Lead Splashback at 7 Yards (Ouch!)

Discussion in 'Firearm Related' started by apx_31088, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. apx_31088

    apx_31088 Member

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    Part of my weekly practice is shooting the 9mm (standard pressure) at 6" steel plates from 7 yards.
    Have understood that there can be problems with lead bullet fragments rebounding from steel targets, but believed the problems were at shorter distances (i.e. 3 yards).
    That fallacy worked for about 4 years for me, until last week. I was practicing rapid target re-acquisition by firing groups of 2 rounds with this DOA firearm. While doing this, there was a stinging pain on the upper cheek followed immediately by the sensation of blood flowing down the cheek. At least 3 drops per second of blood was flowing from my face.
    A folded paper towel compress was used to staunch the flow. After maybe ten minutes, the injury site had clotted and the compress no longer needed.
    I drove to a minor emergency clinic operated by the local county hospital because I suspected that a fragment might be embedded in the check to have created enough of a laceration that resulted in the heavy bleeding.
    At the clinic, a X-ray was performed. I was told the X-ray showed a fragment in the cheek. The clinic suggested that because the injury was on the face that I should consult with a dermatologist about removal of the fragment because of concerns about visual scarring that could result from removal of the fragment.
    I was prescribed a ten-day course of antibiotics.
    An appointment was made with a dermatologist, but it would be almost a week.
    The day after the injury, there was some swelling of the injury area on the cheek along with some moderate tenderness when touched. Bruising around the injury was also visible. The laceration itself was smaller in diameter than a #2 pencil lead. Under the skin and around the injury site, I can feel a firm lump about the size of a blueberry.
    After almost a week after the injury, I went to the dermatologist. Wasn't actually examined by a dermatologist but by a Nurse Practitioner. The NP said the lump under the skin was a hematoma resulting from bleeding of the laceration site that collects under the skin. The NP said that would dissolve away after several weeks of time. The NP said that when the dermatologist surgically removes a fragment embedded in the skin of the face that the surgery creates a long incision that leaves a large amount of scarring and also the fragment also usually also results in removal of some of the injured tissue which also causes disfiguring of the face.
    I asked if it was a health issue if a lead fragment remained in the cheek. The NP said the dermatologist would be asked about that and the answer would be communicated to me.
    With those non-answers, I called my General Practitioner doctor's office to ask about the issues of health concerns with an embedded lead fragment. I was told that my question would be passed to the nurse and I would be called back about that.

    It's taken about a week to still not learn if the lead fragment embedded in the cheek causes either short term or long term health concerns. Meanwhile, my wife is asking "What the heck? Is it safe? What is it gets infected?".
    There is no pain from the injury site, even if the injury is pressed. Visual bruising is almost gone. Don't sense any inflammation or infection. I don't feel any dumber yet, so I don't think there is acute lead poisoning happening here.

    Because of the aforementioned negative reinforcements, I've now lost all desire to shoot steel. Anybody feel lucky enough and also want a very competitive price for used six 6-inch AR-500 plates? All six plates are used on one side and still unused on the other side.
     
  2. AtlPhilip

    AtlPhilip Proud GCO member.

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    Doctors leave in bullets quite frequently because of the risk of removing them. As I understand it, consuming compounded lead (such as paint chips) is very different that consuming, or injecting, elemental lead. That said, it may leave a discolored spot and/or be visible through the skin.

    Your dermatologist was correct about their procedure. Fixing the scar would have required additional plastic surgeries at additional cost. At that depth, I probably would simply have rooted around and dug it out with a pair of good sharp tweezers. YMMV.

    On a positive note, chicks dig scars.
     
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  3. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Apx, was the plate surface smooth, not cratered or pockmarked?

    Did you have any bolt heads or nuts on the side you shot at?
     
  4. Wheedle

    Wheedle Member

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    I wasn't thinking and shot a steel sillhoutte with a 9mm jhp round from about 10 ft. I got peppered with fragments, but nothing broke skin. I thought for sure I was going to be bleeding.
     
  5. jsaund22

    jsaund22 Computer Ninjaneer

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    When I was a kid, my cousin shot me in the face with one of those Crossman .357 clone Co2 pellet pistols. The pellet embedded itself in my sinus bone. Doctors left the pellet in and gave me some pills to take to help my body calcify over the pellet. It's still there. Makes for real interesting conversation when I have dental x-rays.
     
  6. apx_31088

    apx_31088 Member

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    Mostly smooth although there is some moderate dimpling on the surfaces (of all six plates) from the impacts of a few thousand rounds of standard pressure 9mm rounds and a few dozen standard pressure .45 ACP 's.

    I'm remembering some instances of prior splashback upon my face. Didn't think much of them because they felt like being hit by a piece of gravel. Didn't hurt at all and certainly didn't cause injury. Except for that last time . . .
     
  7. apx_31088

    apx_31088 Member

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    The plate was hanging on a Shepherd's crook so that it was hanging from the hole near the top of the plate and swinging freely. That way, it is said the bullet splatter will be diverted downward upon impact with the plate instead of back towards the shooter.
    The day that I was injured by the splashback, I was trying something new. Instead of firing slowly, was firing rapid groups of two shots. Not super-duper rapid, mind you, because the firearm is DAO. But "rapid" like two shots per second. I remember seeing the bottom of the plate swinging towards me as it rebounded from the first shot and at about the time that I would make the second shots.
    Think that would have a substantial effect on the direction of lead fragments so that they would not be diverted downwards?
     
  8. magnum1b

    magnum1b Member

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    The obvious solution is to shoot longer distances. Think head shots at 25 yards.
     
  9. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    Since it was hanging so it could swing hitting the plate higher up above the center closer to the top could cause it to first tilt the bottom of the plate up before starting the swing action. This could cause the splash back of the larger fragments. If you are going to shoot steel at closer range then a head band full face shield or even a hard hat with a full face shield would be better than just safety glasses. On a side note (and I am not a doctor) a friend of mine has this issue. A bullet fragment lodged in his face. Been there on the high side of 20 years now. He has experienced zero problems. He wasn't shooting steel but a target nailed to a fence post. The bullet struck the nail and splashed a fragment back lodging in his cheek. The doctor would not dig it out either.
     
  10. apx_31088

    apx_31088 Member

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    Though it's good to protect the face, really seems like more than facial protection is needed. Thinking arms, chest, legs, hands, and whatever else could be injured by a lead fragment. A full suit of chain mail along with a riot helmet would work, right?
    Been shooting steel plates for about four years and have been hit by splashback from time to time. But it was inconsequential because there was no pain and no injury. Problem with that is that it caused me to think that I had figured it out, that it would always be the same with no pain and no injury.
    It's a problem to get too confident with my erroneous conclusions based on my experiences (at least up to that point). I didn't know that I didn't know.

    Well, the GP doctor and the dermatologist have both said to me today that it's best to leave the fragment alone. And thwart infection by continuing the antibiotics. The injury site is not sensitive and it is not hot. Swelling is about gone although the berry-sized hematoma can still be felt under the skin.
    The dermatologist plans to examine it again in early January. Says the hematoma should be dissolved by then, making access to the 4mm fragment much easier. At this time, the fragment is underneath the hematoma and that complicates finding and removing the fragment.
    Both doctors seem confident that the embedded fragment isn't a health risk.
     
  11. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Isn't there a good dawgdoc around here? A good chug of whisky and he can probably get it right out for you. Lots cheaper too.

    Nemo
     
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  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry about your injury, but chicks dig scars. It makes you look tough and mysterious.

    For the minimum distance, you must check with the manufacturer of the steel plate you are shooting, but I have never seen a pistol distance recommended of less than 15 yards, that is, 45 feet.

    Rifles will of course need a much greater distance.

    There are some companies now manufacturing bullets designed for shooting steel plates with a minimum of splash, but I have not researched the pricing or anything like that.
     
  13. Taurus92

    Taurus92 Well-Known Member

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    I knew a guy that had some kind of growth just under his cheekbone. Not a bullet, but a growth that looked size wise between a peanut and marble. Cut it out himself. Hard to imagine doing that, but the scar ended up less obvious than the growth. Not recommending self-surgery because the face is full of nerves and you could end up looking like a Dali painting, but chics do dig scars and the story lines could be endless.
     
  14. psrumors

    psrumors Active Member

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    Hate you were injured......where would I need to pick up the plates?
     
  15. Archangel

    Archangel Moderator Staff Member

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  16. Glockenator

    Glockenator Active Member

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    Scars are tattoos...with better stories.

    I should have been more careful when I punched a hole clean through a 1/2" steel plate with my 7.5x55 Swiss (essentially the same thing .308 ). It was probably 50' away, but I should have been further back, with more protective gear than just sunglasses and ear plugs.

    A very long time ago, I was shooting .22LR at something in a dirt embankment. The bullet hit a rock or something, and I literally felt it buzz right by my ear - tumbling, no doubt. If it had hit my ear, it would have left a cool scar with a cool story. If it had been an inch or two inward, I might very well not be alive today.

    A few decades ago, I shot a compound bow straight up. I watched the tiny dot go up, then come back down. That little voice on my shoulder told me to take one step back. I did, and that arrow impaled the ground, precisely where I had been standing. What are the odds of an absolutely perfect trajectory?

    I was young and stupid back then. Now I am old and just a little less stupid.
     
  17. NTA

    NTA Active Member

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    I'll be 70 soon and have too many earlier years close calls due to stupidity stories. Unfortunately I'm lately starting to rack up some older years close calls. Mostly involving the ladder and chain saw.
     
  18. Glockenator

    Glockenator Active Member

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    Don't get me started on those. :mrgreen:

    I hope I'm still able to do kinds of things at 70. I'm 51 and my body is all tore up and creaking from doing stupid stuff all of my life.
     
  19. Archangel

    Archangel Moderator Staff Member

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    I hear THAT. I'm the same age...
     
  20. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Just so you guys know, it does go nowhere but downhill from where you are.

    Nemo