Ricochet at the range


March 29, 2003, 12:10 PM
This morning, I took my MKII to a friend's house who's in the market for a .22LR handgun to add to his collection. Standing behind and to the right of him, I had a piece of lead hit me in the forehead while he was firing at a can with a dirtpile as a backstop.
The chip of lead stuck in my forhead right at the hairline and had to be removed with tweezers, which then initiated significant bleeding for such a small wound.

Another friend who was with us said that .22LRs are the worst for ricochet and probably struck a rock imbedded in the dirt pile.
There's now a snazzy purple and puffy bruise around the wound, causing me to realize it smacked home fairly forcefully for the little lead chip that it was.

Here's the question:
What the heck was that all about? I've been involved with firearms for most my life and have never had anything happen like this. Is it true that the lowly .22LR is more prone to spew bullet fragments rearward than other rounds?

Lesson learned: Eye protection really is a good idea (no, I was not wearing anything other than ear protection).

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March 29, 2003, 12:15 PM
After all that I hope the guy ended up buying the gun! :D

March 29, 2003, 12:19 PM
In academy we had a .45 ACP round bounce back, shred one recruit's shirtsleeve and bounce off the mag pouch of another with adequate force to scuff the leather and unsnap the pouch. And we were a good 100' or more behind the firing line.

Happens. Wear your eyes.


El Tejon
March 29, 2003, 12:25 PM
Always: eyes, ears, hat!

Of course, I've been hit on the back of the leg with a spent round. So, maybe eyes, ears, hat, plate mail?:D

March 29, 2003, 12:29 PM
I was not wearing anything other than ear protection).

I guess you got lucky! Tough way to learn a lesson. Anyway, as for the riccochet, I even wear a baseball cap to deflect even more debris.

March 29, 2003, 12:32 PM
"So, maybe eyes, ears, hat, plate mail?"

Forget the plate mail. Juat duct tape trauma pates all over your body. :neener:

El Tejon
March 29, 2003, 12:33 PM
Chip, too bad I didn't think of that during the drill.:D

March 29, 2003, 12:40 PM
better than getting a chunk of the target coming back at you as you hear the bullet wizz by , Target :rubber bowling ball , bullet :.44 mag 240xtp/hp (found the bullet fully expanded laying on the hood of the truck and a mark in my windshield :cuss: BTw the truck was 200 feet back :what:

March 29, 2003, 12:51 PM
I wear glasses so that takes care of that for "normal" shooting. Ears? ALWAYS (Peltor Tac 7's). I keep a ball cap on as well.

If I'm shooting anything other than paper or a new toy that hasn't been proven I'll dig out the goggles.

Much better looking like a SWAT wannabe than digging lead, target fragments or part of the gun out of my face or eyes. :what:

March 29, 2003, 01:43 PM
Always tell new shooters at our range, WEAR GLASSES!!! You can leave the range, and get home deaf, but not if yer blind. I did witness a spectator take a jacket from a .45 in the throat one time, and he was 10 yards behind us, and we were 15 yards from the target line. Lotsa bleeding, but not serious. Very lucky.:cool:

March 29, 2003, 02:36 PM
Curious as to distance? A possibility of lots of lead built up in berm? Lots of .45ACPs do create some big bulk rather quickly ...

March 29, 2003, 03:10 PM
I've been hit by a 45acp at the range. Some stupid kid shot the ceiling and it bounced off the wood (weird huh?).

It was so flat when it hit me that it didn't break the skin. It did hurt though. Like getting hit with a nickel fired from a slingshot.

March 29, 2003, 04:25 PM
I shoot steel plates at 35 yards and it happens fairly often. Lead splatters when it hits the plate usually itt just drops straight down.

Eye protection is required when shooting for obvious reasons.

Once I had a .45 bullet (the whole bullet) smake me in the shin. It hurt and put a little welt on me.

I had a .50 BMG bullet hit a rock in the berm and come staight back over my head. It was actually quite loud, it sounded very close. A 750 grain bullet, even if it is going slow us nothing to sneeze at.:what:

March 29, 2003, 04:26 PM
About 15 years ago I was shooting .357 magnum reloads at a tire rim 50 yards away when I felt the most god awful blow to my right bicep (my shooting arm). I looked down on the ground next to my feet and there was a flattened lead slug about the size of a nickel. The bullet had hit the tire rim, flattened out and came flying straight back and struck me. No blood, (or Purple Heart) just black and blue for a few days. Now I know why you do not shoot tire rims.:uhoh:

Then there is the time the case rim detached itself during extraction in my M1 Garand. The case rim went whipping thru my hair (cut short) "at a very high rate of speed". I got rid of the Garand within a week and stayed with .223 semi-autos for years later due to the experience. I have never had a case failure with the .223 for some reason but had had one with .308(M1A rifle blew) and .30'06.

March 29, 2003, 05:20 PM
Yep ....... 22's do seem to ''bounce'' quite a lot! Not been hit by one but have heard em come back my way at times.

Worst (and arguably stupidest!) experience was shooting some old milsurp .303 at an old axle casing and a gearbox ..... which of course made some good holes! However .. due to being not that many yards away (maybe no more than 15) .. did have a small shard of copper jacket come back and hit my left hand... penetrated a finger joint quite a lot and bled profusely for ages.

I wear glasses all time so doubt eyes would have been affected but ... did rather prove how much energy can be left in bullet fragments. Salutary lesson!:p

March 29, 2003, 05:23 PM
In the 1970's I fired a 200gr RNL .38 special out of my 2" S&W mod 60. I intended to give the coupe de grace to a large Wyoming buck mule deer I had downed with a rifle.

I was about six feet away, aiming at the buck's head. Immediately upon firing the shot I felt an extremely acute pain in my left big toe! I actually thought I had somehow shot myself in the foot!

Close inspection disclosed what had happened-- the heavy lead bullet had hit the antler boss, deformed, and ricocheted back parallel to the ground to strike the end of my heavy hunting boot. The bullet didn't penetrate, but it felt like I had hit the end of my big toe as hard as I could with a framing hammer!

I gimped-around for a couple of weeks on a multi-colored toe, eventually losing the toenail. I've had trouble with arthritis in that toe ever since.

Ya live... and sometimes, if yer lucky, ya learn...:cool:

March 29, 2003, 05:28 PM
Shooting steel plates at 25yds with a .41 mag I had a piece hit me in the thigh (wearing shorts). Drew blood and left a bruise the size of a silver dollar.
Another time, same place, this time .357 mag. Heard something hit my pickup which was parked behind me. Didn't see any damage right away but a day or two later I noticed a .357" diameter hole in my tail light lens.

Phil Ca
March 29, 2003, 05:33 PM
When I was an 18 year old PFC in Germany I was stationed at Coleman barracks near Mannheim. There was a firing range that the German Army used when they were there. One day I took my .45 pistol out to do some practice using regular 230 grain ball ammo.

I fired a round at a # 10 can I had set up in the middle of the backstop and the round struck near the can glanced up and hit the concrete wall and then the ceiling and came back straight at me. I stood there transfixed as the sunlit copper ball lazily came through the air and plopped in front of me about two feet! The nose was slightly dented but mainly intact. I still have that bullet in a momento box to this day.

Malone LaVeigh
March 29, 2003, 08:20 PM
My son and I were shooting at the 7 yd range at YSA about a month ago, I was shooting the .45. YSA has a dirt berm a yard or so behind the paper. One of my shots came almost straight back, landing between us. Almost intact. I thought that had to be a pretty rare occurrance, till reading this.

Standing Wolf
March 29, 2003, 08:29 PM
My understanding is that .22s actually ricochet less than other rounds, since a.) they're usually softer, and b.) their fragments tend to be smaller. That saidâ„¢, I've been stung by ricochets, and once saw a boy of about nine or ten stuck just over an eye with a ricochet. He bled profusely, but his eye wasn't hit.

March 29, 2003, 08:37 PM
we have one of those little spinner targets that hoppes sells for .22's and after a good day theres a piles of fragments and jackets around it and then theres the hole from some moron with the ar15 ..:mad: :fire: oh its only a .22...... he's still recovering from the flogging .

March 30, 2003, 01:18 AM
Am I the only fool who thought old tires would make a good backstop? Just pile them up and fill with dirt. Never got hit but could see/find bullets by firing line. So that got torn down. Now I have a old chest freezer filled with dirt as main backstop and dirt pile behind it. (motor and guts taken out)

March 30, 2003, 03:33 AM
In the summer, when I wear shorts, I find I get fragments back at me, 25 yards from the firing line. This is with 9 mm and .45 ACP in an indoor range with a trap.

March 30, 2003, 08:22 AM
Rimfire rifle metallic silhouette competitors occasionly experience "bounce back" disks of lead from the chickens 40 metres away. No problem but noticable when they hit your leg or foot.

March 30, 2003, 08:56 AM
This post should be moved to the Naked Shooting forum.
"Lesson learned: Eye protection really is a good idea (no, I was not wearing anything other than ear protection)."
Sheesh, snowdog, at least put on some underwear...!:evil:

March 30, 2003, 09:12 AM
Hey, you just gave me an idea....

March 30, 2003, 11:30 AM
Back in the early 90's I was a range master conducting a qualifying shoot for the Navy when I was hit in the ribs with a 45 ACP ball riccochet. I was immediately behind the firing line when hit. I do not know how it made it back to me or what all it bounced off of, but it did have dirt and a shiny spot on it. The way some of those guys shot it would not be possible to know where it first struck something to riccochet in the first place. A report was filed, and the berm was rebuilt because of it. I am not aware of it happening to anyone else in my time at that base.

I had a small bruise, about the size of a 50 cent piece, for several days and a story for a lifetime. I still have the bullet somewhere around here. Things happen, be prepared.

March 30, 2003, 10:40 PM
I was hit in the back of my neck while facing down range and standing about twenty feet behind the shooters. The shooters were firing rifles (AR15s, IIRC) at knock-down steel plates placed 30 to 100 yards from the shooters.

The piece that hit me first bounced off the underside of the metal roof above me, then hit me in the back of the neck. It made me jump as well as leaving a tiny red mark on my skin.


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