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The original question and replies are posted on this thread from www.writingforums.org:


Taking the feedback I have received into account, my new question is at the bottom of this post. I wanted to make sure people had the background in the story first because people were suggesting things I did not want to do like blanks, rubber bullets or body armour - none of those work in my story.

To summarize.....

A rapist is involved in committing a sexual assault on a victim. He is topless so no body armour or heavy clothing that might protect him from the bullet.

A previous victim has awakened and is trying to get out of the place. She comes into the room where he's involved in assaulting a new victim. She picks up the gun he has put on the ground.

(I assume from what was said in the other thread that it has to be a revolver)

He looks up, sees her and taunts her - "You don't have the BALLS to shoot me!"

and.....she shoots him. He spins and falls out of a window and for all intents and purposes, he's dead. The shooter has no experience with firearms and assumes he's dead. After all, that's how guns work, right?

What I want to do, I want the cartridge in the revolver to have a very minimal load, just enough so that it will exit the barrel of a weapon, say a .38 special (the shooting takes place in 1982, 1983), travel say 10 feet, strike the rapist and NOT penetrate his torso (the largest target on the human body) but it will have enough power to make an impact - there will be a sound of impact that the shooter will hear.

******The question(s) I have, is it possible for the rapist to have manipulated the load in the cartridge so that it will travel out of the barrel of the revolver and strike him without penetrating his torso?

I want the weapon to be loaded with actual bullets because in a forensics laboratory a basic investigation will reveal that the bullets are real, that is that they are not rubber bullets or blanks. I don't think people are going to care that much about the rapist, the prevailing attitude is going to be "good riddance to bad rubbish" and the focus will be on helping the victims recover.

A twist that the reader is not supposed to see coming is that one of the technicians that works in the forensics lab is manipulating evidence to help criminals out. Between a dirty tech, the fact that the shoot has no experience firing a gun, and the fact the rapist is going to try and make it look like he is dead.....


Is this possible? That the cartridge can be loaded in such a way that the bullet exits the barrel of the gun and strikes the torso of the rapist but does not penetrate his torso?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide!!
 

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This might happen if she shot through something first( a heavy headboard for example).
As far as manipulating the cartridge if the bullet has enough velocity to clear the barrel it will probably penetrate someone skin.
 
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Can't happen in real life- physics won't let it. Blame Isaac Newton- equal and opposite reactions and all.

Handgun ammunition isn't going to transfer enough momentum to unbalance and spin an average human male around like you want without penetrating the torso. That's too much energy required to do so and the skin isn't that tough.

Besides, low recoiling, mid bore rounds like the .38 Special aren't going to generate that sort of energy to begin with. (Again, refer back to the Newtonian physics reference. Any round capable of knocking a man down like that would knock the shooter down, too.)

Since this is fiction, do what you want and rely on the reader's suspension of disbelief or general lack of knowledge.

It ain't like it would be the first time a writer got something wrong.
 
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The original question and replies are posted on this thread from www.writingforums.org:


Taking the feedback I have received into account, my new question is at the bottom of this post. I wanted to make sure people had the background in the story first because people were suggesting things I did not want to do like blanks, rubber bullets or body armour - none of those work in my story.

To summarize.....

A rapist is involved in committing a sexual assault on a victim. He is topless so no body armour or heavy clothing that might protect him from the bullet.

A previous victim has awakened and is trying to get out of the place. She comes into the room where he's involved in assaulting a new victim. She picks up the gun he has put on the ground.

(I assume from what was said in the other thread that it has to be a revolver)

He looks up, sees her and taunts her - "You don't have the BALLS to shoot me!"

and.....she shoots him. He spins and falls out of a window and for all intents and purposes, he's dead. The shooter has no experience with firearms and assumes he's dead. After all, that's how guns work, right?
Okay, if you're really interested in accuracy, he's not likely to spin and fall out of a window from the impact of ANY handgun, even a 44 mag., even though it happens in movies all the time for dramatic effect. You could say he staggers back and falls out the window.

In every real life shooting I've ever been to in some way, I never heard the impact of a bullet hitting flesh. The gun shot is probably muffling it.

What I want to do, I want the cartridge in the revolver to have a very minimal load, just enough so that it will exit the barrel of a weapon, say a .38 special (the shooting takes place in 1982, 1983), travel say 10 feet, strike the rapist and NOT penetrate his torso (the largest target on the human body) but it will have enough power to make an impact - there will be a sound of impact that the shooter will hear.

******The question(s) I have, is it possible for the rapist to have manipulated the load in the cartridge so that it will travel out of the barrel of the revolver and strike him without penetrating his torso?

I want the weapon to be loaded with actual bullets because in a forensics laboratory a basic investigation will reveal that the bullets are real, that is that they are not rubber bullets or blanks. I don't think people are going to care that much about the rapist, the prevailing attitude is going to be "good riddance to bad rubbish" and the focus will be on helping the victims recover.

A twist that the reader is not supposed to see coming is that one of the technicians that works in the forensics lab is manipulating evidence to help criminals out. Between a dirty tech, the fact that the shoot has no experience firing a gun, and the fact the rapist is going to try and make it look like he is dead.....


Is this possible? That the cartridge can be loaded in such a way that the bullet exits the barrel of the gun and strikes the torso of the rapist but does not penetrate his torso?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide!!
It's not only possible, a variety of companies made such bullets in the eighties. The 2 main ones were Glaser and Magsafe. They were basically birdshot encased in a casing which kept them together until impact, and being lighter than a solid lead bullet hit at higher velocities. They were specifically designed NOT to penetrate the average human torso front to back. Blue glasers had a typical penetration depth in gel of 5 inches, the silver averaged 7-8, and the magsafes averaged 8-10 depending on what type. The problem is of course is that you want the rapist to not only survive the shot but also the fall. Frangible rounds were very effective in damaging tissue, more so than most hollowpoints. There were people who survived getting hit by frangible rounds, it mainly depended on what part of the body they were hit. One guy got hit in the lung and it shredded his lung. Normally he could've continued the fight but according to witnesses it stopped him. Why it stopped him is a subject of debate. Thanks to a quick ems response he survived. Getting hit in the shoulder might be like getting hit with birdshot from a shotgun.

Just how high up is this window that he falls out of?
 

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Can't happen in real life- physics won't let it. Blame Isaac Newton- equal and opposite reactions and all.

Handgun ammunition isn't going to transfer enough momentum to unbalance and spin an average human male around like you want without penetrating the torso. That's too much energy required to do so and the skin isn't that tough.

Besides, low recoiling, mid bore rounds like the .38 Special aren't going to generate that sort of energy to begin with. (Again, refer back to the Newtonian physics reference. Any round capable of knocking a man down like that would knock the shooter down, too.)

Since this is fiction, do what you want and rely on the reader's suspension of disbelief or general lack of knowledge.

It ain't like it would be the first time a writer got something wrong.
I once witnessed cops shooting a guy in the torso with multiple rounds of .358 magnum HP and one round in the torso from a 12 gauge slug, none of which merely knocked the guy over. OTOH I've seen Bronson make people fly thru the air with a .32. 😄
 

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Looks to me like from the writer he has heard correctly
I wonder how many times the writer heard the 45 has the best knockdown power

The bottom line is bullets penetrate there is no knock down power
Get a baseball bat
 

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As above to be real. People react to getting shot in a myriad of ways. Is it possible to download a cartridge to not go through and through, sure! I can do it with 38special wad cutters. But back to how it will look and sound. I haven't seen that many folks shot, but I have seen large animals react to getting shot. Some react by jumping away from the impact, so a human can do the same thing, I've also seen no movement at all, just standing in shock. I've seen human impact videos, that show three kinds of reaction:
1. jerk, jump away from the impact
2. Stand still in shock
3. run towards shooter, even after multiple impacts.

There will be no sound of bullet impacting flesh, that is pure movie fiction.
 

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Are you working on a fiction piece or asking for help committing a crime?

(Asking for an accomplice friend.)
 

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I once witnessed cops shooting a guy in the torso with multiple rounds of .358 magnum HP and one round in the torso from a 12 gauge slug, none of which merely knocked the guy over. OTOH I've seen Bronson make people fly thru the air with a .32. 😄
Old West bad man Bill Longley was shot 14 times with a .44 on one occasion and still lived to hang.

I know a retired CID investigator that looked into a MP involved shooting where a doped up AWOL soldier that was hiding out in some old WWII barracks charged a MP with a claw hammer. The MP shot him in the head with a 1911 loaded with 230grBall from about 12-15 feet and he fell forward.

On the other hand, I read of a guy back in the '80's that died in a no-knock raid on a drug house without being hit. He shot at the cops and dived behind a sofa as one of the cops cut loose at him with a 12 gauge pump. He wasn't hit but he was deader than disco when they looked behind the couch.
 
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If the rapist is expecting to be shot and is a former soccer player, this might work. He could ham it up once he felt the hit, of course. Developing a load that would make noise and hit you across the room, sure. That's doable.

If you're picturing it striking him and knocking him out the window when he doesn't want to be knocked out the window, that's very unlikely. Bullets just don't have the momentum or energy to do that to a human body. A 12-gauge slug almost comes close, but nothing from a handgun. Even loaded to full power.
 
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Old West bad man Bill Longley was shot 14 times with a .44 on one occasion and still lived to hang.

I know a retired CID investigator that looked into a MP involved shooting where a doped up AWOL soldier that was hiding out in some old WWII barracks charged a MP with a claw hammer. The MP shot him in the head with a 1911 loaded with 230grBall from about 12-15 feet and he fell forward.

On the other hand, I read of a guy back in the '80's that died in a no-knock raid on a drug house without being hit. He shot at the cops and dived behind a sofa as one of the cops cut loose at him with a 12 gauge pump. He wasn't hit but he was deader than disco when they looked behind the couch.
Okay, I have to ask. What killed him if he wasn't hit?
 

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Okay, I have to ask. What killed him if he wasn't hit?
The coroner said that his heart just stopped because ther wasn't a mark on him. No sign of drugs in his system and not preexisting conditions according to his medical records.

I guess he figured since somebody was shooting at him with a 12 gauge, he was supposed to die. Maybe he was scared to death.
 
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lets remember that basically a mammal dies of either hitting the nervous system and stuff shutting down or from blood loss, so maybe that tells us what the importance of them projectiles that open up and have them sharp, snaggy things sticking out, you know to cut arteries, organs and stuff.
 

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Or made of something fairly soft that will deform and expand in diameter and dig a bigger hole through the innards.

Don't forget how devastating all of those .58 Mine balls were during the Civil War. The primitive medical knowledge didn't help, but big, slow, heavy bullets are still great at dumping a whole lot of energy into a target.
 
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