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Fellows, I was in the business as you know for a number of years. There never was a lot of money in it, but it led to some excellent adventures and meeting some exquisite friends.

Now that I have no monkey, the organ grinds not. So I can tell you stuff now. Unbelievable stories of slim escape and lessons learned. Here's the first one. There's more coming. You can't make up this stuff.


Shooters Run Lane


I’m not making up that name, either. That was the name of the road we were on. Fate has a sick sense of humor, doesn’t it?

I bought my first M2HB semi-auto from TNW Firearms. She performed flawlessly under my most demanding requirements. But, pushing the envelope as I am prone to do, I wanted to do something that had not been done before. Now, there are a gazillion of these weapons out there for almost as many years, so innovation has been examined by many an ‘expert’.
The M2HB Semi-auto was begging for a hand-rotated trigger group. I called the fellow that made them for the 1919A4 and he assured me that he had no intention of making them. Great, I don’t want to go into a narrow market that is already being serviced.
So I designed the MO-AT, the “Mother Of All Triggers”.
The prototype was exquisite. And because I couldn’t bring myself to cheapen it, we went into production with just that, which made them expensive, but as some might report, worth it.
Oh, the prototype………that’s what this is about. One of my sub-contract shops( which made the camshafts) is owned by a gentleman named Jim Huber. He’s a Damn Yankee, Ex Marine, grumpy sometimes and a Morman. Jim is both kind and talented. I needed to test the prototype and he said he had a great place, on Shooters Run Lane, New Kent, VA
On the way down, I called the Sherriff’s Office and told them we were shooting, and if this thing works well, it’s going to sound like World War Three. I gave them my cellphone number and the nice lady thanked me for the heads-up. That’s how it’s done in this County. Chill.
The MO-AT performed better than I had ever dreamed. With only moderate determination and a steady hand, the weapon would fire in excess of the design rate of fire.
When we finished applauding the result, I started to pack up for the trip back to the lab. My cell phone rang. The Sherriff called to ask if he could send a Deputy to where we were shooting. I gladly gave him the address and continued to pack up. The deputy rolled up looking reluctant to get out of the car. He asked if we were finished. When I told him yes, he said “Good”. I heard a problem in his tone. He asked to see our target, a berm at 50 yards that was eight feet depressed, so presumably safe. He said “You missed”. My heart sank. The little voices, (this time an old submariner friend) said “standby for a rammin’ “

The deputy reported that there is a high school baseball field one-half mile down range through the woods and that a few rounds had landed on the field during practice. Apparently they ricocheted off the berm and lobbed in there. He said it was like Columbine all over again, first the sound of gunfire and then here come the bullets.
My first reaction was to go to the ballfield and express my regrets. The Sherriff, by phone advised against that and mentioned the words ’lynch mob’. He asked me to go home and wait for a phone call. The call came. The Sherriff’s Office conferred with the County Prosecutor and they decided that it was an accident with no injuries and the matter was closed. They did ask that I not shoot there again tomorrow night because of a game being played. He further advised that if I did, there would be a mob that they could not control. I never did any shooting there again.
I learned a couple of things from this and it led to new products.
I learned that when shooting the M2HB one must be sure of the backstop and what’s behind the backstop for six miles.
I learned that the M-63 mount is not suitable for sustained fire because of an offset force vector/ moment arm that induces the weapon to climb. With the addition of an hydraulic over air cylinder, I solved the climb problem, but never pursued it as marketable.

Can you imagine the outcome if just one kid got thumped on the shoulder by a falling round?

Ryland
 

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Thank you for relaying that incident Ryland. Like your friend I am a damn Yankee, ex-Marine, am grumpy sometimes, and a Mormon. I'm also a retired cop who feels that he enjoyed a productive career, who loves to shoot most anything that takes cartridges and who gets tired of the over-generalized cop bashing that happens occasionally on this board. I hope you found out what kind of adult beverage that sheriff was most fond of and sent a case as a "thank you". A little bit different attitude on either side of your interaction with the sheriff and his deputy could have turned into your gear and gun taken into evidence and you into custody pending a bail hearing. Studied reason on both sides gave you a much different outcome.

Rant over. Point taken on being aware of your backstop and what is behind it - doubly so with a big fifty.
 

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Ryland,
Hey thanks for posting that. I am hopefully soon start building several M2HB's and that reminded me to make sure of the impact area is safe. I live way out in the country but there are houses and people around , So I am going to look at google map to make sure its nothing but woods for miles in the direction of the rounds downrange. And before I do shoot I will take a look into the valley I usually shoot into. The info on the M63 mount is helpful too cause I was planning on using mine also. Thanks again Ryland and it was good hearing from you

ajmdreammg42
 

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we had a similar but not the same event - shooting a Barrett M82A1 as a demo / training at a nuclear power plant, firing into range built into a hill comprised of dirt filled tires at the base of the hill. Hill was approximately 150 higher, heavily wooded with big trees. Over the hill about 200 yrds away was the dry cask spent fuel storage pad, surrounded by a 30 ft berm etc.. Firing from a range of less than 50 yards. Got a radio call of a "problem" . Seems several slugs had landed on the concrete pad in the storage area. Needless to say it was a big deal, although not really a big threat, but anything like this is a big deal in the Nuclear industry. Up side was, the site got a new range out of the deal..... Corrective action program follow on. I never could figure out how the slugs got there ( well beyond the obvious), but there they were.
 

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I have shot a couple of hundred rounds of 50 BMG ball ammo out of my AR50 with never a thought that the rounds might not be going where I thought they were. I had a few rounds of tracer that the owner of a range I occasionally shoot at let me shoot. I was firing at a berm at 300 yds that was at least 10 feet high 20 feet wide and probably 15 feet thick. EVERYONE of the rounds I fired into that berm ricocheted off into no mans land. I only realized they were bouncing off because they were tracer rounds. I quit shooting it because I had no idea where those rounds were landing, kinda scary.
 

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I'm sure I am speaking for everyone here. We welcome and hope for more of the stories Ryalnd.

Welcome back


r
 

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Excellent story, Look forward to more.
Another Damn Yankee,grumpy most of the time, but I have had a fifty bullet come back over the top of us at the range and land behind us. ( I was with a good cop friend of mine) We decided we needed a longer range to fire at so we moved.

Steamer
 

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A .50 is just a special brand of fun! I was shooting my semi M2 at 50 yards and at the base of the back stop. My ammo was APIT. One round ricocheted up and back landing 10 to 15 yards away to my right and a little rear still burning the tracer. That was my last round down range, at that range!
 

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Ever have one come out of your backstop and come right back at you? Was shooting a test dshk at my short range sand pile right outside the shop. Tracer rounds, just because it was handy at the time and the bullet entered at the base of the pile. It burrowed up and out and still had a little bit of momentum to it and the tracer ignited. It tumbled end over end with the thrust of the the burning element propelling it and traveled straight back the 20 yards to rest against the shop and try to burn the siding. It wasn't traveling fast as I was able to step out of the way to avoid it by stepping aside but It was mesmerizing to watch. I did have to kick it away from the siding until it finished burning, saved it for my collection.
 

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Good to hear from you, Ryland. Especially since it wasn't a collect call from a jail. ;)

Don't have a fifty, but I've been spattered a few times by bullet fragments.:eek:

It's never a pleasant sensation.
 

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Fellow in PA had the State police show up on the range. He was firing API and counting the ignited rounds in the backstop to be certain where they went. Long after they were done firing the .50 the state police showed up with an intact .50 projectile in a zip lock baggie of a different type than he was firing. Homeowner several miles away had this intact round suppossedly travel through several sections of his house before stopping. The owner of the .50 pointed out it was a different round than he had been firing. The home owner just wanted someone to fix the damage to his house. The troopers explained to the .50 owner that if he did not take responsibility for the round and repairs they would have to confiscate his M2HB semi (over $5,500 at the time) to check its rifling againat the projectile they had. The .50 owner calculated the confiscation of his firearm, the cost of the lawyer and all the crazy stuff that could follow a possible arrest and wrote the check for $2,000 to fix the man's home. He said the homeowner was real nice about it. The police under the circumstances were even decent considering how they could have handled it (and in many places would have handled it) But it did burn him to pay for someone elses mistake or carelessness.
 

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...thank you...

...very much,Ryland. The above told incidence's are exactly why I have not been able to 'play' with my FA M2HB anywhere around here. Too many folks,too much flat land and not willing to push the issue. You either learn the hard way...when you make mistakes...or the easy way...by listening and learning from the mistakes of others. It dosen't take a 'rocket-scientist' to figure those things out. Good to hear from you again. Stay safe...load up....
 

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Don't have a .50 either, but you don't need one to get surprised. While shooting on a properly constructed and baffled 100 yard range an ex-Marine asked to shoot a few rounds. After a quick safety talk he started to fire, we were using M2 Ball he managed to hit one of the steel columns or some other part of the baffle and the jacket flew back cut through my pants and cut my leg above the knee, you just never know.
 

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Also don't have a 50cal. but I've been around them and have more storys about them than I care to count and I'm not going to put them down in writeing.. I manage to P!ss off enough folks around me as it is..LOL!!!

50 cal. did change "How the World Turns" at one club I belonged to...
 

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Very nice honest report, even if after the fact Ryland. I had similar experiences when shooing mine on my hunting land. We had what I considered t a fairly safe backstop made up of clay, mud, and about 20 tree stumps we had bulldozed out and piled up at 100 + yards downrange. Beyond that was over a mile of wooded land to the east and 2 miles to the north. I still got reports of ricochets landing in someones back yard to the east of us, and we had a few go airborne right inside the camp area maybe 100 yards upwards. Needless to say I do not shoot the 50 there any longer. Just seemed like a bad idea after that.
 

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Ryland,
Thanks for relaying that information here. I can certainly appreciate and relate to your experience with the .50 as I organize and conduct shoots here, and although we do have 6 miles of downrange clearance it amazes me that even at over 1,000 yards a .50bmg is still capable of richocheting a very considerable distance to exceed 500 yards. For this reason I have refused to demo a .50 at ranges that are not specifically designed to handle it. As Shooters it is our responsibility to ensure that we conduct our business/hobby in such a fashion so as not bring it under fire more than there already is.
Frank in Ga.
 

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Ryland,
As Shooters it is our responsibility to ensure that we conduct our business/hobby in such a fashion so as not bring it under fire more than there already is.
Frank in Ga.
Wise words and words to live by. Frank couldn't have said it any better than this. :thumbup:
CaptMax
 

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Ft Knox & Knob Creek...

Ryland and company, Ft Knox surrounds Knob Creek and seems to feel the same way about strays. Knob creek will only allow 'shoot thru' targets at the machinegun shoots. Cars are allowed but only with out a motor, drive train and rear end. As Ryland said 'you cant make this stuff up'!
 

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Well... To address the elephant in the room, are you traveling up to "Yankee Land" this Friday and Saturday?
 
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