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Old August 10, 2005, 06:35 PM   #1
migrantmigraine
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'Wound Channel' for rifle bullets

I can see that a long-range torso shot with a .30-06 will kill a feller, and a point-blank to the head would be swell. But people keep going on about the 'wound channel' that .308s, for example, create - something about the high speed - at close ranges.
I don't get it - wouldn't a high-velocity shot just zip right through somebody at closer range? I had the idea that, unless it's a .50BMG, it's usually got to expand for non heart/lung/head shots to cause sufficient damage.
In other words, what the heck is wound channel, and how come rifles got 'em and pistols don't? Or do some pistols have 'em?
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Old August 10, 2005, 06:44 PM   #2
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Very complex subject.

basically, the body is mainly water, which is non- compressionable. As a bullet passes through the body, it forces the water out of its way ( hence "hydro-static shock". The flesh does not close to how it was, thus creating a channel of the flesh pushed out of the way. Its a lot more complex than that, but thats it in a nut shell.

All projectiles cause a wound channel- the size and speed of the projectile dictate its size. I saw a man who had been shot repeatedly by 5.56 mm FMJ ammo, and the exit wounds were quite small, as most ( it was a burst from a C9) of the rounds had gone through flesh and missed bone. Another man had ben hit in the thigh by a 7.62x39mm round, and it hit the femur leaving an exit would about 6 inches across. Nasty. The latter guy survived.
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Old August 10, 2005, 06:45 PM   #3
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Everything has a wound channel and there is a temporary [tissues are elastic] and permanent wound channel. The wound channel depends on caliber, velocity and bullet construction. In hunting deer for example we want a bullet that expands well and penetrates well. If the expansion is too fast [fragile bullet at high velocity] a shallow surface wound results but the bullet will not reach the vital organs. If the bullet doesn't expand [like a full jacketed one] the bullet completely penetrates the deer but without doing much damage to the vital organs.
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Old August 10, 2005, 06:48 PM   #4
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http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/akf...ting/45624.htm

The above is a related article about wound channels.

Every bullet creates a wound channel unless it doesn't penetrate... wound channels can be through skin, muscle, bone and organs. A .308 will carry a signifigantly larger wound channel than say a 9mm pistol and even a wider wound channel.

The force of the bullet and heat will apply themselves to the body and cause the internals to heat up and while the bullet is expanding it rips through muscle and the previously mentioned.

Tests with ballistic gelatin can familiarize yourself with the 'channel' but although it might be like flesh and meat you cannot truly depict how a bullet will channel through a person without using a real person.
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Old August 10, 2005, 07:31 PM   #5
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http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/b.../wounding.html Here's a couple more hours of reading. Chapter IV is a must read for penetraton and wound diameter graphs for different cartridges and hunting bullets. You can see how most hunting bullets will expand more but penetrate less the faster they are pushed. When a high speed bullet penetrates it pushes tissue away like a bow wave from a boat, if this is fast enough it pushes the tissue farther than it can stretch and tears the tissue. This, and the bullet fragmentation that helps to weaken the tissue, is how the 5.56 makes such a mess for it's small diameter.
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Old August 11, 2005, 06:00 AM   #6
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I was thinking... without doing too much reading wouldn't it be common sense that a larger (diameter) bullet would probably generate a larger (diameter) wound channel? Comparing say a .480 ruger to a .22-250? Although the .22-250 may have a deeper wound channel certainly the .480 ruger would have a wider one?

It seems that it would be that way but I guess it all depends on what kinda tissue you are ripping through and how tight it is... I would also assume (ack!) that the tighter the tissue the easier it is to rip... so going through muscle would be easier rip but would give more resistance as opposed to fat would would part like the red sea and give little resistance.
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Old August 11, 2005, 06:47 AM   #7
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"how come rifles got 'em and pistols don't? "

Handguns do produce wound channels. But, one of the big factors in all of this is velocity. Rifle bullets travel faster than pistol bullets. This is why that tiny little 55 grain 5.56 bullet will cause a hell of a lot more damage at close range than does a 124 grain 9mm handgun bullet. The 9mm bullet is over twice as heavy, but the 5.56 bullet is moving over twice as fast.
At close range, rifle bullets will cause horrific wounds whether they expand/fragment or not.
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Old August 11, 2005, 01:06 PM   #8
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Wound Ballistics background from professional research literature
http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

Even more data is available here: http://www.ammo-oracle.com

Some relevant wound profiles (more from page above)





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Old August 11, 2005, 01:09 PM   #9
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