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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just saw a post in this forum claiming bullets bounced back and struck the shooter or bystander.

I've heard stories like this, but had my doubts.....until I had a 5mm pellet bounced back and whizzed by my ear after shooting a golf ball. But that's a pellet...not a bullet and velocity was close to 600 fps.

I've fired thousands of rounds at a steel plate (boxed) in my shop using .22's, .38 spls, .357 mags and even .45. None have bounced back. All just went "SPLAT". Some were jacketed and some not. Some were light target loads and some were full +p loads in the center fire cartridges. Again, none have ever bounced back toward the shooter.

What would cause a "bounce back"? I'm not talking about ricochets, where a bullet strikes a hard surface at an angle redirecting it's course. I'm talking about a bullet reversing it's course completely and coming back in the shooters direction. Those that I have heard about, were not injurious, but, I suppose, could have been.

Stories?
 

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Here's a famous one of a guy shooting a Barret .50 and getting his ear muffs blown off by the bullet bouncing off a steel target and coming straight back at him. The sound you hear is the bullet tumbling through the air on it's way back and is not an added sound effect. He's lucky. A couple inches to the right and he wouldn't be alive today!

Guy hit in head with .50 caliber ricochet - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here's a famous one of a guy shooting a Barret .50 and getting his ear muffs blown off by the bullet bouncing off a steel target and coming straight back at him. The sound you hear is the bullet tumbling through the air on it's way back and is not an added sound effect. He's lucky. A couple inches to the right and he wouldn't be alive today!

Guy hit in head with .50 caliber ricochet - YouTube
It doesn't compute! Unless the bullet was steel. Lead is so much softer than the steel plate, it should just splat or even vaporize, as thousands of my own have done. Now steel on steel. Yes. I've had many steel BB's bounce back at me, but never lead (except the one pellet shot at a golf ball). How can this happen?
 

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It doesn't compute! How can this happen?
The target could have been at the wrong angle, the bullet may have been FMJ, or it cold have simply been a freak event. Either way, you can from the video, it does occassionally happen & there's always some risk when shooting steel targets. Even using plain lead you will get hit with small fragments from time to time.
 

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I have had this happen to me while the wife was shooting her ruger 357 at an indoor range.
Shooting at paper targets with a back stop with 1/4 inch plate at 45 deg deflecting bullet up
in to a back stop that is made to catch bullet. The bullet falls back down to trap for easy clean up. Once is a while I will get one back at me.

Usually its not the whole bullet bouncing back. when shooting FMJ's part / or all the copper part has bounced back. You can not here it like it that video. I can just feel it hit me and hear pieces hit the wall behind me.

There is not a lot of energy left but it still hurts.

At our .22 LR combat shoots I have been shooting when a guy behind me got hit in the cheek.
 

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How dangerous is ricochet? - The Firing Line Forums

Please review the posts on the link above.

Ricochet isn't unusual in falling plate matches or in areas with a lot of rock in the berm. It can be suggested, fairly common. Many match shooters use wheelweight hardness lead or harder, uncoated or coated and splatter may occur and potentially dangerous, particularly to the eyes.
 

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does anyone else think that video is fake?
 

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Pretty simple, don't over think it. Golf balls are designed to take the kinetic energy of a swinging golf club, compress and immediately release the potential energy back against the head of the golf club, which sends the ball flying.

Pellet from a gun simply doesn't have the mass or energy (fps) to do the same. Since the golf ball outweighs the pellet, the potential energy is released back into the pellet, sending it back towards you, instead of sending the golf ball on its way.

A little more energy, say from a .22, and the golf ball gets compromised, and the energy transfer is disrupted, and the bullet enters the golf ball instead of getting redirected. :D
 

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Besides the bullet, some of an object struck by a bullet can come back at you. I use a Forest Service range which is strewn with a lot of loose chunks of shale, left over from bulldozing out the hill that forms the backstop. Most of them are fist size or larger. Users have to consider the chance of some rock getting back to the shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pretty simple, don't over think it. Golf balls are designed to take the kinetic energy of a swinging golf club, compress and immediately release the potential energy back against the head of the golf club, which sends the ball flying.

Pellet from a gun simply doesn't have the mass or energy (fps) to do the same. Since the golf ball outweighs the pellet, the potential energy is released back into the pellet, sending it back towards you, instead of sending the golf ball on its way.

A little more energy, say from a .22, and the golf ball gets compromised, and the energy transfer is disrupted, and the bullet enters the golf ball instead of getting redirected. :D
This makes sense and the reason I don't make much of my experience with a golf ball. But my neighbor tells me of a mini-ball fired from a muzzle loader at a steel plate that bounced back and whistled past the shooter. I told him that was impossible. Then I see a post in this forum (not this thread) where a .45 acp bounced back and hit the leg of a bystander. The bullet was almost intact (shown in a photo), however, so must have been a very low velocity load.
 

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I might have been one of those bounce back stories you read. At least I'd like to flatter myself to think so. ; )

My sister fired a Sig P220 I sold her at a fallen log in the forest above Roseburg Oregon. The rain makes everything mossy and trees break down fast, so this wasn't hard timber. She fired, and a split second later, an object came sailing back and hit my leg. It was the disfigured bullet, a 230 gr JHP. The other incident involved me, an old propane tank about 20 yds away, and a USFA Rodeo shooting 255 gr lead. That bullet came back and hit my leg. .45 bullets have a thing for my leg, I guess.
 

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I have been hit by bounce back on2 3 wadcutters fired from 38 special reloads. I always wear glasses and muffs and both all the hits were on my leg and I never shoot wearing shorts. I always shoot in long pants or jeans. Both bounce backs were about 1/2 of the wadcutters. I have seen people hit with bounce backs from 9 mm and 45 fmj. both these people were hurt because it hit exposed skin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I might have been one of those bounce back stories you read. At least I'd like to flatter myself to think so. ; )

My sister fired a Sig P220 I sold her at a fallen log in the forest above Roseburg Oregon. The rain makes everything mossy and trees break down fast, so this wasn't hard timber. She fired, and a split second later, an object came sailing back and hit my leg. It was the disfigured bullet, a 230 gr JHP. The other incident involved me, an old propane tank about 20 yds away, and a USFA Rodeo shooting 255 gr lead. That bullet came back and hit my leg. .45 bullets have a thing for my leg, I guess.
Yes. I believe it was your post that prompted me to start this thread. I also live in Oregon (Elmira) and have fired many bullets into old logs and stumps. Never has one bounced back. This blows my mind.
 

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When I was an advisor in Viet Nam, we had a new senior enlisted person check in. He ordered us to assemble for qualification with the 1911. He hung a target on a metal fence post and handed me the 1911. He was standing on my right side with a few inches seperating us. I aimed and pulled the trigger. The round hit the bull's eye and flew back between us and hit the ground behind us. I handed him the gun, told him I just qualified, and walked away. The rest of the advisors followed me with him standing there with the 1911 in his hand and a puzzled look on his face.
 

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I do a fair bit of shooting at steel targets (I shoot Speed Steel competitively) and I've been impressed how far bits of bullet can rebound. I've noticed two distinct types of rebound: one type is the bullet fragmentation on impact - the rebound angle of the fragments is never more than 90 degrees from the direction of the bullet. The other type of rebound is actually an elastic recoil, seen more with higher energy chamberings and "tougher" bullets. The steel flexes on impact; when it relaxes, any bullet fragments still in contact with the steel is thrown back in roughly the direction it came from.

I've seen the video of the .50 cal "ricochet" and it seems completely plausible. It COULD be elastic recoil, assuming that he was shooting at a steel target AND that target was thick enough to not be penetrated. More likely is that a fragment underwent multiple richochets (at least two). A first hit on something relatively flat could have fragmented the bullet, throwing fragments 90 degrees from the firing axis - a second hit on something (a rock, perhaps) angled around 45 degrees from horizontal could have sent the fragment back at the shooter.

Either way, there wouldn't have been enough energy in the fragment to do too much harm (apart from a nasty cut) unless it hit in the eye or some other "tender" area. Maybe people shooting .50 caliber rifles should consider wearing a cup in addition to eye protection.

Jim
 

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I had an experience last summer with a shotgun slug and a bowling ball. I shot the bowling ball at about 7 yards- and a chunk of the bowling ball (about 4 inches in diameter!) came RiGHT back at me and hit my forearm holding the forfend of the shotgun....

Huge welt and bruise on my arm is all that I got...I was very lucky the slug didn't come right back at me! Lesson learned!
 

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Gentlemen, I watched that Video. a while back when it first came on the net.
If you watch it close you can see the slug hit the ground about half way back to the shooter, it then bounces into the air about waist level and continues it's trip to the shooters ear protector. That Video is not a fake. Lets add that a 50 B M G round weighs
on average 750 grains, lets say it did break up and only half of it hit the shooter,
375 grains in your head with a 100 yards to get up steam ?? how about only a 1/4 of the bullet coming back ? 187.5 grains ? thank you but no thank you. Years ago there was a story of a women that was driving in her convertible in Brooklyn N.Y,
she was on the Belt parkway, I know the road well and it goes along the water.
Her car crashed into the berm and she was found dead, shot to death. Well that case was unsolved for quite some time, Then the police discovered a shark fisherman had shot at a shark as it surfaced after being caught by the fisherman. The bullet bounced off the water and traveled a great distance and killed the girl in the car.
Does it happen often ? NO, can it happen ? YUP.
There is no science that says a bullet will not, can not come back and kill or injure someone. Getting away with it 100 times does not prove that it cannot happen or will not happen. I have seen it happen, I have been struck by bullet fragments when I thought I had covered all the safety bases. Crap happens, even in controlled environments. Shooting at rocks is a good way to get your clock cleaned, Steel spinners will some times through back lead or pieces of jacket with lead attached.
Safe shooting is just that, safe shooting, knowing the environment we are shooting in and being aware that we OWN every bullet that comes out of our weapon,(for ever)
I for one do not need the grief that a careless or freak moment can instill on me,
Or God forbid to hurt some child or an innocent bystander. Things happen even when we think we thought it all out. Enough said.

Edit to add: As a youngster I had a cousin about the same age, (13 0r 14 ) he was shooting his bow in his basement, one arrow hit the cement wall and came straight back and the back of the arrow ( the knock ) penetrated one of his eyes and blinded him forever in that eye.
Our sport involved guns and bullets not guns and Roses. Then kill and injure people, they do it without being prejudiced, by accident and willfully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
....a 100 yards to get up steam
Steam propelled bullets? All the bullets I've ever fired lost energy and velocity over distance.
 
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