Home alone, the nine-year-old next door discharged his father's deer
rifle in the house. The bullet went through the wall of the house and
the Masonite siding of my garage. A plank a couple of inches behind the
Masonite stopped it.
Is it better to repair or replace the Masonite?
Presumably it went thru a layer of sheetrock, some insulation (or maybe a
2x4), some Tyvex, 2" of brick, maybe a mile or more of air, before hitting
Then, too, it could have acted like this:
--- begin quote
First thing out of the barrel of Reacher's Barrett was a blast of hot gas.
The powder in the cartridge exploded in a fraction of a millionth of a
second and expanded to a super-heated bubble. That bubble of gas hurled the
bullet down the barrel and forced ahead of it and around it to explode out
into the atmosphere. Most of it was smashed sideways by the muzzle brake in
a perfectly balanced radial pattern, like a doughnut, so that the recoil
moved the barrel straight back against Reacher's shoulder without deflecting
it either sideways or up or down. Meanwhile, behind it, the bullet was
starting to spin inside the barrel as the rifling grooves grabbed at it.
Then the gas ahead of the bullet was heating the oxygen in the air to the
point where the air caught fire. There was a brief flash of flame and the
bullet burst out through the exact center of it, spearing through the burned
air at nineteen hundred miles an hour. A thousandth of a second later, it
was six feet away, and its sound was bravely chasing after it, three times
The bullet took five hundredths of a second to cross the [parade ground], by
which time the sound of its shot had just passed Reacher's ears and cleared
the ridge of the roof. The bullet had a hand-polished copper jacket and it
was flying straight and true, but by the time it had passed soundlessly over
McGrath's head it had slowed a little. And the air was moving it. It was
moving it right to left as the gentle mountain breeze tugged imperceptibly
at it. Half a second into its travel, the bullet had covered thirteen
hundred feet and it had moved seven inches to the left.
And it had dropped seven inches. Gravity had pulled it in. The more gravity
pulled, the more the bullet slowed. The more it slowed, the more gravity
deflected it. It speared onward in a perfect graceful curve. A whole second
after leaving the barrel, it was nine hundred yards into its journey. Way
past McGrath's running figure, but still over the trees, still three hundred
yards short of its target. Another sixth of a second later, it was clear of
the trees and alongside the office building. Now it was a slow bullet. It
had pulled four feet left and five feet down. It passed well clear of Holly
and was twenty feet past her before she heard the hiss in the air. The sound
of the shot was still to come.
Reacher's bullet hit Borken in the head a full second and a third after he
fired it. It entered the front of his forehead and was out of the back of
his skull three ten-thousandths of a second later. In and out without really
slowing much more at all, because Borken's skull and brains were nothing to
a two-ounce lead projectile with a needle point and a polished metal jacket.
The bullet was well over the endless forest beyond before the pressure wave
built up in Borken's skull and exploded it.
Reacher was watching it through his scope. Heart in his mouth. A full second
and a third is a long time to wait. He watched Borken's skull explode like
it had been burst from the inside with a sledgehammer. It came apart like a
diagram. Reacher saw curved shards of bone bursting outward and red mist
--- end quote
So it went through the house wall that is also the garage wall, and
the masonite was in the middle, between the decorative siding and the
inside garage wall?
I'm an amateur, but istm it depends on how much trouble it is. If the
hole in the masonite doesn't show or doesn't have to look beautiful,
you can fill it with any sort of filling, caulk, silicone, plastic
wood, foam, a piece of cork, any old thing.
As to the kid, I would give his parents the option of either your
calling the police and getting a written report from the police that
you will keep**, or their signing before a notary a statement that
they left a loaded gun or a gun and ammunition where 9-year old son
could find it and shoot into your house. Otherwise the crapheads will
let it happen again, next time with worse consequences. But if you
tell them you'll be saving their statement and offering it as evidence
when anyone in their household shoots you or any other neighbor or any
property, there's a chance they'll try harder the next time.
Otherwise when that time comes, they'll deny anything every happened
before, imply you are a liar, and all you'll have at most is a picture
of a hole, that could be caused by anything, or could have been made
by you yourself just after the next incident. I am also not a
lawyer, but I think you should do this to remind them that if they
don't care that much if their gun is loaded when they're not home, or
in the other room, maybe they'll care about a lawsuit that you or the
other neighbor will win and cost them thousands or hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
**Some places it seems to be hard to get a written report from he
police except for what they consider serious. This seems serious to
me, but you might call the police anonymously and ask if you'll get a
written report if you report this. If they say yes, and then later
they refuse, talk to the sergeant or the captain. If they say no, you
can still give the same ultimatum to the neigbbor, but emphasize that
it's in his interest not to call the police about this, that if keeps
gusn away from his children and their visitors he'll be off the hook,
without a police record of the incident.
If you do make out a report, get your paper copy now, and don't depend
on the police to find it later.
I did go to law school for a year and the one thing I learned in Torts
class is that without the threat of being sued, some people will take
no care for the safety of others. In the case book, it was incredible
the plainly dangerous situations that people allowed to exist and
finally got sued for after an injury. Some will let their own
children ride on ATV's when they're five, and there are more who don't
give a darn about you. Because if they did, they never would have
let this happen in the first place.
Where their son DID find it and DID shoot into your house. That they
left him alone with this gun available to him.
You are also I'll bet not suing them now, I'll bet, and that you not
sue is another incentive for them to sign such a statement. I doubt
you have much physical damage and you're fixing it yourself (which
courts usually don't pay for, except materials). I don't know if
someone was home if he or she was actually made afraid by the sound of
the shot of the breeze the bullet made when it went past her face. So
I don't know if you have much of a lawsuit anyhow, but if you're not
suing, all the more reason he should sign the statement.
Depends on a lot of things. First is how much his insurance will pay you.
From there, you look at it, and if it's something you can put some Liquid
Nails, a patch, and a beer clock over, and pocket the difference, do that.
If it is in a very aesthetic place, and you want it to look right, then
either fix it right or buy a better beer clock, nude model, Elvis velvet
painting, whatever, to cover the repair.
Other people's kids. Sheesh.
Heart surgery pending?
Read up and prepare.
Learn how to care for a friend.
Geez. Your question stirred up the rowdy answers for some reason.
Normally I would say replace but you may do more damage than you cure taking
it all apart. I am assuming lap siding here but the same holds true for the
I would fill with a non-absorbing filler using some type of scab on the
backside and then prime at least two coats with an oil based primer. Then
the top coat of paint. Once water finds a path to the inner structure that
stuff rots pretty quick. If it is not on the hard weather side of the garage
it may last for a long time.
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
One years ago a townhouse we owned has an unactractive "box" up on the
"masonite" planks. The box was for the distribution of the abandoned CATV
system. When we had the masonite painted we told the painters to rip out
the old box and just patch it.
That's what they did and you just can't find any evidence of the old box.
I suspect their "patch" was one of those portland cement/sawdust products
which DO absorb water but then so does un-painted masonite.
The painters filled a hole some inches is diameter plus some screwholes.
A bullet hole is as nothing.
The real key to the job is qualify paint to protect both the masonite and
the patch from the elements.
As far as the other comments, accidents happen.
It's 4x8 sheets. They were added 25 years ago to cover the gable area
of the back of a concrete garage. I thought it was built in the 1940s,
but when I got a ladder to check for damage inside, I found knob & tube
The hole is about 2 feet below a 1-foot overhang. The first concern I
see is to keep carpenter bees away from the boards behind it.
When I probed the hole with a screwdriver, I heard the bullet drop to a
ledge a foot below the hole. Perhaps it's better not to remove the
Masonite so that I'll always know where the bullet is, in case someday I
need to demonstrate that the incident occurred.
How about starting by gluing a slat of wood behind the hole? I could
cut it so it just fits through and knot a string through a hole in the
middle to hold it in place while the adhesive sets.
What kind of adhesive would you recommend? Lately I've been impressed
with GE Silicone II caulk, but I haven't tried it to stick wood to the
back side of Masonite.
Would acrylic latex caulk made a good filler?
I've got shellac-based sealer. Would that prime as well as oil-based
If you can't get to the backside of the hole, your stick and string sounds
good. Using Latex gloves and construction adhesive sound better than glue.
For a 3/8" or smaller nothing is really needed if it is that hard to get to.
Quarter inch hardware cloth attached to the backside works as well as a
board for larger holes. Just something for the filler to attach itself to.
Others will disagree but I would use Bondo, overfill and then sand until I
had nothing left except a smooth surface and the outline of the hole. Repeat
the process until the fill is perfect with the surrounding surface.
Properly painted under an eave on a vertical surface it should last forever.
The Bins might be okay but I would use an oil based primer. I always use
oil primer and latex topcoat because I have working with oil but it does
stop the water where latex lets moisture through.
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
For a single bullet hole, I'd just run a bolt with a big rubber washer
through it. Hand something decorative from it if you are fussy.
Alternative solution- that paintable sticky aluminum sheet they sell in
the auto body repair aisle. Trim and apply carefully, and spot paint.
Once it weathers a month, from the ground, you will have to look for it
to find it.
We are only talking three-tenths of an inch or so, right?
(Of course, the 'temporary' naked luan plywood patches I screwed over
the woodpecker holes in my wooden chimney stack are still there several
years later, so what do I know?)
But I do second what all the other posters said about getting a police
report on file, if you still can. If the kid turns out to be a recurring
problem for the neighborhood, a paper trail helps. I don't remember- did
you talk to the parents, and what did they say? The polite thing would
have been for them to offer to pay for repairs.
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