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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went shooting yesterday. 25yds with my 45. Used three styles of bullets. Ball, SWC and HP. Noticed the holes in the target, afterwards, something like this:
SWC = hole size to caliber +/-
Ball = hole size closed up to look like considerably lesser caliber
HP = about halfway between the other two.
That made me think about wound tracks and bullet shapes, (and the Taylor KO theory?)
Do the bullet shapes act in flesh as they do on paper/cardboard targets?
IIRC, the Taylor theory says use large caliber rounds with large meplats for optimum results. Flatter meplats cut more; damage more tissue.
Now, my rich imagination (some would say bordering on fantasy) makes the leap to the question: Wouldn't SWC's be the optimum defensive round? (I know that HP's expand to larger than caliber, but only when they DO, in fact, expand. And there is some contoversy over htat issue.)
In their favor is larger meplat. Increased accuracy. Same FPE at like velocity.
What about it, you guys who really know this stuff? Any studies or anecdotal evidence?
Thanks for your indulgence.

17 Posts
WC/SWC bullets have a sharp shoulder, which permit them to crush/cut a caliber size hole.

Ball/RN crushes a small hole and then produces several stellate (star like) tears, emanating from the hole, as the smooth, aerodynamic ogive/shoulder nose profile "stretches" the paper as the bullet passes through, which produces a punctate (puncture wound like) hole.

HP/TC bullets produce a hole in paper that's a combination of WC/SWC and Ball/RN. The flat meplat, with a relatively sharp shoulder, crushes/cuts a hole, which is then "stretched" to full caliber size by the smooth/rounded ogive and shoulder contours. The result is a round hole surrounded by an abrasion ring and small stellate tears.

The effects of these different bullet types observed in paper targets is entirely analogous the the effects on living tissues.

WC bullets are perhaps the most efficient shape for crushing tissue. The diameter of tissue crushed/cut remains the same from start to finish.

RN bullets contact more tissue than SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullets as they penetrate because the tissue flows against the smooth contours. However RN bullets do not produce substantial tissue damage because soft tissues easily stretch around bullet, causing localized bruising and abrasions. An RN bullet will transfer more energy to tissue at a faster rate than an SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullet. This is because more tissue comes in contact with the smooth rounded surfaces of the meplat/ogive/shoulder and shank than does happen with SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullets (explained below). As a result, RN bullets will penetrate LESS than SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullets of the same caliber, weight and velocity.

SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullets: the flat meplat radially propels soft tissue out of the path of the ogive/shoulder during the bullet's initial wound path, which is why they actually touch less tissue than RN bullets. As the bullet slows, the meplat propels less and less soft tissue away from the ogive/shoulder -- the soft tissue just stretches around the smooth contours of the ogive/shoulder in the same manner observed on paper targets. Now the weird thing is, SWC/unexpanded HP/TC bullets, although they'll penetrate deeper in soft tissue than an RN bullet of the same caliber/weight and velocity, produce a more severe wound because of the tissue that's crushed by the flat meplat.

Expanded HP bullets present a large diameter, somewhat flat "meplat" as they penetrate tissue. The rounded forward edges of the mushroom skirt allows tissue to stretch and flow around the bullet in a manner similar to RN bullets. As an expanded HP bullet penetrates its velocity slows, and this means more and more tissue is able to stretch around the smooth mushroom skirt, instead of being contacted and crushed. The hole produced by an expanded HP bullet in soft tissue actually tapers in diameter -- the hole gets smaller in diameter as less tissue is crushed and more tissue stretches around the penetrating bullet. Thus the maximium diameter of a bullet hole produced in soft tissue can be up to approximately 60 percent of an HP bullet's expanded diameter, and then steadily decreases in diameter toward the terminus of the wound track.

That's my fifty cents worth. :wink:

Shawn Dodson

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Shawn Dodson on 2001-09-08 21:32 ]</font>

170 Posts
Great post Mr Dodson; I learned more about wound dynamics in your paragraphs than I have absorbed in many scores of pages. Not shockingly, it seems there really are no magic bullets... Taking a bit from the theoretical into the practical, what do you choose to carry (calibre, bullet design, &c.) ?
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