Shooting Bullets Into Water – Part II: Ricochet

In Part I we noted that water provides a good model of a bullet’s terminal ballistics. We have also spent some time with our water facility and the high-speed imaging technicians from Aimed Research studying the dynamics of ricochet.

Following extensive experiments we have observed that pointed and round-nosed bullets will almost certainly ricochet out of the water when fired at incident angles flatter than 10 degrees. Even superstabilized bullets leave contact with the water tumbling erratically, and give up as much as 90% of their energy to the impact.

Aimed Research provides high-speed video of the behavior. This is a 225gr .30 caliber bullet:

Also available are similar videos of 60gr and 40gr .22LR bullets.

Hollow-point bullets like the base-first M62 in the next video have much more stable behavior: in test after test they pop out of the water at sharp angles with almost no energy but still pointing in the direction they were fired:

The most stable behavior comes from Flat-nosed or base-first bullets, which produce very straight paths in the water at angles of incidence as low as 7 degrees.

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