View Full Version : Hydrostatic shock?

January 16, 2012, 09:28 PM
I would like to know 2 things.
1. What exactly is hydrostatic shock and what fps is the minimum to cause it?
2. Can my savage .243 cause this?

January 16, 2012, 09:40 PM
Basically, think of it as a big spike in pressure in the blood and other fluids, it can cause incapacitation instantly.
Since tissue is mostly liquids it can affect all organs at once, but mainly the brain and CNS.

It's hard to predict, but 243 should do it. I've seen eyes pop out from it, and it wigs me out LOL.

I don't know all of the specifics, but I think bullet constuction has a lot to do with it .

Brian Pfleuger
January 16, 2012, 10:26 PM
Hydrostatic shock is disruption to the nervous system created by the shockwave of an impact.

Yes, your 243 can do it. Most people agree that hydrostatic shock begins at around 1,800-2,000 fps.

There is HIGHLY controversial research indicating that it can happen with high-velocity handgun rounds, 1,200+ fps or more, roughly, maybe 500-ish ft/lbs of energy. Most people don't think hydrostatic shock from handguns is real or if it is real, significant.

Hydrostatic shock with high-speed rifle rounds is indisputably real and, at times, dramatic.

January 17, 2012, 10:23 AM
the large bubble tha forms just inside is a visual on the hydrostatic shock and the resulting cavity after passage is the remainder.

January 17, 2012, 10:58 AM
What exactly is hydrostatic shock and what fps is the minimum to cause it?

I think it's more of an energy thing than a fps thing... so mass (bullet weight) AND speed (fps) both factor. The energy transfer causes damage to surrounding areas outside the exact path of the bullet (which obviously causes disruption). You can see this when you butcher something, or when you open up a chest cavity. Larger areas surrounding the bullet path are jellified or otherwise disrupted. I've seen it with the 243 many times on deer.

January 17, 2012, 11:14 AM
We could go into the details of how the phenomena works, but hydrostatic shock works best when the target is smaller than or on the order of the same size of the bubble created by the impact.

If the bubble is small compared to the target, e. g. a water-filled 5 gallon plastic jug or deer, the hydrostatic shock from a .223 does little damage. Hit a 16 oz plastic container filled with water, however, and the thing explodes. Same effect on squirrels.

So, to see whether hydrostatic shock will be evident for your game, test your bullets on water-filled plastic containers at the ranges you expect to shoot at. The volume does not need to represent legs and head, just the body.

Yes, I have seen sixteen ounce plastic containers come apart when hit by a pistol bullet, especially if it is going the long way through.

Higher velocity makes the effect more pronounced.

Hog Buster
January 17, 2012, 11:35 AM
There’s a couple of schools of thought concerning hydrostatic shock, one pro, one con. Google it and you’ll find both. Below is an example.


January 17, 2012, 03:32 PM
Hydrostatic shock is a mechanical phenomenon caused by the incompressibility of a liquid and the velocity of the shockwave when a projectile strikes a fluid mass. Any fluid mass, whether it is an animal or an apple.

It is generally said that it occurs at about 2,000+ fps, but I have seen similar results when shooting jackrabbits with 125 g 357 Magnum ammo going about 1,580 fps.

When shooting animals, if the shock wave is larger than the animal shot, it will tear it to pieces. If the shock wave is contained within the animal's body, it will not.

January 17, 2012, 09:39 PM
for a good poor mans ideology on it,,,,

take a water baloon and fill it. its at a natural normal pressurized state for the system. poke the edge of your balloon, see how it bulges elsewhere? that is the function of hydrostatic shock. ie, force of a bullet displacesinternal fluid, and since the internal fluid is water based it cant be compressed, so pressure spikes up all along the chain.

January 18, 2012, 08:09 AM
One time, I was shooting at a large sow and somehow I shot a piglet instead. The result was entrailsshot 20ft from his rear end.

January 19, 2012, 01:07 AM
Hunted this morning and gave a rough autoposy to ole wily.... I know see what you are trying to say. Saw some lung soup and the massive damage (100gr SP .243 was a bit excessive) caused. I now know.

January 19, 2012, 01:09 AM
Tell me you got pics! Not of the gore, but just of the coyote!

January 19, 2012, 01:19 AM
I left my phone in the truck because i get calls at inoppertune times. But the next one I promise a picture of, I will bring a digital camera next time.. pretty colors on them around here.