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Old December 15, 2009, 06:02 AM   #1
iMagUdspEllr
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Hydrostatic Shock (pistols)

Of all of the stopping power theories... hydrostatic shock is the only one that I can't find enough information about to make my own decision.

Temporary cavity doesn't work very well on a human's elastic organs, "knockdown" doesn't exist, psychological factors are negated by drugs/adrenaline/determination, and larger holes don't necessarily matter because they are only confirmed to increase the speed of bleed-out (and I'm not going to wait for my attacker to bleed to death).

I know hydrostatic shock can be generated in pistol ammunition. I know certain rounds are capable of causing brain damage remote to the point of impact. However, I don't know how much brain damage is lethal. I don't know what properties a bullet must possess to create a lethal amount of hydrostatic shock. And, I can't find any reputable sources that can confirm that round A with load X caused a LETHAL amount of brain damage even though the point of impact was [choose a random point of impact besides the head and neck].

Can anyone shed some light on hydrostatic shock or point me to reputable reading material/website so that I can find out what to look for in home defense ammunition?

Thank you all in advance.
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Old December 15, 2009, 07:41 AM   #2
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Brain damage? Are you seriously asking what bullet will cause the most brain damage?
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Old December 15, 2009, 07:48 AM   #3
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Hydrostatic shock is discussed not-too-favorably here:

http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/b...ics/myths.html
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Old December 15, 2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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I think your going to find that people who use bullets that tend to have it, tend to believe in it, and those who use bullets that dont, tend to not.

I tend to believe that it does have an effect. I've seen what high velocity small caliber rifle bullets do to critters and what larger caliber, lower velocity bullets do. The difference is usually quite dramatic, although both bullets did kill what was shot. The bullets with the "shock" generally performed better (more destructive) and quicker though. I've seen similar results with a couple of different pistol rounds too.

Realistically, I think there are to many variables when it comes to any of them, and a good hit with either will kill, and a marginal hit with either, may not. This is even more the case with a pistol. Either way though, what ever does more damage and disrupts normal function of what it hits and near by tissue and organs, even if only temporarily, would be my choice over something that doesnt. It might give you that slight edge that lets you prevail. Then again, a hit by a .45 in your pinkie toe, will do you in, so whats it matter.
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Old December 15, 2009, 08:13 AM   #5
iMagUdspEllr
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@twhidd: Yes...I am asking about what kind of brain damage a pistol can inflict to the brain... when the bullet hits the chest/shoulder/etc (not the head/neck).

Some people claim that brain damage is possible from hydrostatic shock (a pressure wave created when the bullet impacts that is powerful enough to reach the brain and damage it).

I realize that if a bullet hits you in the head... it will destroy the brain. That isn't what I'm asking.
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Old December 15, 2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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Get thee from General Discussion ... :barf:
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Old December 15, 2009, 09:17 AM   #7
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The classic 125 gr .357 JHP has a lot of hydrostatic shock for a handgun round and works really well on the street.
The classic 230 gr .45 Hydrashok JHP has very litle hydrostatic shock and works really well on the street.

No one knows exactly why this is. One thing's for sure; it's a complicated issue.
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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This is a little nasty subject. Fact is that a couple well placed .45 shots, or any caliber for that matter, will allow you to run away quite easily. Running away should be the ultimate goal in most situations.
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMagUdspEllr
I don't know what properties a bullet must possess to create a lethal amount of hydrostatic shock.
Speed.

Hydrostatic shock is literally a shock wave. In order to create a shock wave that does damage the bullet must be traveling faster than the speed of sound IN THE MATERIAL IMPACTED. In a flesh and bones target, that speed is roughly 2000 fps.

In other words, almost no handgun generates ANY substantial level of hydrostatic shock.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iMagUdspEllr
Some people claim that brain damage is possible from hydrostatic shock (a pressure wave created when the bullet impacts that is powerful enough to reach the brain and damage it).

Some people are nuts. The only way to damage the brain is to hit it with a bullet. The only weapon that would create a shock wave powerful enough to damage the brain with a shock wave would be an RPG, or an M1 tank.
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Otis311

This is a little nasty subject. Fact is that a couple well placed .45 shots, or any caliber for that matter, will allow you to run away quite easily. Running away should be the ultimate goal in most situations.
I am unclear as to where your "well placed .45 shots" should go to let you run away. I assume you do not mean on your body.

And peetzakilla has nailed it again. +1
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:44 AM   #11
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oh yeah, i can see how that was poorly written. Well placed on the BGs body, of course. Hopefully he won't be doing any running afterward.
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peetzakilla
...In other words, almost no handgun generates ANY substantial level of hydrostatic shock....
Absolutely right on the money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otis311
....Fact is that a couple well placed .45 shots, or any caliber for that matter, will allow you to run away quite easily....
A little off topic, but if you actually do shoot at someone, running away is a very bad idea. You will want to be the first person to report the event to the police. Running equates to guilt. If you run, you'll have a very tough time selling the proposition that you were justifiably defending yourself.
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Old December 15, 2009, 11:58 AM   #13
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I didn't mean fleeing the scene, just creating safe distance. Of course you should consult the police immediately.

I'll just stop talking now.
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otis311
I didn't mean fleeing the scene, just creating safe distance. Of course you should consult the police immediately...
I'm glad that's clarified. Wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea, or for someone who didn't know better think that leaving the vicinity might be a good idea after defending himself.

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Old December 15, 2009, 12:31 PM   #15
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peetzakilla is right on the money here.
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Old December 15, 2009, 01:07 PM   #16
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The wikipedia page is interesting - has some references pro and con the topic of handguns and remote neural effects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

Someone else can read it all - kind of busy now.

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Old December 15, 2009, 02:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Someone else can read it all - kind of busy now.
Interesting information.

I find it hard to believe that a handgun, or any other gun for that matter, can cause "remote" damage to nerves by traveling along blood vessel in the brain. The most compelling reason for my unbelief is the sheer number of people who have survived gun shot wounds with no apparent ill effects, besides the obvious. The ability to blow out neural connections in remote locations would lend itself to a high degree of lethality, common sense says.

In power levels associated with long guns there is certainly a significant level of hydrostatic shock damage to nearby nerves, hence the "Dead Right There" phenomenon, but that seems to be more associated with spinal connections than brain damage as I've seen numerous examples of the animal getting up and running away within a few seconds if the original shot was not lethal.
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:16 PM   #18
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In theory, why does this question matter?

I don't understand why we are discussing "hydrostatic shock" and damage to the brain? I don't know that the two can be related other than internet rumors. I think the most basic definition of hydrostatic shock is a believable occurence but I'm not sure why we are basically discussing the real and remote brain damage that could be suffered by a gunshot wound to the head??

Also, if a bullet strikes someones brain, why would hydrostatic shock matter if the direct damage would at least incapicate the person completely at the minimum?
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Some people claim that brain damage is possible from hydrostatic shock (a pressure wave created when the bullet impacts that is powerful enough to reach the brain and damage it).

I realize that if a bullet hits you in the head... it will destroy the brain. That isn't what I'm asking.
These are the same simple minded 'I heard from a guy who heard from a guy who saw a guy so it must be true' people who will cheerfully tell you that the shock of a 45 ACP bullet hitting your thumb will completely destroy your nervous system and kill you where you stand or that a 357 magnum will completely destroy an engine block with a single shot. Don't get all excited about super pistol bullets with untold tons of hydrostatic shock turning your brain to mush if it hits you in the collarbone. Now if its a projectile from an 8" naval gun there could be something to it but brain injury will be the least of your problems.
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:23 PM   #20
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There aren't any 8" guns in service now. Although there are proposals to bring some back. New ones have been tested on some ships on a temporary basis.

The new DDG 1000 - a very controversial ship is supposed to have 155 mm guns.

So my brain is safe for a bit.
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:32 PM   #21
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Otis311 - FWIW - I completely understood your initial post and I completely agree with you.

peetzakilla - good answer to the actual question. Thanks for the info.
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:32 PM   #22
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Seems to me that we accept the effects of hydrostatic transmission of shock waves every time we look at a test of a cartridge with ballistic gel. The wound cavities that we fret and argue over are not produced directly by the bullet moving through the gel, but by the kinetic energy dissipated by the round as it slows. (Unless I misunderstand the entire process - I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I am a doctor.)

So the question seems to be whether those shock waves reach the brain. The answer is buried in that Wickipedia article: researchers measured shock waves and neurologic dysfunction in the brains of pigs that were shot in the "thigh" (ruining a perfectly nice ham). To me, this was the kicker: they had to use electroencephalography to detect functional abnormalities in the brain of the pigs, and implanted pressure transducers to measure the pressures. I couldn't come up with the original paper, but I have to think that if overt neurologic symptoms were present they would have been reported (even granted that this was a Wickipedia article). Similarly, if the increased pressures were large enough and prolonged enough they could have been detected by less elaborate means.

Summary: Are pressure waves transmitted to parts of the body remote from bullet impact, including the brain? Yes. Are the effects reliable enough to be counted upon by a person using a handgun in self defense? By both common observation and medical testing, no. It would require circumstances approaching the bizarre for shock waves from a bullet impacting an extremity, the abdomen, or the chest to reach the brain with sufficient force to cause an an immediately incapacitating injury.
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Old December 15, 2009, 04:57 PM   #23
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There aren't any 8" guns in service now. Although there are proposals to bring some back. New ones have been tested on some ships on a temporary basis.


I know, the last ship I know of that fired 8" guns was the USS Canberra and I was an FT aboard her then. Just mentioned that as a ridiculously large bullet that could conceivably turn a brain to mush without a head shot.
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Old December 15, 2009, 05:58 PM   #24
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Hydrostatic Shock is a myth, even for high powered rifles.
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Old December 15, 2009, 06:49 PM   #25
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Hydrostatic shock isn't a myth, I am sure I am a victim of such when my mother dropped me on my, oh never mind. Good grief energy transfer could be deemed hydrostatic shock, there are so many equations to energy transfer such as point of impact, bullet weight, bullet design, body mass etc.

Incapacitated is incapacitated and dead is dead shock or no shock, that's all that really matters. I think gun magazine writers and so called guru's like to throw out these terms and re-invent them for sales. yes bullets cause a shock wave, but I challenge them to say EVERY hit in the same place in tissue with bullet XYZ in said caliber will produce the same results in each and every shooting.

All I worry about is having a decent power caliber, modern ammo and most of all hitting where I intend the bullet to impact which to me is most important. Debates are fun but not always reality based.
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