Shooting 22.'s with the ground frozen?


November 27, 2013, 08:24 AM
Every winter I wonder about this. Should I worry about 22.'s ricocheting off the frozen ground? I know they do. I've seen two holes in the snow, one where the bullet went in, and one where it came out. I haven't shot my 22.'s with the ground frozen since. I've never seen anything in the gun safety books about this, but it seems like a legitimate concern. Is there something I don't know? Do bouncing bullets generally have such a low velocity that it isn't something you need to worry about? Is my squirrel hunting over until next spring?:(

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November 27, 2013, 09:05 AM
Is it any different than shooting in rocky soil? If the round is going into the ground, traveling through some soil, and coming back out, it has to be taking a lot of energy out of the equation.

Not that I'd want to be hit by it, but I'd say danger of increased bullet travel is minimal.

That all said, you still have to follow rule #4... Be sure of your target and backstop...

November 27, 2013, 10:43 AM
I would say we should be cautious with all calibers, not just 22s. Water is another surface. Looks soft, but the right angle and you could skip a bullet. Saw a youtube of guy skipping 45acp.

November 28, 2013, 07:18 AM
I live in SD, and we generally have long cold winters. I've fired thousands of rounds of 22LR while the ground has been frozen without any issue, and will continue to do so without a second thought. Considering it sometimes freezes in Oct, and stays frozen til April, I'm not willing to give up shooting .22 for half the year based on what COULD happen under ideally bad circumstances. Ricochets happen, sure, but the possibility of them happening isn't going to stop me from shooting, especially when it could just as easily happen any time of year (rocks, etc).

November 28, 2013, 08:07 AM
I see .22's ricochet off frozen ground with regularity. Often times you can hear it as the oddly shaped projectile frisbees off into the back stop after hitting the frozen ground. As stated, be aware of whats beyond your target.

November 28, 2013, 11:53 AM
I concern my self with ricochets off frozen ground with all reason I like the .17HMR and fragile bullets when huntin' 'yotes during the winter. .22 is safer than most because of it's low initial velocities, light projectile weight and soft lead bullet composition. As others have said, you need to be concerned with what's behind your target, just like any other time of the year.

November 28, 2013, 12:48 PM
Shooting accross frozen ground may only be marginally better than a frozen pond. Good backdrop? Go for it.

November 28, 2013, 12:51 PM
Unless you are hunting in the yard of a house in a subdivision, I don't know how far you think a deflected .22 rimfire bullet is going to carry.

If you can see human habitation in your sights when you take the shot, you probably shouldn't take the shot, whether the ground is frozen or not.

November 28, 2013, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the replies everybody. Kind of what I figured. So, what, in your estimation, is a "safe" backdrop in this situation? I know in the summer, as long as the bullet is going to hit the ground within sight it's fine.

December 1, 2013, 07:12 PM
I've had them travel quite a long way. Made me super careful about any rifle now.

I have been using the CCI segmented bullets, depending on what you're hunting they may not really be suitable though, but regarding riccochets I like them a little more than most since they break up into smaller bits with alot less mass.

Outlaw Man
December 3, 2013, 10:03 AM
Don't miss! :D

Our ground doesn't freeze much nor for very long down here, so I haven't thought about it that much. If you're in pretty thick woods, it shouldn't go too far. I'd be a lot more worried about shooting at one in a tree and missing.

December 4, 2013, 09:24 PM
You'll get ricochets off snow too, if you hit it at a shallow angle.

December 4, 2013, 11:06 PM
Close to if not exactly on-topic: my kid and I were just shooting a 10/22 over fine, gravelly ground. 100 yards past our tin can targets was a 200 yard long pond. Behind that was a substantial hill, no-one on it. It was AMAZING how after going through the can there would often then be ricochet's in a puff of dust before the pond, then in the middle of the pond and again near the end of the pond... all 3 within 1/2 of a second. It was very good for both of us to see that very visual reminder - know what is behind your target!

December 15, 2013, 04:48 PM
Again, thanks for all the replies, if anyone is still looking at this thread. I have just decided to ask for an air pistol for Christmas to dodge the question entirely. Still have to be careful of course, but pellets won't have the carrying distance of bullets if they do ricochet. :)

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