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Post by Hakaman » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:45 pm

Do you ever notice ricochets at the range you shoot at? If so, any close calls?

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Post by charlesb » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:48 pm

No close calls, but I have heard shooters get ricochets sometimes when shooting at steel targets. Must be from glancing hits on the edge of the steel.

A few years back, I used to shoot my AR15 in a big hurricane drainage ditch in far south Texas. I never heard any ricochets there... Then one evening I went there with my son to shoot some tracer ammo. This was when we discovered that roughly one out of three shots were bouncing off of the water, high up into the sky at a steep angle. Very pretty, but disconcerting to say the least. It was all cotton fields for miles, nobody back there to get hit but it was still pretty creepy to discover what was going on that way.

The worst gun I've ever owned about ricochet was an 1894 Marlin lever action in 32-20. The slow-moving lead slugs were prone to ricochet, making that "wheeee" noise one hears in the western movies. Apparently, that really was a common feature of shooting back in those days.

One thing I like about .17 HMR is the delicate, high velocity bullets that are less likely to ricochet than the .22's.

Once I was actually hit by a ricochet... A friend had obtained an old Enfield break-top revolver in .38 S&W, something like a .38 Special Short... He suddenly decided to take a shot at a stop sign we were standing near. - He had had a head injury in a wreck and sometimes was prone to erratic behavior. Before the wreck, he had been a Rhodes scholar. Anyway, the bullet made a dent in the sign, but then it bounced right back and hit me in the belly. - I got a painful bruise and a momentary scare out of it. My friend was quite a while living that one down, I got all kinds of mileage out of it.

My brother took a shot at a bird with his .50 caliber muzzle-loader some decades ago, missed it, and we heard the round ball make a rapid series of thwocking noises at it bounced its way into the woods, glancing off of the trees.

Sorry to run on like that, must be my medication and the late hour.

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Post by Bullseye » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:19 am

I've been struck a couple of times over the years, once by a 30 cal rifle bullet and the other time by a 45 cal pistol slug. The rifle bullet happened at a high power match while in the pits servicing targets, it bounced back from the berm and struck me on the forearm. Fortunately there was approximately 50 yards to the target pit area from the berm in that instance. The pistol bullet at an indoor range the slug bounced back 25 yards from a lead cluttered sand berm and struck me on the shin. I've also witnessed many spent rounds over the years ending up by the firing lines, which could have only gotten there by returning forward from down range. In both of my cases, no permanent harm came but both were uncomfortable experiences. I've also been struck by portions of plastic center peg remnants from target spotters that were hit by successive shots during slow fire on the rifle range. Hitting a target spotter creates a unique sound, and anywhere in the pits you can tell when one gets hit.


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Post by ruger22 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:56 am

My Forest Service range is strewn with rocks, anywhere from grape to grapefruit size, a few even larger. I use them to weight down boxes with paper targets clothespinned on. Also to back-up the lawnmower tire stands for my spinning rubber prairie dogs.

I've seen a few hit, and being layered shale, they usually just splinter over a short distance. I've been surprised that in the dozens of trips there I don't know of one instance of anyone being hit by a bounced bullet or rock.
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Post by Coach1 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:42 pm

My local range has (3) 15 yard pistol pits with various steel targets on each range. When new, the firing line frame was open between the shelf and ground. It seems I was not the only one getting an occasional spent round ricochet off the steel and hit my lower legs. About a month later, the range added plywood barriers across all three below the shelf (and at the 25 yard range, too). If you have a similar situation, take a look at the range side of those boards. Ours are littered with "dings".

Of course... Wear that eye protection.. and be safe out there!
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Post by bigfatdave » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:58 am

Ricochets happen.

Rocks in a dirt berm
Lots of lead in a dirt berm
Steel Targets poorly placed
Damaged backstops

I've never had anything come back at a speed that was truly dangerous to a clothed man wearing eye protection, but I've seen plenty come back. Mostly flattened chunks of lead or bullet jackets that had lost their lead.

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