View Poll Results: Do you think 22lr ricochets are very dangerous indeed?

39. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, I'm scared to use it due to ricochets.

    10 25.64%
  • No, I don't think they pose that much of a risk

    29 74.36%
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Thread: .22lr ricochet, how dangerous?

  1. #1

    Question .22lr ricochet, how dangerous?

    Probably been done to death:

    We all know that .22 subs love to ricochet and bounce and yet we all still seem to use them, it's the most used cartridge out there.

    My question is though, how dangerous are these ricochets?
    Some people are scared stiff by the zinging sound (me included) but others seem to thing that any ricocheting bullet will be losing velocity very quickly in it's deformed shape and that's what causes the sound. Being a scientist I can see their point of view but they still give me the heeby jeebies!

    What are everyones thoughts on how dangerous they are?
    Have any conclusive tests been done on them by somehow catching maybe with water and studying the deformed zingers? (yes that sounds stupid but anything is poss).

    A very how long is a piece of string post but ground that you think is wet and soft still seems to be able to make them ping off. Just intrigued to hear everyones point of view.

  2. #2
    The ones you hear whining off are badly deformed and take wildly changing trajectories, lose energy very fast, It is the one that scoots away off wet grass that is the one to worry about, no whine but you probably saw a speedboat like trail in the wet grass or crop! ...
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by finnbear270 View Post
    The ones you hear whining off are badly deformed and take wildly changing trajectories, lose energy very fast, It is the one that scoots away off wet grass that is the one to worry about, no whine but you probably saw a speedboat like trail in the wet grass or crop! ...
    Don't think I've ever had one of them... Or maybe I should now be really worried! I suppose if there's a decent backstop as there always should be then it doesn't matter too much?!

  4. #4
    It would obviously depend on how far the initial strike is from the muzzle hence the bullet's retained velocity, what it ricochets off and how much energy is lost in so doing, and how distorted the shape is after the strike and its resulting drag.

    Off the top, I'd reckon it's still very dangerous for a moderate distance, but how to quantify that? People have been arguing about the possible lethality of undamaged 22LR bullets at whatever ranges for as long as I've been a rifle shooter. The military in their weapons planning and design reckon around 90 ft/lb terminal energy is the floor for inflicting serious injury / possible death on an 'unprotected' adult human.

    There is a famous case of an incident and subsequent manslaughter through negligence prosecution that took place in this country last century - can't find a link. The shooter fired at a bird or squirrel or something in a tree, missed and the bullet trajectory took it over the summit of a rise or low hill that the shooter had assumed would provide a backstop. At some extreme range, over 1,100 yards, it plunged into the eye socket of a man who was picknicking with his family on the reverse slopes and he'd lain down face up to sunbathe. By very bad luck, the bullet trajectory took it straight through an eye into the brain. Expert ballistic forensic evidence in the trial said it terminal energy was only 10 or 11 ft/lb, but hit in the wrong place and you can still do major harm. (That's also borne out by the occasional fatal accidental shootings of children playing with 12 ft/lb ME air rifles.)
    Last edited by Laurie; 06-04-2016 at 15:02.

  5. #5
    I most certainly am not as your poll suggests scared to use it but do appreciate its inherent dangers I have often heard it said oh it's only a little .22 cal that is I think a very dangerous statement it deserves the same respect that all calibres do ie safe backstop at all times and when and if you have any doubt whatsoever do not take the shot.

  6. #6
    I agree, I have also heard my shots ricochet through the woods whilst squirrel shooting long ago, and 'very' disconcerting it is, I may say. On a sober thought I did experience a spent .22 bullet hitting my wellington boot as I stood near the base of an oak,while looking up at a dray we were dealing with. It was very slight impact so the energy in this case was all most all spent but it was still some thing to consider with the .22 As to harmless I think a full bore is in some ways safer ?

  7. #7
    Some years ago I shot a rabbit by a lake and the bullet went off into the distance with the typical whine. I was surprised to see it splash into the water about 70 yards away. I suspect there are huge variables involved such as angle of strike on the ground, what the surface is composed off etc. I don't think I would want to be hit by one in any case.

  8. #8
    Even if it does lose energy, a ricochet can still be very!! Dangerous. It does not put me off but does make me wary, I have a friend who has lost an eye from a shotgun pellet ricocheting off a branch. So it's not all about energy it is also about where/what it can hit.


  9. #9
    Thanks for everyones replies. The bit I struggle with is not knowing whether it's going to bounce or not - Obviously certain factors increase the risk, water, hard clay ground, flint, other stones etc. Obviously a good safe back stop is imperative but do any of you have any other tips to aid decision making?

  10. #10
    There are times of the year when the ground is dry and hard when the .22 stays in the cabinet untill the ground has softened up. I tend to shoot mainly of sticks or from an elevated position so as to minimise the risk regardless of the time of year.

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