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Ricochets from Steel Targets

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Capn Jack, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Who has been struck by a ricocheting bullet? I personally have been struck several times, usually below the knees when firing at steel targets. :paranoid:
    Is it the angle of the target? These were pistol bullets that came straight back from 25yds.:huh:
    All were fired at fixed targets, in one case an old car body. Would a swinging target
    be less likely to direct the bullet back at you?:huh:

    Jack...:cool:
     
  2. bruzer

    bruzer Grants Pass, OR Well-Known Member

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    I just shot speed steel this morning. All the targets have a slightly downward angle to them and the ground below is peppered with lead. I did get a small piece of lead come back and land on my head and I was well beyond the firing line watching.
    Two things to watch out for
    1. Dimples in the steel can sling lead back to you.

    2. A swinging target shot while it is swinging back at you can "bat it" back towards you.
    Good luck and stay safe,
    Mike
     
  3. eganx

    eganx Kingston WA Active Member

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    I have made a few swinging targets, all steel discs welded to a piece of rebar, which was welded to a sleeve that slipped over the frame they hung from. The steel plates were also slightly angled down anyway. In my mind, the slight angle coupled with their ability to only swing/move in one axis(back and forth) aided to the bullets being deflected to the ground.

    I have never been hit by a ricochet, and if I was.....I would....
    1. stop shooting at that target
    2. figure out WTF bullets are ricocheting back
    3. make design changes to targets to minimize ricochet
    4. profit
     
  4. Dmonwai

    Dmonwai Seattle Member

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    With a whole bullet or a fragment of a bullet or jacket?

    I've been hit by both. Had a .22 whole bullet come back and hit me in the chest, hard enough to break the skin and bleed a little. I've been hit by fragments a lot but none hard enough to hurt. I know there was someone who got hit by a piece of jacket in the upper lip last month at a steel match in Renton. It got in pretty deep and bled a lot.

    Making sure the steel is angled right and in good condition, no big craters or dimples will help a lot in avoiding having stuff coming back at you. But I think if you shoot enough steel at a lot of different places you are going to get hit sometimes with fragments. If you are getting hit with whole bullets then there is a big problem.
     
  5. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    My first steel targets I bought off Ebay. They are 8" round and fit over the top of a 2x4. 90 degrees. Well, I was new at this; dumb. Yes, I felt shavings flying back, luckily that is all.

    If steel is mounted to something where the plate doesn't move it must be canted downward. If it is a plate that can swing, then fine; the bullet hits, pushes the plate up and outward and bullet glances downward.
     
  6. waltermitty

    waltermitty seattle Active Member

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    Shooting at indoor range, 25 yds at fixed steel plates using a 40 S&W. Ricochet hit me
    square in the middle of the forehead and embedded/protruding. Put a dixie cup around
    it and duct taped while i was rushed to hospital. Didn't stay long after x-rays. Went
    home and slept most of the following day. Facial wounds elicit a lot of blood, with so
    many vessels near the surface.
     
  7. Skang

    Skang WA Well-Known Member

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  8. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    Wow Waltermitty. This was a indoor range you paid to go to? - hopefully they paid your medical expenses. They should have had all that worked out.

    If that was your eye ... man ... scary.
     
  9. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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  10. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Very good information. Thank you. Now I'm aware of everything I was doing wrong.:thumbup:

    Jack...:cool:
     
  11. ericb

    ericb Klamath Falls, OR Active Member

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    I've only ever had it happen with an air rifle, and that was spooky enough when it smacked my eyelid.
     
  12. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    in the many years i've been doing cowboy matches...almost all our targets are steel..I and many othes have been hit with chunks ,and sometimes whole bulles...coming off of the steel.We've tried all kinds of ways of mounting the plates,and it still happens. I wear side shield safety glasses,and if anywhere near the firing line I'll cover my face with my hands. I love making steel ring,but there sure are inherint dangers involved.
     
  13. plumberfishes

    plumberfishes Gresham oregon Active Member

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    I knew this thread would pop up when I posted my pictures.... the longer range targets that I have , the first one I ever built was just a mild steel 1/4" plate, leftover from somthing, I hung it up for the kids to shoot.. .22's and lead pistol hit and make dust clouds below it, 30/30 , .280, and 30.06 go right through. My pistol targets are 1/2" ar 400 and shrug off .44 mags no prob, but when my 17y/o thought he would try them with the 30/30 at 10 yards..... #1 we now have a hole in the edge of one, and a large dimple in the other, and #2 I got a large chunk of lead smacked me in the elbow just enough to draw blood......... The subsequent newer plates being set at an angle, and the entire pistol target being clearly labeled "pistol only" are a direct result of this.
     
  14. CrossHairs

    CrossHairs Tigard Active Member

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    Never been hit by a direct ricochet, but I have been peppered with fragments coming over the berms of the action range many times. It's why you wear a cap and protective glasses! Some of those frags hurt when they hit bare skin. Not sure I'd want that in my eye!
     
  15. Shanel

    Shanel Albany New Member

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  16. Bruin

    Bruin oregon Member

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    I am an expert on ricochets and steel targets and I built all the steel targets at JCSA Action Pistol Club. Bullets will ricochet of steel targets. You can’t change that but If you turn the targets at a slight angel, say 20 degrees to the side, the bullets will ricochet off at an angel and not straight back at you. Steel targets angled down is not a good idea. The bullets will ricochet off the steel then off the ground at the perfect angel to hit you in the face. Bullets will also ricochet off water, trees, wood floors, cement, asphalt, and many other things, so be careful.
     
  17. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Junction City Active Member

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    I have put a ton of rounds into my 3/8 plate targets. After some trial and error I've discovered the sweet spot downward angle that leaves a nice little pile of bullet frags on the ground. I also rarely practice closer than 30' to the target. I have taken some frags over the years but it doesn't have much velocity and it's nothing proper protective gear can't handle.
     
  18. waltermitty

    waltermitty seattle Active Member

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    the thought of few inches lower was not lost on me, believe me. someone was looking out for me that day