Author Topic: Silver Bullets?  (Read 7695 times)

Brigadon

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Silver Bullets?
« on: December 10, 2007, 05:16:55 pm »
One of the things I don't understand, is why silver bullets?
Shotgun shells would be easy, you could simply fill up a shell with the pellet 'drippings' off of the wire that jewellers use to make their art.
But why on earth would someone use solid silver bullets to shoot a werewolf?

An important thing to remember about bullets is that some of the more important aspects of bullets, is that when you fire them, they shred inside the target. 'in like a pencil, out like a pancake' that's one of the more important factors and the reason they are lead. also the riflings inside of a barrel can take ahold of a lead bullet more easily than a silver one, allowing the bullet to travel in a straight line by spinning, like a thrown football. That means the effective ranges for a silver bullet, where the riflings wouldn't take hold as easily (not to mention that even the riflings of hardened gunsteel would be rapidly destroyed after firing several rounds) is extremely short... once again giving the shotgun a decided advantage.

now, if penetration is required (I am not sure that a werewolf's skin is armored) the best bet would be to make a lead bullet, only drop several silver rods inside of the mold before you pour in the lead. That means that during the initial 'penetration' stage, the lead bullet will flatten and the harder silver rods will penetrate deeply into the target...and since they are so slim, if they strike a bone they are likely to penetrate their way right into the bone itself, which HAS to be unhealthy for a werewolf. the rods will also deform as they travel, and are much lighter (and sharper) than a bullet, so that the only rods of silver likely to escape the target are the ones that are carried out by the weight of the bullet itself. Also because of the lower weight of the bullet overall, a lower grain count can be used, which means a slower bullet. also this is extremely likely to pierce a bullet proof vest if, for some reason, a wolf decides to wear one.

This solves a number of handy problems with rifling, molding (you can simply snip silver wire bits to make the rods, and never have to worry about the heat and tension of a silver bullet destroying a standard mold) and silver bullets 'blowing through' a wolf and not properly poisoning the target because they are hard enough to go all the way through their body. This also ensures that removal of the bullets becomes not simply a chore, but an insurmountable task for any medical person that tries. ('armor piercing' bullets are built this way, but their rods are made of depleted uranium to pierce tank armor)

another option is silver 'pellets', filings, or dust inside of a lead bullet. because of the flattening of the bullet the pellets WILL get out, and are likely to cause even more devastation to a target because of the number of bits continuing to cause horrible damage to werewolves even after the initial damage.

I don't recommend 'full silver jacket' though... a silver jacket will actually act more like a sabot, peeling off the bullet as it changes shape in midair so that primarily only the lead portion will actually do damage to the werewolf.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 10:58:39 pm by Elle »

Mike Briggs

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Re: Silver Bullets?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2007, 05:47:01 pm »
One of the things I don't understand, is why silver bullets?
Shotgun shells would be easy, you could simply fill up a shell with the pellet 'drippings' off of the wire that jewellers use to make their art.
But why on earth would someone use solid silver bullets to shoot a werewolf?

An important thing to remember about bullets is that some of the more important aspects of bullets, is that when you fire them, they shred inside the target. 'in like a pencil, out like a pancake' that's one of the more important factors and the reason they are lead. also the riflings inside of a barrel can take ahold of a lead bullet more easily than a silver one, allowing the bullet to travel in a straight line by spinning, like a thrown football. That means the effective ranges for a silver bullet, where the riflings wouldn't take hold as easily (not to mention that even the riflings of hardened gunsteel would be rapidly destroyed after firing several rounds) is extremely short... once again giving the shotgun a decided advantage.

now, if penetration is required (I am not sure that a werewolf's skin is armored) the best bet would be to make a lead bullet, only drop several silver rods inside of the mold before you pour in the lead. That means that during the initial 'penetration' stage, the lead bullet will flatten and the harder silver rods will penetrate deeply into the target...and since they are so slim, if they strike a bone they are likely to penetrate their way right into the bone itself, which HAS to be unhealthy for a werewolf. the rods will also deform as they travel, and are much lighter (and sharper) than a bullet, so that the only rods of silver likely to escape the target are the ones that are carried out by the weight of the bullet itself. Also because of the lower weight of the bullet overall, a lower grain count can be used, which means a slower bullet. also this is extremely likely to pierce a bullet proof vest if, for some reason, a wolf decides to wear one.

This solves a number of handy problems with rifling, molding (you can simply snip silver wire bits to make the rods, and never have to worry about the heat and tension of a silver bullet destroying a standard mold) and silver bullets 'blowing through' a wolf and not properly poisoning the target because they are hard enough to go all the way through their body. This also ensures that removal of the bullets becomes not simply a chore, but an insurmountable task for any medical person that tries. ('armor piercing' bullets are built this way, but their rods are made of depleted uranium to pierce tank armor)

another option is silver 'pellets', filings, or dust inside of a lead bullet. because of the flattening of the bullet the pellets WILL get out, and are likely to cause even more devastation to a target because of the number of bits continuing to cause horrible damage to werewolves even after the initial damage.

I don't recommend 'full silver jacket' though... a silver jacket will actually act more like a sabot, peeling off the bullet as it changes shape in midair so that primarily only the lead portion will actually do damage to the werewolf.

Brigadon:
LOL!  Where were you when Patty, following the lead of countless previous werewolf-novelists, jumped on the silver bullet bandwagon?  I've been talking with bullet manufacturers, ballistics guys, and some pretty hard-core gun nuts for weeks trying to figure out how to get out of this gracefully (check the home page of the main Hurog site for some of the problems). 

I'm tempted to post the entire history of my email exchanges with all the experts -- I've got just about enough information to write a small book on silver bullets by now.  In fact, I'm trying to order some custom-built graphite bullet molds so I can actually test some .444 rounds in silver, just to make sure we've got the details right.

Here's some of the more recent findings:
First, I'm still considering some sort of lead/silver amalgam as you've described.  This was my first suggestion as to how to build "silver" bullets.  They'd be easier to make, and probably would work as frangible rounds.  Some of the experts, however, have expressed concern that such a round may be prone to fragment on firing -- there's apparently a real art to building a composite bullet that's strong enough to handle the stress of firing and supersonic travel.   

It turns out that casting silver isn't too difficult, if you can find a graphite mold and good ceramic kiln for the melting, it's basically the same as casting lead bullets.  Actually, the silver bullets need to be deburred and cleaned up a bit better, because the resizing die typically used during reloading won't work as well with the silver bullets.

Silver's hardness probably won't present a problem with engaging the riflings.   I'd been worried about that, but I was told that several different militaries have used steel jacketed shells (and even mild steel is harder than silver).  Apparently these shells work fine in standard barrels, and don't tear them up too badly.  Also, remember that Mercy isn't setting herself up as a werewolf hunter, she's simply using weapons inherited from her foster father.

I was also worried about the twist rate of the rifling -- thinking that a silver round would be less dense than a lead bullet, and would need to correspondingly longer to achieve a reasonable cross-sectional density.  However, while silver is indeed less dense than lead, it's only about 7.5% less dense.  So, if she used a bullet mold that would yield a 300 grain lead bullet, it would produce a 278 grain silver bullet, which would be well stabilized by a factory barrel.

In general, it looks like the 444 Marlin was a pretty good choice of weapon.  It can accommodate a very large bullet and still have room for a very good powder charge, and big-bores aren't quite as fussy about their ammunition as other high-powered rifles.  They are a bit on the short-ranged side, and silver bullets will probably make them more so, but that something that Patty can work with.

« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 05:54:43 pm by Mike Briggs »
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Re: Silver Bullets?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 01:28:24 pm »
LOL!

I think that Tom (my hubby, one of the aforementioned hardcore reloaders) suggested that too, just using shotgun shells filled with silver tailings.  Great minds think alike!


Patty Briggs

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Re: Silver Bullets?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 10:59:26 pm »
Yes, shotguns would have been better.  Hindsight is twenty twenty and all that -- though it looks like we might end up with a reasonable silver bullet after all.
Patty