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Cranium Penetration

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Puncha, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. Puncha

    Puncha Member

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    Am writing a script for an amateur production zombie movie to be submitted for an upcoming horror movie fest but I'd like to get some pistol technical details right.

    Will the following rounds penetrate a human skull?

    1) .38 special 148gr wadcutter target load fired from a 4" barrel at 25 meters?
    2) .32ACP FMJ fired from a 3.75" barrel at 10 meters?
    3) .380 83gr JHP fired from a 3.75" barrel at 12 meters?
    4) .22LR 40gr standard velocity fired from a 6" barrel at 25 meters?

    Also, I have a construction site hardhat lying around. How useful is it as a skull simulant if I shoot it for testing purposes?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  2. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Any of those will perforate ( ie: go through one side anyway, of ) a living adult Human Skull...under some circumstances, anyway.

    A .25 ACP Bullet will also, if the recipient has an obligingly not-too-thick Skull, and, if fired more or less as a contact wound on the Skull's side, and at a tangent to the Skull's curved aspect...

    So...depends on the angle at which the Bullet hits, and, what part of the Head it hits at what angle, and, the sort of Skull it is, as for whether perforation through the side of the Skull occurs.

    Small Brain capacity, thick-walled, low top, 'roundish' Skulls are historically understood to represent an Engineering achievement which is more difficult for a medium Caliber Handgun Bullet to perforate, unless hitting at a tangent, or even then, than, large Brain Capacity, ovoid, straighter-side, thinner-walled-sides, taller form Skulls.

    There are incidents in forensic literature of people being shot in the forehead at very close range with .25 ACP anyway, and, the forehead stopping the Bullet well enough for the Bullet Base to be visible...


    Also, instances, of a person being shot straight on in the forehead at fairly close ranges, with a larger Pistol Caliber, Bullet passes through the forehead, and, out through the rear of the skull, having more or less gone between the Brain's Hemispheres neatly, and the victim did not lose consciousness ( even if, I'm sure, loosing their pro-tem ambition to do much about it).


    Many instances of .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 Special and 9mm not perforating...even if plowing superficially, or, when the incidence is not quite tangental, of perforating the outer layer, then, being deflected in-between differentially denser Bone layers, and ending up partially circling the Skull between Bone layers, and ending up on the far side, but not perforating the inner layer...


    This is said to occasion a real 'wanger' of a Headache, and may or may not occasion loss of consciousness.
     
  3. gwnorth

    gwnorth Member

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    A .22lr will penetrate a human skull, if it hits right.
     
  4. SundownRider

    SundownRider Member

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    Keep in mind that most bullets will penetrate if they hit straight on from a reasonable distance. Hitting a target the size of a small dinner plate at 25 meters is not easy, especially if you factor in stress from confronting the undead. However, it's your script, you can do what you want. (Flying zombies, smart zombies, take your pick.) But if you are looking for a semblance of realism, your heros need to miss once in a while.
     
  5. camsdaddy

    camsdaddy Member

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    A guy I went to highschool got caught in a deal gone bad. He was leaning into the car when he backed away a guy shot him in the head with a 380 before driving off. He said he remembered seeing the gun and then it got dark. When all was said and done he was shot at such an angle that it grazed his forehead. I will not debate the fact that he was probably a little more thick skulled than most. I think with a straight on shot he would have been dead. I wish I could say that this guy was a cop but he wasnt I have seen him in years since and I think he is living his second chance a little better than the first. That being said I carry a P32 and feel confident.
     
  6. camsdaddy

    camsdaddy Member

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    Also agree a 22lr will penetrate cattle skull.
     
  7. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    For any of those calibers the answer as to whether it will penetrate the skull is "Yes, No, and Maybee."

    The skull is suprisingly tough and there are many recorded instances of a handgun round deflecting off the skull. It all depends on a bunch of factores including the caliber, velocity, type of round, distance, and especially the angle.

    Of course, there are also plenty of instances where even a .22 LR penetrated the skull.

    For a movie, I say it's realistic enough that you could go either way, depending on the needs of the script. If you *want* to have the shot penetrate the skull, it is obviously possible, and the audience should have no problem believing it.

    On the other hand, if you want the audience to believe the shot wouldn't or didn't penetrate the skull, you will want to "sell" that a bit to help the audience buy it. Show that it's a very small caliber weapon or make it clear the shot was a "glancing" blow, etc. Do it right and they'll buy it as well.

    You can go either way for the needs of the story, just set it up so it's believable and they'll buy it.
     
  8. Just One Shot

    Just One Shot Member

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    Some of the smaller rounds might penetrate but fail to exit the other side.

    When your characters are using these small calibers, please don't portray the back of the zombies skull exploding as if they were hit with a .50 cal.

    You might want to indicate that the round had been deflected by the zomby's skull and the main character had to shoot it in the eye socket for dramatic effect.

    :)
     
  9. John Parker

    John Parker Member

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    Seems awfully technical for a movie...

    "The zombies are coming! Should we use-
    1) .38 special 148gr wadcutter target load fired from a 4" barrel at 25 meters?
    2) .32ACP FMJ fired from a 3.75" barrel at 10 meters?
    3) .380 83gr JHP fired from a 3.75" barrel at 12 meters?
    4) .22LR 40gr standard velocity fired from a 6" barrel at 25 meters?"
     
  10. Puncha

    Puncha Member

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    Its technical cos the ready made film will be judged by a panel of 5 media professional judges, of whom two are known to be avid sport shooters.

    The cool thing is that the local graveyard district supervisor has give us his blessing to film the movie in his sprawling 20 hectare burial complex. He's a George Romario fan. :D

    The only thing left to do is complete my script, get my main actors scheduled for filming days and obtain the services of about 15 - 20 extras to be the zombies.
     
  11. earplug

    earplug Member

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    I learned today that zombies use the metric system. I'll have to rethink my use of 148 grain wadcutters at 25 yards. I still think i'm safe at fifty feet.
     
  12. Action_Can_Do

    Action_Can_Do Member

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    Even being judged, it's still a movie. Use whatever is more dramatic or just plain looks cooler.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Have the hero aim a little lower, like right between the eyes.

    Yea! That'll get-R-done.

    The forehead is the hardest bone on the body, and is very difficult to penetrate at a sloping angle.

    Best aim lower and hit the soft spot at the bridge of the nose & eye sockets.

    rc
     
  14. Nasty

    Nasty Member

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    "The zombies are coming! Should we use-
    1) .38 special 148gr wadcutter target load fired from a 4" barrel at 25 meters? My choice out of these as wadcutters should bite into the round bone better
    2) .32ACP FMJ fired from a 3.75" barrel at 10 meters? Too hard to hit a small moving target (head vs. torso for the living)
    3) .380 83gr JHP fired from a 3.75" barrel at 12 meters? There will be even less 380 ammo available after armageddon
    4) .22LR 40gr standard velocity fired from a 6" barrel at 25 meters?" Risky IMO, but easy to carry lots for the followup shots

    Give them a baseball bat for when any of these fail!
     
  15. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    As other have stated, pretty much any handgun round fired out of a handgun runs the risk of ricocheting off the very hard "armor" plate in the forehead. Like RC said, have em shoot below the eyebrows, and they will do fine.
     
  16. Warhawk83

    Warhawk83 Member

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    I thought you could only kill Zombies with a 12 gauge...:uhoh:
     
  17. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Any of them would if the target is hit squarely and at close enough range. If they strike at an angle they can actually glance off and skid around the skull, burrowing through the skin. :uhoh: The wadcutter, because of its sharp edges that "bite in," would be least likely to skid off, IMO. Find a copy of Jim Cirillo's Guns, Bullets and Gunfights for more info.
     
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