Penetration potential

The penetration of various materials can be of great assistance in the investigation of shooting incidents. It is also of considerable general interest if for no other reason than to show how often the movie makers and novel writers make appalling blunders.

In the past, one of the standard tests performed to assess bullet and cartridge performance was the penetration of pine boards of various thicknesses. This, as with any other type of penetration test, is plagued with inaccuracies.

Many factors, including the moisture content, knot content, tree age and even the separation of the boards, can give rise to highly variable results. Other than for general interest, this type of test is of little use in the scientific examination of firearms-related situations.

For the sake of interest, some indicators of the penetrative powers of various types of ammunition follow:

0.22" Lead air gun pellet requires a minimum of 250 ft/s velocity to penetrate fresh human skin.

0.177" Lead air gun pellet requires a minimum of 300 ft/s velocity to penetrate fresh human skin.

0.22" Lead air gun pellet at 450 ft/s will make a hole in, but not penetrate ■4" plate glass.

0.22" Lead air gun pellet at 600 ft/s will penetrate 4' plate glass.

Steel BB (0.170" ball bearing) at 200 ft/s will make a hole, but will not penetrate 4" plate glass.

Steel BB or 0.177" lead pellet at 200 ft/s will detach part of the coloured portion (iris) of a human eye leaving what appears to be a second pupil.

Steel BB or 0.177" lead pellet at 450 ft/s will burst a human eye.

0.177" Steel air gun dart will penetrate to shank, in skin, at 120 ft/s.

158 gr 0.38" Special plain lead bullet will generally not penetrate the outside skin of a car body.

158 gr 0.357" Magnum semi-jacketed bullet will penetrate outside skin of car door and sometimes just penetrate the inside skin.

125 gr 9 mm PB fully jacketed bullet will generally penetrate both skins of a car door.

158 gr 0.38" Special plain lead bullet will only penetrate one side of a human skull.

158 gr 0.38" Special plain lead bullet will generally not exit from a human body.

158 gr 0.38" Special + P and 0.357" Magnum semi-jacketed bullets will penetrate both sides of a human skull.

0.38" Special + P, 158 gr non-expanding bullet will, unless it strikes a bone, pass straight through a human body.

Virtually all calibres (excepting air weapons) will penetrate the tread or side wall of a motor vehicle tyre.

Penetration of 7" pine boards for various pistol calibres:

0.22" LR five boards

0.32" ACP five boards

0.38" S&W revolver five boards

0.38" Special seven boards

9 mm PB pistol nine boards

0.45" ACP seven boards

Illustrative penetration capabilities of a 30-06 full -jacketed rifle bullet at a velocity of 2700 ft/s and at a range of 200 yd:

1" of armour plate 7" of gravel 4.5" of brick 4" of concrete 32" of oak wood 6.5" of dry sand 7" of moist sand 26" of loam 24" of clay 19" of loose earth 60" of 1" pine boards

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Responses

  • archibald brown
    Does a pellet gun penetrate human flesh?
    9 years ago
  • cailean
    Can 0.177 pellets penetrate human skin?
    9 years ago
  • Lionella
    Can 0.177 steel bb penetrate skin?
    8 years ago
  • meaza robel
    Can a bb penetrate a human skull?
    6 years ago
  • leon
    Can a Philadelphia derringer penetrate a human skull?
    5 years ago
  • valtteri
    Can a philadelhia deringer penetaye a human skull?
    5 years ago
  • Hamilcar
    Can a pellet penetrate a dog's skin?
    5 years ago
  • Melampus
    Can plastic bb gun bullets penetrate the skin?
    3 years ago
  • petros
    Can a bb penetrate a dogs skin?
    3 years ago
  • FALCO
    What is penetration potential of a ballostic?
    3 years ago
  • stephanie
    Can a pellet gun penetrate a human skull?
    1 year ago
  • diamanda
    How much velocity for a 22 cal to penetrate the human skull?
    1 year ago
  • ausilio
    How does a bullet penetrate skin?
    1 year ago
  • kedija
    Can a roundnose pellet penetrate flesh?
    1 year ago
  • lauri ruotsalainen
    How deep can pistols penatrait sand?
    8 months ago
  • Libera
    Can a 12fpp air rifle penetrate flesh?
    6 months ago
  • ulrich
    How deep will a 650fps bb penatrate?
    6 months ago
  • gloria
    What is the minimum velocity for a 45 caliber bullet to pierce skin?
    5 months ago
  • tellervo
    How many fps from a bb airgun would penetrate the skin of a groundhog?
    5 months ago
  • Beryl
    Can lead pellet pass through the skull?
    4 months ago
  • HAROLD
    How much energy to penetrate 1/8 of steele?
    3 months ago
  • natsnet
    What size bullet needed to penetrae human skull?
    3 months ago
  • Jana
    How many fps for a pellet to penetrate a armidillo?
    2 months ago
  • INIGO
    Can a pellet gun penatrate threw your skull?
    1 month ago
  • MARION
    How many 1 inch boards can a handgun shoot through?
    1 day ago

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