I set out yesterday to carve a jack o'lantern with my trusty Colt. As you can see, the results were, well, okay I guess.
The purpose, aside from wanton destruction and mayhem, was to illustrate a concept poorly understood on Chaos: what exactly bullets do when they hit something. To assist me in this endeavor, I recruited my older brother, who is a terrible shot but owed me a case of beer and doesn't mind me shooting in his property. It seemed to be a win/win at the time, until he offered to let me shoot his miserable little derringer. Tiny handguns plus big bullets equals all kinds of miserable.
This little two-shot .38 Special derringer is possibly the most painful weapon I have ever fired. The short barrel does absolutely nothing to mitigate the muzzle blast, which feels like a slap to the face, and the noise was intolerable. On top of that, the trigger has something like 7-10 pounds of pull, meaning you simply can't fire with any degree of accuracy. This is a weapon of last resort, to be used only when all other options, including running away and begging for your life, are exhausted.

I chose a much more sensible weapon: my Colt 1851 Navy. It started life as a cap and ball .44 caliber six shot revolver. I purchased and installed a conversion kit to allow it to fire cartridges. Though designed to accomodate the .45 Schofield, it can also handle .45 Long Colt. I prefer the .45 Long Colt, as it's cheaper and more readily available.

Now of course, being safe is important. When firing any weapon, you should wear eye protection and, unless you're already mostly deaf like me, hearing protection. It's also important that, if you're not going to a firing range, the place you go to shoot at is clear of people and property.

Alright, now let's take a look at the pumpkin.

Alright, that doesn't look much like a jack o'lantern. It looks like a hot mess. Most of the bullets were fired from a distance of 15 meters, with the exception of the blackened area on the right side. The discoloration was a result of five shots fired from a distance of less than 30 centimeters, in order to demonstrate what point blank powder burns look like. A close distances, the explosion that propels the bullet down the barrel is still violent enough to score the target with little bits of carbon and other particulates. Unlike the movies, with just show a neat little hole, a real point blank gunshot wound will often look like a burn of some kind, especially if the entry would is small enough and manages to swell closed.

Let's take a look at the other side.

I can hear it already. "There's no way that's the same pumpkin. You're trying to pull a fast one on us."
And to that, I reply: "Just how much money do you think I have? Just spent $25 on a box of bullets, and I still needed to have a functioning jack o'lantern for the house, so I've got one to carve and one to shoot. Blow me."
That is indeed the same pumpkin. What you're looking at now are the exit wounds. Now, pumpkin is a poor flesh analogue. The density is all wrong, and it doesn't behave in anything close to the same manner when struck. But it does give you a rough idea of what can happen when a bullet hits the body.
The first thing you should notice, aside from the fact that this actually kinda looks like a face, is that the exit wounds don't match up neatly with the entry wounds. Bullets are not lasers. They do not travel in straight lines all the way through a body. They can be deflected by or bounce off a number of different things, and even when they hit soft tissue, the wound channel can be erratic. There are anecdotal tales of people taking a bullet to the head, having it exit the other side of their skull, somehow completely missing the brain in the process.
By playing around with the entry angles, I was able to make the backside of the pumpkin look something like an actual jack o'lantern. Now unfortunately, the structural damage was too severe and the thing fell apart on the way home, so I didn't get to light it. I did, however, get another one done up right. I hope everyone had a happy Halloween. Here's some pumpkin pi to hold you over til next year.