Why are most bullets made of lead? - DFWstangs Forums
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Why are most bullets made of lead?

Some of you guys may be able to shed some light on this for me. Is there some significance behind the fact that most bullets are made of lead, besides the fact that it's highly poisonous to the human body and what not. Let me rephrase, if bullets were made of some other substance (steel, copper, brass, or some other type of heavy metal) would they be as deadly?

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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:16 PM
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Originally, because it was cheap and soft enough that it didn't hurt the fairly delicate iron barrels of the early small arms. A lead bullet could be produced easily in any required shape and size. Lead is heavy, much the heaviest of all the common metals. (paraphrased from Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook)

It has nothing to do with the fact that it's toxic.

Modern hunting/defense bullets have copper jackets with lead cores.


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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:29 PM
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Because it's dense. With a given volume of material, more mass = more energy transfered to the target.


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besides the fact that it's highly poisonous to the human body
LOL. That actually has nothing to do with why lead is used.


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if bullets were made of some other substance (steel, copper, brass, or some other type of heavy metal) would they be as deadly?
If I stab you with a 0.45" round piece of wood, or a 0.45" round piece of metal, does your body care? You still have a gaping 0.45" round hole in you that's leaking blood at a rapid rate.


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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroked71Bowtie
Because it's dense. With a given volume of material, more mass = more energy transfered to the target.



LOL. That actually has nothing to do with why lead is used.



If I stab you with a 0.45" round piece of wood, or a 0.45" round piece of metal, does your body care? You still have a gaping 0.45" round hole in you that's leaking blood at a rapid rate.

Ok, i see. Because it's heavy (better flight, trajectory, speed)? Is there some other heavy metal that bullets are made of?

Right, but isn't it true that most people that are shot don't actually die of bleeding profusely but actually of lead poisoning?

Put it this way. If i was shot and nothing bled, didn't tear through anything or cause any damage, wouldn't I still die, or at least get really fucked up?

edit: Now that I think about it, I think I've heard of some people living with bullets in 'em...

I dunno, just pickin' you guys' brains...

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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Stroked71Bowtie
LOL. That actually has nothing to do with why lead is used.
Learn somethin new every day...

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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Ok, i see. Because it's heavy (better flight, trajectory, speed)? Is there some other heavy metal that bullets are made of?
Lead is tops. Dense and, more importantly, cheap. As Tony said, copper jacketing is the norm.
Depleted uranium is used in .mil applications (20mm and larger stuff, not anti-personnel). You think lead is dense?!
Lead - 11.34  g/cm^3
Depleted Uranium - 18.95 g/cm^3


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Right, but isn't it true that most people that are shot don't actually die of bleeding profusely but actually of lead poisoning?
That's actually not true.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en...t=AbstractPlus
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Lead poisoning from a retained bullet or missile is rare and is usually dependent on the location of the missile in a bone or immediately adjacent to a joint.


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Last edited by Stroked71Bowtie; 12-14-2007 at 09:23 PM.
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:58 PM
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also lead is nice and soft and it'll deform on impact causing more damage
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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Cooter
also lead is nice and soft and it'll deform on impact causing more damage
Good call.


.40 JHP before and after.




Just for fun, here's some ballistics gel.



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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Ok, i see. Because it's heavy (better flight, trajectory, speed)? Is there some other heavy metal that bullets are made of?
Lead has survived the test of time. It just happens to have lots of characteristics that make it the best choice for bullets.

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Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Right, but isn't it true that most people that are shot don't actually die of bleeding profusely but actually of lead poisoning?
When we start a thread about urban legends, this will definitley have to make the list as a new one. I could only hope that I die a few years down the road after being shot, instead of instantly from that silly bullet wound. LOL

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Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Put it this way. If i was shot and nothing bled, didn't tear through anything or cause any damage, wouldn't I still die, or at least get really fucked up?
I have seen lots of bullet wounds over the years, and all of them have bled at some point. I have heard of a few, like a state trooper who got shot and didn't bleed much, but he died from internal injuries. The bullet causing lots of damage is why people die. Bullets do lots of damage internally. I was just talking to a man who was shot twice, and one bullet literally went through every organ in his body except the heart and lungs. It was a poorly loaded 9MM round that bounced off bones and deflected off of muscle and tissue, just like it was designed to do. He was shot in the Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting here in FW. He is an amazing man.

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Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
edit: Now that I think about it, I think I've heard of some people living with bullets in 'em...

I dunno, just pickin' you guys' brains...
I was gonna make fun of you pretty hard at forst, but realized you are probably only 16-17, so I decided not to. LOL

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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 09:33 PM
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I know multiple people that have had bullets in their body for 10-20yrs and aren't exhibiting any signs of lead poisoning
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post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooter
also lead is nice and soft and it'll deform on impact causing more damage
Really, that and the larger wound channels that hollow points generate are ancillary to them being chosen in bullet design. These are really just bonuses. Lead retains and transfers energy better than most other common metals, and hollow points transfer energy on impact better than any other nose design out there. In fact, if a large ammo manufacturer *cough*OLIN*cough* had just bought the design for a plastic tipped hollow poing instead of dismissing it as "unreliable." lol.

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post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Ok, i see. Because it's heavy (better flight, trajectory, speed)? Is there some other heavy metal that bullets are made of?

Right, but isn't it true that most people that are shot don't actually die of bleeding profusely but actually of lead poisoning?

Put it this way. If i was shot and nothing bled, didn't tear through anything or cause any damage, wouldn't I still die, or at least get really fucked up?...
Blue= Played catch with a bullet almost 12yrs ago and I'm not dying of lead poisoning yet!

Red= You weren't shot or there would be some damage. Even if you had on body armor.
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post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gimmeabeer
Really, that and the larger wound channels that hollow points generate are ancillary to them being chosen in bullet design. These are really just bonuses. Lead retains and transfers energy better than most other common metals, and hollow points transfer energy on impact better than any other nose design out there. In fact, IF a large ammo manufacturer *cough*OLIN*cough* had just bought the design for a plastic tipped hollow poing instead of dismissing it as "unreliable." lol.
then???
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post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 11:33 AM
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then???
Sorry, THEN they wouldn't have had to pay as much as they do now in liscensing fees to Nosler, et al. I was waaay tired when I posted that, my bad.

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post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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I guess it was a hypothetical question...

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post #16 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
I guess it was a hypothetical question...
so you mean what would happen if bullets weren't made of lead? people would still die when they were shot.
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post #17 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 08:12 PM
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so you mean what would happen if bullets weren't made of lead? people would still die when they were shot.
But they wouldn't need to be afraid of lead poisoning.

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post #18 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 08:43 PM
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But they wouldn't need to be afraid of lead poisoning.
LMGDAO. people in the lobby jerked their heads to see why i was laughing
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post #19 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Gimmeabeer
Sorry, THEN they wouldn't have had to pay as much as they do now in liscensing fees to Nosler, et al. I was waaay tired when I posted that, my bad.
no sweat, I was seriously interested to hear the rest!
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post #20 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 07:45 AM
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Madeline Albright once said that we needed safer bullets. Guess this guy is in that camp...
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post #21 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 10:14 AM
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Copper bullets are becoming more commonplace.
Barnes makes an all-copper. They are more expensive.
Not sure of their performance.

As far as why lead?
I imagine it is because lead is cheap, easy to obtain and easy to manufacture.
You can get lead cheap, buy a smelter and molds and make your own bullets much cheaper than buying them.

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post #22 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 12:24 PM
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I think the lower melting point of lead had a small role in why it was originally used.

And as far as a health concern with the use of lead...that affects shooting ranges and the environment the most. That's one of the reasons tungsten rounds were used for practice shooting at ranges.
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post #23 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 12:37 PM
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Laughing at the lead poisoning, holy shit.

On another note, this is why the Army started making Tungsten bullets coated in cooper. The so called "green bullets". What a bunch of bullshit.
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post #24 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AL P
Laughing at the lead poisoning, holy shit.

On another note, this is why the Army started making Tungsten bullets coated in cooper. The so called "green bullets". What a bunch of bullshit.
The bullets were used at military practice ranges because the build of of lead contaminates in such a small area actually did have an effect on the environment pretaining to our safety, and the health of our drinking water.
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post #25 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:04 PM
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The bullets were used at military practice ranges because the build of of lead contaminates in such a small area actually did have an effect on the environment pretaining to our safety, and the health of our drinking water.
Or someone just wanted to sell the Army some tungsten.
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post #26 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That_Is_My_El_Camino
Originally, because it was cheap and soft enough that it didn't hurt the fairly delicate iron barrels of the early small arms. A lead bullet could be produced easily in any required shape and size. Lead is heavy, much the heaviest of all the common metals. (paraphrased from Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook)

It has nothing to do with the fact that it's toxic.

Modern hunting/defense bullets have copper jackets with lead cores.

Plus they ballon outward to do max damage.

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post #27 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:14 PM
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Or someone just wanted to sell the Army some tungsten.
possible...just as possible as using DU rounds in iraq to get rid of nuclear waste.
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post #28 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:18 PM
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possible...just as possible as using DU rounds in iraq to get rid of nuclear waste.
I've always been interested in the debates about DU rounds since the uranium is "depleted" to begin with and the guys driving the tanks aren't eat up with cancer.
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post #29 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AL P
Or someone just wanted to sell the Army some tungsten.
Probably a good way to get the EPA of their backs. It's pobably one of the top reasons why ranges close down.
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post #30 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 01:38 PM
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Probably a good way to get the EPA of their backs. It's pobably one of the top reasons why ranges close down.
You are absolutely right...The use of tungsten rounds allowed several ranges to re-open.
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post #31 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 06:42 PM
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some of the new shot coming out is tungsten.

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post #32 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 07:17 PM
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Good call.


.40 JHP before and after.




Just for fun, here's some ballistics gel.

And people make fun of my 45s with 230 gr JHPs......

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post #33 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 07:20 PM
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someone told me my .357 sig was a girly round
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post #34 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 07:25 PM
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someone told me my .357 sig was a girly round
shoot him next time you see him and ask him if he still thinks it's a girly round.

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post #35 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 07:36 PM
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shoot him next time you see him and ask him if he still thinks it's a girly round.
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post #36 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AL P
I've always been interested in the debates about DU rounds since the uranium is "depleted" to begin with and the guys driving the tanks aren't eat up with cancer.
I had a friend in one of my thermo classes that could give you the entire spill on why they're still toxic. He knew his shit very well, but I don't remember most of it. maybe I'll stop being lazy and look it up sometime.
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post #37 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AL P
I've always been interested in the debates about DU rounds since the uranium is "depleted" to begin with and the guys driving the tanks aren't eat up with cancer.
I had a friend in one of my thermo classes that could give you the entire spill on why they're still toxic. He knew his shit very well, but I don't remember most of it. maybe I'll stop being lazy and look it up sometime.
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post #38 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 08:26 PM
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I'd like to see some 180 grain 10mm Auto @ 1200 fps and 230 grain .45 Super @ 1050 fps.


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post #39 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-17-2007, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT98SVO
Copper bullets are becoming more commonplace.
Barnes makes an all-copper. They are more expensive.
Not sure of their performance.

As far as why lead?
I imagine it is because lead is cheap, easy to obtain and easy to manufacture.
You can get lead cheap, buy a smelter and molds and make your own bullets much cheaper than buying them.
the copper solids, and to a lesser degree the bronze solids, mushroom in a much more uniform shape than lead, and won't break up at super high pressures like lead core bullets will. They also penetrate a bit more, since they don't expand as fast. Bronze doesn't expand at all if there isn't an HP cast into it, and it doesn't hit a bone. The copper HP solids are truly wicked though, great retention of mass like a bronze solid, and wonderful expansion. An added bonus is the "leaves" of expanded copper are razor sharp like an expanding broadhead, so you get a maximum strength wound channel. If I could afford them, I would shoot them more. A-square sells factory loaded bronze stuff, FWIW.

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post #40 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AL P
Laughing at the lead poisoning, holy shit.

On another note, this is why the Army started making Tungsten bullets coated in cooper. The so called "green bullets". What a bunch of bullshit.

So you're completely sure that there never has been a case where somebody lived through a gunshot and thought they were healthy, only to die later of lead poisoning? These are the only such conditions under which a person could actually laugh at the notion. Please, explain...

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post #41 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
So you're completely sure that there never has been a case where somebody lived through a gunshot and thought they were healthy, only to die later of lead poisoning? These are the only such conditions under which a person could actually laugh at the notion. Please, explain...
No, I can laugh at your dumbass anytime I want. Thanks for entertaining me though.

As far as the tungsten being toxic, i could see that. Especially once it is affected by the environment. Most likely the EPA will be after the gun ranges to clean up all the tungsten in 50 years.
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post #42 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
So you're completely sure that there never has been a case where somebody lived through a gunshot and thought they were healthy, only to die later of lead poisoning? These are the only such conditions under which a person could actually laugh at the notion. Please, explain...
Theoretically it is possible to die of lead poisoning after being shot. The problem is that the person will probably die of old age long before the lead poisoning comes into play. I am betting there has never been a case where the ME ruled the person died of lead poisoniong stemming from a previous gunshot wound.

Dude, drop this, you are making yourself look even more foolish.

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post #43 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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How do you figure?

I'm inquiring on a matter I don't have much information on. That's the purpose of an argument, to pick other people's brains and ultimately learn from the experience.

Again, tell me how this makes me look foolish...

Please.

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post #44 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
How do you figure?

I'm inquiring on a matter I don't have much information on. That's the purpose of an argument, to pick other people's brains and ultimately learn from the experience.

Again, tell me how this makes me look foolish...

Please.
It has been explained to you multiple times, lead poisoning is not a concern for gunshot would victims. If it is explained one more time after double digit times already, will it sink in?

I also have seen you have things explained to you and you don't get it in other threads. You have a history on here, and it has been pretty consistent. Does that explain it well enough?

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“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
Robert A. Heinlein

I have to agree with a quote from former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon: "Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote."
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post #45 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AL P
Laughing at the lead poisoning, holy shit.

On another note, this is why the Army started making Tungsten bullets coated in cooper. The so called "green bullets". What a bunch of bullshit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
I'm inquiring on a matter I don't have much information on. That's the purpose of an argument, to pick other people's brains and ultimately learn from the experience.

Again, tell me how this makes me look foolish...
no, the purpose of an argument is to make yourself look smart/right by making the other person look stupid/wrong.
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post #46 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neiladin

no, the purpose of an argument is to make yourself look smart/right by making the other person look stupid/wrong.
That's where you're wrong.

Here's where the naysayers are wrong.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra
---
This will help everyone out, check it.
It is time we acknowledged a basic feature of human discourse: when considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one is not. Religion is the one area of our lives where people imagine that some other standard of intellectual integrity applies.
-Sam Harris
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post #47 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90 Notch
It has been explained to you multiple times, lead poisoning is not a concern for gunshot would victims. If it is explained one more time after double digit times already, will it sink in?

I also have seen you have things explained to you and you don't get it in other threads. You have a history on here, and it has been pretty consistent. Does that explain it well enough?
Do a little research next time, that's all it takes.

Cheers.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra
---
This will help everyone out, check it.
It is time we acknowledged a basic feature of human discourse: when considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one is not. Religion is the one area of our lives where people imagine that some other standard of intellectual integrity applies.
-Sam Harris
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post #48 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 08:48 PM
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Three recorded cases of deaths from lead poisoning from a bullet. Yep, it's a real killer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DON SVO View Post
Women: vaginal life support.
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post #49 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That_Is_My_El_Camino
Three recorded cases of deaths from lead poisoning from a bullet. Yep, it's a real killer.
The kicker is that he states in the first post that lead is highly poisonous and then he goes out and finds evidence that states that the conditions have to be just so for lead poisoning from a gunshot wound to be an issue... and then he gets all righteous on us.

If he had done the research before bringing it here, it might have taken us more time to figure out that he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. I guess he did us all a favor.

I heard that they started putting tobacco in bullets too. Would you get cancer and lead poisoning if shot?

Buying dogs kills.
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post #50 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-19-2007, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLXHB302
Do a little research next time, that's all it takes.

Cheers.
3 cases in all of the history of lead bullets being shot? Is that all you got?

Nice ignoring my points and coming up with that lame response. Up to 27 years on one, yeah that lead poisoning is a killer!

One
Big
Ass
Mistake
America

If you like the IRS, DMV and the Post Office, you will love Obamacare!

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
Robert A. Heinlein

I have to agree with a quote from former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon: "Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote."
Paladin is offline  
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