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Discussion Starter #1
Today I took a Ruger LCP out to the range, simply to check accuracy and function. As we know this is a small semiauto with rudimentary sights.
If functioned OK and was, well, as accurate as one might wish for close shots but the longer range trajectory did bear a closer resemblance to a rainbow.
My target was a simple corrugated cardboard shipping box filled with plastic wrapping stuff. At the end of my session I retrieved it as to not leave excess liter on the range. Noticing something knocking around inside it, I opened it up to find one expended .380 bullet, in almost pristine condition, inside. I could make out the rifling marks and the nose seemed discolored somehow ..... but for sure it was a bullet from my Ruger.
I've heard that .380ACP is a marginally effective self-defense caliber ... but a CARDBOARD BOX stopping a bullet must be slightly unusual....

Anyone else have a similar experience with this dinosaur-killing round?:rolleyes:
 

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If the "plastic wrapping stuff" was bubble wrap I think one could argue that passing through multiple layers would surely slow the bullet down although we'd have to shoot some of the same stuff to see the effect. There are lots of different thicknesses and densities of bubble wrap.

I doubt that the cardboard box had much effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It wasn't bubble wrap, just some plastic and paper packing. Not really very much of it though. Unfortunatly, beyond that I don't really recall what it was.
I suppose the stuff could have slowed the bullet down ..... a little.

I'm not trying to make a big deal of this, I just posted this because I thought it was a little unusual and a tad bizarre. I'd never think the box could have stopped a .22 let alone a .380 ....but I have the bullet in my possession as proof it happened.
 

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If you had a "rainbow trajectory" it may have been stopped simply because it lost inertia or like shooting straight up and having it fall back down relatively harmless.

One other point/question. In CSI to get balistics info they shoot into a tube which appears to be filled with rocks. Anybody heard of this or actually know about it?
 

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If you had a "rainbow trajectory" it may have been stopped simply because it lost inertia or like shooting straight up and having it fall back down relatively harmless.

One other point/question. In CSI to get balistics info they shoot into a tube which appears to be filled with rocks. Anybody heard of this or actually know about it?
Haven't heard of that, Sarge. Our local lab uses a water tank. But this is back'ards ol' Alabamer.:rolleyes:

CSI, from what I've seen, showcases the latest and greatest in actual forensic equipment. They just, well let's just say the term "artistic license" is muy apropos.
 

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Ours uses a water tank too and we are cutting edge;)

I have seen a material made of chunks of rubber used as a backstop material for commercial range operations. It is very loosely packed and very efficient. The only problem I could see would be recovering the bullet since you would have to dump it all out.

When I was doing a lot of gunsmith work I had a "shoot tube" of 4-5" diameter steel pipe filled with sand. I didn't care about recovering bullets though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
One round of how many? Was the box open at the top? What kind of backstop?

What kind of ammo?

http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aast9mmv380a.htm

Geoff
Who has been known to carry an LCP from time to time.
I think I must have fired maybe 60 rounds .... maybe 6 or 12 more.
I found only one round. All were ball ammo. 95 grain Remington were predominate but I shot some Winchester ball as well. The found bullet was Remington (the Win stuff has a flat nose so it's easy to distinguish).
The box was not taped or sealed but the open side was folded down and was on the rear of the ... "target" side.

Backstop is a high dirt berm, but the box was placed far closer. Remember this was a .380. I had no real expectations of accurate shooting at the distance the berm was.

ExSarge said:
If you had a "rainbow trajectory" it may have been stopped simply because it lost inertia or like shooting straight up and having it fall back down relatively harmless.
Having thought about this some I think that it is also possible that it simply strikes below the point of aim. That would cause the same result. The shot that caused this observation was deliberatly fired into the berm, not the target box. Anyway, it is after all, the "mighty" :rolleyes: .380ACP.
I have a hard time believing that even a .380 would lose a LOT of inertia in the circumstance where I was shooting.
 

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...One other point/question. In CSI to get balistics info they shoot into a tube which appears to be filled with rocks. Anybody heard of this or actually know about it?
Haven't heard of that, Sarge. Our local lab uses a water tank. But this is back'ards ol' Alabamer.

CSI, from what I've seen, showcases the latest and greatest in actual forensic equipment. They just, well let's just say the term "artistic license" is muy apropos.
Ours uses a water tank too and we are cutting edge;)

I have seen a material made of chunks of rubber used as a backstop material for commercial range operations. It is very loosely packed and very efficient. The only problem I could see would be recovering the bullet since you would have to dump it all out.

When I was doing a lot of gunsmith work I had a "shoot tube" of 4-5" diameter steel pipe filled with sand. I didn't care about recovering bullets though.
Gentlemen:

I tend to not watch that show for a number of reasons outside the scope of this discussion but there is a very good chance that what you saw was a version of the device shown in this brochure from Savage Range Systems: http://snailtraps.com/pdfs/ForensicBuddyBrochure.pdf and related directly to that program in this video from the same company: http://snailtraps.com/videos/video.php?clip=05 (please note that even on a faster system, this might take a while to load).

Savage started out with a decelerating trap for in-house use and went from there: http://snailtraps.com/. However, it should be noted that the "forensic" unit detailed in the brochure obviously works on an entirely different principle. It is a pretty neat device.

Hope this helps
 

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I have a sig P238, and when I first got it, I shot some 3.5"-4" thick pine boards. I was surprised most rounds went right thru. I was also using the flat nosed Winchesters from Walmart (which have gotten REALLY expensive lately) I was shooting at 5-7 yds. I would say the remington ammo may be a little underpowered. Buffalo Bore claims to make a pretty hard hitting .380acp in JHP and lead.
 

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Today I took a Ruger LCP out to the range, simply to check accuracy and function. As we know this is a small semiauto with rudimentary sights.
If functioned OK and was, well, as accurate as one might wish for close shots but the longer range trajectory did bear a closer resemblance to a rainbow.

My target was a simple corrugated cardboard shipping box filled with plastic wrapping stuff. At the end of my session I retrieved it as to not leave excess liter on the range. Noticing something knocking around inside it, I opened it up to find one expended .380 bullet, in almost pristine condition, inside. I could make out the rifling marks and the nose seemed discolored somehow ..... but for sure it was a bullet from my Ruger.

I've heard that .380ACP is a marginally effective self-defense caliber ... but a CARDBOARD BOX stopping a bullet must be slightly unusual....

Anyone else have a similar experience with this dinosaur-killing round?
...I'm not trying to make a big deal of this, I just posted this because I thought it was a little unusual and a tad bizarre. I'd never think the box could have stopped a .22 let alone a .380 ....but I have the bullet in my possession as proof it happened.
One round of how many? Was the box open at the top? What kind of backstop?

What kind of ammo?...
If you had a "rainbow trajectory" it may have been stopped simply because it lost inertia or like shooting straight up and having it fall back down relatively harmless...
I think I must have fired maybe 60 rounds .... maybe 6 or 12 more.

I found only one round. All were ball ammo. 95 grain Remington were predominate but I shot some Winchester ball as well. The found bullet was Remington (the Win stuff has a flat nose so it's easy to distinguish).

The box was not taped or sealed but the open side was folded down and was on the rear of the ... "target" side.

Backstop is a high dirt berm, but the box was placed far closer. Remember this was a .380. I had no real expectations of accurate shooting at the distance the berm was.

Having thought about this some I think that it is also possible that it simply strikes below the point of aim. That would cause the same result. The shot that caused this observation was deliberatly fired into the berm, not the target box. Anyway, it is after all, the "mighty" .380ACP.

I have a hard time believing that even a .380 would lose a LOT of inertia in the circumstance where I was shooting.
"TommyGunn":

I would say that your experience with the .380 was not typical. Granted, this cartridge is not the performer of the 9mm that in some instances shares the same (weight) bullets but lobbing the rounds on to the target like a mortar is not usually the case unless that berm was a long way away.

And that is something you don't indicate. Just how far away was it?
How far away was the box from it?
And how far away was the box from you?

Another thing you mention but don't define was the discoloration of the "almost pristine condition" bullet that you found in the box. Could you take another look at it for me? What color is it and is there more than just coloring? Any scuffing at all? Your remark about it being "almost pristine" would seem to eliminate any deformation (Or does it?) but scuffing or scraping is another matter. And what about signs of some sort of residue or contamination?

Finally, in response to another member's question, you indicate that the open side of the box "was folded down and was on the rear of the ... 'target' side". I assume that "folded down" means "closed" and not "folded in" so that it helped to contain the "plastic wrapping stuff" you used as filler.

However, nowhere in your comments do you describe the condition of the box (front or back) or the appearance of the targeting surface as a result of the shots that you fired. Did you have any luck grouping your shots or did things look more like a buckshot pattern made from a great distance with an open choke? In either case, what did the back of the box (the top, which was the side that was facing the berm) look like?

Any gaping holes, or even not-so gaping holes but perhaps one or more (and by now I'm sure you can see where I am going with this) that might have allowed a spent projectile (the one you have in your possession) to have passed through both ends of the box, on into the berm, back out of the berm and into a hole in the back of the box (hell, maybe even making its own hole depending on the distances involved and the also undefined "weight" or wall thickness of the box) to be found by you on the inside?

I'm sure that many of us have had "things" we have fired downrange "come back to haunt us" (as the phrase goes) and I am not talking about bullets that merely skidded off the deck, hit an overhead baffle at some convoluted angle, struck a target holder or carrier, some other hardened object, or even another bullet or conglomeration of bullets in what might be a sand or dirt backstop. Some of us have actually seen rounds either bounce off or come back out of an otherwise properly designed and constructed sand or earthen berm; maybe because they have become hardened through use or environmental conditions and maybe because a number of other factors came into play at the same time (velocity at the time of the strike being one of them). I have even seen bullets bounce off or come back out of some of the rubber and rubber-like block backstops that are popular in some circles.

Sometimes they come straight back at surprising velocities and sometimes they all but arc themselves lazily to their final but initially indeterminable resting places.

So while suggesting that what you found inside that box was a bullet that was not so weak that it failed to make it all the way through the box (something I would think would have been noticed by you, an experienced shooter, in the felt recoil when it was fired from the gun) but perhaps one that actually managed to make the trip all the way down and at least partway back up the range as well, might sound pretty dumb on the surface, depending on the answers to my questions above, it could be a reason that might at least be entertainable.

Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I would say the berm was maybe 60 feet away from the firing line, but the box at which I was aiming was 20-25 ft. away.
As far as the possibility of the bullet having gone through the box, richocheting off the berm, and bouncing back into the box, (if that is the theory you're proposing & I understand it correctly):
....a spent projectile (the one you have in your possession) to have passed through both ends of the box, on into the berm, back out of the berm and into a hole in the back of the box .....
I can assure you with near metaphysical certainty that this could not possibly have happened. The angles just do not add up. The bullet would have transcribed a shallow angle into the box, richocheted off the ground, from there at a similar angle into a tall dirt berm (which is not vertical but angled). At that point it would have most likely buried itself in the berm. If it were to richochet off it would be at an upward angle -- but I think this is not possible.
I should note many many bullets have been recovered from this berm -- which ought not be surprising.
I suppose it might have theoretically hit a rock and bounced off. However, I have seen no large rocks or even small ones there. This is a manufactured berm and I would believe anything capable of reflecting a bullet would have been removed.
But even had the round richocheted back, the possibility of it re-entering the box are so astronomically infinitessimal I just could not believe it.
It would be a bizarre incident to contemplate. If one assumes each surface the bullet were to hit were to be be so solid the angle of incident would equal the andle of deflection, then the angles themselves just do not add up.

The bullet is a dark gray almost black in discoloration around the nose, mostly to one side. It's pristine condition discribes it's shape. Rifling marks are clearly present. The bullet is a Remington FMJ that is claimed to be a 95 grain bullet by the maker. A scale I possess indicates a weight, in grains, to be 94 -- but this I believe is only a minor deviation and was no doubt it's condition as loaded by the factory.
I think the discoloration might have been caused by the filler material, which consisted of some printed paper material and thus might be ink. I suppose it is possible it might be residue from previously fired bullets that wound up on this bullet .... but how it got on the nose of this bullet, I can't say. Anyway I am not really concerned about the discoloration.

I no longer have the box so all I can say was the pattern was more that of buckshot than a finely grouped series of holes. Keep in mind that this was a Ruger LCP and this is a small light gun. I found muzzle flip on this to be quit pronounced, more so than my Sig Sauer P 238 (another .380 I own) and this Ruger is not really pleasant to shoot. I was really testing the Ruger for reliability and not so much for fine targeting abilities.
The box had been opened and the open end was on the rear, which received plenty of holes -- as did the sides and the bottom.
Charlie Petty said:
If the "plastic wrapping stuff" was bubble wrap I think one could argue that passing through multiple layers would surely slow the bullet down although we'd have to shoot some of the same stuff to see the effect. There are lots of different thicknesses and densities of bubble wrap.

I doubt that the cardboard box had much effect.
Although there was no bubble wrap in the box I tend to believe Mr. Petty's explanation bears the greatest chance of being the right explanation. The stuff in the box was of various thicknesses and consisted of plastic wrap and as I said, various printed paper material.
 

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I would say the berm was maybe 60 feet away from the firing line, but the box at which I was aiming was 20-25 ft. away.
As far as the possibility of the bullet having gone through the box, richocheting off the berm, and bouncing back into the box, (if that is the theory you're proposing & I understand it correctly):

I can assure you with near metaphysical certainty that this could not possibly have happened. The angles just do not add up. The bullet would have transcribed a shallow angle into the box, richocheted off the ground, from there at a similar angle into a tall dirt berm (which is not vertical but angled). At that point it would have most likely buried itself in the berm. If it were to richochet off it would be at an upward angle -- but I think this is not possible.
I should note many many bullets have been recovered from this berm -- which ought not be surprising.
I suppose it might have theoretically hit a rock and bounced off. However, I have seen no large rocks or even small ones there. This is a manufactured berm and I would believe anything capable of reflecting a bullet would have been removed.
But even had the round richocheted back, the possibility of it re-entering the box are so astronomically infinitessimal I just could not believe it.
It would be a bizarre incident to contemplate. If one assumes each surface the bullet were to hit were to be be so solid the angle of incident would equal the andle of deflection, then the angles themselves just do not add up.

The bullet is a dark gray almost black in discoloration around the nose, mostly to one side. It's pristine condition discribes it's shape. Rifling marks are clearly present. The bullet is a Remington FMJ that is claimed to be a 95 grain bullet by the maker. A scale I possess indicates a weight, in grains, to be 94 -- but this I believe is only a minor deviation and was no doubt it's condition as loaded by the factory.
I think the discoloration might have been caused by the filler material, which consisted of some printed paper material and thus might be ink. I suppose it is possible it might be residue from previously fired bullets that wound up on this bullet .... but how it got on the nose of this bullet, I can't say. Anyway I am not really concerned about the discoloration.

I no longer have the box so all I can say was the pattern was more that of buckshot than a finely grouped series of holes. Keep in mind that this was a Ruger LCP and this is a small light gun. I found muzzle flip on this to be quit pronounced, more so than my Sig Sauer P 238 (another .380 I own) and this Ruger is not really pleasant to shoot. I was really testing the Ruger for reliability and not so much for fine targeting abilities.
The box had been opened and the open end was on the rear, which received plenty of holes -- as did the sides and the bottom.

Although there was no bubble wrap in the box I tend to believe Mr. Petty's explanation bears the greatest chance of being the right explanation. The stuff in the box was of various thicknesses and consisted of plastic wrap and as I said, various printed paper material.
"TommyGunn"

Not wanting to dispute you or your beliefs and not wanting to start a war here, but I should tell you that unless you were shooting downward into the range floor (the ground) so that after passing through the box (I couldn't tell from your description here whether you were explaining what you did or what you think I was presenting as theory), the bullet would have had to have bounced off it (I would think causing noticeable deformation or at least the scuffing or scraping I asked about in my first message and that you say is not present), I think there is still the possibility that the bullet might have gone from the muzzle, through the box, into or on to the berm, back out and into the box.

And even though I believe that something resembling almost straight line travel might best allow for this possibility (if it happened at all -remember I never said this had to be the answer), if your range floor is not paved, gravel or something other than dirt, it could even allow for a glancing strike off it and into (on to) the berm itself; resulting in a relatively unscathed projectile as well.

I say this (and present it only as an open-minded possibility) because I've seen bullets come out of earthen berms (you originally referred to yours as a "high dirt berm") in ways not at all like a billiard ball off a rail (I played three cushion very seriously for a good number of years and even there, there are all kinds of ways that the angle 'out' can be made to not match the angle 'in'), which was something I tried to convey in my first message. Additionally, "the angle of incident (sic) would equal the andle (sic) of deflection" that you mention does not have to be the same in these situations for a wide variety of reasons.

And not wanting to waste everybody's time with them, I will tell you only that years ago when I was teaching a rather focused segment of the shooting fraternity, we routinely opened the eyes of many of our students (a good number of whom were seasoned individuals) when we would teach them ways of skipping rounds under certain (not all) barriers, barricades and even vehicles with higher ground clearance because many times (there were a lot of variables here), rounds fired into the ground did not come off in a matching angle continuing to gain altitude until its energy was spent but instead came up at an extremely wide angle, rising only a certain number of inches as it proceeded at speed, downrange, in pretty much a straight line and all but parallel to the ground.

Additionally, after being struck years ago at a vest demo by an expanding .45acp round that was fired into a test panel that failed and subsequently tunneled through the plasticene/duxseal/claylike material that filled the regulation test box on which the panel was set, hit the steel back plate that was a required part of the regulation box, came back up through the same tunnel it made going in, exited through almost all of the same hole it had made initially in the panel that was supposed to stop it, and then travelled back the same proscribed distance (and in almost an overlapping and not reflected same line) it had travelled to get there in order to hit me, I believe that just about anything can happen. Even more amazing was the fact that the bullet was not deformed but was uniformly expanded (like something out of an advertisement) and across its nose was an unblemished reverse image of the weave pattern from the panel. There was no sign whatsoever that it had come into contact with the steel back plate that was hit hard enough to reverse its course.

Separately, please note that even in my first message, I never said that anything more than the berm itself was necessary to reflect the bullet back on to the range for once again, I have seen nothing more than "earth" do things like that.

I asked about the discoloration and possible contamination because you originally gave no details about what you now think is an ink stain, and I thought it could have been made by the projectile striking the earthen berm. A matter that I think even now, with your saying it is "around the nose, mostly to one side" and that the berm "is not vertical but angled", is not beyond the realm of possibility. (Nor is the possibility that it might have also skidded off the range floor at a very shallow angle causing this condition; although this would be very dependent on what that "floor" is composed of.)

I was certainly not impugning your targeting skills when I asked about the condition of the box. You originally said that you were out to "check accuracy and function" so I did not know what you had attempted or saw as a result. I was merely interested in determining whether or not there could have been a big enough hole in the backside to have allowed a returning bullet to pass through it and enter the box.

Finally, and also separately but here in regard to what you are proposing, maybe it is just my age impacting on my ability to visualize things correctly but just how was your "simple corrugated cardboard shipping box filled with plastic wrapping stuff" actually filled? Were these materials just tossed or crammed in? These two conditions perhaps being ones that could allow for spaces that might more readily allow for "something knocking around inside". That type of 'filling' and not 'layering' or 'stacking' was (in my mind, anyway) further supported by your response to Charlie who asked about it possibly being "bubble wrap" when you said, "It wasn't bubble wrap, just some plastic and paper packing. Not really very much of it though."

Or was the box densely packed (Layered or layer-like? Crammed or Jam-packed?)? For then I could see it slowing down and possibly stopping the bullet in much the same way that several decades ago, people routinely used phone books or wet newsprint as a test medium in their ballistic evaluations. But if there was filler in the box more for the reason of adding a minor amount of weight and giving the box shape as it was shot up than it was for capturing or even slowing down the bullet, I do find it a little hard to believe that it would really stop these projectiles. Also against the odds in this respect is the fact that it only "stopped" one bullet (and a bullet that doesn't seem to have come from a perceivably lower powered cartridge) nor did you find the range floor (ground) behind the box littered with slowed down bullets that while not stopping in the box didn't have the resulting energy (after wading through the box) to make it to the berm.

I do have one more question about the box itself, for in your most recent post you say "The box had been opened and the open end was on the rear, which received plenty of holes -- as did the sides and the bottom." I can understand the holes in the bottom (it was facing you) and on the rear as bullets travelling in a straight line would logically exit through the side facing the berm. But how did you achieve the holes on the sides? Was the box rotating or revolving as a result of the shots fired or maybe due to air currents on the range; thereby allowing for hits on them too. Or was something else going on that again, I have somehow missed or misinterpreted? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The holes on the sides of the box were created when the box was skidded around from earlier shots. Rather than try to replace the box after each shot -- obviously impractical as others were shooting and calling a COLD RANGE so often would be too obnoxious -- I simply continued shooting.
At this point trying to describe how firmly packed the plastic/paper was inside is dubious; I have only my memory to go on. I did not specifically pack the stuff for this target duty I simply had chosen an old box that had been filled with stuff. I was not thinking it mattered in any way so I paid little attention to it.
I suppose anything is possible in so far as bizarre richochets are concerned. In logic there is a principle called "Occam's Razor" which states that the simplest explanation; the one with the fewest assumptions, is most likely the correct one, barring facts to the otherwise.
I can't prove what happened. But I respectfully suggest your theory contains a lot of assumptions and coincidences and is therefor less likely to be true than mine/Mr. Petty's.
Beyond this point I think the matter is irresolvable. I am not trying to be snarky but I don't see the point in continuing dissecting this any farther. A weird thing happened. So what? The world continues to revolve around the sun, and the stars continue to shine and politicians continue being jackwagons.
In short, I am moving on.:D
 

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Move on if you wish, but the fact that you only captured one bullet argues that what ever happened was a freak occurrence.

Curiously, Occam's razor doesn't always apply to freak occurrences.
 

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to ALL,

reference the .380ACP: in 1987 at the "TX Flag Officer's Conference" i talked to a retired TXARNG BG who told me that he fired a total of FIVE "government issue .380" rounds (from his "General Officer's Pistol") into the chest area of a CHICOM soldier during the battle for Chipyong Ni, Korea on the night of 13 February 1951.

an examination of the corpse revealed the following results of those rounds:
1. TWO failed to penetrate the heavy coat/uniform of the enemy soldier,
2. TWO failed to penetrate into the K5 area far enough to cause death or "serious bodily harm"
and
3. ONE was a "miss".

the CHICOM was stopped by a round to the upper face.

the BG told me that he SOON "aquired a 1917 S&W .45ACP revolver" for personal protection!

i have NOT trusted my life to a .380 ever since!

yours, sw
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Move on if you wish, but the fact that you only captured one bullet argues that what ever happened was a freak occurrence.

Curiously, Occam's razor doesn't always apply to freak occurrences.
I admit that it is true about Occam's Razor .... but I would sure like to see some scientific way of recreating a theory that postulates the bullet passed through the box, richocheted off the berm, returned to the box, and stayed there. Charles Petty's theory answers the question without unneeded extraneous bizarre occurances, IMHO.
The "magic bullet" theory that arose in explaining JFK's assassination in Dealey Plaza had some ostensibly bizarre characteristics associated with it (unless properly understood) and that has become a major "pop culture" bugaboo. But it is a far more reasonable theory than what we're dealing with here, IMHO.
A theory requiring a bullet to bounce off a berm that ought to reflect it upward but reflects it back at precisely the same angle it described en route to the berm, and to have the bullet re enter but not leave the box....well, it makes my head wanna 'splode!:rolleyes::confused: :grumble: :grumble: :grumble:
 

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How did your pistol function with the round in question? Perhaps it was a light powder charge? Even the Big Boys occasionally load a defective round.
 
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