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Ricochets (Got a friendly lecture today)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SteelyNirvana, Jul 11, 2008.

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  1. SteelyNirvana

    SteelyNirvana Member

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    I would like to know some about ricochets, as I got a lecture from a deputy this afternoon. Heres the situation: I was on my buddys front porch which is about 4' off the ground firing a 30-30 and .357 at targets placed on soft/almost muddy farm land. I had been firing for about an hour when a deputy pulls up. He said that he had heard a ricochet when he was parked up the road (The closest road he could have been parked on is atleast 3/4 to a mile away which is surrouned by thick woods and way off to the left, almsot behind me of where I'm firing at). Then he asked what I had, when I told him a .357 and 30-30 he said the ricochet he heard was from the 30-30 ( I was firing mild reloads using a 150gr if that makes any diffirence) He then asked why I was shooting like I was and I explained that our theory is that we shoot down towards the ground and the rounds will embed into the earth. He then says that what I am doing is perfectly legal, there is no problem with me target practacing but is concerened about a liability because of a ricochet strkinga rock and hitting a car or going into a subdivision that is about 1 1/4 way off to the right of where I'm shooting.. There are thick woods both to the left and the right of where the targets are set up. The main road is about 200' to the right of where I'm shooting and he was concerned about a ricochet there also.

    My buddy dosen't beleive it could happen/did happen. I have a difficult time because I beleive that if a round were to strick a rock, it would begin to tumble and would not travel very far, let alone someone sitting in a car to hear not to mention it would hit a tree or some-other obstruction before it could do any harm. The deputy's suggestion was to fire standing from the ground with our backs towards the road, because then nobody could say a round hit there car as bullets don't travel backwards, which i think is ludicris because a round would have more of a possibility of hitting something as it would be on a more straighter plane of flight. This would also mean we would be firing in a direction where a round would have more of a possibility of striking a home/car/person.

    My buddy seems to think some busy body just called the law and the deputy wanted to see what was going on, which I think is the case. I would like to hear some input though on whether the deputy had a point or was just doing some friendly checking.

    Thanks
     
  2. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    And Rule #4 is?
     
  3. exar

    exar Member

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    That's usually the case. That happened to me once, but it was a busy body calling about "automatic weapons fire" said the sheriff. Sheriff also said everything was legal but she had to come take a look.
     
  4. 06

    06 Member

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    Rounds will easily "skip" off water or muddy ground if the angle is fairly flat. Why not put up a berm if there is any doubt. A girl was killed in Charlotte at Carowinds about ten yrs ago from an errant round fired from about a mile away. You can never be too careful when practicing. Don't give the anti's any more ammo to throw at us, wc
     
  5. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Member

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    Similar thing happened to me and a buddy. We were way south of Overland Park, KS hunting cottontails when all of a sudden an Overland Park police cruiser pulls up. The cop says "What do you guys think you're doing.". We told him we were hunting and he said "You can't hunt within city limits.". :what: We were amazed. We were more than 10 miles out in the sticks, but apparently the city had annexed out that far planning for future group. We assured him that we honestly thought we were outside of city limits and he was cool about it. Just gave us a warning. Apparently some yuppie hobby farmer a half mile away heard us shoot and freaked out.
     
  6. M60

    M60 Member

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    I'm just guessing here, but you've never seen a military night fire session have you?

    This was taken at a Machine gun shoot in Oregon last year. Bullets don't always, in fact rarely stop when they hit the ground at a shallow angle.

    [​IMG]

    -Mark.
     
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    What if you are not firing a machine gun? Does Rule #4 apply then?
     
  8. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    bullets most assuredly bounce off the ground. when it is an fmj it tends to squeeze the lead out and end up in a flat banana shape round. but they bounce very well.

    Use a backstop next time, think of the children.
     
  9. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Wow, he knew it was from the 30-30? That is pretty amazing.
     
  10. exar

    exar Member

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    That's what I thought, as well. If the .357 was a pistol, and he saw that, then he may have deduced that the 30-30 was the more likely culprit.
     
  11. bhk

    bhk Member

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    One time a buddy and I went to a unsupervised public range with a perfectly good birm backed by a high ridge topped by trees. While I went back to the truck for ammo, my friend began shooting at empty shotshells that were on the ground between him and the birm with a 9mm auto. From my location, I could clearly hear the bullets ricochet over the birm and go through the tree tops on the ridge behind the birm. Not just a few of his shots, but almost all of them. He couldn't hear this because of his ear protection and his proximity to the muzzle blast.

    One another occassion, I shot at a 50 yard coyote with .44 magnum handgun. The coyote was walking across a damp field and I was shooting from an ELEVATED deer blind. I could clearly hear the missed shot ricochet and fly through the tree tops on the far side of the field toward a neighboring farm. Scared me to death. Always shoot directly into a birm or hillside!

    I think many of us often miss the fact our bullets are ricocheting because our ear protection prevents us from hearing it.
     
  12. rc109a

    rc109a Member

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    At a training institute in my area they teach us to use the ricochet as a tool against certain types of threat. I made the mistake and said what good would this do if we were in a house with sheetrock walls. Soon I was eating my words as the instructor proved he could ricochet rounds off sheetrock. After that demonstration we practiced on several other types of media including the dirt in front of our targets. It really does richochet very easily and travels a good distance.
     
  13. Blakenzy

    Blakenzy Member

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    When the Iraq invasion started I would always catch news footage of firefights in the night, and it would amaze me how much rounds jump into the air. Maybe 50%. You would think that they were firing at an angled steel plate or something.

    If only tracers were readily available and easy to purchase we would all be well versed in the exterior ballistics of our rounds.
     
  14. Pat-inCO

    Pat-inCO Member

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    The machine gun example simplifies the image so that you CAN see where multiple rounds go. You produced the same results, spread over a much longer time period.

    One syllable answer - YES! :banghead:
     
  15. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    That's why my club specifically prohibits shooting into the ground - you are supposed to be shooting into a berm. I wouldn't have thought that shooting into the ground was an issue, but people at the club assure me it's a real issue.


    Mike
     
  16. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    I was surveying a cellular phone tower out in the country. I kept hearing gun fire and rounds going over my head. I started yelling so that the person doing the shooting would know we were there. He came out of the woods apologizing.

    It seems he was firing a .22 in the opposite direction of us into the side of a drainage ditch. Nonetheless, the rounds were bouncing off the dirt and coming over my head and into the tops of the trees next to me.

    Funny thing was I was shot at intentionally the next morning while jogging near my home.
     
  17. phonesysphonesys

    phonesysphonesys Member

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    M60, You brought back fond memories.

    Semper Fi
     
  18. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Its possible he "heard" a ricochet at that location.
    Although I think it is highly unlikely.

    Moreover, what does a 30-30 "ricochet" that travelled 1300 yards sound like anyway?
    How would you distinguish the sound of small object travelling at sub-sonic speed from the sound of a stick knocked out of a tree by a squirrel?

    I'm calling BS on the deputy's comment.

    What is far more likely is, he was investigating the sound of gunfire, and made up the silly ricochet story to justify his presence.

    I still don't like your shooting arrangement, especially for center-fire rifle. As noted above, bullets will skip off the ground more often than not. Just go out there an look at your impact points. They will be long furrows - not little .30 caliber holes in the dirt. The furrow means the bullet kept going. Mind you, after impacting the earth, the bullet will be misshapen, and therefore probably badly off-axis or outright tumbling, and shedding velocity rapidly. Still you gotta do better than just bouncing center-fire rifle bullets off the dirt, unless you have a dependable backstop or a clear view for a couple miles.
     
  19. Packman

    Packman Member

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    I've bounced many a .22 off a ditch, shooting down into the ditch. It's not hard, and some of them can travel quite a distance. They also make a VERY distinctive noise when they take off.

    It's possible the deputy was telling the truth, if improbable. Stay safe, build a berm.
     
  20. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    If he was firing in the opposite direction into a dirt drainage ditch what you probably heard was the sound of the bullet striking as it traveled back.

    And while bullets do travel after striking the ground they are quickly losing their energy while many cals have the energy to kill or do serious damage out past a mile, I would be seriously sceptical of any story in which a bullet ricochet out to the side at a 90degrees or came directly back and did any damage at more than conversation distances.

    For those who don't believe it take a baseball and throw it at a brick wall and see how much energy it has at it returns. Nolan Ryan could throw it at the wall from 50ft and by the time it gets back to him it will have lost the vast majority of its energy. Not saying a bullet coming back at 100ft can't hurt ya, but stories of them coming directly back and hurting people at a 1/4mile past the shooter would really peg my BS meter.
     
  21. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

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    Exactly like Hollywood portrays it, or at least close enough that when you hear your first ricochet off a rock you know what it is.
     
  22. HK G3

    HK G3 Member

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    Potentially stupid question here, while we're on the subject of backstops...

    One of the most popular public ranges here pretty much uses a rocky hillside as a backstop - basically, lots of sand, lots of rock, and lots of boulders/rockface.

    I've seen shooters yell at shooters for shooting at targets placed in front of a boulder out at about 200 yards, saying they would cause a ricochet to kill someone.

    Is this a legitimate concern? Even if they aren't shooting at the more proximal boulders, there are plenty of boulders 500+ yards out that bullets can slam into.
     
  23. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    how far away is that famous 50 cal richochet? i put a 22 cal hole in a truck in my yard with a bounce that surprised me
     
  24. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    Ricochets are unpredictable and can go a lot farther than most people realize, especially a rifle bullet. I've witnessed some pretty strange ones myself (and some scary ones that seemed to come straight back at me), so I wouldn't be so quick to discount the possibility that it happened as the OP's deputy said, though it could have been overstated a bit.
     
  25. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    something i always remember shoot into someones house and
    "i'm sorry" ain't gonna cut it
     
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