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Old March 18, 2007, 06:19 PM   #1
Doug.38PR
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Shooting a tree down

When using a shotgun to shoot a tree down, will the buck or bird shot pellets bounce back or richochete in your direction?

I've blasted chunks out of trees with birdshot a long time ago, but for some reason I have this notion that the pellets can spray back into you.
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Old March 18, 2007, 07:06 PM   #2
Rembrandt
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Suppose bounce back is possible, I've never had it happen. Have used shotguns to trim out high tree limbs at the farm and around tree stands....works very well for those hard to reach places.
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Old March 18, 2007, 08:41 PM   #3
Doug.38PR
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great, going to be clearing some trees for a pond on my property. Thought it might be a little fun to take them down with my 870
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Old March 19, 2007, 09:55 AM   #4
Edward429451
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I've done it several times and never had bounce back. Just don't be too far away.
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Old March 19, 2007, 10:59 AM   #5
BillCA
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Are you serious? Or are the trees around you just a lot smaller than here?

Any substantial tree is going to take quite a few rounds to cut down. It'd be easier, cheaper and faster to resort to a chainsaw, IMO.

If you're just removing a limb or two, maybe. But we've used either a ring-saw or bow saw for limbs around tree stands.

One last comment -- if you're shooting at trees just for target practice be sure that you're not shooting into fruit trees or trees that'll be harvested for lumber. Shooting fruit trees can cause lead contamination of the next fruit. Shooting into timber stands can pose a hazard to timber workers when cutting the tree or slicing it. Years ago our local lumber supplier found a 20-gauge slug inside a 4x8 when cutting it for my doorway header.
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Old March 19, 2007, 11:13 AM   #6
chemist308
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That's awesome. I've always wanted to try this, but never actually did for fear of ricochet. I couldn't see it working with bb's though--maybe slugs. Post back with how it works. I'm definitely curious about this one.
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Old March 19, 2007, 11:31 AM   #7
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Shooting down a tree does not work well if the tree is more than a few inches thick. It splits longitudinally, not horizontally, which means the two sections you are trying to separate tend to remain joined.

Your best bet is to pump enough rounds into the tree such that the tree is weakened enough that a good gust will finally blow it over. Note that being blown over does not mean the tree is cut down. You still may have to physically cut apart the two halves. That process will be hamped by all the lead balls in the tree.
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Old March 19, 2007, 11:48 AM   #8
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half dozen of us were shooting clays in a semi wooded area, probably not that smart, but we were messing around (safely), we all fired at the same time and clipped the top off a cedar.. we all did a and then pretty much laughed our butts off...
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Old March 19, 2007, 12:31 PM   #9
Edward429451
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Smallish trees...that is true. I've never done in any tree larger than 4 or 5 inches at most. Uh, Christmas tree size trunks.
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Old March 19, 2007, 01:00 PM   #10
williamd
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Shotguns have worked well for me on trees ro 6" but used slugs to get started. No bounce/ricochet. A couple at 90 degrees may be all you need. Took top 40 ft out of a Western Larch that had a woodpecker hole and nest at a point about 60 - 80 ft up. .... 300WM and 200g softpoints! Threatened my access road so I decided to choose the time to bring it down. Did not want to fall the entire tree.
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Old March 19, 2007, 09:04 PM   #11
Maximus856
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I know some guys that use 12 gauges and '06s to get roots when putting in walkways and such. Its a bad idea to put a saw anywhere near dirt, and sometimes it's easier and quicker to just blast it out of the way instead of hacking it up with an axe, haha. As far as I know they haven't had a problem, just gotta watch your feet with the roots

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Old March 19, 2007, 09:25 PM   #12
Edward429451
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I wonder how good breaching rounds would do on a tree.
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Old March 19, 2007, 09:55 PM   #13
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I have some friends that do this, they use buck hammers, and other slugs. its more fun then practical
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Old March 19, 2007, 10:14 PM   #14
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An hour glass shaped piece of C-4 or just wrap it in Det Cord....Ooops. Sorry. That's for military...
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Old March 19, 2007, 11:49 PM   #15
musher
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Quote:
Shooting fruit trees can cause lead contamination of the next fruit. Shooting into timber stands can pose a hazard to timber workers when cutting the tree or slicing it.
cite?
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Old March 20, 2007, 09:49 AM   #16
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I have shot a couple trees down that were 4"-5" in diameter. It took me and a buddy about 50 rounds of 12g number 8 shot to get it to fall.

Just order some of these and stand back.
http://www.ammunitionstore.com/pricelist_20gauge.htm
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Old March 20, 2007, 10:41 AM   #17
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I've used shotguns to finish off branches, way up high, that were damaged by storms but still hung up. Never heard of lead in a fruit tree trunk leaching into the sap, and collecting in the fruit, I'd need to see some documentation before I believe that one.

Any metal in a tree can cause damage to saws and sometimes the sawyer. That is why environmental wacko's spike trees in old growth forests.
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Old March 20, 2007, 01:32 PM   #18
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I have done this for the past few years around my home and i find that for the really high up smaller branches 1-2 inches in thickness. I use my .22 with hollow points usually takes them down in 2-3 shots. I havent tried with a larger caliber or on larger branches as of yet.
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Old March 20, 2007, 02:01 PM   #19
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Funny I stumbled upon this thread. Just got back from our newly purchased property in south Texas, where this wooded 15 acre or so area has been bothering me. The original owners left it uncleared for their cattle, but it's gotten way out of hand. I want to do a bit of "light" clearing next time I go back. What shot size do you fellas recommend for the smaller stuff?
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Old March 20, 2007, 02:14 PM   #20
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WWII reports have there being "cones" of cleared vegetation in front of machinegun nests, but for 15 acres, that might be overkill. You need a good BB machinegun, ideally powered by an air compressor.
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Old March 20, 2007, 02:28 PM   #21
oldbillthundercheif
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My best wood-clearing firearm was a .454 Super Redhawk. I never fired at a tree thick enough to stop the heavy CorBon loads... they always just blew on through leaving a large, badly splintered hole.

12ga slugs also work well for tree-removal, but I've been less than impressed by buckshot's penetration in solid wood. You can blow off big chunks if you are close enough but who wants to be that close to an unstable tree?

Not me. I'll take my shots from where there is no danger of being crushed by falling timber.
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Old March 20, 2007, 02:44 PM   #22
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Just to be the devil's advocate for a moment... Might we all consider what we're discussing here? In several posts, I seem to visualise a shot being fired into the air, at a tree branch, at an upward angle... Anyone else seeing a problem with this little practice? Such as... a stray bullet coming down somewhere miles away? What happened to "Know your backdrop"?
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Old March 20, 2007, 03:05 PM   #23
Hedley
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^Well, I was under the assumption that we were talking about clearing trees on rural property where bird hunting also takes place. Don't know about clearing branches with a .22 though.
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Old March 20, 2007, 03:53 PM   #24
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I was rather amazed at how far a .270 win round can go through the woods. I was sighting in my featherweight this fall, targets were set infront of a small woods before it raises into a hill. The lead went through about 3 or 4, 4" little trees before stoping, that's after 100 yards ..., be sure of what's beyond the target...
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Old March 26, 2007, 06:24 PM   #25
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Hey 1badF350 Are there any restrictions on the purchase of those explosive rounds? I looked around on the site but didn't see anything. Anyone else who want to help me out is also welcome
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