1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Petals thru bone

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by 2zulu1, Aug 2, 2011.


    FIVETWOSEVEN Well-Known Member

    How would the Remington bulk JHP in .40 hold up?
  2. Ak.Hiker

    Ak.Hiker Active Member

    Dried heavy bones are much harder on a bullet than fresh wet bones. They remind me of porcelin. I have never seen a JHP SD type bullet hold together when hitting dried out moose bones. Some of the hunting type bullets like the Nosler Partition Gold and the heavier Barnes solid copper bullets will hold up though. Good solid hard cast LBT type bullets and heavy JSP bullets like the Sierra 300 grain 45 and 44 bullets will bust right through and keep on going. So will good old 45 ACP 230 grain hardball and a good 200 grain FMJ like the thick jacketed Hornady in 10mm. I tested out a variety of bullets over the last week shooting through a solid chunk of tree root with a soft backstop to catch the bullets. In 10mm the 175 grain Silvertip and 200 grain factory XTP went through and deformed badly and stopped at the backstop. Double Tap 200 grain Montana Gold FMJ's went right through and deep enough into the backstop that I could not get them out. In 45 acp the 230 grain Hornady TAP +P went through the root and stopped at the backstop. This bullet really held together and expanded beautifully. 230 grain DT hardball loaded with the Speer TMJ bullet went through and deep into the backstop without a scratch on the bullet. No wonder hardball goes through bones so well. A tough bullet a moderate velocity can be quite impressive. Winchester 240 grain White Box 44 Magnum bullets went through the root and expanded like in a textbook with 100% weight retention. The penetration was about the same as the 45 acp TAP +P load with a little less expansion. A factory 300 grain 44 Magnum XTP went right through and deep into the backstop. The bullet was pretty roughed up but it did keep most of its weight. The Double Tap 255 grain Keith heavy loaded 45 Colt went through both the root and the backstop. To stop this one I had to put a tougher backstop behind the root. The recovered hardcast bullet deformed a bit but kept most of its weight. A heavy handloaded 158 grain Speer Unicore JSP in 357 Magnum was a real suprise. It went right through the root and into the backstop with a perfect mushroom and 100% weight retention. The Unicore expands like a tougher version of the Gold Dot JHP. These are very good bullets for the money. I did not waste my time testing out heavier hardcast 44 Magnum and 45 Colt loads as I already know it would take more backstop than this to stop the heavy weights. When I was a teen my Dad got me a 45 acp. I carried it for years on the trails. It was mostly loaded with 230 hardball. Not a bad load afterall.
  3. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Well-Known Member

    Looks like the Win 115gr JHP you tested did much better than one of the RA9115HP+ that I tested;


  4. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for sharing your real world experiences. Hard cast bullets make for great game getters as you posted. In the Nov/Dec 2009 edition of American Handgunner John Taffin wrote about taking two 500+ pound feral hogs cleanly and quickly with a .44 Special/Keith bullet (250-260grs) at 950fps.

    A scandium Smith .44 Special/WFN is my BUG while I'm working out back on the property when mountain lions come down from the nearby wilderness areas. One time I was in heavy mesquite and a lion took down a javelina about 30 yards away w/o me hearing/seeing it happen. It was a fresh kill with blood pooling on top of the ground, the blood didn't have the time to soak into the dirt.

    Here's an example of what a hard cast bullet is capable of, entrance hole of a .357mag/180gr WFNGC;


    Exit hole on opposite end of the cow leg bone;


  5. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    Nice thread!

    One comemnt though: you get different types of bone, and different mineralisation along different lengths of the same bone.
    The flat bones such as the scapula and skull don't fracture as dramatically as the cylindrical cortical bone such as femur and tibia.
    With regards to wet vs dry, the wet will offer more resistance to perforation because of the presence of blood, marrow and periosteum. Other effects may be noticeable, for example if you shoot a wet head vs dry skull, you may find pressure-related fractures of the fine bones around the orbits, which doesn't happen when shooting dry skull.

    Those fracture patterns of the bones you have shot, are not much different from the fracture patterns I have seen on real live GSW patients. Holes in the scapulae and iliac blades tend to be punched out. In bone epiphyses where you have more cancellous bone than cortical, you often see little fragmentation but in the shaft of a long bone it shatters into many fragments.

    You can work out direction of fire through long bones on the patient's X-rays provided the two wounds have been marked with a paperclip or other radio-opaque marker prior to X-ray. The exit side often has a buttlerfly fragment with the apex of the trapezium pointing towards the entrance wound.
  6. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Odd Job,


    So scapulae and skull bone tissue are both cancellous?

    The reason I ask is that if we are shooting through scapulae and it is roughly analogous to skull in that aspect, then we are also seeing a bit of what can be expected with a head shot as well given the same property? :confused:

    Am I also correct in assuming that ribs/sternum/vertebrae (Cervical thru Lumbar) are primarily cortical and more likely to shatter like a femur?

    Now that I look at Bob's photos with the knowledge you've imparted above, I see how it is possible to ascertain the entry and exit through a bone esp. like a scapula.

    Thanks for the contribution. I sure hope you'll stick around as this effort progresses as I'd appreciate your input whenever you have something to offer. :cool:

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  7. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    If you are interested in saving a few bucks, I have it on good authority from two Winchester personnel that the 115 gr. and 147 gr. JHPs used in the WinchesterUSA loads are the same bullets used in the Silvertip ammo- minus the shiny silver plating on their exteriors.
  8. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Considering that there is a significant difference in impact velocity, I am not so sure.

    Betcha if we over-drove the WinchesterUSA 9mm 115 gr. JHP to the same speed as that Winchester RA9115HP+, we'd get the same result as you did and I am willing to bet that the two bullets are actually one in the same design.
  9. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    It isn't as simple as that.
    All bone has a cortex, and therefore some of it will be cortical. In some areas of the same bone, the cortex will be thicker than others. It is all about the ratio of cortical to cancellous that detemines whether you are likely to have a shattered vs a punched bone.

    With real patients it is very difficult to work out trajectories through flat bones based on the fractures themselves, because most of the time all you see is a hole or a luceny on X-ray. You don't get to see the bevelling as in the dry bones.
    Of course, if pieces of bone from the scapula or pieces of metal from the projectile extend away from the scapula then you can have a reasonable assertion that the fragments point to the exit.

    Some variables to consider:

    1) Post shooting handling of the person by emergency crews may involve reduction or worsening of fractures
    2) In real living tissues you have a perisosteum around the bone (think of it like a thin sheath of sausage skin). That has to play a role in the limitation of the displacement of some fragments
    3) Projectiles travelling parallel to flat bones can produce unusual fractures
  10. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, I appreciate your time. :)

    OK, I think I have it now. So the proportion of cancellous or cortical tissue determines how the bone is generally classified?

    While I realize that periostic membrane is present around many bones, I never considered it "tensile" enough to retain high energy projectile fragments, but the perspective you offer (arguably much more educated than mine) in this area is something that I will not fail to consider when viewing future tests.

    Also, when you see luceny on an Xray, is that indicative of more of a complete fracture held in place by the surrounding structure(s)/tissues or more likely a fissure that might be a partial/incomplete fracture that hasn't progressed fully through the bone? Are these common at the impact site of a projectile perforation through bone (radially extending from the perforation)?

    I am just trying to get an idea of the fracture mechanics involved here so that when I see test results I have at least a simple, if not improved, understanding of what I am seeing.

    As you might have guessed by my questions, I find this topic very interesting. :cool:
  11. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    This requires a long answer with some images. I don't want to mess up the OP's thread so I'll make another one. Stay tuned.
  12. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    I will, count on it. :)
  13. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Well-Known Member

    OP is flexible, Hi-Power test in the morning. :)

  14. newbuckeye

    newbuckeye Well-Known Member

    Great thread! I am glad to see my choice of rounds fairing well in your tests!
  15. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Well-Known Member

    9mm 124gr+P GD bone

    Slight rain delay this AM, Browning Hi-Power was used in today's test, bullet would cut into right edge of bone; but more on that later:


    Bullet retained 124.4grs;


    Asymetrical expansion was 0.642", 1.81x caliber;


    On my mind for today's test was the deflection of the handloaded 10mm/180gr Nosler JHP that also cut through the edge of a cow bone. I don't have an explanation as to why the lighter 9mm JHP stayed true to course and the heavier, faster moving 10mm bullet didn't.

    Going back and reconstructing this test, we can observe why the Gold Dot expanded in an asymetrical manner. I was fortunate enough to cut into the bone about 1/2 caliber; the result:


    What I interpet in the above picture is a snapshot in time, bullet rotation during a ~0.5" travel distance and the reason why 2 petals did not fold back as the remaining 4 did. The hole in the plastic bottle was also elongated as displayed by the bullet placed in the hole.

    Given the very wide expansion, penetration for this GD will be much less than the 4 layer denim baseline test.

    9mm 124 gr. +P Gold Dot JHP @ 1220 fps v. four layers of denimVi = 1220 feet per second
    Mr = 124 grains
    Dr = 0.587 inch

    Vcav = 408.327 feet per second
    Mw = 39.374 grams (1.389 ounce)
    Xcm = 31.695 centimeters (12.478 inches)

    Today's test data;
    MV 1220fps
    Mr 124.4grs
    Dr 0.642"

  16. 481

    481 Well-Known Member

    Nice reconstruction, Bob. :D

    Man, I don't care who you are- the HP is one helluva sexy gun. Something about those lines. Intangible, but definitely a classic design.

    The Gold Dot design is an exceptional design IMO. This one really let loose despite the barrier placed before it.

    Here is the MacPherson predictive analysis for this test:

    Speer 9mm 124 gr. +P Gold Dot JHP (53617) v. heavy bone
    Recovered Projectile Data:
    Average Recovered Diameter: 0.642 inch (1.812x caliber)
    Retained Mass: 124.4 grains
    Impact Velocity: 1220 feet per second

    Predicted Performance:
    Cavitation Regime Boundary (Vc) = 394.836 feet per second
    Permanent Wound Cavity Mass (Mw) = 40.468 grams (1.428 ounces)
    Penetration Depth (Xcm) = 27.802 cm (10.946 inches)

    As you suspected, due to significantly greater expansion, this one went a little shallower than the baseline but the reduction in predicted penetration was about 1.5 inches (that's a penetration loss of a little more than 12%), not that bad considering what the JHP had to go through to get there.

    Thanks, Bob.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  17. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the hard work and expense of doing these tests. I find them fascinating.

    I always hope to see a "control" round in tests like these. Set up a baseline for performance such as 230 gr. ball ammo, or 200 gr. semi-wadcutter rounds in .45ACP. These are probably the most shot rounds in .45ACP, yet both are virtually absent from tests done by law enforcement or ammo makers.

    I realize both would most likely penetrate more and expand less than their hollow point brethren, but the comparison would be nice to see.
  18. 481

    481 Well-Known Member


    Because the .45ACP 230 gr. FMJRN @ 850 +/- 25 fps fps and other similar "un/less likely to-expand" designs are unlikely to expand in such tests (using either calibrated ordnance gelatin or water test medium), it is easier to just "plug the parameters in" to MacPherson's predictive equations (empirically researched in his book by firing over 400 rounds into over a ton of calibrated gelatin) and "skip" the test since it would take an awful lot of water to stop such a projectile. (somewhere between 60 and 75 inches of "water column" depending upon impact velocity)

    For the sake of comparison, here are a few predicted penetration depths using ρ set to 1.030 grams/cubic centimeter for soft tissue/calibrated gelatin:

    9mm 115 gr. FMJRN @ 1155 fps: 28.0"

    9mm 124 gr. FMJRN @ 1120 fps: 29.7"

    9mm 147 gr. FMJTC @ 975 fps: 34.7"

    .40 155 gr. FMJTC @ 1160 fps: 32.4"

    .40 165 gr. FMJTC @ 1125 fps: 33.9"

    .40 180 gr. FMJTC @ 950 fps: 33.5"

    .45 185 gr. FMJTC @ 975 fps: 28.1"

    .45 230 gr. FMJRN @ 850 fps: 29.7"

    That help? :)
  19. Usertag

    Usertag Well-Known Member

    What an expansion! That was a perfectly executed round. Every HP I see usually expands and goes into one-billion pieces. The Federal and the Winchester did great. But I would expect that from Federal.
  20. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Well-Known Member

    I'd like to see the tests with FMJ, though I know expansion won't be nearly as drastic, would there be any at all? The numbers don't really tell a lot of us less technical folks a whole lot.

Share This Page