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In my story there is a hitman who has at his disposal a slingshot bullet with the following characteristics:

  • the bullet range is of the order of 10 - 50 meters
  • it is soft, therefore on impact it splashes rather than piercing. The target would feel something like the (somehow energetic) droppings of some birds fell on him. Uncareful attempts to wipe it clean could actually spread the subastance and increase the area of contact.
  • it kills by delivering, on contact with skin, a deadly (within minutes) toxin to its target.

The bullet is meant to be used (at least in my story) in locations where skin exposure is not a problem, like beaches or swimming pools in summer.

Would such a type of bullet be realistic with known toxins?

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  • $\begingroup$ Paintball bullet with toxic instead of paint inside? $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jun 16 '17 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ Paintball bullets do hurt on impact on bare skin... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 16 '17 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, I thought about it for a minute and came up with multiple chemicals that would easily do the trick. I will not tell you any of them just in case someone reads this and builds that weapon. Yes, it is very doable and easy as well. There is this (unwritten) rule that you do not actually tell how to commit crimes and this is a pretty serious one - murder. The substances always have rather dramatic names (I will make one up, they all sound like that): Horrible death. I will not tell you an actual name. Just make one up like that for your story. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 16 '17 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ For anyone curious about the reticence to answer on the part of @Raditz_35, here's a discussion we had a while ago about "dangerous" questions. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 16 '17 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I am less concerned with the "how to build it" aspect. This kind of stuff is easily available online and a sling shot is ancient. The realistic part is what bothers me. I've seen it before on stack exchange: Someone asks a question and in an hour or two someone gives him a list of chemicals. As stated above, I could give you that list and they are easily made at home. I personally would feel a lot less worried if your question was purely about how to build such a device/bullet, but it is implicated that you ask what substance since you specified "known toxins". $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 16 '17 at 12:39
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It could be made, but only with a ballistic trajectory. As others point out, a straight path to the target can only be attained with a big deal of speed, and thus a highly energetic crash upon the target. It's going to hurt. If you want that distance without that much harm, you should point upwards and go for a parabollic shot. It makes for a much harder to aim weapon, but at least it's more probably mistaken as a bird's dejection.

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Shooting someone with a liquid will require your "bullet" to be encased in some plastic wrapping. With a range of 10-50 meters, this seems a lot like a paintball gun (maybe a bit more powerful than regular ones). While it is totally okay to fill it with some poison killing on contact with the skin (VX nerve agent comes to my mind), it certainly won't "feel something like the (somehow energetic) droppings of some birds fell on him", unless "somehow energetic" means a big ouch that can leave an ecchymosis.

So you can have that kind of gun, with a potent poison (only not killing too fast, from 10 to 15 minutes with VX), but your target will definitely know he has been shot, and not by a giant bird.


Addressing some of the comments :

About the gun : could be a slingshot as well, the speed will stay the same for a given range.

About the bullet : plastic encased liquid, wet paper with lead ball... doesn't matter as long as it is dense enough to overcome air resistance to a certain extent, and quite sturdy : a cotton-encased lead ball wouldn't work well since the cotton would deform and increase air resistance as well as randomize the flight path. All of the solutions that fulfil these requirements are equally good, but will nonetheless cause a "ouch" on impact.

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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch the form of acceleration does not matter. To get a range of up to 50 m, your bullet has to have a certain speed (even at impact so it "explodes"). Doesn't matter how you gain that speed, you need it. $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jun 16 '17 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 a liquid incased in a piece of paper would probably not stay together for a flight path of up to 50 m $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jun 16 '17 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 doesn't matter, when it's so light it needs to be very fast to overcome air resistance, so it would hurt again $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jun 16 '17 at 9:14
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling would still hurt on impact $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jun 16 '17 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ Plastic encased liquid, wet paper with lead ball... doesn't matter as long as it is dense enough to overcome air resistance to a certain extent, and quite sturdy : a cotton-encased lead ball wouldn't work well since the cotton would deform and increase air resistance as well as randomize the flight path. All of the solutions that fulfill these requirements are equally good, but will nonetheless cause a "ouch" on impact. $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Jun 16 '17 at 9:36
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I think I have exactly what you need : a bullet made of frozen toxin. It was used by the CIA for Targeted Assassinations by Induced Heart Attack.

The dart from this secret CIA weapon can penetrate clothing and leave nothing but a tiny red dot on the skin. On penetration of the deadly dart, the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The poisonous dart completely disintegrates upon entering the target. The lethal poison then rapidly enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the damage is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is very unlikely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes.

More reading: http://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-targeted-assassinations-by-induced-heart-attack-and-cancer/5326382

EDIT: I am not claiming that this weapon really existed, but whether or not this is true, it does fit the question. Here is a topic about it on reddit : https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/45vsg1/til_cia_created_a_gun_that_could_shoot_darts_that/

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    $\begingroup$ Tbo, I think your answer would be more legitimate without the links. But thanks for making my day $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 16 '17 at 12:10
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No, it's not possible.

A projectile that splashes so easily, is nearly impossible to accelerate to the necessary speed to travel up to 50 meters. The projectile would (most of the time) splatter while shooting, risking the life of the assasin.

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  • $\begingroup$ It might be possible using some sort of sabot... but not very practical. $\endgroup$ – Guran Jun 16 '17 at 11:06
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This weapon you're proposing would definitely work - if you had removed the requirement for it to not hurt.

Potato guns have ranges that vary based on the method of propulsion used, but combustion and pneumatic both attain ranges that surpass your 50m requirement.

Here's how it would work though; you'd simply need some sort of potato gun as a base, and shoot sponges soaked in VX, or some other suitable liquid toxin.

This hitman would be able to carry what looks essentially like a toy, fire off several dangerous sponges, and then leave.

As a bonus, VX evaporates into dangerous vapor, allowing the hitman to kill multiple targets alongside his main target; as such, hiding his true target.

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  • $\begingroup$ You could just throw a Nerf toy. The Nerf Vortex can go 100 yards. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 16 '17 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Like I said; The weapon would definitely work. I don't know if the toy you mentioned hurts when you hit with it, but it's very easy to get something large and soft to fly 50 meters. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 17 '17 at 1:34

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