Ricochets (Got a friendly lecture today)


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SteelyNirvana
July 11, 2008, 04:59 PM
I would like to know some about ricochets, as I got a lecture from a deputy this afternoon. Heres the situation: I was on my buddys front porch which is about 4' off the ground firing a 30-30 and .357 at targets placed on soft/almost muddy farm land. I had been firing for about an hour when a deputy pulls up. He said that he had heard a ricochet when he was parked up the road (The closest road he could have been parked on is atleast 3/4 to a mile away which is surrouned by thick woods and way off to the left, almsot behind me of where I'm firing at). Then he asked what I had, when I told him a .357 and 30-30 he said the ricochet he heard was from the 30-30 ( I was firing mild reloads using a 150gr if that makes any diffirence) He then asked why I was shooting like I was and I explained that our theory is that we shoot down towards the ground and the rounds will embed into the earth. He then says that what I am doing is perfectly legal, there is no problem with me target practacing but is concerened about a liability because of a ricochet strkinga rock and hitting a car or going into a subdivision that is about 1 1/4 way off to the right of where I'm shooting.. There are thick woods both to the left and the right of where the targets are set up. The main road is about 200' to the right of where I'm shooting and he was concerned about a ricochet there also.

My buddy dosen't beleive it could happen/did happen. I have a difficult time because I beleive that if a round were to strick a rock, it would begin to tumble and would not travel very far, let alone someone sitting in a car to hear not to mention it would hit a tree or some-other obstruction before it could do any harm. The deputy's suggestion was to fire standing from the ground with our backs towards the road, because then nobody could say a round hit there car as bullets don't travel backwards, which i think is ludicris because a round would have more of a possibility of hitting something as it would be on a more straighter plane of flight. This would also mean we would be firing in a direction where a round would have more of a possibility of striking a home/car/person.

My buddy seems to think some busy body just called the law and the deputy wanted to see what was going on, which I think is the case. I would like to hear some input though on whether the deputy had a point or was just doing some friendly checking.

Thanks

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El Tejon
July 11, 2008, 05:03 PM
And Rule #4 is?

exar
July 11, 2008, 05:04 PM
My buddy seems to think some busy body just called the law and the deputy wanted to see what was going on, which I think is the case. I would like to hear some input though on whether the deputy had a point or was just doing some friendly checking

That's usually the case. That happened to me once, but it was a busy body calling about "automatic weapons fire" said the sheriff. Sheriff also said everything was legal but she had to come take a look.

06
July 11, 2008, 05:10 PM
Rounds will easily "skip" off water or muddy ground if the angle is fairly flat. Why not put up a berm if there is any doubt. A girl was killed in Charlotte at Carowinds about ten yrs ago from an errant round fired from about a mile away. You can never be too careful when practicing. Don't give the anti's any more ammo to throw at us, wc

Cougfan2
July 11, 2008, 05:13 PM
Similar thing happened to me and a buddy. We were way south of Overland Park, KS hunting cottontails when all of a sudden an Overland Park police cruiser pulls up. The cop says "What do you guys think you're doing.". We told him we were hunting and he said "You can't hunt within city limits.". :what: We were amazed. We were more than 10 miles out in the sticks, but apparently the city had annexed out that far planning for future group. We assured him that we honestly thought we were outside of city limits and he was cool about it. Just gave us a warning. Apparently some yuppie hobby farmer a half mile away heard us shoot and freaked out.

M60
July 11, 2008, 05:49 PM
I'm just guessing here, but you've never seen a military night fire session have you?

This was taken at a Machine gun shoot in Oregon last year. Bullets don't always, in fact rarely stop when they hit the ground at a shallow angle.

http://www.orl-llc.com/nfa-pics/Eagle-Cap-6-2007/DSC_1931-800.jpg

-Mark.

El Tejon
July 11, 2008, 05:58 PM
What if you are not firing a machine gun? Does Rule #4 apply then?

Funderb
July 11, 2008, 06:00 PM
bullets most assuredly bounce off the ground. when it is an fmj it tends to squeeze the lead out and end up in a flat banana shape round. but they bounce very well.

Use a backstop next time, think of the children.

Double Naught Spy
July 11, 2008, 06:30 PM
I had been firing for about an hour when a deputy pulls up. He said that he had heard a ricochet when he was parked up the road (The closest road he could have been parked on is atleast 3/4 to a mile away which is surrouned by thick woods and way off to the left, almsot behind me of where I'm firing at). Then he asked what I had, when I told him a .357 and 30-30 he said the ricochet he heard was from the 30-30

Wow, he knew it was from the 30-30? That is pretty amazing.

exar
July 11, 2008, 06:49 PM
Wow, he knew it was from the 30-30? That is pretty amazing.

That's what I thought, as well. If the .357 was a pistol, and he saw that, then he may have deduced that the 30-30 was the more likely culprit.

bhk
July 11, 2008, 06:52 PM
One time a buddy and I went to a unsupervised public range with a perfectly good birm backed by a high ridge topped by trees. While I went back to the truck for ammo, my friend began shooting at empty shotshells that were on the ground between him and the birm with a 9mm auto. From my location, I could clearly hear the bullets ricochet over the birm and go through the tree tops on the ridge behind the birm. Not just a few of his shots, but almost all of them. He couldn't hear this because of his ear protection and his proximity to the muzzle blast.

One another occassion, I shot at a 50 yard coyote with .44 magnum handgun. The coyote was walking across a damp field and I was shooting from an ELEVATED deer blind. I could clearly hear the missed shot ricochet and fly through the tree tops on the far side of the field toward a neighboring farm. Scared me to death. Always shoot directly into a birm or hillside!

I think many of us often miss the fact our bullets are ricocheting because our ear protection prevents us from hearing it.

rc109a
July 11, 2008, 07:37 PM
At a training institute in my area they teach us to use the ricochet as a tool against certain types of threat. I made the mistake and said what good would this do if we were in a house with sheetrock walls. Soon I was eating my words as the instructor proved he could ricochet rounds off sheetrock. After that demonstration we practiced on several other types of media including the dirt in front of our targets. It really does richochet very easily and travels a good distance.

Blakenzy
July 11, 2008, 07:49 PM
I'm just guessing here, but you've never seen a military night fire session have you?

When the Iraq invasion started I would always catch news footage of firefights in the night, and it would amaze me how much rounds jump into the air. Maybe 50%. You would think that they were firing at an angled steel plate or something.

If only tracers were readily available and easy to purchase we would all be well versed in the exterior ballistics of our rounds.

Pat-inCO
July 11, 2008, 08:25 PM
What if you are not firing a machine gun? Does Rule #4 apply then?

The machine gun example simplifies the image so that you CAN see where multiple rounds go. You produced the same results, spread over a much longer time period.

One syllable answer - YES! :banghead:

RPCVYemen
July 11, 2008, 08:39 PM
From my location, I could clearly hear the bullets ricochet over the birm and go through the tree tops on the ridge behind the birm.

That's why my club specifically prohibits shooting into the ground - you are supposed to be shooting into a berm. I wouldn't have thought that shooting into the ground was an issue, but people at the club assure me it's a real issue.


Mike

almostfree
July 11, 2008, 08:42 PM
I was surveying a cellular phone tower out in the country. I kept hearing gun fire and rounds going over my head. I started yelling so that the person doing the shooting would know we were there. He came out of the woods apologizing.

It seems he was firing a .22 in the opposite direction of us into the side of a drainage ditch. Nonetheless, the rounds were bouncing off the dirt and coming over my head and into the tops of the trees next to me.

Funny thing was I was shot at intentionally the next morning while jogging near my home.

phonesysphonesys
July 11, 2008, 08:53 PM
M60, You brought back fond memories.

Semper Fi

W.E.G.
July 11, 2008, 09:13 PM
The closest road he could have been parked on is atleast 3/4 to a mile away which is surrouned by thick woods and way off to the left, almsot behind me of where I'm firing at

Its possible he "heard" a ricochet at that location.
Although I think it is highly unlikely.

Moreover, what does a 30-30 "ricochet" that travelled 1300 yards sound like anyway?
How would you distinguish the sound of small object travelling at sub-sonic speed from the sound of a stick knocked out of a tree by a squirrel?

I'm calling BS on the deputy's comment.

What is far more likely is, he was investigating the sound of gunfire, and made up the silly ricochet story to justify his presence.

I still don't like your shooting arrangement, especially for center-fire rifle. As noted above, bullets will skip off the ground more often than not. Just go out there an look at your impact points. They will be long furrows - not little .30 caliber holes in the dirt. The furrow means the bullet kept going. Mind you, after impacting the earth, the bullet will be misshapen, and therefore probably badly off-axis or outright tumbling, and shedding velocity rapidly. Still you gotta do better than just bouncing center-fire rifle bullets off the dirt, unless you have a dependable backstop or a clear view for a couple miles.

Packman
July 11, 2008, 09:38 PM
I've bounced many a .22 off a ditch, shooting down into the ditch. It's not hard, and some of them can travel quite a distance. They also make a VERY distinctive noise when they take off.

It's possible the deputy was telling the truth, if improbable. Stay safe, build a berm.

TCB in TN
July 11, 2008, 09:45 PM
I was surveying a cellular phone tower out in the country. I kept hearing gun fire and rounds going over my head. I started yelling so that the person doing the shooting would know we were there. He came out of the woods apologizing.

It seems he was firing a .22 in the opposite direction of us into the side of a drainage ditch. Nonetheless, the rounds were bouncing off the dirt and coming over my head and into the tops of the trees next to me.

Funny thing was I was shot at intentionally the next morning while jogging near my home.

If he was firing in the opposite direction into a dirt drainage ditch what you probably heard was the sound of the bullet striking as it traveled back.

And while bullets do travel after striking the ground they are quickly losing their energy while many cals have the energy to kill or do serious damage out past a mile, I would be seriously sceptical of any story in which a bullet ricochet out to the side at a 90degrees or came directly back and did any damage at more than conversation distances.

For those who don't believe it take a baseball and throw it at a brick wall and see how much energy it has at it returns. Nolan Ryan could throw it at the wall from 50ft and by the time it gets back to him it will have lost the vast majority of its energy. Not saying a bullet coming back at 100ft can't hurt ya, but stories of them coming directly back and hurting people at a 1/4mile past the shooter would really peg my BS meter.

GigaBuist
July 11, 2008, 10:26 PM
Moreover, what does a 30-30 "ricochet" that travelled 1300 yards sound like anyway?

Exactly like Hollywood portrays it, or at least close enough that when you hear your first ricochet off a rock you know what it is.

HK G3
July 11, 2008, 10:35 PM
Potentially stupid question here, while we're on the subject of backstops...

One of the most popular public ranges here pretty much uses a rocky hillside as a backstop - basically, lots of sand, lots of rock, and lots of boulders/rockface.

I've seen shooters yell at shooters for shooting at targets placed in front of a boulder out at about 200 yards, saying they would cause a ricochet to kill someone.

Is this a legitimate concern? Even if they aren't shooting at the more proximal boulders, there are plenty of boulders 500+ yards out that bullets can slam into.

cassandrasdaddy
July 11, 2008, 11:30 PM
how far away is that famous 50 cal richochet? i put a 22 cal hole in a truck in my yard with a bounce that surprised me

Ifishsum
July 11, 2008, 11:32 PM
Ricochets are unpredictable and can go a lot farther than most people realize, especially a rifle bullet. I've witnessed some pretty strange ones myself (and some scary ones that seemed to come straight back at me), so I wouldn't be so quick to discount the possibility that it happened as the OP's deputy said, though it could have been overstated a bit.

cassandrasdaddy
July 11, 2008, 11:54 PM
something i always remember shoot into someones house and
"i'm sorry" ain't gonna cut it

koja48
July 12, 2008, 01:00 AM
To reiterate . . . "Rule #4" . . . follow that and any investigation will be due to "discerned report."

bogie
July 12, 2008, 01:38 AM
People were talking about shooting into water or mud, and getting things going bouncy...

Dry ground works just as well for that. And rock just under the surface works wonders. I wouldn't want to be on the other side of a berm with someone playing spray and pray on the ground on the range side.

W.E.G.
July 12, 2008, 01:55 AM
OK, I guess I took the OP as saying the deputy heard the BULLET striking in the vicinity of his location out on the road.

I've certainly heard the bzzzing-yowwwww sound of a deflected bullet. That sound exists mostly at the location of the original deflection, and the volume of the sound certainly diminishes rapidly as the bullet continues to travel. I'd still be real surprised if the deputy could hear THAT sound out on the highway. At best, the sound had to be extremely faint at a distance of 1300 yards from the original point of impact - indicating that the bullets were likely NOT being fired in direction so as to endanger the deputy.

Unless you have some very special acoustics, that sound just is not going to travel 1300 yards.

Maybe he heard it as he came very near the firing point.

At some point the deputy did have to get from the road (wherever that is) to the location where the firing was occurring - which was the DEPUTY'S choice - not the shooter's.

Stevie-Ray
July 12, 2008, 02:18 AM
Funny thing was I was shot at intentionally the next morning while jogging near my home.That's funny?:uhoh:

Remander
July 12, 2008, 03:10 AM
Next time you are walking an outdoor range, look at the ground near the target area. You may see "skip marks" near the targets where bullets went low, plowed a bit, and took off. I've seen them. No telling where those bullets landed.

Yeah, those folks were bad shots. Or maybe they were sighting in. In any event, those bullets will skip and fly.

GD
July 12, 2008, 08:56 AM
Someone shooting at level ground on my land, sent a .30 calibre bullet 3 miles into a picture window of a house. Of course the energy at that distance is pretty small, but it still went through the window. You better know what is downrange for a good distance if you are going to be shooting without a backstop. When I hunt, I note where every farmhouse is because these rounds can go great distances.

NukemJim
July 12, 2008, 01:53 PM
The deputy is wrong about bullets ricocheting back at the shooter/road. There is a clip on You Tube of someone shooting a .50 against a steel target and having a ricochet hit him.

NukemJim

igor
July 12, 2008, 03:41 PM
The deputy was doing the absolutely right thing. Ricochet will happen even darn close to 90 degrees angles into a decent backstop.

I often work in organizing IPSC matches. The key thing in designing and building stages on a range is avoiding ricochet risks. It is totally amazing how difficult it can be.

Shooting at angle into the ground, in any kind of ground, will inevitably lead to ricochet. Make no mistake about it again. Have a good backstop and get your targets as close to it as possible. A bullet will change its direction even going thru the cardboard, let alone a target stand stick. You want to capture every single one in your backstop.

On military ranges where I live the calculated safety distances in the range direction are over one kilometer for pistol calibers and over four kilometers for .308. There can be nothing in that area, no roads, no dwellings. And they build the berms over 8 meters high already. Consider that.

El Tejon
July 12, 2008, 05:22 PM
Let me see if I have this right: if I am shooting, even if it is not a machine gun, I should be aware of my target and what is behind it?

Does Rule #4 apply to my buddy's land? What if I am shooting on my own land do I need to worry about Rule #4?

What if I have a theory, does Rule #4 still apply? Does my theory trump Rule #4?

Do the Four Rules always apply? What if I say "magic, magic"; does saying "magic, magic" trump the Four Rules?

XD Fan
July 12, 2008, 05:41 PM
El Tejon,

I think I get your point. Please clarify if I am missing it. What you are saying is that I always need to be aware of my target and what is behind it when I am shooting--even if I am shooting a spitwad through a straw (note exaggeration for effect here).

Thanks for the reminder, El Tejon.

Mil-Spec45
July 13, 2008, 12:20 AM
No, no, no. I think he means listen to Rule #4 even when Rule #4 trumps Rule #4 unless you can only count to 3; whereas rule #3 thus turns into Rule #3 AND #4, as such you should not neglect Rules # 1 through 2, as well.

And we ALL know what Rule #4 is! (Unless, of course, you say "magic, magic" first, nulling Rule #4)

Brian Dale
July 13, 2008, 05:46 AM
Here's the simple answer: ricochets are weird, and strange things happen. We've got guns, so it's important to make sure that the rare events that happen won't hurt anybody.

.22LR or .30-'06, I've skipped rounds off of surfaces that had no business bouncing them up to fly onward. Nevertheless, fly onward they did. I've been hunting in the woods and had a round come past me, sounding like a tiny, tumbling chainsaw which should simply not have been there.

Still, there it was.

Go overboard on safety, all the time, and you'll stand a better chance of avoiding tragic one-in-a-million events.

sacp81170a
July 13, 2008, 09:33 AM
Having fired on many knockdown target ranges in the military, I've lost count of the times I've seen rounds clearly impact the berm in front of a target and yet knock the target down. When examined, the targets will show head or shoulder high keyholes from a ricochet a few feet in front of them. We were always taught that it's better to miss low than miss high since there's a good chance a low miss will ricochet right into your enemy. Food for thought.

230RN
July 13, 2008, 09:49 AM
Speaking of acoustics:

I got accused of careless shooting once when I was shooting downward at a mud bank in a sparsely-populated Light industrial/Agricultural area.

I was shooting (.22LR auto pistol) at near perfect right angle into the muck. I could see the nice little round holes/craters punched into the mud near my targets of opportunity, leaves that had settled on the goo.

Not one of them got away, as far as I could tell.

But a person came up from the opposite direction from my shooting and claimed he had heard several ricochets "going right by my head." They always seem to go "right by my head" for some reason.

I apologized and quit shooting and did a little investigating after he left.

I then popped one more, again into the muck, but without my ears on, and sure enough, I heard a pwang! from behind me.

This is a little hard to explain, but there was an industrial building about 150 yards behind me which was built out of those concrete T-sections set upright so that the flat side faced to the inside of the building, with the web of the Ts facing to the outside, and at a slight angle to where I was shooting (perfectly legally by the way.)

So there were about 20-30 vertical strips of concrete on the building about five feet apart which were successively echoing the sounds of my shots to make the "pwang" noise!

He wasn't hearing ricochets, he was hearing successive echoes from the vertical strips on the building.

Darndest thing.

I went back to shooting with no worries that my bullets were going anywhere but into the squooshily safe mud bank.

smee781
July 13, 2008, 09:53 AM
I was at my local indoor range one day and was the only one out there shooting and had one come back on me. I was shooting my 9mm and I shot a round down range and was hit in my leg, I thought I had dropped something off the shooting table when I looked down and saw the round sitting in frount of me.......scared the **** out of me! No injury or anything didn't even draw blood or leave any mark but it still happened.

warwagon
July 13, 2008, 11:53 AM
I was instructed the same way in the 80s, makes you re-think cover, and the prone, kneeling positions doesn't it?

A-190
July 13, 2008, 12:35 PM
Years ago I and a group of fellow cops were camping in the far reaches of SW Oklahoma..............now thats a different story but this is about richochets right.
WE were camped on a small bluff and two of the guys went to shoot in an arroyo some distance away...........Well we could hear the shooting and then.............we started hearing the whine of ricos coming over the camp........
we all scattered and ducked...........all except Dad...................He was in his late 70's. Just sitting in the shade reading his paper as these rico rounds were flying about.............
Now get this a bunch of seasoned cops, several with Nam experience.. one just back from the Gulf war 1 all of us ducked down and cowering..........and there was this old man just blithfully sitting..................His comments............He had heard worse on Omaha (1st wave) so........................better send some one down to the tow shootist and tell them to adjust their fire...........

Just an old camping story........no parables or such:what:

DRYHUMOR
July 13, 2008, 12:55 PM
LEO's teach to shoot at perps behind vechicles, with shotguns, to aim at the pavement slightly in front of the vehicle. This will richochet the buckshot into the perps lower legs and feet.

Double Naught Spy
July 13, 2008, 02:45 PM
That is called skipping and they do it with things like AR15s as well, as in the North Hollywood Bank Robbery.

El Tejon
July 13, 2008, 03:41 PM
XD, *kicks rocks* yes, that what I'm saying.

I'll spare everyone the lecture on the need for proper firearms handling to benefit the overall status of the gun culture.

Anywho it's bad enough on THR that we see posted photos of shooters doing unsafe behavior and then brag about it (not wearing eye protection, shooting water, fingers on triggers, not caring about Rule #4, etc.). Glad no one was hurt but if we follow the Four Rules no one will be.

chris in va
July 13, 2008, 03:51 PM
I'll never forget. Went in to my local Gander Mountain to poke around in the gun section. Older gentleman ambles up to the counter, plinks down a spent, misshapen bullet on the glass counter and asks the guy, "any idea what this is?".

He didn't, so I had a look. Pretty darn huge, and it measured .50" across.:scrutiny:

I said it was a 50BMG and his eyes got kinda big. He then said, "well, I was driving along in my pickup on Rte 7 and this thing hit my truck.":what:

Rmart30
July 13, 2008, 03:58 PM
I'm calling BS on the deputy's comment.

What is far more likely is, he was investigating the sound of gunfire, and made up the silly ricochet story to justify his presence.

Id agree with that

boatbod
July 13, 2008, 10:57 PM
At last January's mdshooters gathering, a guy shooting his 50BMG at 100yd steel plate had a stripped copper jacket deposit itself in the bed of a pickup parked some distance BEHIND the firing line.

(warning, very long thread with gratuitous firearms porn)
http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?p=60168

3rdRRU_PhuBai
July 13, 2008, 11:07 PM
1. Adequate backstop.
2. Every bullet has your name on it.

rondog
July 14, 2008, 02:43 AM
OK, let's try posting this video again. Got some good richochets in it, it's amazing when you can see 'em. http://youtube.com/my_videos_edit2?ns=1&video_id=tyc40s3xF18&next=%2Fmy_videos2%3Fpi%3D0%26ps%3D20%26sf%3Dadded%26sa%3D0%26sq%3D%26dm%3D1

TCB in TN
July 14, 2008, 02:54 AM
He wasn't hearing ricochets, he was hearing successive echoes from the vertical strips on the building.

Yep, my point exactly. When a bullet hits something and ricochets BACK the direction it came from the VAST majority of its energy is already spent from the impact. If you are shooting .22lr at a steel plate 100 ft away a ricochet may come back at you and have enough energy to hurt (not likely but could), at a 100yards that .22lr coming directly back at you just doesn't have much juice left. Most of the stories you get about that kind of ricochet are just as was mentioned above. The echo from the shot or the impact. Now down range is a different story, but when you get to ricocheting 90 to 180 degrees from the initial shot you are going to be seeing the bullet velocity/energy go down real quick. Thus I am sceptical of most of the stories I hear like that.

jdorian
July 14, 2008, 01:39 PM
Warning on a box of .22 that I saw at a store indicated that the bullet can travel up to 1.5 miles. If a lowly .22 can travel that far, its very possible that a larger bullet can too. So just be careful and make sure that you have a good backstop in place to ensure overall safety.

txgho1911
July 14, 2008, 01:51 PM
Is Rule #4 listed in order with Texas statutes?

3KillerBs
July 14, 2008, 05:14 PM
That's why my club specifically prohibits shooting into the ground - you are supposed to be shooting into a berm. I wouldn't have thought that shooting into the ground was an issue, but people at the club assure me it's a real issue.


Same for us. Since the land around the club range isn't particularly hilly there's nothing behind the berms but space (loosely filled with pine trees), and, eventually, a housing development.

Putting cans or other targets on the ground is strictly forbidden because bullets can bounce and skip over the berm.

U.S.SFC_RET
July 14, 2008, 07:49 PM
You can hear a ricochet from a distance and it will sound alot closer than it actually is.

That is an opinion.

Wes Janson
July 14, 2008, 11:18 PM
Damned few people actually have any training or experience in identifying caliber, direction, distance of a supersonic projectile traveling past them. In my (limited) experience, it's quite typical for someone to say "That must've gone right past me!" when in fact the bullet's path was a hundred yards or further from the listener.

As W.E.G. points out quite accurately, once a bullet goes subsonic you're simply not going to hear the crack/whine. The odds of a .30-30 remaining transsonic or better at 1300 yards, after ricocheting off the ground, seems extremely unlikely.

My local gun club had a problem a while back with idiots making noise complaints, claiming to hear bullets "whizzing past", at locations more than 3 miles distant from the firing line. While rifle ballistics can be pretty wild sometimes, you can't argue against simple physics that tell you that a cartidge is physically incapable of doing what someone is claiming.

FCFC
July 20, 2008, 01:44 AM
Rounds will easily "skip" off water...if the angle is fairly flat.

Do tell...



Bullets whiz past campers
By John Branton
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Columbian

Campers on the north shore of Yale Reservoir hid behind cars to avoid incoming bullets and frantically called 911 last weekend after a Vancouver man — standing on the Clark County side of the lake — allegedly fired three guns toward them.

"We were just getting ready to go to bed when we heard the first shots," said Brad Burnett, a Vancouver, Wash., man who was at popular Beaver Bay Campground with friends and family members, including children.

The shots began about 12:30 a.m. last Saturday, Burnett said, and continued on and off through the night into the campground along Lewis River Road east of Cougar. He said the campground was nearly full; he estimated that at least 100 people were there.

"It was about 9:30 a.m. when it started getting really ugly," Burnett said. "We started hearing bullets whizzing over the trees over our heads and hitting the trees."

That's when campers started calling 911, according to a Clark County Sheriff's Office report.

Deputy James Payne said he rushed to the scene and was flagged down by campers.

"As I drove in, I was contacted by about 20 people who were frantic and told me someone had been shooting from across the lake and the rounds were hitting in the trees above their tents and on the ground in front of the campsites," Payne said in the report.

He added: "Some people stated that they climbed behind vehicles and under things to stay out of the line of fire."

Standing on the shore and looking toward where campers said the bullets were coming from, Payne said, he heard more shots. He said he looked across the lake and saw someone standing on the Clark County shore near a blue-and-yellow tent.

Payne said he knew there was only one forest road to where the person was. He radioed for backup, waited until Deputy Dave Tendler arrived and they cautiously approached the person's area.

When the deputies arrived, they asked who'd been shooting and 25-year-old Jacob Michael Johnson stepped forward and said he had, the report said.

According to the report, Johnson said he'd been firing three guns: an AK-47 assault-style rifle, a .357 Magnum revolver and a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Johnson told the officers he'd been shooting at the water and at a small island directly between his campsite and the campground, the report said.

Told that his bullets were ricocheting off the water into the campground, Johnson said he didn't know bullets could do that, the report said.

Johnson was arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of five counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, the report said.

Reached by telephone Thursday evening, Johnson said "the whole shooting into the campground is just speculation."

He added: "It didn't happen. I wasn't shooting into the campground."

He declined to speak further.

Deputies seized the three guns and some ammunition as evidence.

Deputy Payne, a U.S. Army veteran and now a firearms instructor, said rifle bullets can travel well over a mile. He said they can ricochet off water and continue for great distances.

Using a laser device, Payne said, he measured the distance between Johnson and the campground at 1,530 feet, less than the maximum range of the rifle and even the handguns.

Back at Beaver Bay, Payne spoke to campers who said they'd looked through binoculars during the fusillade and saw a man holding a gun.

"They could see the splashes in the water" as the bullets zipped over their heads, Payne said.

"They yelled across the water for them to stop shooting, to no avail," Payne said.

During the night as the bullets flew, camper Burnett said there was a light breeze and the moon was out at times.

"We go camping to relax and spend some time with family and friends," Burnett said. "I'm hoping it'll be a one-time occurrence, because Beaver Bay is a real nice campground."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008009966_campshooting21m.html

rondog
July 20, 2008, 03:27 AM
Actually, this is the video I meant to post. That's my grandson on the twin .30's. Machine gun tracers at dusk is just so cool! http://youtube.com/my_videos_edit2?ns=1&video_id=DoQTFbPbg_g&next=%2Fmy_videos2%3Fpi%3D0%26ps%3D20%26sf%3Dadded%26sa%3D0%26sq%3D%26dm%3D1

another okie
July 23, 2008, 05:20 PM
Weird ricochets certainly occur, but I have seen and heard plenty of people confuse the supersonic crack with a ricochet.

LB7_Driver
July 23, 2008, 05:38 PM
our theory is that we shoot down towards the ground and the rounds will embed into the earthNo! This does NOT happen!
The deputy most probably heard tumbling rounds zinging by over head. They have a very distinctive sound.

Bullets striking the ground (even soft ground) at a shallow angle will ricochet, much like striking water.

Get a proper backstop to ensure the bullets don't go flying over the trees and into your neighbors house, car, kid, pet, etc...

Gaffer
July 23, 2008, 05:45 PM
Ricochets are bad news as you have no control once the bullet hits the ground at a small angle. It is best to never shoot at any flat surface. Always use a 45 degree backstop if possible so the bullet will stay put.

Defensory
July 24, 2008, 04:07 AM
Posted by 06:
Rounds will easily "skip" off water or muddy ground if the angle is fairly flat. Why not put up a berm if there is any doubt. A girl was killed in Charlotte at Carowinds about ten yrs ago from an errant round fired from about a mile away. You can never be too careful when practicing. Don't give the anti's any more ammo to throw at us, wc

Actually, that occurred in June of 1987.

It wasn't caused by skips or ricochets. It was caused by morons who were firing too high into the air.

A 16-year old girl was killed, and a 6-year old girl seriously injured.

It's my understanding that the parents of the girl who was killed became fiercely dedicated antis because of that incident.

TerryBob
July 24, 2008, 09:03 AM
Years ago, I used to help load the dynamite at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. It was much smaller affair back then.

One year (approx. 1981), we sat up a bunch of steel silhouettes for the sub guns only to shoot at. Kenny Sumner and I was leaning against his truck just off and slightly ahead of the furthest left range table when I got hit by a ricochet on my right lower side. The slug actually hit flat and stuck to my skin with out breaking the skin. It stung plenty and left a pretty good whelp.

Kenny and I looked at the case of dynamite at our feet and decided to move it to the other side of the truck.

Take care,

TerryBob

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