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Gun Shot Wounds: Missiles Characteristics


- Discussion:
    - common shapes includes round nose, wadcutter, and semi-wad cutter;
    - missile velocity:
         - high velocity:
              - greater than 2000-2500 ft/sec;
              - M16 travels at 3250 ft/sec;
              - associated w/ significant cavitation formation from shock wave;
         - medium velocity:  between 1000-2000 ft/sec;
         - low velocity: less than 1000 ft/sec;
              - not associated w/ cavitation formation;
              - causes local injury and does not tend to comminute metaphyseal bone;
    - yaw: the deviation of a missle's longitudinal axis from the straight line of flight, which may lead to tumbling;
    - misc: note that on rare occcassions the surgeon may encounter exploding bulllets w/ separate explosive charges;
    - Wad Cutters:
         - wad cutters are cylindrical projectiles w/ flat circular striking surface that creates sharply defined holes for target shooting;
         - semi wad cutters: are hybrid projectiles consisting of conical or tapered tip w/ sharp shoulder midway back on projectile;
               - this combines the ability to create a sharp hole in paper target w/ improved aerodynamic shape for accuracy and easier feeding
                     into an autoloading weapon;
    - Jacketed Bullets:
         - consist of a soft lead center surrounded by a jacket of various alloys of copper;
         - full Metal Jacketed configuration is onen in which the jacket surrounds the whole bullet from the tip to the base, while a partially 
               jacketed design is one in which the tip of bullet is exposed soft lead and the bullet is known as a soft point;
         - jacketed bullets were originally designed for higher velocity weapons where lead bulltes would foul rifling of barrel;
         - in lower velocity weapons partially jacketed bullets are used to allow controlled expansion of the projectile on impact