Shooting Rifles In A Neighborhood


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gdesloge
March 11, 2010, 11:32 PM
I am not sure where I stand on this. Is it prudent to fire rifles (or handguns, for that matter) in a neighborhood where the backdrop beyond one's field of fire and point of aim is houses and an active road?

A neighbor, who is a good friend and a NRA instructor and a common-sense type of fellow, is shooting prairie dogs in his (quite expansive) front yard. Most shots would be, I imagine, slightly downhill, and a county road lies approx. 100 yards beyond, and beyond that is a handful of houses (ours included). We do live in a rural area.

I realize that he will be shooting into the dirt, but ricochets and stray bullets are a possibility. I do not feel that I would be shooting in such a manner.

Thank you,

gd

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Mags
March 11, 2010, 11:37 PM
Most places put a minimum distance from a dwelling usually mandated by counties, contact your Sheriff for legalities, but don't implicate your neighbor right away without having a chat with him about firearm safety. Give em a chance.

twofifty
March 11, 2010, 11:43 PM
You mention there is a potential for ricochets and stray bullets...and a public road plus houses 100yds beyond your friend's front yard P-dog town. Safe ranges are designed so that bullets are fired toward a safe zone that extends well beyond the backstop berms, or the range boundary for that matter, so that strays can fall harmlessly to unoccupied ground.

Ask your friend to compare the margin of safety he is allowing his neighbours to what the NRA specifies in its range design guidelines.

Sometimes, people who hold certifications in X, Y or Z come to believe in their own infallibility.

gdesloge
March 11, 2010, 11:43 PM
Thank you for the response.

I am not concerned so much with the legalities, but with the practical and safety aspects of this situation. I am concerned if a bullet goes awry.

I would definitely speak with him first.

gd

gdesloge
March 11, 2010, 11:44 PM
Thanks again for the second response. A good perspective for me.

gd

warnerwh
March 11, 2010, 11:45 PM
Being as he is shooting prairie dogs he is most likely using varmint bullets that will disintegrate on impact so ricochets are very unlikely. Unless he fires a round in your direction you really don't have anything to worry about. That said the potential for a mistake is possible. I'd have to see everything myself to say whether I thought it is safe or not.

jojo200517
March 11, 2010, 11:47 PM
Ricochets can do some funny ****. Even buck shot (I had to replace someone elses window at about 75 deg angle from where I was aiming and thank god it was only a window) I'd politely express this concern to him. If he's a common sense guy he should be ok with talking about it.

22-rimfire
March 11, 2010, 11:56 PM
I grew up shooting out the back windows of my childhood home at various non-game birds and animals. I would suggest you have a chat with your neighbor to hopefully get a higher comfort level about their shooting or at least to express your concerns and get their reaction.

kingpin008
March 12, 2010, 12:07 AM
Is it prudent to fire rifles (or handguns, for that matter) in a neighborhood where the backdrop beyond one's field of fire and point of aim is houses and an active road?

No, it's not.

Hatterasguy
March 12, 2010, 12:11 AM
No, rifle rounds can travel quote far.


Although if he is shooting prairie dogs his neighborhood is probably a lot larger than mine is on the CT coast.

Joe Kent
March 12, 2010, 12:20 AM
Having had to close our local gunclub/range because of stray rds. I can tell you that a highpower rifle rd. that hits the earth can travel, after ricochet, 400 to 600 yards before "landing". It is very dangerous and as much as I love shooting, your neighbor needs to know that he should stop at once. I'm sure as a NRA instructor ,he would never forgive himself if an accident was to occur and he injured someone or worse.

AKElroy
March 12, 2010, 12:35 AM
Invite him over so the two of you can sit in your front yard & shoot his groundrats with his house in the background.

-eaux-
March 12, 2010, 12:59 AM
shooting in proximity to roads, houses, etc is highly variable by jurisdiction. check your local listings.
as far as practicality, i agree that it is a discussion you should bring to your neighbor.
ask him to come to your yard and shoot toward his house and see how comfortable he is. (*that was sarcasm*, you presenting your viewpoint to him with a genuine man-to-man concern, it should never come to that.)

gdesloge
March 12, 2010, 01:00 AM
Thank you to all who have replied so far.

As I stated earlier, I would not be shooting so in this environment. My neighbor is using a .17 HMR, although that makes little difference to the basic safety issue.

We live in a very rural area, and I had a brief conversation a year ago with a Sheriff's deputy in the local gun store. I asked him about the types of complaints that he normally encountered regarding gunfire in the county. He stated that most complaints were about residents claiming that neighbors were shooting onto their property. Keep in mind that we have deer grazing in our backyard, so close that I could throw a wet rag on them from our kitchen window, and elk crossing our driveway 25 yards from our house on a regular basis. I don't want gunfire on our place for my family's safety.

My neighbor is a really great guy, and I am quite fond of him as a friend. I will mention my concerns to him. I am confident that we will have a reasonable conversation.

Thank you for your responses.

gd

-eaux-
March 12, 2010, 01:03 AM
sounds like you are in a good position to have a good tete-a-tete with this guy. may even end up with a shooting buddy!

erichtmobile
March 12, 2010, 01:11 AM
Anyone who has ever done nighttime fire with tracers can vouch for the uncanny ability of a bullet to ricochet in amazing directions

FloridaConfederate
March 12, 2010, 10:10 AM
I agree talk with him first, do not "invite" any gov't agency into someones life w/o trying the personal approach. When in the system you are in for ride:banghead:.

cassandrasdaddy
March 12, 2010, 10:15 AM
actually caliber matters particularly for ricochet. says the guy who popped a hole in his truck shooting at a coyote. and i woulda bet 6 months pay there was no way it coulda ever hit my truck

Gouranga
March 12, 2010, 10:21 AM
..be sure of your target and WHAT IS BEYOND IT.
..Always point the gun in a safe direction.

On the surface seems like he is violating some safety rules there. I would be neighborly and chat with him on it. He may be taking some safety steps that you do not realize. He may not have simply thought of it the way you have. Even instructors can make mistakes.

My grandfathers truck got 2 22 holes in it because of someone doing a similar thing. Was by the grace of God that he was not shot by the guy. He literally missed him by 2-3 ft.

bhhacker
March 12, 2010, 10:26 AM
My dads cousin (off duty Las Vegas PD) was dirt biking with a friend about a mile or two from an outdoor range with a backstop. He felt a pain in the back of his head when they were done and removed his helmet. That helmet must have been holding something in because when he took it off he collapsed and died in the hospital later.

Im not trying to hijack the thread or anything, just letting you know that even in 100% legitimate circumstances freak accidents can happen. I expect no less than 100% rule following in terms of range and backstop safety.

Keb
March 12, 2010, 11:11 AM
Has he considered using a shotgun with #8's?
=========
You might use Google Earth to measure the distance involved. If the end of his expansive property has another 100 yards to reach the road, AND there is a hill involved, then it might be safe. How about telling all of us just what this distance actually is?

nathan
March 12, 2010, 11:27 AM
Bullets do weird things . Chat with the neighbor and make sure he understands your concerns.

627PCFan
March 12, 2010, 11:31 AM
17's do ricochette at shallow angles. Dont let anyone fool you-

Warhawk83
March 12, 2010, 12:03 PM
That would make me very nervous. It would be something I would have a talk with him about, if he shrugged it off I would have to seek out a legal remedy as I have small children. He should know better being an NRA instructor.

In my Parish, you have to be 600 yards from the nearest house not to get in trouble.

M2 Carbine
March 12, 2010, 12:21 PM
I am not sure where I stand on this. Is it prudent to fire rifles (or handguns, for that matter) in a neighborhood where the backdrop beyond one's field of fire and point of aim is houses and an active road?
Few people are wealthy enough to own enough land that they can fire a slightly elevated gun without the bullet leaving their property.

If that was a requirement to shoot outdoors, there would be very few places a person could shoot, even on their own land.

The shooter/property owner has the responsibility to insure that a bullet does not leave their land.

On my range (other than the normal safety rules) I have only two rules.
1 The shooter must insure that they never allow a bullet to miss the berm. (including ricocheting bullets)
2 The shooter must insure that they never shoot me.


A neighbor, who is a good friend and a NRA instructor and a common-sense type of fellow, is shooting prairie dogs in his (quite expansive) front yard. Most shots would be, I imagine, slightly downhill, and a county road lies approx. 100 yards beyond, and beyond that is a handful of houses (ours included). We do live in a rural area.
This is foolish, especially for someont that should know better, and I would put a stop to it.
Over the years I've read a number of accounts of people being killed by ricocheting bullets, some at quite a distance.
One was a little girl that was in her back yard a quarter of a mile away from where two guys were shooting a 9mm Luger. The fellows were shooting at old rotten telephone poles. It was found that some of the bullets were going through the poles and ricocheting of a little pond. One bullet hit the little girl in the head, killing her. No charges were filed because it was decided that no "reasonable person" would think that could happen.

I've had two ranges on my property since the early 1970's. A backyard 50 yard range and a 100 yard range in the woods.
Easily within handgun or rifle range there are are houses behind the backstops. I am selective about who I allow to shoot on my ranges and I have pretty good backstops.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/40yardsNat2.jpg

.

nathan
March 12, 2010, 01:16 PM
After reading all these, i think the NRA instructor (referred by the OP) must be an idiot.

I dont know why he is an instructor in the first place. His actions are not congruent to what safe discharge of firearms is concern. Again , there are a lot of idiots out there who profess to be this and that and have no common sense, period.

ForumSurfer
March 12, 2010, 01:53 PM
ricochets are very unlikely

Ricochets do crazy, unpredictable things. I would walk over and have a face to face chat immediately, before he ever even put the gun down. If I saw it once more, I'd escalate to legal options.

Then again, I have kids. "Unlikely" isn't acceptable. The last thing I want is some yahoo across the road accidentally putting varmint rounds through my windows. Firing anything at those distances is irresponsible, reckless and disrespectful. My 11 year old has a rather powerful, supersonic pellet rifle. This same 11 year old would demonstrate better safety than this.

gdesloge
March 13, 2010, 12:02 PM
Thank you all for your help. Your perspectives are appreciated.

I am planning on asking our neighbor if he knows with certainty where his bullets are traveling, is he aware of the possibility of ricochets, and what lays beyond his intended targets.

It is difficult to describe the layout of our neighborhood, but there are houses in view from his property for 180 degrees, and it is in those 180 degrees that he has told me he is firing.

gd

hso
March 13, 2010, 12:23 PM
I think the member who first suggested basing the question on what range safety requirements for an outdoor range would be and then asking if the situation meets those requirements is a great approach.

Zip7
March 13, 2010, 12:36 PM
My neighbor is using a .17 HMR, although that makes little difference to the basic safety issue.

17HMR with the V-Max bullet - I expect is FAR less likely to ricochet than a .22lr. I have shot both extensively.

cassandrasdaddy
March 13, 2010, 12:50 PM
i agree with zip about likely hood but with bullets its like buying lottery tickets you only need one winner

LeonCarr
March 13, 2010, 01:27 PM
I was shooting on a buddys property in East Texas once upon a time. We were shooting an 8mm Mauser 98 Rifle loaded with Portuguese Surplus 198 grain FMJBT ammo. I know they were boattail bullets since one of them hit one of the junk vehicles on the range (A 1983 Ford Econoline Van filled to the roof with junk auto parts and dirt) and left a perfect hole showing the outline of the keyholed bullet. If it would have went past the backstop, it could have traveled for miles.

Also, in Texas it is against the law to shoot across a public roadway. Not a good thing to do in any state.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

cskny
March 13, 2010, 02:54 PM
+1

Quote:
Is it prudent to fire rifles (or handguns, for that matter) in a neighborhood where the backdrop beyond one's field of fire and point of aim is houses and an active road?
No, it's not.

noob_shooter
March 14, 2010, 03:37 AM
that would really bother me..... ask him if he'll let you shoot from your house with his house in the background..

danprkr
March 14, 2010, 06:33 AM
Invite him over so the two of you can sit in your front yard & shoot his groundrats with his house in the background.

We have a winner! That'll put in perspective for him. Especially if he has kids in his house.

wishin
March 14, 2010, 01:36 PM
I get the feeling that you're intimidated by this guy because of his NRA credentials. You say he's a "really nice guy" with "common sense" and a "really great guy" who's a "good friend", that "you're fond of" as well.

Given that, there should be no reluctance on your part to approach him as a friend and reveal your concerns. If he's the person you think he is, he'll respect you for it.

Claude Clay
March 14, 2010, 01:57 PM
Invite him over so the two of you can sit in your front yard & shoot his groundrats with his house in the background while his wife and kids are outside playing with the family dogs.

added to a already winner:D

----his actions are a danger to others.
he should stop immediatly. perhaps your houses came after his and he has been doing this for quite some time. he has rationilized the 'new' situation in his favor (gosh, how is that possible:uhoh:). a visit, along with any other neighbors of yours, should put a end to his actions. if not, proceed to the police.
the potential for injury or death will not stop till he does

gdesloge
March 14, 2010, 02:32 PM
wishin wrote:

"I get the feeling that you're intimidated by this guy because of his NRA credentials. You say he's a "really nice guy" with "common sense" and a "really great guy" who's a "good friend", that "you're fond of" as well.

Given that, there should be no reluctance on your part to approach him as a friend and reveal your concerns. If he's the person you think he is, he'll respect you for it. "


gdesloge had previously written:

"I am planning on asking our neighbor if he knows with certainty where his bullets are traveling, is he aware of the possibility of ricochets, and what lays beyond his intended targets."

gd

wishin
March 14, 2010, 02:51 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to offend, just to provide impetus. Would like to have seen that you did talk to him. Good luck.

gdesloge
March 14, 2010, 03:21 PM
No offense taken. My family's safety and well-being comes before all else.

Thank you,

gd

lexjj
March 14, 2010, 04:32 PM
ask him to use a pellet gun?

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