Antique weapons experts, question for you regarding gunshot wounds.

This is for my friend, who’s writing a story and is stuck.

If he’s shot in the shoulder, he’s going to have some bone damage to the scapula and or upper rib cage and collar bone…rendering him unable to hold the bridle straps, and the bullet will probably stay in the bone…

If he’s shot in the hip it could go right through the soft tissue possibly grazing the kidney…rendering him unable to ride due to blood loss and pain.

A shoulder wound will have massive long-term complications. The old “winged in the shoulder and they’re fine by Wednesday” idea is BS.

The need for the wound to be fatal in 1882 but survivable in 2007 leads me to suggest a low abdomen wound, nicking an intestine.

These are acceptable but I’d go for just grazing the neck. Not enough to rip out the jugular but more than enough to cause rapid blood loss, incapacitation and memory fragmentation. In 2007, recovery would be fairly simple with minor surgery and lots of IV blood and antibiotics.

If you don’t like that then go for a simple gut shot, missing the skeleton entirely. Your functional time before incapacitation would probably increase slightly but treatment in 2007 would be dramatically more problematic. Infection from injuries that rupture the bowels is a nightmare to treat.

I would go for a shot in the hip, possibly glancing off the hip bone and cutting a furrow in his hip. This would cause lots of blood loss and a hard enough blow to the hip would numb it enough to make staying in the saddle or walking hard to do. I would think with the shock setting and loss of blood he would become delirous in a short time. Also possible for a fever to set in within the 12-18 hours causing scrambled memory. Probably a serious injury to have being alone in a cave in 1882 but nothing major for a ER in 2007.
If you want to leave out the leather duster feature, a glancing shot the head would fit your need. An “Almost missed completely” shot that glances off the skull, causes lots of blood loss and a concussion. Dizziness, blurred vision and memory loss would probably be a for sure.

Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in the chest in a field on 27 July 1890, walked back to town an died 2 days later.

I vote for a gut shot. The intestine or stomach contents would empty into the abdominal cavity. The infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis) would kill in three days without the antibiotics they didn’t have in 1877. No bones broken so he would still be functional for some of that three days. Surgery and antibiotics would be required. They gotta clean all the crap out of the abdominal cavity and close the wound to the intestine.

sorry, 1882, not 1877. They still didn’t have the antibiotics.
" Because he’s shot in Wyoming in the late spring of 1882, but 12-18 hours later, he’s in a hospital in 2007."

For the "not be able to ride"angle: “What I need:awound location thatwll leave him completely unable to ride a horse within 30-45 minutes (I’m allowing some time for adrenaline and his pure stubbornness to keep him in the saddle).” Use pain.

Bridle straps? Are those anything like reins?

And a single arm wound isn’t going to stop anyone from riding a horse. In the real world horsemen only hold the reins in both hands when there is a need to apply a a lot of force. On any normal horse anyone with minimal riding skills can at least canter comfortably with just one hand.

The intestinal wounds just don’t make a lot of sense. With an 18 hour lag seeking treatment, the wound is anything but easily survivable. A good surgeon and massive IV antibiotics and you might be out of intensive care in a week if you’re lucky.

Basically what you are asking for is a wound that is rapidly incapacitating, yet progresses so slowly that it won’t kill in less than 18 hours and that can be treated at any time before death with 100% recovery. In the real world there aren’t too many wounds like that. If a fatal wound rapidly incapacitates then medical science has a good chance of saving you if you get treated within an hour After 18 hours you’re probably going to live or die on your own.

There are plenty of long-shot injuries that could fit this bill, such as the bullet nicking an organ such as the pancreas or liver and nothing else. You could also have the unlikely wound that bleeds slowly enough not to render a person unconscious in 18hours, but is ultimately fatal. Both they are very unlikely to occur and seem very contrived.

I can only think of a couple of realistic choices.

The head shot described by TXCowboy It would be odd for an external wound to be bleeding slow enough to allow him to survive 18 hours, yet not clot at all in that time. More importantly, such a slow bleeidng wound to he head would be readily treatable in 1882 by anyone with enough sense to put pressure on it. There is bone underlying the head pretty much everywhere, so stopping bleeding through pressure is usually trivial. I’d be more inclined to go for a skull fracture. That gives you a wound that will be fatal through swelling of the brain, but the swelling could very plausibly take days to become so severe that it prevents a person from riding a horse. In 1882 death was pretty much guaranteed while treatment is fairly basic for modern medicine. Remove the broken bone or clean up the hole, drill a hole to relieve the swelling, give some drugs and he’s good to go. Still gong to spend some time in IC, but you’d expect him to live and make a full recovery. And of course this explains any memory problems you feel are necessary. This still seems slightly contrived, but less so than an unstaunchable wound with time controlled bleed rate.

My preferred option is a shot through the lung/s. Depending on where the injury occurs it can take a while for the air leaking in to make the lung non functional. It would hurt like hell, but you could ride a horse in the meantime. After that you’re basically living on one lung and in immense pain. This has the advantage of being easily treatable by modern medicine with 100% recovery. However it doesn’t readily explain any memory problems by itself. Of course you could easily add in an infection, which is what would probably kill in 1882, and that can easily cause delerium and memory problems.

Feasible, yeah. Most of them aren’t really believable though. A wound that bleeds slowly enough not to incapacitate for 18 hours but that won’t clot in that time, even with the medicine available in 1882? It could happen, but it seems awfully contrived. Punctured guts will do that via infection, but it’s not going to be easy to survive after having a large hole in your bowel untreated for 18 hours.

I would use shotgun rather than a 44.

First off a shotgun will cause multiple injuries, so you can explain multiple symptoms though different means.

Secondly the ability to define a small pellet size means that you get more injuries that are less instantly debilitating. A pellet lodged in the hip joint or spine would scarcely be felt in the heat of battle, but swelling would make riding impossible in short order. A single, pin hole in the gut could easily lead to a very minor hole that would both lead to infection/anaphylaxis and be much fairly easily treatable; a half inch hole much less believable.

Basically a shotgun means you can plausibly mix and match your injuries to produce the effects you want.

If you pierce the bowel then infection will take hold within seconds, you just won’t know about it. It will still need treatment even if the wound is closed immediately.
The more immediate effect the character will feel is likely to be immune response and anaphylaxis. The foreign material getting into the bloodstream causes the body to respond to as to a massive infection even before the microbes start growing. You’ll get fever, swelling, pain, delerium, rashes all the way through to difficulty breathing, unconsciousness and death. That could set in within seconds or it could take a hours depending on the size of the hole, where it s and what blood vessels were damaged in the process.

Infection and anaphylaxis, sure. Delirium, hallucinations, all the good stuff.

Surgery will always be required. He has a hole in the gut, and shit is literally leaking into his body cavity. That hole needs to be fixed.

The IV will also be needed, but after 18 hours with a half inch hole in the gut he’s looking at massive septicaemia and a very good chance of dying regardless of treatment. It is possible of course for a half inch bullet to make a pinpoint hole which makes the infection less serious, but once again it seems contrived.