Coping: Gun Owner Ricochet Tables

I went into town Wednesday to see my regular doc (normal blood work) and we got to talking about this and that.

Afterwards, because we had touched on guns (he’s an M-4 owner, I’m an AK guy) I got to wondering if anyone had ever seen what I describe as a “Ricochet Table?”

What I’m looking for is a table that would list maybe 5-6 rows (horizontally) of different bullet types. E.g: .22, 9 MM, 5.62, 7.62X39, .50, Buckshot, #4 birdshot.

Then, across the top a list of materials. E.g. Water, wood, sand, soft dirt, hard dirt, rock/concrete, and metal.

Then in each of the squares, you would put in the minimum angle for ricochet and then maximum as well as % retained energy.  This latter would involve ballistic gel, of course and some calculations.  And if the water testing was done, especially with  a .50 cal. you might not want to be the pool owner…

A couple of examples: #4 birdshot impacting water at 46 degrees I figure would lose most of its energy and about zero ricochet.  

On the other side, a Barrett .50 instructor I know claims a 1-mile kill of an alligator (while teaching .mils on contract)  with one skip about 24 feet in front of the target at a very low angle. (Don’t ask how I learn this stuff. You pick up a lot of random info over half a century if you want to capture it.)

Since the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection (ricochet), if I figure a round into the dirt at 80-degrees, it doesn’t seem to reflect. But when you get down around 30 degrees, depending on hardpan and such, then things change around.

A lot of it has to do with mass and this leads to the whole kinetic energy part of the chart.

I half-expect that this chart is out there somewhere, but even if my Barrett friend has the long shot data, it doesn’t translate to the other calibers and muzzle velocities.

If you ever find such a thing, of feel like sharing, please do.

Interesting idea for a novel in there, too:  An assassin who kills only by ricochets that he has refined into a high art.  And he’s captured working out angles hustling pool… maybe use the moniker Rick Shea in there, too…

(If you decide to rip this idea off and publish a table, please credit

Chasing Off Telemarketers

I’ve gotten fairly proficient at running-off telemarketers that mess with my day.

One approach, and it doesn’t take much time, is to answer the phone “You buying or selling?

When the startled caller says either selling or “neither” – which is always a lie – a simple click will do.

I got on to a new one yesterday:

Hi. This is George Ure’s artificial intelligence voicemail system. Press 1 to leave a message, 2 to leave a callback number, or press zero to talk to the operator.”

My first victim pressed zero. Memorizing DTMF (phone) tones is a useful art.

You have pressed zero. Apparently you did not understand that Mr. Ure is not taking calls right now. Good-bye.”

Whoevers the Business Solutions outfit with the 201 area code is, it will be instructive to see if they call back.

If they do, the call will be answered something like this:

Hi. This is George Ure’s artificial intelligence voicemail system. Our records indicate you have called before and failed our access threshold. Good-bye.”

Other times, when I see a number I haven’t seen before, I’ve done things like a sex-chat script; a Tourrette’s laced spew of invective; and so forth.

One classic was when the “Hi, this is tech support calling about your computer” and I ripped them a new one (without swearing which is unusual for me) until the pitchman finally said F.U. and hung up on me.

I felt successful for several days after that.

Getting after telemarketers is really once of the few handles you can pull in life. I’ve tried things like “Who are you voting for in the presidential election?” [“wrong answer.” – click] to simply “Speak and be heard.

Uninvited telemarketers are like time trespassers and I feel compelled to confront them, just as a well-armed family member would be expected to confront any trespasser on our property.

If you have any really GREAT approaches, it might make an interesting ebook.

It’s not that I am against people making a living in sales. In fact, I would recommend anyone who is serious about making money in sales (which is where all the money is these days) read a good book on the topic like Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling,

But if you’re calling a person whose name is known, the worst approach is to say in the first line the name of the company you are with.

When someone says “Hi Mr. Ure, this is so and so from XYZ business solutions…” the click is quick and inevitable.

On the other hand, if someone calls and says “Hi George. I can make you some money by…(fill in). Interested?

In this second case, they had my name, they wanted to make or save me some money, the area of interest was stated, and they weren’t hard-selling.

ALL grown-up business people appreciate a direct approach. When someone calls and says “Hello, Mister George?” again, the click is instantaneous. It’s axiomatic that we don’t deal with offshore sweatshops.

If you have ideas, send them along.

Around the Ranch: Vacation Planning

In less than two weeks, Elaine and I will be heading out on a working vacation. For me, it’s a chance to see America up close and personal. A chance to see what’s going on in truck stops, see what small towns are up and coming and which ones are falling victim to corporatism.

On our last trip, I thought the Nampa, Idaho area looked like it was in a mini-boom. Boise, Idaho was also the nearest thing to a boom town I’d seen in a while. But we’ll see how they look this year, perhaps.

The return route is our ‘Casino Road” that takes us a more southerly route, but again, if you have been someplace once, or twice, you can get a “feel” for how the business is doing.

There are two main tools I’ve been using for this year’s planning.

If you do a Google Search and put in something like “Directions from Montalba, TX to Tacoma, WA” you can play with online mapping fairly effectively. If you have multiple monitors (you don’t?) one can be the route tool while the other will sit on TripAdvisor, or other hotel-picking site and you can shop your way through things that way.

Panama and his bride will be here while we’re gone…so no worries there. Panama will be “preloaded” with checks for the couple of bills that come in every month; I’m still not a fan of direct withdrawal from our checking account.

Trust few, sleep well.

This won’t get rolling until the weekend of the 15th, but consider you forewarned. I look forward to our travelogues, even if a few readers don’t. I would still like to be a travel writer (for money) rather than almost anything else. But those jobs are few and far between.

I think everyone harbors some kind of “dream job” that we never really get after. As life’s finishing line is out there, these little forays across America allow me to Walter Middy-it.

Write when you get rich,


Coping: Gun Owner Ricochet Tables — 40 Comments

  1. I had a cop acquaintance tell me once that with a handgun, the ricochet off asphalt or concrete will be at a MUCH lower angle than you might imagine. We were talking about rounds between 9mm and 45 caliber. The subject arose in a conversation about defensive actions in a gunfight and why it’s not a good idea to take cover behind or under a vehicle when being shot at – unless of course that’s all that’s available. I’ve never tested that out, but would also be interested to see a table that shows angles that certain rounds will take bouncing off various substances.

  2. On ” time trespassers,” I call them life stealers. If I’m particularly grumpy I call them murders and proceed to explain the truth about time. My time is my life don’t waste it please.

    Anyhow, I have two Panasonic phones on the land line. The old one has a 30 number memory to block numbers and the newer one has a 60 number memory. I keep a spreadsheet of numbers that don’t leave a message. Twice and the number is blocked. Once with a sales pitch and the number is blocked.

    Great satisfaction creeps all over my body every time I see a number blocked.

  3. If it’s a live call asking a donation, I just tell him that he must talk with the financial management office in Chicago. “Please hold, and I will get them on the line in a few moments.” Then I put him on “hold” about 2 minutes. He has hung up!

  4. Bring on the travelogue, I enjoyed the flight trup up to the PNW. By the way did you ever get anywhere to figuring out where you picked up the anti aircraft fire that year?

  5. George,
    Few years ago, I kept receiving a telemarketing call from a guy with a decidedly Jamaican accent. Always wanted to “update” my online 411 info. Did a reverse number search which proved that he was using a “spoofed” cell phone number out of Vermont. So I was ready when he called again. When the call came, I answered in my most “official” sounding voice as follows: “Federal Communications Commission, Fraud Investigation Division, How may I help you?” There was a slight pause and he started to repeated his sales pitch, at which time I repeated the above, but added, “Your number has been reported as a telephone scam, how may I assist you?” in a very authoritative tone. Guy never called again. That was 6 years ago.

  6. I have an old-fashioned tape cassette type answering machine. Tired of telemarketers and ‘robo-calls’, I recorded the telephone company’s three-tone beep that indicates a ‘dead line’ to the switching gear. Following that was a simple announcement of the number you have reached, and ‘leave a message’. The calling robots will sense the tones and disconnect even before the voice announcement. Never had a telemarketer endure the tones & announcement and actually leave a message. Being that this is the political ‘silly season’ the machine has gotten quite a workout!

    • I found that tone on line and put it on my answering machine, following it with info about the number they reached, they can leave a message, case it is a legitimate call. Sometimes robos don’t listen. In one case it is the robo who calls telling me an rX is ready, so that’s okay.

      Another way to confuse robos is not to say “Hello” as they recognize the “hah” sound, but I say “This is [my name], can I help you?” To me, the ensuing silence means robo, so I hang up (they called me, they should talk and definitely not ask “who am I talking to?” because I’ll say “who are you calling? … oh, I’ll go get them” then I’ll put the phone down and ignore it)

      Even if I had number ID (I don’t want to pay the extra for it though), the most irritating call is from a customer who almost invariably loudly clears his throat before he starts to talk. Someday I’m going to ask him to repeat himself a few times, explaining I went momentarily deaf when he coughed directly in the phone.

  7. Re: Dealing with Telemarketers

    You interrupt the sales pitch and ask them simply, “Can you tell me if this a good buy?”

    They will predictably respond by saying something along the lines of, “Yes, of course this is a good buy!”

    You respond with, “Okay then, goodbye.” click

    • “That’s wonderful! Let me get a pencil and paper and pull up a chair and you can tell me all about it!” Then put the phone down somewhere you can’t hear it (and they can’t hear you) and hang it up later.

  8. I have only a cell phone, and every few years I re-register on the Do-Not-Call List. It works fairly well, but not completely. Interestingly, though, I no longer get live calls, only automated ones. After I report those in the Do-Not-Call complaints section, I rarely receive any calls for awhile, so I presume those companies have been fined. Then the calls start coming in again and I repeat the process. It’s still a nuisance, but not as much as listening to those jerks, and it makes me happy to think I can do something to make them pay for their intrusions on my privacy. I’ve heard the fines for ignoring the Do-Not-Call list are huge.

  9. If I’m not too busy, I like to play along with the “calling about your computer” callers, just up to the point of giving them remote access. Then it gets ugly – for them…

  10. I sometimes answer, “911, what is your emergency?”
    Ususally they hang up.

  11. I recall a comic strip in the mid 1960’s called Rick O’Shea. It was a western and Rick was the sherriff. He had a fastest gun in the west type guy who was a buddy and helped him out on occasion. Haven’t seen it in decades but your name brought me back. Thanks.

  12. I remember qualifying on the M14 by virtue of a ricochet off the dirt about 3ft in front of the 300 yard target knocking it down. I don’t know if it was the dirt flying against, or the shot hitting. I always figured it was the dirt, because there was a lot of it.

  13. I never answer my home phone until I hear the message being left. Telemarketers just hang up. At work when I answer the phone if there is a pause before someone starts talking I hang up. I don’t know what your recommended sales book tells people to do but there is nothing I hate more than when they ask for the owner and I ask “May I tell him who is calling?” and they give me their first name as if they were a life long friend. After the boss tells me he doesn’t know who it is, I go back and tell them they must not have made much of an impression on him since he doesn’t know WHO THE HELL THEY ARE!

  14. My favorite answer for telemarketers is to say: “I charge $150 an hour for you to talk to me. How do you wish to pay?” That call is amazingly short.

  15. for those nasty telemarketing callers- thanks to Caller ID, if I do not recognize the number (even if it is the area code I live in), I just don’t answer the call – figuring that if it is someone who wants to get ahold of us, they will leave a message.

    For the numbers that are spoofed and make me wonder if it is a number I know, when I answer I say ‘hello’ and once the telemarkter starts talking, I start talking over them in a foreign language (I can speak 3 in addition to English)…and I just keep talking like that until they hang up. I know I could just hang up but, the way the system works is that if they get a ‘live’ one then that number is fair game for future calls – so since I am not sure it is my bad but might as well have fun.

  16. George,
    While you are traveling I wonder if you would take a few seconds to look at car windshields, esp at truck stops. I remember about 45 years ago on my first drive across country that I would need to clean bug splatter off my windshield at every gas stop, and at times stopping only to clean the splatter. Last year I noticed I only had to do that once in 2,600+ miles. I’m sure you and your readers can think of all sorts of implications to this, but few (if any) are good in the long term.

    • That is very interesting, Kirk, and no the implications are not good. I have been wondering why I hardly see any of the big grasshoppers that used to scare my mother and me during the ’60’s in Southern California.

      • With good reason, some people are blaming insect-free windshields on extra radiation in the air (thanks, Fukushima, Hanford, WIPP, St. Louis, et cetera). It’s nice not to have to clean the windshields, but the price for the convenience is way too high.

    • Just went 4000 miles from Texas to California and back, nope, no extra needed stops for bugs, just plain old road dirt.

    • Minnesota still has stops for cleaning bugs, had to do it three times on the way through there last weekend

    • When telemarketers call, and I ask them to take me off their calling list and not to sell/share my phone number, etc., they always say ‘okay’. And then the very next day, next week, next month, they continue to call. So, even asking a telemarkerter to remove me does not make it so. The FCC, when I file a complaint, nothing ever gets done, just a form letter in the mail. IF you try to call the FCC and ASK to speak to someone about your complaint, you cannot SPEAK to a person. The system is set up to be online or in the mail ONLY. It does not matter if you are being harassed at 1:00 in the morning, or anytime during the day, the complaint route is the same! As far as I am concerned, the system does NOT work. Now, they have opened up cell phones to the government AND government contractors. So, basically, ALL phone numbers are wide open to ANYONE at ANYTIME!!!!

  17. About your ricochet table, did you consider a third dimension for ammo type?


  18. Hi George,

    My wife and I always enjoy reading your reports and never cease to be surprised at the many directions your mind takes you!

    I scanned some docs that deal with the safe construction of shooting ranges. There are many references to the containment of ricochets and some references to angles by caliber but not a table that you want. The authors likely have the reference tables.

    You can easily find them online. (I can send the links or the docs.) They are from the RCMP, Boy Scouts, USAF, and NSSF. You will love them – construction guidelines, engineering, angles, distances, etc. – an engineer’s wet dream!


    • I’m sure George would be interested if he’s not seen the docs already. However, the rest of us readers would be interested too, so perhaps a short list of links(if you have them already) could be posted. Most of us want to practice safely and measure our performance against known standards.

  19. I gave up mailing checks for bills over ten years ago. I pay online but not by auto pay. This way I control the outgo and have a paper trail of when I paid. Back in the check mailing days, I would send in a payment ten days in advance of due date and many times get charged a late fee, especially by the bank card thieves. I understand your concern, however, in the ten plus years doing it my way, I have had zero problems.

    • I use the electronic bill pay service provided by my credit union. Most of my payments arrive within three days of the time I post them and the credit union offers a guarantee if the postee claims problems with the payment (which has never happened). I have auto-payments set up for the large recurring bills (mortgage and auto loans), and pay the others piecemeal as they come in. This has eliminated a lot of problems I had with mailing in checks and trusting the Post Awful. Wouldn’t trust a Big Bank with this, but the track record from my credit union has been credible.

  20. Funny thing is, you can have your phone number listed under a false name in the phone book, with no address, and it works just as well as an unlisted number without the added charge for the unlisted number. That way, we know that when someone calls for a ‘Jack Smith’, it’s a cold call and we can safely tell them to F*** Off and never call again.

    See also this wonderful technique for a certain flavour of scam calls:

    Best regards…

  21. Even though you could say I’m liberal – when telemarketers call and they barely speak English – my first response is “Sorry, I can’t understand you. Goodbye.” If someone doesn’t care enough to use English so that it can be understood – well, that doesn’t say much for the quality of the service and goods they are trying to sell.

    I leave most often my phone off anyway as I value peace and quiet. I’m old fashioned like that, and take a dim view of the idea that one must be available at all times.

  22. Well over 20+ years ago I was hunting deer at a camp near San Angelo. I was down by a lake target shooting a .357. A fellow hunter wandered down from the main camp asked to shoot my weapon. I oblidged. This fellow then takes the gun points it across the lake and pulls the trigger…about a 250+ yards across the lake sits a Ford Bronco…the bullet skipped 2x on the water and imbeds in the right door. So I learned a couple of lessons that day as to the distance a handgun can cause damage, a bullet can ricochet and cause serious damage to life and property, and never let strangers handle your weapon…or your gun for that matter!(small nod to gunny and the USMC)

    • “This is your weapon, this is your gun. This one’s for fighting, this one’s for fun.”

      SFC Joseph T. Nalley A-10-1, Tank Hill 1983

      LOL ! ! !

  23. George, will be in your neck of the woods , the week your gone. Stopping in at Lackland to see son graduate. Not looking forwards to the weather.will of course check out the Alamo and river area. 73s.