Handgun Shot Cartridges

Handgun cartridges loaded with lead shotare availableinvariouscalibers, e.g., .22 Long Rifle, .38/.357. This ammunition, often called "birdshot" or "snakeshot," is used to kill small game — usuallyvarmints — orsnakesat close range. The rimfire versions of these cartridges have been discussed in Chapter 6. Blount (CCI) manufactures centerfire handgun shot cartridges in four calibers: 9 mm, .38/.357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 ACP. The first three of these cartridges are loaded with a plastic capsule, closed at its tip and sealed at its base with a plastic wad (Figure 10.17A). The 9-mm cartridge contains 64 gr. of #11 pellets; the .38/.357 109 gr. of #9 pellets; the .44, 140 gr. of #9 pellets and the .45 117 gr. of #9 shot. The plastic cylinder was an opaque yellow until 1975, when it was changed to a transparent blue. On firing, the plastic cylinder fragments; at close range, it can produce small cuts on the skin adjacent to the entrance (Figure 10.17B). The fragments of plastic can be found embedded in the skin adjacent to the entrance and in the wound proper. The .45 ACP does not have a plastic capsule. The muzzle velocity of the pellets ranges from 1000 to 1450 ft/sec.

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