Penetration and exit wounds?

Penetration and exit wounds?

This is a discussion on Penetration and exit wounds? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Please correct me if I'm wrong....... Depending on the caliber and distance from your target, any given bullet will either pass right through the body ...

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Thread: Penetration and exit wounds?

  1. #1
    Member Array DasBoot's Avatar
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    Penetration and exit wounds?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.......
    Depending on the caliber and distance from your target, any given bullet will either pass right through the body or bounce around inside if deflected by bone or thick tissue.
    Using a .45 vs a 9mm or .38, at say 5 to 10 ft, and hitting precisely the same body area, will all 3 behave pretty much alike once penetration occurs?
    And why are exit wounds usually so much larger than the entry wound?
    Is that due to expansion only?
    Are there any sites that display entry/exit wounds according to cal.?
    Tx!


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array sheepdog's Avatar
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    Here is what I am taught and what I have seen: Too many variables to answer the question, and wound size cannot be an accurate indicator of bullet caliber. Remember, the difference in bullet diameter at entry between a 9mm and .45 is actually only about .10 inches, and skin is very elastic at some points. Sometimes, the entry and exit will appear to be of the same size. Even whether the muscles underneath it are tight or loose may effect it, I think I have read. A wound that is "shored" by tight clothing will behave differently than one under loose clothing. Another variable is bullet construction, as different designs may (allegedly) expand at different rates and to different sizes. Things like type/thickness of clothing the bullet must pass through, size and fat vs. muscle of individual affect it. LEOs are taught to NEVER base a caliber estimate on wound size, and not to even speculate about entry vs. exit. In the report, it's just "a wound." I think pathologists even disagree sometimes (this is all on non-contact wounds, but that is another story).
    Google Vincent DiMaio. He literally wrote the book on gunshot wound evidence...the book on every homicide detective's and pathologist's desk. Note: He is working the Spector trial now, so you will have to get past all those news stories.
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    Exit wounds usually carry tissue or bone out with them.

    I've seen many exit wounds with pistol and rifle from various animals that Ive hunted my whole life.

    When a bullet hits a bone it can be deflected or it might not. If its not, the bone fragments into sharp pieces that cut,rip or tear anything in its way...leaving some nasty exit wounds of all shapes and sizes.

    Ribs are notorious for fragmenting. I am still amazed at the size and shape of exit wounds on deer and coyotes when a round enters and hits a rib. Depending on the bullet makeup, I've seen exit wounds that you could lay your fist in. Leg and arm bones will do this also.Any bone can fragment and be carried out if the bullet exits, and even if the bullet dosent exit sometimes broken peices of bone will.

    Bullet energy and construction has a lot to do with it and no two cases will be the same. Generally the faster the bullet, the more damage it will do. This is the reason that handguns are considered a compromise and that a rifle is always considered a better man "stopper".

    Also bullet constructions has a lot to do with it as well as speed distance, angle, deflection and many other variables too numerous to list.
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Trust me, I'm a Paramedic.

    It is possible to have large entrance wounds and small exits. It is very possible to confuse the two. Sometimes even doctors will be wrong in the hospital, not knowing what happened on the scene. Just one example, a contact range GSW created a blast injury and blew the skin outward. The bullet aparantly expanded and-or fragmented and only the base of the core exited with a small puckered wound. The lead core was on the floor behind the patient. There was no way to tell the caliber if the gun hadn't been onscene, but I would have guessed .22 from the exit wound. It was a .380 CCI Lawman JHP. Saw another .380 FMJ exit the head with little damage, but there was a big contact wound under the chin that was made worse due to gravity and bleeding. Same patient also shot himself in the ear at the same time and had a huge movie style exit wound on the off side. (yes, one suicide two shots to the head) No way to tell the caliber but one of the exits looked like a .44 made it, the other was small, same caliber same guy same ammo.

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    The absolute worst exit wound I've seen,(in 8x10 glossy photo)came from the local Coroners office.

    A young man put a .44 cap and ball black powder revlover under his chin and pulled the trigger.

    Basically, his head caught every bit of the expanding gases and it popped like a balloon. The bullet stuck in the celiing overhead.

    It was very messy and traumatic for the family.



    An entrance wound can also have stuff pulled into by the bullet and whatever the bullet hits first. One of my deer hunting buddies actually killed a deer by inadvertantly hitting a small cedar tree in front of it. When we gutted it, we found all kinds of splinters in it, one had cut the main artery in the neck in half. We never did recover a bullet. Dead is dead though. We still kid him about "barking" a deer.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    Just one example, a contact range GSW created a blast injury and blew the skin outward.
    People don't realize how powerful and dangerous the expanding gases from a cartridge can be. I heard one story about a guy who committed suicide without a bullet. He pried the bullet out of a .30-06, kept the bullet upright so the powder wouldn't fall out, put it in his rifle, stuck the barrel under his chin, and pulled the trigger. The the rapidly expanding gasses from the bullet were more than enough to kill him.

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    Member Array DasBoot's Avatar
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    He pried the bullet out of a .30-06, kept the bullet upright so the powder wouldn't fall out, put it in his rifle, stuck the barrel under his chin, and pulled the trigger.
    Jeez! Why make such a project out of it????
    Just do it and get it over with.
    Thanks for the info.
    I'm always amazed when I hear where a bullit exits in relation to where it entered.
    Like getting shot in the right shoulder and it exits out the left foot!
    It did lots of damage on its journey I'm sure!

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    Member Array Shotgun Willie's Avatar
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    If you would like quality information that is sound and well referenced then I would recommend this:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

    At the end of the article is a list of some common calibers, handgun, rifle and shotgun, and their typical wound profile.

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm

    This article from the FBI, further explains handgun ballistics, importance of penetration in terms of stopping power, debunks the myth of temporary cavity being important to stopping power, and other factors important to handgun combat.

    Both are very interesting reading. That site seems to place high value on fact and scientific data rather than opinion and speculation. Here is the homepage link:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/index.htm
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    VIP Member Array Spirit51's Avatar
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    One has to take into consideration the caliber and age of the bullet.
    A .22 that is old has less power. It can enter the skull and then bounce around shredding the brain and doing more damage than a more powerful bullet which goes right through.
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    Member Array DasBoot's Avatar
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    Shotgun,
    those sound like exactly what I'm looking for.
    Thanks!

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DasBoot View Post
    Jeez! Why make such a project out of it????
    Just do it and get it over with.
    Thanks for the info.
    I'm always amazed when I hear where a bullit exits in relation to where it entered.
    Like getting shot in the right shoulder and it exits out the left foot!
    It did lots of damage on its journey I'm sure!
    The story is actually from one of (IIRC) Col. Cooper's books. If I were going to kill myself, that's the way I would do it- you have more energy transmitted without the bullet.

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