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  • Hydrostatic Shock

    Any thoughts on the phenomenon of hydrostatic shock? I don't know enough about rifle-shooting to have an opinion. Always found it interesting, though. I remember reading about it when I was a kid in an article about snipers.
    Is Hydrostatic Shock Real? | MeatEater Wired To Hunt (themeateater.com)

  • #2
    Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
    Any thoughts on the phenomenon of hydrostatic shock? I don't know enough about rifle-shooting to have an opinion. Always found it interesting, though. I remember reading about it when I was a kid in an article about snipers.
    Is Hydrostatic Shock Real? | MeatEater Wired To Hunt (themeateater.com)
    I did not read the article yet but the first thing we were taught as a medic for GSW was control hemmorage and second TREAT FOR SHOCK. Shock wan kill just as quick as loss of blood.

    Think of it this way - suppose you, without warning are scrred out of your skin. Substitute shocked for scarred. That effect your body feels when scarred is similar how it would feel if hit with a bullet. Without treatment the body organs start to shut down one by one until it's lights out Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1482.JPG
Views:	135
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ID:	775524Air Force Medic Hospital whites (on MASH Hospital we had solid olive drab fatigues - no camo at that time, 1967

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    • #3
      Small, fast projectiles induce massive hydrostatic shock.
      I've seen deer killed with a .22-250.
      Single, good clean shoulder shot.
      That deer was blood shot from flank to ears.
      Deer hanging next to it was shot with a .50 muzzleloader.
      Blood shot spot was about 4" across!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
        Small, fast projectiles induce massive hydrostatic shock.
        I've seen deer killed with a .22-250.
        Single, good clean shoulder shot.
        That deer was blood shot from flank to ears.
        Deer hanging next to it was shot with a .50 muzzleloader.
        Blood shot spot was about 4" across!
        Noticed the difference in that between Barnes bullets and hornady sst.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PigHunter
          Jim, that's a cool photo!

          Apparently, hydrostatic shock can happen but not consistently. Here's an interesting article:

          Hydrostatic shock | Military Wiki | Fandom (wikia.org)

          "Whereas virtually all of our opinions about knockdown power are based on isolated examples, the data gathered during the culling operation was taken from a number of animals. Even more important, the animals were then examined and dissected in a scientific manner by professionals.

          "Predictably, some of the buffalo dropped where they were shot and some didn't, even though all received near-identical hits in the vital heart-lung area. When the brains of all the buffalo were removed, the researchers discovered that those that had been knocked down instantly had suffered massive rupturing of blood vessels in the brain. The brains of animals that hadn't fallen instantly showed no such damage.

          — Jim Carmichael
          I never shot a bear when it was moving. If you do they take off like a jet. Usually a good shot on a standing bear is about a bang flop. Pic is my Military Passport.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Milldawg View Post

            Noticed the difference in that between Barnes bullets and hornady sst.
            I think that's why the .25-06 is so devastating.
            It's the right bullet and right speed combo.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

              I think that's why the .25-06 is so devastating.
              It's the right bullet and right speed combo.
              I should have elaborated. The sst in my .270 would make a softball maybe a little bigger spot. The Barnes from my 25-06 maybe a silver dollar size. Both of them put 2 holes in deer. But the hornady sst probably transfer more energy. Judging by the size of blood shoot meat. Both do the same job just as effective for me I actually hunt. I could hunt with a 30-30 and iron sights. Haven’t shot a deer over 80 yards in a long time.

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              • #8
                Where’s Clay Cooper when you need him?
                He’ll tell you all about how awesome a .22-250 is on deer.

                Seem to recall a story where someone killed a deer by accidentally hitting it in the foot but can’t remember who posted it.


                A few things about the study, the deer hit with hard bullets only traveled on average 20 some yards father than soft ones. That’s not really saying much. It also doesn’t take into account shot placement, obviously central nervous system hits are more likely to put them down right there regardless of bullet used. It’s also interesting that the take away was that standard bullets are a better balance than hard ones.

                I don’t doubt the results but I still want exit wounds. One of the bigger bucks I’ve killed was my first, using a .243 with a cup and core bullet. The shot was completely broadside mid shoulder at about 35 yards. Bullet didn’t exit and the buck didn’t drop. The way he hunched at the shot I knew he was hit hard but I didn’t get any real blood for about 50 yards. Found him about another 30-40 yards later.

                That turned out ok but had similar experiences with that rifle and other deer. High shoulder shots put them down right there but lung hits they’d still run a bit. That’s the main reason I have my daughter using Partitions in her .243. Best of both worlds.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                  Where’s Clay Cooper when you need him?
                  He’ll tell you all about how awesome a .22-250 is on deer.

                  Seem to recall a story where someone killed a deer by accidentally hitting it in the foot but can’t remember who posted it.


                  A few things about the study, the deer hit with hard bullets only traveled on average 20 some yards father than soft ones. That’s not really saying much. It also doesn’t take into account shot placement, obviously central nervous system hits are more likely to put them down right there regardless of bullet used. It’s also interesting that the take away was that standard bullets are a better balance than hard ones.

                  I don’t doubt the results but I still want exit wounds. One of the bigger bucks I’ve killed was my first, using a .243 with a cup and core bullet. The shot was completely broadside mid shoulder at about 35 yards. Bullet didn’t exit and the buck didn’t drop. The way he hunched at the shot I knew he was hit hard but I didn’t get any real blood for about 50 yards. Found him about another 30-40 yards later.

                  That turned out ok but had similar experiences with that rifle and other deer. High shoulder shots put them down right there but lung hits they’d still run a bit. That’s the main reason I have my daughter using Partitions in her .243. Best of both worlds.
                  The last 3 deer I've killed was a high shoulder shot that disrupted the spine between the shoulder blades. D.I.R.T.

                  Two pass thru shots.
                  One entry wound only.

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                  • #10
                    I’m a shoulder shooter myself grew up using slugs. It’s hard for them to run if you take out the running gear. And if you if hit bone it shrapnels everywhere bonus. All things being considered shot placement is most important but I’m am by no means no expert just a guy that likes to hunt.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Milldawg View Post
                      I’m a shoulder shooter myself grew up using slugs. It’s hard for them to run if you take out the running gear. And if you if hit bone it shrapnels everywhere bonus. All things being considered shot placement is most important but I’m am by no means no expert just a guy that likes to hunt.
                      For a "guy who just like to hunt" (most of us here! LOL!), you're about as spot on as any "hunter" can be.

                      I get wrankled at those that say, "I shoot at the big part!". What idiots!
                      Thankfully, I have not heard that one in a LONG time.

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                      • #12
                        The big spot haven’t heard that one yet! But I’m young.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

                          The last 3 deer I've killed was a high shoulder shot that disrupted the spine between the shoulder blades. D.I.R.T.

                          Two pass thru shots.
                          One entry wound only.
                          6.8?

                          I killed a decent 8pt with a 240gr XTP bullet pushed with 80gr of Pyrodex. Hit high shoulder/spine, the jacket separated and exited higher up on the entrance side. Found the lead under the hide on the opposite shoulder. Bang flop. Not exactly a high stepping combination.


                          Bigger deer I’ll try to break down with the shoulder but to save meat I look for lungs only on smaller ones. Don’t always get to choose though.

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                          • #14
                            6.8?

                            Dadgummit! No!
                            Two nice bucks with my (wife's) Ruger No.1 .270 Win and a doe with my T/C Omega Z5 .50 cal.
                            I've only taken one deer with my 6.8 as much as I go on about it.
                            I DID take 4 pigs with the 6.8 with no "runners".

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                            • #15
                              I shot a 25-06 AI for many years and continually witnessed the effect of hydrostatic shock. I normally shot a 100g bullet at about 3600 fps similar to a .257 Weatherby. The theory was that the high speed bullet drug an air vacuum behind the bullet at that speed and as it penetrated game, it instantaneously sucked blood to the wound channel. This would not only seriously damage soft tissue (including the brain) throughout the body; it would also shock the nervous system; instantly paralyzing the game. I kept records over about 10,000 shots and found that such shock occurred within 100 yards on almost every shot. I could bore you with data but following are a few of the effects I observed:

                              1. A deer I shot in the very front of the neck exhibited a 10" rip in the aorta just above the heart. The lungs were literally disintegrated and the liver looked just like hamburger. Nearly every animal I shot within 100 yards was instantly dead on the spot and never even wiggled an ear or a foot once it hit the ground.

                              2. I harvested hundreds of small animals by shooting 1/4" over their head. Their eyes were normally bulged out and they were instantly dead. Their hide was normally badly bruised like someone hit them with a club and there brains were often mushed.

                              3. I floated miles down the river and shot beavers that were on shore. I shot them in the front foot and they would drop; instantly dead and completely paralyzed. They would not move a muscle. If I shot them in the head with any other cartridge, they would kick and often roll into the river where they would sink like a rock. I often found multiple compound fractures in their front leg and in some cases, even a cracked skull. Their brains were usually bruised. I did the same with squirrels where they were on the other side of the tree but I could see one foot .

                              4. I shot hundreds of birds, often two per shot. If two were standing side by side, I'd shoot right between their heads and both would be killed instantly and they would be half picked to boot. Note, most of these were on the prairie where I could see 11 miles behind them.

                              5. I shot muskrats from a high bank over a lake. When they were swimming, I would shoot a couple inches ahead of the V-shaped wake they cut. They would fly about 5 feet in the air and float dead on the water. After shooting a few dozen, I could go pick them up in a kayak and sell them for $4 a hide with no marks on the fur. Again, small lake with visibility to the horizon.

                              6. I shot muskrats through about 6 inches of ice. I would pound on a muskrat den with a stick and I could hear them hit the water beneath. I could see them swimming under the ice and I'd shoot about 4-6" ahead of them. The 100g hunting bullets would blow about a 6" hole in the ice and I could reach in and lift out the dead muskrat... much faster than trapping at $4 each. Again, no marks on the hide.

                              7. I took great pains to replicate two shots on running deer (both large does) with both the .308 150g bullet and 25-06 AI 100g bullet at about 80 yards. In both cases the bullets happened to hit in exactly the middle of the same rib bone about 6 inches down from the top of the spine and to the rear of the front shoulder. The .308 case never fell and continued to run about 300 yards where I had to shoot it again to prevent losing it in a dense timber. The 25-06 AI case fell stone dead on impact and totally shocked just like all the others.

                              I don't see near the same level of shock occurring with the 25-06 Rem but it is a couple hundred feet per second slower with the same bullet. I do see the same hydrostatic shock with my .300 Dakota though, when shooting a 125g bullet at 3950 fps.
                              Last edited by DakotaMan; 07-18-2021, 06:28 PM.

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