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shot size v. penetration

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Ridgeway, Jul 9, 2005.

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  1. Ridgeway

    Ridgeway Member

    Aug 29, 2003
    Skip down for the question, if you don't care about the setup.

    Had nothing much to shoot today, so I grabbed a bag of apples out of the fridge, with which to shot with my benelli nova.

    Amongst other rounds I was shooting, I had was #8 shot. So well, small.
    But this was against apples...

    @ ~40 yards, penetration was well minimal. A scant few pellets made it through, but most didn't manage to kill the apple. One pellot made it just through one apple & was halfway emerged from it's hole.

    I didn't take a pic of any of the other apples hit with dif. shot, but anyways here is the back[exit side] of 1 apple:

    Skip to here for the question:
    How related is the shot size to penetration & distance?
    Obviously the pattern varies, especially with range.
    IE do the really small pellets just loose velocity quickly, or simply lack the mass for any real penetration?
    I guess I just thought the little fast moving pellets would speed right through the soft apple.

    Was just pondering this on the way home....def. wouldn't want to try #8 in a HD situation lol. Woudln't make it through a jacket.
  2. LHB1

    LHB1 Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Quote: "do the really small pellets just loose velocity quickly, or simply lack the mass for any real penetration?"

    Ans: Both. The lighter (smaller) the shot, the more the velocity loss and lower the penetration. That is why buckshot is used for hunting and heavy defense work.

    Good shooting and be safe.
  3. LaEscopeta

    LaEscopeta Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Los Estados Unidos
    I’ll repeat something said by someone else in another post:

    Heavy, fast, hard, pointy and small things penetrate the best. The first two factors are the most important.

    But notice the first, heavy as in large mass, is sort of the opposite of the last one, small size. For round shot, if you cut the diameter in half, you cut the area of the hole in makes in half, which is good for penetration. But you also decrease the mass to one quarter, which is really bad for penetration, and more then cancels out any advantage of the small hole.

    Also, as you said, small pellets lose speed traveling through the air quicker then large pellets.

    The physics of bullet/shot penetration has not been completely worked out; it is known what factors cause good or bad penetration, but it is only approximately known how much of a affect each factor has, or how the different factors interact (if at all.) There are some formulas, but the numbers they give are only in the same ballpark as test results. This is why there is so much testing with ballistic gelatin, bulletproof jackets, and apples; it is the only way to know for sure how a given round will penetrate.
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