bullet grain vs. fps?

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; Im shure this topic is on here somwhere and if it is sorry, post the thread and i will just check it out and not ...

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Thread: bullet grain vs. fps?

  1. #1
    Member Array usmc0811's Avatar
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    bullet grain vs. fps?

    Im shure this topic is on here somwhere and if it is sorry, post the thread and i will just check it out and not wast to much of you time.
    well here is my question, I was wandering if it is best to have a heaver bullet rather than a fast one or the other way around, or is it best to just go in the middle of both? I have a ruger sp 101 357 with a 3" barrel and im trying to find the best self defence round but cant figure it out. should i go heavy and slow or light and fast? I was thinking that it might all depend on what type of round im using like hollow points or ball, or weather you might be shooting through a thick jacket in the winter of a t-shirt in the summer. shoould I be changing my type of ammo with the seasons? there is alot to chose from and it is making my head spin. I know i asked alot of questions and beleave me i have plenty more, but i thought this would be a great place to ask them. if anyone can point me in the right dirrection it would really help. thanks.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    With the .357 Mag in particular, it made its reputation on one of the lighter rounds, 125gr. For full or near full power .357s which is all I carry, I prefer either 125 gr HP BB, or 145gr Win STHP. I think that in .357, the heavier bullets (158 up) are much more likely to pass through. Even if they should not expand in heavy clothing, I am confident that they will penetrate. I carry a 3" GP100.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    Member Array forestranger's Avatar
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    I don't shoot much 125s in my K frame Smiths. The 145 STHP avgs 1170 fps out of 3" M13 and shoots to point of aim with fixed sights. It's all I've used for years.

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    My thoughts; for 9mm and below I like the heaviest grain bullet I can get in that caliber regardless. Above 9mm, I factor in the barrel length and horse power i.e. shorter barrel lighter grain bullet to bring the FPS back up. Longer barrel, plenty of powder burn behind the round so heavier grain round is better IMO... From my research on the subject, the heavier rounds usually penetrate a couple of inches deeper on average. JMO, but a bigger rock hurts a heck of a lot more than a lighter one.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottabkiddin View Post
    My thoughts; for 9mm and below I like the heaviest grain bullet I can get in that caliber regardless. Above 9mm, I factor in the barrel length and horse power i.e. shorter barrel lighter grain bullet to bring the FPS back up. Longer barrel, plenty of powder burn behind the round so heavier grain round is better IMO... From my research on the subject, the heavier rounds usually penetrate a couple of inches deeper on average. JMO, but a bigger rock hurts a heck of a lot more than a lighter one.
    Your thinking is actually a bit backwards on this.

    Lighter bullet, more powder in a short barrel just gets you more muzzle flash, and a greater % velocity loss due to all that unburned powder. A heavier bullet will spend more time in the barrel, burn more powder, and be closer to the velocity it should be at. Long barrels actually do better with +P and +P+ rounds.

    Heavier will also get you better penetration with the lower velocity, since it will have more momentum when it hits.
    Bombsaway likes this.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Your thinking is actually a bit backwards on this.

    Lighter bullet, more powder in a short barrel just gets you more muzzle flash, and a greater % velocity loss due to all that unburned powder. A heavier bullet will spend more time in the barrel, burn more powder, and be closer to the velocity it should be at. Long barrels actually do better with +P and +P+ rounds.

    Heavier will also get you better penetration with the lower velocity, since it will have more momentum when it hits.
    Not IMO it isn't.

    Due to the size of the 9mm and below projectile, I want it to be as heavy as possible so it can use it's momentum to penetrate as deeply as possible. If The weapon is a short barrel and the projectile is a JHP, I would want the speed "FPS" to be as high as possible as to allow for best chance for expansion, thus the light weight speedy load. This is not as big of a concern when it come to the longer barrels regardless of bullet type. The longer the barrel the more powder burn behind the round and a better chance for the projectile to reach maximum velocity.

    A lighter round will travel faster than a heavier round out of a short barrel and has a increased FPE due to the Lighter round. Powder burn is less of a variable nowadays when short barrels are concerned. A lot of manufactures are coming out with "short barrel" offerings that supposedly addresses the flash and lack of powder burn. I would still opt for the lighter round here simply for the JHP expansion.

    A heavier round will be compensated by the extra powder burn due to the longer barrel and will usually penetrate "on average" a inch to two inches deeper than the lighter round due to its momentum, and due to the longer barrel, expansion is less of a concern due to the projectile reaching maximum velocity thus allowing for proper expansion.

    IMO, that is not backwards, that is exactly what my research has illustrated, and I thought I articulated in my post. If you can point me to documentation that illustrates something different please do so.

    Couple of examples...

    From the Speer website.

    124gr 9mm
    test Barrel = 4"
    Velocity = 1150
    Energy = 364

    147 9mm
    test Barrel = 4"
    Velocity = 985
    Energy = 317

    124gr 9mm for short barrel
    test barrel = 3.5"
    Velocity = 1150
    Energy = 364

    In this particular example I really don't consider the 3.5" barrel a short barrel, but hey, it's their site.

    GBK
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Well, I do know that Winchester recommends their 147gr Ranger-T ammo for shorter barreled 9mm's for the same reasons I gave; there's a letter floating around here that confirms it...I'll see if I can find it.

    The problem is that bullets have a certain velocity envelope they're designed to work best in. Since a heavier bullet will lose less % velocity than a lighter one from a short barrel, it will be more likely to be in that envelope.

    And I'm not one that believes that FPE is a good judge of a bullet's effectiveness; penetration depth and size are. If two bullets both penetrate 13" and expand to .65, it matters not a whit if one had 400FPE and the other 300.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    And I'm not one that believes that FPE is a good judge of a bullet's effectiveness; penetration depth and size are. If two bullets both penetrate 13" and expand to .65, it matters not a whit if one had 400FPE and the other 300.
    I totally agree with that... I look for penetration depth more than the FEP # as the depth of the projectile is what's gonna make the difference in a gun fight...

    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Array ConcealedG30's Avatar
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    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson

    gottabkiddin

    I like'm both, sadly most folks don't understand the true meaning of turn the other cheek.


    Back to the subject at hand. The more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn more about this subject. Keep the information coming.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    GBK--found it...

    In a response to a question about which grain 9mm Ranger ammo to use in a short barreled pistol including 3.5" and 3", I got the following response from Winchester LE Ammo:

    When we redesigned the Ranger T Series of ammunition we widened the velocity window under which the round would expand to allow for the slower velocities that shorter than standard barrels produce. What this means is that if you own a standard or sub compact pistol the round should have adequate expansion. In 9mm I would recommend the 147 grain bullet as it loses a lower velocity percentage than the faster lighter bullet in shorter than normal barrels. This is because the bullet has more dwell time in the bore and has a greater opportunity to burn the powder before the bullet exits the bore. Powder that is burned outside the bore does nothing for velocity. The lighter faster bullets generally have more powder to burn and since the lighter faster bullets have less time in the bore they are not efficient burners of powder in the shorter barrels.

    We increased the velocity window under which the round would expand by increasing the size of the hollowpoint, tweaking the jacket thickness and the depth of the cuts on the inside of the jacket petal segments.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Nowak
    Senior Technical Specialist
    Winchester Law Enforcement Ammunition
    http://www.m4carbine.net/archive/index.php/t-23210.html

    As I see it, this should also apply to .40 and .45 180gr and 230gr loads, respectively.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Interesting indeed. Thanks for the information.
    I love the advances in bullet and propellant technology over the last few years. Truth be known, just about any round that will hit the 12+ mark of penetration will get the job done if the operator can do their part. For me though, I still prefer the heavy stuff in most any caliber and in most any firearm. I run the BuffaloBore 158gr Soft Lead SWC-HC stuff in all my snubs and feel it's the best round for the best degree of penetration.

    Anyway, thanks again for the follow-up!
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
    Member Array Magnum's Avatar
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    The Speer 135gr. GDHP "short barrel" magnums are excellent in both 2 & 4 inch barrel lengths. For a mild recoil 158gr. 357 HP, Speer Blazer (aluminum cases) is a good choice also.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    This is not a simplle question

    You have to specify which parameters are of interest to you.
    Momentum is mass X velocity
    Energy is 0.5 X mass X the square of the velocity.

    Assuming that your bullet will dump ALL of it's energy when it hits the target, you want to use the one with the highest energy. Given that the energy is correlated with the square of the velocity, velocity will have a relatively greater effect than mass. E.G. doubling the velocity will increase the energy by a factor of 4 while doubling the mass will only double the energy. (This scenario doesn't account for a lot of other factors and has largely been discounted.)

    That's the easy part.

    The hard part is getting the velocity in a short barrel and then dumping it when it hits the target. Hollow points probably dump more energy in the target than roundnose which may penetrate and actually pass thru the target.

    The post in #10 above points out that by desiging the bullet to expand at lower velocities, you can get it to dump more energy.

    However, the simple physics of this are not really simple. What, for example, is the bullet likely to hit? Bone, fat, muscle, etc.? Does the bullet fragment? How far does it have to penetrate to inflict significant damage?

    check out this article:
    Throwing Lead

    The FBI has tried to develop some minimal performance characteristics that include depth of penetration and wound channel size, etc.
    Clothing can make a significant difference in these parameters. Some of the data are here:
    AIMED Point Shooting or P&S

    9mm Ammunition Performance Data

    And if that is not confusing enough, you can take the personal recommendations of a guy like Massad Ayoob:

    The following loads all demonstrate outstanding terminal performance and can be considered acceptable for duty/self-defense use:
    9 mm:
    Barnes XPB 105 & 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
    Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
    Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP (53617)
    Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
    Winchester Partition Gold 124 gr JHP (RA91P)
    Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
    Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
    Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
    Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
    Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP (53619)
    Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    In the major calibers I consider effective for SD (9mm, .357 mag, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and maybe .38 sp) a heavy bullet is a better bullet in terms of energy and stopping power. It is simple physics and you cannot get around them, not even with barrel length or gun design. A heavier projectile will always have more energy. The reason IMO for the lighter bullets is the same reason you see advertised bow speeds in archery climbing, marketing hype.

    If you take a 124gr 9mm bullet going 1250fps you can then show a high muzzle energy number thus making the shooter feel better. The reality is, a larger caliber, slower bullet is a harder hitter (e.g. a 230gr .45 acp going 900fps). Again, it is simple physics.

    Would you rather be hit with a bowling ball or a golf ball?

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    In the major calibers I consider effective for SD (9mm, .357 mag, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and maybe .38 sp) a heavy bullet is a better bullet in terms of energy and stopping power. It is simple physics and you cannot get around them, not even with barrel length or gun design. A heavier projectile will always have more energy. The reason IMO for the lighter bullets is the same reason you see advertised bow speeds in archery climbing, marketing hype.

    If you take a 124gr 9mm bullet going 1250fps you can then show a high muzzle energy number thus making the shooter feel better. The reality is, a larger caliber, slower bullet is a harder hitter (e.g. a 230gr .45 acp going 900fps). Again, it is simple physics.

    Would you rather be hit with a bowling ball or a golf ball?
    Actually, it is simple physics that makes the highlighted untrue.

    KE is a function of mass times velocity squared. Lighter, faster bullets often have more KE than a heavier bullet.

    That being said, energy is a poor standard by which to choose a defensve round.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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