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Old 08-11-2012, 02:31 AM   #11
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ITS A DAMN 50CAL! Of course you can get ricochets like that on a bad day but you aren't shooting the targets with a 50 are you?

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Old 08-11-2012, 02:43 AM   #12
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ITS A DAMN 50CAL! Of course you can get ricochets like that on a bad day but you aren't shooting the targets with a 50 are you?
Okay...perhaps i'm missing something here. Can you please describe to me how a bullet, no matter the size, can travel in a straight line, slam into a flat surface, then turn around and come right back?

I'm honestly not being sarcastic, there really might be something i'm missing.

From everything I've read, and everything I understand about angle of incidence, it appears to be physically impossible...and many sources online agree with that...now, granted, bullet splatter could fly back, that I won't argue, that's why you shoot from safe distances w/ eye protection...but even if it hits your body, its not enough to penetrate, as my police friends tell me from their experience shooting on steel "It feels like rain" when you get hit with splatter.

Infact, c3shooter gave me a link to some really good information on Ar500 steel targets in a different thread. It was a really good read

http://steelchallenge.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/steel-target-resource-guide.pdf
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:12 AM   #13
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With bullets, light, radio waves, or pool balls- the angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. A bullet cannot hit a single flat surface and come straight back.

However, surface may not BE flat- shot up targets can have divots or dimples. Bullet may hit, be reflected, strike OTHER surfaces, and come back (think 3 cushion bank shot in pool)

Replace worn targets, do not let metal build up in impact area, have a soft impact zone without rocks or metal, etc- and it does not happen.

US military has used scrapped armored vehicles as targets for machine guns for ages. You can watch where the tracers go after impact- they are NOT coming back at us.

machine-gun-tracer.jpg

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Old 08-11-2012, 03:24 AM   #14
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With bullets, light, radio waves, or pool balls- the angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. A bullet cannot hit a single flat surface and come straight back.

However, surface may not BE flat- shot up targets can have divots or dimples. Bullet may hit, be reflected, strike OTHER surfaces, and come back (think 3 cushion bank shot in pool)

Replace worn targets, do not let metal build up in impact area, have a soft impact zone without rocks or metal, etc- and it does not happen.

US military has used scrapped armored vehicles as targets for machine guns for ages. You can watch where the tracers go after impact- they are NOT coming back at us.

Attachment 54098
Thank you for the info, C3. What it boils down to is "If you do what you're supposed to do, you can't get hurt" as with anything else. =)

What my friend on Facebook was doing was essentially saying "If you shoot steel, it'll ricochet" It was speaking out of ignorance and going off of "Traditional misconceptions"

Kind of like someone saying "wait an hour after eating before swimming"

Or "shaking a Polaroid helps it develop faster"

There are people who will swear on their death bed that it's all true...


ps...that is an awesome picture
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:25 AM   #15
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I have been hit 13 times by ricochets that came straight back off a steel target. In every instance, I was standing immediately behind the shooter. 12 times in LE training and once at an IPSC match. It can happen. In all instances the range was less than 25 yards and FMJ ammo was used. Most were incorrectly designed steel targets (rigid lillipop designs).

If proper range limitations are adhered to and proper designs are used the risk is pretty much ZERO. BUT, we still wear shooting glasses because Murphy has that nasty habit of showing up when we least expect him.

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Old 08-11-2012, 04:49 AM   #16
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It is my understanding that a steel target is to be angled 10-20 degrees downward so that when the rounds are deflected it is in a known trajectory, that is into the dirt in front of the target. In this way, no whole round would be deflected back towards the shooter nor likely upwards or sideways and only minor pieces or shards that broke off would have any chance of coming back directly at the firing line.

Since damage is generally determined by mass X speed calculations, both of these considerations would be greatly reduced, i.e. the fragment would be MUCH lighter and going much slower than the original round, thereby not being able to even break the skin if someone is wearing eye protection.

Frangible, non-lead rounds would also greatly reduce chance of a larger piece returning. Teach your friend a little physics and educate him to Mass in Motion mathematics and I think you'll be able to at least shut him up temporarily!

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Old 08-11-2012, 06:11 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
I have been hit 13 times by ricochets that came straight back off a steel target. In every instance, I was standing immediately behind the shooter. 12 times in LE training and once at an IPSC match. It can happen. In all instances the range was less than 25 yards and FMJ ammo was used. Most were incorrectly designed steel targets (rigid lillipop designs).

If proper range limitations are adhered to and proper designs are used the risk is pretty much ZERO. BUT, we still wear shooting glasses because Murphy has that nasty habit of showing up when we least expect him.
So you were hit by lead splatter or jacket splatter? I am not doubting you, Im merely saying what we may have here is a slight difference in understanding of a "ricochet"

In the context of my 'argument' on facebook with my buddy, he's saying a bullet can ricochet off the target and kill me, referencing his video where a 50 cal bullet apparently comes right back at the shooter, off a "flat target" with more than enough force to FLING his head gear off his head, yet cause no apparent damage to the headgear its self

In other words, if you were hit by a full fledged ricochet, an actual bullet, and NOT lead splatter or jacket splatter then I don't see how you'd be here typing a response =)

Unless, of course, you, yourself, are made of steel
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:37 AM   #18
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In regards to the video...
I believe its real. Freak accidents DO happen, I've witnessed them myself. I was zeroing my SAW, only one shooting on the range, my squad leader kneeling next to me, at my right side, hovering over me with his head right above mine, watching my firing, and he caught a ricochet in the right bicep.

And that was 5.56 being fired into a dirt berm. To say that its impossible is just silly. Freakish things like that happen all the time. And in the video, if you look closely, it wasn't a straight "out and back" ricochet. It hit the ground in front of him too, shedding massive amounts of energy into the dirt and changing the trajectory yet again. At least two trajectory changes right there. And on mythbusters the round barely dented a styrofoam board?... Explains the lack of obvious damage a little bit.

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Old 08-11-2012, 11:03 AM   #19
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Pistol rounds at extremely short range (10' -15') and rifle rounds at close range (50' or so) still have much of their velocity and are therefore more likely to ricochet or come back when striking a solid object at these short ranges, as striking the target did not bleed off most of its remaining energy like it would have at a longer range. If you must shoot at these distances, consider a lower-powered round as to not cause this particular safety issue.

A .50 round should only be fired at soft targets that absorb energy and metal, since most .50s are light armor piercing rounds anyway and would pierce steel targets not rated for such rounds.

There is always a slim possibility of a strange ricochet, but common sense and a little planning can go a long way towards minimizing any risk.

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Old 08-11-2012, 01:41 PM   #20
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I still think we might be calling a ricochet different things...mine is not necessarily right =)

But to me A piece of copper jacket coming back after the round explodes is not technically ricochet

The splatter I know happens but a projectile hitting a flat surface then spinning and pulling a 180 literally does defy all laws of physics


1.) If that video *is not* fake, then it is not a .50 cal bullet that is returning and "knocking his headset off". It could be a chunk of whatever they shot (after all, he screams
"we're not shooting lead anymore!") Which leads to #2.

2.) If they're shooting at lead, they deserve exactly what they get. We're talking about shooting AR500 steel plates placed at safe angles with a safe distance.... A big chunk of lead could have been what flew back, but one thing can be proven to be 100% physically and mathematically impossible: The BULLET did not strike a flat steel target, then instantly reverse its course and return to the shooter

3.) Chances are this video is completely fake. There's no sign of any actual damage ever taking place. We're to believe that an object struck his headset hard enough to "fling" it off his head, but it somehow did zero damage to the head set its self. A hard object striking a headset hard enough to knock it off someone's head (those headsets are remarkably snug!) would pulverize the plastic used in its construction.

Also, The Mythbusters covered the topic of "Shooting off someones cowboy hat" and determined it to be 100% busted. If a direct bullet can't knock off someone's hat, then how can a ricocheted piece of metal traveling at less than 1/2 of the original FPS?

4.) If the "spent casing" (copper jacket) chunk was thrown back, bounced off the ground, and hit the guy, it would not have anywhere near the velocity needed to "knock off his headset" as long as the target was at a safe distance, of proper construction, and placed at a proper angle.

As with anything, safety first. You can be hurt if you ignore the rules of the range. That's why those rules exist.

But to look at the .50 cal video and say "don't shoot steel targets, it'll get you killed" is no different than watching this video


And saying "don't buy an oldsmobile, look, they catch on fire. It should just go without saying "any car under those pressures would catch fire, but the car was not designed to do that, so it's no reflection on the safety or reliability of the oldsmobile.

Same thing with shooting steel targets. It doesn't require an amazing amount of effort to be safe about it. There's very safe, extremely simple rules to follow to ensure you don't get injured.

*IF* that video is not a fake, then those guys did not follow those very simple, very safe rules, and therefore not necessary to point at the video and say "You cannot shoot steel with a firearm"...because as we've heard from others in this thread, military/police, etc, they do it every day.
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