Why shooting too much rounds using a sniper rifle could cause bleeding and retinal detachment?


I’ve just watched an army documentary and they mentioned that the elite snipers in the army weren’t allowed to shoot more than 60 rounds a day, otherwise it could cause them to have bleeding and retinal detachment.

ELI5 please

In: Biology

Some very large caliber rifles have an impressive muzzle blast. That is, the gas escaping the muzzle as the bullet leaves the barrel can create a fairly intense pressure wave. Some of that can be mitigated with muzzle brakes, but those add length and weight.

A particularly unpleasant .50 is like getting slapped in the face every time you fire it.

Inertia. The recoil throws your body backwards, and the push starts at your shoulder. Your shoulder is moving backwards, and pulling the rest of your body with it. Your retina has mass, and thereby takes time to ‘catch up’ with the rest of your eye/body. That stress can eventually break the link between your retina, and the rest of you.

Do you have a link to the documentary?

I have been in the Marine Corps infantry and later the firearms industry for nearing 15 years. This is the first time I have heard of something like this. I have seen plenty of people shoot far more in a day through all manner of firearms including large caliber sniper rifles.

The rifle recoils against your shoulder. Your body is rigid and a lot of force is absorbed and dissipated before it moves elsewhere. If something is accelerating your shoulder fast enough to detach a retina, you are gonna have much bigger issues along everything between your retina and where the rifle contacts your shoulder.

Keep in mind that there is a lot of bullshit that gets circulated in the military just because an NCO said it 50 years ago that is just flat wrong. I remember the claim that a 50cal will rip skin off of it passes writhing 4 inches of someone. Completely wrong but repeated often by people that should know better. I would assume that the factoid you mentioned is an example of that.

tl:dr this is total bullshit.

Do you have a source of the documentary? I do not think this is accurate. I was a machine gunner in the Marine Corps and we would fire thousands of rounds in a day. We shot everything from a pistol to the 50 cal machine gun or Mark 19. With the 240G we would blow through 60 rounds in a few seconds if you were laying down cover fire. Some weapons kicked harder than others. If you used bad techniques you would be sore or bruised the next day, but never bleeding or retinal detachment. Any rifle from a .22 varmit to the big kick of the .50 isn’t going to cause you bleeding or retinal detachment. All the snipers I trained and worked with shot .308 which would never cause anything like that; no matter how many rounds you shoot. I don’t think that is factually accurate.