I’ve always wanted to go into a gun store and ask if I can buy silver bullets to get rid of that pesky werewolf that’s been hunting in my neighborhood. I’m sure they would take it as a joke, but really, would silver bullets kill a werewolf? And by that, I mean are they feasible? Should I buy silver bullets for my Glock, or just make a silver-headed cane and whack the shit out of a werewolf, like Lon Chaney’s dad did in the original Wolf Man?
The History Channel did a special a few years ago on France’s Beast of Gevaudan, where they cast real silver bullets and test-fired them from a rifle. You can read about the making of the bullets, and the History Channel shoot, by the man who thought up the project here.
What I gleaned from the article, and the History Channel show, was that silver bullets aren’t terribly accurate. They’re heavier than lead bullets, and don’t flatten upon impact. They keep their shape, mostly, and pass right through their target. Logically, if you want to take down a werewolf, the silver bullet has to lodge in the body of the beast. Passing through would lead to a wound, yeah, but also a still-alive and now pretty-fucking-pissed lycanthrope.
In that same article, there was another guy who simply made hollow point bullets and filled the hollow point, actually a pit in the tip, with silver. A hollow point’s pit causes the bullet to expand upon impact, because pressure is generated inside the pit and essentially pulls apart the bullet. So adding silver to the tip would ensure that the silver stays inside the werewolf, along with the bullet. Bonus: it’s a “normal” bullet, so it would be accurate.
(Quick God Bless America! Moment (trademark pending, because if Tim Tebow can do it, so can I): Hornady Manufacturing Company has released Zombie Max bullets, bullets specifically for the future zombie uprising, because any day now. I got a chance to look at these bullets at my favorite gun range, Lone Star Indoor Gun Range in Lumberton, and holy shit, these things are cool. They look like hollow points, but the pit is filled with what feels like hard rubber . . . in gangrene green, of course. I want a box. I will probably never shoot them–sigh–but man, what a conversation piece.)
So what is more important: a kill shot with a silver bullet (heart/head/vital organ) or just getting the bullet inside the beast? The legends say it takes silver to kill a werewolf, but what does that mean? Can I hit the werewolf in, say, the leg and be assured that it’s going to die? Or do I need to hit it center-mass? The legends say that silver is poisonous to werewolves, so I guess that means any penetrating shot will do. A shotgun shell loaded with silver pellets might work, and plus you don’t necessarily have to aim one. Spray and pray!
And now I kind of wish I’d kept the silver-hurts-werewolves bit in my books, because a silver pellet shotgun sounds awesome.