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#1
Old 04-11-2000, 04:54 PM
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Dum dum bullets were invented at the Dum Dum arsenal in India. Hollowpoints are modern. Other than people getting upset when they hear the term "dum dum", is there any difference?

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#2
Old 04-11-2000, 05:12 PM
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I always thought that dum-dum bullets were made by cutting an "X" into the top of the slug, thereby allowing the bullet to fragment fairly early when penetrating the target. Hollowpoints are drilled down the center of the slug to allow for more of a "mushroom" effect when entering the target. I'm pretty sure that hollowpoints don't fragment as much as dum-dums, but they are pretty nasty all the same.

Just my WAG. I've shot guns and I've owned a few as well, but I'm no expert by any stretch. Somebody else chime in to let me know if I'm right. If I'm wrong, tell me what the answer is. I'm curious too...

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#3
Old 04-11-2000, 06:30 PM
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The DumDum was designed with the (copper?) jacket open at the nose of the bullet to expose the soft lead interior to the impact site.

Hollowpoints go one step further, actually including a depression at the nose of the bullet to facilitate the mushrooming effect.

DumDum's were outlawed for warfare in the 1899 Hague onvention and I assume that hollowpoints are still illegal under the same convention.

One reason they are favored by police (beyond their stopping power) is that they are far less likely to pass through walls near a gunfight that a "full metal jacket"ed round will. A military round can go through a number of obstacles and injure people a long way off. A hollowpoint usually stops at the first obstruction.

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#4
Old 04-11-2000, 06:52 PM
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Tom, as usual, is right on target. Here's a little bit of additional historical information.

The dum-dum was a British military bullet developed in Indiaþs Dum-Dum Arsenal and used on India's North West Frontier and in the Sudan in 1897 and 1898. It was originally a jacketed .303 cal. British bullet with the nose of the jacket left open to expose the lead core in the hope of increasing effectiveness and fragmentation. Improvement was not pursued, for the Hague Convention of 1899 outlawed such bullets for warfare (as Tom has said).

Dum-Dum is often misused as a term for any soft-nosed or hollow-pointed hunting bullet. Hollow-points are designed to expand upon impact, not fragment.
#5
Old 04-11-2000, 06:55 PM
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I want you to know that I waited on this one just for you, Uncle.
#6
Old 04-11-2000, 07:10 PM
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The Hauge convention is not specific about banned bullet types. I think the wording says that arms will not be designed to cause undue suffering or something like that. That's usually taken to mean no expanding bullets but even that isn't completely followed. Snipers typically use match ammunition with hollow point bullets. Those bullets don't have exposed lead as a hollow point bullet designed specifically for expansion would but it expands more than a full metal jacket round would.
#7
Old 04-11-2000, 07:11 PM
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Thanks, Manny. It appears I was a bit late on the draw anyway. Ah well, grab yourself a couple Phædybucks out of petty cash. I think I'm gonna have to put a shortcut to the shotgun gauge data on my desktop for quicker access.

By the way, I saw you posted something over at Snopes regarding the FCC Daily Digest. I'm on that distribution list also. We use it to target potential clients for our telecom engineering services. Do you get the telecom reports from GeckoNews.net also?
#8
Old 04-11-2000, 07:37 PM
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Interesting topic...I have always believed that a dum-dum round was made by putting an "X" in the nose of older lead bullets, as mentioned above. There may be a few misconceptions about hollowpoint bullets, here, however. In bullets used in handgun ammunition, the hollow point is there for one purpose only: expansion. Ideally, the HP bullet will expand and release all its energy in the target, and will not penetrate all the way through the target. Modern hunting handgun ammunition (in all its various and sundry forms) is therefore a compromise between penetration and expansion. Because of parameters too arcane for this discussion, ammo manufacturers attempt to achieve optimum performance for different needs by using different bullet configurations, velocities, materials, etc. Bullets designed for rifles are an altogether different story. Since the velocity of rifle bullets is high, some care must be taken in the bullet design and construction material. For superior accuracy, a hollow point bullet with a boat-tail (HPBT) is utilized in target shooting and limited use by law enforcement marksmen. The hollow point tends to keep the nose of the bullet rotating around its axis and the boat-tail breaks up the turbulence caused by a flat base, which could make the bullet yaw in flight. HPBT bullets are allowed in military shooting matches, and some types of HPBT bullets that have an abbreviated cavity (not really a hollow point style) may be allowed for restricted military use. At high velocities, bullets that are not designed correctly can actually come apart before they reach a target. Padeye, I believe you are right about the Hague Convention as applies to metallic bullets, but I think there is some mention in there about banning the use of wooden bullets.
#9
Old 04-11-2000, 07:42 PM
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Oops. I forgot to mention that all the stuff I posted above does not apply to handgun target bullets. There are folks who still believe in handgun hunting using the old DEWC (double ended wadcutter), but not many. Target bullets for handguns are a completely different breed, of course. They are intended solely to make nice round holes in paper targets.
#10
Old 04-12-2000, 03:06 PM
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There was a movie where a vigilante drilled out the heads of lead bullets, poured liquid mercury into the head, then resealed them with solder.

Mercury, d 13.534, is only slightly more dense thant lead, d 11.34. Therefore it seams that enhancing the impact energy is not really the point.

Liquid mercury also kind of sucks as a poison. Why use a very long acting, nowhere near lethal dose posion when you are shooting them with a .357 magnum, anyway. If you are afraid that they live through the first blast, "bust a cap in their ass" again.

A friend mentioned that the mercury squirting into the body cavity would have a pretty decent kinetic energy, perhaps leading to a much greater wound size. But it is still a liquid, though a very dense liquid. "Splash Damage" sounds kind of like a lame excuse to go through the trouble of preparing special bullets.

Unless mercury does to pimps what silver does to werewolves . . . .

Has anybody heard of this technique of bullet modification, and do you know why it is done?
#11
Old 04-12-2000, 05:07 PM
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Well Xeno wasn't Mercury used in the 19th Century to treat venerial disease? Maybe that is why its dreaded by pimps?
#12
Old 04-12-2000, 05:13 PM
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Thanks, particularly to Uncle B. The fragmentation-not-expansion aspect was the one I was really looking for. It sounds to me like dum-dums are best described as "primitive frangible ammo" rather than "primitive hollowpoint" or "primitive softpoint".

Padeye You're right that the Hague Convention (1907?) is really vague about banned forms of ammunition, but the Hague Declaration (1899, but I might have those years reveresed) is quite specific. It bans ammo whose hard jackets are opened at the tip. I'm gonna try to find the site/cite I found on the Hague Declaration. This came up in a usenet argument over shotgun ammo, in which lots of people were frustrated trying to find references to all-lead projectiles in the Geneva Convention, of all places

Xenopus I think you're right that mercury would be no good as a projectile filler. Mercury poisonings usually happen from compounds of mercury, not elemental mercury. It's probably just something a scriptwrite thought would be cool (I liked the idea of substituting mercury for silver when hunting pimps!) Anyway, I just wanted to point out that increasing bullet weight isn't going to increase muzzle energy. It may increase power far downrange, by increasing sectional density and thus cutting through air friction better, but at most ranges, this small bullet weight increase wouldn't matter significantly.
#13
Old 04-12-2000, 05:18 PM
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From Anarchy Today:

"Now what this does is when the bullet is shot the mercury heats up and
expands, and rips apart the victim, and if it doesn't kill him with the first
shot the mercury gets into his blood and poisons him. This one is a sure
fire lethal shot!"

Yeah, right. The author has most likely soaked up a bit too much mercury while making these things. I've heard of these for years, but never heard of them actually being used.

As mentioned by both the psycho above and Guy Incog. (hey, nothin' personal) homemade dum-dums just have their noses scored. Joseph Heller has one of the characters in "Catch-22" doing this to his .45 slugs for late-night rat destruction.

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#14
Old 04-12-2000, 06:16 PM
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Then what's a "tumbling" bullet? I read about them used as small-caliber/high velocity rounds in the M-16, with the implication that "if we can't use bullets that blow apart inside you, we can make them skitter all around in your guts." Please clarify.
#15
Old 04-12-2000, 07:32 PM
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First, let me chime in by saying that I think the cheeseball vigilante movie with the mercury bullets to which are all referring was 'The Exterminator' with Robert Ginty (yes, it sucked)

Second, to get a bit off topic regarding this Hague Convention thing...who the hell enforces that? As if there's some kind of referee that comes out in the middle of the gunfight and blows a whistle, inspects each side's bullets, and penalizes the side that's using them. Even in a war crimes trial/ post war scenario, how do they match up the bullets with any given shooter or faction that may or may not have had these bullets? At that point, I'm sure whether you used these bullets to kill someone or not is the LEAST of your worries.

Not to turn this into a great debate, but who is the moron that suddenly decided certain bullets were "too violent" or caused "too much suffering" at the end of the 1800s? Pardon me for noticing, but if you and I are trying to kill each other, and by making/ getting these 'illegal' bullets, I have a better chance at making you die in a more horrible/ painful way that disuades your side from fighting, or makes you die from a lesser wound that only slightly injures me, isn't that the whole idea of the war to begin with?

Please note: this is NOT meant to be a troll! I am just curious why anyone trying to win a war would follow such a ridiculous rule.
#16
Old 04-12-2000, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by UncleBeer:
By the way, I saw you posted something over at Snopes regarding the FCC Daily Digest. (snip) Do you get the telecom reports from GeckoNews.net also?
Sorry, forgot about this little hijack. No. On the news front, I'm pretty much on info overload at this point. I get the Digest mostly for auction schedules and the like.

I still feel bad for Stacey, though. The second I saw it, I was thinking, "Ohh, that's gotta hurt."
#17
Old 04-12-2000, 09:37 PM
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InutilisVisEst:

No offense taken.

Good info, guys. I always wondered what a dum-dum bullet really was but I was far too lazy to do any fact finding.

This'll make for great table talk at Easter dinner...

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#18
Old 04-12-2000, 09:58 PM
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"Tumbling Bullets" - what is that, a circus act? Like the "Flying Wallendas"? Seriously, folks, bullets don't tumble in flight unless they hit something in their path; at least they're not supposed to tumble - accuracy would be very poor with tumbling because bullets depend on gyroscopic action (along with bullet design) to achieve optimum accuracy. As I have said in other threads dealing with this topic, try to locate and watch a video titled "Deadly Weapons" - a production primarily intended as an informational tool for the law enforcement community, but great for anyone who is interested in real-life examples of firearm characteristics.
#19
Old 04-12-2000, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Slithy Tove:
Then what's a "tumbling" bullet? I read about them used as small-caliber/high velocity rounds in the M-16, with the implication that "if we can't use bullets that blow apart inside you, we can make them skitter all around in your guts." Please clarify.
Typical military rifle bullets are actually aerodynamically unstable, the center of pressure is behind the center of gravity, and only fly straight because of gyroscopic spin. It doesn't take much to make the blunt end swap positions with the pointy end, particularly with a small light bullet (about 1/7 oz.) as the M-16 fires. The newest M-16 bullet is also fragile as jacketed bullets go and easily fragments on impact.
#20
Old 04-13-2000, 08:24 AM
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"Tumbling bullets" will fly true within their useful range, but wil tumble if they hit something such as, oh... a person. The tumbling can really mess a person up inside. Several years ago I saw Vietnam-war-era photographs of wounds caused by the 5.56mm M-16 round and the 7.62mm AK-47/SKS round. The smaller projectile seemed to cause much more damage. (In one set of photos, a soldier had a hole in his calf from the Russian bullet. Another had meat that ended below the knee, then his tibia and filbula, and more meat above the ankle; from a 5.56mm hit.) The Soviets developed a round (5.45mm?) for their AK-74 rifle that appears it may be more devestating.


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#21
Old 04-13-2000, 10:22 AM
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A dum-dum is a poster who still insists that there is a mystery where the extra dollar went that the bellboy kept and didn't give back to the guests at the hotel.

A hollowpoint is an argument raised by someone who has no clue what they're talking about.

That clear it up?
#22
Old 04-13-2000, 11:40 AM
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Yarster, you raise a good point. International laws aren't usually enforced, as such. They are usually just adhered to by the signatories as a matter of tradition. The kind of ammo an army issues on a large scale can not be a secret; if so-and-so issued prohibited bullets to their troops it would be public knowledge and probably bring criticism. Not that simple criticism is a huge deterrent, but I still don't know of any country which issues anything other than full metal jacket to its people.

The only exception might be special forces units. If a special forces unit were captured with weapons loaded up with prohibited ammo types, I think they could be tried for war crimes. Also not a big deterrent, since said unit could be tried for war crimes anyway, and special forces units don't get captured that often.

As to the tumbling bullets question, Padeye and Johnny have pretty much answered this one. I'd just like to elaborate: modern M16s (starting with the A1 or A2 I believe) are designed with a fast rifling, for use with a heavier, more stable bullet (the 69-grain SS109, I think). The first generation used a slower rifling with a small light bullet (55 grains). This caused this instability which allowed the bullet to yaw and tumble after hitting its target. Modern M16 bullets are more likely to fragment partly because of the faster rifling needed to stablize them (1 twist in 7", IIRC, compared to 1 in 14" for the first gen). Centrifugal forces help to break the bullet up after it hits the unfortunate individual downrange.
#23
Old 04-13-2000, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yarster:
First, let me chime in by saying that I think the cheeseball vigilante movie with the mercury bullets to which are all referring was 'The Exterminator' with Robert Ginty (yes, it sucked)

Second, to get a bit off topic regarding this Hague Convention thing...who the hell enforces that? As if there's some kind of referee that comes out in the middle of the gunfight and blows a whistle, inspects each side's bullets, and penalizes the side that's using them. Even in a war crimes trial/ post war scenario, how do they match up the bullets with any given shooter or faction that may or may not have had these bullets? At that point, I'm sure whether you used these bullets to kill someone or not is the LEAST of your worries.

Not to turn this into a great debate, but who is the moron that suddenly decided certain bullets were "too violent" or caused "too much suffering" at the end of the 1800s? Pardon me for noticing, but if you and I are trying to kill each other, and by making/ getting these 'illegal' bullets, I have a better chance at making you die in a more horrible/ painful way that disuades your side from fighting, or makes you die from a lesser wound that only slightly injures me, isn't that the whole idea of the war to begin with?

Please note: this is NOT meant to be a troll! I am just curious why anyone trying to win a war would follow such a ridiculous rule.


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#24
Old 04-13-2000, 12:11 PM
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Sorry about that...I really did post a reply but the system mangled it.
#25
Old 04-13-2000, 12:20 PM
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Bullets containing mercury were used in "The Day of the Jackal" (the original film, not the remake.) The book this film was based on gives a little more detail about how they are supposed to work: - on impact, the mercury droplet smacks into the front of the bullet and bursts it apart.

I seriously doubt this would actually work. Apart from anything else, mercury reacts with lead to form a solid amalgam so you have to fire the bullets shortly after making them.
#26
Old 04-13-2000, 12:24 PM
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http://yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/dec99-03.htm

There's a link to the Hague Declaration, signed by "Signatures". That is, they don't enumerate who signed the thang (I remember my last search results being similarly vague). The text is all there anyway.

Also, don't confuse the Hague Declaration with the St. Petersburg Convention of, IIRC, the 1860s. That one prohibits exploding bullets (up to a certain size).

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#27
Old 04-13-2000, 12:27 PM
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I accidentally hit the "send" before I was done. Pardon me.

Bullet weight x bullet velocity = stopping power, so they say. It's easier to make the bullet go faster than to make it heavier, and it's easier to carry more gunpowder than more lead. So the theory says a smaller bullet going faster is at least as good if not better than a heavy slow bullet. For sure, the faster bullet will fly flatter and so be easier to shoot. It puts more bullets on the battlefield and in so doing increases the chances that someone will hit something somehow, so I reckon it works at least partially.

On the other hand, in the early 1980's the FBI did this fancy computer study that told them throwing a lot of 9mm bullets at the bad guys would be just fine, and they found out in practice that it was not so. Turns out that they had a flawed key assumption: that a given bullet would always expand the same way each time. Not so in reality. Being the statistical geniuses they are, they never actually tested a sample of real bullets. Tests show a surprising degree of variability in bullet expansion, even when bullets from the same lot are tested under the same conditions. I believe they worked with Hornady bullet manufacturers to make a consistently expanding bullet.

Note also that real-world experience has shown that some people can soak up a lot of hits from 9mm bullets and keep on going. There have been a few notorious cases of this which have unfortunately cost police personnel their lives as part of the learning experience. A lot of agencies around the US are now going over to .40 caliber or back to the good old .45 on account of this.
#28
Old 04-13-2000, 12:37 PM
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Well, maybe I didn't hit "reply" and just lost the first part.

What I meant to say was that years ago the NRA did a bit on the same question that is posted here. Seems in the mid 1800's, a few people patented exploding bullets, and fewer still made them in some numbers. They didn't work because they wouldn't work reliably. Baiscally, the schemes revolved around a primer and sometimes and additional charge in the bullet itself that impact or inertia would supposedly detonate. As previous respondents have pointed out, they're better off to leave the lead in the bullet as the effect of the kinetic energy of heavier bullet impact is much greater than whatever minute amount of posion or whatever might be in there.

The military uses full metal jackets because they feed more reliably in automatic and semi-auto weapons.
#29
Old 04-13-2000, 02:24 PM
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Yarster, the SS-109/M855 bullet also has different construction than the old M193 55 grain bullet. The core has a steel tip inside to help penetration and a thinner jacket that tends to fracture at the cannelure (the crimping groove around the middle). IIRC from the IMI bullets I've loaded it's 62 grains. The only 69 grain .22 bullets I've used are match hollowpoints.

The heavier bullet was adopted so it would be ballistically simliar to the long bullet in the tracer round. In a given caliber heavier, hence longer, bullets require a faster spin to be stable but a lot of people think the 1:7" twist went way too far. Depending on how much velocity is left the bullet can be spinning at 200,000 rpm or more when it hits, causing all the bits to fly off in unpredictable dirctions.
#30
Old 04-13-2000, 04:41 PM
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Uh...thanks Padeye,
Although I'm not sure what question you were answering. I asked what the logic was of why anyone trying to win a war would follow the Hague Convention when the whole idea of a war is to kill the enemy presumably by whatever means necessary that doesn't either come back to kill your troops too (i.e. chemical weapons) or cause mutually assured destruction (i.e. nuclear weapons)
#31
Old 04-14-2000, 02:54 AM
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I read the same post, Yarster, and I think Padeye was replying to me. He gets us mixed up because we look just alike. I think Padeye was elaborating on why modern M16 bullets fragment instead of tumble.
#32
Old 04-14-2000, 04:38 AM
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Yarster, there's another side effect of using the jacketed bullet: A wounded soldier ties up more ressources than a dead one, at least in a civilized army.

A British officer complained about this faczt in one of the colonial war: Where a "civilized" soldier would, upon being wounded, lie down and wait for the stretcher teams, some of the warriors they found themselves facing would in fact continue the fight even when severely wounded. (Sorry, no cite, posting from work).

I was told this was the rationale for making anti personnel mines with smaller charges as well, but that might as well be an attempt to vilify the producers.

Norman
#33
Old 04-14-2000, 06:16 AM
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In a "real" war, the last thing you want to do is KILL your opponent. A nice, clean wound, that puts him out of action, plus requires expensive hospitals & medics, plus requires 1 or 2 of his buddies to carry him back, is far better than just killing him.
Also, fmj bullets penetrate better, increasing your chances for such a wound.

NOTE: there never was such a thing as "cop-killer" bullets, this was made up by anti-gun politicians.
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