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50 CALIBER, 2,000 YARD RICOCHET


red750
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This guy is shooting a Barrett M82A1 50 caliber sniper rifle – a Green Beret staple. Watch the dust when he fires.

 

The target is a steel plate 1,000 yards away (0.57 miles or 10 football fields away). You can hear the ping of the hit on the target and then listen carefully for the bullet coming back. It hits the ground just in front of him (look at the dust cloud at 2 seconds from trigger pull).

 

The 50 caliber bullet then bounces up and hits his ear protection muffs, knocking them off of his head.   The footage is amazing. If you haven't heard the sound of a bullet ricochet before, you will hear this one.

 

Consider the probability of the bullet hitting the ground in exactly the right place to bounce up at the correct trajectory angle to hit his ear protection. Fortunately, the angle of the plate he was shooting at, changed the return trajectory of the bullet by “6 inches to the left" - a distance of more than 2,000 yards worth of total travel.

 

If the deviation of the returning bullet was anything less, it would have been a 2,000 yard round trip “one-hop-head-shot,” instead of an earmuff clip.

 

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It's quite likely he's cast his own bullets and made them too soft. Too much lead and not enough tin. It's soft bullets that bounce back intact. At that velocity, a harder bullet would shatter into several smaller fragments. That's what's supposed to happen when shooting steel. He's stuffed up. It's a bounce back, not a ricochet.

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As an edit to the above post, the video is not only an example of the danger of firearms, but also and example of how stupid some firearm operators are. As stated above, it shouldn't have happened if it was done right. Just lucky the dill didn't lose an ear or an eye. It's momentum that brought the bullet back that far. Mass times velocity. The velocity is provided by the strength of the charge plus barrel length and rifling. The mass, on hitting the steel target, is supposed to shatter into several smaller masses that rapidly lose velocity and don't bounce back far. That's the correct way that intelligent shooters do it. Adjust the tin/lead ratio in the projectile to the correct ratio for the job and problem solved. Or alternatively, don't buy bullets that are not suitable for the job. Apologies for the rant, but it's the clowns among them that give all shooters a bad name.

Edited by willedoo
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A fair bit of BS in the story doing the rounds - which came from Reddit - a dubious source at the best of times.

 

1. The shooter wasn't shooting over 1000 yds. Take a closer look, a 1000 yds is 914 metres - nearly a kilometre.

 

Do you really think that target is a kilometre away? If you do, I've got some waterfront canal property in Tennant Creek for you, real cheap.

 

2. The firearm isn't a Barrett M82A1, it's an Armalite AR-30. The shooter was South African and using SA Military surplus ammo.

 

3. The shooter was shooting at a piece of 1/4" plate about 150 yds away. The whole exercise was about as amateurish as you could get. 

 

4. There's no way a .50 cal bullet would richochet over a km, and still have enough energy to wallop the shooter the way it did.

 

The bloke below does a video on the whole thing, and straightens the story right out, and provide links to the original, true story.

 

All in all, I must agree, a prime piece of shooting idiocy. But big firearms and idiot amateur shooters seem to go hand-in-hand.

 

 

 

 

Edited by onetrack
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The distance didn't seem right to me. Approximately 2 seconds from shot to hitting the earmuff. At 1,000 yards at 3,000 fps it would get there in one second but take a lot longer to come back. And as you say, a 50 cal intact would not have the velocity to come back that far. At some stage it would drop to the ground.

 

You hear one of them say "That's the last one of them we're doing". That sounds like they've been experimenting with loads and projectiles without really knowing their stuff. onetrack, if what you say above is verified about the 150 yards, that narrows the equation down. The bullet got there in one second which is 450fps in that case. Even with an adequately hard bullet, that would bounce back intact. You need 600fps and above to have enough velocity to shatter an average bullet with steel targets. The thickness of the plate and whether or not it's bisalloy is not the important issue; the minimum velocity is. So if all above corrections to the story are true, it could only be underloading causing a bounce back.

 

That's the first mistake. The other is possibly not setting the target angle right. Steel targets need to be set with the top leaning forward. When set right, after several rounds there will be a cut line in the ground very close to the target where the bullet fragments drop. A good set will mark the ground about a foot in front of the target. If it's cutting a line 3 or 4 feet or more in front of the target, normal procedure is to close the range and adjust the target with more forward lean until it's right. That's critical with short range steel targets and even a good idea at distances like 150 meters to minimise risk of a bounce back. If that was a regulated range, they would be pulled up by an RO after a couple of shots and made to do a chronograph test if one was available. If no chronograph available, an experienced RO would tell them to pack up and go home. That's in a perfect world.

 

The other problem with underloading, and I'd say more so with rifle calibres than pistol calibers, is that if you go too low, the case tipped on it's side in the firing position doesn't get adequate powder coverage of the primer. That can cause a flash over the top of the powder and a back burn playing havoc with pressures and the risk of the wrong sort of bang. Having said that, rifles in that situation have more strength to handle a case blowing up. It's a big issue with revolvers with the risk of cylinders being blown apart from very low loads. Particularly with the cheaper, less strong Italian brands in the larger calibres. A .44 or .45 cylinder doesn't have much meat between the holes, so quality of steel is important. .38's generally have the same cylinder outer diameter, but the smaller holes means more steel between them. There's a lot more to it than what those blokes in the video have thought about.

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Basically, the chance of a richochet hitting someone goes down rapidly as the distance increases. That's why the cops and TRG shooters are wary of firing over short distances, and confined areas.

 

And the richochet the bloke copped would have to be just a fragment of the projectile. If the bloke had copped a full .50 cal projectile, even on the rebound, he would've had a hole in a straight line through his head.

 

.50 cals are a terrifying weapon. They're designed for penetrating light armour, and disabling light artillery pieces and enemy vehicles by penetrating engine blocks and heavy metal components, and are most commonly used as aircraft weaponry.

 

Using them on human targets is classic overkill, typical of the American approach. I might be one of the few here who have personal experience of .50 cal damage in war zone use - our M113's were fitted with .50 cal BMG's.

 

I've seen the result of our Cavalry using their .50 cal BMG on a group of VC in an ambush. They cut the VC into little pieces and had to shovel them up into body bags.

 

I have no idea why they used the .50 cal BMG on them, perhaps they were coming under massive fire from a Viet Cong heavy weapon, but it was rare for the VC to carry heavy weapons. 

 

The heaviest weapon they normally carried was the K-50 SMG, which used 7.62mm cartridges. But the most feared armament the Cav blokes worried about was the RPG, which the VC regularly carried - and which weapon took out quite a number of our M113's.

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onetrack, it's hard to guess the full story behind it all. I freeze framed what is supposed to be the shooters original post on the event and they say it's an AR-50, not an AR-30 as you posted above. That explains a lot more. I couldn't see a .30 coming back like that, but .50 is a much bigger lump, albeit at 750grains only a bit over 3 times the size of a .45acp or similar.  There could also be a bit of BS in their post. I still think their comments about being the last one of them we're doing pointing to experimental loads. Interesting that they made the comment that it was a freak accident. It's a bit like saying someone purposely steering their car into a power pole is a freak accident.

 

I guess .50 would explain why the plate sounded much thicker than the 1/4" stated. The size of it would deaden the ring somewhat. But that also depends on how the plate is mounted. I tried to calculate those times regarding velocity, but as one who averaged 20% in maths at school, it made my brain hurt. The author of the critique video probably made a good point about video frame rate coming into the equation as well.

Edited by willedoo
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