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Old March 1, 2008, 12:09 PM   #1
W. C. Quantrill
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Shotgun Terminal Ballistics

In conversation with a friend near Charleston, WV, I got a quite interesting story of shotgun terminal ballistics.

This happened Thursday of this week. It seems that two fellows had a pick with the party of the third part, and proceeded to his home to pick a fight. The two fellows in mention were brothers. They arrive and confront the third party who was on the porch of his house, and they proceeded to shoot him non fatally. He reached inside his house and retrieved his turkey gun and hit one of the brothers full in the face at approximately 45 feet, disassembling his skull instantly. He then put a load of #4 turkey shot into the second brother knocking him down. The two survivors of this encounter are both hospitalized at this time.

The investigation is not complete, but those are the preliminary results from this test. Who is guilty and who isnt and what results from this is up to the locals there to decide. The talk is that the 3rd party will be acquitted for reasons of self defense, but that remains for their courts to decide. The point of this discussion is to illuminate the effect of a load of #4 turkey shot from a 12 ga shotgun at something like 45 feet or 15 yards.

The friend that reported this to me was at the scene moments afterwards, and said that when the ME picked up the body to remove it for autopsy, that the skull fell apart and pieces dropped off the stretcher onto the ground. He did not elaborate on the condition of the other brother or the man who was attacked by the pair. Yes that is gory, but I believe that it illustrates the effectiveness of a shotgun for home defense, and that you do not necessarily need all the buckshot and slugs and buzzwords to protect your castle.

Apparently entering into the conversations are that he used what he had for self defense, he did not use a shotgun that was specially prepared for bodily harm. He used his turkey gun to protect his own life, to prevent the other two from harming him further.

Perhaps, I can entice him to bring more information to this thread when some of the investigation is summarized.
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Old March 1, 2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Yes that is gory, but I believe that it illustrates the effectiveness of a shotgun for home defense, and that you do not necessarily need all the buckshot and slugs and buzzwords to protect your castle.
Nobody claimed you necessarily need buckshot or slugs to protect your castle. Such loads are just more advantageous than lessor loads. That is the point.

As for buzzwords, your accounting is a little overly dramatic.

Quote:
He reached inside his house and retrieved his turkey gun and hit one of the brothers full in the face at approximately 45 feet, disassembling his skull instantly. He then put a load of #4 turkey shot into the second brother knocking him down.
The skull was not disassembled. It may have suffered some fragmentation, but that is the nature of the skull. It is composed of a lot of bones that can come apart.

Additionally, a load of #4 turkey shot did not knock down the second brother. He may have gone down after being hit, but there simply isn't the force in a shotgun load to knock down a person.
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Old March 1, 2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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I did not post to mince technicalities. I was not there, and neither were you. I received pictures of the event about an hour afterwards and visited with a person who was there.

My only reason for posting this was to illustrate the effectiveness of the shotgun, and that it appears that this fellow will be acquited because he did not prepare for the arrival of the other two.
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Old March 1, 2008, 01:22 PM   #4
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Is it possible that the range was a bit less than 15 yards?
I’m very confident of the stopping power of a #1 birdshot 12 GA load, the heaviest available.
That’s what I have as a first round in by Moss 500. After that it’s 000 buckshot, with some more buck, slug and LTL on the shell holder on the stock.
The gelatin a water jug gurus say it’s no good, but at inside the house ranges I’m sure that the effects on bone and soft tissue is not only messy, but effective too. 36gr.of lead is no joke.

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Old March 1, 2008, 01:31 PM   #5
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It was difficult to establish the exact distance from the photos that were emailed to me. But once the reports are released to the press, I'm sure that we can get the exact range, and the exact shot size.

The fellow who contacted me is a crime reporter and has been to a lot of bad scenes, and he said he was surprised at the effect.
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Old March 1, 2008, 09:12 PM   #6
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This whole case has changed three times since it went down on Thurs evening.

Three men in a mobile home park in southern wv.

Man1 is the goblin. He had a beef of undetermined origin with two brothers who lived right next to each other in the park.

The two brothers were at one of their residences and he gets out to his car to go down the road and get some relatives to help him (they think).

The goblin walks up and shoots him through the car window with a 22 pistol. This guy is down with a neck wound that hes so far survived.

Goblin goes to the next trailer and confronts brother number 2 who is rushing out to help his sibling. The goblin connects on him with one or more shots with a 22. He stumbles in, grabs a pump action shotgun, comes out and nails the goblin in the face.

The goblin drops and is DRT.

I got there about 10 minutes after it took place. the cops were already there and had the place surrounded, advancing on the place with M-4s.

Here is what I saw.

I stood on a deck across the creek and watched the scene through a 500MM lense.

I couldnt walk up to it at that time, but the good guy shot at a downward angle. I counted in my mind 44 steps from where I think he shot to where the goblin landed. I don't have terribly long steps, but there you go.

The wounded good guy was a turkey hunter..and the gun was a long tubed 870. The goblin expired immediately, or so I am told. One shot only was fired.

When the medical examiner finally picked the guy up, I could see some sort of matter fall from his head and well...let us say, the hair kind of flopped back.

Ive been to 4 shootings, and this is the most violent one of the lot.

At that distance, I figure it had to be a slug, or a turkey load. No reason for him to have buckshot that I can envision, since deer season ended two months ago.

So there you go, thats what I know about it.
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Old March 1, 2008, 10:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
I did not post to mince technicalities. I was not there, and neither were you. I received pictures of the event about an hour afterwards and visited with a person who was there.
And yet you made specific reference to "trivialities" in stating your argument

Quote:
Yes that is gory, but I believe that it illustrates the effectiveness of a shotgun for home defense, and that you do not necessarily need all the buckshot and slugs and buzzwords to protect your castle.
And this is interesting given that you then say your purpose was to illustrate the effectiveness of the shotgun which was never in doubt. Instead, you appear to be trying to make a point that you don't need buckshot or slugs.

Quote:
My only reason for posting this was to illustrate the effectiveness of the shotgun, and that it appears that this fellow will be acquited because he did not prepare for the arrival of the other two.
And then you draw a bizarre conclusion that the fellow will be aquitted because he didn't prepare for the arrival of the other two. You mean to suggest that knowing something bad might happen that preparing for it will result in being charged simply because you prepared yourself? That is just plain silly. Just where in the law does it say self defense must be unprepared?
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Old March 3, 2008, 12:01 PM   #8
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I am not biting on your bait.

Some states have a "duty to retreat" built into their law. As I research this a bit, WV apparently does not. However, WV legislature just sent their Castle Doctrine bill to the governor as is explained in the Feb. 28 story from the Charleston newspaper. There is some lack of confidence as to whether the Governor will allow it to become law or whether he may veto it.

Castle Doctrine’ bill on its way to Manchin

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald reporter

— CHARLESTON — Quicker than a marksman could fire and reload, the House of Delegates agreed Thursday that a man’s home is his castle and it’s all right to gun down any intruder skulking about, in or out of the premises.
“Your home is your castle,” Sen. Shirley Love, D-Fayette exulted upon learning the House Judiciary Committee sent his 2-year-old bill out, absent any effort to either amend or debate it.
Within an hour, the full House shipped the bill on to Gov. Joe Manchin, with the only opposition vote cast by Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson.
“When you think about it, in this day and time, your home is even more so your castle. That old adage that the wind can come in and not the king is true. It really means something when you stop and think about it.”
Love began the push last year to upgrade West Virginia’s self-defense law with the backing of the National Rifle Association.
In mind was some protection in law that a homeowner could protect hearth and home and use deadly force, if needed, if he felt he and his family were imperiled by invaders.
Love’s bill would guarantee that a homeowner using such force could use the fear of potential harm as a “full and complete defense” if the intruder filed a lawsuit over his wounds or his survivors resorted to litigation.
This bill goes an extra step in allowing a property owner to use force outside the home if he feels a prowler is about to commit a felony, such as making off with an expensive yard implement, auto or other possession.
“We worked very hard with the chairs of both committees to craft a bill that we feel is very solid and very structured,” said Jordan Austin, state liaison for the NRA.
“It will guarantee an individual’s right to self-defense inside the home and outside the home.”
A stronger version offered by Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, would have blocked any injured prowler from even filing a lawsuit against a homeowner, but Austin said the Love bill would suit West Virginia’s needs.
An NRA movement began a few years ago to accord homeowners more protection began with Florida and now has expanded to 21 states with West Virginia now on board.
Austin wasn’t surprised to see the Love bill ease through the House panel without amendments or opposition votes.
“This has been the will of the people for quite a long time,” he said. “It has attracted lots of support from individuals in the state.”
West Virginia has never had a “duty to retreat” as some states do as a means of preventing a showdown with an intruder, “but we’re just making clear there is no duty to retreat,” Austin said.
Love said he has been overwhelmed with calls and e-mails from across the state expressing support.
“I think this gives homeowners a little more feeling of security that they can protect themselves, their families and their property without having the fear of being prosecuted by ones who are the intruders on their personal premises,” he added.
— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

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Old March 3, 2008, 01:16 PM   #9
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I will be quite surprised if Joe signs it. There are a lot of libs coming out of the woodwork in the WV legislature.
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Old March 3, 2008, 03:58 PM   #10
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What is the case law in WV for self defense?

The lack of a statute does not by itself indicate a duty to retreat.
Virginia has NO statute law on lethal force, yet there is NO 'duty to retreat', and the case law is very clear on this.
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Old March 3, 2008, 06:17 PM   #11
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Gunshot wounds are strange. Years ago, our local sherrif commited suicide (maybe) by putting a 12 ga in his mouth, and pulling the trigger. I was not at the scene, but at least 2 chiefs said there was absolutely no exit wound. The load was buckshot. I still find it hard to believe, but it must be true.
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Old March 3, 2008, 06:34 PM   #12
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I don't understand why you guys are surprised, turkey guns have extra tight chokes, so the pattern is going to be tighter at short range.
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Old March 4, 2008, 06:23 PM   #13
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Shot placement still counts

I have a friend whose sibling attempted suicide via self-inflicted 12ga to head, from under the chin. Jaw blown off; big mess; survived. No brain damage. Major facial reconstruction.

I don't know whether it was bird or buckshot, and I'm not about to ask my friend, even though this incident happened years ago.
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Old March 4, 2008, 06:30 PM   #14
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A buddy of mine was shot in the belly with #6 shot from halfway across a bedroom. He has a horrific scar and only half a stomach but he lived.
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Old March 5, 2008, 12:16 AM   #15
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Hawg
Your buddy isn't from Memphis, is he?
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Old March 5, 2008, 10:19 AM   #16
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FWIW, a whole lot of turkeys run off after being shot with turkey loads from a shotgun. One-off anecdotes are nice, but rarely indicative of much by themselves.
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Old March 7, 2008, 03:14 PM   #17
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anecdotes and statistics

Anecdotes may not be statistically significant.

Then again, statistics can be twisted rather easily to support a given viewpoint.

For instance, if gun control advocates want to make a case that possession of a weapon more likely to result in the owner being harmed, they will include suicides in their stats.

This would be fine, but they generally won't make that clear. They'll just say: More gun owners are hurt by their own gun than successfully use them for self defense.

They'll let listeners and readers assume this means that attackers take away guns and use them on gun owners.

So, statistics sometimes don't have any more value than anecdotes. However, statisticians don't want the rest of us to figure this out.

Statistics are useful. However, they aren't really useful unless you know and understand the method used to determine the statistics, and any potential bias of the researcher conducting the study.
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Old March 7, 2008, 04:08 PM   #18
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Hawg
Your buddy isn't from Memphis, is he?
No sir, he's a good ol Mizzippi boy that got caught in the wrong bedroom.
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:58 AM   #19
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So, statistics sometimes don't have any more value than anecdotes. However, statisticians don't want the rest of us to figure this out.
Getting a bit off-topic here, but statistics are always going to be of more value than anecdotal info for determining what is likely to occur. The problem is that so few people really understand how to use stats, so it is easy to misuse them. If more would take the time to learn and understand there would be less distortion. My $.02.
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Old March 10, 2008, 11:54 AM   #20
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Statistical problems

With regard to David Armstrong's argument about statistics:

Yes, they are very useful for making logical predictions based on past occurrences, assuming a statistically significant number of data points are available.

However, the argument not addressed was that unless the methods used for obtaining those data points are made known, and unless the research methods and the researcher's goals are transparent, all statistics are suspect as they can be twisted.

Here's a non-firearm example:

Statistically, only 10% of shark attack victims are SCUBA divers.

Only half of SCUBA diver shark attack victims are engaged in spearfishing.

Therefore, only 5% of shark attack victims are spearfishing. Ergo, swimming at the beach is more dangerous than SCUBA diving or spearfishing, from the perspective of shark attack.

You hear this logic from many divers. (I dive, myself, but know this argument to be BS).

The problem with this argument is that nowhere near 10% of the humans in the ocean are SCUBA divers. I don't know the exact percentage, but based on observations from living at a beach, and from being a diver myself, less than 1% are divers, and most divers are not in the water for that many hours a day, due to need to limit nitrogen formation in the bloodstream.

So, divers probably make up .1% to .3% of humans in the water. IE, they get attacked by sharks, at 10% of total victims, at a rate about 100:1 to that of beach bathers.

Of course, the fish are usually near where the water gets deep, and around reefs, and this is where you find bigger, more aggressive sharks.... and most divers.

Of those who SCUBA dive, less than half engage in spearfishing, and they don't spearfish every time they dive. So, making up half the SCUBA victims is also disproportionate.

Spearfishing is just about the most likely way to attract sharks. Blood in the water, vibrations from wounded fish, etc...

If you don't understand how statistics were gathered, they are meaningless.
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Old March 10, 2008, 03:21 PM   #21
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However, the argument not addressed was that unless the methods used for obtaining those data points are made known, and unless the research methods and the researcher's goals are transparent, all statistics are suspect as they can be twisted.
Agreed. Understanding the research behind the stats can be just as important as the stats themselves, maybe more-so.
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Old March 10, 2008, 07:06 PM   #22
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unless the methods used for obtaining those data points are made known - and unless the research methods and the researcher's goals are transparent - all statistics are suspect as they can be twisted.
So true.

'Data' is often cherry picked in order to push an agenda; as in politics or the gun world. It's lying by omision.
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