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Bouncing off water?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Appalachiannative, Nov 8, 2022.

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  1. Appalachiannative

    Appalachiannative Member

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    A short safety film made in the 1980's was part of the hunters safety course I took at age 16 to get my first hunting license. I remember in the film there was a whole segment about .22 LR. The film included a demonstration meant to poke holes in a lot of the misconceptions concerning the power of .22lr or rather the potential for injury in which they fired a round from a bolt action rifle from a short distance using it to penetrate 4 pieces of 2x4s. From this the narrator finished with "never say well it's just a .22". Any how another one of the things mentioned but not demonstrated was the idea that shooting shooting a body of water is dangerous (especially with a .22lr) because rounds can allegedly bounce off the surface of the water. When I was a kid my old man would throw cans in the river and shoot at them with a 9mm and nothing bad ever happened. Now I'm not advocating any kinda stuff like that because I can't stand littering and I lose enough lead in the water fishing. I'm just curious has anyone here personally witnessed a round bounce off water?
     
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  2. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Indeed bullets will skip. Same principles apply as skipping a rock. Throwing down or shooting down into the water won’t cause a skip.
     
  3. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Absolutely. It was a stupid thing to do, but when I was a kid I used to take my .22 down to the river (the Snake River) to hunt jack rabbits. The Snake is a quarter mile wide there, and I would sometimes squat down low beside the river and see how many "skips" I could get before the bullet reached the bank on the other side. I think the most I got was 3 "skips." I was pretty lucky that it was a very rural area, so there weren't many houses, buildings or anything else around for my bullets to "skip" into. :eek:
    As Ru4real stated above though, shooting "down" into the water is a different thing. The bullets won't "skip" if the downward angle is great enough.
     
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  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Ya they skip, are farmer friends son in law one day was shooting some guns at the cow pond, later that day the neighbor that lived about a quarter mile away thru the woods had a 9mms fmj bounce off his rear sliding glass door on the house and cracked it. Bullet was on the ground, I was amazed, not that it skipped off the pond but it made it thru all the trees you can't even see the house from the pond.
     
  5. Doug444

    Doug444 Member

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    The 9mm that hit the sliding glass door probably skipped high enough to go over the trees. Dang lucky, on a number of counts, that one was. :what:
     
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  6. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Kinda weird to the house was maybe 30-40° to the side from where they were shooting.
     
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  7. 230RN

    230RN I keep pushing that pendulum back.

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    Just diddling around with the idea...

    OP might not have noticed the ricochet.

    Just for some perspective, I figure the maximum angle of incidence for a 9mm to ricochet off water is between 10 and 15°, kind of a wildassed eduguess.

    Given that and given OP's Pop is, say, 6 feet tall, he would have to throw the can 34 feet out onto the water for a bullet to hit the water at a 10° angle, and 22 feet for it to hit the water at a 15° angle. Not a fact, just a guess for the heck of it.

    So if Pop could throw the cans any further than 34 feet, I would reckon, guess, think, estimate, say, he was almost guaranteed to get a ricochet if he didn't hit the can.

    Sorta like the critical angle of glass, where at low angles of incidence, a beam of light will mostly bounce off, higher than that it will mostly go through.

    There's no accountin' for the direction a bullet will take after it hits something.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
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  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    The really bad thing about skipping bullets off water is that they don't usually take a lot of damage when they skip. This means they continue on their way in pretty good shape and without losing much velocity. They can go a very long way after the ricochet. Ricochets off solid surfaces usually slow the bullet significantly and also cause damage and possibly tumbling all of which limit the distance traveled after the impact.
     
  9. Appalachiannative

    Appalachiannative Member

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    I think I was about 10 so my memory of it may not be the best. He finished the beverage then tossed the empty can as far up stream as he could then fired at it as it floated down toward him then some more as it floated away. I didn't notice any ricochet but I was a kid. I saw him shoot at floating objects in the water many a time and never noticed the ricochet. I never have and never would try it myself
     
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  10. Appalachiannative

    Appalachiannative Member

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    Oh and I remember where we where. It's a public boat launch under a bridge crossing the French broad. The bank is very steep down to the river so you are shooting pretty much straight down into the water. I never considered the idea of bullets skipping like stones but it makes perfect sense. I still don't see the need to put any more lead in the ol French broad. One of My grandpa's cars is down there somewhere
     
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  11. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    A woman was killed in NY by a ricochet from someone shooting cans in the river about 3 years ago.
     
  12. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    One time up in Oregon I was hiking a trail up about 30 feet above a smooth-as-glass lake when carrying my old 1967-era Browning Hi Power. Bored and all alone at the lake, I fired a few shots at the water to see what it would do. Sure enough, the first round I fired made a good splash and (I believe) went straight into and under the water. The next round I shot hit the rippled surface, detoured at about a 30 degree angle to the right, then hit the water again about 50 feet from where it started. It then quickly skipped 6-7 times like a flat rock would and petered out. The third and final shot hit the water, skipped straight ahead about 150 feet with a whine and made a second splash.

    Taught me that indeed, fired bullets can skip when they hit water and there is no consistent direction that they’ll travel once they do. :what:

    Stay safe.
     
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  13. The_Quartermaster

    The_Quartermaster Member

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    Yes, I've seen it happen over in Iraq. It's just as dangerous as a ricochet or a spent bullet coming back down to earth.

    A lot of dangers some don't understand the dangers of and why we preach about all four rules of gun safety at every chance we get. Did you know that the friction alone from an inert round flying in the air in a dry grassy field can be enough to start a fire? It's why we have fire restrictions to include target shooting in BLM land. A lot of people don't think physics be like it is, but it do.
     
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  14. 230RN

    230RN I keep pushing that pendulum back.

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    Temperature = velocity = energy.

    That's why Energy = mass times velocity squared.

    You see that in bullet energy calculations in foot-pounds* and in E= mc^2 in megatons of TNT.

    (Oh, and for you tenderfeet from back east, "BLM" = "Bureau of Land Management," the Federal agency regulating federal lands out here in G-d's country..)

    Terry, 230RN

    * Extra Credit for the midterm:

    Bullet energy in foot-pounds = weight in grains X velocity in feet per second squared, all divided by 450,240.

    That denominator (450,240) includes all the conversion factors for results in foot pounds from grains weight and velocity in feet/sec and varies slightly by sources since it includes a term for gravity which varies with wherever it all was measured.

    See Hatcher, page 588, the chapter on "Exterior Ballistics."
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
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  15. Hal

    Hal Member

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    BBs and pellets skip too.
     
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  16. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    In another life I was out at night patrolling for pigs that were tearing up our irrigation systems. I had a DDR AKM loaded with a few tracers. On the way home I passed a pond and watched some of the tracers skip across and bounce up into the hills on the other side. In the army I was posted to a base right on the beach a bit north of Gaza. At that time I was a Mag58 gunner, and if the sea was calm we could see tracers skipping and bouncing a good way out.
    Lots of fun at the time.
     
  17. rust collector

    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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  18. 230RN

    230RN I keep pushing that pendulum back.

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    ^ Great video !

    Yeah, at high velocities, water can act like concrete.

    So don't try to do a cannonball dive from the Brooklyn Bridge, which many people try. Used to be a classic suicide method. Icky yuk. Water just don't get out of the way fast enough. I imagine some meteor impacts on water at, say, 20-30 km per second, result in white-hot steam.

    Well, I don't want to wander too far from bullet heat on impact or them reflecting off water.

    Terry, 230RN
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
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  19. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

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    A number of things come to mind with this, water is really hard, just ask anyone that has jumped off the golden gate bridge.....oh wait you can't. Water is like concrete at that speed, and you be splatted.

    Get the angle correct and it sure will skip, just like skipping off the ground. One reason I really hate those "ground" targets like the jacks that got so popular a few years ago....that angle is really bad. I also don't like those hard rubber balls, but they do make great dog balls.

    "Back in the day" we shot all kinds of things in the water, from model boats with a BB gun to sticks and leaves. I DON'T KNOW if anything bounced back then, kinda doubt it because of the angle, but it is just not smart.

    Get the angle too steep and the bullet will go into the water and slow down REAL quick, remember the myth busters with a 50bmg into a swimming pool....it stopped in a few feet, and left a perfect bullet IIRC.
     
  20. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I have witnessed bullets ricochet off of water. Before I retired I did the electrical work at a few fish farms and had "shooting privileges". With a copy of their permit I could shoot the white birds. I was careful to watch the angle and have a levee in the background. The Wife and I have spent many a lazy Sunday afternoon at some of them shooting snakes too. I can tell you for sure that ricochets on water are real.
     
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  21. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have many times, used to skip pellets across the water like rocks out of a slingshot. A group of us once set up an informal competition to see who could ricochet one off the water and hit a T post on the other side of the pond, Chuck won with a 230 out of a 1911.

    So one should certainly be aware that water could send them a long way away.

    I still want to do this one but we don’t get ice like that here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
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  22. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    While bullets may ricochet off water in pretty good shape and with considerable velocity, they seem to be pretty much universally tumbling. The ricochets off the water are not necessarily at the same angle upon exiting as entry, sometimes higher or lower.

     
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  23. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Yep across the river into the high bank on the other side, just testing when I was a kid. You had to hit pretty far out like 230RN said.
     
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  24. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Exit velocity seems to be tied to the angle of entry...
     
  25. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    The shooting buddies & I used to skip bullets off the water at a local strip mine into the high bank on the other side, but that's before they reclaimed it. It was one of our favorite shooting spots.
     
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