HAWAII KAI, Hawaii (KHON2) — Oahu gun owners should take note of some upcoming temporary restrictions at the Koko Head Shooting Complex.
Bullets larger than .22 caliber will not be allowed at north-facing gun ranges starting on Wednesday, Aug. 24 after a ricochet incident.
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The Department and Parks and Recreation said the ricochet was believed to be from a large-caliber bullet striking a dormant slug, which then ricocheted into the window of a parked car.
“It was a bit of a shock to us, but that’s again why we’re taking this measure is to implement the .22 caliber restriction,” said DPR spokesman Nate Serota. “Caliber tends to be the size of the bullets, so if you look at .22 caliber is significantly smaller-sized bullets.”
Caliber also plays into how fast the bullet travels, Serota said.
“So because the bullet is smaller, the casing is smaller and there’s less gunpowder in it, so it tends to travel at a lower speed,” Serota said.
The improvements are to fortify the berms on north-facing ranges; The berms serve as the backdrop behind the targets that gun owners aim at. Officials said one of the first rules of gun safety is not just looking at the target before pulling the trigger, but looking at what is behind the target.
“So that’s what we’re looking at with these berms, is that’s the backdrop really to these targets,” Serota said. “So, make sure that the bullets stay within the range and don’t go outside of the range.”
The caliber restriction at north-facing gun ranges (pistol, rifle and silhouette ranges) will go into effect on Aug. 24, one owner said he came out to get through his larger rounds on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
“Well, that’s the reason why I’m here today. I’m going to get through as much rounds with my 9 millimeter, kind of zero in the pistol,” said Makiki resident Randall Ho. “And, well, I have a .22 pistol, so I mean, I’ll still be good.”
The Hawaii Rifle Association agreed that improvements at Koko Head are needed, but adding a temporary caliber limit will not stop every ricochet.
“The chances of, you know, a round hitting another round that was buried in the ground, I think that’s way lower than it just hitting a rock because the backstops aren’t designed well,” said Kainoa Kaku, Hawaii Rifle Association president.
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The restriction will be in place until October when the entire complex is scheduled to close for about one month until the berms are improved.