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Rifle round falls from the sky.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by MCgunner, Oct 15, 2006.

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  1. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I went to the races this weekend in Katy, just west of Houston and the track is kinda out in the sticks. We race small motorcycles on Kart tracks in the Texas Mini GP series. Anyway, I left just after the racing was done and a friend of mine, John Casley who I teamed with last year in the endurance series, was sitting around chatting in the pits with friends when a bullet comes falling out of the sky and hits him in the foot. Thank GOD it hit his foot and not elsewhere! In the head, it could have killed him! He went to the emergency room and says he'll be back at the track today for the endrance and end of the year stuff. I'm not going today, just went to sprint yesterday.

    This is the first time something like this has hit this close to home, someone I know. You're chattin' at the races. The last thing you expect is to get hit by a bullet! I'm wondering if anyone will investigate this or if it's even possible to find out who fired the shot. It looks like a .223 in the pictures and I'm thinkin' some idiot with an AR sprayin' and prayin' having a good old time with no backstop. There are no ranges in the area, just open land, lots of pasture and high dollar subdivisioins.

    Folks, if you live in such an area, this could happen to you. Be careful and be safe with your toys!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Dang. That had to hurt.

    As a Katy (west houston) resident I have to say I am concerned. Can you describe in a bit more detail where you were for us locals?

    By the way, was he wearing shoes? I am impressed at the impact velocity and the angle if he was standing.
     
  3. redranger1

    redranger1 Member

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    I think that we need more gun control. Maybe even a ban in the cities and densly populated suburbs.:rolleyes:
     
  4. PAC 762

    PAC 762 Member

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    :what: Glad to hear he's OK!

    I used to race YSR-50's a few years ago. Fun stuff.
     
  5. oneshooter

    oneshooter Member

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    Sounds to me like it may be the track just outside of Waller, Texas. Small dirt and mudder track.

    Oneshooter
    Livin in Texas
     
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The track is off Stockdick road. Take 90 west out of Katy to FM2855 (I think's the number). Cross the tracks on 2855, go about 4 miles to Stockdick road. It's a little asphalt kart track, .33 miles per lap and 7 turns and, yes, it's a total blast to race little bikes on little tracks. I flat tracked over at Waller for a few years, but the guy that owns that track was a horse's behind and guys quit going over there. I hear it's growing up in pasture now, unused. We're flat tracking over in Huffman and Baytown now. http://www.jarrellracing.com

    There is a map and info on the track and track's location at the track site... http://www.racekarts.com/

    [​IMG]

    I'm an aging 54 year old (next week) who started road racing after some flat track experience in 1975. I raced 250s as an AMA pro for a couple of years, but couldn't afford it. Minis is cheap thrills and a little safer than diving off Texas World Speedway's turn one at 150 mph. However, I'm wondering how safe the location is now. :what: I race because I can't give it up and minis are cheap. The neat thing about it is the kids that start there and graduate to the big time. One of 'em is in the chase for the MotoGP world championship and one of 'em just won the AMA superbike championship. These two kids came out of Texas mini racing. I raced with Ben on minis and 125GP stuff. It was obvious that kid had the talent from the get go. We have others coming up, too.

    Whoever fired this shot is criminally and civily liable for the bullet that left their barrel if law enforcement can find 'em. No need for gun contol here, just find the idiot who fired this shot. He was quite negligent in his actions and if I was John, I'd sue him for everything I could get out of him, if he can be found.

    John was sitting talking to friends, so I don't know if his foot was flat on the ground or if he had it kicked up on a cooler or tool box or something.
     
  7. plexreticle

    plexreticle Member

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    That's a 1 in a billion shot. I'm glad your buddy didn't catch it in the head.
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I agree, one in a million. But, I've heard of this before and what goes up must come down. All the more reason to be sure of your backstop and don't be careless with firearms. At least in Texas, you are responsible for where that bullet goes and what it does after it leaves the muzzle of your firearm. I guess that's the point of this post, nothing political. I feel like I almost lost a good friend. Dang, I'm glad it missed anything vital! John has a very good marriage and a 17 year old daughter that's about to graduate high school in a year. He has a lot to live for and loved ones and friends that would dearly miss him.
     
  9. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Glad to hear your friend is OK. My guess would either be some irresponsible shooting into the air by someone or a ricochet off a badly designed berm.
     
  10. LaEscopeta

    LaEscopeta Member

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    I’m thinking the round was fired from a fairly low angle. It looks like a spitzer shaped round; I think the US Army tests found they fall base first when fired straight up, and come down tumbling when shot at high angles (>50 degrees?) due to the center of mass of the bullet being so far back. Since this bullet entered point first I’m guessing it was fired low enough to maintain a large amount of horizontal velocity.
     
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    This area is out in the country, but there's nice subdivisions around with large enough lots for horses and such, nicely fenced, homes probably in the quarter to half million dollar range I'd guess, up scale suburbs. But, there's lots of pasture there. I've hunted geese with Larry Gore's Eagle Lake Katy Prairie Outfitters out in that area on rice fields. Lots of large land. So, I'm picturing some guy blasting away with his Mini 14 or AR with some surplus military ammo FMJ at beer cans on the ground and the bullets bouncing off the ground (no back stop). Yes, there are irresponsible gun owners in this world.

    Friend says there was a gun show in Houston this weekend. Perhaps someone was playing with their new Mini 14, couldn't wait to take it to the range? Who knows, I'm just speculating. But, rifle rounds will travel a long ways.
     
  12. Odd Job

    Odd Job Member

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    That was a lucky escape, my friend.
    Forensic experts have been able to trace trajectories such as this, in cases where the position of the victim at the time he was struck was known. In this case with the foot, it is very difficult because if your friend was just sitting around, there are quite a few variables to do with the orientation of his foot at the time. Was his ankle flexed, extended, internally rotated, externally rotated?
    And then you have to factor in the possibility that the bullet was deflected upon first striking the shoe. Gunshot wounds to the feet are very difficult to analyse in terms of trajectory when the victim was wearing shoes at the time. X-rays can be useful, if they are done with the skin breaches marked, and then the radiological trajectory is compared to the known breaches in the shoe. You have to take care that you don't confuse pre-existing damage in the shoe with a fresh projectile breach. And don't forget about deflections within the foot. Here is a case where a guy sustained a handgun injury to his foot. The triangle is a skin breach marker that tells us where the breach was in relation to the internal anatomy:

    [​IMG]

    There is no bullet on that radiograph. There is a nasty fracture of the metatarsal. But the victim had no exit wound. When we did a lateral view (a sideways view) we found the bullet near the heel!

    [​IMG]

    I added a possible trajectory in red, but there is no way I can prove what the exact trajectory was, it is an approximation. Also, this guy didn't bring his shoes with him to the hospital, so I couldn't get any clues from those if I wanted to. However this wasn't as exciting as MCgunner's case, it was likely just a close range ND.
     
  13. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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  14. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    I don't know, but I'd guess that a ricochet (sp?) bullet would not be in as good shape as what's pictured in the guy's foot.

    The first post said the guy was sitting after a race. Was his foot flat on the ground, or propped up on a cooler?

    Anyway, I hope it heals well and quickly.

    Regards.
     
  15. Gromulin

    Gromulin Member

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    Mythbusters did a show on this. The speed of the bullet returning was limited by the resistance to airflow once it started back down. It could only go a certain speed, which was fairly slow, and would have tumbled. Which would seem to support the low-trjectory argument here for it to have penetrated so deep in that guys foot. FWIW.
     
  16. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Yep; if the bullet falls at anything but exactly straight down, it'll cause damage.
     
  17. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    Skin Breach Marker

    So. . . "Skin Breach Marker" is a medical term for "Paper Clip"? :neener:

    =====================================================

    OT:
    I hope your friend gets better soon! What an amazing story! He'll be telling the grandkids that one for sure, especially with the picture! WOW.
     
  18. Odd Job

    Odd Job Member

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    :)

    Yes, sir...but to be more precise, you could say that a paperclip is an acceptable skin breach marker. There are others, such as the rubber rings used to mark moles on mammograms, and the lead wires used to mark scars on radiotherapy planning, but those are markers designed from scratch for that purpose. There are no commercial GSW markers.
     
  19. Langenator

    Langenator Member

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    On the Mythbusters show, they were firing straight up. This caused the round to tumble and lose aerodynamic efficiency when it fell back down.

    When fired upward at and angle of less than 45 degrees, the bullet should remian nose forward and spinning, just like a long pass in football, or an artillery round. This will give it much greater velocity and penetration ability when it returns to earth.
     
  20. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Paper clips make an excellent radiopaque marker for radiographic images. I have used them many times to delineate an area of interest. They are dense enough to show on most all exposures yet the wire is small enough guage to not obscure to much anatomy.
    Specialty designed markers have uses but a good old paper clip is customizable in shape making it quite useful.

    As for bullets falling from the sky I can tell you from experience they are dangerous. I worked at a hospital in Boyle Heights East LA in the 70's. On a number of holidays many of the locals, mostly hispanic felt that celebrating by firing a few rounds into the air was perfectly acceptable. I have seen many a patient injured by rounds falling to earth and passing through car roofs, apartment roofs and house roofs, some seriously.
    Fatal injuries were not unheard of.

    Sometimes you could hear rounds falling and bouncing off the asphalt in the parking lot. While a round may not come back down with the same amount of energy it went up with it still packs enought wallop to kill.

    It is considered serious enough to have been made a criminal violation to fire a gun into the air.
     
  21. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    Only if it's a .50 or something. Even a .30-06 coming straight down is only going around 200 fps; it's not going to blow through your foot like that. That was clearly a low-trajectory shot.
     
  22. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Not many rounds come perfectly straight back down. Just a few degrees makes a lot of difference.
     
  23. real_name

    real_name member

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    My last home here in Nashville was in an area that sometimes experienced late night gunshots.
    I shingled the roof earlier this year and found a .40 FMJ round stuck on the pitched roof, it had hit it sufficiently hard to crumple approx 1/16th of the length of the bullet (point first) but not actually pierce the shingle. It was just embedded in the shingle, it hadn't passed through it. In fact that shingle wouldn't have leaked if I hadn't replaced it.
    Of course, my head (or for that matter, my foot) is a lot less durable (and more valuable) than a shingle roof.
    I'm very glad that the .40 did not enter my bedroom whenever it hit our house.
     
  24. Erebus

    Erebus Member

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    It's all trajectory. If the bullet is fired at a high enough angle that it slows enough to stop spinning it will start tumbling and then it can only go so fast. I forget what the max speed was that they fall at but mythbusters proved it wasn't fast enough to pierce a pig's skull. Which they said was about the same thickness and density as a human skull. But it's going to hurt like heck!! I don't think they tested it against soft tissue/ballistics gel. A bullet that comes back down point first may be able to pierce soft tissue.

    If the trajectory is low enugh that it keeps spinning you're in trouble.
     
  25. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    For those of you who say a bullet fired up into the air is not that dangerous...


    "doctors at King/Drew Medical Center, a major L.A. trauma center, published a report in a medical journal (Journal of Trauma, December 1994) saying that between 1985 and 1992 they treated 118 people for falling bullet injuries around New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July. Thirty-eight of the victims died"

    The LAPD and the LASO both have plenty of reports on file to back this up.


    I have seen personally people seriously injured by falling bullets. i.e. fired up into the air at a random indiscriminate angle. Sure mythbusters can make a cool show that says it can't happen but they are wrong. Serious and fatal injuries can and do occur from bullets fired up into the air. So if you think it's not a big deal, reconsider.
     
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