Journal Published Online: 11 October 2013
Volume 42, Issue 2

Ricocheted Rifle and Shotgun Projectiles: A Ballistic Evaluation



Hunting firearm injuries and fatalities from ricocheted bullets play a minor, but still important, role in forensic medicine and shooting reconstruction. Especially in the area of critical ricochet angles a ballistic analysis is essential to be able to reconstruct hunting accidents. The aim of this study is to analyze ricocheted rifle projectiles (.30-06 Bionic Black and .30-06 Oryx) and shotgun slugs (cal. 12 Brenneke original) from frozen and non-frozen concrete, as well as their ballistic injury potential at a simulated shooting distance of 100 m (rifle projectiles) and 20 m (slugs). Each projectile had a v100 velocity between 370 m/s (shotgun ammunition) and 740 m/s (rifle ammunition) and was shot at an incident angle between 2–20° (rifle ammunition) and 5–35° (shotgun ammunition). To record the angle of ricochet and target energy of each ricocheted projectile, a polycarbonate wall with a reference scale, as well as ballistic soap were used as a final target. At a shooting distance of 100 m, non-ricochet shots are only possible from high seats, but not from deer stands. The critical shooting angle showed a rather high variation for both rifle and shotgun ammunition and was noted between 1.25 times (shotgun ammunition) and 2.5 times (rifle ammunition) higher for frozen concrete compared to non-frozen concrete. All tested ammunition showed remarkable high variations in the ricochet’s angular deviation. Upon the impact of a ricochet, energy levels of over 1000 J were realized with significant injury potential to underlying organs.

Author Information

Kunz, S.
IFFB Gerichtsmedizin und Forensische Neuropsychiatrie, Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg, Österreich, AT
Kirchhoff, S.
Institut für Klinische Radiologie der Universität München, München, DE
Eggersmann, R.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, München, DE
Stiefel, D.
Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt, München, DE
Gessinger, M.
Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt, München, DE
Manthei, A.
Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt, München, DE
Eichner, S.
Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt, München, DE
Graw, M.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, München, DE
Peschel, O.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, München, DE
Pages: 9
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JTE20130010
ISSN: 0090-3973
DOI: 10.1520/JTE20130010