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This happened at our local county owned range.

My wife and I own a couple of steel targets but two deflect the bullets downwards, and the poppers we have are of course, reactive and spring loaded so they are unlikely to ricochet. We don't shoot steel with 5.56 at 10 yards either....

 

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That could have made for a bad day.

I had a ricochet from a 40 S&W hit me in the stomach one time shooting steel at 40 yards. It felt like a bee sting and actually looked like one too. Upon closer inspection of the target, the only thing we could come up with was the steel had craters in it from someone shooting it with rifles. I guess I hit it at the perfect angle. We hauled that piece of steel off as it had certainly seen its better days.
 

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That could have made for a bad day.

I had a ricochet from a 40 S&W hit me in the stomach one time shooting steel at 40 yards. It felt like a bee sting and actually looked like one too. Upon closer inspection of the target, the only thing we could come up with was the steel had craters in it from someone shooting it with rifles. I guess I hit it at the perfect angle. We hauled that piece of steel off as it had certainly seen its better days.
I was shooting pistol at paper targets at a distance of perhaps 30 feet on a military base with a high berm in California when a bullet ricocheted off of something in the berm. I could only presume there was perhaps a rock in the berm that was not apparent. The bullet struck me on the cheek right below my glasses. It stung briefly. I've always been a firm believer in eye protection but that sealed the deal for me. That and seeing a rifle cartridge (factory ammo) explode in the chamber at another range and send shrapnel into a guy's cheek.
 

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Yup, shooting steel in particular, will do this. I've had the spall draw blood on my face before. Always wear proper approved eye protection.
 

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I’ve been hit in the head with a 45 ricochet. Not fun.
Walked off several ranges at one time or another for silly crap going on.
 

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If you've been to public ranges often enough over the years, you have probably had a close call or two.

I was hit with a ricochet a few years ago when a couple of yahoos decided to setup a steel dueling target only 7 yards out and about 10 yards to my right. I was just about to tell them to move the target tree out to at least 15 yards when it happened. Whack! Right between the eyes!



Needles to say, when I now see unsafe practices on the range I don't hesitate to speak up.
 

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I use these to mount my steel. Angled and spring loaded.
 

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10 yards with rifles. Idiots.
Probably watched too many tacticool training videos where they blast away at multiple targets yards away with ar15's.
 

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I used to shoot in a box canyon with a friend back in the early 80's. We never shot steel at close range, but we did hear a ricochet come whining by once in a while from the rocks in the area. Nothing close, but it made us aware. Glad everyone survived these.
 
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The last time I went to my local indoor range (just as the doors opened for the day), my CCW instructor was just finishing up a private lesson with a single student. They were actually in the range, well beyond the place where shooters usually stand and shoot and where (paper) targets return to, beyond the 21' line iirc. My instructor was wearing body armor (a vest) in addition to his standard eye pro and ear pro! I surmised this was because of their nearness to the walls and the increased probability of ricochets. I've been meaning to ask him about this ...
 

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10 yards is too close for 5.56mm, doubt if it was a ricochet though, more likely fragments. Unless it is armored steel a 5.56mm will penetrate 1/4" steel at that range also. Steel tends to bow, and divots can develop all causing bounce back or ricochets.
I was a range officer at a local pistol match years ago and at that time it was usual to place steel plates on rebar posts with a flat base for the steel. I always cringed at it or at using T-Posts to set up barricades. As the shooter reached the last, luckily, position and shot at a 10" plate at about 10 yards on said Rebar, I suddenly saw a flash picture of the base of a 40 caliber jacketed bullet, I even saw very vividly the rifling, about 6" in front of my nose. I thought, "damn this is going to hurt" then was smacked just to the left of center between nostril and lip. Bled like a hose, but missed my nose and didn't even crack any teeth. Man did it hurt! I cleared the shooter and handed off the timer to get some ice, to the concern of all around who saw the blood. Didn't go to the hospital and was back working the timer several shooters later. It was obviously a bounce back and an image I'll not soon forget!
A bit higher it would have broken my nose, lower and I'd lost some teeth. I've been zinged, as most who compete have, with tiny pieces of bullet casing/lead as far back as 30 yards. Even had blood drawn at times, not much just broke the skin, from basically shrapnel.
I have also heard bullets whizzing in barrels as we run by them! I've heard, but never seen, of cases where the whizzing bullet found an exit hole and came out too. So it's just not steel that can cause issues.

Never shoot, or as a bystander even face the range, without good shooting glasses!
 

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And we have threads worried about new shooters doing stupid stuff. My experience is training can only teach safety procedures. It cannot teach good judgement. That gets into Darwin territory.
 

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Here's one of the first threads I ever started here on Defensive Carry Forum, from the hoary annals of time, deep in the Defensive Carry Vault. A sad tale of woe on this thread's topic.


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: “you're 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 about 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 Texas 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 which 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 the '03A3. 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 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.
 

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Ouch!
 

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I forgot about this little gem of a ricochet.

I work for an international company, and we often times bring our foreign counterparts to the range here in the US to give them an experience they might now otherwise have.

This is a picture of one of our German team members shooting an AR-15 at an indoor range, and of course nobody saw or interacted with this ricochet, but it was a bit disturbing to later see it in one of the pictures of the event.

The red arrow was added to draw your attention to speedy little booger. Yikes!
 
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