Bullet Penetration of Barn Walls

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by mrcampbell, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. mrcampbell

    mrcampbell New Member

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    I have found a lot of incomplete (or too technical for me to understand) information online about bullet penetration and basically can't make enough sense of it to determine whether a bullet will or won't go through the wood wall of a barn with enough force to injure a person inside.

    I'm seeking this information for a novel I'm working on that features a wood barn with tongue and groove pine board (2"x6") walls. The person firing at the barn is standing 5 to 10 feel away and is firing straight at the wall from the outside with a .44 or .50 caliber handgun.

    Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

    (1) Will the bullets create circular holes when they hit? If so, would they be softball size?

    (2) Assuming the width of the barn is 20 feet, would a bullet going through the wall have enough force to injure somebody standing in the center of the barn?

    (3) If an older car (metal doors) were parked in the barn, would the round have enough force to make a hole in the car?

    I'm trying to make a scene as accurate as I can. If anyone has any experience or has information or experience which will bring answers to these questions, I'll appreciate it a great deal.

    --Malcolm
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  2. pinecone70

    pinecone70 Active Member

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    Sounds like a call for some field testing by a willing volunteer....
  3. islenos

    islenos New Member

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    I will bring the firepower:D

    Damage would depend on the condition and age of the wood
  4. carver

    carver Moderator

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    2"X6" boards don't go on walls, they are used to frame the building, not side it. Usually siding is 1"X4", or 1"X6". Still, a 2" pine board will not stop a .44 or .50 cal. rd., especialy if the .44 is a Magnum. In the old west days it was commonly known that a .45 would shoot thru a 6" pine board. .44SPC isn't up to the old .45, but will shoot thru 2" of pine, don't know if it will retain enough energy to kill, but I wouldn't want to be hit by it none the less! I know this because my favorite guns are in .44SPC cal. They will not create soft ball sized holes, not on entry, nor on exit from the board. Both rds. should retain enough energy to make it thru the outer metal of a car door, but porbably not much else.
  5. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Don't let the details interrupt the story!
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    A 45 Colt, or 44/40, out of a 5 1/2" revolver, will penetrate six one-inch pine boards. A 50 caliber pistol would be, I presume, either a 500 Smith or a 50 AE Desert Eagle. Either of these should go through a foot of pine without too much trouble.

    So, to answer your question, yes. Shooting someone through a 2" pine board can kill 'em deader'n hell. In order, the hole would be sorta circular, but nowhere near softball size. Closer to a quarter or fifty-cent piece. On a 20-foot wide barn, it would blow through one wall, and if it missed him, blow through the other wall and kill whoever was standing out there. The car is a little more difficult. Depends on the bullet style and the caliber of the gun. 45 ACP with jacketed ammo - yeah, that'd punch a hole in the car. 500 Smith - go through both sides of the car and still go through the other wall. 45 revolver with a lead bullet - should make a hole in the sheet metal of the door, but I'm not sure whether it would penetrate to the interior of the car. If I was your guy in the barn, I'd be hiding on the far side of the car, up near the engine, so the engine block and the front wheels were shielding me.

    Now - a TWO-INCH thick board? For walls? That's why they invented one-inch boards - for use in exterior building walls. Unless you are expecting massive amounts of blizzards/avalanches/buffalo stampedes, I don't see why you would use two-inch. Also, while I suppose it is possible, I've never seen or heard of two-inch tongue and groove.

    Update. I checked. It exists. How 'bout that.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  7. ckill1

    ckill1 New Member

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    Another thing to consider...are the windows up or down in car? If windows are up or broken out, teh metal wont do a whole lot to slow down a .44mag or .50ae, not even much to a .45acp. If the glass is rolled down, hovever, thats a different story. Thick auto glass does a reasonable job of bleeding energy from a projectile, especially if it has already penetrated another substance. Still, I would be hiding behind the wheelwell or engine block of that car!
  8. Blackhawk Dave

    Blackhawk Dave New Member

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    I was target shooting (3/4" plywood sheeting) propped up against my dock. Shooting .357 jacketed rounds. Went through the plywood, through the 2x6 runners at an angle with significant force, maintaining its integrity.

    A .44 would easily penetrate a barn, and hurt someone on the other side, excluding accuracy (change of trajectory). A S&W .50, in and through, not even slowing down. That's one heck of a round. The only thing that would stop it would be the block of the car.
  9. Tony22-250

    Tony22-250 New Member

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    Well i do know that a .357 magnum fired from a 6 inch barrel at a 6x6 of oak from 5 feet will not go through. If you split the wood open you can pluck the bullets out!:D:D:D
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I have a homemade target stand made form 4X6" #2 treated posts. They are stacked tightly together and screwed together at the back with 2X6" #2 treated pine planks and 3" deckmate screws. For a total of 8" of dense wood.. the .357 mag, .44 mag, and the big 50s will indeed punch through and keep on truckin. especially the .44 mag and larger due to the larger bullet at the same high speed. The .357 mag punches through but the bullets can be picked up about 4 feet behind the target so its pretty well exhausted after poking through 8" of wood. other cartridges like the .40 s&w, .45ACP, .38 spec. 9mm etc. wont go through with the .40 s&w penetrating the most (stopping inside the wood just under the surface of the back side, some of the bullet noses were just pushing through) Either way though, Id be soiling by britches if somebody were shooting at me whether it be through a barn or a car...;)
  11. mrcampbell

    mrcampbell New Member

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    I love the information. If I had a .50 and an old barn, I'd love to try it out. But... The consensus here is that the guy inside the barn is in big trouble. As for the thickness of the walls, well, that was from a barn spec calling for 2X6 T&G siding. Okay, yeah, it's thick, but I picked the heavier spec for the question to make sure an actual barn wall wouldn't stop a bullet. Thanks to everyone who chimed in here. I always learn more with these kinds of questions than I expect!!

    Malcolm
  12. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    So... do we get listed in the credits ??? Technical Firearms Theory and BS Masters ?? :D:D
    What kind of a novel is it? Something to do with taking a round through a barn door may just be something I'd be willing to buy and read. Let us know how it goes for you, Best of Luck !
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  13. LASIE

    LASIE New Member

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    A little off the wall
    Here is something I did my self with a 30-06 armor piercing round one time
    there was an old 1955 Oldsmobile setting on blocks no wheels on it.
    From about 40 feet away I shot the rear brake drum. The bullet went through both sides the 3/16 steel frame both ends of gas tank the frame on the other side and into the backing plate of the brakes on the other side and did not come through the brake drum. So I pulled off the drum and the bullet was stuck sideways in the drum. the only damage to the bullet was the copper jacket was gone but it still had the very sharp point on it.
    Another test I did with a 22-250 55 grain hollow points at 115 yards shooting a 1/2 steel plate 5 shots all hitting the same hole the 5th bullet went through it. Once I shot a copper penny stuck in the bark of a tree from about 50 feet with a 17 caliber remington 25 grain hollow point the bullet hit dead center the penny was not bend and the hole looked like I punched it on a punch press. Perfect round hole.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  14. mrcampbell

    mrcampbell New Member

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    Well, er, credits require real names. Maybe I could mention the forum. The working title of the novel is JOCK STEWART AND THE BAMBI DIARIES about an ass-kicking, 1940s style investigative reporter. It's the sequel to JOCK STEWART AND THE MISSING SEA OF FIRE which is coming out this summer. I really appreciate the help!

    (btw, one reason for thick barn siding is that it's harder for the horses to kick out.)

    Malcolm
    http://www.malcolmrcampbell.com
  15. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Now, you just said "40s style" reporter. When is this taking place? Because some of the stuff people have mentioned in this thread ain't been around that long.

    44 magnum came out in the 50s.

    The 50AE came out in 88.

    500 Smith came out in 2003.

    If your reporter IS in the 40s, the biggest stuff around would be 44 special, 45 Colt and 45 auto. They would still go through the barn wall, and still have enough umph to kill him if they hit him, but I'm pretty sure he'd be safe in the car.
  16. bizy

    bizy New Member

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    I can assure you a bullet fired from a 44 mag through a 6 inch barrel will go through a 2" pine wood and kill anyone on the other side of the wall. I have two 44 mags. I shoot through barrels, wood, 1/16" steel plate. A 38 spc will do the same thing.. A 22 will go through a 2" board but probably not kill.
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