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View Full Version : how much damage can a 22 caliber hand gun do?


hansolo
12-11-2003, 04:28 PM
a friend of mine was threatened with one, say he had been shot (luckily he wasnt)

is a .22 strong enough to case any considerable long term damage to someones body?

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 04:32 PM
Depends where you get shot. If shot in the heart of the head, it can kill you, which I'd call "long-term damage". Paralysis can result if the bullet severs the spinal cord, though this is unlikely if shot from the front. Sepsis can result if the intestines are punctured, but overall, the damage will not be terribly severe. Most body shots would be painful, but survivable if treated quickly.

bump
12-11-2003, 04:33 PM
If your friend had been shot in the heart, head, or major artery then he'd likely have died.

Contrary to some odd theories, it's CNS damage or blood loss that cause gunshot deaths, not "shock effect" or "energy dumping".

By the same token, a 22 is less likely to put a big-ass hole in you than a larger bore or faster round, so it's more likely that you'll survive a 22 gunshot wound than say... a 45 auto.

hansolo
12-11-2003, 04:41 PM
it was some dumb ass hood rat, so i dont think he would have ended up getting shot in the heart or the head , most likely the neck. im just glad hes alright. poor boys been mugged 3 times walking down the street in the last week

Kilt-wearin' man
12-11-2003, 04:49 PM
Y'know, the jugular vein is located in the neck, so being hit there might not be better than being hit in the head...and "dumb ass" doesn't necessarily mean "can't hit anything"...

The point is, a .22 can still kill you just as dead as any other caliber of firearm. You probably have a better chance of surviving a random hit, but it's still a bullet travelling at high speed through the tissue of one's body. Kinda like asking "just how dangerous is a knife-weilding maniac if all he's got is a really sharp paring knife instead of a butcher knife?"

hansolo
12-11-2003, 04:54 PM
say, someone was shot in the knee caps cause they talked to the wrong mob boss or something, a .44 is going to do more damage to said knee caps then a .22 right? thats kind of what im getting at.

ive heard talk that a .22 if shot in the head from 6 feet back would not kill you. is that true?

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by hansolo
say, someone was shot in the knee caps cause they talked to the wrong mob boss or something, a .44 is going to do more damage to said knee caps then a .22 right? thats kind of what im getting at.Yes.Originally posted by hansolo ive heard talk that a .22 if shot in the head from 6 feet back would not kill you. is that true? No,it's not true. You may survive a head shot from a .22, and you're more likely to than if shot with a .45, but shot to the head with a .22 certainly can kill you.

hansolo
12-11-2003, 05:00 PM
ugh i hate guns.

also what is CNS damage.. BUMP had mentioned that it was CNS damage and blood loss that kills you more than shock effect.

Padeye
12-11-2003, 05:07 PM
I wouldn't try to verify that claim about .22s hansolo. Whoever told you that has severe rectal-cranial inversion. A correctly placed shot would could kill a person at 50-100 yards or more. The human body is not a homogenous mass where X amount of damage will cause death. You've got hard bits and squishy bits. Some you can live without, some you can't live without very long and some not at all. It all depends how and where you get hit.

Not all .22 ammunition is created the same. Standard velocity target and plinking ammunition normally has a plain, solid bullet and won't cause as much severe tissue damage but it will likely penetrate soft tissue deeper. Ultra high velocity ammunition with a lighter, hollowpoint bullet can cause much more severe damage and by the same token often less penetration.

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by hansolo
ugh i hate guns.

also what is CNS damage.. BUMP had mentioned that it was CNS damage and blood loss that kills you more than shock effect. The CNS is the central nervous system: the brain, brain stem and spinal cord.

Padeye
12-11-2003, 05:09 PM
CNS = central nervous system. Basically brain, brain stem and spinal cord for this discussion.

No reason to hate inanimage object but that discussion should take place elsewhere.

Dag Otto
12-11-2003, 05:10 PM
Originally posted by hansolo
ive heard talk that a .22 if shot in the head from 6 feet back would not kill you. is that true?

My God, where do people come up with this stuff?

Look, a hole in the head isn't a good thing. It may not kill you, but it will f*** you up. It is definitely on the list of Things You Don't Want.

hansolo
12-11-2003, 05:12 PM
well that about answers it for me. thanks again.

im just glad my friend did not get shot.

Kinthalis
12-11-2003, 05:16 PM
Originally posted by hansolo
ugh i hate guns.


Why hate them?

The great equalizers. The tools that allow nitwits with only the two brain cells required to operate the mechanism I'd compare to using a remote control to kill human beings from the comfort of several yards away...

Anyway, but to the topic: I believe that high speed ammunition as well as high speed rifles can kill you just by shockwave they cause in your body as the bullet flies through. Essentially turning your insides into ground beef.

hansolo
12-11-2003, 05:27 PM
scare me i guess would be more accurate. i dont hate anything.

somethings i say that i hate, i just mildly dislike. ive got about getting a gun for protection, but i know that in the time of having to use it, i wouldnt be able to pull the trigger. we all know that having a gun in time of crisis and not using it is probably alot worse then not having a gun.

anyone in KCMO area know of a good shooting range, where i can take hand gun lessons?

DougC
12-11-2003, 05:31 PM
- - - I would love to have one of these kinds o' guns (linked below), just to play with--I don't wanna shoot nobody. Not possible for various reasons.
......
-And it's a rifle, but a subsonic one--so it would be similar in power to a handgun.
But anyway:
http://www.isayeret.com/weapons/sws/ruger/ruger.htm
~

wolf_meister
12-11-2003, 07:40 PM
Wow, how quickly people forget. Bobby Kennedy was killed by a .22 pistol.

I also wonder how many deaths can be attributed to people thinking "Hey, it's only a .22". It seems as if (especially in the United States) that you've gotta have the most powerful, macho firearm otherwise your potential 'target' will escape with just a hangnail. (Dirty Harry has to have that .44 Magnum and Harrison Ford in that 'Patriot Games' billboard was packing his .45)

Heck, I 'm a gunowner but it seems people have forgotten firearms safety (and firearms danger for that matter). You get shot in the movies or TV why it's nothing at all right?

Matchka
12-11-2003, 07:42 PM
And let's not forget the M-16 fires basically a .22 round...just a heavy one with a ton of velocity--wrecks anything it his.

i had a friend murdered with a .22 once (you know what I mean). he was hit in a tight pattern in the chest "between 3 & 6 times" at a range of approximately 6-10 feet. Good shoting, but it underscores a point: you can get off a lotta .22 shots with realy good control as opposed to one cannon ball that whips the gun in the air and makes you reacquire your target.

I seem to recall a tale of some hunter who decided he was gonna kill one of everything in N. America with a .22. Results in stories like paddling his canoe up to a moos and putting a round into its ear...seems a little risky to get that close to Bulwinkle, but I'm not a hunter. I have no idea how he approached the Grizzly Bear problem. I'd want at least an RPG for one of them.

ltfire
12-11-2003, 07:47 PM
A .22 behind the ear has been a traditional send off to many a mobster.

Crafter_Man
12-11-2003, 08:06 PM
I knew a kid in high school who committed suicide with a .22 handgun. Stuck it to his temple and pulled the trigger.

Don’t let anyone kid you; a .22 round can be quite lethal. I even heard it can penetrate Level I, II, and III “bulletproof” vests...

KenGr
12-11-2003, 08:15 PM
Back on the farm, when we butchered cattle, we would kill them with a single shot of a normal .22. That's from the other side of the fence, close to 50 feet away. If it can take down a 1000 lb steer, how much better do you think a person will fare?

Mr Munshun
12-11-2003, 08:23 PM
From what I've read about military firearms .22 is a caliber used in rifles only. If any one has a link to details of a .22 pistol it would be interesting to see.

ltfire
12-11-2003, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by Mr Munshun
From what I've read about military firearms .22 is a caliber used in rifles only. If any one has a link to details of a .22 pistol it would be interesting to see.

Go here http://www.GOOGLE.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=.22+pistols

Ilsa_Lund
12-11-2003, 08:29 PM
Don't forget, however, that people have survived multiple medium caliber gunshot wounds to the head. It is all a big game of chance.I don't wanna get shot with anything. I wouldn't try to kill a 1000lb steer with a .22, either.

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 08:31 PM
There's tons of .22 caliber pistols out there. Every major gun manufacturer makes them. The military may not use them, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there. Here (http://www.swfirearms.vista.com/store/index.php3?cat=293595&sw_activeTab=1) are several models of Smith & wesson .220 caliber pistols.

patchbunny
12-11-2003, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by Mr Munshun
From what I've read about military firearms .22 is a caliber used in rifles only. If any one has a link to details of a .22 pistol it would be interesting to see.

The .22 LR and .22 short are common calibers in both psitols and rifles for civilian use. The Ruger 10/22 is a common rifle in the US.

Originally posted by Crafter_Man
Don’t let anyone kid you; a .22 round can be quite lethal. I even heard it can penetrate Level I, II, and III “bulletproof” vests...

Depends upon the velocity. Type I vests are as low as you can go, and a lot of stuff goes through it. Type IIA, which is standard police wear, will stop most .22s, except higher velocity rounds from rifles. I believe the next level, Type II, will stop those.

Originally posted by Kinthalis
Anyway, but to the topic: I believe that high speed ammunition as well as high speed rifles can kill you just by shockwave they cause in your body as the bullet flies through. Essentially turning your insides into ground beef.

Not quite. Bullets produce a temporary cavity when they pass through tissue, the size of which is dependent upon a number of factors. The largest temporary cavity is generally created when the bullet goes through its yaw cycle or else expands. The temporary cavity damages tissue by stretching it past the tissue's elastic limit. If the tissue isn't stretched past this point, it survives very well.

Rifles can generate large temporary cavities, thereby allowing them to create more tissue damage than pistols, whose temporary cavities are generally not large enough to do additional damage to most tissues.

--Patch

Mr Munshun
12-11-2003, 08:53 PM
Say, as long we're talking about firearms does anyone know of website that has detailed information and pictures on ammunition? Military and civilian, pistol and rifle, hollow points, dum-dums, etc etc...?


I have tried in the past searching for one but I only came up with sites that were selling ammo, and they only had info on specific brands, was a bit limited..

Matchka
12-11-2003, 08:54 PM
To add to patchbunny, I give you, Cecil. (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_203b.html)

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by Mr Munshun
Say, as long we're talking about firearms does anyone know of website that has detailed information and pictures on ammunition? Military and civilian, pistol and rifle, hollow points, dum-dums, etc etc...? http://www.scs.wsu.edu/~pbourque/ammo.htm (\Here. No pictures, I'm afraid, but tons of information.

Q.E.D.
12-11-2003, 09:22 PM
Grrrrrr! Fixed link. (http://www.scs.wsu.edu/~pbourque/ammo.htm)

jeremynag
12-11-2003, 09:36 PM
It seems as if the OP has been answered, a .22 is a bad thing to be shot with.

It is an extremely fast round and tends to do a lot of bouncing around once it is inside the body.

Also, due to its small size, it is really hard to trace the ballistics on as well. That is probably why the mob, as referenced above like it.

Here is an intersting link to find out more about different kinds of handguns. http://www.handgunreview.com/

BrianS
12-11-2003, 09:49 PM
hansolo: Just move to Johnson county and avoid that crap... :)

(from KC, too)

danceswithcats
12-11-2003, 10:31 PM
IIRC, the DC snipers were shooting .223 hornet rounds, slightly larger than .22, but obviously deadly.

Also, bear in mind that online references regarding commercially manufactured rounds will only provide ballistic information for their products.

Lacking reloading capability, I save brass, and tell friends what is desired in the reload. Who's to say what an aftermarket reloader puts in a cartridge, subject to reasonable limitations.

heresiarch
12-11-2003, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by patchbunny
The .22 LR and .22 short are common calibers in both psitols and rifles for civilian use. The Ruger 10/22 is a common rifle in the US. That .22 LR ammunition would fit in a handgun, right? Would it give a greater muzzle velocity than .22 short or are there differences in the powder formulation that make it less suitable for handguns? I'm guessing that the powder in rifle ammo might burn slower, since the bullet is in the barrel longer.

Brutus
12-11-2003, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by danceswithcats
IIRC, the DC snipers were shooting .223 hornet rounds, slightly larger than .22, but obviously deadly...

From my understanding, they were using Lake City 55gr good ol'fashioned 5.56x45 XM193.

patchbunny
12-12-2003, 12:01 AM
Originally posted by heresiarch
That .22 LR ammunition would fit in a handgun, right?
Correct. It's the same cartridge.

Would it give a greater muzzle velocity than .22 short or are there differences in the powder formulation that make it less suitable for handguns? I'm guessing that the powder in rifle ammo might burn slower, since the bullet is in the barrel longer.

The .22 short is simply a .22LR with a shorter cartridge case, and therefore has a lesser powder charge. For the same barrel length, a .22 short will have a lower muzzle velocity than a .22 LR.

Originally posted by danceswithcats
IIRC, the DC snipers were shooting .223 hornet rounds, slightly larger than .22, but obviously deadly.

The DC snipers were using a version of the AR-15, which shoots the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. I do not know offhand if they were using hollowpoint ammo or not.

Although the diameter of the bullets are essentially the same, the cartridge designs are much, much different, and the wound ballistics of the 5.56mm cartridge is more severe. Go to this article (http://www.iwba.com/Wound%20Ballistice%20Research%20Past%2020%20years%202.pdf) for a diagram comapring the wounding potential of these two cartridges.

--Patch

Rhum Runner
12-12-2003, 12:01 AM
People, people people. Not all .22s are created equal! The .223 (M-16) is a whole different ballgame from the .22LR which you find in handguns. (And before someone mentions target pistols in .223, I don't think anyone is getting mugged with bolt action handguns).

To answer heresiarch - IIRC from an article I read some time ago .22LR hits max velocity in about an 18" barrel. You'd have to look at the stats on the ammo in question, but usually velocity numbers are quoted for a rifle length barrel, and the velocity would be substantially slower from a handgun. I am unaware of any .22LR ammo designed specifically for handgun use, but there may be some special target brands that are. Not the sort of thing you'd likely find on the street. In any event, target .22 ammo tends to favor lower velocity and accuracy. Some of the hyper velocity .22 (CCI Stinger comes to mind) can be a bit eratic. Probably because they use a lower weight bullet.

Stan Doubt
12-12-2003, 12:15 AM
patch and Rhum, you are both justified in your responses. But I doubt that anyone with any firearms experience would not be able to distinguish between a .223 5.56mm NATO cartridge and a .22 cartridge.

Anyone who confuses the two in a firearms post is clearly talking out of his or her ass.

Una Persson
12-12-2003, 12:22 AM
I'll bring up my anecdote again that the .22 short is such a slow round that I have actually seen the bullet as a blur in the right light while out target shooting. I also have seen a .22 short *fail* to break a beer bottle at about 50 feet with a direct hit (it chipped it badly, but didn't shatter). Perhaps it was a poor/damp round that time; I don't know why. So, a .22 short is about as weak a round as you can get. It'll still kill under the right circumstances, or at least seriously wound, but the odds of doing such are not comperable to other guns.

(I remember an anecdote from a police officer shot on accident in the thigh with a .22LR, who said it felt like "someone took a ball-peen hammer and hit me as hard as they could with it". IIRC, the bullet penetrated to the bone, but did not break the femur. Reputedly, it missed his main blood vessel (femoral artery) by about a centimeter. He had a sizeable enough scar, in any event.)

Sam Stone
12-12-2003, 02:00 AM
I've heard something similar to the OP, only it was in the context of the .22 short round, specifically fired from those tiny derringers with almost no barrel. These weapons have an effective range of only a few feet, after which the .22 round will not have enough energy to typically be able to penetrate the skull.

Frank Serpico was shot by a .22 weapon like this at point-blank range. He had his head stuck in a door and the criminal put the pistol right under his nose and pulled the trigger. The bullet rattled around inside his nose and jaw, and never got through to the brain, so he had reconstructive surgery and was good as new.

But don't try it at home.

A .22LR bullet can have as much as 165ft-lbs of energy. That's a pretty good wallop. The .22 short has about 70 ft-lbs of energy when fired from a rifle, and much less when fired from a small pocket pistol. And the bullet has less mass, so it slows down faster.

wolfman
12-12-2003, 03:31 AM
ALthough not very common, the .22 Magnum(or .22 WMR) Is a fairly capable civilian round, that would stand a decent chance of being fatal.

The Long Road
12-12-2003, 04:01 AM
Originally posted by jeremynag
It seems as if the OP has been answered, a .22 is a bad thing to be shot with.

It is an extremely fast round and tends to do a lot of bouncing around once it is inside the body.

Also, due to its small size, it is really hard to trace the ballistics on as well. That is probably why the mob, as referenced above like it.

Here is an intersting link to find out more about different kinds of handguns. http://www.handgunreview.com/

Size of the round isn't the problem, it's the deformation. A .22 slug basically flattens out to the shape of a nickel after contact with a hard surface. If anyone has shot a person with a .22 and finds this to be incorrect, please let me know. After shooting a very large number of .22 rounds, I have never recovered one that wasn't in the shape of a nickel. Of course the firing pin mark on the case can still be used but that's not related to the slug size. I have two .22LR hand guns so yes, they are do exist.

The angle of contact is critical to this case of "can you survive a headshot". I have absolutely no problems believing that a .22 slug impacting a person's skull from a non-90 degree angle would not penetrate and only give the person a scalp wound and one hell of a headache. I doubt the 90-degree thing is a good explanation so, not "head on" if that makes better sense. Having seen plenty of ammunition ricochet off of water because of the angle, it would not surprise me one bit.

By the way, Hinkley shot Reagan (http://www.carpenoctem.tv/cons/reagan.html) with a .22 pistol. Brady took one in the head and while he is obviously screwed up from it, he lived. Reagan took one under the arm and survived while I believe that one Secret Service agent was hit and died. He was using "detonator" rounds so the ballistics of it are questionable compared to standard rounds.

cheesepickles
12-12-2003, 08:11 AM
I don't know if it was a .22, but wasn't President Lincoln shot with a very small round?

Alereon
12-12-2003, 08:28 AM
The rounds Hinckley used were Devastator explosive bullets, this link (http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/hinckley/BULLETS.HTM) (ghastly color scheme warning) contains more information about them.

don't ask
12-12-2003, 08:35 AM
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
Depends where you get shot. If shot in the heart of the head, it can kill you, which I'd call "long-term damage".

I guess you mean "heart or the head".

I actually nursed a patient who had tried to suicide by shooting himself in the heart with a .22 gun. The bullet was lodged in the muscle of his heart and doctors were going to leave it there but had to remove it because it began to interfere with the electical signals that control the heartbeat.

Again, don't try this at home.

Blaster
12-12-2003, 09:22 AM
I have seen many GSW's while working as a fireman/paramedic in Dallas; the majority of which are handgun related. Yes you can survive a head shot from a .22 or a .45 caliber handgun.

The Long Road, mentioned angle of contact earlier, and that is the critical element, along with the particular area of the cranium, that was involved. The skull has strong and weak points, so not every angled head shot is non-lethal.

I have also seen a .32 caliber bullet lodged right between a guys eyes. He shot himself from point blank, and survived. The bullet cracked open his skull at point of impact and stopped there. He had a huge hematoma, but no permanent injury.

Unfortunately, I've seen leg shots that were lethal. Any major artery, if damaged can cause enough volume loss for a person to crash(blood pressure drops).

Mk VII
12-12-2003, 11:03 AM
almost any gunshot 'can' kill you, given the most favourable circumstances, even pellet air guns if they enter an eye cavity or some other vulnerable spot. However, .22LR cannot be relied upon to kill you, or stop you doing whatever the other guy wants to stop you doing, which is why the police don't use them.

bump
12-12-2003, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Kinthalis
Anyway, but to the topic: I believe that high speed ammunition as well as high speed rifles can kill you just by shockwave they cause in your body as the bullet flies through. Essentially turning your insides into ground beef.

More or less... High speed bullets do indeed do damage due to shock effect- basically the shock wave stretches tissues beyond their capacity and they tear/rip, or organs rupture/break, etc... Still, even at that, what ultimately kills you is blood loss or direct CNS damage.

Another thing- in this context, "high speed" really means rifle bullets like the 5.56 NATO or .30-06, which travel at speeds upwards of 2800 FPS.

This is the real difference between teh 5.56 nato(what the M16 fires) and the .22 long rifle- they're both the same diameter (.22 vs .223), but the 5.56 goes 3200 fps, while a .22LR goes 1200 FPS. Both have roughly the same size bullet too- ~55 grains for the 5.56, and ~40 for the .22.


Handgun rounds typically stay around 1000 FPS, which isn't fast enough to cause any of the speed-related effects. Therefore, you need a wide, heavy bullet to make a big hole and have enough momentum to penetrate deeply.

That's why the 45 auto, or even Civil War muskets were effective- big heavy bullets going relatively slow- they just poked a great big hole in people due to size and momentum.

.22LR has neither- it's probably the weakest commonly available round in the world.

The Long Road
12-12-2003, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by Alereon
The rounds Hinckley used were Devastator explosive bullets, this link (http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/hinckley/BULLETS.HTM) (ghastly color scheme warning) contains more information about them.

Thanks for the corrections. I saw Devastator, switched back here and typed Detonator. My Short Term Memory sucks.


This is off topic but since we are talking about bullet damage....Last night while driving home and listening to an AM radio program about hunting and hunting laws, I heard this lovely story. Grandfather is out deer hunting with Grandson. Grandson starts walking toward Granfathers stands near the end of the day. Grandfather shoot Grandson at 50 yards with a 300 magnum. All I can think is "Holy shit!", look at the energy (http://www.weatherby.com/rifles/ball_300.shtml) and size (http://www.fishandhunttexas.com/300_winchester_magnum.htm) of the round. The kid died of course, angles and such don't matter much when you get hit from 50 years with a round like that.

ltfire
12-12-2003, 05:27 PM
QUOTE FROM SAM STONE:
I've heard something similar to the OP, only it was in the context of the .22 short round, specifically fired from those tiny derringers with almost no barrel. These weapons have an effective range of only a few feet, after which the .22 round will not have enough energy to typically be able to penetrate the skull.

I own a North American Arms .22 LR pistol. It measures 4 1/2 inches overall. When I first got it, I was firing at a 55 gallon drum with a paper target attached, from a distance of 5 feet. It didn't penetrate. At 10 feet, it missed the target alltogether. I remember the guy who sold it to me calling it an ;
'elevator gun', meaning that it was only accurate if you were in an elevator.

Beltane
12-12-2003, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by don't ask
I guess you mean "heart or the head".

I actually nursed a patient who had tried to suicide by shooting himself in the heart with a .22 gun. The bullet was lodged in the muscle of his heart and doctors were going to leave it there but had to remove it because it began to interfere with the electical signals that control the heartbeat.

Again, don't try this at home.


I can't speak to how much damage a .22 can do at any range, but I can tell you for sure that a .22 CAN kill at short range. My sister suicided with a .22

Padeye
12-12-2003, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by ltfire
These weapons have an effective range of only a few feet, after which the .22 round will not have enough energy to typically be able to penetrate the skull

More oversimplifying a complex topic. Who said it was neccessary to penetrate the skull to kill someone? There are soft tissue entrances to the brain and more external soft tissue spots which can be fatal.

galen
12-13-2003, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by KenGr
Back on the farm, when we butchered cattle, we would kill them with a single shot of a normal .22. That's from the other side of the fence, close to 50 feet away. If it can take down a 1000 lb steer, how much better do you think a person will fare?

We did the same thing. With .22 shorts !