100 yards-Fail 400 yards —Easy 300 yards-Max 400 yards—Easy 300 yards—Easy 200 yards —Max 400 yards—Easy
Recently I tested a variety of sniper rounds against Living trees to measure their penetration, to help you determine both the cover they offer and what it takes to punch through one when a hostile is firing from the other side. After only a few firings, I found that my results did not parallel those in the preceding paragraphs. Unless you find yourself in a lumberyard shootout, it's unlikely that penetration data dealing with pine boards is very relevant. And one tree is not the same as another of the same diameter, as any forester will tell you, especially hardwood versus softwood. Even pine trees, for instance, vary in their sap content and bullet resistance.
Here's my bottom-line conclusion: all this penetration data amounts to interesting yardsticks that you should consider, but you should test your ammo against the likely barriers you will encounter in your area of operations. In Iraq, where a lack of wood means most homes are built from mud-brick, you should know how well your variety of sniping rounds penetrate this medium. Afghan mountain villages, by contrast, often use stacked natural rock. Palm trees, I'd imagine, offer almost no resistance to a .308 bullet, but you should know that for sure if you're serving in Iraq. A police sniper should recognize the difference between engaging a suspect who's behind a hollow wooden door in a house and a metal door in a commercial building and know the penetration capabilities of his ammo for both scenarios.
What's far more predictable is the accompanying informauon on .30-06 armor-piercing, a black-tipped round that performs about 10 percent better than its 7.62mm AP counterpart. (See data box, page 155.) I have great confidence in its accuracy and effectiveness at media penetration. Especially worth noting is that this round pierces 7 inches of concrete and that wet soil generally is much easier to penetrate than dry soil, sand, or clay.
Our last data is from a test Staff Sergeant Gamradt and I shot a few years ago, which, while not controlled enough to be called scientific, still yielded interesting conclusions. The most surprising one was that no bullet penetrated a simple military sandbag wall, even at 100 yards. As can be seen, our helmet proved much more resistant to 5.56mm ball than did the Army test. Also, one curious observation was that while some of these media were, indeed, penetrated, the bullet had lost so much "oomph" thai I doubt it would have had much lethality left. When that 5.56mm bullet exited 4 inches of pine boards at 400 yards, it had almost no velocity left.
It's this kind of result that must be measured, for no current data tells us how much velocity remains after a bullet transits such media. Theoretically, if a bullet exits and drops harmlessly to the ground, it "succeeded," even if it's not capable of inflicting injury.
And indeed, any media shooting must be
.308 FEDERAL MATCH GELATIN TEST. Note massive permanent wound channel and then dual channels where tip and rest of bullet split. (Photo credit: Ed Sanow, S.W.A.T. Magazine)
pacitated"—a subject must be wounded in the central nervous system (CNS) or suffer a dramatic, swift loss of blood.
Severe blood loss can induce unconsciousness in 10 to 15 seconds from oxygen depletion to the brain, while the subject should experience degraded vision and declining dexterity a few seconds earlier. This short but significant delay in effects explains the often heard hunting stories about deer running 50 yards despite a totally shattered heart.
Such severe blood loss in humans is induced by wounding the vascular (blood system) organs, such as the heart and liver, or cutting major blood vessels, such as the femoral arteries of the groin or the carotid arteries in the neck.
An effective CNS wound should impact the spine above the shoulder blades, at the brain stem (medulla oblongata), or into the brain's neural motor strips. When properly executed, this shot results in instant rather than rapid incapacitation, and the subject goes down as precipitously as if you'd flicked a light switch. For all CNS shots, the rule of thumb is the higher on the spine, the better. I've twice hit big game high in the spine, and in both cases the animals collapsed and never moved so much as a hair; it was as if their bodies had turned to liquid.
When it comes to temporary cavitation, the effects supposedly are not as predictable and therefore should not be considered, although it's known that temporary caviation inflicts injury to nonexpanding tissue such as the liver, brain, and kidneys as well as liquid-Filled organs like the bladder. The least cavitation injury is to tissues that readily stretch, such as the lungs, muscles, skin, and ordinary blood vessels.
Bone hits probably should not be assessed because they're too unpredictable and just as likely to cause worse wounding due to secondary bone missiles as to reduce injury by deflecting a bullet.
Much of the current ballistic theory is based on pistol bullets, although rifle bullets usually
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Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.