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Turo
07-26-2010, 2:01 PM
Let me preface this by saying, "Skipping bullets off water can be dangerous. In fact in most every case it's extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone not in a controlled laboratory setting."

Now that that's out of the way, I'm interested if anyone has any info on this phenomenon. I found some info about how a projectile can ricochet off of water, but it's about a non-spinning projectile.

The equation was for the critical angle at which a non-spinning projectile would ricochet off of water. Incident Angle=18/(D^.5). Where the angle is measured in degrees from the surface of the water, and D is the specific gravity of the projectile (how many times more dense than water it is.)

Now, calculating using a lead bullet, I've figured that the approximate max angle a bullet should ricochet off of water to be about 5.4 degrees. (This is approximate because the bullet may not be 100% pure lead, and of course it has an axial spin imparted onto it by the rifling)

From anecdotal evidence I've heard about skipping .223 and .308 where the shooter would lie prone on the bank of a lake and would aim out about 100 yards and it would be possible to see the splash(es) of it bouncing off the water 300-500 yards out. Of course this was all anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure it can (and does) happen.

Now, obviously this can be extremely dangerous to attempt, but do any of you guys have stories of actually doing this? And I know it may be asking a lot, but are there any approximate distances included that you'd like to share?



And please, I know this is dangerous, I don't need a bunch of yahoos posting how bad it is or how I'm going to jail for talking about it. If you don't have something positive or constructive to add, please keep it to yourself.

EDIT: I know my avatar looks like I'm shooting over water, I'm not. It was a posed photograph with the canal as a purposeful background.

toopercentmlk
07-26-2010, 2:04 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJp86_tj9KQ

mif_slim
07-26-2010, 2:09 PM
have you seen that Untold stories of Seals or whatever? They were practise shooting in their rafts at full speed at night. All the tracers were skipping off the water... Im sure that the unseen bullets will be doing the same..

Turo
07-26-2010, 2:12 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJp86_tj9KQ

You just got me in trouble by the librarian because I laughed too loud!

DougJ
07-26-2010, 2:18 PM
When I was a kid we used to do this with our 22's, and you you see several impacts if you did it right.

And no, it was not the safest thing I ever did...

toopercentmlk
07-26-2010, 2:20 PM
You just got me in trouble by the librarian because I laughed too loud!

:D Half of my best friends are engineers, I am fry.

IEShooter
07-26-2010, 2:24 PM
There's nothing mysterious or inherently dangerous about it. We used to do it all the time as kids with our .22 rifles. The rules are no different than shooting at anything else.

You simply have to know what's downrange and if you don't have a good backstop, don't pull the trigger.

There was a small pond not far from the home I grew up in. It had a high, almost cliff like hill behind it that made a perfect back stop.

We use to set bottles up on the waters edge at the far side of the pond, then skip bullets off the water surface and try to hit the bottles.

Even when you miss (which was 99% of the time), you could still hear and often see your bullet impact the hill. Kinda cool.

Regards,

John

dominic
07-26-2010, 2:28 PM
Imperial Irrigation District does some muskrat control shoots around here every year or so. They are aquatic rodents, for those of you who don't know what a muskrat is.

Anyway they cause a lot of damage by burrowing into the banks and causing erosion, bank collapses, and leaks on the canals. The shooting teams usually use shotguns and do it at night with spotlights, but I saw a couple of them equipped with scoped .17hmr rifles.

When I suggested that maybe these guys shouldn't be using rifles for this because of the ricochet factor I got this: "Nah, the .17 moves so fast that the bullet just disintegrates on impact with water". I thought yeah right, but did'nt pursue the matter.

Turo
07-26-2010, 3:12 PM
When I suggested that maybe these guys shouldn't be using rifles for this because of the ricochet factor I got this: "Nah, the .17 moves so fast that the bullet just disintegrates on impact with water". I thought yeah right, but did'nt pursue the matter.

Interesting, my hunter safety course instructor told me the same thing... Well, he said the .17 would disintegrate through light brush or a heavy rain :rolleyes:.

@IEShooter: I know there's nothing inherently dangerous, I just wanted to make sure that I didn't get all the "you're an idiot for shooting at water" comments if I didn't put big disclaimers up :D.

So, I've got a quarter mile stretch of shootable water, with a suitable backstop and no people for miles. I'm going to do some experiments (aptly supervised and all safety precautions taken) and see if I can't calculate the max incident angle for some .22s. It probably won't be for a few weeks, but I think it'll be fun, and I'll be sure to post up some results if I get any. Maybe even a video showing the skips.:D

dominic
07-26-2010, 3:44 PM
This discussion reminded me of a Mythbusters episode where they shoot into water and pretty much every rifle bullet up to the .50 BMG disintegrated. They were shooting into a pool from the edge trying to do the movie myth where the good guy jumps into water to escape the hail of bullets. Of course the angle was much steeper than the 5 degrees the OP suggests, but still.

Divernhunter
07-26-2010, 7:39 PM
When I was a kid we had a ranch with a creek running thru it. I use to do it quite often with my 22RF. Especially when shooting at a long range. The bullets would sometimes skip several times. It depended on the angle and range. It was a safe area to do it but I would not do it today probably. That was a long time ago and this made me think back to when I was a kid and shot almost every day. Thanks for the good memories.

bohoki
07-27-2010, 12:30 AM
i once bumpfired a few ak magazines into a little stream about a foot deep and then we went down wading and we found a bunch of the bullets squished but not in the way you would expect they look like some one stuck them in a vice sideways

rick o'shey is not just a guy in an irish pub

MP301
07-28-2010, 12:53 AM
Let me preface this by saying, [SIZE="6"]"Skipping bullets off water can be dangerous. .

I cant remember the details and dont have the energy to search for it, but IIRC its not legal (at least in some circumstances) to shoot over bodies of water. Anyone care to chime in on this?

tenpercentfirearms
07-28-2010, 9:31 AM
I use to shoot my rifles into a series of ponds at about a 20 to 40 degree angle. (aka up on a big hill where you could shoot from 200 to 1000 yards away)

Well this was all fun until I decided to shoot up my tracer rounds that I had thought that I had legally acquired from Cheaper than Dirt (ooops, I guess those aren't legal in CA. Thanks to the UCLA PD officer who set me straight).

Every single one of those tracers bounced off the water and out into the wild blue yonder.

Do you think it is possible the tracer somehow skips it off the water where a non-tracer doesn't? The regular bullets sure made a huge geyser of water like they were burying into the mud. But every single tracer bounced and went out where they weren't as accounted for.

That kind of ruined that shooting spot for me knowing that those bullets might be heading out to where I didn't want them to go.

shooting4life
07-28-2010, 9:39 AM
I do this all the time at the pool in our condo complex.