Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fun with a Boomstick and Jerry Seinfeld (With Pictures!)

A few weeks ago I was looking for a skeet shooting club online when I stumbled across a forum post where some scary survivalist types where having a blazing row about the use of birdshot for self defense.

"It's useless." One camp said. "You shoot someone with birdshot and they'll just laugh at you!"

Said the other. "At close range it'll incapacitate anyone."

"In other news..."
said an uninterested third party "...a Katana can cut through a Humvee and cable boxes scan your brain."

I decided only one person could solve this argument once and for all. However, Spider-Man wasn't available, so I decided to have a crack at it.

My first idea was to pull out my calculator and pocket protector and work out the physics, taking into account mass, velocity and each individual pellet's ballistic coefficient to work out a No. 8 birdshot shell's 'stopping power'.

I hen realised that would be really boring and decided to take my shotgun outside and shoot at stuff (In a safe a responsible manner, of course.)

(Seriously, don't dick around with firearms.)

Ok, so we already know that 00 Buckshot is effing powerful. It's not quite 'blast a charging man 20 feet into the air' movie powerful...but it's designed to take down deer and can reduce a concrete cinderblock to dust in a single shot. We already know that it could easily take down an intruder/terrorist/zombie, so i decided to test No. 8 birdshot.

Now the pellets in a birdshot shogun shell are tiny. As in about a milimeter across tiny. Their lack of weight means they're going to slow down and lose their energy pretty damn quickly, but my hypothesis was that wouldn't really matter if you were 'up close and personal' with Osama Bin Laden. After all, they may be small, but getting hit by over 400 of them traveling at over 1200 feet per second is probably going to smart a bit.

However, the first thing I needed was a 'terrorist analogue' something to stand if for a crazed suicide bomber who has inexplicably tried to break into my house at 2am.

After long and careful thought I decided on the hard back version of 'Sein Language' by Jerry Seinfeld. This was because:

a) It's relative density would give me an idea of penetrative power.
b) It would give me a fairly accurate idea of wound size.
c) It's a fucking awful book.
d) No, seriously, it's really, really bad.

So I set up me terrorist zombie stand in against a safe backdrop and loaded an 'Estate' brand 'Game and Target' No. 8 Birshot load into my Mossberg 500. I decided to shoot from about 15 feet back from the target...a likely distance if you're shooting a zombie that's made it past your improvised barricade and into your house.

I expected to see a lot of surface damage, but didn't expect any of the pellets to get all the way through. I didn't think they had the necessary mass to make it through 200 tightly packed pages and Jerry Seinfeld's shitty 'jokes'.

I think the results speak for themselves:

As you can see, the shot made a 2"-3" hole in the front of the book and just removed over half of the back of the book.

So, after this incredibly scientific and exhaustive testing I think we can be sure of the result:

At around 15 feet away, if you shoot a zombie/intruder/terrorist (or even an intruding terrorist who is a zombie, it's highly unlikely he'll laugh at you. He's far more likely to say "AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! Half my FUCKING FACE is GONE! OWWWWWWWWW!!!!"

Result: No. 8 birdshot is a pretty damn useful defense round at close range.

Oh, and a lot of people you'll meet on forums are usually full of shit.


Sunny said...

*You get really bored when I'm not home, don't you?*
Awwwwwww...That's so sweet. And I agree- the Seinfield Book WAS horrible.....altho you know how I normally feel about the desecration of Books, I feel the need to say that book deserved it.
I'm so glad to know that WHEN the Zombie Apocalypse happens- I will feel safe with you.....unless you say what you usually do-
"I don't have to outrun the Zombies- I just have to outrun YOU!!!"

Paulius said...


Zombies are slow, so it's not hard to our-run them. I think you're confusing 'zombies' with 'infected'.

Plus, zombies kill people to eat their brains, so I don't think you've got that much to worry about.

Sunny said...

*cocks head to side looking confused*

So what are you trying to say? Think carefully before answering that question, Sweetness.... I'm still PMSing, you know.

Paulius said...

The fact you don't know what I'm trying to say speaks volumes.

MC Etcher said...

Impressive results! Firing beanbags seems effective as well, though I've only seen that in movies.

I've always been of the opinion that a good sword would be a better weapon for zombies.

Paulius said...

I agree, except that you can buy three shotguns for the cost of one 'real' sword (Not the stainless steel rat-tail tang wall hangers that are readily available)...and when you run out of shotgun shells, your shotgun can be used as a great big heavy club.

Yes, I've put real though into surviving a zombie apocalypse, and I realize how sad that is.

MC Etcher said...

LOL! Well it's hard to watch a zombie movie or play a zombie vg without thinking "here's what I would do."

I mean, it really depends on whether you're dealing with biological zombies or magical (undead) zombies. With simple reanimated corpses, their bodies will fall apart very quickly, depending on the locale.

All you'd have to do would be hole up somewhere and wait for them to rot.

I suppose cold weather zombies would be much slower to rot. Frozen zombies might even be a lot harder to take down... hmm I might just have to write a winter zombie epic now.