Two different industry shaping ideas on bullet stopping power

Two different industry shaping ideas on bullet stopping power

This is a discussion on Two different industry shaping ideas on bullet stopping power within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Just thinking about these ammo threads made me take a mental trip down memory lane. Of course, the ol brain ain't what it was, so ...

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Thread: Two different industry shaping ideas on bullet stopping power

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Two different industry shaping ideas on bullet stopping power

    Just thinking about these ammo threads made me take a mental trip down memory lane. Of course, the ol brain ain't what it was, so I was limited in my trip, lol.

    I was pondering on the development of Super Vel, and it's impact on how we thought, or what we thought gave a bullet killing, or stopping power. New terminology developed such as " hydrostatic shock" and " shocking power", and became the new way we were told bullets killed.
    Roy Weatherby had great success doing essentially the same with the lighter, faster loads of his new rifles.

    The Speer " flying ashtray" was the order of the day for the 45acp. And even revolvers began to use lighter faster loadings to create that " fluid shockwave" effect that was the new science of the day.

    This went on for quite a while. Then, it seemed like the pendulum began to swing again the other way. But the problems encountered were keeping the expansion while getting the penetration.

    Now in the current day, great effort has been put into making bullets that give us both. But, people seem to be split into two schools of thought. Expansion if you can get it with the emphasis on penetration, or expansion primarily.

    Looking back, I don't think the old Speer flying ashtray was that great of a round. And I'm not sure it was any real improvement over the round nose.

    Additionally, while I believe in proper penetration over all things, when I think about the effects that absorbing all the energy of a 357 magnum of some 500-600 pounds of absorption impact, I can't help but to think that this gut jarring hit, can't help but have some influence on the body, that could shut it down. So therefor, even though I am a big bullet, penetration believer, I can't rule out the attributes of the fast step, impact of the lighter faster calibers.

    Probably, the biggest problem I have with the latter is the what ifs of the what ifs....those damn variables.

    Anyway, these are just some thoughts, not meant to be wrong or right, just thinking about where we have come from since the 70s and where we are now....and how we are still about as at odds with it now as back then.

    So, I invite your thoughts, opinions or recollections from the past on this topic. I think it would be interesting to hear others perspectives, especially from those of you who can remember when it all got serious, and made gun rags and writers a ton of money!
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.


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    Distinguished Member Array ericb327's Avatar
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    Additionally, while I believe in proper penetration over all things, when I think about the effects that absorbing all the energy of a 357 magnum of some 500-600 pounds of absorption impact, I can't help but to think that this gut jarring hit, can't help but have some influence on the body, that could shut it down. So therefor, even though I am a big bullet, penetration believer, I can't rule out the attributes of the fast step, impact of the lighter faster calibers.
    ^^^^This^^^^

    I can't dismiss the energy factor as well. It makes sense. Where does the energy go? I think these innovations made the .380 and 9MM bullets a lot better option compared to the 45 ball ammo. I carried Remington 185Gr +P in my Glock 30. A 185Gr 45ACP traveling at 1100 FPS. What's not to like?!!!
    For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. (Sun Tzu) The Art of War

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    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    I remember buying my first box of super-vels for my 45. I think the flying ashtray round was to appeal to our emotions. If it looks that wicked it just HAS to work.

    The problem it seems is the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. The human psych has always dumbfounded the scientific community. I think to truly understand the physiology of why a person shuts down or does not we need to look at some of the variables. One school of thought is we only care about the physical reasons a person shuts down after suffering great trauma. I think that maybe, the variables in the human are what throws a monkey wrench into the equation. After decades on the street, and having studied every shooting(we all here are students, or we would not be in this conversation).

    I think it may have something to do with pain. When LE has to go hands on with a subject they use pressure points, arm locks, and pain compliance techniques to control a combative subject. Is that so different from a deadly force encounter? Maybe that "energy dump" is causing a painful sensation in addition to the actual cutting and crushing damage of the projectile. Maybe the temporary stretch cavity is not causing any permanent damage, just maybe it HURTS. As we know everyone has varying degree's of pain threshold, this is especially true of intoxicated, drugged, or emotionally disturbed persons. You usually need to overcome the pain threshold to stop a combative subject.

    Where does that leave us? I don't know if I had added to the conversation or strayed way off course.
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    Fun stuff to ponder, Gman!

    The expanding bullet has been refined since the "olden days" when Super Vel and the "flying ashtray" Speer 200 grain JHP roamed the earth. I was young then and more suggestible so bought into the hype of both products. Several different contrived "non-tests" convinced me that all was not well in expansion-land where both products were concerned. No ballistics gel was available so water-filled gallon milk cartons (remember those?), both wet and dry phone books, and earth were used. The "flying ashtray" out of the .45 automatic might expand pleasingly or might only cave in on itself, effectively rendering it a .45 fmj slug. The .38 Special Super Vel 110 grain JHP bullet was even a bit less dependable than the "flying ashtray." A small amount of use of both of these products on varmints was inconclusive. It sure didn't leave a lasting impression of effectiveness any greater than that of cast lead bullets. What was apparent was that good hits were impressive, even with cast lead bullets.

    After a downed deer was shot through the heart with a .38 Special Super Vel 110 grain JHP, traveling at 1327 fps with the bullet showing no expansion, I went off the notion of expanding bullets. This was about 1982 and I wasn't seeing any superior performance out of the whole tribe of expanding bullets of the day except perhaps for hot-loaded .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum JHPs.

    To this day I remain skeptical of the claims made for various styles of "boutique" self-defense ammunition due to the bad taste in my mouth generated by bullets/loads of 30-40 years ago. This isn't entirely fair for it's easy to see from all these tests folks post that bullets expand more uniformly now than they previously did. Problem is, I went on to gain fine results out of various semi-wadcutter handloads so see no reason to switch to any other load. Oh, I have some 147 grain 9mm Winchester Black Talon on hand and some Cor-Bon .45 ACP 230 grain JHP on hand but scarcely carry it. I'm uninterested in riding the merry-go-round to find the "ultimate" load because I don't believe that, for all the claims, tests, and hype, it makes enough difference to truly matter.
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    I can remember working in a gunshop and discussing that you knew someone was serious about self defense if they carried a 1911 with the mags and feed ramp set up for the 200gr Speer, or if you were carrying a S&W Model 19 with 125gr Federals. And you had to carry a Balisong butterfly knife too...
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    The amount of energy delivered to the body causing hydraulic shock and tissue/bone damage will depend upon the bullet being completely stopped by the body. That's the reason we want the bullets to expand. 1100 Ft/lb of energy is not delivered to a body when the bullet passes through the body and then impacts, delivering 800 Ft/lbs to the wall or whatever. So it would seem that the larger the cavity or tunnel left behind the more deadly the bullet. That would mean bigger diameter. However, if the bullet is stopped by the body, all the energy is delivered and hydraulic damage is a serious consideration.
    All that to say this: toss in some variables like: soft tissue vs bone, pointy bullet vs round, hard bullet vs soft, angle impact vs straight, emotional condition of the target (adrenalin), drugs in the body, speed of the round, multiple hits vs one hit, etc., etc. and you have a really great topic for discussion that will never resolve itself to any ones satisfaction but will provide entertainment for shooters forever.
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    I still have a box or two of Super-Vel ammo (I think). Now I gotta look through my stash of days-gone-by ammo to make sure. I may be able to sell what I have at an inflated, selfish, and egotistical price! Make a fortune and buy new ammo with only half the fortune!

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    Distinguished Member Array ericb327's Avatar
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    I thought my box of Black Talons would be worth something. They're not!
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    I remember when Super Vels came out. A friend of my Dads was a cop and he came out to the house to shoot as we lived way out in the boondocks.
    I remember him telling me that it was the latest greatest thing ever to hit mankind and that any bad guy hit with it would do several flips. He was using a dept. issued .375 Smith and Wesson.

    We set up a some 6" peices of 2x4 on the ground and proceeded to shoot them. I think I was around 16 or 17 and we spent the afternoon shooting guns.
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    Who has ever been paint balling, or been hit by a paintball? Isn't that an "energy dump"?

    Bullet technology is an evolving/growing "science". One year it seems "light&fast" is recommended, next year it is "heavy&slow".

    Did the 125gr .357 Magnum round become the standard for "one-shot-stops" because there were so many being used by law enforcement, or did the police have better shot placement back then?
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    In my experience the JHP ammunition's of the 70's & 80's mostly proved to be poor performers with erratic expansion, bullet jacket separation and limited penetration in the few instances were the bullet held together and expanded. The only hollow point load I remember giving good penetration with limited expansion was the 158gr semi wadcutter hollow point FBI load. The hype of hydrostatic shock and energy transfer of the last century as relating to handgun ammunition all sounded good in theory however I've yet to see any definitive evidence that it provides any increased stopping effect.

    My days hunting critters proved to me that a properly placed bullet that penetrates deep enough to sever the spine or blow out the heart results in the quickest cleanest kills. Poor shot placement and under penetration resulted in long tracks and lost game. Myself the recipient of a gsw through the hips & groin severing my right femoral artery and most of the sciatic nerve remained on my feet long enough to deal with the threat. Only by the grace of God (and a USN ret. Vietnam Vet Combat surgeon on duty in the ER) did I survive what should have been a mortal wound inflicted by a 158gr RNL .38 special.

    How does this relate to self defense and ammunition performance? Proper bullet placement makes for quick stops when using ammunition that consistently penetrates (intact) to the vitals (preferably through the heart to the spine). That a bullet that consistently expands while providing adequate penetration increases the amount of bone, tissue and blood vessels it destroys leading to faster incapacitation of the adversary and increasing chances for survival. Today's premium self defense ammunition offers the best JHP designs we've ever had, however expansion is secondary to penetration for them to get the job done. My .02.
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    sgb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Who has ever been paint balling, or been hit by a paintball? Isn't that an "energy dump"?

    Bullet technology is an evolving/growing "science". One year it seems "light&fast" is recommended, next year it is "heavy&slow".

    Did the 125gr .357 Magnum round become the standard for "one-shot-stops" because there were so many being used by law enforcement, or did the police have better shot placement back then?
    I've yet to see anything outside Marshall and Sanow that's used to promote this claim.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    M&S created quite a stir with their book. There is no denying, at least from what I have seen, that the 357 did seem to have a magic about it. But the " magic" did seem to vary with bullet construction put out by the big 3 at the time.

    Many people put away their " pumpkin rollers" and embraced this info, but meanwhile the old Gov Model 45Acp seemed to keep pace pretty good, even with less documented shootings using it.

    It seems a good example of two different calibers getting it done on opposite ends of the spectrum. Perhaps they both had the best balance of both extremes?
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    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Did the 125gr .357 Magnum round become the standard for "one-shot-stops" because there were so many being used by law enforcement, or did the police have better shot placement back then?
    It gained that reputation because it was a vast improvement over the available ammunition at the time. Many LEO's were using the round, departments that had been using the 38 Special +p and went to the 125 Grain 357 magnum went from having to shoot BG's 5-6 times to having to shoot then 1-2 times.

    When the US Border Patrol transitioned from 357 Magnum revolvers to 40 S&W semi auto's our hit ratio flip flopped. Before 80% of shots hit, after 20% of shots hit.


    That's the reason we want the bullets to expand. 1100 Ft/lb of energy is not delivered to a body when the bullet passes through the body and then impacts, delivering 800 Ft/lbs to the wall or whatever.
    A bullet generally sheds energy quickly, many bullets that over penetrate are frequently found close at hand. Think of driving your car into a lake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Just thinking about these ammo threads made me take a mental trip down memory lane. Of course, the ol brain ain't what it was, so I was limited in my trip, lol.
    So, I invite your thoughts, opinions or recollections from the past on this topic. I think it would be interesting to hear others perspectives, especially from those of you who can remember when it all got serious, and made gun rags and writers a ton of money!
    Let's see, memory lane= mid 1960s, first handguns and reloading. "Gospels" according to Keith, Skelton, Jordan, Astkins and of course Cooper.

    No factory loaded ammo was as good as you could load yourself. Half jacket Speer hp's and sp's. Reverse hollow base wadcutters in 38s and 357s. 200-215 swcs @ +1000fps in 1911s( only centerfire auto worth owning back then per Col. Cooper).

    9mm = bad! 45acp = good!

    JHPs for handloading that didn't expand. First 45acp factory loaded jhps that looked wicked but didn't expand. Soft lead/gas checked swchps in hot 38sp and 357 handloads for SD.

    "Gospel" of M&S.

    "Gospel" of Fackler and Doc Roberts.

    Now much of what I've learned is "obsolete" and I'm so messed up I actually own 9 - 9mms and only 7 - 45s. I do test my ammo in blue jean clad "invalid" wetpack just to compare expansion/penetration and compare results with what the "experts" got in jello. I chronograph it for my own curiosity and calculate energy even though that doesn't mean anything anymore. Maybe the only thing still valid from when I started out is I still try to be sure I can hit what I'm aiming at quickly and repeatedly.

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