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Thread: cast bullet ricochet risk

  1. #1
    Boolit Master nelsonted1's Avatar
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    cast bullet ricochet risk

    Do cast bullet ricochet worse than jacketed bullets? I know there are a lot of variations in jacketed; varmint, solids, 1/2 jackets, etc. The problem, or I should say worry, I have is I intend to hunt coyotes in pastures in Ky and there are people everywhere, over every hill. I intend to use preditor/varmint bullets in an AR15.

    THE question is do hard cast ricochet? OR just splat. Go fast or slow ie 708 speed, 30-30 speed. How about soft bullets. I've got an assortment of rifles and pistols I could use.

    This topic has been a nightmare all the years I've been shooting. I guess as it should be.

    TED

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Hunter's Avatar
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    I am no expert but I believe any bullet has a good chance if a ricochet. I would imagine even a deformed or fragmented lead round can ricochet with unpredictable results. It may not 9 times then the 1 time everything is right it will. I would think there is enough of a chance not to risk it.
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    They definitely will richocet. Why, I remember as a kid, every shot that Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger made, always richocheted~! Peeow!Wheeee!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    The only bullets you can shoot safely within city limits are the varmit bullets at maximum velocity. But, if you miss and the bullet slows way down, all bets are off. Besides that, the noise level is far to high to even contemplate such a feat. ... felix
    felix

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Ricochet's Avatar
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    Smile

    I hear whistling ricochets with nearly every shot with my cast rifle loads out at the range, with the boolits hitting a plain grass lawn behind the targets at a low angle. When I fire at the 50 and 100 yard targets, I often hear the unstable bullets strike the more distant target boards with a loud whack, probably hitting sideways. The 100 yard boards are full of sideways .22LR bullets stuck sideways in the plywood after glancing off the ground behind the 50 yard boards. The jacketed bullets also nearly always ricochet, unless they happen to hit a rock. FMJ or SP, makes little difference. Rarely one will burrow into the ground. There's a ridge behind the range that catches the ricochets.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    As Felix said, any bullet except very light and fast varmint type rounds can ricochet. Ricochets can be very, very dangerous and every effort should be made to not shoot at targets on the ground, but put the bullet into a berm at an angle so it will stay put.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was at our local range and some kid was in on of the pistol bays with berms on all three sides. He was trying to machine gun his 9mm autopistol at targets on the ground and every third round what whinning off into the countryside, over the 15 foot berms.

    I got up from my bench and went over and gave the lad some not so gentle instructions on range safety.

    Avoiding shots that might richochet is part of being a mature shooter.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Cast bullets can and do richochet. I have recovered some cast bullets that richocheted into our berm and in most all cases the bullets were deformed enough that their range would be limited. I would guess that from the shape of the recovered projectiles they would carry maybe 300 yards and be lethal inside 150. an undeformed bullet or a jacketed slug wil still be lethal at over 1 mile. I cover a case one time where a 308 150 gr bullet went through a coyote and came off hard packed snow to go through a car window 1 mile away and went through a mans face from side to side.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master nelsonted1's Avatar
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    KSCO made me swallow a couple times with this: "...I cover a case one time where a 308 150 gr bullet went through a coyote and came off hard packed snow to go through a car window 1 mile away and went through a mans face from side to side."

    I grew up on a farm in MN. We shot blackbirds with .22 rifles in the huge cattail swamp in the middle of the farm every year. We were always careful about the water in the middle being a ricochet hazard. Two years ago I sent a .22 round into the swamp and noticed a puff on the freshly tilled hillside two hundred yards beyond the swamp. I shot a second round and got another puff of dirt. A neighbor walks his dogs along the field road above that hillside and those rounds would have bounced over his head or into them! Think about that one for a second.
    Last edited by nelsonted1; 11-28-2006 at 04:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Yeah, it's a problem, and yeah, fragile varmint bullets at high velocity are the best safeguard. Past that, it's a function of weight and terminal velocity. I feel pretty safe shooting my .25-20 in any reasonable situation. It's going to shed velocity and destabilize if I do get a ricochet. I'd be a lot more worried about a .44 at the same velocity, but four times the weight, and flat terrified about a .45-70 at seven times the weight.
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  10. #10
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    I agree with all the above posts and would add that, under the right conditions, even a 75 gr. Sierra .243 HP at a mv of 3500 fps will ricochet. Be careful out there.
    Eagles have talons, buzzards don't. The Second Amendment empowers us to be eagles. curmudgeon

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    It is up to the hunter to make sure there is a safe backstop for the bullet. If there is no safe backstop then don't make the shot or use something a little bit safer like a shotgun.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by doc25 View Post
    It is up to the hunter to make sure there is a safe backstop for the bullet. If there is no safe backstop then don't make the shot or use something a little bit safer like a shotgun.
    One of the worst richochet prone rounds ever invented was the 12 gauge foster slug.....I have seen them end up 300+ yards away and at a 45 degree angle from their starting position...If you can find a huge dry tilled field away from anything and everyone you can see it for yourself...slug gun laws are just as ignorant as the lawyers that suggest them...it always has and always will come down to the nut behind the gun...not which caliber he is currently in posession of..

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I witnessed a 45 cal round ball from a M/L fired into a hillside come back 180 and take the spotlight of the Chief's cruiser. The ball hit a slanting rock and came almost straight back. The Officer doing the shooting had to buy a new spotlight from his own pocket! We were pissed he missed the chief.

  14. #14
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    Over the years, I remember one of the neighbor kids shooting his brother, with a ricochet off of a pond. Another instance, was oneof my freinds on the Sherrifs department. Shot a steel jacketed bullet at a steel target. Dumb idea. Part of the jacket came back, and went about a quarter inch into his belly. We enjoyed removing it for him. And, the X was shooting her .38 special, and had one come back and hit her in the boob. I've seen too many hardballs come back off of my targets, and don't allow thier use on my range anymore.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I do a bit off feral control at a mates dairy and use 100grn cast lee pistol bullets that I hollow point in a jig I made up.Thats the only way to lesson the problem as the bullets are short and don't seem to carry as far as rifle ones, but I still have to be careful. It's painful having to give up an easy kill but the thought of hitting someone or something is'nt worth thinking about. PAT

  16. #16
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    I took a hit from a jacket bounceback off of a steel plate from a 300 maggie my bud was shooting. Target was 75 yards out. If I hadn't been wearing a thick coat it would've broken my arm. bruised up nice though.
    another caliber really prone to ricochet is the 17hmr. we shoot lots of prairie dogs with one belonging to a friend of mine, and it skips quite frequently. The caliber I've found least prone to skip is the 17 remington. 20 grain bullets at over 4000fps just disintegrate upon contact with anything.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    hell we have alot of fun on the range by doing just that. I have a bunch of steal silouettes set at my range and we bounce bullets off the ground and hit them. you can do it pretty consistantly once you find the right spot.
    sixgun junky

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Ricochet's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Re bouncebacks, I recall reading circa 1970 a letter in the American Rifleman from a fellow who fired a .270 130 grain Silvertip at a piece of railroad rail. When he fired he felt something funny in his eye. A piece of jacket about the size of the end of a cigarette bounced back and entered his eye. He lost the eye.
    "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 357maximum View Post
    One of the worst richochet prone rounds ever invented was the 12 gauge foster slug.....I have seen them end up 300+ yards away and at a 45 degree angle from their starting position...If you can find a huge dry tilled field away from anything and everyone you can see it for yourself...slug gun laws are just as ignorant as the lawyers that suggest them...it always has and always will come down to the nut behind the gun...not which caliber he is currently in posession of..
    Sorry by shotgun I meant with shot, not slug. I should have specified. It's quite incredible how close you can be to shot, get hit and not get hurt. Just happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

  20. #20
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    The angle at which the bullet impacts can have a big effect on its tendency to ricochet. Generally, the shallower the angle, the greater the likelihood of a ricochet. If you're coyote hunting from a sitting or prone position at ground level, you're probably going to have a lot of ricochets, unless you're using the previously mentioned fast, lightweight bullets that are designed for violent expansion or disintegration on impact while varmint hunting.

    Your best bet is to change the angle at which the bullet is likely to hit the ground. The more nearly perpendicular the bullet's line of flight is to the object it hits, the less the chance of ricochet. This is one of the reasons elevated stands are popular for deer hunting in flat parts of the country, such as Texas. If it's practical for you, build an elevated stand so you're shooting down toward the ground, rather than across the ground. This won't prevent all ricochets, but it will certainly reduce the possibility.

    Regards,

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