View Full Version : Ricochet at my range

11-04-2013, 07:27 AM
My range has a berm at 210 yards so as to shoot 100 and 200 yards. My neighbors informed me last week of a ricochet. I was shooting at 100 yards and almost did not believe them because I was confident all bullets were hitting berm. What we I found out surprised me but should not have. I was using old scrap 3/8 inch plywood as a target board and stapling target to that. I did not think a bullet would deform so much as to cause a ricochet penetrating plywood but it did. Further evidence was bullet jacket fragments at the berm in the soft dirt/sand. I now have only target stapled to cardboard. After thinking about this I had to think how dumb am I? A 3000 feet a second bullet penetrating plywood any thickness, why would it not deform? I have shot thousands of rounds and maybe only happened once but of course once is one times too many.

11-04-2013, 08:34 AM
Perhaps the ricochet was not from the plywood per say but rather from a rock in the berm. Course if the plywood was very well shot up then a deflection from from an edge is not to be discounted.

11-04-2013, 09:51 AM
You will often hit the side of an existing hole. You also need to make sure that you don't hit the framing. It's better to make the target frame oversize so the framing is far away from the target.

When I make a target frame for my personal use I use coroplast with push pins to retain the target.

11-04-2013, 12:26 PM
A friend of mine was looking for a reliable way of stopping bullets and I suggested
old tires.
He used tractor tires but any tires will work, they are easier to set up if the same size.
As you lay the tires on top each other fill them with dirt or sand, you end up with a
bullet stop that is 90 degrees to you line of sight which will help prevent ricochets.
When it is shot enough to start leaking excessive amounts of sand or dirt, cut a section
out of another tire, remove sand or dirt, insert on inside of bullet damaged tire and
refill with dirt or sand.
Tractor tires take a lot of hits before they need repair.
The targets are on a target frame approx. 5 ft. in front of the backstop.

11-04-2013, 09:17 PM
I disagree on using tires in your backstop. I was a member of a club that had tires in their backstop backed up by and filled with sand. One day I was waiting in front of the 100 yard bench for a group of hunter education students. I began to notice shiny things in the grass. They were pistol bullets and boat tail 223 bullets, pristine except for rifling marks. Those suckers had come back off those tires almost 100 yards! I picked up a coffee cup full. It is a miracle nobody ever got seriously hurt. When I mentioned it to the other club members, I got a big collective yawn. They talked about a solution for awhile, but all anyone did was dig out a few of the tires in the middle, leaving the rest. I found out later that people had been hit by shotgun pellets when testing their turkey loads. Some of this may have been due to steel belted radials, but not all. I got out of that club because I didn't want to risk my retirement savings against a potential lawsuit.

Take a NRA range safety course and you may be tempted to give up your private range. They will show you some very scary things. Bullets do very weird things. A bullet hitting the ground at a 15 degree angle can head off at 45 degrees both vertically and horizontally. I was in Wal-Mart the other day and they were selling things designed to be bounced along the ground with bullets. I guess they want to kill the shooting sports with litigation, because it only takes one errant bullet to kill a club and a range.

11-04-2013, 10:10 PM
I have not experienced the problem with the tires, but I was not looking for it
because I was not expecting it. I will check the next time I'm there.

ray porter
11-05-2013, 08:41 AM
once, when i was a kid i shot a tire. there was a hummmmm and a thump 6inches from my right foot and 6inches from my left foot.

never pulled that one again.

11-05-2013, 12:38 PM
I used to give machine gun demonstrations to clubs in my area.

If you asked any of the members of these clubs about ricochets, they would say it was impossible because the bullets bury themselves in the berm.

Part of my demonstration consisted of an 30-06 ANM2 loaded with a 150 round belts of tracers. Much to every ones amazement ... a lot of the bullets do not bury into the berm. The backstop area looked like a bunch of fireflies buzzing around. Bullets going left, right, up and even spinning in circles on the berm.

On the other hand, I belonged to a club in the early 80's that the anti's were trying to shut down. They even showed up to township meetings with the supposed ricochet bullets. Fortunately for us anti's are stupid and the so-called ricochet bullets were not deformed in any way or have any rifling engraved on them.

11-05-2013, 09:32 PM
I also shoot F-class and service rifle at a 600 yard National Guard range. The impact area is all sand with a few clumps of grass and weeds here and there. It is maybe 50 yards in back of the pits. I have have twice had very hot bullet fragments come straight back and land on me while working the targets. I don't know if they hit other bullets in the berm or what. I don't think the guard ever cleans out that berm.

Larry Elliott
11-08-2013, 06:11 PM
The range I was a member of in the Seattle area installed used tires filled with dirt as a backstop on the pistol range until we got reports of ricochets. That was before there were a lot of steel belted radial tires too, but still a hit on the bead of a tire might well cause a ricochet.

I've heard that foam insulation which comes in 4x8 ft sheets works very well as a target backer, and is somewhat self sealing as well as resisting rain. It's also light so easy to move and carry. Since you're in FL you likely won't have to worry about foam becoming brittle in the cold either.

11-08-2013, 10:42 PM
Once a bullet makes contact with an object, whether blade of grass, bone, rock etc, there is no telling where it will go.

11-09-2013, 06:56 AM
Once a bullet makes contact with an object, whether blade of grass, bone, rock etc, there is no telling where it will go.

So true.
I am shooting Brok's Gap this weekend, they use that plastic cardboard to fasten target. Seems not to effect bullet much.

brian roberts
11-11-2013, 08:41 PM
I like the corrogated plastic that comes with election signs, in season of course, and new development signs, you know, "Come See Our New OVERpriced ticky-tacky, from the low $900s."

I always look at it as my contribution to Adopt-A-Road, just rip up 6-8 and that'll be target backers for 2 years or more. :cool: