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Old August 18, 2022, 09:57 PM   #1
Stugrad98
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Poll: Wound ballistics scenario with a .22

On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being "An entry wound that size would be the most likely outcome" and 5 being "An entry wound that size would be all but impossible given the parameters" what would you say about the possibility that: a claim that a .22 pistol fired at close range (within inches) left a wound that is approximately 2cm in diameter in an adult human skull.

This is for research into a several-decades old crime. As someone here may be familiar with it, I do not want to bias it by providing any further details. I am curious what the opinions are from experts and enthusiasts on this board. Feel free to leave just a number from 1 to 5; or leave any comments with it. Thank you for your opinions in advance.

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Old August 19, 2022, 12:08 AM   #2
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This question does not appear to be specific to revolvers. Moved to "General Discussion."
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Old August 19, 2022, 12:55 AM   #3
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The entry wound should be pretty close to bullet diameter--maybe a bit larger due to some bone fragmentation around the wound. One scenario that might leave a larger entry wound is if the bullet hit a relatively thin part of the skull at an oblique angle and sort of plowed a track into the skull.

The exit wound could be much larger. Bullet exits from the skull tend to blow out a larger section than one might expect.
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Old August 19, 2022, 09:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
what would you say about the possibility that: a claim that a .22 pistol fired at close range (within inches) left a wound that is approximately 2cm in diameter in an adult human skull.
I think a solid determination cannot be made with the information provided. In the most general terms I'd have to say possible, but unlikely HOWEVER...

Additional information could very well change my opinion.

Approximately 2cm is approximately 3/4 inch, and so impact angle, matters. Where on the skull the wound is, matters, the skull is not a uniform thickness. Thin bone might shatter, leaving a larger wound than thick bone where the wound might just be a bullet size hole, etc...

Based on the usual image of a point blank 90 degree shot to the thick part of the cranium, I'd say 4 on your scale, possible but not likely. Change the impact point to a thin spot, and that size wound gets more likely, not less.
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Old August 19, 2022, 09:59 AM   #5
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Not an "expert". Analyst of sorts but not an expert.

Confined muzzle blast if the muzzle is in contact with the skull might rupture bone around bullet impact. Might. Skull bone thickness varies and medical conditions affect bone density.

And just to be obnoxious since the question does not specifically state .22LR or .22WMR, what exact .22 is involved? Pistols have been available in .223, .221 and other rifle cartridges for a long time.
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Old August 19, 2022, 05:31 PM   #6
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Yellow Jacket ammo and possibly stingers might be soft enough to expand to that diameter before punching through.
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Old August 22, 2022, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Yellow Jacket ammo and possibly stingers might be soft enough to expand to that diameter before punching through.
Do you think they use softer lead in Stingers and Yellowjackets? I would think with the higher velocity would tend to lead the barrel.

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Old August 22, 2022, 03:11 PM   #8
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I don't think its a question of softer bullet with Yellowjacket/Stingers but rather a matter of the highly velocity possibly expanding the bullet more at impact, making the bullet seem "softer".
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Old August 22, 2022, 03:22 PM   #9
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4. Very Unlikely

I am basing this on a manuscript accepted for publication but not yet in print
https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/portalf...E_accepted.pdf

If you scroll past the references, you can see the experimental data of shots fired into SynBone Spheres (apparently accepted as a pretty good substitute for human skull)

The .22 bullet makes a .22 hole, as do most handgun bullets at close range.

I'm not a forensic pathologist by any means, but the reference section of this paper should set you off on a good long week of reading at your local University Med School Library to learn more.

The proper thing for me to add is:
"Accepted Manuscript
Title: Cranial trauma in handgun executions: Experimental
Data Using Polyurethane Proxies
Authors: Seth Taylor, Elena F. Kranioti
PII: S0379-0738(17)30490-5
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.11.032
Reference: FSI 9076
To appear in: FSI
Received date: 1-8-2017
Revised date: 16-11-2017
Accepted date: 20-11-2017
Please cite this article as: Seth Taylor, Elena F.Kranioti, Cranial trauma in
handgun executions: Experimental Data Using Polyurethane Proxies, Forensic Science
International https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.11.032
This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication.
As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript.
The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof
before it is published in its final form. ..."
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Old August 24, 2022, 04:25 PM   #10
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I would imagine a whole bunch of Autopsy Reports generated during "The Troubles" from Northern Ireland would provide a lot of input. Plus a lot of "Knee Cappings" for bone damage analysis. I heard the .22 was quit popular for that kinda stuff.
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Old August 25, 2022, 07:06 AM   #11
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I can’t deal with centimeters in my head, it gives me heartburn. So, I looked it up, and it would be about .40 inch.

The entry wound would be .22 wouldn’t it? And if it exited, it would still be pretty small.
It doesn’t make sense to me, that a .22 is going to do that.

And that’s why I would use my .40, to make a proper sized big hole. And if it exited, whooo boy, what a hole that would be.
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Old August 25, 2022, 07:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrod47 View Post
I would imagine a whole bunch of Autopsy Reports generated during "The Troubles" from Northern Ireland would provide a lot of input. Plus a lot of "Knee Cappings" for bone damage analysis. I heard the .22 was quit popular for that kinda stuff.
I guess they used what they had, but a 9mm JHP to the head or knee, wow. That would be messy.
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Old August 25, 2022, 02:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
I can’t deal with centimeters in my head, it gives me heartburn. So, I looked it up, and it would be about .40 inch.
Your math is slightly off. 1 inch =2.54cm
so a 2cm hole is actually just over 3/4 of an inch, almost 4/5" (0.8")inch, if you round up a bit. (.787xxxxx) according to my calculator.
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Old August 25, 2022, 03:01 PM   #14
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Everyone replying to this thread should realize that "Stugrad98" left his post above and then logged out 11 minutes later. He hasn't returned to continue his "research" or even to acknowledge the replies his question has received.

I won't use the 't' word, but it comes close in my book.
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Old August 25, 2022, 03:40 PM   #15
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Thanks for that, Mal H.

Good to know.
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Old August 27, 2022, 12:45 PM   #16
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It was his first post on the forum, and, to date, his only post on the forum, and its been ten days since he posted, so I would tend to agree with the idea of it just being something to "stir the pot" and not an actual valid search for information.

Time to stop playing his game, I think.
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Old September 9, 2022, 08:36 PM   #17
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Hi.

Thanks for these responses. They are incredibly helpful especially the reference to the forthcoming study.

Not a troll: had a major life event not long after this.

The reason I am vague is I honestly do not want to bias anyone by speaking to the specific historical case this involves.

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Old September 10, 2022, 04:56 PM   #18
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Just my two cents worth here. There are a lot of people trying to sound authoratative here, but they use "I think" and "in my opinion" when they apparently have little experience in these things.

I will freely admit I have no experience with wounds inflicted to human skulls by 22LR firearms at contact distances, however I can affirm that a large part of damage from contact wounds is from gas, and the gas can cause large amounts of damage to thin bones like the skull. There have been a number of deaths in the movie industry by uninformed people discharging blank guns against their head, with the gases piercing the skull and causing massive damage. So, yes, a 22LR could cause a hole in a skull 2 cm in diameter if the muzzle was against the skull when it was fired. Farther away, to where the gas is not a factor, the bullet would punch a hole of approximately 22 caliber.
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Old September 10, 2022, 09:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
So, yes, a 22LR could cause a hole in a skull 2 cm in diameter if the muzzle was against the skull when it was fired.
Interesting point and this seems to confirm that you are correct.

Document.
https://webpath.med.utah.edu/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNINJ.html

Diagram.
https://webpath.med.utah.edu/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUN014.html
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Old September 10, 2022, 10:59 PM   #20
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In a previous life, I dealt a lot with fracture mechanics of bone. How fractures occur in bone can depend on the ossification of the bone (the more solid, the more cracks can show), uniformity (bone is pretty good at being uniform, but far from perfect), type of bone (not frontal, parietal, or femur, but compact/cortical or cancellous), and condition of the bone as fresh (still containing collagen as when alive) or dry (without collagen). If a .22 caliber bullet left a 2 cm entry wound in a skull, not in the soft tissue, but in the skull, I would say it is an absolute possibility. Radiating and concentric fractures from/around the point of impact could most definitely result in a hole through the skull that is larger than the caliber of bullet, particularly if off of the soft tissue has been removed before examination.

I would not anticipate finding a person who had been shot in the head with a .22, even at close range, to have a gaping 3/4" gaping hole through skin, bone, etc. The exception, would be angled shots and those certainly do occur and on a round surface like a human skull, it can be hard to make shots perpendicular to all of the immediately surrounding tissue.

Quote:
Approximately 2cm is approximately 3/4 inch, and so impact angle, matters. Where on the skull the wound is, matters, the skull is not a uniform thickness. Thin bone might shatter, leaving a larger wound than thick bone where the wound might just be a bullet size hole, etc...
Generally speaking, the skull is composed of an inner table of then compact bone, diploe or cancellous bone (which is porous, involved in blood production) and then the outer table that is usually another thin layer of compact bone, sometimes thicker than the inner table bone and sometimes not.

Compact bone and cancellous bones have different fracture patterns due to the gross structure of the bone itself, cancellous being porous like a sponge and compact bone being a solid (though not a uniform solid). One of my students compared it to two layers of drywall with sprayed foam inside and that isn't a bad visual analogy. When thick enough, compact bone can be broken very similarly to rock like chert. It has predictable and documented fracture dynamics, though for a flintknapper, it needs to be thick enough to work with and that isn't the issue here, although it would not be.

As such, bullet wounds to the head can produce the original entry hole that is about the diameter of the bullet if it goes in perpendicularly to the entry surface. That hole would be on the outer table of the skull. Where the bullet impacted would have radiating from it all of the energy of the bullet that the bullet can transfer equal to the resistance of the bone and soft tissue. From the point of impact into the skull, the energy is going to dissipate in a cone (Hertzian cone, or cone of percussion). If you have ever shot a plate glass window with a BB gun and seen funnel-shaped hole left behind, that was a cone of percussion. Given that the layers of the skull likely would not be uniform, this cone is not always uniform, either. While the hole through the outer table may be bullet diameter, much of the diploe and inner table may be missing from under the outer table to a much greater diameter. If there are associated radiating fractures and concentric fractures, the outer table which would otherwise show a bullet caliber diameter hole may end up having a much larger and likely less regular (in shape) hole, but to really notice it, all the skin would need to be gone from the area. I think 44 Amp referred to this as the skull shattering, but it would not be shattering like a window, but simply having structure failure around the point of impact, that structural failure being much more pronounced on the inside as a result of a cone of percussion.

Otherwise, no, I would not expect your typical .22 (lr, short, long) to produce anything resembling a typical bullet entry entry that is 0.75 caliber in a human skull.

With that said, expectations are not always what greet us in the field. Human/animal tissue may tend to perform in certain manners when impacted by ballistic projectiles. What bullets tend to do going through soft and hard tissue is far from uniform, however, as the hard and soft tissue are hardly uniform across the body or from person to person. For example, you may see much greater destruction than would be expected if you are shooting an 80 year old in the head who has failing health versus a 30 year old in the head who is in peak health.

So yeah, if I was to give it a number, I would say 4. If the hole was that big, I am sure there is a good explanation for it.

Of course, there was the about about a "few inches" distance. I am not sure how far that is, but when it comes to gasses and their impact, very minute amounts of distance makes a difference. If by a few inches the op means 4-8" then I would say that gasses are not apt to influence the wound an any significant structural manner, particularly through the bone. If 'few' is >1 and <3, then maybe.
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Old September 11, 2022, 03:54 PM   #21
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I've been thinking about this some more and there is one thing that might make a difference.

If the bullet went through the eye and then through the skull at the back of the eye socket, that could result in a larger hole due to the geometry of the back of the eye socket.
Quote:
The reason I am vague is I honestly do not want to bias anyone by speaking to the specific historical case this involves.
Honestly, you've already dropped enough hints (all of which were completely irrelevant to determining an answer your specific question) to give a good idea of which case you're looking at.

You would have been far better off providing all the details necessary to get a good answer and dispensing with the extraneous hints and mystery/drama.
  • Where EXACTLY did the bullet impact the skull? (e.g. Temple, back of the eye socket, through one of the sinuses, forehead, behind the ear)
  • At what approximate angle did the bullet impact the skull? (e.g. Almost straight in, At a shallow angle, at about a 45 degree angle, at a slight upward angle.)
  • Did the bullet go through any other objects before it impacted the skull? (e.g. Yes--a piece of drywall, Yes--automobile glass, no)
  • Did the bullet ricochet off another surface before impacting the skull? (e.g. Yes, water, Yes, a piece of tile, no)
  • What type of .22LR ammo was used? (e.g. standard velocity, lead solid, lead hollowpoint, high velocity, Minimag hollowpoint.)
  • What was the approximate age and physical condition of the victim? (e.g. 80 years old and ill, late teens, early 40s and healthy)
  • Was the victim alive/freshly dead at the time of the shooting, or could the shot to the skull have occurred many days or months after death? (e.g. Dead and skeletonized at the time of the shooting, alive at the time of the shooting)
  • Was the wound examined for the autopsy exactly as it was after the shooting, or did the victim receive medical care which could have resulted in the condition of the wound being altered in the course of treatment? (e.g. Victim died at the scene--the wound was untouched, victim died in the ambulance--wound was untouched, victim survived for about a day--wound was potentially enlarged by surgeons cleaning out bullet and bone fragments.
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Old September 14, 2022, 03:49 PM   #22
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Od things happen. I did notice a larger than expected hole in a paper target when I was shooting a 22 derringer. The base of the bullet flared some and upped bullet diameter to .280 or so. Isn't 2 centimeters an inch and a half?

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Old September 14, 2022, 07:07 PM   #23
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Quote:
Isn't 2 centimeters an inch and a half?
2 cm is approximately .800", slightly larger than 3/4" (.750").
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Old September 15, 2022, 01:48 PM   #24
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Quote:
Isn't 2 centimeters an inch and a half?
No. 4cm (40mm) is approximately an inch and a half.

2.54 cm (25.4mm) = 1 inch
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Old September 16, 2022, 01:17 AM   #25
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Quote:
2 cm is approximately .800", slightly larger than 3/4" (.750").
Ok, I will say up front that in this post I will be exhibiting bad manners and be something of a jerk, but I'm also going go ahead with it. My apologies to Scorch in advance.

It would be completely correct to write that:

2 cm is approximately .8", slightly larger than 3/4" (.750").

However, stating the number to three decimal places as in the original quote implies that the number is accurate to three decimal places. If the desire is to provide an answer to three decimal places, a better way to do it would be to calculate the actual value and then round so that it is correct to three decimal places. That would look like this:

2 cm is approximately .787", slightly larger than 3/4" (.750").
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