Hit by a bounce back!


January 22, 2012, 05:04 PM
After all the urban legends and videos on the internet it actually happened to me today! A couple of buddies and I were casually plinking. I stapled a paper plate to an old hardwood railroad tie used as a fence corner post on my property. At a range of about 20 feet, firing very mild .38 special full wadcutter loads out of my wifes S&W airweight, I had one bounce back and actually hit me between the belly button and the sternum. Not hard enough to break the skin, but it will bruise up! It was mild here today so I was wearing only a long sleeve T with a sweatshirt. The slug fell to the ground at my feet after it hit me, it is flattened down to perhaps 3/8 of an inch at the thickest point. Several other bullets are visible in the tie and we plucked a couple out with a leatherman. As I said this is a very mild plinking load that I have used for years.

My eye actually caught the bullet coming back, but I had no time to react. I am over 50 and have been shooting since my single digit years. I have seen some strange ricochets, etc. over the years, but this was a first. Just a reminder to wear those safety glasses, I could easily have lost an eye or some teeth at if this thing had hit in a more vulnerable spot. Be safe out there!

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January 22, 2012, 05:13 PM
I had one off a railroad tie backstop a few years ago.
Factory Black Hills .45 Colt 250 grain Cowboy load out of a Colt SAA.

Thank goodness it hit me right in the stacked leather heel of a cowboy boot.

It took my leg out from under me and I almost fell on my azz.
Busted the heel clear off my good boots too!

I am convinced I would of put a hurting put on me if it had of hit me instead of my boot heel.


January 22, 2012, 05:14 PM
I've had my most close calls with slingshotted .45 lead balls. Probably wouldn't kill you but they sure can bounce back.

January 22, 2012, 06:02 PM
I've had my most close calls with slingshotted .45 lead balls. Probably wouldn't kill you but they sure can bounce back.

Yup. I was hit in the shoulder on an indoor range with a 450fps 45swc. Didn't even briuse, but did sting a bit.

January 22, 2012, 06:14 PM
I shoot a three gun series. They used to have a stage where you would shoot slugs into some plates at varying distances. They stopped doing that when someone put a round into the frame, and the slug bounced back and hit a bystander in the forehead, well behind the firing line. We don't shoot slugs at steel anymore at that match. :eek:

January 22, 2012, 06:17 PM
I do *some* practice using wax rounds for point shooting with a Schofield .45 replica.

I used to shoot phone books with them, good burst of paper, maybe a bit of wax fragments come back at you as shrapnel

One book had just enough curve in it to catch a round, and slide it like a chute right back at me between the pages. All I saw was a burst of paper towards me, and the wax round Nailed me in the shin through my leather boots. Didn't break the skin but yowza!

Made me very aware of how curved surfaces react.

January 22, 2012, 06:22 PM
I shoot at an indoor range, and while I've never had a full slug come back at me, I've had several occasions where I have found pieces of jacket stuck into my forearms. At a match the other day, a round hit a steel plate, knocking the plate over, then ricocheted up and killed a fluorescent light bulb. Needless to say, they rezoned immediately afterward.

January 22, 2012, 06:33 PM
I had one come back at a local range. I caught it out of the corner of my eye, but had no chance to move. Hit me dead center of my sternum. I dropped mag, cycled the action, set the firearm down and then looked around.

Two lanes over there was a person shooting a man sized target at three feet, I am not kidding, and they were having trouble hitting the target.

Went and said something (minimum distance to target) to the RSO who told me that a bounce back was impossible. Packed up, left and I've been back to a public range.

January 22, 2012, 06:40 PM
During a rattlesnake and rat killin' rampage on a large ranch when we were 15-16 years old one of my friends caught a ricochet across is lower belly from a .22LR after he shot a salt lick. It broke the skin and he bruised a bit. He didn't do that again but he did pee on the cattle fence while barefoot on wet ground. He didn't do that again either. I've always heard that one can't receive a shock by peeing on an electric fence but he sure did jump. I didn't test his word on the matter. There was definite proof of the ricochet though... and I heard the round bounce of of him.

Glock Doctor
January 22, 2012, 06:50 PM
At the last big shooting match I attended I was hit by bullet or shotgun splatter three times in one afternoon!

Those things hurt, too! It was both funny and annoying. After the second time, everybody in my group began standing a good ten or twelve feet away from me. There was a lot of shooting going on. I wasn't near any targets; I wasn't in anybody's line-of-fire. This is just something that, 'the gods' must have had me fated for.

Anyway, shooting into a hard target at less than seven yards ain't the smartest thing you've ever done - Huh! ;)

January 22, 2012, 06:53 PM
Must happen now and then....This one felt about like getting hit by a paintball. I know a guy who shot a bowling ball with a .45 ACP at close range several years back, the slug came back and hit him in the belly. Always wondered about the odds of hitting a convex surface and coming straight back like that............he must have center punched it!

January 22, 2012, 06:53 PM
It's happened to me with really light .38 wadcutter loads at two different indoor ranges. It didn't hurt, and didn't bruise. Just hit my stomach or chest ans fell to the floor. Amazing!

January 22, 2012, 06:57 PM
We shot a stage at a match once with crappy pitted steel. Crap was flying all over. That steel got retired quickly.


January 22, 2012, 06:57 PM
I had a .380 fmj round ricochet on me once. I was shooting into a hillside about 20 feet in front of me. My mom was on the porch 20 feet behind me and it handed next to her on the porch. It was still hot when I picked it up. No idea what caused it. I've been shooting into that hill my whole life and have never had anything like that happen before. I don't shoot there anymore. To close to the house for bullets to be ricocheting.

January 22, 2012, 07:01 PM
About 30 years ago I took a .38 slug out of a borrowed .357 on the ankle bone when I hit a bowling pin com. I thought someone hit me with a bat. I have never shot at another bowling pin.

My backstop is railroad ties. The only thing that has come back from those so far was a bb from a pellet gun that stung my daughter in the forehead while she was shooting at a paper plate.

I had a .380 fmj round ricochet on me once. I was shooting into a hillside about 20 feet in front of me. My mom was on the porch 20 feet behind me and it handed next to her on the porch. It was still hot when I picked it up. No idea what caused it. I've been shooting into that hill my whole life and have never had anything like that happen before. I don't shoot there anymore. To close to the house for bullets to be ricocheting.

We used to shoot up gravel pits when we were kids. Once you had the dirt blasted away the rocks would send way too much stuff back in our direction.

January 22, 2012, 07:09 PM
I was shooting a Garand with .30-06 black tip (armor piercing) about 10 years ago. Took a shot at a 3" thick hanging steel plate at 100 yards just to see what it would do to it.

As the gun went off, something knocked my right arm back past my shoulder. I thought the gun had exploded or the operating rod had broken.

Turned out that the core of the armor-piercing bullet had bounced back and went into my right wrist, stopping in the center of my arm by my elbow.

4" higher and about 4" to the left it would have went in my eye, I doubt if my safety glasses would have stopped it.

Haven't shot any solid-core ammo at steel plates since then!

January 22, 2012, 07:17 PM
Why would you think a story about a bullet bouncing back is an urban legend?

January 22, 2012, 07:18 PM
This happened about 36 years ago. I was shooting the 50 cal machine gun from my 109A1 howitzer. We were shooting at old tanks and bmp's when I felt like i got kicked in my back. I had been hit by a 50 cal round that ricochet twice. Once from the tank I shot at and the second ricochet was when it hit door of my turret than in to my back. I am convinced it would have killed me had it only ricochet once.

January 22, 2012, 07:19 PM
It was a regular occurrence when I used to do pin shoots with my .38.

January 22, 2012, 07:25 PM
While shooting steel plates I had one bounce back and strike the corner of my safety glasses as it struck my head. The round knocked me on my rear and I felt something warm running down my face. I was bleeding and a large lump was left behind. The on scene EMT looked at it and said I would have a nice bruise and that was that. A few days later I was still having headaches so I set up an appointment with the doc. He asked me what happened and I told him. He called the Sheriff's Office since this was considered a gun shot wound and he was required to report it. (Kinda funny since I was employed with them and this was considered workman's comp during a tactical pistol exercise put on by the office). After the x-rays they found a good portion of the bullet had lodged under the skin and embedded into my skull. They were able to remove it, but I still feel the indentation and beleive that they did not get all of it out. So it can happen. I am glad I was wearing safety glasses or I would have been short one left eye.

The round was a .40 Winchester Ranger 180g I believe.

January 22, 2012, 07:28 PM
I had a buddy in high school shoot a 30-06 AP round at a chunk of railroad rail about 30 feet away from the prone position.

The tungsten AP core came right back at him and went through both rear fenders of his 1950 Ford.
Went over his head by about 6" near as we could tell from the holes in the old Ford.

Another high school friend lost his left eye shooting a steel bridge support beam with a .243 at 15 yards.
He got most of a jacket base frag right in the eye!


January 22, 2012, 07:37 PM
Learned my lesson as a teen after a close call with a .30-30. Talk about weak in the knees.

January 22, 2012, 07:43 PM
I'm pretty sure it happens to everyone sooner or later...

One that I got especially bad hit the hinge on my safety glasses (which I rented from the range) and broke them...

Needless to say, I bought a good pair not too long after. Never looked back.

January 22, 2012, 07:47 PM
I actually use that exact setup to do "superman drills". I shoot, watch the bullet coming back at me, then turn to the side and snatch it out of the air with my bare hand. On Kung Fu day I do it with chop sticks.

All kidding aside...I'm glad it was ABOVE the belly button...I hate to thing of catching one right in the walnuts.

I got smacked in the thigh last year at the indoor range...really made me appreciate the importance of shooting glasses at all times...and maybe a protective cup.

January 22, 2012, 07:56 PM
I know a guy walking around with a.22 in his nose. His brother shot the frozen reservoir they were on, in the 70's.

January 22, 2012, 08:05 PM
I've been hit by a couple of bouncing back Super Colbris. They didn't cause any trouble through my thick Carhart jacket... but I did pull the safety glasses out of the pocket.

January 22, 2012, 08:10 PM
I used to shoot a standing steel T post (fence post) with a 22 long rifle at about 100 yds, until I started hearing those things landing next to me. That T post was like a big steel flexible bat just batting those things right back to me.

January 22, 2012, 08:13 PM
I was standing next to my brother one time when 158gr FMJ out of a 38spl bounced back off a pine tree and hit him in the chest. It didn't have much left on it, he didn't even say "ouch." He still has the bullet.

January 22, 2012, 08:17 PM
I've shot and been an IPSC / IDPA RO for over 20 years. At least twice I have picked bullet fragments out of myself. None that required more than a good bandade.

Looking at a fragment now, I keep it over my computer, that I picked out of my forehead last year when I was RO'ing a shooter.

Wear those safety glasses!

January 22, 2012, 08:23 PM
Shooting bowling pins on a steel table with 9 mm lead bullets. One came back and hit me square on the big toe! A bit of blood in the sock and stung like heck. Wish I was wearing my work boots instead of sneakers.

January 22, 2012, 08:28 PM
Sleeping in the bed of a 5 ton truck at Camp Lejeune and was hit by fragments from a hand grenade, 100 yards in a parking lot of the range. Still have them to.

January 22, 2012, 08:37 PM
Back in high school, 1960-64, I shot on the town police sponsored youth marksman team. We practiced at the police range in the basement of the town hall. The range was no more than about 50 feet long. The backstop consisted of a steel plate at a 45 degree angle that deflected the bullets down into a sand pit. We were always being peppered with sand and fragments from the pit. We shot prone and sitting mostly. Occasionally we would shoot off hand standing and that was the best because the sand and fragments never bothered us at that altitude.

Ah, the good old days!


January 22, 2012, 09:35 PM
i have had a couple of them off from an old fallen tree that many people in the area shoot at. both times were reduced (cast lead) loads out of my 45. i have since fixed the leading issue i was having, and do not worry about it anymore.

January 22, 2012, 09:37 PM
I've had several good whacks over the years.

Got an odd piece of shiny steel in my left arm once. I was on a 50 yard range, getting a bore sighted gun on paper. I was giving the scope a couple of clicks when something like a yellow jacket popped my arm. There was about an 1/4" of shiny metal, that looked like flattened wire sticking, out of my arm and it took some force to pull it out.

Turned out to be about half of a tack from one of the targets.

January 23, 2012, 10:59 AM
Given the interest in this thread, here the little bugger is next to a quarter for perspective. Nice purple bruise on my hairy belly this morning..........thought I would spare you guys that image!

Arkansas Paul
January 23, 2012, 11:15 AM
I've had a plated .40 slug out of a Glock 22 come back and hit me, but it didn't have any steam left when it got there. Didn't even hurt. It did concern me though.

January 23, 2012, 11:28 AM
We had a few of these a few years back during our bowling pin shoots...seemed to happen in the late fall (cooler weather, harder pin skins) and mostly with 40 S&W with the flat point FMJs. I got a bruise on my chest from one (I was RO and standing beside and slightly to the rear of the shooter.). We quit shooting pins when the weather was below 50 degrees F.

January 23, 2012, 11:33 AM
I've been struck a couple times. In USPSA/IPSC they shoot a lot of steel - minimum distance that steel can be shot at is 10 yards which is supposed to give a reasonable distance for safety (basically, if you're hit standing that far back with eye protection on then it's not likely to hurt).

Never been hit by one of my own at a match, but I've been hit maybe 3-4 times by someone else's bullet coming back. All those times though I was back around 20-25 yards. Never felt like more than a thump each time. Not even enough to hurt - just enough to let you know you'd been hit.

Personally I'd say to just adopt that 10-yard minimum and keep shooting. It does prove an a great way though the importance of wearing eye protection while shooting. A lot of people skip on it (and I know I did for a long time when I first started) because it's one of those things that you don't USUALLY see any immediate negative consequences for not using, but when you need them, you NEED them, and in this case hindsight could well end up blind as a bat ;).

January 23, 2012, 12:35 PM
On a recent trip to an indoor range, the guy in the land next to me was shooing a .45 acp I got hit in the shin by one bouncing back. It felt like a paintball.

I made safe and went to see what was causing it. He had a large target at about five feet away and thought it was great fun to shoot out the crotch of the bad guy. Of course, at that range and angle he was hitting the range floor and not the backstop causing his rounds to ricochet all over the damn place.

I pointed it out to him and even showed him the deformed bullet I had picked up. When I asked him to stop shooting the floor, he basically told me to get lost if I didn't like it.

January 23, 2012, 01:42 PM
A few years ago I brought my 357 to my in laws. I set up some cans and jugs but then my Father in law said he didn't want to shoot there so he moved them. We had shot almost 50 rounds. After I had fired a few he said he got hit. I didn't believe him, so he opened his shirt and showed me a small red mark on his chest! We looked down and found a .357 bullet laying on the ground. I still had a hard time believing it. The bullet was in good shape still! We walked back behind the cans we were shooting. About 75 yards from where we were shooting was a river and a bunch of flat rocks with lead splatter all over them. This round traveled about 150 yards and wasn't deformed when it ricochet off a few of the rocks. Here is the round that we picked up off the ground.
I know rounds can come back, but to have one in this shape still? I've never seen it before.



Also note that if we had set up the targets where I had them in the first place we wouldn't have had this possibility. I had checked the backstop because I wasn't familiar with his property.

January 23, 2012, 01:55 PM
I got whacked by a 22 coming back a few years ago. A father and son were plinking next to us, I was walking around behind the firing line and got hit by something just below my eye right after the child fired. My dad and the kid's dad saw a little bit of blood running and asked me what happened. I mentioned that something hit me right after the kid fired. Kid's dad starts getting defensive on how there is no way his boy was responsible for it (we were the only ones at the range, they were shooting at ground targets about 20 yds out on a 100 yd range).

I decided it was time to leave after that. The boy's son looked a little worried through it all, so I handed him a box of 50 and told him to have fun. The kid had to have been 7 or 8, and I didn't want him getting spooked out of shooting over an honest accident.

January 23, 2012, 02:15 PM
I got hit in the 'boys' hard enough to draw blood through a pair of denim jeans, long johns, and cotton underwear. It was a .22 LR out of a 10/22 shot at an approved steel chicken in good repair at 25 YARDS!

The lead sliver was stuck in the pants material, but you can imagine how I felt, especially after I stuck my hand down there and it came back with blood on it. I would hate to have it hit my eye.

January 23, 2012, 03:23 PM
shooting a .38 shot shell @ 1/4 particle board 7 yards away, I know I was pretty much begging for some return fire, and got it right off the bat.

January 23, 2012, 05:34 PM
I have been lucky in all of my years of shooting. It has not happened to me YET.
Did have a large Spruce tree get revenge. It was on the far side of my runway behind my cabin. I had place a target on it. 150 yards from the cabin. The kids had been shooting all day. The next day the tree had fallen onto the air-strip, during the night. Just a big mess to clean up.

Silent Bob
January 23, 2012, 05:51 PM
Me and a friend were once shooting my Ruger P97 in his pasture and he got struck in the sternum by a .45 ACP hardball round that bounced back at him. He said it felt like getting hit by a rock. Fortunately most of its energy must have been used up.

I have never been hit by a round but I have been hit by fragments from shooting steel plates several times.

January 23, 2012, 06:46 PM
I slugged a pepper popper at 25 yards a couple three times before my handlers slapped my peepee.

January 23, 2012, 07:36 PM
I believe it.

About 30 years ago a friend and I were at his Dad's ranch and we were plinking away at different objects with our pistols. I shooting a .44 mag (Ruger Super BlackHawk).

I aimed at the knot in a Mesquite tree about 20 yds. away. At the shot...I immediately felt an impact and stinging sensation just below my belt buckle.

There on the ground in front of me was what was left of the jacketed bullet (flattened out and distorted). It had somehow come nearly straight back, clipped the edge of my belt buckle (left a mark on it) and raised a big blood blister about the size of a nickle on my abdomen.

Couldn't believe that happened, but learned a valuable lesson.

January 23, 2012, 07:54 PM
.243 at 15 yards.

nuff said! lucky he survived.

I got hit with a birdshot pellet from a 410 a guy next to me was shooting. came back hit me in the wrist. Felt awesome.

January 24, 2012, 12:40 PM
Nothing serious but I did learn a lesson on how one should angle targets.

When I got my first bb gun, I took all sorts of targets into the yard, including a piece of flat brick. I was having a great time until I heard/felt a bb skimming across my scalp. Turns out that the piece of brick was at the right angle for me to have essentially shooting at myself for a lot of the shooting session.

Drew a little blood, lost a little hair, but I didn't lose an eye!

Dr T
January 24, 2012, 01:13 PM
I once shot a rattlesnake on a limestone outcrop about 10 or 15 feet away with a 22 LR revoler (S&W 617 with a 3 inch barrel) loaded with rat shot. A couple of the little pellets hit me on my left temple. I picked them out with my fingernail. Glad I was wearing my bullet proof glasses.

By the way, I switch back to regular 22 LRs for rattlesnakes. They kill faster and are not as prone to bounce off in all directions like the rat shot. (Cheaper, too).

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