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I have a hard time believing that a bullet hitting a rock could start a fire like this. This theory did come from the Utah Bureau of Land Management after all and something tells me they aren't exactly firearms experts.
 

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Saratoga Springs...Utah!?
 

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It'd depend on the actual bullet.

If it was made with a non-ferrous metal, then it won't spark.
 

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Someone has watched too many movies where every bullet sends up a shower of sparks on impact......
If they were shooting tracers, or incendiary ammo, yes, they could start a fire, no question. A spark might even come from steel core ammo, or bi-metal (I kind of doubt that one but I'm not 100% sure what the metallurgy of the bi-metal bullet is), but no way in hell did it come from a lead core/copper jacket round.
 

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Gee I thought Bush started it
 

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I can't see ammo doing this unless it was a tracer or incendiary round. Another one for Mythbusters to (dis)prove I suppose.
 

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steel core mil surplus MIGHT do it maybe if the backstop was a huge flint rock, cant think of any standard otherwise that would
 

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Y'gotta think that all but the stupidest person shooting would notice the start of a fire and put it out.

I don't buy the 'bullet bouncing' thought either.
At least no more than I believe every missed shot goes 'peewwww' off into the air, uzi bullets bounce and spark off glass, or that Josey Wales using a gatling gun on 20 redlegs on horseback can kill all 20 men, yet doesn't hit horse one.

If tracer, even bubba knows to watch where them there purty lights go flicking off to and to go pee or dump beer on it if it smolders something.
You know, 'cause its usually shootin' in his yard and he knows the first thing to burn down is his own house....

Been to enough shoots in arid/dry environs to know you actually have to try to get a fire going with a tracer, and even with heavy volumes of it going downrange (like 50 guys hosing the brushline) odds are still stacked against a fire actually occuring.

Now id one were using a .50cal armor piercing incendiary tracer at optimal distance and target, yet, you 'may' get something going if you managed to make a WP splurt on impact that sprayed on brush or something.
I mean even those rounds don't gaurentee a fire either, even if shooting a vehicles gas tank, and that's thier whole purpose and design.
 
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