Skip to comments.Errant Bullet Travels 1.5 Miles, Kills Amish Girl
Posted on 12/20/2011 9:38:28 AM PST by TSgt
FREDERICKSBURG, Ohio -- An Ohio sheriff says a man cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle accidentally shot and killed a 15-year-old Amish girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away.
Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said Tuesday that the accident occurred Thursday night when a man fired his loaded rifle to clean it. He says the victim, Rachel Yoder of Fredericksburg, was nearly 1.5 miles away when she was shot in the head.
No charges have been filed.
Yoder was shot while traveling to her home in adjacent Wayne County, between Columbus and Akron. She was riding alone after attending a Christmas party for employees, most under 18 years old, who work at an Amish produce farm.
What gives it away, the fact that they're rebuking you by referencing a television show or the fact that they did so sincerely and fully believing that what they see on television is in any way, shape, form or fashion a reflection of the truth?
I learned quick, fast and in a hurry that TV programming only has a passing acquaintance with the Truth and then only enough to attempt to discredit it; the print media is even worse, especially those who claim to be "unbiased" and "factual".
Don’t forget that buffalo hunter William Dixon killed a Comanche warrior at 1,500 yards with an aimed shot during the Second Battle of Adobe Walls while using a black powder Sharps buffalo rifle.
I'm sure he knew that all guns are always loaded.
That did not help however.
no. There is a plastic sabot
The Mythbusters did an episode on free falling bullets. IIRC, they concluded that a bullet shot straight up would not be lethal on a free fall trajectory, but, I believe they did conclude that a bullet returning to the earth in a normal trajectory could be lethal. The primary difference being a free fall bullet would be tumbling and have less velocity where as a bullet returning on trajectory would likely still be spinning and have greater velocity.
Still, in this case, I suspect we may hear more to this story. It seems too improbable to me for a black powder projectile, even a sabot, to carry this far. Suppose the wind would need factored in, but still....
plastic sabots on the rifled ones.
Maybe times have changed, but I was taught that firing a rifle requires it to be cleaned. To think of all that time I could have saved...
You, like most of us, were taught how to clean a breach-loading rifle. Muzzleloaders are a whole different beast and can't be cleaned in the same way a breach-loader can be cleaned.
Believe me, I’m reading every single comment, trying to sort all this out. It’s amazing the level of expertise FReepers bring to such subjects.
I still find it hard to believe the guy fired in the air, or whatever, w’out knowing where the round might go. I was raised by a huge, massive, mega-gun loving/owning father, and he would have kicked this guy’s butt so bad he’d need pillows to sit down on for a month.
As always, a news article about a firearm is woefully lacking in information.
I wasn't aware that a Sharps Rifle was a Muzzle-loader, I thought it was a breech-loading black powder cartridge rifle. If that's the case, then I'd say we're still dealing with apples and oranges here.
Someone brought me a pistol that had sat for years loaded. I made a grease fitting with the same threads as the nipple and shoved the load out with a grease gun.
this is a black powder firearm. If it is a brown bess firing a 3/4” lead ball, it is probably lethal in freefall. If it is a ten gauge black powder shotgun firing a .775” diameter lead ball, it is probably lethal in freefall.
My friends who play with front stuffers (flint lock Hawkens guns) don’t use plastic sabots (they’re purists).
Some of the worst offenders of gun basics that I have seen are Cops.
Its amazing that some people can be so stupid.
I saw one ahole shooting in the river with a rifle upsream toward a bridge.
I called him on it and he declared he was a Cop and he knew what he was doing “I’m shooting the water, not the bridge!”
I said have you ever skipped a stone numbnuts?
I agree. I don’t think it would be able to travel that far. It seems it would arc and lose a great deal of power before going that far.
I find this unbelievable.
then they use a cloth patch.
And if you forget to put a powder charge in behind your ball?
There has always been a way to unload a muzzle loader without firing. It's called a worm. It screws onto the end of your ramrod and you use it to pull the ball.
A patched round ball does not have rifling marks - the marks are on the patch that drops off a short distance in front o the rifle.
A saboted round also does not have rifling marks - marks are on the sabot just like the patched round ball.
A slug round operates on the minnie ball principle and will have the rifling marks.
Uhhh... All bullets drop with the same acceleration (9.8m/s^2). In fact, neglecting air resistance, if you fired a bullet horizontally and dropped another simultaneously, they would hit the ground at the same time. If your rifle is about 4’10” off the ground and horizontal (1.5 meters), ANY bullet you fire will hit the ground about .55s after it is fired (once again neglecting air resistance, sloped ground, etc.). The primary difference in their ballistic performance, aside from air resistance, is the horizontal speed (which determines how far they get in that .55s).
Now, obviously, we can’t ignore air resistance. But when you consider that (just doing the math) a muzzle-loader with a muzzle velocity of about 420 m/s held at 45 degrees from horizontal has a theoretical maximum range of ~57,500 ft (or 10.8 miles), even if we divide that distance by 4 or 5 to account for air resistance, we can still get 1.5 miles pretty easily...
Yes, who could forget that!
(At least I know what the battle of Adobe Walls was, where and who.)
I found myself wondering if a jilted teenage “suitor” had been riding along...got out...shot her...and walked away.
The suspicious mind does wander...
Mile and a half? Sorry...do not believe this....manslaughter or negligible homicide or something similar should be what happens.
This is a patch puller not a ball puller.
And as someone who has shot firearms all my life, I am telling you that CSI is BULLSH*T if they portray "bullet-matching" techniques as applicable to muzzle-loading arms. It is hard enough to get a bullet fragment from a rifle to match the barrel; usually the only recourse is neutron activation or other mass spectrographic technique.
Furthermore: I doubt most people on FR even realize that black powder arms ARE NOT FIREARMS, at least by the FedGov's definition.
Only people who shoot black powder firearms.
The gun MUST be fired before the bore can be cleaned...a messy operation.
NRA did a much more exhaustive study during WWII. Bullets fired straight up,, something like 80% tumble and fall presenting very little hazard. The other 20% maintain their spin and return to earth base first,, still spinning,, and are deadly.
And anything fired from around 45 degrees angle,, returns to earth at etreme range, very close to muzzle velocity.
The worm is used for cleaning - and retrieving lost patches - not for bullet pulling.
Here is the screw.
I once saw an article in a gun magazine on maximum range of bullets. The only one I remember was the .22LR would not quite make a mile despite the warnings on the box, also that most pistol bullets had a very short maximum range.
I am pretty sure tho that some of the big heavy lead bullets had a surprisingly long range. I don’t doubt that the story is correct. A lot of things affect range such as wind direction and speed.
My shot balls always had the rifling marks left by the patch.
In case you want to do the math for yourself:
Vertical Velocity = Muzzle Velocity * sin (angle)
Horizontal Velocity = Muzzle Velocity * cos (angle)
Time to reach ground = 2 * Vertical Velocity / Acceleration of gravity (9.8 m/s^2)
Distance traveled during time in flight = Horizontal Velocity * Time to reach ground
I’m sure someone on this thread can give us some decent estimates of the rate of velocity lost due to air resistance, and we can recalculate. I don’t think it’s that far-fetched...
“I thought it was a breech-loading black powder cartridge rifle. If that’s the case, then I’d say we’re still dealing with apples and oranges here.”
Whether loaded at the breech or barrel, what counts is the size of the black powder charge. A black powder cartridge rifle has no more potential power than a muzzleloader using a similar charge. It’s just more convenient to load and carry ammo.
i dont think those ranges are right for the 300wby. mine can actually hit a target at 800 yards, on the range, and i am not aiming up anywhere near 45 degrees. so that gun, my guess, would easily fire miles. i heard 7 miles in hunter safety but dont know if thats right.
1500 yards is about 3400 feet short of a mile and a half.
My .50 (actually .495) is air powered.
See Quackenbush Air Guns...
no they can’t.
You need to know the ballistic coefficient of the projectile.
1,500 yards is a little less than a mile.
Note: all values for my equations should be in meters and seconds... one inch = 2.54 cm
The elevation required for controlled, accurate 3/4 mile shots was not extreme, and the lethality of the projectile at double that distance is pretty much certain. Sadly this indeed may be an idiot accident.
Amish women, especially younger women and girls, often drive buggies alone - it's not at all uncommon among the Ohio Amish communities.
My reckoning was that if you are out farting around with a black powder rifle now, you are most likely whitetail deer hunting. Everyone I know that hunts deer with blackpowder uses a .50 Saboted, conical shaped projectile.
In much of the midwest, deer can only be hunted with bow, shotgun, muzzle loader and some pistols to avoid this very thing from happening. Population is too dense to use large center fire rifle loads.
I imagine the Mythbusters crew felt the same way about their cannon.
The Sharps is a breech loader, but it is still a black powder rifle. During the 1874 Creedmore Match, the US and Irish marksmen were regularly hitting the bullseye at 1,000 yards (the furthest target available at the match), with one American scoring thirty-six bullseyes and nine centers with his forty-five shots for an amazing 171 out of 180 points possible.
It may be a dumb accident but he still killed the girl through his reckless conduct.
He needs to be held accountable in some way.
This is a “depraved-heart murder” due to his gross negligence.
It’s unusual, to say the least.
4,000 foot pounds of knock down.
There will be microtagent residue imbedded in the base of the bullet, imprints of the patch (rifling traces on the ball would identify the land count and twist even through a patch), if it was a Minié ball, rifling can be read out directly as from any other firearm, if it was a sabot round the sabot will have a unique impression of the ball and an equally unique set of rifling/barrel marks, the rod would leave a unique impression on the ball, the trace elements in the lead can narrow the bullet down to a single melt batch/casting pour, trace DNA could identify anyone who ever touched the bullet, there might be traces of marks from a resizing die or the original casting mold, residual lubricants might be unique to that shooter's preferences and usage history on that fire arm.
I'm pretty sure those skilled in the art can add to my list.
What have you got to support your assertion that "Theres no way to know the shot came from THAT firearm."
Please, do enlighten me.
football shaped projectiles will tumble when they fall below a certain velocity. Tumbling increases drag by an order of magnitude at least.