Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not sure about this one

Authorities in Ohio are reporting that a young Amish girl was killed when she was shot by a man who fired his muzzleloading rifle into the air to clear it before cleaning at the same time as the girl being shot.  I'd like to go on a diatribe about a Rule 4 violation, which this situation very much deserves, but one thing catches with me:  the distance from where the man says he fired the shot and the place where authorities believe the girl was hit.

The distance is being reported as 1 1/2 miles.  I just can't see a muzzleloader firing a round that far, but I could be wrong.  Investigators are bringing in an expert to examine the bullet from the girl's body in order to see if it was indeed fired from the muzzleloader.

Now, to go back to Rule 4, this guy needs retraining in safety, whether or not his bullet was the one that killed this young girl.  When you squeeze the trigger, you're responsible for where that bullet goes and everything it hits.  If you have to shoot your gun to clear it, then use a backstop, or invest in and use a bullet puller .

When the forensics are done on this, I'd be very interested in hearing whether or not this man's muzzleloader fired that bullet.  If so, I want to know what gun he uses, what powder he used, how much of it, and what bullet he was firing.  Something just feels fishy about this.  1 1/2 miles just sounds way too far for a muzzleloader.


Peter said...

A lot depends on what kind of muzzleloader and projectile we're talking about. I believe that an elevation angle of around 30 degrees is what it takes for maximum range. Now a .45 or .50 caliber Mini Ball doesn't have to have much velocity to be fatal, all it has to do is hit the right place. And some of those big boomers can start a bullet at the same velocity as the old black powder buffalo guns. Billy Dixon shot an Indian off his horse at the Adobe Walls fight at three quarters of a mile, and that was an aimed shot. A mile and a half? With a lot of bad luck it could happen.

ZerCool said...

Your question started me thinking, so I went looking.

I use a T/C Omega, .50cal inline, with 250gr sabots. 100gr equivalent of Hodgdons 7-7-7 pellets.

They publish the velocity of that load as 1712fps.

The math is a lot fuzzy, since I last took physics over ten years ago, but in physicsland (a magical place, where drag and so forth don't exist) a projectile launched at a 45-degree angle at 1700fps has a potential downrange of nearly 17 miles.

Of course this is the real world so it's not quite that far, but I think the point carries nicely.

(Someone want to check my math? 1700fps @ 45deg = 1200fps in each vector component, accel 32fps/s = 37.5sec up and 37.5sec down = 75sec travel time * 1200fps horizontal vel = 90,000ft)

Lokidude said...

They say a .22lr can do 1.5 or so. A magnum charge behind a patched roundball on a ballistic trajectory? Yeah, I'll buy it. Unlikely, but plausible.

Twycross said...

According to the calculator I used, with ZerCool's data and a guesstimated BC, the terminal range would be just over two miles (3688 yards).

DaddyBear said...

Thanks guys. I guess that answers my question.

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