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Hollow Points and Exit Wounds

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dantem42

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I have heard that hollow point bullets more often than not do not produce exit wounds because they "mushroom" inside the body, expending their energy in inflicting damage inside.

Are there conditions where hollow points (specifically, a .45 fired from a distance of six or seven feet) fired into the chest and abdomen will produce exit wounds? High velocity ammo or something?
 

triceretops

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Hollow points do produce a tremendous amount of hydrostatic shock and certainly mushroom on impact. A through and through wound from a hollow point .45 is rather doubtful, since it is one of the slowest moving pistol rounds in existence--something like 850 fps, or something. A magnum hollow point would be much more likely to produce an exit wound. It is possible, I guess, if the .45 round goes through the lower extreminties without contacting bone.

Tri
 

Anthony Ravenscroft

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Think of it as the difference between flinging a wad of sealing putty vs. a steel ball.

A jacketed plain round can bounce around inside the body at surprisingly extreme angle, then leave a small exit would going in any direction including back toward the shooter.

There are varying degrees of HP, some nothing but a lead cup (a handloader can make a wadcutter round with the slug reversed), some with a small soft cup surrounded by a (relatively) thick copper wall (which may be slotted so it peels back more easily.

Some HP will flatten & produce a blobby shape, others practically explode on initial impact. This will vary depending on a whole range of factors -- power transfer, flaws or dings on the slug, obliqueness to impact surface. And if it's fired through glass, sheetmetal, or even heavy clothing, the mushroom effect starts early, so there's a whole range of other factors.

You've gotten dubious information. HP will readily make a hole in a human torso, especially at that close a range. My feeling is .45 auto is one thing, but a .45 revolver would pack more power.

The only reason I'd advise you to study this a little is so that you tell the tale more naturally. In reality, there are so many factors that the range of outcomes is nearing vast. So long as you remain within those borders, all you need to do is tell the story well -- & nothing's stopping you from stretching from "likely" to "possibly" if you want to try.
 

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I'd agree with the last part of Anthony's post. You could have it either way, as long as you don't say something like, " . . . it shattered a bone then came out the back . . . " since that would be a lot less likely.

There do make a "+P" version of the .45, by the way. The velocity is several hundred feet/second more.

Is there some reason the bullet has to be a hollow point?
 
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dantem42

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I'd agree with the last part of Anthony's post. You could have it either way, as long as you don't say something like, " . . . it shattered a bone then came out the back . . . " since that would be a lot less likely.

There do make a "+P" version of the .45, by the way. The velocity is several hundred feet/second more.

Is there some reason the bullet has to be a hollow point?

Thanks to everyone for the quick help.

It doesn't necessarily have to be HP, but the imagery is more gut-wrenching to the average reader I think. I need the exit wounds because of an image I included that my agent liked, that after the cop unloaded six rounds into the bad guy, the wall behind him looked like a Jackson Pollock canvas in red. And if there is an exit wound from an HP, I would think it would be larger than a regular jacketed round and more prone to make a hell of a mess.

What is a "+P" version?
 

alleycat

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Thanks to everyone for the quick help.

It doesn't necessarily have to be HP, but the imagery is more gut-wrenching to the average reader I think. I need the exit wounds because of an image I included that my agent liked, that after the cop unloaded six rounds into the bad guy, the wall behind him looked like a Jackson Pollock canvas in red. And if there is an exit wound from an HP, I would think it would be larger than a regular jacketed round and more prone to make a hell of a mess.

What is a "+P" version?
I'm not sure if most police forces allow hollow points. You'd have to do some research, unless someone here knows. I don't think they do (but I'm not sure); for humane reasons plus there's a little more likehood of a HP jamming in an auto.

+P stands for overpressure; some people think it also stand for "+ powder". It's just a round loaded to create higher pressure, and therefore higher velocity
 

dantem42

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I'm not sure if most police forces allow hollow points. You'd have to do some research, unless someone here knows. I don't think they do (but I'm not sure); for humane reasons plus there's a little more likehood of a HP jamming in an auto.

That one I do know the answer to; it varies from city to city.

Thanks much for the assist.
 

Anthony Ravenscroft

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Many police departments balked at going beyond .38 because of fears of overshoot & liability, not to mention providing ammo for a force using different calibres. It was tough enough getting up to 9 Para. There's been some agitation for frangible or tubular rounds because of their limited overshoot range &/or damage.

There was at least one Fed branch that used headstamped "+P+" rounds.

The problem with "+P" is that it improves chances of malfunction, blowing out cylinder walls or slapping a slide off its lands. Not to mention the aim problem: I've helped friends improve their groups by trading to a heavier gun, or moving to lower-velocity rounds.
 

Jamesaritchie

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.45

Muzzle velocity for standard .45 ACP rounds ranges from 850-1,060 fps, even without +p rounds, depending on the bullet weight.

Ideally, you never want a hollow point to exit. An exit wound is all wasted energy, and can kill an innocent bystander.
 

ErylRavenwell

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Thanks to everyone for the quick help.

It doesn't necessarily have to be HP, but the imagery is more gut-wrenching to the average reader I think. I need the exit wounds because of an image I included that my agent liked, that after the cop unloaded six rounds into the bad guy, the wall behind him looked like a Jackson Pollock canvas in red. And if there is an exit wound from an HP, I would think it would be larger than a regular jacketed round and more prone to make a hell of a mess.

What is a "+P" version?
If the bullet enters the neck and manages to avoid the spine, be certain there'll be an exit wound even with a HP bullet. And a neck artery bursting will produce a Pollock on the wall. :) The cop pumps five slugs into the dude's trunk, and one slices through his neck and thuds into the wall. Enough for the Pollock. But, hey, don't do the thud into the wall part, because it happens also in my novel.
 
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cooltouch

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Many police departments balked at going beyond .38 because of fears of overshoot & liability, not to mention providing ammo for a force using different calibres. It was tough enough getting up to 9 Para. There's been some agitation for frangible or tubular rounds because of their limited overshoot range &/or damage.

Dunno about other PDs, but in the Los Angeles area, where I lived for a number of years, most all of the PDs switched over to 9mm back in the early 90s, even to the point of carrying the Baretta 92's, shortly after the US military adopted that sidearm. I know of more than a few cops who still prefer the 45ACP for its stopping power though, muzzle velocity notwithstanding. And even though 850fps may not sound like much, that's a 230 grain slug typically, which carries a helluva lot of momentum. So through-and-through penetration, I would think, is still a good possibility, especially if the subject is hit in a non-bony area of the abdomen (kidney area, etc.).

Best,

Michael
 

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I have heard that hollow point bullets more often than not do not produce exit wounds because they "mushroom" inside the body, expending their energy in inflicting damage inside.

Are there conditions where hollow points (specifically, a .45 fired from a distance of six or seven feet) fired into the chest and abdomen will produce exit wounds? High velocity ammo or something?

From a view point of efficiency an exit wound is very bad efficiency.

The purpose of a hollo-point or expansion bullet is to eliminate through and throughs, The bullet exiting at all is a waste of kinetic energy.

Regards,
Scott
 

ErylRavenwell

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From a view point of efficiency an exit wound is very bad efficiency.

The purpose of a hollo-point or expansion bullet is to eliminate through and throughs, The bullet exiting at all is a waste of kinetic energy.

Regards,
Scott

Indeed. This is what has happened recently in Iraq with the new M-16 rounds. They passed through the "paper-thin" insurgents without much loss of KE and do a minimum of damage. On your average-sized target, they however seem to wreck havoc on the internal tissues. You don't necessarily need an HP round to have maximum damage; some are designed to spin upon entry into the target's body.
 

dantem42

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But, hey, don't do the thud into the wall part, because it happens also in my novel.

Not to worry, I'll certainly avoid any thuds for your benefit. However, in mine, the cop in question does get an award later from Forensics for the largest number of internal organs ever scraped off the wall in a cop shooting. And that's mine, pal.

Thanks much for the useful information. I've sold the novel, and I'm about to start the edit process at the publisher, so it's time to clean up the little bloopers so I don't get dinged later by a score of firearms savants.
 

Del

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Just to emphasize what a hollow point does (or doesn't do), my son and I shot a 22 hollow point into a coffee can of loose dirt (this Arizona. It was more like loose dust). There was no exit out the back (none expected) but when we sifted the dust there was absolutely no bullet fragments to be found. Either we didn't notice it deflect out the top (unlikely) or it totally decinigrated.
 

freethinker

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Many police departments balked at going beyond .38 because of fears of overshoot & liability, not to mention providing ammo for a force using different calibres. It was tough enough getting up to 9 Para. There's been some agitation for frangible or tubular rounds because of their limited overshoot range &/or damage.

There was at least one Fed branch that used headstamped "+P+" rounds.

The problem with "+P" is that it improves chances of malfunction, blowing out cylinder walls or slapping a slide off its lands. Not to mention the aim problem: I've helped friends improve their groups by trading to a heavier gun, or moving to lower-velocity rounds.

you're thinking of the .40 ACP S&W round, sometimes referred to as a 10mm round (even though it really isn't).

I've got a Beretta that fires that round; it's a mulekick recoil compared to a target pistol or, say, a Glock.
 

Joe270

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My advice is to shoot a bunch of stuff with different caliber handguns. Lots of indoor ranges in big cities let you borrow guns to shoot if you buy the ammo there.

I shoot a .38 with +p cartridges and a .45 Contender model with winchester silver tips. There was a lot of talk of outlawing silver tips because it is a huge hollow tip that's also factory dum-dumed. It mushrooms on impact, then explodes into fragments.

I've wondered if a silver tip would have an exit wound with a flesh hit on someone's thigh. Maybe not.

That round transfers all of its energy into whatever is shot, wasting none of it. I shot an old TV with one in a junk heap. It broke the glass, but didn't come out the back anywhere that we could find.

If you go to a junk heap to shoot, watch out for the metal things. Sometimes fragments ricochet, and they hurt. A lot.

I can be stupid sometimes.
 

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Dantem42

Who does your protagonist (the one doing the shooting) work for? That would really narrow down your choices of what he shot the bad guy with.
 

Glen T. Brock

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Hello folks,

Shot placement is more important than muzzle velocity. Soft tissue damage is usually more grisley than broken bones too.

Most police departments have switched to 9mm basically for the added firepower in the clips, sometimes up to fifteen rounds per clip. Compare that to the six rounds of a revolver and you will see what I mean. Magnums are overratted.

Remember, Larry Flindt was shot in Lawrenceville, Georgia from a 44 magnum Ruger carbine. That's a pistol cartridge fired from an autoloading rifle. The photos of the belly wound (soft tissue) were extremely graphic but the bone damage to the spine, which paralysed him, was devastating.

Glen T. Brock
 

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The departments that switched to 9mm a while ago now mostly use .40 S&W or .45 ACP for their stopping power. 12-15 rounds of .40 S&W vs 15-17 rounds of 9mm isn't that bad.

Hollow points aren't meant to overpenetrate, so the rounds would probably have to be +P and the range would have to be short. 10mm, .357 Magnum or .357 SIG would be more likely to produce an exit wound than .45 ACP would. These days the .357 SIG is the most likely to be used by police.

Hollow point rounds are pretty common with police forces, because not only do they provide extra stopping power, but they're less
 

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The departments that switched to 9mm a while ago now mostly use .40 S&W or .45 ACP for their stopping power. 12-15 rounds of .40 S&W vs 15-17 rounds of 9mm isn't that bad.

Hollow points aren't meant to overpenetrate, so the rounds would probably have to be +P and the range would have to be short. 10mm, .357 Magnum or .357 SIG would be more likely to produce an exit wound than .45 ACP would. These days the .357 SIG is the most likely to be used by police.

Hollow point rounds are pretty common with police forces, because not only do they provide extra stopping power, but they're less

Depends where you live. Police forces here aren't allowed to use hollow point rounds, and almost no one uses the .357. And they're less what? They're considerably more expensive around these parts.
 

JB_Finesse

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Oops. Less likely to overpenetrate. FMJ's have a tendency to blast right through the target. I don't think cops would want to be hitting the little old lady in the next apartment. Rural cops might use full metal jacket rounds, but otherwise they'd definitely use hollow points.

.357 SIG is the most likely of the three cartridges I listed to be used by police. .40 S&W is the most popular caliber. A hot .40 or .45 could probably do the same at that range, though.
 

Horseshoes

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Dantem,
Congratulations on your sale! Good on ya.

You're right that HPs tend not to exit but that they can. Let your guy lob one high and inside, just above the clavicle, near the neck. T'would give your, er, Pollock effect on the wall.

I carried a .45 w/ HP as did most officers at my department, tho some had .40, some 10mm, and a few still had them old things with the round twirly part. Um, devolvers.
 

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You've gotten pretty good info here on this subject. Most of the modern "Premium" ammo won't over penetrate, but most all of them will go thru 12" or so of ballistic gelatin. The .45ACP FMJ's will penetrate 16" or so at close range. Silvertips around 12-14" depending on range.

For the spectacular effects you want, the following will do the trick at factory velicities:
.357 Mag 140-158 gr jacket soft point.
10MM (Usually a Glock) 200 gr. JSP
.41 Mag. 210 gr JHP or JSP
.44 Mag. 240 gr JHP or JSP
.45 Colt 232 gr. JHP
.45 Win Mag. 230 JHPPM me if you have specific questions.

jim