1. lostinwebspace
    Offline

    lostinwebspace Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada

    I Need You for Your Gun Knowledge

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by lostinwebspace, Nov 5, 2011.

    I'll preface this question by saying I know next to nothing about firearms. It's almost laughable. I know what a shotgun looks like. I know what a pistol looks like. I know what double-barreled means. That's generally about it.

    Anyway, my question here is I need a little primer about stopping power, caliber, gauge, whatever. I've tried Googling this, but I'm not getting something that I can understand without swimming through reams and reams of confusing information.

    The scene is this: a guy is trying to escape his incarceration, gets shot in the shoulder, and that's the end of his escape attempt. He goes back to nurse his wound.

    What I need is something that doesn't kill someone or do any lasting damage, but hurts enough to stop them from doing what they're doing. I think caliber is the size of the bullet (am I wrong?) so the caliber wouldn't necessarily indicate its stopping power (or would it? I don't know). Without identifying the specific gun, what can I say that will lend a little bit of authenticity and get the point across?

    To add to the difficulty, this is a sci-fi story, so I need to translate this conventional gun to a laser. There's no recoil, and the shooter doesn't need to reload,s o we don't have to worry about that. The wound I described could do some damage in today's standards, but by tomorrow, medicine will have evolved enough so that he'd make a full recovery. I could also "Hollywood it up" and say it's a...ahem...flesh wound.

    There's my dilemma. Can anyone help?
     
  2. mattattack007
    Offline

    mattattack007 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    If it is a basic rifle, which is what I assume the shooter would be using and he gets shot in the shoulder with a laser round, just have the wound cauterize from the heat. It should still hurt like hell, but he should be able to get it healed ok. With it being a laser weapon, I don't think you have to worry about conventional bullet logic.
     
  3. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    One could get shot with a bean bag round from a shot gun that would knock the person down. That's current technology but not really wound in the shoulder too much.

    Laser would burn, cause tissue damage. Burns hurt like heck. It could be a narrow beam or maybe some sort of wide or scatter beam. It could be a pulse laser or whatever. Since it's future technology...you'd not have to worry about what current firearms would do.

    Problem with a shot in the shoulder with a bullet, is that there is a lot of bone and other tissue that would get damaged. A bullet would be unlikely to simply pass through. A .38 caliber revolver bullet would hit and immoblize the shoulder, probably, without killing him. He'd be doing a lot more than nursing, however--unless he had access to medical assistance. A .22 caliber bullet would hurt and do some damage, but probably much less than a .38 or larger round. It also depends on the type of bullet. Some are made to expand upon impact, doing more damage. Bones could be shattered, the bullet could deflect within the body and cause lots of tissue damage wherever it travelled. Hitting a vital artery could cause severe bleeding/blood loss. The thing about a laser would be that it'd likely not bleed a lot.

    Don't know if that helps.
     
  4. muscle979
    Offline

    muscle979 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maryland
    The caliber of a bullet is less important than the amount of gunpowder in the round. If you ever looked at for example, 12 gauge shotgun shells, they are all the same size. But if you take buckshot [made to kill larger animals like deer] and put it next to shells made for bird hunting and target practice, you can see that the buckshot has much more gunpowder packed inside the shell. I used to shoot the M16A2 rifle a lot when I was in the Army. The caliber of the round is not very large at all, [5.56 mm] but it is a powerful weapon because of the charge behind it. Hopefully that helps you a little bit. The caliber matters but it's not the end all be all of how powerful a weapon is. It would be realistic for the weapon in your story to have round types that are used for different situations and have different degrees of lethality.
     
  5. AlbarionRed
    Offline

    AlbarionRed New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm pretty well versed in matter, having grown up a military-brat.

    Allow me to try to explain.

    Stopping power:

    - Generally the larger the bullet, the more stopping power a weapon has. A .50 (fifty caliber) round will have a much greater stopping power than a .25 (twenty-five caliber).

    - Taking into account bullet size (caliber), stopping power also varies from weapon to weapon. If a weapon was designed with maximum power in mind, i.e. a shotgun, sniper rifle, or RPG, it usually is lacking in other areas, i.e. reload time, accuracy, etc.

    As to translating all of this into sci-fi terms, I heavily recommend looking up Warhammer 40K. Dan Abnett in particular is a master of his craft.

    - AR
     
  6. James Berkley
    Offline

    James Berkley Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    NYC
    Measuring stopping power is a huge debate in the firearm community too. Velocity, caliber, weight, bullet design all have different parts to play in the equation. Different people feel that different factors are more important then others. Many a caliber war has started on fire arms forums out of some one declaring one caliber/ bullet make up the end all be all. However you are dealing with a weapon that idea works of direct energy.
    If you want my advice, make it a sort of futuristic less then lethal technology instead of a lethal one. perhaps something similar to a tazer shotgun shell. I know my training dictates, and most do, no discharge of a firearm at a person in a non lethal situation.

    Maybe try to see if there is a range near you that lets you rent firearms or gives a basic beginner course, it’s a lot of fun.
     
  7. muscle979
    Offline

    muscle979 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maryland
    A lot of things come into play when you're talking about the effectiveness of a weapon. Weapons are made for certain things. To just claim that a larger caliber means you have more power is off the mark in my opinion.
     
  8. James Berkley
    Offline

    James Berkley Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    NYC
    where did i say that in my post? I trend towards speed a bit myself. I like the 125 grain JHP 357, but I do not disagree that a 158 JHP grain load is not a excellent load too. Though I would not consider using a non JHP outside defensively outside normal circumstances.
     
  9. muscle979
    Offline

    muscle979 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Maryland
    Where did I say that you posted that?
     
  10. SnappyUK
    Offline

    SnappyUK Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Before this turns into a shoot-out (see what I did there?), is any working knowledge of firearms necessary if you're going to use laser guns? We've all heard "set phasers to 'stun'" before now. There was no need for Gene Roddenberry to understand or describe the calibre or stopping power of the weapon in any scientific sense, merely to show the effect it had on the target.

    You could, perhaps, describe the injury from the perspective of the prisoner - in which case knowledge of the human anatomy and its reaction to trauma may be more useful research than whether Dirty Harry was telling the truth when he told the punk that "this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off..."

    I don't see why you couldn't get away with the prisoner getting a visit from the guard who shot him to say,"You're lucky I only had my plasma shotgun (or whatever) on low power (or 10%, or 'stun', etc.), otherwise I could have cut you in half, punk. Next time, I won't be so merciful, and you won't be as tall."
     
  11. GillySoose
    Offline

    GillySoose Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    1
    That's kinda what I was thinking... If you're using a laser weapon with no recoil, implying it doesn't actually fire any solid mass, then you're not going to have stopping power at all. Unless the victim goes into shock or the laser has some form of stun effect on its target.
     
  12. James Berkley
    Offline

    James Berkley Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    NYC
    Sorry took it as the implication form you quoting me then saying that size is not all that matters. Sorry probably instinct from being in lots of caliber wars on internet forums.
     
  13. lostinwebspace
    Offline

    lostinwebspace Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    I had a long post with multi-quotes here answering everyone, but somehow it got erased. :mad: I HATE this new site, especially when there are about three different places to click Reply and you have to guess which will actually reply and which will open a new textbox and erase everything you typed out before with no warning.

    Anyway, I'm going to have to paraphrase since I don't have as much time anymore. I'm going to have to rush now. I hope you don't mind if I can't find the exact message I'm referring to in here.

    Thank you, everyone, for your help.

    You're right: stopping power, I guess, doesn't enter into the equation here. If it's just a regular laser, it makes sense that there would be no stopping power. I guess the stopping power would be more from the pain than the actual shot itself. And I get the impression that measuring stopping power is up to many factors, including opinion?

    Makes perfect sense that there would be no recoil since there is no bullet. The gun in question can fire bullets, but in this scene, it's set on "laser." I was thinking there was no recoil because of a combination of a spring mechanism and future magic. No good? Scientifically impossible?

    Yes, it will cauterize the wound. I can't remember if I'd thought of that before. So there won't be external bleeding and, I guess, no internal bleeding? The damage will all be internal in this case. I guess just a cooled melting pot of tissue, bone, cartilage, etc.?

    I know this is in the future and I may not need some of the terminology or technology used today, but, as I said, it's high time I learn this subject so that I'm better off writing about it next time around when I use a setting from today.

    Thanks for the Warhammer tip. I'll check into that.

    Anyway, I'd like a little bit of gun knowledge so that I can use some for the scene. The guy being shot, the POV character, knows his way around a gun and I was hoping to be able to have him identify the gun and know a bit about its details.

    Thank you, everyone, for the help! Keep it coming, though. This is actually fun to learn about, not just work. :)
     

Share This Page