Ballistic testing through bone

Ballistic testing through bone

This is a discussion on Ballistic testing through bone within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Curious if anyone knows of any well done comparative ballistic tests that have been done, with pistol ammo, which include bone? It would seem that ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Question Ballistic testing through bone

    Curious if anyone knows of any well done comparative ballistic tests that have been done, with pistol ammo, which include bone?

    It would seem that this would be a better representation of actual defensive shooting, where a bullet would need to go through hands/arms/ribs before getting to the softer tissues.

    I'm thinking a testing protocol would be something like a jacket, a shirt, pork ribs, and then ballistics gel.

    I did a search here, and used some google-fu, but other than some back-yard test videos, I didn't find much.

    It would be interesting to see how different bullets within a given caliber perform in such a test, as well as comparing different calibers.

    Of course, not all bones are the same, so maybe some kind of bone simulant could be used, to get less variability in the tests.

    Any info out there?
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    That's one of the reasons I used to deer hunt with so many different handgun calibers. While I am not claiming my test to be scientific, it did lead me to my belief that regardless of caliber, heavier is better.

    Bone in living flesh is wet, porus, and somewhat flexible. It can really screw up a hollow point design, even the flat rib bones. From what I have seen, the 9mm/38 spl bullets in the heavier loadings do best with this.

    Shoulder bone, that is covered by muscle and sinew can really absorb alot of the bullets impact, cause major distortion and affect the bullets path and penetration depth.

    From what I have seen, the really best assurance of good penetration regardless of angle to avoid deflection is a good solid lswc.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Thanks gman. That is exactly what I mean, and why real-world results with JHPs don't always look like the neat little mushrooms you get when firing into gel or water jugs.

    I have more of an interest in barrier penetration in general, including bone, due to my work with my local PD's Auxiliary. We do a LOT of traffic duty, so I have to deal with people in/around cars. We have to buy our own sidearms, so I am not bound to what the regular officers use (.40 H&Ks). I use 9mm, and most of my ammo is in the 115-124 gr range - just wonder if I might be better off with 147 gr...or with a .357 Sig or .40 or .45.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Thanks gman. That is exactly what I mean, and why real-world results with JHPs don't always look like the neat little mushrooms you get when firing into gel or water jugs.

    I have more of an interest in barrier penetration in general, including bone, due to my work with my local PD's Auxiliary. We do a LOT of traffic duty, so I have to deal with people in/around cars. We have to buy our own sidearms, so I am not bound to what the regular officers use (.40 H&Ks). I use 9mm, and most of my ammo is in the 115-124 gr range - just wonder if I might be better off with 147 gr...or with a .357 Sig or .40 or .45.
    I do understand that. I have settled on the 147 Golden Saber. I believe the Brass jacket will be helpful through glass or other barriers, and still be able to perform well against bone in other situations not involving barriers. I did shoot 2 does with this round from an elevated position at an estimated 12-18 yards and was satisfied with the results.The second one was actually hit in the shoulder, and still exited the othe side in front of the off side shoulder, leaving a good hole. The first was a clean through shot through the ribs, breaking one going in.

    I shot a feral dog with a Corbon 115 +p load within 10 yards, and it ran off. I found it the next evening in the creek while I was cutting weeds alonng the bank. It was found about 200 yards from where it was shot. I went home and got some rubber gloves, and a hack saw blade, and a skinning knife. I found the entrance hole on the left side, right behind the front leg. I sawed the rib cage open and started taking out organs. The bullet penetrated one lung completely, and came to rest against the second lung, and it appeared that although the bullet did not penetrate the second lung, it did cause severe bruising and light exterior bleeding.
    I used the rest of that box for target practice, and have never used a bullet under 147 again, regardless of marketing hype.
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    I remember that the older & now defunct "Handgun tests" magazine did numerous ammo tests through bone.
    Of course that's not much help today.
    That was one of the primary reasons that I decided to just stay with the .45 but, MUCH in the ammo world has changed since then & for the better.

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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountShotula View Post
    wow. Guess those darn Hornady Critical Defense loads aren't 100% after all.......too bad cor bon ammo is so dang expensive!

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Awesome! That is EXACTLY the kind of testing I'm looking for. Only wish they had put a layer of clothing in front of the "bone" plate.

    Interesting how 5/6 of the JHPs tested failed to expand - and the one that did was a light-for-caliber bullet, the Barnes all-copper DPX. Maybe all the hype about this round is warranted?

    Would love to see similar tests in other calibers, and between calibers. I checked the brassfetcher site, but didn't find any other tests like this one.

    Keep it coming...!
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    That was interesting indeed. Kind of lessens my opinion of JHPs. Also interesting is the fact that the 140g cor-bon performed better than all of the heavier grain bullets.

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    Member Array CountShotula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Interesting how 5/6 of the JHPs tested failed to expand - and the one that did was a light-for-caliber bullet, the Barnes all-copper DPX.
    I am not Brassfetcher just to clarify.
    As far as what I have seen in my personal el cheapo wetpack tests, the trick to preventing clogging is velocity.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountShotula View Post
    As far as what I have seen in my personal el cheapo wetpack tests, the trick to preventing clogging is velocity.
    Dunno.

    From the article, "It is notable that the velocity of the bullet at impact did not seem to play a significant role in expansion, because all of the tested 165gr bullets that failed had one or more shots that impacted at a higher velocity
    than the Cor-Bon 140gr DPX bullet, which expanded 100% of the time. Similar effects have been observed in
    9x19mm Luger and .45ACP calibers but that is beyond the scope of this document."

    It may be that the construction of the DPX bullet (all copper) is such that it can defeat hard barriers (glass, bone, etc) and still reliably expand - in which case we would have a rare beast indeed...truth in advertising.

    From the testing at theboxotruth, we can see that heavier bullets are deflected less by auto windshield glass. Unless you start using exotic and expensive metals, the only way to make the bullet heavier is to make it larger - which means a larger caliber. In their tests, the 9mm was deflected most, then the .40, and then the .45. The .45 was not really deflected at all - it hit POA. Problem is that they did not specify the bullet weights that they used - it would be interesting to compare heavy-for-caliber bullets in different calibers with each other, and see if there is a notable difference.

    I realize I am getting my own thread off topic, but I think hard barrier penetration applies both to bone and to other barriers like glass - please correct me if I am wrong.
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    Member Array MikeNice's Avatar
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    The Brass Fetcher test is interesting. However there are a few issues with the test.

    On this test I think he might have missed the mark slightly. When testing effectiveness against bone it is important to cast the bone in the gel. I'm no expert but every test I've seen where effect on bone is considerred it is done that way. Not just with bullets but swords, blunt weapons, and falls.

    Every human has flesh and muscle in front of their sternum. Some of us have a .125" and others have much more. Regardless we all have some and that could begin the expansion. I'm sure hitting bone will mean less expansion than gel or muscle alone. However, some is better than none, and we need to remain realistic.

    We also have to remember, we don't know the make up of the rubber around the bone or the actual density of the bone simulant. To see what bullets do to bone and in bodies look at real shootings. There is good information out there. Unfortunately it seems to be stuff you find by mistake.

    The only link I have at hand contains graphic autopsy photos. It is actually hosted on Defensive Carry so it should be fine. Though this doesn't directly address penetration after passing through bone it does give an idea.
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/documents/officer.pdf

    There are other pieces out there like this. I will say that from what I've seen Bone doesn't appear to have much more effect than most other intermediate barriers.
    Last edited by MikeNice; September 20th, 2011 at 07:44 PM.
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    Member Array CountShotula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    From the article, "It is notable that the velocity of the bullet at impact did not seem to play a significant role in expansion, because all of the tested 165gr bullets that failed had one or more shots that impacted at a higher velocity
    I realize I am getting my own thread off topic, but I think hard barrier penetration applies both to bone and to other barriers like glass - please correct me if I am wrong.
    Obviously bullet design is a very important factor as well, but velocity is important for proper expansion.
    One reason why many people choose not to carry JHP in sub-caliber bullets. The lighter weight does not allow them to maintain the momentum to fully expand once expansion has begun (which is why slower bullets such as the .45 acp can expand reliably).

    You would be correct to think of bone being a barrier...I mean the ribcage is designed just to be that.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Good thread and DocGKR throws in his input

    Factoring bone into the equation - M4Carbine.net Forums
    MikeNice, 10thmtn and AZ Hawk like this.

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    Member Array MikeNice's Avatar
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    Awesome link AZ. There is a ton of information and it requires little or no conjecture from the reader. Thank you for the information.
    Remember the teacher telling you to “Bring enough for everybody”? That applies to gunfights, too. ~ Sarge @ Sarge's Roll Call

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