US Steel Nationals

Shooting USA - The Smith & Wesson US National Steel Championships

30-15-1It’s Handgun Drag racing from Titusville, Florida. Draw and shoot 5 steel  targets for time.  Do it five times and keep the best four times for your score. There are eight stages of fire that are universally recognized,  all consisting of four target steel plates and one stop plate. It’s  great entertainment for top competitors, for juniors, and for spectators, with national titles at stake.


30-15-2There are eight stages of fire that are universally recognized, all consisting of four-target steel, and one stop plate.  There are ten-inch round plates, twelve-inch round plates and 18-by-24 inch rectangular plates.  Each stage has a different combination of these targets, set at varying distances out as far as 35 yards.  On seven of the eight stages, shooters will fire five strings of fire, engaging the four target steel and the stop plate, as fast as they can. The best four times, measured in hundredths of a second,  will become the shooter’s score for the stage.

Outer limits is the unique stage of the eight, the only stage with movement, the first two target steel are shot from box one and the second two, plus the stop plate, from box two. Outer Limits is the only stage where four strings of fire are shot, with the best three kept for score.

30-15-4Day one of the Three Day Match is dedicated to the rim fire guns, open and Iron sighted semi autos, as well as open and iron sighted revolvers, all are seen on the ranges. Also unique to the rimfire match is the low ready starting position. String times are faster without the draw from a holster.


Days Two and Three bring out Limited, Revolver, Production Guns, and the fastest of all, the Open Division “Race Guns”, with compensators, red dot optics, lightened slides and frames, and every possible enhancement to run faster.

30-15-5There is no “power factor” in steel competition.  The rule allows any caliber up from .38 or 9mm.  Most competitors are shooting sub-sonic rounds to better hear the bullet impact on the steel target, confirming a hit in the string of fire.  That’s how Steel Shooting has picked up the nickname:  Bang and Clang. 




The Stage Diagrams for the Eight Challenges in Steel Competition


Related Links:

Pro Tip – Julie Golob on Steel Strategy


Target Order in Steel Shooting can make a significant difference in your times, when you’re competing for hundredths of a second.  Julie demonstrates the choices you have, that can speed up your steel game.

View Pro Tip




RCBS Reloading Tip – The Turret Press

30-15-6Almost all reloaders begin working on a single stage press.  It’s relatively inexpensive to start, but it’s a bit slow, especially when doing large volume reloading. A progressive press is better for large volume reloading, but these presses are a lot more expensive. So your answer on what to use when reloading may be a little bit of both, the RCBS turret press.  Kent Sakamoto of RCBS has a tip on the two ways to use the Turret press.

30-15-7The two ways to maximize use is Batch Loading, or Progressive. Kent is using the Turret press progressively, he is moving the turret with each step. To begin, run a lubed case up to size. As the case is removed it’s re-primed on the downward stroke. Check the primer. Rotate the turret head to the powder drop station. And dispense a powder charge. Rotate again to the seating die. Seat and crimp the bullet to finish.



Three pulls of the handle and two turns of the turret head and we have a loaded cartridge, but it doesn’t allow you the opportunity for case preparation.






For that we’ll show you the batch method. We’ll change the Turret head over, the six station Turret head allows you to have multiple dies setup for that operation.




30-15-10The new setup has two dies and two seat dies with the powder on the left. To begin batch loading, size all your lubed cases at once. Now is when you do case preparations such as trimming, de-burring, or in this case primer pocket cleaning. Once case preparations are finished, re-prime all the sized cases. Dispense powder, rotate the seating die into position, add a powder charged case, and seat and crimp the bullet.




By having the dies preset in the Turret head it eliminates installing and removing the dies making it a big time saver over single stage loading.




30-15-12Serious re-loaders are likely to have several turret press stations setup for their most used calibers. There is a lot of time saving in just changing out the turret press for one already setup for your next caliber. The choice between progressive and batch loading really comes down to your intended use. If you don’t need to prep your cases, setup for the progressive style, and you can crank out hundreds of rounds an hour.


Pro Tip – Todd Jarrett on Trigger Control


Todd’s got a lesson on curing trigger jerk and prepping the trigger.  It’s a Pro Tip for both shooters and instructors explaining why right handed shooters frequently shoot low and left.  They’re anticipating recoil.  Todd’s got ways to cure the habit.

View Pro Tip



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