Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

AnswersASK YOUR QUESTION

Answers

Q:
Hydrostatic Shock - Fact or Fiction? I've read alot of contradictory stuff about hydrostatic shock - some people claim it is nonsense and others make all sorts of claims - some people argue if the heart valves are closed when the animal gets hit, the blood in the arteries can be forced into the brain and immediately turn it into mush, etc. etc. - I consider myself a sceptic on the issue - what do you all think?

Question by Bryan01. Uploaded on December 28, 2009

Answers (22)

Top Rated
All Answers
from mutt wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

never heard of it but I do see a solid base in the theory.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

A similar theory I've heard about is that the animal's blood pressure at the moment of impact is critical. There are two measurements of blood pressure, the diastolic (the top number)and the systolic (bottom number).
If we add the increased pressure caused by the impact of the bullet to the systolic, there is much more trauma than would occur it the same increased pressure were added to the diastolic.
So it makes a difference whether the heart is pumping, or at rest between pumps.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I can fully understand how the amount of fluid in an enclosed area can impact results....however either it happens or not because no-one in this world can time a shot like that. I dont worry about it much, a well placed good performing .30 cal bullet (or whatever your poison) piercing the heart/lungs and expanding drops an animal.
Highly doubt the brain to mush theory though...time for impossible shots meets mythbusters special

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I think hydrostatic shock is real. Why else would some wound channels be much larger than the diameter of expanded bullets? But internal organs are fairly resilient when not hit directly. I read something recently that suggested animals that bang-flop might just be unconscious and die as they bleed out. Sounds reasonable.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

hengst - I agree with you about well-placed shots. Regardless of whether or not you think hydrostatic shock really makes a difference, you have to select your shot placement and base your decision on whether or not to take a shot at an animal assuming that hydrostatic shock will not make a difference.

What got me thinking about it was when I had a bang-flop kill earlier this season and my shot was actually a little bit farther back than what I had wanted and if I hadn't witnessed the bang-flop, I would have never thought it would have been such a quick kill by just looking at where the entry and exit wounds were (it happened near the end of the legal shooting hours and the deer was field dressed using light from the headlights of a pickup truck so I didn't take the time or make the effort to closely examine the internal organs at the time to see if that would explain the bang-flop aspect of the shot).

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

There was an extensive "discussion" about this in another area here.

While it's a valid theory, and does work out that way a lot, it does have limits. It can magnify the effect of a decent hit. It won't turn a scratch into an exploding deer.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Hydostatic shock is real, but the position of the heart valves cannot mean beans since it is impossible to predict the timing and measure the effect. More egghead BS.

Hit them in the vitals with a rapidly expanding bullet that penetrates deep for pass through and the shock at impact, loss of blood pressure, and failure of the lungs will incapacitate almost immediately if not sooner!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Swede1945 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

The wikipedia page for Hydrostatic shock makes a pretty compelling case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

Jim Carmichael also has an interesting article at:

http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/45560

See the Cape Buffalo part where they find brain hemorrhaging from shots to the chest.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Swede1945

You dirty dog, you stole my thunder! LOL!
And a +1 for you!

If Hydrostatic shock is false, then tell me why my 22-250 on deer turn the boiler room department into soup!

Take a 5 gallon can set it on top of a fence post and shoot it with a 30-06 and you'll blow it to bits with the impression of the post on the bottom.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

correction, 5 gallon full of water

I hate lap tops!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sniper220 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

To add a spin - no pun intended. Check out P.O. Ackley's theory on bullet rotation/hydrostatic shock and tissue damage.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigBboy25 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I know several much better sources than Wiki that make very good cases for Hydrostatic shock. Look at "Rifle Bullets for the Hunter" and "Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting" (Both books) both go into detail about the subject and I'm convinced that it really does play a part in a bullets terminal performance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I not only believe in it... I am positive. I have shot a fast 25-06 most of my life and have on many occassions witnessed first hand the impact of excessive pressure in the circulatory system caused by a bullet going over 3200 fps. For example, I shot a deer in the throat (clean passthrough with no bone hit) and it dropped instantly. The aorta had a 10" rip just above the heart and the lungs and liver were mush. I shot many squirrels with 75g hollowpoints at 3850 fps by shooting them in the foot. It always did the same thing to vital organs. I have seen this in hundreds of animals of all sizes and shapes. That is why I don't ever want to be shot in the foot by my 25-06. It is a whole different ball game at that speed.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

DakotaMan

A +1 for you!

22-250 will do it too!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

338 Win Mag

See Jack Rabbit?

BOOM!

See pieces parts flying and fur floating in air!

What Jack Rabbit!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Have to agree with Clay and DakotaMan-
The .25-06 does more internal damage with a 115 gr. Ballistic Tip @ 3350 fps than a .30-'06 with a 165 gr.
BT @ 2850 fps. Either way, they are mostly bang/flop.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

this does explain more on why when two deer are shot in the same place that one drops dead and the other runs 20 - 50 yds

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mzimmers wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

This is a really complicated issue (if you let it be). There's no doubt that the phenomenon of hydrostatic shock exists; but there's considerable doubt as to what it is exactly, or what it does. It's difficult to even find a definition of it that people can agree on.

Some people ascribe far more significance to hydrostatic shock than is borne out by hard evidence. The notion of spiking blood pressure to turn the brain to mush is a good example. This really doesn't happen.

I also have difficulty in attributing much real-world value to hydrostatic shock. When you clear away all the spurious data, two simple facts remain:

1. death comes from (or even, is defined as) the termination of brain activity.
2. #1 is achieved by either a direct hit to the brain or CNS, or, more commonly from bleeding, which lowers blood pressure to the point where blood no longer reaches the brain.

A well-placed shot with suitable ammunition will penetrate to the vital organs, create a wound channel, and damage tissue in such a way that causes a lot of fast bleeding. This, in my opinion, is really all you need to consider when selecting a cartridge for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael King wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

relate this to the old prank of taking the top off of a full ketchup bottle and hitting the open end and the pressure blowing the end of the bottle off.
my experience goes back to the 220 swift pushing at about 4000 fps and blowing up animals I shot. The speed and bullet rotation of a fast and high rpm bullet can cause hydrostatic shock through the tissue and fluids of a body that will cause eyes to pop out arteries and heart to explode, and brain tissue to explode.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

mzimmers, I have seen many a big game animal die as a result of blood loss to the brain. In most cases, this takes a while. For example, I have seen deer shot with a slow moving slug run or at least raise their head for minutes after a lethal hit. A fast rifle bullet traveling well over 3000 fps seems to shock their system like a 20,000 volts of electricity. It is instantaneous and completely stops voluntary or even involuntary muscle movement. I guess maybe that is why they call it shock. There is no spasming and they don't even wiggle a hoof. I have never seen this occur with bullets like the .308 Rem or .35 Rem, but have seen it almost every time with the 25-06 using bullets traveling around 3350 fps at the muzzle. I also notice that when you slit the thoat of a deer shot by a .308 or slower rifle, it will usually bleed out. You will never get that to happen with something the speed of a 25-06 or 7mm Mag because all the blood in the body will already be out of the circulatory system and in the body cavity of the animal. Regardless of what you name it, this phenomenon exists and is quite noticable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

mzimmers, I have seen many a big game animal die as a result of blood loss to the brain. In most cases, this takes a while. For example, I have seen deer shot with a slow moving slug run or at least raise their head for minutes after a lethal hit. A fast rifle bullet traveling well over 3000 fps seems to shock their system like a 20,000 volts of electricity. It is instantaneous and completely stops voluntary or even involuntary muscle movement. I guess maybe that is why they call it shock. There is no spasming and they don't even wiggle a hoof. I have never seen this occur with bullets like the .308 Rem or .35 Rem, but have seen it almost every time with the 25-06 using bullets traveling around 3350 fps at the muzzle. I also notice that when you slit the thoat of a deer shot by a .308 or slower rifle, it will usually bleed out. You will never get that to happen with something the speed of a 25-06 or 7mm Mag because all the blood in the body will already be out of the circulatory system and in the body cavity of the animal. Regardless of what you name it, this phenomenon exists and is quite noticable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JCDunn wrote 36 weeks 4 days ago

Water has a tensile strength of about zero. Muscle is about 1-4 MPa.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I think hydrostatic shock is real. Why else would some wound channels be much larger than the diameter of expanded bullets? But internal organs are fairly resilient when not hit directly. I read something recently that suggested animals that bang-flop might just be unconscious and die as they bleed out. Sounds reasonable.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

A similar theory I've heard about is that the animal's blood pressure at the moment of impact is critical. There are two measurements of blood pressure, the diastolic (the top number)and the systolic (bottom number).
If we add the increased pressure caused by the impact of the bullet to the systolic, there is much more trauma than would occur it the same increased pressure were added to the diastolic.
So it makes a difference whether the heart is pumping, or at rest between pumps.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I can fully understand how the amount of fluid in an enclosed area can impact results....however either it happens or not because no-one in this world can time a shot like that. I dont worry about it much, a well placed good performing .30 cal bullet (or whatever your poison) piercing the heart/lungs and expanding drops an animal.
Highly doubt the brain to mush theory though...time for impossible shots meets mythbusters special

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

hengst - I agree with you about well-placed shots. Regardless of whether or not you think hydrostatic shock really makes a difference, you have to select your shot placement and base your decision on whether or not to take a shot at an animal assuming that hydrostatic shock will not make a difference.

What got me thinking about it was when I had a bang-flop kill earlier this season and my shot was actually a little bit farther back than what I had wanted and if I hadn't witnessed the bang-flop, I would have never thought it would have been such a quick kill by just looking at where the entry and exit wounds were (it happened near the end of the legal shooting hours and the deer was field dressed using light from the headlights of a pickup truck so I didn't take the time or make the effort to closely examine the internal organs at the time to see if that would explain the bang-flop aspect of the shot).

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

There was an extensive "discussion" about this in another area here.

While it's a valid theory, and does work out that way a lot, it does have limits. It can magnify the effect of a decent hit. It won't turn a scratch into an exploding deer.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Swede1945 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

The wikipedia page for Hydrostatic shock makes a pretty compelling case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

Jim Carmichael also has an interesting article at:

http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/45560

See the Cape Buffalo part where they find brain hemorrhaging from shots to the chest.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigBboy25 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I know several much better sources than Wiki that make very good cases for Hydrostatic shock. Look at "Rifle Bullets for the Hunter" and "Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting" (Both books) both go into detail about the subject and I'm convinced that it really does play a part in a bullets terminal performance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

never heard of it but I do see a solid base in the theory.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Hydostatic shock is real, but the position of the heart valves cannot mean beans since it is impossible to predict the timing and measure the effect. More egghead BS.

Hit them in the vitals with a rapidly expanding bullet that penetrates deep for pass through and the shock at impact, loss of blood pressure, and failure of the lungs will incapacitate almost immediately if not sooner!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sniper220 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

To add a spin - no pun intended. Check out P.O. Ackley's theory on bullet rotation/hydrostatic shock and tissue damage.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I not only believe in it... I am positive. I have shot a fast 25-06 most of my life and have on many occassions witnessed first hand the impact of excessive pressure in the circulatory system caused by a bullet going over 3200 fps. For example, I shot a deer in the throat (clean passthrough with no bone hit) and it dropped instantly. The aorta had a 10" rip just above the heart and the lungs and liver were mush. I shot many squirrels with 75g hollowpoints at 3850 fps by shooting them in the foot. It always did the same thing to vital organs. I have seen this in hundreds of animals of all sizes and shapes. That is why I don't ever want to be shot in the foot by my 25-06. It is a whole different ball game at that speed.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

338 Win Mag

See Jack Rabbit?

BOOM!

See pieces parts flying and fur floating in air!

What Jack Rabbit!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Have to agree with Clay and DakotaMan-
The .25-06 does more internal damage with a 115 gr. Ballistic Tip @ 3350 fps than a .30-'06 with a 165 gr.
BT @ 2850 fps. Either way, they are mostly bang/flop.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Swede1945

You dirty dog, you stole my thunder! LOL!
And a +1 for you!

If Hydrostatic shock is false, then tell me why my 22-250 on deer turn the boiler room department into soup!

Take a 5 gallon can set it on top of a fence post and shoot it with a 30-06 and you'll blow it to bits with the impression of the post on the bottom.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

correction, 5 gallon full of water

I hate lap tops!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

DakotaMan

A +1 for you!

22-250 will do it too!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

this does explain more on why when two deer are shot in the same place that one drops dead and the other runs 20 - 50 yds

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mzimmers wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

This is a really complicated issue (if you let it be). There's no doubt that the phenomenon of hydrostatic shock exists; but there's considerable doubt as to what it is exactly, or what it does. It's difficult to even find a definition of it that people can agree on.

Some people ascribe far more significance to hydrostatic shock than is borne out by hard evidence. The notion of spiking blood pressure to turn the brain to mush is a good example. This really doesn't happen.

I also have difficulty in attributing much real-world value to hydrostatic shock. When you clear away all the spurious data, two simple facts remain:

1. death comes from (or even, is defined as) the termination of brain activity.
2. #1 is achieved by either a direct hit to the brain or CNS, or, more commonly from bleeding, which lowers blood pressure to the point where blood no longer reaches the brain.

A well-placed shot with suitable ammunition will penetrate to the vital organs, create a wound channel, and damage tissue in such a way that causes a lot of fast bleeding. This, in my opinion, is really all you need to consider when selecting a cartridge for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael King wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

relate this to the old prank of taking the top off of a full ketchup bottle and hitting the open end and the pressure blowing the end of the bottle off.
my experience goes back to the 220 swift pushing at about 4000 fps and blowing up animals I shot. The speed and bullet rotation of a fast and high rpm bullet can cause hydrostatic shock through the tissue and fluids of a body that will cause eyes to pop out arteries and heart to explode, and brain tissue to explode.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

mzimmers, I have seen many a big game animal die as a result of blood loss to the brain. In most cases, this takes a while. For example, I have seen deer shot with a slow moving slug run or at least raise their head for minutes after a lethal hit. A fast rifle bullet traveling well over 3000 fps seems to shock their system like a 20,000 volts of electricity. It is instantaneous and completely stops voluntary or even involuntary muscle movement. I guess maybe that is why they call it shock. There is no spasming and they don't even wiggle a hoof. I have never seen this occur with bullets like the .308 Rem or .35 Rem, but have seen it almost every time with the 25-06 using bullets traveling around 3350 fps at the muzzle. I also notice that when you slit the thoat of a deer shot by a .308 or slower rifle, it will usually bleed out. You will never get that to happen with something the speed of a 25-06 or 7mm Mag because all the blood in the body will already be out of the circulatory system and in the body cavity of the animal. Regardless of what you name it, this phenomenon exists and is quite noticable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

mzimmers, I have seen many a big game animal die as a result of blood loss to the brain. In most cases, this takes a while. For example, I have seen deer shot with a slow moving slug run or at least raise their head for minutes after a lethal hit. A fast rifle bullet traveling well over 3000 fps seems to shock their system like a 20,000 volts of electricity. It is instantaneous and completely stops voluntary or even involuntary muscle movement. I guess maybe that is why they call it shock. There is no spasming and they don't even wiggle a hoof. I have never seen this occur with bullets like the .308 Rem or .35 Rem, but have seen it almost every time with the 25-06 using bullets traveling around 3350 fps at the muzzle. I also notice that when you slit the thoat of a deer shot by a .308 or slower rifle, it will usually bleed out. You will never get that to happen with something the speed of a 25-06 or 7mm Mag because all the blood in the body will already be out of the circulatory system and in the body cavity of the animal. Regardless of what you name it, this phenomenon exists and is quite noticable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JCDunn wrote 36 weeks 4 days ago

Water has a tensile strength of about zero. Muscle is about 1-4 MPa.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

bmxbiz-fs