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 Ballistic Research - A very short non-definitive study 
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Location: Goldendale, WA.
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I was fortunate in my LE career to be forensic trained. In that time I attended many autopsies, and was able to assist with many.

What started my ballistic research...One time I was waiting for a victim of case I was working to be done, but there was a gunshot victim from another agency before me. I was allowed to watch, photograph and have them slow down to examine the entrance, bullet path etc. Once that was over I asked if at any time they had a gunshot victim to please call me any time day or night, as I wanted to do my own research on the subject.
I was also fortunate to be able to do the same in Oregon at their lab near 82nd in the Portland area. Since Oregon, at the time only had two labs for the whole state, most everything got shipped to Portland. The medical Examiner there, although in his 30's was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and provided me with a lot of valuable information about what I was doing, and went out of his way to make this research possible.

Overall I was able to attend and document 42 shooting victims in a span of almost 5 years. Examine bullet entrance and exit, if there was one. Bullet path, damage, and projectile diameter, weight and make, model ID.

Some of what I learned, I never found in any book on the subject. I have read most every book out there about ballistics, even the famed Stopping Power book by Marshall & Sanow, which I thought was lacking.

What I learned;

Pistols don't produce enough power to effectively have consistent bullet performance. aka pistol bullet performance sucks.

In talking with a friend of mine who's an engineer for ATK, but overall works for Federal - Speer - CCI, creating a HP round is a delicate matter. If the velocity is too great, the HP opens up too fast creating a parachute affect, thus not getting penetration. If it goes too slow, the HP won't open up and will act like a FMJ.

Folks don't realize the differences in each human that can affect bullet performance. Things such as age, medications, drug use, smoker, weight, muscle density etc., all have affect on skin, organ and bone density...which affects bullet performance. Even race, culture and place of residence around the world have some bearing. This information came from the Doc at the Oregon lab. He spent many hours with me going thru this part of the study, showing me the differences...fascinating...to me anyway.

One can shoot 6 different people in the same place, with the same caliber and bullet and get 6 slightly different results. Why 6?, because I witnessed it myself through the autopsies.

Some bullets were hard to identify as to make and model, but others were readily identifiable. After a few victims where I was able to identify the bullet, I would receive a call now and then from a med examiner asking if I could make an ID for them.

A person can be shot through the heart, and sometimes totally destroy the heart and still live over 2 minutes. A lot of damage can be done in that amount of time.

9mm is what I found to be the absolute smallest pistol caliber to use/carry. And #4 or #6 birdshot is way more effective than 00 Buck. Yes, I know .22 rimfire and other small calibers have killed many a person, but the smaller calibers needs even more emphasis on shot placement.

9mm = .355"; 40 = .400"; 44 = .429" 45acp = .452"

Stay away from the gimmick bullets, and go with a solid constructed HP. What works in ballistic gelatin, wet newspapers, even live or dead animals is not the same performance you'll see in human media.

Bonded bullets work well when going through media such as glass, boards etc., but lack consistent performance when entering a human without going through the above first, won't get consistent reliable expansion.

Finally, shot placement is paramount...Period! If a bullet doesn't go in the snot-locker, you'll be waiting for the person to faint. Yes, that is the medical term for someone who loses enough blood pressure...they will faint. More bullet holes, equal faster blood loss, which in turns lowers the blood pressure until the person faints. So the ultimate goal of such a confrontation is to have the threat faint really really fast...unless there's the snot-locker shot.

Another person I relied on was Dr. Gary K Roberts. He came to our state LE firearms instructor conference some years ago and made a ballistic presentation, and I was able to compare some things with him, and confirm some of what I was seeing. What I liked about his presentation is that it dispelled some of the myths in the firearm ammo community. Attending his presentation were some ammo manufacturer reps we had there, they were not happy to hear that some of their product was junk.

My study is in no way definitive, but each autopsy kept proving the above...and gave me information that I felt was not available to the public.

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Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:53 pm
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you should write a book. i can help!
this is why i switched up my carry gun from a 9mm to a 45 with the addition of four rounds. even if it is a little bit uncomfortable, the knowledge of having that stopping power puts me at ease.
have you been able to see any .357 wounds?


Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:11 pm
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Very interesting post, Steve. Thank you.

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Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:27 pm
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MadPick wrote:
Very interesting post, Steve. Thank you.


:plusone:

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MadPick wrote:
Without penetration data, the pics aren't of much use.

Spoiler: show
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

"The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - St. George Tucker

A careful definition of words would destroy half the agenda of the political left and scrutinizing evidence would destroy the other half. - Thomas Sowell

"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow...

For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding." - Jeff Snyder

Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys. It realizes the ancient dream of the Jovian thunderbolt, and as such it is the embodiment of personal power. For this reason it exercises a curious influence over the minds of most men, and in its best examples it constitutes an object of affection unmatched by any other inanimate object.

Jeff Cooper
1997 The Art of the Rifle Page 1.

Spoiler: show
SUGGEST CASE BE SUBMITTED ON APPELLANT'S BRIEF. UNABLE TO OBTAIN ANY MONEY FROM CLIENTS TO BE PRESENT & ARGUE BRIEF.

The defense attorney's telegram to the clerk of the Supreme Court, March 29, 1939, in re United States. v. Miller.

You don't need to go to Law School to understand the constitutional implications of that.

“You can’t cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve.”
Spoiler: show
cityslicker wrote:
I don't want to be told that I can't remove the tree by some tree-hugging pole smoker from the eat-a-dick foundation/Olympia/King County.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:34 pm
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school of marketing lesson #1: NEVER start an answer to a customer question with "it depends..."
school of science lesson #1: it is a mistake to draw conclusions from a small data set, always seek more data. the best data is gathered by you, through experiment.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:29 pm
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Real Name: Steve
Very interesting.

If you get a chance, can you expand on on some of the myths Dr. Roberts presentation dispelled?

Thanks.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:38 pm
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quantsuff wrote:
school of marketing lesson #1: NEVER start an answer to a customer question with "it depends..."
school of science lesson #1: it is a mistake to draw conclusions from a small data set, always seek more data. the best data is gathered by you, through experiment.



Hopefully none of us will be gathering terminal ballistics data through experimentation with human targets anytime soon.

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MadPick wrote:
Without penetration data, the pics aren't of much use.

Spoiler: show
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

"The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - St. George Tucker

A careful definition of words would destroy half the agenda of the political left and scrutinizing evidence would destroy the other half. - Thomas Sowell

"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow...

For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding." - Jeff Snyder

Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys. It realizes the ancient dream of the Jovian thunderbolt, and as such it is the embodiment of personal power. For this reason it exercises a curious influence over the minds of most men, and in its best examples it constitutes an object of affection unmatched by any other inanimate object.

Jeff Cooper
1997 The Art of the Rifle Page 1.

Spoiler: show
SUGGEST CASE BE SUBMITTED ON APPELLANT'S BRIEF. UNABLE TO OBTAIN ANY MONEY FROM CLIENTS TO BE PRESENT & ARGUE BRIEF.

The defense attorney's telegram to the clerk of the Supreme Court, March 29, 1939, in re United States. v. Miller.

You don't need to go to Law School to understand the constitutional implications of that.

“You can’t cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve.”
Spoiler: show
cityslicker wrote:
I don't want to be told that I can't remove the tree by some tree-hugging pole smoker from the eat-a-dick foundation/Olympia/King County.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:55 pm
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I'm curious if you have a list of good pistol ammo from your results - for example Federal HST, best bullet weight for each caliber, etc.

This is the second time I've heard birdshot does better than 00 Buck. I have shot animals with birdshot as a kid, and it's a mess at close range. I can only conclude that the birdshot is still mostly in the wad at impact for most shootings. I've never shot anything but targets on pallets with 00 Buck shot.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:26 pm
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One thing I did not mention...although I was able to attend 42 autopsies, I gathered data from LE shootings from NW agencies and added what I could into the research, because I was able to positively ID the bullet make and model and some information as to the victim size, weight, distance of the shot and angle etc.

I will get to the questions as soon as I can. I did my study from 2003 to early 2008, so a lot has changed in the bullet industry since then...but then, some models have stayed the same.

One thing I got from my engineer friend at ATK, Hydra-Shoks are junk comparatively to other models offered...even compared to other makes. He said the only reason it's still in existence is there's still enough of it being sold to warrant it still being offered.

I ran across some Hydra-Shoks in my research, and true to form their performance was less than acceptable in my opinion. Very inconsistent expansion, and when thy did expand it wasn't nearly as advertised...but the end result was a victim, from the amount of rounds and shot placement, not from performance.

Looking thru my notes;

Fed Hydra-Shok 9mm 124gr avg. expansion based on 7 bullets - .395" Largest .412 Smallest .378"

In comparison
Fed HST non +P 124gr avg based on 9 bullets was .603" Largest .631 Smallest .591"

The .603 was bare skin, no other media penetrated before contact. Male, early 30's 5-9 187lbs fairly muscular.

The .591" was heavy clothing. Male, mid 20's 5-9 205lbs.

I have some good data with LE shoots, as I said above...easy to ID what they used.

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Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:48 pm
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I shot a .45 230g Remington Golden Saber out of my 3.3" XDS over a chrono one time, I think it was going 630fps. That's when I realized the HP was just there for show.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:07 pm
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sreyemj wrote:
I shot a .45 230g Remington Golden Saber out of my 3.3" XDS over a chrono one time, I think it was going 630fps. That's when I realized the HP was just there for show.

You need a longer barrel, maybe switch to the lighter bullet to up the velocity. I carry Golden Saber in a Comander. I dropped a mean assed rottie at abot 2 foot distance with one shot to the chest, strait on as he was lunging at me.
Then had to convince the dogs owner not to attack me as well. I still carry the 185 Sabers.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:24 pm
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Free Boer wrote:
sreyemj wrote:
I shot a .45 230g Remington Golden Saber out of my 3.3" XDS over a chrono one time, I think it was going 630fps. That's when I realized the HP was just there for show.

You need a longer barrel, maybe switch to the lighter bullet to up the velocity. I carry Golden Saber in a Comander. I dropped a mean assed rottie at abot 2 foot distance with one shot to the chest, strait on as he was lunging at me.
Then had to convince the dogs owner not to attack me as well. I still carry the 185 Sabers.

I thought about it, but I'm not sure even the 185g would go fast enough to reliably expand.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:47 pm
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Cerberus Group wrote:
One thing I did not mention...although I was able to attend 42 autopsies, I gathered data from LE shootings from NW agencies and added what I could into the research, because I was able to positively ID the bullet make and model and some information as to the victim size, weight, distance of the shot and angle etc.

I will get to the questions as soon as I can. I did my study from 2003 to early 2008, so a lot has changed in the bullet industry since then...but then, some models have stayed the same.

One thing I got from my engineer friend at ATK, Hydra-Shoks are junk comparatively to other models offered...even compared to other makes. He said the only reason it's still in existence is there's still enough of it being sold to warrant it still being offered.

I ran across some Hydra-Shoks in my research, and true to form their performance was less than acceptable in my opinion. Very inconsistent expansion, and when thy did expand it wasn't nearly as advertised...but the end result was a victim, from the amount of rounds and shot placement, not from performance.

Looking thru my notes;

Fed Hydra-Shok 9mm 124gr avg. expansion based on 7 bullets - .395" Largest .412 Smallest .378"

In comparison
Fed HST non +P 124gr avg based on 9 bullets was .603" Largest .631 Smallest .591"

The .603 was bare skin, no other media penetrated before contact. Male, early 30's 5-9 187lbs fairly muscular.

The .591" was heavy clothing. Male, mid 20's 5-9 205lbs.

I have some good data with LE shoots, as I said above...easy to ID what they used.



Those real world cases seem to agree with the test data:

https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/#9mm

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MadPick wrote:
Without penetration data, the pics aren't of much use.

Spoiler: show
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." – T.S. Eliot

"The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - St. George Tucker

A careful definition of words would destroy half the agenda of the political left and scrutinizing evidence would destroy the other half. - Thomas Sowell

"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow...

For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding." - Jeff Snyder

Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys. It realizes the ancient dream of the Jovian thunderbolt, and as such it is the embodiment of personal power. For this reason it exercises a curious influence over the minds of most men, and in its best examples it constitutes an object of affection unmatched by any other inanimate object.

Jeff Cooper
1997 The Art of the Rifle Page 1.

Spoiler: show
SUGGEST CASE BE SUBMITTED ON APPELLANT'S BRIEF. UNABLE TO OBTAIN ANY MONEY FROM CLIENTS TO BE PRESENT & ARGUE BRIEF.

The defense attorney's telegram to the clerk of the Supreme Court, March 29, 1939, in re United States. v. Miller.

You don't need to go to Law School to understand the constitutional implications of that.

“You can’t cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve.”
Spoiler: show
cityslicker wrote:
I don't want to be told that I can't remove the tree by some tree-hugging pole smoker from the eat-a-dick foundation/Olympia/King County.


Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:29 pm
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From my very limited research, and from LE agencies that use HST...I've heard very little negative about that bullet design.

LE agencies that I was able to get some data from, such as distance of the shot(s), angle and expansion size...it's one of the most consistent performers.

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Last edited by Cerberus Group on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:41 am
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sreyemj wrote:
I shot a .45 230g Remington Golden Saber out of my 3.3" XDS over a chrono one time, I think it was going 630fps. That's when I realized the HP was just there for show.


Don't think there's a HP made that will expand with that low of velocity.

Have you tried the ammo made for short barrels? I carry a Colt Officer's ACP and have good results with some of that in gel and other media. Try the HST round...

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Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:45 am
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