Fragged On The Range This AM.

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by gorknoids, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    Took a piece of copper with a lead smear on it to the chin this AM from another lane. I'd just reloaded and was preparing to shoot, when I was hit from the right side by what I first thought was spent brass, but traveling really fast, and from the wrong side. The blood trickling and the burning sensation were my first clues that it wasn't brass, and the stuff was still hot when I pulled it out. I don't know if someone hit a target frame or what happened, but I'm curious if anyone else has had this happen, particularly competition shooters and career rangemasters. The fragment came at me 90 degrees from the right through a gap in the partition, was perfectly flat, and was definitely part of a copper jacketed round fired in a 45' range.
    The severity of the wound is nothing. The potential (Located just about equidistant between my right eye and my right jugular vein) is sort of weirding me out. So, if you've got a story, let's rap.
     
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Boy, you are lucky indeed brother. I haven't had this happen, nor has it happened when I have been at the range.

    We have had two guys who have "mushroomed" a pencil thin hunting barrel with hot reloads. The last guy had to get his hand cast because he broke two knuckles on his front hand.

    Nothing compared to taking a hot piece of lead/copper between the eye and the jugular.

    Buy yourself a lottery ticket - it sounds like you have got the lucky touch at the moment.

    Here's hoping you heal up, both physically and mentally, in a short period of time.

    JD
     

  3. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    LOL! Maybe I'll get some therapy...
    After a career in Naval aviation ordnance, this was comical. I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced fragments making their way back to the firing line with enough force to cut to the meat. The rangemaster (Or civilian equivalent) said that he would have the backstop cleaned, but the chunk that hit me was still hot enough to burn my fingers.
    It was an absolute fluke, no doubt, but the mechanics of what wrought it have me flummoxed. I've been shooting something or another for 35 years or so, and have never seen anything like this.
     
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    I have not but I seen a guy on Youtube that shoot some steel targets at 100 yards with a 50bmg take a shot to the head. Knocked his ear muffs right off his head.
     
  5. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    :) Yes, more times than I can count! Several years ago at the Greater Pittsburgh Rod & Gun Club I was down in the pistol defilades well beneath the crest of the hill behind which the trap range is located. While standing in line waiting for my turn at the pepper poppers, I was struck - hard - in the back of the head by descending shot charges.

    After the third time I got hit, I suddenly noticed that nobody was standing next to me! Everybody thought it was quite funny that I'd been hit 3 times in the back of the head within, about, an hour's time. They were joking with me; but, they were serious, too. The jinx finally got broken when another pistol shooter suddenly grabbed his shoulder and went, 'ouch'!

    I guess what I'm saying is that when it's your turn, it's your turn; and, you're going to take the hit!

    Years ago we used to shoot at an uphill pistol pit with a 100 yard rifle range behind a low dirt berm over the left shoulder. Once you were in the pit you couldn't quite see the rifle range; but, if that range was active, you would constantly hear the whiz and whine of centerfire bullet jackets and fragments flying just over the top of your head AFTER they had smacked into the backstop.

    One thing I have against standing on the line at an indoor range is the metal target frames that other shooters on one or both sides will set at, about, 7 yards and start blasting away at. As pistol marksmen these guys universally stink; their bullet patterns are all over the target; and, you're absolutely correct, if they hit the frame you could get a piece of - not the bullet, but - the jacket coming right back at you.

    The indoor range I use keeps everyone in the center of the room and close together - except for the guys they know can shoot. This protects their walls from being hit and allows some of us to be farther away from the shootout and flying brass in the center of the line.

    I always wear expensive industrial grade safety glasses with photogray lens and large side shields; and, I've never regretted paying the price. Fortunately, what happened to you is rare; it does happen, but not often.

    Still, things tend to run in threes; so, try not to stand close to other shooters for awhile. The good part is that when something like this happens the bounce-back angles are usually shallow; consequently, the farther you are to either side the better! ;)
     
  6. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    I've had fragments hit me from people shooting revolvers with too much cylinder play. That's fairly common, and another reason I don't use public ranges anymore.
     
  7. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    That is probably what happened, now that you mention it.
     
  8. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    Forcing cone splatter is usually very fine - About the size of grains of sand. Is that what you were hit with?
     
  9. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    That depends on how badly out of time the cylinder is - I have a real old H&R .38 S&W Top Break that I don't shoot anymore because the cylinder lock-up is so sloppy I get about two degrees of rotation in either direction when it is cocked. I had a brass-framed replica Colt .44 Sheriff's Model black powder pistol from Western Arms that now sleeps at the bottom of the Croton Resevoir....it shot so badly out of time that it was dangerous.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  10. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    No, it was about 1/2 the size of my pinky fingernail and made a cut about 3/4 of an inch long. Copper with some lead on it, and about as thick as a light guitar pick. It was still hot enough to burn my finger when I pulled it out. It looked like a shaving more than anything.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  11. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    I very much doubt a piece that size came from a revolver's forcing cone. If something that big came off a revolver then you would have probably heard someone nearby swearing; or else he would have dropped the revolver; and you would have instantly recognized the culprit. I think your first guess is correct: Someone hit a target frame (again!)

    You were lucky, man!
     
  12. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    13 times and counting. As a firearms instructor and IPSC competitor I have been something of a bullet magnet. 12 times stopped by body armor, once hit in left bicep. Small cut and tee shirt ruined by blood but not bad.

    I joke to my co-workers that they should not stand near me in a firefight due to my apparent attractiveness to projectiles.
     
  13. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Was this an indoor range, and if so, what type of target holder and back-stop do they have? The range I used to shoot at had mechanized target holders that run on cables with very large rubber sheets in many layers as backstops - very little in terms of exposed metal that a bullet could strike and fragment off of. The size of the fragment you described does not sound like it was shaved off a revolver forcing cone - like G21 said, if it was, there would probably have been more damage done to the shooter than you.
     
  14. rickrem700

    rickrem700 New Member

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    Fragged

    I used to go to a small indoor range with about 8-10 shooting lanes, the wall behind you once you entered the room minus the door was covered with a material that seemed alot like the old school blue gym matts, and it was just covered with small and larg pieces of copper jacketing, it would always remind me to where my shooting glasses, some of the pieces were imbedded so deep there is little doubt that it would take out an eyeball, this range was for pistoles only, now that I think about it I have never really noticed this happening at an indoor rifle range, so it must be more of a pistol round thing.
     
  15. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    The target frame is square iron bent at the ends to support clips which hold the target, with the clips protected by angle iron wedges. The backstop is a 45 degree wall angled away at the top, much as you'd find at any indoor range. I'm thinking it came back off another frame, hit the back side of the adjacent partition and then into my mug, probably from the far lane. I always prefer the first lane on the left because of the brass issue.
     
  16. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Whatever happened it's scary and really drives home the importance of eye protection!
     
  17. hydrashok

    hydrashok New Member

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    I don't make a habit of bad-mouthing ranges, but I once shot at The Shooter's Club (http://www.theshootersclub.com/) in Fort Worth for a qualification course I was taking. I'll never go back. I don't remember the range, but I think it was 12 or 15 yds. They used angled steel plates, which I'm all for, but their maintenance left much to be desired. If you're going to have plates that close to the firing line, then you need to oil them regularly.

    I'm glad I was wearing eye pros, because I was getting splashed quite a bit.
     
  18. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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  19. dirtysouth

    dirtysouth New Member

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    it sounds to me like somebody hit a target frame.
     
  20. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    :eek: Holy smokes, is that range clean! (You should see, 'the hole' where I shoot!)

    See those angled steel wedges protecting the target clips on each side of the frame? That's what I suspect got ya! And, yup, except for the percussion coming off the wall, the far left lane is always the best place to be. ;)





    (There is one other possibility, though: Have you ever seen those bullet holes in and around the individual shooting bays? I've yet to meet someone who admits to putting one of those holes (or scraps) into the dividers and table frames.) :p
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008