What happens after impact?

Oct 21, 2002
My question is what happens to a matchking after it impacts the ground? Suppose Im shooting into a flat hay field either into a groundhog then impacting the ground or just plain hitting the ground.
Does the bullet stop upon impact with the ground or does it richocet and continue on its merry way.
I assume that if the bullet expands, its ballistic coefficient would approach zero.
My house overlooks a 100 acre river bottom with houses on the other side of the river about 1300 yards away with trees on both sides of the river.
What does B.C. have to do with expansion? Expansion is the direct result of terminal velocity.
I live above one too and have a nice range to shoot at just below my place, but it's not in the direction of anyones house or way of travel. It has a bank behind it with only one access point that's in view. The river cuts anyone off from approaching to my left and it also sweeps around behind the bank so none can aproach but off to my right. There is usually a considerable depth of water just off the bank where a channel comes off the main river next to the woods the trail comes out of. Nobody usually crosses it on my side of the river because there is really nothing out there but sand bar for about 3000 yards down river and about 500 yards wide. Some people go out and shoot trap, but very seldom. It is a perfect range... nobody around and all to myself.
Only one house in view or I'd be able to shoot either direction. A guy has a big dome house on a hill at my 6 when I'm shooting up river. The wind is predominatly in my face coming down the valley. On the far other side of the river bar which is about a mile wide and has several channels to it is the biggest most popular playground around here for four-wheelers, motorcycles, hunting and you name it recreation around the whole Anchorage, Palmer and Wasilla area. The other side has alot of traffic anymore so one has to be very carefull of people, especially on weekends. Weekends are just not the time to shoot LR over on that side. It's mostly sand but all flat ground and we live like I said just up on the mountain and doughheads shoot our direction thinking we're all safe and too far away. The lady down the street had a bullet come through the window last year, she was about 4 feet away from where it went through the kitchen cabinet.

Be safe and just use some common sense about the direction and potential ricochets and you'll be alright. The ricochets will travel waaaay farther than most people even think. Thank God it's just sand here not big rock and gravel or the risk would be alot greater.
Trade you spots - we have to drive 45 minutes to any safe LR shooting spots. One interesting observation, sand is not nearly as good a bullet stopper as we would expect. One time I shot some tracers into a sandpit, I was about 25 feet below ground level, slope of the sand backstop was about15-20 degrees from vertical and every one of those **** bullets left the pit. Nothing in the area re houses but I was amazed that they took off like that. This was ball ammo, not as frangible as Matchkings.
I have since heard that sand is not rated as highly as some aggragates for stopping bullets. Apparently there are military studies on suitable backstop material, have never seen any but have been told that they exist.
I wouldn't shoot any bullet in a direction where I could see any buildings, even way out on the horizon. Just isn't worth the chance.

We are freezing our gonies these days, too **** cold to shoot so don't have to worry about bullets bouncing anywhere.
Your right about that sand, no different than water. If your shooting into a bank of it it's a different story though. Ricochets are a little more predictable than big rock beds though. It never ceases to amaze me how many people stop to shoot at rocks just several yards from them??? I can't duck fast enough!!

Off subject a little but, we were out at about 500 yards shooting last year and we were waiting for some passer byers to drive down the river bar past our target that was against the sand bank on the other side of the river. They stopped in front of our target, pulled out the shotgun and blasted our target, frame and everything down right in front of us!! They never thought to look at the direction someone might obviously be shooting from, until after the deed...then thay hauled ***! We figured self defence of our target would be a stretch in court so we let em go.

Another reason I like my side of the bar.
The river don't freeze up in the winter so they all stay over there too.

45 minutes to the LR spot? Wow that's terrible, I feel for ya man, really. I keep dreamin of a range "right" out my back door though. I'm close enough for now I guess. Someday though....

About 15 degrees here now, just been a warm winter so far. 40 a couple days ago and suppose to be up to 30 by the weekend too. When it gets down tward zero it's pretty rough for any extended period shooting. My dad hates it down past 30.
I got him out at 20 yesterday... he wouldn't go back today though.
Nighthawk, born and raised here so I don't have much to base it on really. A friend from Texas is always complaining of the high prices and threatens to go back every day. My experience is people either love it here or hate it... no in betweens.

Gas is 1.65 a gal and during season moose meat is free... when you get em.
Interesting question that most people do not think of or do not know the answer.

Bullets will richocet in a 360 degree pattern. Yes I said 360. I have seen 308 bullets come back across a firing line and hit a warehouse 300m behind the firing line. The nearest target downrange was 200m. So that means they did a 500m 360 and still penetrated a steel wall warehouse. By the way, soil was rock free ( at least none showing) and mild sand and dirt mixture.

Army has done some high dollar radar tests and discovered that they were getting much more lateral richocets than originally thought. All new army and usmc ranges now have trapezoid bat wing safety zones way out to the sides now to accomodate these lateral richocets which in a 308 is about 1500m more lateraly than before. Total dispersion angle is about 75 degrees left and right from original line of fire.

Distance X (max distance of richocet off earth target going downrange) is 5288 meters (over 3 miles) for a 308. A 50 cal is 6500 meters or amost 4 miles. Vertical hazard is 752 meters up for a 308 richocet.

About 10 years ago near Charlotte NC, two guys shooting SKS's, (7.62x 39) shooting into a bank had a round go back over their head and kill a young girl about 1/2 mile away. They got prosecuted for manslaughter and convicted.

Just something to think about before you let one go downrange.
Travis, when it comes to bullets, anything that can happen will. Be extremely careful about what is downrange of your bullets. If a bullet simply skips and not change much in shape, it could travel a couple of miles.

An unfortunate hunting accident happened in the prairies where a hunter missed a deer. The bullet continued over the horizon and killed another hunter walking the other way.

IanM if you are really interested, our government does have data for establishing a range and has data for different surfaces, backstops, and cartridges.

Should be available from your area CFO. Ask anyone who has had to recertify their rifle range in the last three years. One of the highlights of my shooting career.

Our weather here is perfect for shooting. A little snow, just above zero, and wonderfully calm air. Too bad job, wife and life stand in the way.

When I was a kid I was using the base of an oak tree for a target backstop for my .22. Within the first couple of rounds fired one came back and hit me between the eyes. Lucky for me there was only enough energy left to slightly break the skin. It scared the crap out of me. I don't shoot at trees anymore. The point is, bullets can go where you least expect them to go.

[ 01-23-2003: Message edited by: Mike ]
Mike, thats the exact same thing that happened to me. When I was about 12 we were shooting at an old rotten tree about 10yds away. One of those solid .22LR bullets came back and hit me square between the eyes. Droped me to my knees and gave me a battle scar
for a few days. Never agian.
Mike, Charles
Maybe we should start a LR Hunting sub-group for survivors of being shot between the eyes!

I got cranked pretty good a couple of years ago by shrapnel that blew out of a flintlock, right between the horns and it caused a permanent scar and discoloration. I was taking pictures of a fellow firing the **** thing, got too close and got my bells wrung. Still don't understand how it got me because I had a flash on that big Nikon, which would have partially covered my forehead, but it hurt like hell and bled for a few minutes. Never scratched the lens so that was OK...

A friend got hit in the leg by a heavy muzzleloader bullet that bounced back from a commercial steel swinging target during a show & tell at a conference. Target system was setup properly but somehow the bullet came back and nailed his thigh. Just a bruise and slight cut on the skin but could have done nasty damage to his nads or an eye.

We shoot at a spot with 6-7 miles of dead area. A big rocky flat and it is amazing where some of the bullets make dust traces. Just about all of our shooting is with .30 match bullets, they do not bust up like you might expect them to.

Have never seen any evidence of a bullet coming back toward us but this is very interesting to learn that could be a possibility. Bothers the hell out of me when you hear one do that long whining sound. Fortunately we don't get ricochets since we never miss our steel targets
I've never heard a ricochet with my 22-250 but I am shooting BST's and they seem to be pretty fragile. I used to hear them with 22LR and 22WMR on a fairly regular basis.

The only BST that I've heard go where it wasn't intended was when my friend was shooting at a prarrie dog from the back of the farmers truck. He couldn't focus on the radio antenea 2 feet in fron of the muzzle. Me and 3 others were nearly a half a mile away and heard it go over our heads. 5 out of 6 of us got a real good laugh out of it, including the farmer who owned the truck.