Walls have been in our sport virtually since its inception as an action sport. Whether serving as part of a small barricade or creating a maze-like shoot house; they are an important prop. And, like most props in our sport, someone is going to shoot holes in them and it will be on the ROs to figure out what to do with those hits.
A few years ago, we clarified some of the aspects related to barriers and, as often happens when we try to clarify something, we unintentionally allowed for more confusion. Some of this comes from the current trend of parsing words as if someone’s life depended on finding a loophole in the law to save them from the gas chamber instead of just taking the rule at face value and getting on with the shooting. Be that as it may, the questions have come up so let’s try and clarify a bit further.
First, let’s handle partial diameter hits. As with any partial diameter hit into anything hard cover, be it a steel plate, black paint/tape, a barrel or a wall, any further hit(s) on any target count. That’s the easy case.
Full diameter hits are where things get fun. We are talking about hard cover here because if we are talking about soft cover, there isn’t anything to talk about; move on, nothing to see here.
By definition, all barriers (walls, barrels, etc.) are hard cover unless otherwise specified in the WSB.
Where things kind of went awry with the updated rules in 22.214.171.124 and then in A3 was when we stated that “Supporting Structures” do not exist. We defined supporting structures as “a brace, stand, rope, cable or other element used to support a barrier, line or obstacle.”
What those trying to save Timmy from the gas chamber divined is that in 126.96.36.199 we stated that all barriers are considered to represent a solid plane. And, taking that one final step over the precipice of reality into the ridiculous remembered that back in the 6th grade when they took Geometry that a plane is a flat two-dimensional surface. Except we are in the real world, and as such, two dimensional things do not exist; they are merely concepts. The intent of the use of that term is to make the whole situation easier to deal with where we have walls made of perforated material like snow fence (hence the reference to solid) or things that distort and aren’t always flat (snow fence, coroplast, etc.) or where there might be incidental holes in an otherwise solid surface. We all know that we cannot shoot through the gaps in snow fence and that just because the snow fence isn’t taut on the frame that doesn’t make it not a wall…right? Or that hole that Bob blew in that wall with his shotgun during the MG match last week isn’t really a designated shooting position…right?
Okay, so walls in our sport, just as in a building, are typically formed of framing and sheathing. Framing in our sport is typically 2×2 lumber or 2×4 lumber. Sometimes we see steel tube or even PVC tube used. Doesn’t matter; it’s framing and is part of the wall. Most of the time in a building the walls are sheathed on both sides but in our sport they are usually just sheathed on one side to conserve materials and lower weight. That sheathing can be just about anything from hog wire, snow fence on to plywood, coroplast and geotex fabric.
And, because we love to complicate things; we often purposefully perforate these walls with ports which we can designate as shooting positions. Why not? Free advice: Those shooting ports need to be framed just like windows in your house need to be framed. Just whacking a hole in the snow fence and saying it is a shooting port is just asking for trouble. And that window framing is, well, framing and thus is part of the wall framing and therefore part of the wall.
And, because no one likes to carry around 8′ x 8′ walls no matter what they are constructed with, we typically construct them to 6′ – 7′ high with a 4′ panel of sheathing and then the framing extends on down to the ground to be lodged into a stand of some form and/or braced to keep it from falling over. We depend on 188.8.131.52 to define the rest of the wall to the ground and on up to infinity and beyond.
At some clubs, walls are solid walls 4′ x 8′ and they are stood up to be 8′ tall and the 4′ side, which is usually a 2×4, is spiked into the ground and then they are braced on other walls or braced with some form of bracing to the ground. Those are hell for stout but tend to be heavy to carry around and build with and can become interesting when the winds pick up. In a lot of the country, snow fence rules…even where they don’t know what snow even is.
However they are constructed, a wall is a wall is a wall. It is a three dimensional object composed of framing and sheathing.
Okay, so what happens when someone shoots said wall with a full diameter hit? What counts and what does not depends on WHERE they shoot it and WHAT they hit.
If they hit the wall framing or sheathing and it is a full diameter hit then any further hits do not count. Use your overlays to help determine if it is a full diameter or not. If the hit is on a steel target that falls then it is Range Equipment Failure (REF) and the shooter must reshoot the course of fire. If the score cannot be determined, as in, it cannot be determined which hits on a cardboard target came through the wall and they are of different values (e.g., 2A, 1C not 3A), then the shooter must reshoot the course of fire. This is relatively rare because we can generally sleuth out which hits have already passed through some other object, as follows:
Hits that have gone through something else, even just cardboard or plastic from snow fence will exhibit a lighter or even no grease ring as compared to other hits on that same target or other like targets. Bullets that pass through wood often carry some splinters along with them that get lodged into the cardboard as the bullet passes through. And, if the distance travelled between hitting the wall and the cardboard target is great enough the bullet will often have become destabilized and will be tumbling giving a very much different hit profile than other hits on like targets.
Okay, so where does the wall end and the “supporting structure” begin? If the wall is inserted into a stand (e.g., pipe on a base plate) the stand is a supporting structure but the portion of the framing sticking into it is wall. Any braces applied to the framing or sheathing of the wall to the ground or across the top or whatever, are supporting structure.
Put very simply: A wall is a three dimensional structure which consists of the framing and the sheathing. Any hits on the wall (framing or sheathing) need to be handled as hits on hard cover. If it isn’t framing and isn’t sheathing it is probably supporting structure and does not exist.