Promoting, facilitating, and encouraging steel shooting competition around the world.

Stage Design

Stage Design

A key characteristic of International Steel Shooting competition is that all of the shots should be relatively easy to make, even for a new were shooter, provided they have basic shooting skills. all stages should be designed with that in mind. The difficulty of the stage should come from the shooter trying to shoot too fast and missing, rather than from the difficulty of the shot itself.

Safety should also be a primary consideration in stage design.we recommend that no steel target be closer than 7 yards to the shooter’s box. Some ranges have their own local rules limiting it to 9 yards. In that case, the nearer plates can be moved a bit farther downrange to comply with that range safety regulations. However, every attempt should be made for the stage to retain as much of the original look and feel of the original layout as possible. This may require using a slightly larger sized plate to keep the difficulty approximately the same. if for some reason a stage needs to be redesigned or plates moved around, whether for safety reasons, or to fit the size and shape of the bay available, all attempts should be made to not make the stage anymore difficult than it already is. When in doubt, make it easier!

In most cases, moving and shooting at the same time is not a part of international steel. However, as there is one well-known stage named “Outer Limits” often found at steel matches, this stage or others of a similar design are permitted. Generally speaking though, International Steel is definitely not a run and gun sport!

As a general rule, stages should be not over 40 yards, with 35 yards perhaps a better choice. At that distance the plates should be very large, like 18″ x 24″, or an 20 inch or larger circle. 10 inch plates should be no farther out than approximately 15 yards. 12 inch plates should be no farther out than approximately 20 yards.

Typically, a stage will have five plates,  and require a minimum of five shots to complete the shot string. However, that may not always be the case. for example, you could have a stage with three plates, and the course of fire may require a double-tap on two of them, and a single shot on the stop plate. Another possibility would be a stage with only four plates, with double-taps on two of them, one hit on a single plate, and one hit on the stop plate, for a total of six shots. stages should be limited to no more than six shots to a shot string.

One stage that everyone seems to enjoy that has been around for years is known by many different names, but the basic stage is a single 18 x 24 plate at 7 yards, and the course of fire is five shots all on the same plate.

Good stage design implies that every stage in a match count approximately equally towards the total score. For example a very complicated, difficult,  and slow stage that takes a lot of time to complete should be reduced in the number of shot strings so that the value of that particular stage does not overpower the match.

Duplexing Stages:  sometimes clubs may have a limited number of bays available to shoot their International Steel match. one solution is to utilize duplexed stages. With this method, one set of targets is shot in two different ways, and counts as two different stages. by having two different shooter’s boxes, and/or reassigning the stop plate, you can have two different stages that shoot completely differently. One way to avoid confusion as to which plate is the stop plate is to use colored flagging ribbon, with the color  on each shooter’s box corresponding to a piece of flagging ribbon of the same color on the target stand of the stop plate to be used when shooting from that box. we have used the duplex stage set up method for over a year and it has worked well. The downside of the duplex method however, is that if you set up three sets of targets only three shooters can be shooting at one time. If your matches start attracting a large number of shooters this can significantly slow down the day. For smaller matches with smaller numbers of entries, duplexing can work well.







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