Facts, Fantasy, and Bullet Weight

This is a discussion on Facts, Fantasy, and Bullet Weight within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read every argument from the Theory of Relativity to the Laws of Physics on which weight bullet is ...

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Thread: Facts, Fantasy, and Bullet Weight

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    Distinguished Member Array onacoma's Avatar
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    Facts, Fantasy, and Bullet Weight

    Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read every argument from the Theory of Relativity to the Laws of Physics on which weight bullet is best suited for Self Defense. I’ve got saddle sores from riding this dead horse!

    So I did a little research and since I shoot Winchester Range and the PD I consult at also uses the same ammunition I focused on only that brand. Below is attached a spreadsheet print out which lists their offering from 45 ACP to 9mm +P+. Note I did not include their 9mm +P as they have not posted any terminal ballistic test data on that round. I’ve included both the terminal ballistics and the handgun ballistics in the chart. Winchester tested their ammunition using five test medias for the terminal ballistics test, i.e., Bare Ballistic Gelatin, Heavy cloth/Ballistic Gelatin, Wallboard/Ballistic Gelatin, Plywood/Ballistic Gelatin, Steel (Car Door)/Ballistic Gelatin, Auto glass/Ballistic Gelatin.

    Looking at the chart three of the rounds have the same Velocity. These are the 45 ACP +P 230 gr., 40 SW 180 gr., and the 9mm 147 gr. with a velocity of 990 fps. If we look at the results of Winchester’s testing and assuming that penetration is the criteria for the best bullet, the 9mm out performs both the 45 ACP and the 40 SW in all tests but the steel & auto glass.

    Is the 9mm truly better? Do I need to carry a 45 ACP +P for when Bare Butt Ballistic Gelatin does a drive-by and the 9mm for when I confront dangerous Bare Butt Ballistic Gelatin face to face? Do these tests really answer the testosterone question of who is bigger and better?

    Looking at a chart like this doesn’t answer any questions of how a round will perform in “Real Life” situations! I think we’re back to the age old premise of: “How well you are able to put the round on target!” If you shoot a 22LR or a 50AE if you don’t put the bullet on the BG’s stop button it really does not matter how big your bullet is!

    JMHO!
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Everyone is missing the point. Jello is one thing. Living tissue is another. Complicated shot angles that much traverse a wide array of density and from soft fat and muscle to cartlidge and bone.

    This is where you will see the difference.
    OD*, bmcgilvray and pistola like this.
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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Everyone is missing the point. Jello is one thing. Living tissue is another. Complicated shot angles that much traverse a wide array of density and from soft fat and muscle to cartlidge and bone.

    This is where you will see the difference.
    The FBI learned this lesson the hard way.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    The FBI learned this lesson the hard way.
    Yes, and I like to learn by looking at history. Platt and Mattix were not jello men.
    oneshot and atctimmy like this.
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    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    Actually the FBI learned that you can use bullet performance as a scapegoat for poor accuracy, execution, and planning...
    OPFOR and chefjon like this.
    "Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker

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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAm_Not_Lost View Post
    Actually the FBI learned that you can use bullet performance as a scapegoat for poor accuracy, execution, and planning...
    Actually, you would do yourself a favor by reading Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D.
    Thanis, JD, gunsnroses and 2 others like this.
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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Everyone is missing the point. Jello is one thing. Living tissue is another. Complicated shot angles that much traverse a wide array of density and from soft fat and muscle to cartlidge and bone.

    This is where you will see the difference.
    I think why a lot of people miss this fact Gman, is, they don't hunt.
    gottabkiddin and surefire7 like this.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    OD*, I suppose you are correct. But dang it! Sometimes it gets so frustrating to try and convey to people how much difference there is in bullets in tissue bs gelatin ! People just don't realize the how much can be learned by comparing bullets fired into live animals can be used to better gauge the performance of how it is so similar to human tissue construction.

    I guess I go at it a little to hard on here, sometimes I feel like John the Babtist crying in the wilderness. I just wish I could make people understand the trade off they are making, and how it effects terminal performance.
    But, I'll keep preaching my gospel; big, and heavy over all other choices, lol
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    OD*
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    Valid points, Gman.

    And this,
    But, I'll keep preaching my gospel; big, and heavy over all other choices, lol
    reminded me of this,
    "When it comes to handguns, I don't worship at the temple of velocity. I take my communion at the church of MASS."
    Being an old Catholic, I found the humor in it, but I'd bet a lot won't.
    Last edited by OD*; October 27th, 2011 at 08:07 PM. Reason: grammer
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    Everybody seems to forget about living tissue,bones,etc...,great point glockman10mm!
    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Everyone is missing the point. Jello is one thing. Living tissue is another. Complicated shot angles that much traverse a wide array of density and from soft fat and muscle to cartlidge and bone.

    This is where you will see the difference.

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    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Actually, you would do yourself a favor by reading Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D.
    Agreed!

    I just read this a few days ago, and what I got out of it was simple: "Don't bring a handgun to a long gun fight." Had the 5 FBI agents been armed with M4/AR-15s and/or shotguns, this firefight would have had a MUCH different result.
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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    I've been thinking alot about this arguement for a while. There was a post someone made that linked to a kinetic energy calculator program on an archery sight. It was a well done app. You enter the weight of your projectile, (arrow or bullet) in grains and the speed in feet/second. It displays the kinetic energy. The thing that got my attention, even though I knew this from the past (I actually had a class in kinetics in college) was that the reading of say 240 lb-ft of energy for a 38 special means that if you place you gun below a one pound target and shoot up into it the impact should drive the target up 240 feet!

    I haven't tried this, but I guarantee that will not happen! I would bet that you would be lucky to drive a one pound steel target more than 20 feet. Alternately you would expect to be able to lift a 240 pound target one foot. So the real question is, is the kinetic energy formula accurate for target reaction in ballistics applications?

    I propose that the ammunition manufacters get together and develop a testing procedure that gives a more accurate comparision between bullet weights, diameters, materials and speeds. We could call this the "target reaction rating". They could start off by actually shooting one pound hardend steel targets resting over vertically aimed handguns and recording the height the round actually lifted the target. I think many people would be surprised at the results. It would be interesting to compare the slow heavy bullets to the light fast bullets and see which come out on top.

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    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Valid points, Gman.

    And this, reminded me of this,


    Being an old Catholic, I found the humor it, but I'd bet a lot won't.
    I'm not Catholic, but I did chuckle when I read it - and agree completely.
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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majorlk View Post
    I'm not Catholic, but I did chuckle when I read it - and agree completely.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    That there is funny OD*, no matter the denomination!
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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