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Some fact over fiction

3821 Views 30 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  andy
This is some misinformation with a few folks around here
about hand gun caliber and stopping power. I think most
would do well to read "Dr. Fullers ballistic study". It can
be accessed on the web by keying in the above.

Among other things, hand guns don't lift or knock people
over. If this were so, simple physics dictates the shooter would
be knock back when dischargeing a round.

Fact: the energy expended on a target in ft/lbs is equal the
the guns recoil in energy in ft/lbs.

Fact: penetration is far more important than expansion.

It makes for some interesting reading.
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Your "facts" are not entirely "factual".

1. Energy is bled-off and expended through several processes during a firing cycle (recoil, springs, gas expansion, ect)

2. Penetration v. expansion - Your statement is an opinion, not a fact. There are multiple variables that impact "target effect" including the most important factor, placement. ;)

You might want to expand on your thought a little more.......

BTW, here is an interesting site to visit. Nothing like real world data. Stopping power
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Marshal, Sanow, Pi, Fackler, Fuller. Everybody has their own close-held ideas on this subject and everybody has the “facts” to prove their theory.

My own feeling is that a large, expanding, heavy bullet driven at moderately high velocity beats the crap out of any lightweight whizbang that achieves the almighty 100% “energy dump”, which seems to be the Holy Grail with some (self-styled) experts. My heavyweight is enough to break through bone, create a huge wound channel and blow out a large chunk of flesh upon exit. Who cares if it still has energy left that it didn’t expend on the target? It has done all the damage it possibly can, and a whole lot more than if it had stopped about halfway through or on impact with bone.

An argument I hear against “overpenetration” is that an “innocent bystander” might be injured. That only holds water if every shot fired is a hit on the intended target. Anybody who believes that not only has never engaged in a firefight but also suffers from delusions.

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45 Colt:

I agree, the 45 was put into service because the 38 would not knock down the enemy in the Phillippines, while it did not always kill with one round it KNOCK THEM DOWN.

check the history!
I agree a .45 is a great round but 'knock down' power is a bs play on words. History is often full of bull stink and this is a fine example. 'Fall down' would be much more applicable a term than knock down as the bullet puts into motion a number of things that causes a person to fall down, and it is the energy of the round actually knocking someone down. There have been a number of people who have shot themselves in the chest while wearing body armor, some of the shots coming from 45s and some from various other calibers. None of them were knocked down - none even fell down. What someone implies that the 45 caliber round conveys enough energy into the target (in this case an adult male human) to actually knock it down, I find it rather amusing, and when someone says that the energy of a round lifted a bad guy up and propeled him through the air, well I believe it quite farcical. On the other hand, I could strike you while you were wearing body armor, and I could conceivably knock you down, especially if I used a full body blow. Yet it is unlikely that my body or any part of it would penetrate your body cavity whether or not armor was being worn, just as it is unlikely that the force of my blow would lift you airborne and propel you through the air.

And yes energy is bled off but in both directions. The energy of recoil felt by the shooter is quite close to the amount of energy transferred by the bullet to the person being shot. Of course one of the big differences is that the person who is shot has tissue damage from penetration, and suffers shock due to that rapid tissue damage, blood loss, impact of the projectile and so forth. A 45 does that work much nicer as compared to a 9mm, but I will take what is at hand and hope for the all critical shot placement. Of course it is nicer to have a round with better penetration capabilities should the adversary be wearing body armor, but in that case even a 45 may fall short. Then again this is when shot placement comes to play, and as some would say: two to the chest one to the head....

By the way, a quick 8 shots to the chest cavity of someone wearing body armor, would probably hurt a bit more with the 45 than would a similar amount of shots from a nine, yet I wonder though which would be more likely to penetrate the modern body armor better.

As for repalcement of the 38, I believe the 38 was also replaced, in great part, because of the insufficient penetration properties of the round in the body armor worn by the warriors in the Philippines. Of course some may claim that the 45 is a one shot man stopper (heck I have even heard that if anyone is shot in the arm with a 45 he goes down immediately - LOL), but my guess would be they have a nasty surprise coming if they ever shoot someone once with a 45 and then assume the threat has ceased because they were shooting wonder bullets.

Rather shoot till the threatening adversary stops, then make sure the threat is truly over with, as you help assure your own safety behind any available cover. That way you are more like to enjoy a few :beer: while you tell your 'war story' at a later time.

All the best,
Glenn B
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Just for the record, the .38 that was used in the Phillipines was NOT the .38 Special, as most people assume. It was the .38 Long Colt, a real pipsqueak of a cartridge.


While I did not realize it was a .38 Colt, neither did I think it was the 38 Special. I thought it was the .38 S&W. If I remember correctly, the .38 S&W preceded the .38 Colt in manufacture, and as far as I am aware, the .38 Colt was basically a knock off of the .38 S&W differing only in bullet shape.

I am sure someone out there is more up on this than me, but I do seem to remember atrue gun aficionado telling me this way back when...

Whichever it was, neither one had much power to it.

All the best,
Glenn B:beer:
Whoops did not see the LONG in the .38 Long Colt...
The .38 Long Colt was adopted by the United States military in 1892, replacing the .45 Colt. Service in the Spanish-American War and the Phillipines Insurrection showed that it was a pretty sorry military round and it was replaced by the .45 ACP in 1911.

The .38 S&W was introduced around 1877. I can’t find any record of it ever being used by the American military. It was, however, used by the British military, who called it the ‘380/200’.

The .38 S&W Special (.38 Special) was brought out in 1902 as S&W’s answer to the anemic .38 Long Colt, but the Long Colt remained the official chambering for the military until 1911. This is the cartridge that Colt tried to rip off, coming out with the .38 Colt in 1909, created simply by changing the bullet profile of the .38 Special.

nobody mentioned my caliber of choice.. the .357 magnum... i beleive that the .357 mag will stop anything in north america. i'm wondering what some of the reverse loaded hbwc would do to a flesh target. they are loaded to move at about 1200 fps.
tasco 74 said:
i'm wondering what some of the reverse loaded hbwc would do to a flesh target. they are loaded to move at about 1200 fps.
Actually, they won't perform well at all at .357 velocities. You're MUCH better off loading your cartridges with a Speer Gold Dot or a Hornady XTP. The reversed HBWC might do a fair job at .38 Special speeds, any faster and it will start coming apart and folding back on itself, reducing both penetration and wound channel volume.

would it really come apart?it seems like it would just tumble trying to throw a badmiton birde feathers first.
would it really come apart?it seems like it would just tumble trying to throw a badmiton birde feathers first
At short, combat-distance range, 5 or so yards, it'll fly fairly true. When you push it up around 1000 fps, it comes apart and folds. I've tried to push it faster just to see if I can make it disintegrate, all I've succeded in doing is blowing a hole straight through the bullet, leaving part of it in the barrel. Maybe with a different powder, but even at the lower speed, the thin lips of the cup come off.

You're right about tumbling, it will at any longer range. I've seen tumbling as close as 10 yards, don't even play with it any more. Better results from a LSWCHP I cast myself.

I have seen about a dozen or so guns that have basically blown up because people decided to customize their ammo - including reversing bullets. If you decide to customize your ammo beyond factory specs (extra powder, experimental bullet shapes, reversing a bullet, etc...) you are taking a lot of risks. DC is lucky enough not to have quickly pulled the trigger a second time after leaving part of a round in the barrel. Sure you may know enough to be careful when experimenting, but someone else may not have been so smart. You are taking the risk of ruing a fine firearm, hurting yourself, and being thrown in jail for using a round that you designed as a 'more potent killer' thereby showuing the court your intent was to kill not to stop. Why take those risks. Ammo companies experiment all the time, under controlled conditions, and produce some pretty fine ammo for defensive rounds. I prefer to be on the safe side of my pistols, and I prefer to keep the safe side safe by using only factory fresh rounds that have been examined by me for obvious defects before loading. You guys really have me wondering why you would experiment like this because I see little benefit to it. Oh well, shoot safely.:)
All the best,
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its just like changing the wheels or swapping out a cam in a perfectly good truck.did it work fine before?sure.some just like to tinker.
just because you make a max expanding,super penetrating,jello obliterating,fire breathing,SAAMI spec round doesn't mean that it'll go into a carry gun.besides,without people tinkering at home some very neat/handy inventions might never have been.
Heck, if people didn't just like to tinker, we probably would all just be shooting round balls of lead out of our guns.

Have the bullet manufacturers thought of everything possible to think of in bullet design? Maybe, maybe not. I believe that many of the breakthrough discoveries in technology were found by accident or keen observation of something completely unrelated to its eventual application.

Do you think someone intuitively knew that if you combine potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal together and put a match to it that it would explode? Probably the person watching the first person to do that found a suitable application for that newfound information that he used right after the funeral of his friend. :laugh:

Heck, I remember reading an article about lasers back when I was a kid. The article was entitled: "Lasers: A solution looking for a problem." Nobody knew what the heck to do with them back then, but it was a neat discovery.

So, tinkering is necessary if we are to learn something new. It may be at some cost, not nonetheless it is an expense that must be spent.

Heck, I learned as a kid that you can't make a rocket out of an empty CO2 cartridge. And I have a scar on my forehead that is stamped PAID for the cost of this knowledge. :headbang:
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I tinker with ammunition all the time, but not exactly blindly. I have pressure barrels and Oehler pressure testing equipment. Some experiments will run over SAAMI pressures, but they are only fired in pressure barrels - if pressure is up, that load is scrapped and is never fired in anything else.

The only factory ammunition I can't safely outdo is the Hornady Light Magnum loads - so far.

Some "factory" ammunition is unsafe. There is at least one shotshell seller on the Internet who is producing 3 1/2" loads that are running about 500 psi over SAAMI. I had never heard of his company until I was asked by a group to look at his shells. Before I did any testing, I talked with him and he quoted me a pressure figure he was running, then misquoted SAAMI spec. Seemed like a nice fellow, just misinformed. I know he has a large following of customers, even though some complain of difficult ejection. He always has a reason their gun is faulty. His pressures aren't so high as to cause a blowup, but one slip in his loading process and there is a problem. He even went so far as to tell me what components he uses, so I'm sure he isn't producing unsafe ammunition purposely. So factory ammunition isn't necessarily safe.

Factory SD ammunition pretty much all follows the Jack O'Connor school of thought - light, high velocity. I presonally don't subscribe to that. I prefer heavy, lower velocity bullets. For that, I have to manufacture my own loads.

As far as the LHBWC loads, I had heard of people doing that reversing thing and didn't think it would work too very good, especially with the soft lead swaged bullets. I set out to see one way or the other. As I said before, a Gold Dot or XTP works far better.

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I don't know how I wound up Unregistered. Anyhow, previous post was me.

You know, I have had a preference for the Gold Dots myself lately. Can't really say why, but something about the design just interests me. Can't say I have ever actually used the bullets for any serious work, but I do find I get satisfactory accuracy using them.

They do seem awfully similar in design to the original Black Talons, though.

Just one of those things, I guess.
blows the center out of the bullet at magnum pressures huh.. hhhhhmmmmmm very enlightening.... thanks for the info!as for the round ball thing... i shoot what i call a multi-ball load in my 6 " model 27 ... it's constructed by loading about 4 gr. bullseye then a plastic wad then 2 .32 cal. round balls then another plastic wad and crimped to hold it all together. now them are fun!!:D the .32 cal. balls do not grip the rifling so they all come out at different angles against the target. you shoot 6 rounds and get 12 hits in about a ft pattern at 3yds.
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