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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shooting 230-grain Speer Lawman FMJ in a Kimber Commander at the range this morning, I felt a sharp impact to my abdomen, and my first thought was, Jeez, I never had spent brass hit me that hard, but when I looked down, I saw a deformed bullet, or maybe a bullet-and-a-half. I took the gun apart, but found no sign of an obstruction or obvious damage, but stopped shooting it. Took a closer look when I got home and was cleaning the weapons, but the Kimber appears OK to the naked eye.

Examining the bullet, it looks to me like an underpowered round left a bullet in the gun (although enough power to cycle the slide and feed another cartridge), and I shot a second round into the back of the first one. (A) I'm probably lucky the gun didn't blow up and take off my hand, and (B) I'm lucky the spent bullet came out the ejection port---if this is in fact what happened. It didn't even leave a bruise, but thinking about it after the fact, I'm a little shaky.

Anybody have an idea what might have caused this? If I can get a detailed photograph of the bullet, I'll post it.

Best, David
 
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It sounds to me like you caught a ricochet from the backstop of your range. If you'd had a bullet lodged in your barrel you would have known for sure. We're talking a swollen, buldged, mangled barrel at the least and an exploded firearm at worst. I also don't see how the bullet could have been thrown from your weapon and hit you in the stomach. It sounds to me like you just hit a "hot spot" in the backstop and got some lead thrown at you. It happens. That's why safety gear is so important. ~Pistolero
 

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Mr. Dave,

I am glad you or no one else got hurt as well sir. How far were you from any metal down range when this happened? I tend to have to agree with pistolero, I think this was a ricochet off something metal downrange.

I caught one of those during a night shoot years ago, but mine was caused by the officer next to me who was having major problems finding his target. He hit the metal target holder which sent the spend projectile back into my stomach. I know that is what happened as in the dark, I saw the spark from his round hitting the metal right before, lol. We were at 7 yards, and his left a nice bruise, but did not break the skin or draw blood. But it was a good reminder to all of us.

I think if you had encountered a squib load (one without any powder or a really low charge) you would have noticed that while shooting. I also agree the results to your pistol at the best would have been noticed when you inspected it. At worst they would have called a rescue squad to your range.

If it was a richocet it would not have needed to be someone standing beside you either. Depending on the angle on any metal frames the round could have come from several positions away from you as well. It would not even have to be a frame that caused it. Any metal down range could have been the cause of a ricochet.

I am just glad you or no one else was hurt sir.

twoguns
 

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Hello,

I had a similiar experience shooting at the local indoor range some years ago when another shooter in the next stall was shooting 230 grain Lead reloads from his 1911. I felt a sharp burning pain and thump in my chest and could see the bullet clinging to my shirt.

His shot had apparently richocheted from the backstop and found its way to my chest at its spent velocity.

Some weeks later, I was shooting a match and asked the RO why he stood directly behind me instead of off to the side obliquely back?

He grinned, pointed, and said, "look by your feet". There were spent shards of copper and lead littering the concrete floor of the range.

It is a frightening experience. The trap below the backstop at your range needs to be cleaned out of spent lead and copper.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, guys---

You're right, it had to have been a ricochet. Otherwise, the gun would have been badly damaged or destroyed, not to mention my extremities. I theorized otherwise, because when I looked at the spent round, it was one of mine (and I was the only one shooting, duh). Thing is, it felt like it hit me at the same time the gun recoiled, but if the bullet were traveling at 800 fps, it could have gone downrange 75 feet, bounced back off the concrete pad (or the block wall) and banged into me on the return trip in what, 3/10's of a second? (So that's an example of a faulty association: i.e., something happened first, something happened next, therefore the first thing caused the second thing.) And taking a closer look at the spent round under a magnifying glass, it does appear to be a single bullet, bent lengthwise, flattened on one side, which would indicate at least two impacts. If I had a scale, I could weigh it, too.

Bottom line is that the force of the round was spent, thank God. Freaky thing, nonetheless. I appreciate your explanations of how it could have happened, and your expressions of concern.

Best, David
 

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This web site gives a lot of super technical stuff about bullets....

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/backissu/jan2004/research/2004_01_research03.htm

At one point it mentions velocity to penetrate skin...
Quote:

"Assuming that approximately 79.993 joules of energy are required for skin penetration and approximately 27.889 joules for the penetration of bone, the striking and remaining velocity/energy would have to be at least 48.5m/sec, 1.4kg-m. Jauhari and Bandyopadhayy (1975) determined that the striking energy of 7.9kg-m is the minimum to cause a disabling wound. The bullet would produce a wound more easily in the softer tissues. In all cases, the striking velocities and energies were higher than the threshold velocity prescribed for the penetration of human skin and bone or to cause a disabling wound. The remaining energy (12.8kg-m) was also higher than the minimum required to cause a disabling wound. Table 5 and Table 6 show that the mean remaining energy of a lead core and its jacketed fragments after perforating said thickness of windowpane are 534.862 joules and 191.428 joules respectively, which are also more than the minimum prescribed for causing a disabling wound."

If my math is correct, the 48.5m/sec quoted equals 159fps in units we are more familiar with, to penetrate skin. So, luckily, most of the energy on a rebounding bullet was expended or it would have been more than just a "hurt".

I got interested in this during discussions a long time ago on the dangers of FMJ bullets passing through a villian and hitting someone behind. Also a recent episode of Mythbusters looked at bullets fired up in the air and terminal velocity coming down. IMO, both cases would penetrate skin. Terminal velocity of a bullet falling is at around 250fps +or-.

Some of you with better knowledge of this, please comment.

og

Edit!! here is an excellent article by Stephen Camp....

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Have%20No%20Faith.htm

where he quotes:

"In his book, Gunshot Wounds, Dr. Vincent J.M. Di Maio reports that a 38-caliber LRN bullet requires at least 191 ft/sec to penetrate skin. He finds that the same bullet needs an average velocity of 280 ft/sec to penetrate two layers of skin and 6" of muscle as this is the average velocity lost when such penetration's occurred during testing. It seems reasonable that if we're firing a 9mm, .38, or .357 expanding bullet that doesn't expand, but still has around 300 ft/sec or so upon exiting the felon's torso, it is possible for it to injure an innocent bystander."
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The issue seems to be too much garbage in the trough under the backstop. A friend (former LEO) writes:

"It has to do with the amount of solids/expended rounds building up in the berm. They had to shut down our range completely and remove the whole impact area and replace the dirt/fill we were getting so many rounds were bouncing back.I was hit several times. Also with revolvers we have "shaving" where the cylinder and chamber don't quite line up and some of the lead is shaved off and comes out the side. I have a friend who was blinded in one eye from such an experience.Guy next to him had a revolver that was shaving lead. I carried around a bunch of shaved lead in my palm from firing cup and saucer with a shaving revolver. After several years it all finally worked itself out from under the skin. After that they made us wear goggles and ear protectors/sound suppressors.It's the s***s when the targets shoot back ain't it ?????" [Edited for content]

OldGranpa, thanks for the more detailed technical specs. 159 fps? I figure I was lucky. I, too, am interested in bullets falling out of the sky, as here in New Mexico, people apparently think nothing of shooting guns in the air on the 4th of July---they must imagine the rounds go into orbit and never come down. I'm also concerned about overpenetration, but that's a different subject.

Thank you all, again, for informative suggestions, support, and advice.
 

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I'm gonna tell on myself here and post a thread I put on another forum. Made a ricochet believer out of me.

How I Shot Myself In the Head With a .30-06

I've had migraine headaches most of my adult life. They are frequently a nuisance and sometimes a struggle. I've been to doctors attempting to remedy or at least reduce their frequency with mixed luck.

About 10 years ago my doctor decided to take a look at my head with a CAT scan (presumably he wanted to see if there was really anything in there) so I went in to have it done. As I prepared to slide through the machine the operator said that I
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
bmcgilvray---
I'd say you were one lucky fellow, but the real question is, Who made those jeans, and can you still buy them?
David
 

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bmcgilvray,

If I read this correctly, you were 50+ yards away from the hidden cultivator, and you got hit by a .30-06 round ricocheted back with enough force to penetrate your skull? DANG! I haven't done a lot of rifle shooting, but I would not have guessed that the bullet would have that much energy left after hitting anything 50 yards away.

Glad you are OK from that incident. Sorry about your migraines, my wife getst them, no fun at all.

elb
 
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I belong to the www.osarange.com pistol range. We stopped using metal target back holders because of an incident when one of our members was "buzzed" by a ricochet off a metal target holder. We now use only wood target holders. I agree that it was most likely a ricochet since you were using factory ammo and not reloads. About two months ago one of our members ,who has been reloading for 30 years, had a misloaded round that caused a squibb and a bullet was in the barrel when he fired the next round that was fully loaded. It was a brand new Kimber Raptor. The grips shattered in two, the magazine base blew out, and there was damage to the barrel and chamber. The shooter was not wearing glasses and got some metal in one of his eyes and had a severe cut on the palm of his hand. I guess familiarity breeds carelessness in this case.
 
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