My brother in law and I disagree about what the ricochet potential is for a .22 long rifle. I was shooting a target at 50 yds. and there was a trac hoe working about 150 yds. away at a 90 angle from the direction I was shooting. So, if you look through the scope at the target, and you take your eye away from the scope and look directly to the left 90 degrees you could see the trac hoe. Was this dangerous? I wouldn't have been shooting if I thought that it was.
What was the target you where shooting at? What was behind the target? Anything can happen, but I doubt there was any danger. Sounds like if you where trying to get a 22 lr go 50 yards straight, then bounce and turn 90 degrees and hit something 150 yards away, you would have a better chance of winning the lottery.
I think the peace of mind issue is just as important here.
Was your brother-in-law on said track-hoe? If he was and he asked you not to do it - DONT! :1t
If you are asking about preventing property damage, I probably wouldn't worry about it.
Think about it - at the range - does CEASE FIRE - mean only within 25 yards or whatever? No, the whole range (or at least that portion not totally secluded from all others) comes to a halt for safety while targets are checked/switched/reset/etc.
At the range we shot at in college there was a rifle range separated by berms from a general pistol range separated by berms from a competition/police qualification pistol range. Cease fires only affected that particular range unless an injury or something else pretty serious had happened.
At the range I use now, the ranges aren't physically separated by barriers like berms, just distance, and we don't close the rifle range when they shoot trap (unless it is a big event like a telegraphic where all four trap houses are in use). But everyone knows the unwritten rule that you don't shoot trap with someone using the near pistol range and you don't start using the near pistol range if folks are shooting trap. And if the silouhette shooters are out, cease fire includes the silouhette range AND the rifle range - for safety's sake.
The flight of the bullet would have been something over 200 yards for it to have hit anyone or anything near the track hoe. With the energy expended going the first 50 yards, hitting whatever would cause the ricochet (more lost energy), then going more than another 150 yards (MORE energy loss), I don't think that the bullet would still be airborn... I could be wrong here, but not by much! That bullet would have to be comming back at about a 75 degree angle to go near that hoe. IMO
I tend to use my instincts on such matters. If it doesn't FEEL right, if any doubt whatsoever, cease fire. Odds are you were OK, but you're responsible for EVERY bullet you fire. Why take any chances IMO. I keep 3FT 2x6 board in the bed of my pickup for just such occasions to use as a backstop.
I did stop once my bro in law voiced his un easiness with it, but am positive that it was safe. There was nothing but open field behind the target and the bullets were hitting the dirt around 10 yards behind the target. All of the impacts are clearly stripes in the grass heading farther down range. I just wanted more feed back.
But you didn't mention what kind of targets you were shooting at, or what king of backstop (if any). Apparently you had no backstop. Plowed farmland, rocky soil? could make a difference.
I don't think you can ever be completely safe from richochets outside of very controlled conditions.
I used to shoot at a large abandoned mine field near Pitcher Okla. It was THE place that everyone in the region shot at. Lots of wide open space.
It was a fairly regular occurance that the news would report someone who lived in the area being hit, or thier property hit. by a spent bullet.
I also recall an incident I heard about (I believe) in Indiana. A man at a 4th of July celebration was hit/killed by a bullet from nowhere. No shot was heard. Somehow police tracked the 44 Mag slug to a guy who lived nearby who was shooting at a barrel that day. No malice whatsoever. An accident. But he was charged w/manslaughter. (Didn't help that he was a parolee).
Personally, I prefer a backstop of some type. Where I currently shoot is a shale pit. Richochets are common from the rocky ground, even tho I do not shoot at large rocks that I can see. Nearly anything can cause a richochet or deflected bullet. I heard bullets whine off an aluminum can.
All anyone can say is that safety is your call. If you feel good about it, fire away and best of luck.
If you use good commn sense a bad occurance will probably be "bad luck". It happens unfortunantly.
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