Skip to main content

Man Drops Dumbbell on .22 Cartridge, Shoots Self

502px-TwoDumbbellsThe Modesto Bee reported that a 56-year-old Modesto man was shot Wednesday night while weightlifting inside his residence. But the shooting didn't stem from a domestic violence incident, a home invasion or even an errant bullet from a drive-by shooting. According to the man's statement to police, he was shot when he accidentally dropped a dumbbell onto a .22 caliber cartridge.

Modesto Police were dispatched to the 600 block of Ninth Street at about 9:15 p.m. When police arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

The man claimed, "The weight of the dumbbell activated the propellant powder in the bullet," which shot him in his shoulder.

Modesto Police Officer Chris Adams was skeptical of the man's account but acknowledged it was possible that impact to the rim of this type of cartridge could have caused the bullet to fire in the direction it was pointing.

Investigation at the scene of the shooting revealed no firearm, only an expended .22 caliber casing. The man's neighbors told police they did not see anyone running from the man's residence.

The case was closed as a "suspicious circumstance."

As a police officer, I would be highly suspicious of this man's story. It would be interesting to inspect the casing that investigators found at the scene and to see if the man's wound was consistent with having been caused by a bullet fired from a nearly vertical upward trajectory, as would have had to occur if the man's story were true.

Of course, we all know that if an object impacts the rim of a rimfire cartridge, the priming compound could ignite the powder in the cartridge. In fact, this is how a rimfire cartridge is designed to be fired — with the firing pin striking the rim. However, without the round being chambered in a firearm, the gasses that would typically propel the bullet from the barrel would be dissipated such a degree that it would seem insufficient to fire the bullet.

Even though the man's story is conceivable, it seems highly unlikely. What are the chances of the cartridge being oriented in such a way as to shoot him in the shoulder or for the dumbbell to fall precisely as it would have had to in order to initiate the far-fetched chain of events that lead to the man being shot?

I've heard stories of "intellectually challenged" folks striking the rim of a rimfire cartridge with a hammer and having a piece of the casing fly through the air. But for the bullet to actually travel any considerable distance or with enough force to injure seems unlikely -- I'm no scientist though, so don't try this at home.

Just to be safe, I'd recommend keeping ammunition in another room when working on your "guns."

Do you believe the man's story?

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

The people asked and Trijicon answered. Introducing the RMRcc miniature red-dot sight for compact, concealed-carry pistols. Trijicon's new RMRcc features the durability and reliable controls that have made the RMR so successful, but its reduced dimensions make the “Concealed Carry” model better suited for the popular small-frame pistols designed for discreet carry and personal defense.

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Jeremy Stafford traveled to Gunsite Academy to compare the speed of stock sights against express, three-dot, suppressor-height and red dot sights.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now