Carelessness: Or How I Shot Myself With a .30-06
This is a discussion on Carelessness: Or How I Shot Myself With a .30-06 within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; 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 ...
Post By bmcgilvray
June 7th, 2007 11:04 AM
Carelessness: Or How I Shot Myself 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’d be scanned and would stay put until the doctor reviewed the results. If the doctor saw anything that he wanted to examine more closely then I would be injected with some sort of dye and be rescanned.
I was duly scanned and remained on the table awaiting further instructions. I was already sitting up preparing to get off the table when the tech returned to the room with a cheery “your in luck. You get to be rescanned with the dye.” They shot me with the dye, waited for it to circulate, and scanned me again. Again I waited for results. The tech came back in with a dark and puzzled look on his face and said that I was gong to be run back through on my stomach, as there was something that needed further study. He also asked me if I had metal in my head. I jokingly said “yeah I have a steel plate in my head” but had no clue what the concern was.
When the tech returned after the third scan he said the doctor wanted to see me in the examining room. I went there and waited for perhaps 15 minutes. Doc Davis burst in saying “I think I’ve found what is giving you your headaches! Which side of your head aches when the migraine begins?” I said “the right side”. A look of disappointment came over his face and he said “well, maybe not then. Can you tell me why you have a piece of metal behind your left eye?" I said that I didn’t know I did have metal behind my eye but if it was there, perhaps it is because I once was struck in the head with a bullet. I related the story to him.
One fine summer’s afternoon in 1980 a buddy and I went out to his uncle's farm situated between Grandview and Itasca Texas for a little shooting fun. He brought along his dad’s old DPS Colt New Service .38 Special revolver, a Webley Mark IV that his dad had taken off of a thug years before and had kept, a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum, and a Ruger 77 .300 Winchester Magnum. I had my favorite S&W Model 10, my S&W Model 29, and my Smith-Corona ‘03A3. We’d also brought a couple of .22 auto rifles and a spotlight for coyote chasing in the pickup after dark as was our habit.
We set up some oil cans (no nifty plastic bottles back then) on a terrace that ran from a small tractor shed. About 50 yards behind the terrace was the straight face of the side of a hill that would serve as a good backstop. We popped away happily at the cans with the handguns, remarking on the quality and accuracy of the New Service, the thunder and roar of our mighty .44’s, and the wimpiness of the Webley.
After a while we broke out the rifles and backed up to 50 yards from our cans. Craig had never fired an “Army rifle” and was keen to shoot it. He also wanted me to try out his .300 Winchester Magnum. We fired each others rifles, exclaimed over their wonders, then switched and began shooting our own rifles. I drew a bead on one of the oil cans and squeezed the trigger. At the report my head was immediately jerked backwards with some force and I became aware of a pain in my left leg below my knee. In that instant I thought the rifle had burst. My first reaction was to look down at my leg. As I looked downward a large splash of blood cascaded over my white T-shirt. Then I became aware that the side of my head hurt and burned. I began to feel around with my fingers and felt a long swollen spot that went from the corner of my left eyebrow to above my ear. It was swollen and hard, as if a piece of rope lay beneath the scalp. The bleeding had almost immediately stopped. I realized that I’d been struck by a ricochet. Craig, by this time was getting pretty wound up and wanting to rush me to the hospital in Itasca. I told him, “naw I’m ok” and walked over to the side mirror of the pickup and looked at myself. I was a sorry sight with the initial spurt of blood that gushed from my eyebrow. I began to feel some hard lumps within the swollen line that passed along the side of my head. Pressing and raking on them moved them to the eyebrow or the hole above my ear and I was picking out pieces of bullet jacket. This caused little additional bleeding and soon I couldn’t feel any more lumps. It soon became apparent that I’d been struck in the outside corner of my eyebrow, the projectile traveling beneath my scalp and exiting over my left ear.
I then examined my left calf. I had a bloody hole punched in my calf muscle about an inch deep beside my shin bone. The strange thing about this was that it didn’t break the weave of my blue jeans. I assume that a portion of the lead core had struck my leg.
All bleeding had stopped and I began to look for the lead core where I’d been standing, but never found it. Craig was freaked by now and pleading with me to go to the hospital. I really thought I’d live and said,”let’s wait and see. It was a close call but I’m not really hurt. That jacket fragment only missed my left eye by one inch. I must be pretty lucky today. Lets go over here and see what in the world the bullet struck that would cause it to behave like that.”
All was revealed when we looked closely in the Johnson grass behind the terrace and found an old cultivator concealed there. A bullet splash-marked and dented frame showed where the .30-06 bullet had struck.
I really felt fine and we went on with the late night varmint hunt. Upon arriving home my wife was initially alarmed at my blood stained shirt and jeans. Told her the tale and after examining the wound she shook her head and said I was lucky but she felt that I’d be alright.
By the next morning I had a black eye, especially beneath the eye. After a few days it went away and I was right as rain.
Doc Davis shook his head incredulously and began laughing heartily. “what’d you think you were doing at that truck mirror, playing John Wayne digging out the bullet like that? You ninny! That bullet struck your skull forcefully enough to break up on impact. That’s why there were the fragments in your scalp. What happened is that the majority of that jacket penetrated your skull bone and lodged behind your left eye where it remains. You should have had immediate surgery to have it removed."
I asked him if it still needed to be taken out and he said no, if it’d been there for the past 17 years and had given no trouble then it would be more risky to remove it than to leave it. He also said it couldn’t have anything to do with the headaches.
Doc Davis is a shooter and derived much glee from my story. He still calls me bullethead to this day.
I typed this tail of woe and carelessness as a caution to know your shooting range and bullet path.
June 7th, 2007 11:58 AM
June 7th, 2007 01:08 PM
Reminds me of a ricochet I had once - shooting some milsurp from old .303 at an old truck axle ...... forget distance but it was obviously too close!!!
One round impacted the differential housing, right into reinforcement web in the casting ....... no penetration and the bullet fragmented. A shard of copper jacket made it back to me and hit my left hand finger - boy did it bleed!!!
No major harm done but it was a salutary reminder about what can come back and, the need for eye protection too.
You story is quite incredible and seems you were actually pretty darned lucky too. Sympathize with the headache deal - I have had enough of those to know it ruins quality of life.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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June 7th, 2007 01:16 PM
Great story, and sure different!
EOD - Initial success or total failure
June 7th, 2007 01:18 PM
I guess that can happen to anybody. I've been pretty lucky so far.
June 7th, 2007 02:32 PM
I was shooting at the local indoor range and felt a hard impact onmy left calf. I looked down to see a .45, still hot as hell (my jeans had a burn mark) sitting in the fold of my jeans. Slight bruise, but nothing other than that.
June 7th, 2007 02:41 PM
Just this weekend I caught a ricochet off a steel target in the chin. Only left a small cut though, I'm pretty confident I don't have a bullet in my head anywhere.
June 7th, 2007 02:48 PM
I took a .40 off an I-beam target stand to the shin a few weeks ago. Didn't even break the skin, but it made me take several steps backward before resuming practice.
June 7th, 2007 02:55 PM
I caught a jacket from some 7.63x39, thankfully my glasses deflected most of it, and I just got a little scratch on the temple.
June 7th, 2007 04:03 PM
I have been hit with scatter-back from a Barrett .50 once. A friend and I were playing with one about two years ago. We had a steel plate about 2" thick set out about 125-150yards (not enough clearing at the time to get out much further). My friend shot first hitting the steel plate. A second or two later we could hear something hitting the metal building that was behind us. I turned my head to look in the direction of the noise (building), and just as I did, something hit me in the side of the neck and right shoulder. At my feet was a piece of deformed metal about the size of a dime. I picked it up and sure enough, it was hot. A closer look proved to be copper with remnants of lead. It could have been much worse, but prompted us to take other measures to prevent the likelyhood of a repeat performance.
Another quickie about knowing what you are shooting at just as much as what is behind it comes from about 10 years ago another friend and I went out into the Nevada desert to do our bi-monthly steam blow-off. When we get to the shooting area/dumping grounds, my buddy Hayden grabbed his Ruger 9mm and started walking out and about the field while I was setting up a couple of things to get ready to shoot. About 20 yards from where he was standing he spies a sink. I am about 20 yards behind him and see what he is aiming at. I yell to him to stop (we both had ear muffs on) just as he pulls the trigger. He decocks the gun, slowly put it back into the holster and turned around to look in my direction, white as a sheet.
The sink was an old one that was cast iron and porcelain sink. The bullet had struck low in the bowl, and had skidded along the contour of it (we could see the scoring in the ceramic). When it exited the sink the slug passed just past his ear.
Don't even ask about the ding-ding that shot a bowling ball with his AK-47.
"A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." British Prime Minister Tony Blair
June 7th, 2007 06:43 PM
I have had migraines for most of my adult life and through a strange occurrence found a relief. In June 1999 my wife wondered why I had not come to breakfast. She found me standing in front of the mirror slightly disoriented and not able to give her my full name, etc. The last thing I remember was combing my wet hair and hearing the mantle clock strike 7. After getting enough info to know that I wasn't joking she called my boss who came over to help her get me to the doctor. The next thing I remember after 7 was walking into the kitchen fully dressed and seeing my boss.
We went to the doctor in our small town and he asked lots of questions and did the routine exam. He asked if I had migraines and I told him yes. He said that this could have been the aura of one. I told him if it was it was the first time anything like that had happened. I will usually wake up with a slight discomfort behind the eye and I know there is a migraine on the way. I told him that I had never found anything that could relieve them. He asked more questions and suggested a new drug called Maxalt. Since I know when I wake up in the morning that one is coming on I was to take the pill then and it would prevent the migraine.
I went on to the hospital and had a CAT scan and a carotid doppler scan. Neither showed anything and I was told that I had probably had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack or mini-stroke). I have not real after effects except that I found a cure for my migraines. The pill cost about $14 each, but they are worth it to me. As a matter of fact after the first year using them I found that I have used them less and less. Evidently the knowledge that I have something to relieve the migraine reduces my concern about them so I don't wake with the start of one very often. I have four of the Maxalts scattered in different locations. One in the medicine cabinet, one in a back I take with me when ever I am going to be away from home, one in my wife's purse, and one in the desk drawer at work. These are from my last prescription of 6 pills. They expire in September of this year. That means that I have taken two of them since January 2006 when I got the latest prescription. I hate that if they expire that will be about $60 down the drain, but I love it that I can keep them long enough without using them for them to expire. If I make it to September with any left it will be the first time any have expired on me.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein
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