For guns it seems that the general rule is the higher the volume of shooting the hotter the gun will get. One shot would most likely not get it hot, but it would had an automatic shotgun, then it might.
The other question would depend on the distance you were from the target. The more distance there is between the target and the shotgun the more the pellets will spread. So if you shot a head at one foot, the thing would explode, but at a distance it would just gather some pellets. So I would say that it would similar with windows. A close shot would shatter it while a shot for a distance would get put some holes in it.
As for the bleeding, I would say that you would bleed a lot of a short period of time until your heart stopped. Then you would just drain blood for a period of time after that.
Unwritten said "shotgun," which does do a little different damage than a gun firing a single bullet. For one thing, there would be a great deal of one's victim spread out over the wall behind him (if he were standing in front of one). There's a reason they're nicknamed "scatterguns."
(No, I've never fired one off, or been there when one's been fired. I barely know which end the bullet comes out of. This info comes from looking at gory crime scene pictures from time to time.)
A single shotgun won't produce nearly enough heat to warm up the barrel significantly.
The multiple imact of shotgun pellets should shatter glass; there will be a lot of individual impacts, very very slightly separated in time. A single bullet can go through a window leaving a neat hole, but it will depend on impact angle and thickness and type of glass (some glass, e.g. windscreen glass, is designed to shatter into tiny fragments on impact).
Head wounds are notoriously bloody while the victim is alive, but once dead, the heart stops and therefore the blood flow turns from a steady supply into a matter of drainage, as mentioned above. There is quite a lot of blood in the head but it's well distributed in small vesels so won't drain very fast, and will tend to clot.
I'm no gun expert but isn't there a difference in shotgun ammunition? I thought there were slugs (single projectile) and bird shot or spread (multiple pellets).
I imagine the effect, both on glass and human tissue would vary significantly between the two. A slug could possibly pass through a window without shattering while a spread shot would certainly shatter it.
A slug will practically take someones head off and close range while spread will create many smaller wounds. In the former, I think blood and splatter would be considerable while bleeding after the impact would be fairly minimal depending on the orientation of the body.
Just some thoughts. Someone with more experience with guns and shotguns in particular can correct me if I'm wrong.
[This message has been edited by AWSullivan (edited November 19, 2008).]
I believe Anthony is right, there are slugs and there is birdshot. In general when I think of a shotgun, I imagine birdshot, which is shoots a cluster of little BBs. At close range I think you could blow a hole through a wooden door, but the destructive power diminishes quickly with distance. It's kind of a cone of destruction, as you get further from the gun the cone widens. As the cone widens the destructive power is decreased. With a shotgun you don't have to be very accurate, but you have to be close. As opposed to a rifle, which shoots a single bullet in a very very straight line. With a rifle you have to be very accurate, but not close. A rifle also doesn't kick much, while a shotgun can kick pretty hard, if I remember.
Also, you can have a sawed-off shotgun, which is exactly what it sounds like, the barrel is literally sawed off so it is shorter. I don't know the exact dimensions, but I would guess a difference from 18 inches to 6 inches or something. This makes it easier to conceal, as well as widening the cone of destruction. This means you can be even LESS accurate, but you have to get even closer to use it.
And on a semi-related note, in filming, there is something called a "shotgun mic", which I believe is a directional microphone, which can be pointed at the subject, and is relatively good at ignoring background noise, because it has a cone of recording, similar to a shotgun's cone of destruction.
Type of glass makes a difference. bullet proof glass is several layers of tempered glass with plastic between the sheets. IF I remember right, when broken, it shatters into little pieces. Some safety glass also has a plastic inner layer. Plate glass breaks in shards.
When hit by a regular bullet, the bullet proof glass captures the bullet with the plastic and glass. With regular glass and safety glass, a regular bullet would punch through, possibly not even breaking the rest of it. I assume that shotgun blasts would be more like hitting the window with a sledge hammer, rather than an ice pick, so if the glass is going to break, it would break under a shotgun blast.
Okay, resident gun nut, hunter, and competitive marksman checking in.
A shotgun differs from a rifle or handgun in two important respects: first, the bore is huge. A typical hunting rifle has a bore diameter of anywhere from about .27 to .35 inches (true big game guns are larger, but less common). A typical handgun has a bore diameter of about .25 to .45 inches. A 12-gauge shotgun has a bore diameter of "12 gauge", which is a massive .729 inches. Slight modifications to the bore diameter can be made using a choke, which is an accessory that narrows the bore at the muzzle for the purpose of reducing the spread of projectiles (thereby increasing the shot density and effective range).
The second respect is that a shotgun has a smooth bore without any rifling. This allows it to handle a variety of ammunition types that would damage the rifled barrels of a handgun or rifle. A simplified, generalized summary of ammunition types is as follows:
Birdshot: this comes in several different sizes and materials (steel, lead, etc.), but the concept is the same in all--a column of very small projectiles in a plastic case. The case bursts within 5 yards of the muzzle, spraying the projectiles in an expanding cone with an effective range (depending on the choke, powder quantity, etc.) of 30-50 yards. At maximum range, the pellets will have spread to around 24-30 inches. The energy falloff of birdshot over range is dramatic. At five yards, a load of birdshot would destroy most of a human chest cavity. At ten, it would likely cause serious injury. At 20, most loads would cause only superficial damage. At 30, many of the pellets would fail to penetrate a heavy coat or jeans. The real virtue of birdshot is that the wide shot dispersion makes it much easier to bring down a fast-moving thin-skinned target, like a duck or a pheasant.
Buckshot: again, different sizes and types exist, but the general concept is a relatively small number of large projectiles in a plastic case, typically riding on top of much more gun powder than in a birdshot load. 00 ("double-ought") buckshot is typically 9 pellets, each about .33 inches in diameter. Buckshot is devastating. Because each pellet has much more momentum than the bbs in birdshot, the range is much greater. Buckshot is fatal out to 50 yards, although the energy at target falls off dramatically from there. Buckshot, because of the increased powder charge, also causes a much stiffer recoil.
Slug: with slugs, the shotgun is essentially converted to a .729 caliber rifle. Modern technology has brought us "sabots", which are roughly .6 inch slugs wrapped in a rubber "tail." The tail grips the smooth bore of the shotgun and forces the slug to spin, giving it the same kind of in-flight stability as a bullet from a rifled barrel. Slugs are put on top of enormous amounts of gun powder and have an extremely stiff kick. Using the sabot technology, a slug can be accurate and effective out to 200 yards and beyond. Unlike other shotgun ammo types, a slug is a poor choice for a moving target, as it is a single piece of lead.
The effect a shotgun would have on a window or a head will depend upon the range and the ammunition type. Tell me those variables, and I'll prognosticate for you further.
Having worked for a glass company I had to throw in my 2 cents. Any door glass has to be safety glass. There is also a rule about low windows, but I forget the numbers. It might be 18" from the floor - has to be safety glass.
Also, most windows these days are the double-paned units with a gas sealed between. It is possible to break one and not the other. But I'm sure a gunshot would break both. Regular window glass would break into sharp shards.
Trivia - a small crack/break in glass, under the right conditions can run all the way across. The thicker the glass the more green it is.
There are 2 kinds of safety glass(or were when I worked there) tempered which shatters into small pieces and the laminate, which has plastic between layers and breaks but stays in place. If you've ever seen a broken windshield sagging in pieces, that's why.
Thank you all! The stuff about windows is somethig I hadn't even considered.
J--Now I'm leaning towards a handgun if it's at all possible to make it do what I want it to do. This handgun will shoot someone in the forehead from across a room--I'm looking for instantaneous death. The gun is then taken by another person attempting to escape. He's trappedin an office with a glass door and door size windows, so he uses the gun to shoot at the glass, hoping it will shatter. He's also got a nice shovel he could lob at it, if that will help. I love the thought of the whole window exploding, but I would settle for large shards.
That can work. You'll want a big, relatively slow-moving bullet, like a .45. Your character can fire one shot across the room to the CNS--fatal. Whoever takes the gun can fire more shots at the door--this won't make the glass explode outwards, but it would spiderweb safety glass to the point where it would shatter with dramatic effect when hit shoulder-first by a running person.
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Awesome! Not only does it sound cool, but it will take up more words than my original idea. Now I don't have to feel guilty for second guessing my nanowrimo book when I'm supposed to be writing. Thanks everyone, Melanie
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The main difference between shotguns and handguns is that a shotgun is much more intimidating. Which would you rather have the guy who's broken into your home be staring down the barrel of?
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Even though you've decided to possibly use a handgun, I still thought I'd mention another thing or two.
One more minor point--a double barrel shotgun holds two shots at once, one in each barrel. I think this particular kind would be manually loaded, I'm assuming there are auto-loading ones as well? Not sure. I've only fired a shotgun once or twice, at targets. I think this particular gun has 2 seperate triggers. You can pull them seperately to get two shots before reloading, or you can pull them simultaneously for a doubly powerful blast.
Reloading of this particular kind of gun--The barrel and the handle split on a hinge, then you load the shells into the barrel before snapping the pieces back together again.
Steffenwolf--double-barrels are typically used for sport shooting and upland game hunting. The barrels can be side-by-side or over-under. They are not autoloaders--as you noted, they load from the breech. Some have two triggers, more have a single trigger and some sort of control for the firing sequence, often integrated into the safety slide.
These kinds of shotguns tend by and large to be much, much, much more expensive than a pump shotgun, although there are a few low-end models available in the same price range as a pump.
There are also single-barreled breech-loaders, which tend to be the cheapest category of all for shotguns.
Why didn't I check into hatrack sooner?! I wanted to answer those questions!
Seriously, though, you got some good answers. J really knows his stuff. If you have any questions regarding weaponology, big like tanks old like katana's, drop me a line. There is very little I don't know about weapons of any sort. And I would be happy to discuss (drone on endlessly) the matter.
Patrick James, I'm sorry you missed the chance, but I'm sure I'll have some more questions sooner or later. I learn about guns on a need-to-know basis only. Actually, I do have another question. Let's say a handgun is loaded, but it sits outside in subzero temperatures for a few days. Is it going to work correctly? Melanie
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The barrel being blocked with ice or something could be a problem. The Glock is a self-clearing gun, meaning that if something obstructs the bullets from leaving the barrel, you should be able to discharge the gun and let the bullet clear the barrel. It can do this because the metals involved are strong enough to withstand the extra pressures, other guns may blow up in your hand.
However, I should add; If I pour a bucket of water on the autoloader(a clip fed semi-auto handgun, even a Glock) and make sure the reciever is open and that the water collects as opposed to running off, and let that freeze. The necessary moving parts will probably be too obstructed with ice to function.
Also, military rounds are sealed(waterproof.) civillain rounds are not, if they get wet, they don't work.
The freezer is a bad place to store a gun, condensation would gather rust and wear the blueing away and make the gun look icky. Ice might collect in spots to keep the gun from operating... Might.
Probably, the gun would fire just fine. The temparature wouldn't stop the gun from working or the bullets from igniting. Wetness would. Wet powder equals unfireable or incompletely ignited rounds. However, water in a freezer is not wet, it is frozen. Military rounds are waterproof, should be okay regardless.
Monk, please don't ask me, or encourage others to ask me, about non-story related weapon questions. This is not a firearm forum, and I'm sure Kathleen would not like it to be turned into one.
Ok, I have a question. Do guns have a smell? I'm thinking the oil you use to clean them? I have a character getting into a detective's car. He thinks about the smells of the car - aftershave and... would gun oil be stupid?
The gun would be well taken care of because my detective is a very good guy.
The smell of gun oil is very distinctive but it tends to dissipate fairly quickly. One factor affecting it might be the temperature inside the car. A hot summer day would be more likely to have the odor linger than the cold winter day. If said detective would perhaps store his cleaning rig in the car, it would be more believable as a scent component.
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