Ricochet - Sometimes it hurts.


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Orkan
June 28, 2010, 11:08 PM
So, every night when I come home from work, I grab the XDM 9 and shoot a couple hundred rounds. I do this with every firearm I get to ensure my familiarity and proficiency with it. I shoot paper, cardboard, and steel. I have been doing this for a couple weeks with the xdm.

Last week, a buddy of mine gave me some targets. They were the "popper" style targets that sit on the ground, and fall over when shot. These particular targets were worked over at close range with an ar15... heavily worked over. They were riddled with holes. A red flag went up. Mistake #1 was ignoring the red flag. I figured I would just stay a "safe distance" away from them when I shot them. I've shot them about 300 times probably, and as with all the steel I shoot, I angle it away from me so ricochet's go somewhere else besides at me.

Tonight, I stepped up to 25yds from the targets, and started in on my practice session. 5rnds into the magazine, *BANG* *ting!* *WHACK* "YEEOWW!"

Sure enough, a piece of that bullet came back and hit me in the leg, just above the ankle. Within a few seconds, I could see I took a good deal of the round, and that it was more than a light abrasion. I could still feel everything, and all my toes, ankle and what not still worked fine. It stung a bit, to be sure, but it appeared that nothing major was going on. No heavy bleeding, and no "numbness." I can walk on it, though I figure it best to put it up and leave it alone for a while.

I scrubbed the wound with peroxide as well as anti bacterial soap and water. Put on some antibacterial cream and a bandage. Hopefully that will take care of it. I figure I'll go to the doctor tomorrow and get a tetanus shot... since I haven't had one for a while. Other than that, I'll keep and eye on it to make sure infection doesn't take hold.

Stupidity hurts sometimes... but I'm not so prideful as to not share the experience in the hopes that someone else may benefit from my stint of temporary retardation. Bottom line is this: If you are going to shoot at steel, it better be HARD (ar500 or better) and it better be angled away from you and not have ANY dimples or imperfections. Certainly no HOLES through it. I did NOT do my duty as a responsible shooter in this case. I got a little too lax in my range setup and did not fully think the situation over. Thankfully nobody was hurt but me, and thankfully it doesn't look too bad. However, a gunshot wound is not that fun... this I can assure you. Use your head boys and girls. This could have been avoided, if I would simply have taken notice to what I already knew.

This sucker penetrated about 2" of my flesh and exited, hitting me in the shin as hard as anything ever has. I shudder to think what the result would have been if taken in the neck, or chest... or anywhere else... for that matter.

Makes me wonder how those guys that do the plate racks in pistol competition at such close range can get away with not catching some lead!

Humble pie, is just a little more bitter than I recall. ;)

Fire away gents... although it appears my skin is nowhere near as thick as I originally thought. hahaha Be that as it may I assure you whatever comments you have, I'll be able to take. The pictures were after it had been cleaned up a bit. It looked very much more "hollywood cool" prior to that. ;)

http://www.gregd.net/pics/guns/IMG_4074.JPG

http://www.gregd.net/pics/guns/IMG_4075.JPG

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killchain
June 28, 2010, 11:18 PM
OW.

kingpin008
June 28, 2010, 11:33 PM
Cripes Almighty. You're right - sometimes stupidity hurts, and it looks like you got one heck of a lesson.

Let me be the first to say that I'm glad it wasn't worse, and that you're still here to tell the tale. (and hopefully take it to heart!)

Please, even if it feels better tomorrow, definitely go see a doc. There might be a chunk still stuck in there, ya know?

Dnaltrop
June 28, 2010, 11:39 PM
Ow... Ow ow ow, ow ow ?

Tetanus shot up to date?

sonier
June 28, 2010, 11:42 PM
Another reason why i am not fond of steel targets lol wow man power to you posting the pics, ive had 22 lr ricochet past my head before, but since then i am more careful on what i shoot, btw i shot a car battery once yes it was completely dead and wouldnt hold charge, battery acid flew back and a tiny drop landed in my eye, my vision was pretty screwy, and still after a year isnt back to what it was before..

Orkan
June 28, 2010, 11:43 PM
Yeah, going to get a tetanus shot tomorrow. Last one was about 12 years ago.

... and the lesson was definitely taken to heart. ;)

mothermopar
June 28, 2010, 11:48 PM
Red socks were soooo December! Lol

Glad you're ok friend, and thanks for the lesson learned! Be safe.

wrs840
June 28, 2010, 11:50 PM
Go see a doctor tomorrow. Tetanus shot for sure, but that's a deep (through) puncture wound and an infection would be a bad eventuality, IMHO. Get it taken care of now before you have a big angry-looking red spot all around it.

Les

RevolvingGarbage
June 29, 2010, 12:49 AM
Damn, before I saw the pics I thought you had gotten whacked by a piece that hurt but bounced back off. That sir is a through and through!

Any idea how much of the bullet hit you?

c919
June 29, 2010, 12:59 AM
Yikes, I wasn't picturing entry/exit material when I was reading the text. That's rough.

Glad you're still walking. Hope you have a quick recovery, and never shoot battered steel again (though I bet you will never go down that road again).

Orkan
June 29, 2010, 01:03 AM
Any idea how much of the bullet hit you?

I'm not sure. Judging by the size of the entry and exit holes, I'd say about 1/3 to half of it. Felt about like someone hitting me in the shin with a broom handle as hard as they could.

(though I bet you will never go down that road again)

No sir, I will not!

SIGP250
June 29, 2010, 01:05 AM
I would at least get an X-ray. Getting hit in the ankle where there is nothing but bone and tendon can be very painful and can take several months to heal. That is no flesh wound. You really don't want an infection. Keep an ice pad on it until you can see a doc.

Nushif
June 29, 2010, 01:22 AM
Damn! That's some epic stuff.

Note to self, no steel targets for me ... (not that I have ever shot at one) but that is gonna be one gnarly scar.

longdayjake
June 29, 2010, 02:05 AM
I was lucky enough to only get hit by flakes from the jacket and powdered with lead. I was shooting an 8mm mauser and I hit the steel stand that my target was on. A jacket flake took a little chunk out of my elbow but other than that all I had was black dust all over my clothes with little jacket flakes here and there. Mine didn't hurt at all because it went numb but I can testify that it hits you so fast that it really does feel like someone just smacked you with something.

22-rimfire
June 29, 2010, 07:26 AM
Go to the doctor. Yes, you might get some hassles over this. You could loose your foot (or worse) if it becomes badly infected. Take advantage of "modern medicine".

ljnowell
June 29, 2010, 08:40 AM
Glad you werent hurt worse. Thank you for sharing your hard lwarned experience. It may be embarassing, but hopefully it saves someone else from doing the same thing.

rainbowbob
June 29, 2010, 09:57 AM
Makes me wonder how those guys that do the plate racks in pistol competition at such close range can get away with not catching some lead!

Frangible ammo?

heron
June 29, 2010, 11:20 AM
I see a market for some new items of Kevlar clothing . . .

Thanks for posting this; I, for one, would not have thought there would be a danger in using a pierced/dented steel target. You just can't be too careful. Hope you heal up okay.

Justin
June 29, 2010, 11:39 AM
Makes me wonder how those guys that do the plate racks in pistol competition at such close range can get away with not catching some lead!

The OP stated that the steel targets he shot at were worn and pockmarked, evidently from close-range rifle fire.

Steel targets are an acceptably safe target to shoot with handguns, even at relatively close ranges, so long as they're in good condition.

However, once they show serious signs of wear and tear (the target bowing in like a bowl, or showing serious cratering from heavy use), the chances of something like this begin to climb.

I've been shooting Steel Challenge matches on a nearly weekly basis for two years now, and have yet to witness anything as severe as the injury the OP has posted.

Mudinyeri
June 29, 2010, 11:47 AM
Ricochet and injury noted.

You shoot 200 rounds every work day? I buy my 9mm at about $22/100 in bulk. That adds up to nearly $9000 a year in ammo (assuming 200 work days/year).

Sure wish I had an ammo budget like that!

Now, go get your wound checked out by a doctor.

Orkan
June 29, 2010, 12:08 PM
Yeah, lately I have been going through about 200 a day. I have a source for PMC bronze 115gr FMJ's for $200 per thousand. Like I say, I have been doing that for a couple weeks with my XDM. I missed a few days, so I've got about 3000rnds down range in the last couple weeks.

I shoot a LOT. My round counts are measured in thousands. Its for this reason that I'm thankful that this is the worst I've received thus far.

As for the doctor... they aren't going to tell me anything I don't already know. I have antibiotics I'm taking and I'm heading in to renew my tetanus shot. That should have me covered. I don't like doctors or the medical sector at all. I'll avoid them if I can.

Navy_Guns
June 29, 2010, 01:49 PM
Welcome to the club. I got my "permanent jewelry" on Mother's Day. When I was in the ER the doctor said that bullet fragments are usually presumed sterile in cases like that because they reach very high temperatures when they impact and deform. They gave me a tetanus shot just in case but no antibiotics or anything for the fragment they left in my arm. Didn't need anything, apparently, because it healed up very quickly with no infection or complications.

Glad I'm not the only one! :neener:

saigashooter1
June 29, 2010, 02:54 PM
I know in illinios if you go to the hospital with a gunshot wound you will get a visit from the cops.:eek: Im not sure if a family doc would have to report it. So you might just want to limp in on a "twisted anke" to get your tetnus shot. i wont bore you fellas with the details of how i know.

Orkan
June 29, 2010, 03:09 PM
Yeah, and everything else is illegal in illinois too. Well, except corrupt politicians apparently. Cops? What are they gonna do, press charges against me for ricocheting a bullet into myself? Don't think so. I don't need a cop any more than I need a doctor... and I need a doctor about as bad as I need a kick in the face.

Nobody really asks questions about a tetanus shot anyway. I'm due for one. None of their damn business why I'm limping.

longdayjake
June 29, 2010, 03:25 PM
Why do you think you need a tetanus shot? Did it go through your pants?

kingpin008
June 29, 2010, 03:25 PM
I know in illinios if you go to the hospital with a gunshot wound you will get a visit from the cops.

Good thing it was a shrapnel wound, then! :neener:

waterhouse
June 29, 2010, 04:01 PM
Steel targets are an acceptably safe target to shoot with handguns, even at relatively close ranges, so long as they're in good condition.

However, once they show serious signs of wear and tear (the target bowing in like a bowl, or showing serious cratering from heavy use), the chances of something like this begin to climb.

Why is this? Bullets not hitting a flat surface or something like that? I've never looked too carefully at the steel I've shot, guess I need to.

OP, thanks for posting. I've gotten bits and pieces of ricochet before but that looks pretty bad.

Orkan
June 29, 2010, 04:06 PM
Why do you think you need a tetanus shot? Did it go through your pants?

I haven't had one since 1998.
The target had a bit of rust on it.
I don't know for CERTAIN if the bullet skipped off the ground first.
Lots of other reasons that I can't think of, and none of which I want to risk getting lock-jaw and dying over.

I just got the shot, and I know I'm good for a while. :)

parsimonious_instead
June 29, 2010, 04:07 PM
>I shudder to think what the result would have been if taken in the neck, or chest... or >anywhere else... for that matter.

I was at a range and I asked the firearm instructor I was taking a lesson from about whether we could open fire on some of the steel targets.
He shook his head gravely, and told me that the jacket could easily ricochet back and do serious damage.
He told me that some years back a fellow ignored the "no rifle shooting at steel" rule, and a jacket punctured the neck of the person right next to him. Let's say that Tom Savini would have been hard pressed to do an arterial spray as spectacular as this one.
The fellow lived through the ordeal, but it was a pretty stark reminder of the necessity of following the rules.

Forklift
June 29, 2010, 04:13 PM
A nurse told me tetanus shots were only needed if whatever punctured you had at some point contacted fecal matter (animal or otherwise).

Orkan
June 29, 2010, 05:49 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus#Cause

That nurse must not be very bright.

Deep puncture wounds (as I received) can easily lead to a tetanus infection.

Justin
June 29, 2010, 05:53 PM
Why is this? Bullets not hitting a flat surface or something like that? I've never looked too carefully at the steel I've shot, guess I need to.


Technically, I'm not sure. To take a wild guess, I'd assume that once the surface of the target becomes bowed, it's more likely to allow the bullet or fragments to enter/leave at an angle, rather than hitting straight on and causing the bullet to disintegrate evenly.

Same could be said, presumably, for steel that's heavily pockmarked from many impacts, or close-range rifle hits.

dbb1776
June 29, 2010, 05:58 PM
I became lazy about wearing safety glasses. That changed when I was standing behind my truck watching a kid shoot cans with my 12 ga when all of the sudden
WHACK! a pellet bounced off and nailed me on my eyelid. Good lesson for me and him.
I was about 20 yards away he was about 15 yard away, using #6 game loads.

Dnaltrop
June 29, 2010, 06:10 PM
just scrub it out with some Hoppes and your .22 bristle!

But seriously, My dad tried my Schofield with soft loaded FMJ, at 50' A fleck of copper half the size of a dime hit my glasses, just shrapnel from the backstop.

I've only shot steel with my .22's at very long range, I think I'll alternate sides to keep them even.

toddyboman
June 29, 2010, 06:15 PM
HOLY CRAP! Glad you are ok! Thanks for the reminder....... I will look at my range setup a little closer.

PedalBiker
July 1, 2010, 12:33 AM
I had a similar experience a long time ago with a .357 and a rail road plate.

I had shot the plate with a .30-06 and that left craters in the metal. Then the .357 bullet hit the edge of the crater and part of the bullet shaved off on the crater edge then followed the circular path of the crater right back at me.

tesseract
July 1, 2010, 12:38 PM
Thanks for sharing. It helps reenergize the "safety first" instinct. ;-)

BTW, you should have a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, as my doctor has informed me. Every year that ends in a 5, I get a tetanus booster shot (easy way to remember).

C-grunt
July 1, 2010, 01:50 PM
I took a nice ricochet to the left leg last summer while Dove hunting. As we were leaving I decided to do some target practice with my .38 special that I had brought out. The 158grn LRN bullet completely mushroomed against a Mesquite tree and came back hitting me in the left ankle. Luckily it didnt break skin and only left a good bruise. I keep it on my "gun desk" as a reminder along with my ND bullet.

Pics of the .38.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm229/killerchase2000/001-3.jpg
http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm229/killerchase2000/002-3.jpg

Orkan
July 1, 2010, 03:34 PM
Yes indeed. Safety is something that needs practiced always, not just when you have time or the money.

Nighthawk0083
July 1, 2010, 07:37 PM
wouldnt lead bullets be better for shooting steel

Katana8869
July 1, 2010, 10:10 PM
Mmm. You may want to get that looked at by a doc just to rule out the chance that there may be some little fragments still in the wound that could cause infection. Glad that you are (basically) okay.

swede4198
July 1, 2010, 10:46 PM
We shoot steel as close as 25 feet with pistols using frang. Even with frang you can feel some of the "sand" hitting your ankles after bouncing off the concrete floor. It's fun but a little pricey

Orkan
July 2, 2010, 12:41 AM
Healing nicely.

http://www.gregd.net/pics/guns/IMG_4086.JPG

C-grunt
July 2, 2010, 03:59 AM
Chicks dig scars!

dagger dog
July 2, 2010, 10:24 AM
I actually caught a ricochet bullet. I was shooting at a quarter placed in the bark of a tree stump at about 25 yds shooting a 1911 .45acp hardball.

I hit the quarter on the third shot,and saw it ricochet up and back toward me in a high arc, glinting in the sunlight, I reached out my left hand and did a fly swat motion and caught the quarter which was HOT! and dropped it to the ground , to find out it was the bullet!

Officers'Wife
July 2, 2010, 10:39 AM
That nurse must not be very bright.

Deep puncture wounds (as I received) can easily lead to a tetanus infection.

OK, point A: A ricochet is unlikely to produce a tetanus infection as the propellant energy and air friction are likely to generate enough heat to 'sterile' the ball.

Point B: once the skin is broken any matter introduced could possibly contain the tetanus bacteria. This could be a deep penetrating wound or a pinprick. The bacteria does not need fecal matter to be present although that is the most common manner of transmission. Rusted iron is an ideal environment for the bacteria.

Point C: Booster shots are inexpensive, commonly available and take little time. It's only common sense to keep boosters up to date.

eatont9999
July 2, 2010, 10:58 AM
Glad to hear that you are OK. I would still go to the doctor, though. I hate going to the doctor's office too, but that looks bad.

I think what people shoot in steel matches is lead bullets. Personally, I would never shoot a FMJ at a steel target. I have shot computer hard drives (aluminum) with FMJ rifle cartridges and high velocity pistol cartridges, but 9mm would not be on that list. You might be better off shooting steel with lead bullets.

sig228
July 2, 2010, 11:13 AM
Steel targets are an acceptably safe target to shoot with handguns, even at relatively close ranges, so long as they're in good condition.

Lets not forget that these steel targets must be set up at a proper angle to deflect the bullet downward.

Cosmoline
July 2, 2010, 12:29 PM
No problem getting a tetanus booster, but that's about the last bacteria I'd worry about in this case. Clostridium tetani is anaerobic and is killed by O2 and heat. But there are a lot of other germs that lurk around your skin and all kinds of other surfaces that can take advantage of a wound like this to give you a nasty infection.

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