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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw on the "Ten Commandments" of firearm safety (somewhere on TGZ) that you shouldn't shoot at the surface of water. Why? Is it dangerous? I don't want to test it if it is dangerous.

A friend says that bullets will stop very quickly when hitting water, therefore it is safe to dive under if people are shooting at you. Is that true?
 

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golemB said:
I saw on the "Ten Commandments" of firearm safety (somewhere on TGZ) that you shouldn't shoot at the surface of water. Why? Is it dangerous? I don't want to test it if it is dangerous.

A friend says that bullets will stop very quickly when hitting water, therefore it is safe to dive under if people are shooting at you. Is that true?
  1. Ever skip a stone off the surface of a pond or bay?[/*:1mrs6p3m]
  2. Why would you want to "test it?" Don't have a nearby range with enough targets to shoot at?[/*:1mrs6p3m]
  3. Depends on the angle of entry… the shallower the angle, the more likely the chance of a "skip" (ricochet). You've probably seen a police procedural TV show or movie where the crime lab… CeePee, what'd your guys use?… use a special shielded water tank to recover fired projectile specimens for ballistic comparison. Note that the angle is very steep.[/*:1mrs6p3m]
  4. Unless you have gills, diving beneath the surface "if people are shooting at you" is only a temporary solution. But, yes, if you can get deep enough, the water will significantly reduce the bullet's ability to wound.[/*:1mrs6p3m]
 

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Dean, the most common method of bullet recovery these days is a water tank. There are two types. One is vertical and runs down through the floor. The other type is just a stainless steel tank about 3x6x3 with a tube that sticks out one end at about a 45 degree angle for you to shoot into. The vertical ones are commonly used for rifles.

A bullet that strikes water at a shallow angle is guaranteed to ricochet.
 

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A few years back Tom Burczynski asked me to retrieve the segments from half a dozen 12 ga Quik-Shok slugs. We agreed that shooting gelatin would be too costly so we decided to shoot into water. I had a 55 gallon plastic barrel filled with water that we often used for testing handgun ammunition. I sent one of my staff to handle this. After the first shot he came walking back with shotgun in one hand, slug segments in the other, and dripping from head to toe. After everyone settled down from laughing, we followed him back to the test area to see what was happening. He covered the opening of the drum with a plastic bag, got back on top of the platform, aimed down into the barrel, and fired. The barrel lifted a few inches off the ground and then slammed back. At the same time a water geyser shot back up at the already wet staff member, further soaking him. Six times that was done for the sake of a photo shoot.
 

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Why were you surprised?

Heck I shot some .32 ACPs into a 5 gal bucket standing on the tailgate of a pickup and got soaked.

The real test tanks are designed to handle the splash although it isn't unusual for a little water to get away...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys! I'd love to see those photos.

How far away do you have to be to safely shoot down into these tanks? And how deep does it have to be? For example, if you're two feet under water, could you be confident that a pistol round wouldn't hit you?
 

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golemB said:
Thanks guys! I'd love to see those photos.

How far away do you have to be to safely shoot down into these tanks? And how deep does it have to be? For example, if you're two feet under water, could you be confident that a pistol round wouldn't hit you?
Our plastic drum was getting beaten up pretty bad at the bottom. Bullets that failed to expand were hitting it enough to risk puncturing through. We ended up placing an old kevlar panel (weighed down) at the bottom to protect it. Overkill, but it worked.
 

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Considering that the water weighed about 450 lbs. that sounds reasonable for a 12 ga.

I have seen a pistol fired in a swimming pool bust a chip out of the wall from about 10'.
 

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Believe me I was not in the pool at the time...

Yeah Joe... that would be a serious candidate... I sure wouldn't want to try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Joe Forte said:
golemB, You're not thinking about trying to win the next Darwinian Awards are you?
Haha, no.

Another question, then. What about firing a gun underwater? Would that ever work? My guess is that it would create a nasty shockwave for the person firing the gun and might rupture the chamber. I saw a special five shot underwater gun on HKpro.com but aside from that, would a normal gun work underwater at all?
 

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just hazarding a guess

but from my limited knowledge of ballistics and the way weapons/ammunition works, it would depend on two things as to how well/reliable trying to fire a pistol underwater would be: 1) your depth, which relates to the external pressure on the chamber as well as wether or not the bullet would be able to escape and 2) the quality of the ammunition. If its crappy cheap-sh!t then I'm sure you'll have problems, but I have it on good authority that with good ammo, merely getting it wet or it being submerged in a few feet of water for short periods of time, it'll proably fire. And plus theres the fact that guys like charlie petty seem to be involved with forensics, and if he says he saw a 38 fire underwater and travel 10 feet underwater and hit a plaster pool-side hard enough to chip it... I believe it. But I personally don't plan on letting my ammo get wet anytime soon if I can help it.
 

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LIProgun said:
Charlie Petty said:
I have seen a pistol fired in a swimming pool bust a chip out of the wall from about 10'.
Most people just yell "Everybody out of the pool."
For Charlie, can you say "Jake Jatras", 1911 and swimming pool at the same time without laughing? This is an insiders joke, maybe CP will explain.
 
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