View Full Version : Terminal Ballistics/Hydrostatic shock
10-05-2000, 04:40 PM
In this article:
Cecil makes mention of the lethal effects of Hydrostatic Shock causing instant death from a leg or arm wound, but there are no references to any accounts or actual data.
Anyone know where I could get such info?
10-05-2000, 05:03 PM
At least one person thinks hydrostatic shock is a myth.
Read about it here. (http://civic.bev.net/shawnee/digress.html)
10-05-2000, 06:12 PM
I've got to agree with Mr. Turbo on this one. If hydrostatic shock on a scale that could be caused by a bullet was a major killer, then people would die from fairly minor accidents all the time. Think of the splash a person can cause with an open hand, and then think of a getting an open-handed slap on the back. It isn't the shock waves that are killing animals or people, it is having their bodies ripped appart by bullets.
The energy dumping idea is somewhat true, but not really relevant. A bullet has a certain amount of kinetic energy when it strikes a person, and has less kinetic energy when it leaves, so the difference in energy is gained by the person. If it doesn't leave, or leaves with zero kinetic energy, the person gains more energy than it if it leave with some kinetic energy. So? A surgeon's knife and a cauterizing gun can put a lot of energy into a person's body, as can drinking a hot beverage, but are significantly less likely to kill you than the same amount of energy applied in other, leathal ways. How and where the energy is applied is far more critical than how much.
I have always seen it explained that by and large, handgun bullets aren't fast enough to have any kind of effects of this type, while rifle bullets do.
There's a book titled "Antipersonnel Weapons" by SIPRI(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), which goes into exceptional detail explaining the effects of bullets of various types, speeds & weights while explaining the evolution of infantry weapons in the past two centuries.
Their conclusion was that slow, heavy bullets such as musket balls & handguns primarily kill through putting a big hole in you & letting you bleed. They don't pack enough kinetic energy to make the temporary cavity do much damage, i.e. the hole is just about as big as the bullet.
Rifle bullets however, are usually traveling significantly faster, and at short range, can do considerable damage because the extra velocity rips out a much larger hole to be created than the diameter of the bullet. It also causes more collateral damage because of the greater energy.
But... it's the hole & damage which kills people, not some vague "shock-waves".
Here's the book info:
Anti-Personnnel Weapons, SIPRI, 1978, Lumsden, M. editor, Taylor & Francis Ltd 4 John Street London WC1N 2ET, UK
10-05-2000, 08:36 PM
A lovely event that just occurred this afternoon has some bearing on this thread's OP. My friend Laurie had a baby. Now....her body is what it was pre-preg. Her internal organs are re-adjusting themselves....her uterus is slowly shrinking, etc. My point? Hydrostatic shock occurs in a situation where you attempt to compress water- LIKE WITH YOUR BODY, WHEN IT HITS THE WATER FROM 300 FEET.
However, the human body is far from a 100% liquid filled environment. Not only is there air in the lungs, there is .....hell....ROOM in there. I don't buy this theory at all, I believe one dies of clinical shock, and damage from a bullet.
10-05-2000, 09:53 PM
One time my uncle shot a duck with a .243...the biggest pieces he found were pieces of feathers.
Of course, a duck's fairly small and dense; a human would absorb the shock (like Cartooniverse said, there's a lot of space) without exploding...up to a certain caliber/velocity (106mm recoilless rifle @ 6000+ feet/sec would probably do it, assuming the projectile didn't explode)
Scientific demostration of hydrostatic shock:
Acquire the following items:
1 gallon plastic jug
1 gallon of water
1 .223-caliber rifle
1 round hollowpoint ammunition for rifle
1)Place water in jug
2)Place cartridge in rifle
3)Place jug on ground or suitable support
4)Pace off about 10 yards (30 feet)
5)Aim rifle at jug o' water
7)Use towel to dry yourself off
Why it works:
A .223 hollowpoint has a muzzle velocity of about Warp Factor 8 (3200 feet per second, to be exact)
When the bullet hits the water, it flattens out and dumps almost all its energy instantly. The water can't compress, so it moves out of the way, unaffected by the plastic jug.
10-06-2000, 01:23 AM
I think some of the evidence for hydrostatic shock is circumstantial. One example of this is the statement that, the enormous stopping power of the .357 Magnum can only be explained by hydrostatic shock. Now, that's a bold statement, considering that many people, like myself, question the ability of a handgun round, even a highish-velocity one like .357 Magnum, to create a significant amount of hydrostatic shock. But here are the arguments in favor:
(a) .357 Magnum bullets are similar in weight (110-180 grains) to 9mm Parabellum bullets (88-147 grains).
(b) The bullets have the same diameter.
(c) The muzzle energies supplied by the two cartridges are comparable, with a significant edge for the .357 (475-575 foot-pounds for the top factory loads, vs. 400-465 for commercial and military 9mm loads).
(d) .357 Magnum has a vastly better reputation for stopping power. Now, the only stopping power data I know of (http://www.evanmarshall.com/towert/stoppingpowerfigures_files/sheet008.htm) for the 9mm Parabellum is pretty positive, but let's just go along with conventional wisdom which says that the .357 is much more effective. Why?
The terminal energies are similar.
The wound channels are likely to be similar in diameter if 9mm Para hollowpoints expand as well as advertised (a big if, but hollowpoint technology has improved drastically in recent years), or if you're comparing FMJ bullets.
The idea that you're supposed to buy, is that the apparently small difference in final velocity is enough to account for the .357 being able to create hydrostatic shock that the 9mm Para is simply unable to pull off. It's a lot to swallow, but it's certainly an interesting take on the whole thing. Obviously, velocity alone isn't enough to make the .357 powerful; the .22 Magnum has similar velocities but is no surefire manstopper.
Frankly, I've always been a little mystified by the magical reputation of the .45 ACP, and the desire of so many ballisticians to capitalize on it, when it seems so clear that the .357 Magnum is a more powerful cartridge. Only recently has there been a really successful attempt to recreate the mid-caliber high-velocity idea in a good autoloader (rimless) cartridge - the .357 SIG. So maybe the interminable "9mm Luger vs. .45 ACP" debate of the '80s will evolve into a ".357 SIG vs. .45 Super" debate in the '00s.
10-06-2000, 01:27 AM
I meant that the evidence for hydrostatic shock as a major factor in handgun stopping power is often circumstantial; I know that there is ample physical evidence of it in rifles.
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