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terminal ballistics

Handgun Hunting. It is always interesting to read about the latest gee-whiz bullet that offers a zillion feet-per-second velocity, retains percent of its weight in terminal ballistics and yields consistent, perfect expansion with deep penetration, but how often is that needed for every day shooting? Lead Bullet Basics. They have approximately 35 percent less weight than jacketed lead-core bullets, higher velocity, flatter trajectory, less recoil, less potential for ricochets, and highly effective and predictable terminal ballistics.

The terminal ballistics of the ELD-X bullet punched through the left shoulder bone, expanded enough to go through the heart, taking out both lungs and causing severe damage to the right shoulder. As for the velocity and downrange terminal ballistics , there are very few auto-pistols and their cartridges out there that can surpass or even equal that kind of performance. Projectiles exit the firearm bore with an initial velocity which immediately begins to slow down due to air resistance and drag.

Ballistic Coefficient — based on the shape and construction of the projectile, this number describes how well the projectile travels through the air and preserves its velocity. When the projectile impacts the target, it imparts its residual momentum on the target which is absorbed by the target itself. Even if it was possible to knock the target down through projectile momentum, the force required would also knock down the shooter. A grain.

However, this describes a 1-to-1 transfer of energy i. When the projectile does impact a body, the energy is consumed during the process of penetration and passing through layers of tissue and fluid that absorb the energy. This is to be considered a secondary effect.

Ballistic Resources

Areas of the brain outside of the Medulla Oblongata — different parts of the brain control vision, concentration, and both gross and fine motor skills. Terminal impact and destruction of these areas can affect the game or assailant in dramatically different ways. Areas of the spinal cord below the brain stem and neck — in the most general terms, severing of the spinal cord induces instant paralysis to the body below the point of impact.

Depending on where this severing takes place, one can assume that all areas above the point of impact can remain functional. The heart and central chest cavity — see the FBI note above. Major arteries — severing major arteries can rapidly lower the blood pressure to a point where circulation to the brain is diminished allowing for the onset of unconsciousness. These bullets are designed to break up on impact, which results in a huge increase in surface area. The most common of these bullets are made of small diameter lead pellets, placed in a thin copper shell and held in place by an epoxy or similar binding agent.

On impact, the epoxy shatters and the copper shell opens up, the individual lead balls then spread out in a wide pattern, and due to their low mass to surface area ratio, stop very quickly.

Permanent & Temporary Cavitation

Similar bullets are made out of sintered metals, which turn to powder upon impact. These bullets are usually restricted to pistol cartridges and rifle cartridges intended for use at very short ranges, as the nonhomogenous cores tend to cause inaccuracies that, while acceptable at short ranges, are not acceptable for the long ranges at which some rifles are used. By far the most common use of frangible ammunition is for training by shooting steel targets at close ranges, while one may be at risk of being injured by fragments of standard solid lead bullets at close ranges when shooting steel, the powder that frangible bullets disintegrate into upon impact poses a very low risk to the shooter.

This becomes irrelevant when shooting at longer ranges because it is unlikely that fragments created by the impact of any type of bullet on a steel target will travel more than yds, in these long range cases it is of more value to use bullets that fly identically to those to be used in real situations than to mitigate the possible risks of bullet fragments and ricochets so frangible bullets are typically not used.

One interesting use of the sintered metal rounds is in shotguns in hostage rescue situations; the sintered metal round is used at near-contact range to shoot the lock mechanism out of doors. The resulting metal powder will immediately disperse after knocking out the door lock, and cause little or no damage to occupants of the room. Frangible rounds are also used by armed security agents on aircraft. The concern is not depressurization a bullet hole will not depressurise an airliner , but over penetration and damage to vital electrical or hydraulic lines, or injury to an innocent bystander by a bullet that travels through a target's body completely instead of stopping in the body.

The purpose of firing a large calibre projectile is not always the same.

The truth about terminal ballistics.

For example, one might need to create disorganisation within enemy troops, create casualties within enemy troops, eliminate the functioning of an enemy tank, or destroy an enemy bunker. Different purposes of course require different projectile designs. Many large calibre projectiles are filled with a high explosive which, when detonated, shatters the shell casing, producing thousands of high velocity fragments and an accompanying sharply rising blast overpressure.

More rarely, others are used to release chemical or biological agents, either on impact or when over the target area; designing an appropriate fuse is a difficult task which lies outside the realm of terminal ballistics.


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Other large-calibre projectiles use bomblets sub-munitions , which are released by the carrier projectile at a required height or time above their target. The use of multiple bomblets over a single HE projectile allows for a denser and less wasteful fragmentation field to be produced. If a bomblet strikes an armoured vehicle, there is also a chance that the shaped charge will if used penetrate and disable the vehicle. A negative factor in their use is that any bomblets that fail to function go on to litter the battlefield in a highly sensitive and lethal state, causing casualties long after the cessation of conflict.

International conventions tend to forbid or restrict the use of this type of projectile. Some anti-armour projectiles use what is known as a shaped charge to defeat their target.


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Shaped charges have been used ever since it was discovered that a block of high explosives with letters engraved in it created perfect impressions of those letters when detonated against a piece of metal. A shaped charge is an explosive charge with a hollow lined cavity at one end and a detonator at the other. They operate by the detonating high explosive collapsing the often copper liner into itself.

Some of the collapsing liner goes on to form a constantly stretching jet of material travelling at hypersonic speed. When detonated at the correct standoff to the armour, the jet violently forces its way through the target's armour. This misconception is due to the metal's fluid-like behaviour, which is caused by the massive pressures produced during the explosives detonation causing the metal to flow plastically. When used in the anti-tank role, a projectile that uses a shaped-charge warhead is known by the acronym HEAT high-explosive anti-tank. Shaped charges can be defended against by the use of explosive reactive armour ERA , or complex composite armour arrays.

ERA uses a high explosive sandwiched between two, relatively thin, normally metallic plates. A disadvantage of using ERA is that each plate can protect against a single strike, and the resulting explosion can be extremely dangerous to nearby personnel and lightly armoured structures. Tank fired HEAT projectiles are slowly being replaced for the attack of heavy armour by so-called "kinetic energy" penetrators. It is the most primitive in-shape projectiles that are hardest to defend against. A KE penetrator requires an enormous thickness of steel, or a complex armour array to protect against.

A Brief Guide To Terminal Ballistics - Alien Gear Holsters Blog

They also produce a much larger diameter hole in comparison to a shaped charge and hence produce a far more extensive behind armour effect. Tungsten and depleted uranium alloys are often used as the penetrator material. The length of the penetrator is limited by the ability of the penetrator to withstand launch forces whilst in the bore and shear forces along its length at impact.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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