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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering exactly how to measure the width of a wound channel.  Shot a whitetail doe this morning 1/13/02 (still open season in many parts of TX) with a Beartooth .44 280gr. WFNGC.  James Gates was collecting information on cast bullet performance and I finally have some data for him, but I don't know how to measure it exactly.

I see a hole through the tissue, where the tissue is completely gone, but also around that hole, there is an area which where the tissue is still present but, uh, "mushy" for lack of a better word.  

So... if James or anyone else can let me know which of these areas counts as the permanent wound channel, I'd appreciate it.
 

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Mike...As you have figured out, it is not as easy to figure out wound channel as some of our techo friends think. We all should know that there is a temporary and a permanent wound cavity. in flesh it is difficult to measure the temp cavity, since it springs back to a great extent. We also see in flesh wounds that the permanent wound channel varies in width as it nears the end. The only way we get a fair estimate is measure ( during butchering) the width just inside the entrance hole and again at the inside of the exit hole, add the two and divide by 2. I know this is a crude method, but the best we have found. What we are looking for is a good "guesstimate" of complete tissure destruction. We also found that some common sense has to appy. There are many other things we also look for, like the amount of free blood in the cavity. We have also noted that wild hogs have a drier tissue mass than deer and the flesh is firmer with muscle. Therefore there will be less tissue distuction and a smaller permanent wound channel. Generally, in deer, there will be a larger and mushier wound channel as the meplat goes up, impact velocity being about he same. Of course this all applies to hard cast bullets, as jacketed bullet mushrooms are another story. Flesh wounds are affected by so many variables, it takes a large database before actual results can be sorted out. Most of our data comes from animals that were killed in crop damage control and much does not apply to cast bullets.
Best Regards, James
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #3
James,

Thanks for the explanation.  Here's what I observed and hopefully you can make sense of it.

I shot a small whitetail doe at a range of about 50 yards.  The deer was facing me, quartering to my left.  The bullet hit just to one side of the shoulder blade and nicked it a little.  Then it went through the ribs, the left lung, the liver, and exited the right side of the animal where the cartilage holds the ends of the short ribs together.  Total penetration was around 12 inches.

Wound channel..... OK here we go.  Through all parts there was a permanent hole about the size of my left thumb (tissue totally displaced).  Not scientific enough?  OK, the calipers say my left thumb is about 0.980" wide and 0.760" thick.  

Around that hole there was an area where the tissue was still in place but obviously damaged quite a bit.  Through the shoulder, that larger area was about an inch and a half in diameter, I'd guess.  The hole in the ribs was just thumb-sized, bullet went right between two of them, and there isn't hardly enough meat on the ribs to damage anything.  The left lung had a purple spot at least two inches across around the hole.  The liver was pretty well split in two so hard to say.

Not much of an exit hole, but all the bullet went through on the way out was just a little bit of cartilage and the abdominal wall.  It did knock some fur off - there were some tufts on the ground where the animal was shot.

The chest cavity was full, and I mean full, of blood.

When I dressed out the deer, I was afraid that the entire left shoulder was blown up into dog food.  But tonight when I boned it out to make sausage, there was a pleasant surprise.  What looked like bloodshot meat was just some blood that ran down between the layers of muscle.  There was hardly any bloodshot meat outside of the inch and a half circle around the bullet hole.  I guess Elmer Keith was right, you really can eat right up to the hole!

Bullet was a .44 280 gr. WFNGC (meplat about .340"), muzzle velocity of around 1350fps.  Not sure how much it slowed before impact.  Deer ran about 35 steps and tipped over.

That's all I know.  Further information as events warrant....
 

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Excellent indeed, Mike..,This is the precise kind of data we need. Sometimes we also note on the off side of the animal, the hide pull up away from the flesh around the exit hole. This appears as some bloodshot surface. It seems to happen on wide meplat cast bullets and jacketed bullets woth full mushroom. It does not mean that the bullet is "Petering Out"! We have seen cases with jacketed bullts that the elastic hide was pulled out and the bullet under the hide, fully mushroomed. All in all, this information you give is just what we need. In closing, I still feel one of the major problems with cast bullets is over penetration with small meplat bullets and too heavy weights. We have found that any hard bullet between 250 and 280 gr at 1200/1300 mv is deadly within normal pistol ranges. Add to much weight and the velocity goes down and the returns are not favorable.
Thank You and Best Regards, James
 
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