Field shooting in hot, dry weather

P7M13

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I am not a metalurgist, however, I have been shooting in the Arizona deserts since '68. Never ever have I seen a fire started by a ricochet of a non-military round. EVER. Reason, you can't start a fire without a spark. Steel core ammo was not widely available back then. Lead does not spark, nor does copper. The round is not hot enough long enough to support combustion. Ask mid-westerners who use bails of hay as back drop if they catch fire. It never hurts to be extra cautious, however, don't over due the fear of a fire from a copper/lead round.
Lots of research has been done on this, and grass can ignite in a few seconds at ~900°F, meaning, you don't need a spark.
I think unignited powder out of the barrel is the greater possibility.

That couple using tracer ammo are poster children for stupidity.
 

del2les

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Sorry guys, but cup-n-core and solid copper bullets CAN and HAVE started fires in very dry conditions. Many years ago, I watched the dry grass in front of my steel target begin to burn, so I did a little research, and discovered the bullet impact temps against hardened steel like AR500 could reach temps high enough to melt lead and were well above the ignition temps of summer dry, low humidity grass.

There are numerous reports of fires being started by shooting, and even the striking of a rock can cause temps to ignite very dry grasses.
 

epags

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When I first moved to AZ I could shoot year round in the Natl Forest. Some years ago they suddenly started to prohibit shooting. I contacted someone from Tonto Natl Forest. I pointed out that industrial workers performing maintenance in high combustion areas had to use spark-less tools composed of copper and brass. After a few exchanges, I was given this document:


If you read it, you will see they started fires using lead/copper bullets. It is the heat of the bullet disintegrating that starts fires, not sparks.

Two years ago I was shooting in the desert about a mile from a popular spot - I could hear shooting going on, and then suddenly saw flames and smoke. Burned about 200 acres from my guess.
You beat me to it. I was going to post the same reference.
 

LVJ76

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Two years ago we had the High Power Silhouette range closed due to a fire at the Ram silhouettes (500m). Was ignited by a guy shooting ELD-M bullets out for his 6.5 CM.

We had to wait for the fire department to show up. Luckily it was a small brush fire and nothing big.

Hey, don't let those CM guys start thinking their rifles also shoot fire now. 😂
 
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chindits

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I know a few beetle kill areas I’d like you to train in during our drought. The trees are really starting to fall from where the trunks are rotting at stump level. Could of really used a fire in there 8-10 years ago but I’ll gladly take it now.
 

73driver

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When I first moved to AZ I could shoot year round in the Natl Forest. Some years ago they suddenly started to prohibit shooting. I contacted someone from Tonto Natl Forest. I pointed out that industrial workers performing maintenance in high combustion areas had to use spark-less tools composed of copper and brass. After a few exchanges, I was given this document:


If you read it, you will see they started fires using lead/copper bullets. It is the heat of the bullet disintegrating that starts fires, not sparks.

Two years ago I was shooting in the desert about a mile from a popular spot - I could hear shooting going on, and then suddenly saw flames and smoke. Burned about 200 acres from my guess.
In the study the only copper jacketed lead bullet to start a fire was a Nosler Partition. Standard cup and core lead bullets are not much of a fire danger. The shock of the metal going from 3000-2500 fps to a complete stop when impacting a rock or steel plate turns a solid into super heated molten slag. The reason that copper solids are the worst is because the ductile nature of copper and its higher melting point. When copper transitions from a solid to molten slag it first has a higher temperature than the lead and the copper solids throw of bigger chunks of heated slag. The cup and core lead bullets splatter into smaller pieces and the pieces of a shattered lead bullet are smaller and cooler than a copper solid. The small pieces of the copper jacket that splatter off a cup and core bullet impact are so small they cool off faster than the copper clumps that come off a solid or a partition. Also keep in mind that the tougher thicker copper jackets on some bullets are not what I would consider a standard cup and core bullet. I would expect a premium thicker copper jacketed bullet to be an equal fire danger as a Partition.
 

LRNut

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In the study the only copper jacketed lead bullet to start a fire was a Nosler Partition. Standard cup and core lead bullets are not much of a fire danger. The shock of the metal going from 3000-2500 fps to a complete stop when impacting a rock or steel plate turns a solid into super heated molten slag. The reason that copper solids are the worst is because the ductile nature of copper and its higher melting point. When copper transitions from a solid to molten slag it first has a higher temperature than the lead and the copper solids throw of bigger chunks of heated slag. The cup and core lead bullets splatter into smaller pieces and the pieces of a shattered lead bullet are smaller and cooler than a copper solid. The small pieces of the copper jacket that splatter off a cup and core bullet impact are so small they cool off faster than the copper clumps that come off a solid or a partition. Also keep in mind that the tougher thicker copper jackets on some bullets are not what I would consider a standard cup and core bullet. I would expect a premium thicker copper jacketed bullet to be an equal fire danger as a Partition.
Very good point 73driver; reminds me that when we first moved into our CO place Ms LRNut sent back her kettle to boil water because it would not shut off when she hit "start" and "212." The second one did the same thing, and then I said, "Look, you have a master's in Chem E - you should have realized both kettles were working fine - the problem is they never reach 212 degrees before they boil because we are at 8750 feet!"
 

skipglo

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You can be mindful of where you shoot too. If you decide to use a steel target you can place it on a granite slope etc with no grass around it. I still train in the mountains but I just try and pick areas with lowest possible potential for fire. No grass, no heavy brush etc.
Exactly!
 

skipglo

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Although I have never personally witnessed it I do know there have been fires reported to have been started by shooting.

I'm hesitant to go into the mountains to train right now.
I'm feeling a bit behind on my wind calling

Thoughts? Experiences? Concerns?
Just don't shoot APITs!
 

26Reload

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Was bow hunting deer in eastern oregon long time ago....waiting in ambush for the muley bucks to head to alfalfa....well at dusk a rabbit tempted me to shoot at him..about 10 yards away....arrow passed thru the rabbit and that broached hit rocks on the other side and there were sparks EVERYWHERE.....
My eyes bunged out of sockets just thinking what could have happened.....and when I looked back up the trail..there were the three bucks.....ha.....i didn't dare shoot an arrow.....
And I've seen sparks from my 142lrabs in early morning rockpit shooting......
 

Alex Wheeler

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I went out hiking around last weekend looking for new elk spots and I brought my rifle with the purpose of taking a few shots in field. It was so dry up there I did not want to chance it. Yes bullets are hot and can cause a spark off a hard surface. Been breathing smoke now for over 2 weeks. Not worth it. Heres what SW Mt. looks like in fire season....
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