Terminal Ballistics

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It's more like that ballistic gel kind of gives you ballpark. Solid and fully jacketed bullets poke a hole through gel. Expanding bullets will hopefully! Again, you have to take it with a grain of salt, but it gives you a repeatable ballpark approximation. One of the aspects that people look for in terms of ammunition performance and terminal ballistics wounding potential. It is the relative ability of a bullet to do damage to tissues, bone and so on. Wounding potential broadly correlates to caliber, in that the bigger the bullet the greater the wounding potential is.

For instance,. Likewise, a. Now, what people like to start saying or believing at this point is that "a bigger bullet lets in more air, and therefore lets out more blood. In reality? Not so much. So, wounding potential is true on paper.

Terminal Ballistics - Part I - Aegis Academy -

What ballistic gel doesn't do a good job of demonstrating is tissue elasticity. Human flesh, you see, stretches and wobbles; it's mostly fluid rather than solid. What happens when a bullet strikes tissue is it creates a temporary cavity much larger than the bullet itself, but the tissue contracts save for the actual hole that the bullet creates, which is the permanent wound cavity.

Permanent wound cavities are basically the size of the projectile. So while a 10mm or. Two aspects of terminal ballistics that people are highly concerned with are penetration how deep the bullet goes and expansion, or how big the bullet gets inside the target. Granted, many types of ammunition are non-expanding; full metal jacketed bullets and wadcutters don't really expand much, though they may get deformed. Here, we will be talking about expanding ammunition. Since we here are - again - concerned more with what the armed civilian is more likely to use, we will mostly stay in that wheelhouse.

So, we understand WHAT expansion is. When a jacketed lead projectile or totally lead projectile enters a body, it's subjected to hydraulic pressure on the front of the projectile. This causes lead to flatten. In jacketed ammunition, the lead core peels back around the core leading to the mushroom shape that we're all familiar with. Neither is necessarily best on its own. Too much penetration and the round goes through the target, potentially wounding someone behind an attacker.

Too little and it lodges in the surface without doing incapacitating damage. The same is true of expansion. Too little and the bullet goes through the target. Too much and it fragments in the surface, too shallow to do its job. These attributes are determined by metallurgy and design. A conical-shaped projectile will penetrate deeper than a solid cylinder, such as a wadcutter. The more lead is exposed at the tip of a hollow point, the greater the projectile will expand and so on.

Ammunition makers tinker with bullet design to get a bit more of one than the other, or to hopefully arrive at a good balance of both. The trend with modern expanding handgun ammunition - such as the typical 9mm ammo you might buy - is to favor expansion a bit more than penetration. This has been the trend for some time. Stalwart designs such as Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST are known for impressive expansion and adequate penetration, and others - such as Hornady XTP or Winchester Silvertip - are known for not the best of expansion but plenty of penetration.

Controlled expansion rounds are more the province of hunting ammunition. Cast solids and soft point rifle rounds, jacketed soft point magnum revolver rounds and so on are longer on penetration but do expand after all, Remington Core-Lokt is called the "deadliest mushroom in the woods" just as jacketed hollow points do. Additionally, another thing to know about what you see in ballistic gelatin and how it correlates to real-world performance is that you can expect less penetration but still expect expansion.

There are too many variables to give a concrete ratio, but you could expect something like a ratio of or in that ballpark. If a bullet penetrates 18 inches in gelatin, it will probably penetrate 12 inches in tissue. A concept that gets brought up is that of "stopping power. It doesn't really exist This is where things get a bit complicated.

For one, we all know that Newton's Third Law dictates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

terminal ballistics

For a bullet to completely stop a person cold, it has to basically have the same incapacitating effect on the person shooting it. The FBI found in ammunition tests that any bullet doesn't really have the capacity to instantly incapacitate a person until it reaches a velocity at least 2, feet per second UNLESS it is properly placed. Therefore, handgun rounds don't really have "stopping power. However, it should be brought up that there is a loose correlation between what you might call "stopping power" or the ability to do incapacitating damage with the fewest possible rounds and the sheer size and weight of the projectile itself.

In short, the bigger the bullet the greater the potential it has to do that.

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A shotgun loaded with buckshot or a solid lead slug puts more than grains of lead downrange. An AR sends a to grain projectile. Shotguns are known man-stoppers.

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Dangerous game rifles, such as those chambered for. Sheer projectile weight or bullet size does not get you anything if it isn't placed where it needs to go. While it's true that a bigger bullet can do more damage, it has to be put where it will actually do that damage. Shooting a charging bull elephant in the foot won't do a thing. Neither will shooting a determined attacker in the stomach, or at least won't right away. Instead, the chest cavity, the spine or the mid skull where the really sensitive bits are must be targeted and the shot successfully placed to do serious damage.


This is why many people favor heavy-for-caliber loads, such as grain 9mm or. Read police shooting reports, and you'll find instance after instance of determined attackers being shot multiple times in critical areas and still fighting on, with head shots being required to end the fight. These lists will never contain sensitive information. If you do not wish for your e-mail or postal address to be shared with companies not owned by Bonnier who want to market products or services to you, you have the opportunity to opt out, as described below.

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M193 Terminal Ballistics

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