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Hans 03-09-2012 08:52 PM

A Flobert is like getting stabbed with a pencil?
Hello everybody,

I have maybe somewhat strange question on a Flobert small calibre rifle. The reason for the question is to judge the reliability of an eyewitness account related to a historical event in WWII.

Does a close range neck or head shot with a Flobert small calibre rifle likely result in a clean kill?

A typical value I found for the ammunition is 2.6 g, 325 m/s and 137 joule for the cal .22 lf, for instance.

Thanks for your help!


hiwall 03-09-2012 10:42 PM

Most shot a tiny 1.3 gram bullet or smaller

sniper762 03-10-2012 01:59 AM

in the heart

c3shooter 03-10-2012 02:32 AM

Hans- welcome to the forum. When you have a moment, please stop by the introductions thread, and tell us a bit about yourself.

To address your question- the Flobert basically was intended for close range, even indoor, target shooting. Typically the projectile was a round ball, propelled only by the priming compound- most had no gunpowder. Energies and effectiveness would be on a par with a moderate power air rifle. I DO have different caliber Flobert cartridges in my collection, ranging from 6mm to 9mm diameter.

It would NOT be a cartridge that I would willingly choose to shoot a person with. The old saying is that if a person became aware that you had shot them, they would be angry and kick your butt.

HOWEVER, there HAVE been documented cases of FATAL shootings with small caliber air rifles- so it would be POSSIBLE (not probable, but possible) that a close range shot striking a thin portion of the skull (the temple area) COULD penetrate enough to cause death. Striking a heavier mass of bone, would bounce. The round ball version seems to be ABOUT 25 ft lbs of muzzle energy. An inch or so or corrugated cardboard seems to make a good backstop when shooting indoors.

Hans 03-10-2012 10:51 AM

Thanks, c3shooter!

One further question: Is it possible to estimate (roughly) what energy at the muzzle would be necessary to have a probable clean kill when shooting in the neck (assuming an experienced executioner who knows were to put the rifle at what angle to have minimum resistance, if this matters)?

The background of my question is that there is very strong testimonial and documentary evidence that executions with a small calibre rifle (some say Flobert, but it could be also another type) were carried out in WW2 (to keep out politics, I prefer not mention by whom and where). On the other hand, people argue that shooting with a small calibre rifle do not result in a clean kill because of the low muzzle energy. Your explanation seems to support this argument.

c3shooter 03-10-2012 11:11 AM

Hans- at zero range (muzzle touching or near to skin) a shot to the back of the neck would likely be near instantly fatal IF the spinal cord is severed. That would depend (in the case of the Flobert) of the ball passing in between vertebrae. Hit the bone instead of in between, that tiny little lead ball would bounce.

However, a larger .22 cartridge fired in contact with the skin would tend to be just about silent, and have a much better chance of getting through to the spinal cord. If the spinal cord is severed at the base of the skull, it would look like a marionette (puppet) that has suddenly had the strings cut.

There is an old saying- "Bullet placement is everything." In this case, the energy needed to penetrate would be determined by the exact point of impact- on bone, or on the disc of soft tissue between bones.

I will respect your wishes to remain apolitical, but the historical term for an execution performed by a close range pistol shot to the back of the neck was a "kugel".

PS- during bad weather, I sometimes target shoot indoors with a .22. I tried the Flobert ammunition. It kept bouncing off the pine boards in my backstop. However, .22 CB caps (heavier bullet, small powder charge) would penetrate about 5mm. They are quiet enough that no hearing protection is required.

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