bullet grain vs. fps?

This is a discussion on bullet grain vs. fps? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have gone back to the old school, cast a hpt Keith style 173 gr semi wad cutter. Use 20 to 1 lead to tin. ...

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Thread: bullet grain vs. fps?

  1. #31
    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    I have gone back to the old school, cast a hpt Keith style 173 gr semi wad cutter. Use 20 to 1 lead to tin. You will have a bullet that expands but the lead stays together for deep penetration. Due to the bullet being lead you can safely drive it faster than a jacketed counter part.
    You can also add more tin for less expansion and deeper penetration if you so desire


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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamour View Post
    I have gone back to the old school, cast a hpt Keith style 173 gr semi wad cutter. Use 20 to 1 lead to tin. You will have a bullet that expands but the lead stays together for deep penetration. Due to the bullet being lead you can safely drive it faster than a jacketed counter part.
    You can also add more tin for less expansion and deeper penetration if you so desire

    I checked "like" and have to post that those are some good lookin' bullets. They make a lot of sense in both the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  4. #33
    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    This is the bullet Elmer Keith loaded to start the journey towards the .357 magnum. It was perfect for hot loaded .38 specials in the 38/44 S&W. But when the .357 came out they did not extend the cylinders and the bullet was to long for the N frames. It works great in all others.

    A hefty charge of 2400 powder is hard to beat with this bullet for defensive use.

  5. #34
    New Member Array RalstoFury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    This is potentially the easiest, but most misunderstood question ever posed on any thread anywhere.

    The answer is ; don't overthink it. In 357, 3 inch tubes or longer, the 125 rules for the thin skinned man. In shorter barrels, slow burning powders are wasted, so go with heavier bullet bullets to compensate.

    In cartridges with shorter cases and less velocity production, ( read as non magnum), always go heavy.
    You are simply taking two different routes to the same destination, but one vehicle does better on dirt roads and one on hard surface.

    But, DON'T over think it.
    Glockman, why is it best to go heavy for non magnum cartridges and light for magnums? Will you expand on this? You are one of the few people who has a decisive answer to this question, so I'd like to know more on why you think this.

  6. #35
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Lighter bullets must be pushed harder to do two things. Penetrate and expand. Most bullets designed for defense have a reccomended velocity threshold to meet that meets the design perimeters of the bullet.
    This is established for the most part by measuring performance in ballistic gel.
    And, this is the only real scientific way of doing it.

    But as life is, things do not always go as anticipated. The human body has different consistancy thru out, and this damn thing called bones that can royally screw up the equation.
    If the high velocity handgun bullet is slowed down, either by bone, clothing, or, an awkward oblique shot that meets resistance and slows it's progress, then the bullet loses the speed on which it depends on for penetration, and...performance.

    In a non magnum gun, you will never achieve enough speed to make up for the light weight of the bullet.
    So, we use weight. Because what we want and desire is straight line penetration to the organs and spinal area.
    The heavy bullet is not dependent on velocity for performance. It is driven by the force of it's weight, or momentum.
    With a heavy, non expanding, flat nose bullet you get desired penetration and a better nance of smashing thru bone, and going where it has to go.

    I am a big fan of magnums, especially the 357 . With it's 125 weight bullet traveling at 1400 fps, it is devasting. But, put it in a 38 spl at 1000-1100 fps, and it starts losing it's gusto.
    Move up to 158 weight at 850-900 fps, and not only do you have more momentum, you have a greater sectiona density, which is key to penetration.

    That's why the 45 acp,45 Colt, 44 spl are so good. Even though they are traveling at almost anemic velocities, they have the ability to break bones and bore a straight line hole to the targeted area.

    In short, light bullets need speed. Anything that takes away steam from them is seriously degrading it's ability to penetrate and expand.

    Heavy bullets do not depend on speed to work.

    Don't be misled when you hear people quoting and spouting off energy figures.
    Energy is simply the bullets ability to do work, and light bullets cannot work without extreme speed.

    Heavy bullets are crushers. And they are not variable dependent.

    By going heavy, you iliminate variables.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  7. #36
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    If you notice the Keith design in Hamours post above, notice the extra length of the bullet. The extra weight adds the length, and that is what we refer to as sectional density. Those bad boys in a properly loaded 38 spl will be one of the most devasting rounds to bone or heavy tissue you could ask for in that caliber.

    With mid calibers such as the 38 , or 9mm , this is a big boost to penetration and predictable performance over a wide variety of human or animal tissue.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  8. #37
    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Lighter bullets must be pushed harder to do two things. Penetrate and expand. Most bullets designed for defense have a reccomended velocity threshold to meet that meets the design perimeters of the bullet.
    This is established for the most part by measuring performance in ballistic gel.
    And, this is the only real scientific way of doing it.

    But as life is, things do not always go as anticipated. The human body has different consistancy thru out, and this damn thing called bones that can royally screw up the equation.
    If the high velocity handgun bullet is slowed down, either by bone, clothing, or, an awkward oblique shot that meets resistance and slows it's progress, then the bullet loses the speed on which it depends on for penetration, and...performance.

    In a non magnum gun, you will never achieve enough speed to make up for the light weight of the bullet.
    So, we use weight. Because what we want and desire is straight line penetration to the organs and spinal area.
    The heavy bullet is not dependent on velocity for performance. It is driven by the force of it's weight, or momentum.
    With a heavy, non expanding, flat nose bullet you get desired penetration and a better nance of smashing thru bone, and going where it has to go.

    I am a big fan of magnums, especially the 357 . With it's 125 weight bullet traveling at 1400 fps, it is devasting. But, put it in a 38 spl at 1000-1100 fps, and it starts losing it's gusto.
    Move up to 158 weight at 850-900 fps, and not only do you have more momentum, you have a greater sectiona density, which is key to penetration.

    That's why the 45 acp,45 Colt, 44 spl are so good. Even though they are traveling at almost anemic velocities, they have the ability to break bones and bore a straight line hole to the targeted area.

    In short, light bullets need speed. Anything that takes away steam from them is seriously degrading it's ability to penetrate and expand.

    Heavy bullets do not depend on speed to work.

    Don't be misled when you hear people quoting and spouting off energy figures.
    Energy is simply the bullets ability to do work, and light bullets cannot work without extreme speed.

    Heavy bullets are crushers. And they are not variable dependent.

    By going heavy, you iliminate variables.
    Best post on this topic yet. I'll only add that lighter bullets also bleed energy and speed downrange at a faster rate than a heavier bullet too.

  9. #38
    Ex Member Array ZappBranigan's Avatar
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    From shooting statistics gathered over the past 40 years, the 125 grain JHP is the hands down winner in .357, but in reality anything you get will do just fine. No need to sweat over the latest Magic Boolit claims, the .357 Mag has plenty of steam in any load you choose.

  10. #39
    Senior Member Array bbqgrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Just asking, but wouldn't bullet weight vs. fps be more to the point.
    Yes, and even more to the point bullet weight vs velocity. I am often amazed how people use the term grain as if it were some mystical property attributed soley to firearm projectiles. Grain, gr: unit of weight in the U.S. Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 0.002285 ounce, no magic there.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

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  11. #40
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    First, having read hundreds of thousands of words written about self defense ammunition, all I can conclude is that I can't conclude anything except maybe a headache.

    But I would like to throw in one more argument for "heavy and slow" vs. "light and fast". It has to do with the target, and my argument goes like this...

    Water does not compress. Both ballistic gel, and the human body (well, plus some bones), are comprised primarily of water. The harder you hit water with something the less the water is able to "get out of the way". I think the same can be said, fundamentally, with ballistic gel, or, more importantly, the human body. Brass Fetcher Online shows some good examples. I'm picking and choosing a little for data, but a .22lr out of a Walther P22 pistol penetrated15.8 inches of ballistic gel. A .223 Rem out of a gas operated rifle with a 16" barrel penetrated 13.9 inches. Yes , I realize there is lots of other damage with the incredible energy of the .223, but if we are talking about simple penetration depth in a water-based medium, this extreme example is pretty telling.

    Then there is the true source of information regarding all that is scientific, Mythbusters, specifically Episode 34. I found it interesting that the slower rounds (9mm and rifled slug) penetrated both the water and the ballistic gel, while the .223, .30-06, and .50BMG shattered on the surface. The .50 made a huge splash, however. They did change some of the testing paramerters part way through, so...

    Brass Fetcher Ballistic Gelatin testing
    Annotated Mythbusters: Episode 34: Bulletproof Water, 360 Swing

    A slow, heavy bullet has a better chance of sufficient penetration. Thus the success of rounds like the 230gr .45ACP. I carry 147gr Gold dots in my P-01 and 158gr semi-wadcutter .38 spec +p in my j frame.

    Or whatever is available...
    Honor is self-esteem made visible in action. - Ayn Rand

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