falling handgun bullets are not lethal
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Thread: falling handgun bullets are not lethal

  1. #1

    falling handgun bullets are not lethal

    General Hatcher, back in the 30's, IIRC, had troops put 1" boards over the firing pits of belt fed mg's, and fire straight up. By having a small island in the middel of a lagoon, bullet splashes were used to direct the fire until the fallling slugs hit the boards. the impacts proved tht the bullets fall BASE-FIRST. 173 gr boattails merely DENTED the wood, but 750 gr .50 BMG bullets came THRU the boards, rating them as "still lethal". :-) Since handgun bullets have even MORE resistance to the air, they will be lowed in their fall even worse, and since they are not boattailed, will penetrate even less.

    As long as you don't fire at angles below about 40 degrees from the vertical, you have nothing to worry about, safety wise, from shooting handguns at aerial targets, as long as you know for certain that about a 1/4 mile (in the direction of fire) is under your direct control-observation. Jeff Cooper encouraged the practice of firing at LOW angle claybirds, trapshoooting, with 308 rifle ammo, which is lethal to about 1.5 MILES, dudes. But that's AOK, right? :-)

  2.   
  3. I would prefer not to be hit with any bullet, handgun or otherwise, falling or coming straight at me

  4. #3
    Terminal velocity does not apply to a bullet that isn't fired straight up. A bullet fired at an angle with retain much more velocity and be extremely dangerous.

    Most importantly it is irresponsible, bordering on criminal to give advice like this.

    Is Luke aware of these posts?

    Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 4
    Time to add FireMarshall Bill to the block list.

  5. #4
    Um... falling handgun bullets CAN be lethal. Even my kid would tell you that after watching Mythbusters. They determined, after much experimentation, that straight vertical shots are probably not lethal. It is less likely as terminal velocity is much less than that of the speed of a bullet fired normally, and if you fire it EXACTLY vertical, you'll probably be ok as bullets tumble (NOT fall "base first" - that would make them more dangerous since the tumbling is what slows them down), but it is still dangerous. They determined a 9mm's terminal velocity is 166 ft/second, and that does not cause enough penetration to kill. If it is not exactly vertical, however, it can be faster, and lethal. They actually decided the myth was all results at once... Busted, Plausible, and Confirmed. I won't be taking any chances.

    Also...

    "These projectiles were doubtless fired into the air, probably during a holiday like the Fourth of July. All of the subjects shown were buried to a depth at least equal to their length and some deeper. It is a popular perception that falling bullets are harmless. The truth is simply a matter of physics. The speed of a projectile traveling up into the air will decrease due to gravity until its vertical motion is halted. Gravity continues to work on the projectile starting from its high altitude stopping point accelerating it downward. Since the distance it traveled up will be equal to the distance it will be accelerated down, while falling, the projectile will be accelerated to its terminal velocity which has been found to be approximately 300 feet per second. According to information published in the Los Angeles Times, as many as 118 people were injured by falling bullets between 1985 and 1992 and 38 of the victims died. In information provided by B. N. Matto (Journal of Forensic Sciences, 1984), a .38-caliber revolver bullet will perforate the skin and lodge in the underlying tissue at 191 feet per second and a triple-ought buckshot will do so at 213 feet per second. A .30-caliber bullet will perforate the skin at only 124 feet per second. It is easy to believe that such a bullet falling at 300 feet per second could seriously injure a person, possibly fatally, especially if it struck you in the head."

    Professionals Topics Library

    Now of course, we can't trust a newspaper in LA to be accurate, so the reported deaths are probably off. However...

    "On further investigation, it appears the 60 foot-pound injury threshold cited by Hatcher may be misleading a falling bullet's kinetic energy (foot pounds) alone isn't a good predictor of the speed it needs to inflict a wound. B. N. Mattoo (Journal of Forensic Sciences, 1984) has proposed an equation relating mass and bullet diameter that seems to do a better job. Experiments on cadavers and such have shown, for example, that a .38 caliber revolver bullet will perforate the skin and lodge in the underlying tissue at 191 feet per second and that triple-ought buckshot will do so at 213 feet per second."

    The Straight Dope: Can a bullet fired into the air kill someone when it comes down?

    Don't shoot in the air. There are many more examples where people have been injured or killed when someone does that. I only cited the ones that had the best explanations that were short... not trying to write a book here. If you want more, go google.


    Frankly, I'm still not sure what your post was about, and normally wouldn't respond. But on the off chance someone actually believes you...
    Modern Whig
    "Government is not meant to burden Liberty but rather to secure it." -T.J. O'Hara

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Warbirds View Post
    Terminal velocity does not apply to a bullet that isn't fired straight up. A bullet fired at an angle with retain much more velocity and be extremely dangerous.

    Most importantly it is irresponsible, bordering on criminal to give advice like this.

    Is Luke aware of these posts?

    Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 4
    This is the first one I've seen that actually suggested something flat out dangerous. The rest are just stupid as far as I know.
    Modern Whig
    "Government is not meant to burden Liberty but rather to secure it." -T.J. O'Hara

  7. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by telpinaro View Post
    This is the first one I've seen that actually suggested something flat out dangerous. The rest are just stupid as far as I know.
    Consider this as a possible explanation...

    The further an egomaniac is pushed into irrelevance and obscurity the louder and more shrill are the egomaniacs attempts for attention.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by telpinaro View Post
    This is the first one I've seen that actually suggested something flat out dangerous. The rest are just stupid as far as I know.
    There is also the post where he
    Talks about throwing cans up in the air to shoot.

    Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 4
    Time to add FireMarshall Bill to the block list.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    General Hatcher, back in the 30's, IIRC, had troops put 1" boards over the firing pits of belt fed mg's, and fire straight up. By having a small island in the middel of a lagoon, bullet splashes were used to direct the fire until the fallling slugs hit the boards. the impacts proved tht the bullets fall BASE-FIRST. 173 gr boattails merely DENTED the wood, but 750 gr .50 BMG bullets came THRU the boards, rating them as "still lethal". :-) Since handgun bullets have even MORE resistance to the air, they will be lowed in their fall even worse, and since they are not boattailed, will penetrate even less.

    As long as you don't fire at angles below about 40 degrees from the vertical, you have nothing to worry about, safety wise, from shooting handguns at aerial targets, as long as you know for certain that about a 1/4 mile (in the direction of fire) is under your direct control-observation. Jeff Cooper encouraged the practice of firing at LOW angle claybirds, trapshoooting, with 308 rifle ammo, which is lethal to about 1.5 MILES, dudes. But that's AOK, right? :-)
    Errrr, you go first. Let us know how it works out for you..........
    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." --author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Warbirds View Post
    There is also the post where he
    Talks about throwing cans up in the air to shoot.

    Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 4
    Must have missed that one...

  11. #10
    Are you actually advocating shooting into the air????

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