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Thread: Deflection of bullets through undergrowth/other material

  1. #1

    Deflection of bullets through undergrowth/other material

    before I start I write this not as an invitation for the armchair HSE inspectors to chip in their 2p but as a real world report on what happened/can happen when shots pass through material between muzzle and target quarry.

    I was foxing last night, golf course, mainly very open ground, undulating grass with a few copses. I know the area well and was in my usual spot of choice.
    Big dog fox coming in from the right crossing a fairway over to a small copse. I faffed a bit trying to get a bead on him in the open and he was not stopping.

    I squeaked one more time just as he entered the margin of the copse (which is very open and you can see right through to the other side)
    He parked himself broadside quartering away at about 50yds.

    a squeeze, a pop and a thump and he went down like the proverbial sack.

    when I finally went over to retrieve him I noticed that between him and the firing point there was a small section of rusted brown, coarse chicken wire fence standing up. Holes in the mesh approx 1.5-2cm square. totally invisible through the scope.
    The fence was approx 5-7yds away from the fox (closer to the firing point obviously)
    I stood behind him and looked back and there is no way the bullet missed the mesh, it had to have passed through.
    Only since the grass has died back is it now visible

    It may have passed perfectly through a hole but unlikely
    I found no obvious damage to the fence but it could have clipped the wire in numerous places it was so old and dinged.
    Fox has a very small, single entry hole, no exit, POI exactly where I was aiming just behind the shoulder.

    bullet was 50gr .224 Vmax clocking around 3100fps

    Now the Wikipedia school of ballistics will tell you that a blade of grass will deflect your bullet and shatter a ballistic tip as soon as it touches anything.
    This one was not deflected, appeared to shown no "keyholing" or premature deformation at all.

    [Disclaimer: this is not a recommendation to shoot through stuff! nor is it an invitation to educate me on checking flight line or lamping technique!]

  2. #2
    It must have gone through a hole as area of a hole would be much larger than the area covered by a strand of wire.
    I once shot a mouse in my aviary through half-inch wire netting with my target .177 air pistol.
    An unlucky mouse but the only chance I had to get the little rascal.

    HWH.

  3. #3
    I personally think that it just if not more likely to have found a hole in the wire and passed through unafected, no doubt someone will come along and be able to inform us of what the odds of this happening against those it striking the wire are.

    Guns and Ammo magazine ran a series of tests some years ago to simulate the affects of shooting through brush with the view of proving or dispelling the theory of so called brush buster calibres. The conclusions they came to if I remember right is that all bullets to some extent will be deflected by obstacles in their path and that it was only the very large high powered rounds such as .50BMG that weren't affected to any significant degree.

    The degree of deflection had several variables such as bullet weight and velocity, resistance offered by the obstruction and the distance between the obstruction and the target. The final and obvious conclusion was that the shooter should avoid shooting through brush and that there is no real brush buster rifles in spite of what people say though a large slow moving projectile say from a .45-70 will be deflected less than say a light bullet from say a .22-250
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  4. #4
    I should say also that the mesh was at an angle, quartering away from me. This would make the hole even smaller.

  5. #5
    Shot at a buck once that was standing over a fence in forestry. Never saw the single strand of fence wire between me and the aiming point on its neck. It was High tensile wire. The bullet cut through the wire and actually folded back both ends severely. The buck could only have been 10ft from the fence and the bullet never reached it.

    A mate also hit a piece of old fence wire we did not see one night lamping and the bullet broke up so much that the fox looked like it had been shot with a shotgun with all the fragments causing their own wound channels.

  6. #6
    One key factor with deflection is at what point em route to its target the bullet strikes an obstruction.
    If this is soon after the bullet leaves the rifle the amount of deflection will be multiplied further down range
    If it is just prior to hitting its target then there is not as much room for deflection so other than bullet disintegration there is less chance of missing your target.
    Wingy

  7. #7
    We were always taught never to shoot through fences.

    1 you might not kill or worse wound
    2 you might damage the fence
    3 you might deflect the bullet onto a dangerous course

    BUt accidently it might happen

    I remember taking a sure shot at a hind and hitting a rock 6 feet in front of me...lesson learnt
    I once missed another , bullet hit a 1 inch sapling. lesson learnt

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    Shot at a buck once that was standing over a fence in forestry. Never saw the single strand of fence wire between me and the aiming point on its neck. It was High tensile wire. The bullet cut through the wire and actually folded back both ends severely. The buck could only have been 10ft from the fence and the bullet never reached it.

    A mate also hit a piece of old fence wire we did not see one night lamping and the bullet broke up so much that the fox looked like it had been shot with a shotgun with all the fragments causing their own wound channels.
    Wow!
    impressive

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bewsher500 View Post
    Wow!
    impressive
    Estate owner didn't think so!

    Mind, still there 15 years on...

  10. #10
    This does highlight a little about good optics and lamp etc as I would struggle to work out why you couldn't see chicken wire unless we are talking poor NV. I have shot foxes through fences knowingly but only pigwire where you can shoot through the holes, obviously you prefer not to but needs must at times. Going back a while we had an issue with foxes in a hay field and did a bit of zeroing prior just to see what the effect was of a reasonable amount of grass in the way and I have to say with a .223 it wan't noticeable. In the end we did shoot a couple like it with no issues other than trying to see them in long grass.

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