In the meantime, the combination of watching the red dot, while slowly and steadily applying pressure to the trigger, now results in hearing that PING sound more and more often.

I was thinking that it would be fun to walk down to the steel plate when I finish, and get a rough idea of where all those shots were going.

(My last range trip was in early March; I think it's safe enough to go there now, as long as I stay away from other people, and don't touch a lot of things.)
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Post by jwax on 5/17/2020, 5:33 pm

Also available are down range cameras that send the target (plate) image back to the shooter. You can also video record your training sessions. (And audio!).

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Post by LenV on 5/18/2020, 9:58 am

Mike, you have your answer. You do not need to see the plate to know where the bullet hit. Watch your sights then call your shot. Hearing the ding is a bonus maybe but you should know when the shot goes off if you were high, low left, right or dead center.

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Post by mikemyers on 5/18/2020, 10:49 am

LenV wrote:Mike, you have your answer. You do not need to see the plate to know where the bullet hit. Watch your sights then call your shot. Hearing the ding is a bonus maybe but you should know when the shot goes off if you were high, low left, right or dead center....
Len, I'm getting to the point where I mostly agree with you.  I'm pretty sure that I know where the hit was, but sometimes I take a shot where I thought everything was perfect, I knew that, but there is no 'ping'.  This happens most often on the first few shots I take, and later on when I'm starting to get tired.

One thing I can't do though, by calling my shots, is to know when, and how much, to adjust my sights.  Looking at 25 hit locations makes that obvious.


I'm doing my dry-firing at a blank wall.  The behavior of the dot tells me whether I disturbed the sights when I "fired".  Since mid-March, that was my goal, to have the gun 'fire' and see zero movement in the sight.

Years ago, my "wobble" was larger than the bull at 25 yards.  Thinking back on it, my targets matched the wobble.
Now, my "wobble" is so small, it's almost always in the bullseye.  Scary.
I guess what I'll start doing once I get back to the range, is to get 10 holes in the black, then the 10-ring.
Getting 10 holes in the bullseye may or may not ever happen in my lifetime.


Last thing - can any of you adjust your sights without physically seeing where the hits were on a target?
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Post by LenV on 5/18/2020, 11:16 am

Fifty cans of white paint won't help you figure out where you missed the plate completely. Only watching your sight will tell you that. There were several days in my lifetime I could of adjusted my sights without seeing the target. Because the light conditions were such I could watch the bullet all the way to the target. Don't count on that happening. Make sure it is sighted in before you shoot plates.

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Post by jwax on 5/18/2020, 12:19 pm

Maybe you want to try tracer ammunition.

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Post by radjag on 5/18/2020, 1:00 pm

Don't know how big the steel plates are? But if they are similar size to an NRA 50 yard target and you are not confident of hitting them with every shot then I would say you are wasting time and ammo shooting at a 50 yard target. Better pull back to 25 yards or even 50 feet and work on your shot process till you are getting them all in the black (like it tells you in the USMC manual).

If the issue is that you prefer not to go out frequently to change a paper target at 50 yards (that can be a problem on a public range), then, once again, the shorter range helps cause you can usually staple multiple NRA targets on one target frame (I put nine 50' targets up up at a time on one of my local range frames - I can usually get six 25yd repair centers or three 50yd repair centers on the frames at other ranges).

Just sayin'

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Post by mikemyers on 5/18/2020, 1:25 pm

The issue is that until I once again feel safe at the range, I don't want to be touching anything, or get near anyone else.  I wanted to go to the (outdoor) range, not set up target holders or targets, and just shoot at something already there - meaning one of the several steel plates.

The largest plate I hit with every shot.  The round 16" or so diameter plate I hit with 7 out of 10 shots.  The small plate, that looks about the size of a black bull on a M-8 target, I hit made half the time.

It wouldn't bother me if I was wasting time and ammunition.  It's still better than not shooting at all, just dry-firing.  I enjoy shooting, both when it's "serious" and also when it's just for relaxation and enjoyment.

When/if the world ever gets back to normal, I'll once again get back to setting up an M-8 target at 25 yards, where all my shots were in the black, and I wanted to get to where they're all in the 10-ring.  Until then, I don't want anyone closer than ten feet from me, and I don't want to touch stuff, including target frames and backing boards.  I bring my own pen to sign-in and out.  I hate that I have to do all that stuff.  Sometimes I wish I didn't know as much as I do about the virus.

Anyway, that leads up to shooting the steel plates.  Going to the range and hearing PING after PING after PING is relaxing for me.  And if I start bringing a 45 with me, I'll be spending a good bit of my free time in reloading, which I also enjoy.

(If you think you understand the virus, see how well you can follow this link:     https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/disease-modeling-coronavirus-cases-reopening/?pwapi_token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJjb29raWVuYW1lIjoid3BfY3J0aWQiLCJpc3MiOiJDYXJ0YSIsImNvb2tpZXZhbHVlIjoiNWU3MDFjOGZhZTdlOGE1OTQ4ODQ4NjZlIiwidGFnIjoiNWViZjA0NDJmZTFmZjY1NGMyZGUwNzZjIiwidXJsIjoiaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cud2FzaGluZ3RvbnBvc3QuY29tL2dyYXBoaWNzLzIwMjAvaGVhbHRoL2Rpc2Vhc2UtbW9kZWxpbmctY29yb25hdmlydXMtY2FzZXMtcmVvcGVuaW5nLz91dG1fY2FtcGFpZ249d3BfdG9feW91cl9oZWFsdGgmdXRtX21lZGl1bT1lbWFpbCZ1dG1fc291cmNlPW5ld3NsZXR0ZXImd3Bpc3JjPW5sX3R5aCZ3cG1rPTEifQ.NmWmweWtDCQq0WPA9FRcs7sgsMFNs1ueUDe8ujZJNsg&utm_campaign=wp_to_your_health&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_tyh&wpmk=1
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