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Old 12-30-2009, 07:37 PM   #1
'65beauty
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Angry Hello Boys....need some info. <3

I am inquiring about a situation I have with my neighbor.

It has to do with his vehicle so where better to post a question right?

He claims that my son shot his headlights out with a BB gun. at 200 feet. (aprox) - well that's where our property line is in relation to his vehicle so I'm assuming that's is where he's saying it happened from.

I've been told that even IF my son was able to squarely hit a headlight at that distance, it's iffy if he'd be able to penetrate the glass. He'd also have to be an excellent marksman. (especially with a rusted out red rider bb gun - a toy and the ONLY bb gun we own)

I have not seen documentation as to where the headlight was hit.

A few professionals (one auto body, one parts manager) have said that is IS POSSIBLE that he could have had the glass punctured, but the lights still worked - until either

1. The lamps were on for a period of time (IE driving home, or around at night) Initially.... creating heat, then being cooled by being shut off, and creating moisture that would cause the lamps to then fail.....

2. OR that they could have been on for days working fine until road moisture, snow rain, or whatever got inside the headlight and caused it to go out.

He claims that it happened between the hours of 9pm and 6am one night, (oddly enough the exact times my son was home) and that he went out at 6am, turned his headlights on and they came on, then went out.



Are we off base?

What is your opinion?
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:31 PM   #2
MagicRat
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Re: Hello Boys....need some info. <3

Welcome to AF.

As a gun enthusiast, auto enthusiast and a parent. I can tell you your neighbor is simply picking a fight, and is using you lack of knowledge in the area to intimidate you.

First of all, bb guns have awful ballistics. They are very low power and inaccurate. It's extremely difficult to hit anything at 200 ft because the bb would not travel in a straight line. It's too slow.The bb would travel in an arc, as gravity pulled it down to the ground. So you would have to aim above the target and hope for the best.

There are some rifled pellet guns that fire .177 pellets, which are more accurate. But even those would require a lot of skill to hit a headlight at that range. Chances are, too, there would be other signs on the car of missed shots, like tiny chips or marks on the paint, grille etc.

Next, these bb guns or air rifles do not have the power to break a headlight at 200 ft. Headlights are built strong enough to resist small rocks and stones thrown up by other vehicles at highway speed. A bb has little power or mass and would simply bounce off a headlight at 200 ft,

IMO it is MUCH more likely that your neighbor either encountered a shower of stones thrown up by another vehicle while driving, or was the victim of vandalism.
Maybe he cut someone off when driving or argued over a parking space..... and the other party waited until he was out of sight then broke a headlight.
This kind of vandalism is common, and usually results in key scratches on a car, broken lights or slashed tires. It happens to people I know occasionally.

Such vandalism can even be random, someone is just mad at the world and takes it out on other people's property.

IMO unless your neighbor has proof, like pictures or video, he is simply being an ass and a bad neighbor. IMO some people have no clue how to behave and how to treat other people. Any enlightened homeowner knows you must be good to your neighbor and not pick fights. An ongoing fuel with a neighbor can ruin his life at home.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:36 PM   #3
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Re: Hello Boys....need some info. <3

What kind of headlamps are on his car? Are they sealed beams or the type that take capsules? If capsules, they could have worked for several days with a hole in the lens as the second scenario presented by the professionals you quote above suggest. when the neighbor allows you to view the damage, take a look at the hood and windshield for evidence of gravel chips. Gravel to a glass headlamp could leave a whole very similar to what a BB would do. And if the lens is already broken, suggest you have your marksman son take another shot at them to see if the BB gun can actually hit them that far away and cause damage. If the glass is already broken (weak), a second shot should nearly shatter them. If the BB doesn't make it to them, or bounces off, you should be able to convince him that it wasn't the BB gun that did the damage.

-Rod
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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Re: Hello Boys....need some info. <3

Quote:
Originally Posted by shorod View Post
And if the lens is already broken, suggest you have your marksman son take another shot at them to see if the BB gun can actually hit them that far away and cause damage. If the glass is already broken (weak), a second shot should nearly shatter them. If the BB doesn't make it to them, or bounces off, you should be able to convince him that it wasn't the BB gun that did the damage.
With great respect to Rod's suggestion, do not do this. This is a legal issue, not a ballistics issue. The burden of proof for this incident lies with the accuser, the neighbor. Do not let yourself be conned into defending yourself on this, EVER because it sounds as if the neighbor has absolutely NO evidence, and his story, as you describe it, is highly implausible. Any such action as suggested above may be implied as an admission of guilt, and would be a big headache for you.

If he has no proof, like videos or a picture, do not discuss this further with him. Tell him he has no evidence of any kind and the issue is therefore, closed for you.

Also, just in case this is part of a larger feud, advise your son to have nothing to do with the neighbor, either. He should not speak to him, nor go on his property for any reason, and stop shooting the gun off in the back yard (if he ever did in the first place). It may be a good idea to take the gun away altogether, and if he wants to use it, he should do so only under your supervision.
Good luck
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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Re: Hello Boys....need some info. <3

Haha. what an ass of a neighbor that guy is. Like they already said, you would have to like, have REDICULOUSLY good aim to be able to hit ANYTHING with a bb gun from 200 feet away. dont even worry about it. like they said just drop the issue altogether and ignore that neighbor.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: Hello Boys....need some info. <3

Were the headlights shattered or merely punctured with a hole? I'll agree with MagicRat that a BB gun, even a multipump air rifle (a misnomer since most don't have rifling) at ~200 feet just doesn't have a) the accuracy, and b) if lucky enough to even hit it, the power to shatter a glass headlight. If it did any damage, it would knock a small hole into it. Modern polycarbonate lenses wouldn't even be damaged...maybe a dent or small crack if it were weathered enough.

Tell him that what happened to him was awful but you and your son had nothing to do with it. If by chance your son or his friends did do it, hopefully he's man enough to admit his mistake...that's part of growing up.

And if he wants proof of how hard it is to shoot, ask if he'll hold a headlight in his teeth while you shoot at it...kidding. Hope this helps!
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