Magic Number 3,000 fps?

This is a discussion on Magic Number 3,000 fps? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been reading Jeff Cooper's To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth . In the chapter "The Caliber Game" p. 168 Cooper mentions ...

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Thread: Magic Number 3,000 fps?

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    Magic Number 3,000 fps?

    I have been reading Jeff Cooper's To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth. In the chapter "The Caliber Game" p. 168 Cooper mentions the speed of the bullet should be 3,000 fps.
    I know it is probably right in front of me, but I do not understand why 3,000 fps is the 'magic' number?

    Thanks for your patience...

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    Don't really know what the good Colonel meant in context. Hunting or sniping? Don't have that book in the library. I don't see the magic in 3000 fps either. I've long since found that I like big game cartridges that operate in the 2600-3000 fps range. Don't personally care for any magnum cartridge under .30 caliber. There's nothing they will do that the .30-06 won't do. Magnums .30 caliber and above begin to romp and stomp a bit more than I find necessary. My three favorites are .257 Roberts, 7X57, and the great .30-06. Other really good rounds for general purposes in my opinion are the .250 Savage, .25-06, 6.5X55, .260 Remington, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, and .308 Winchester.

    I flip-flop though and really like the high-stepping .22 centerfires like the .22-250 and .220 Swift best. No recoil and super flat shooting for small distant targets. Great fun off the bench too.

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    I think it's more really a ''numbers'' thing - bit like breaking a speed record that might have been 295 mph - to reach the ''magic'' 300 or better!

    Then too is the correlation between fps and bullet weight ........ reduce bullet weight and often in the 30 cal category that speed can be obtained ... but not necessarily to great advantage. I too am in the camp where with .30 cal's and similar ... somewhere round the 2700 region seems very adequate.

    The high stepping .22 centerfires ... yes indeed, now there we do have some reason to go faster usefully, plus anyways IIRC a std .223 NATO will be around 3300 if barrel length adequate. 22-250 is a magic .22 - wish I had one.
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    The "magic 3000 fps" . The number is magic because industry marketing has tought us that this is the fps that you need to have a "flat" shooting rifle. In the old days it was hard to achieve, Roy Weatherby, and some wild catters were getting it done. The first super popular 3000fps cartidge was the 7mm Rem mag which took the shooting world by storm in the late sixties( I think it was the sixties). The shooting world has wanted 3000 fps in every cartridge since. In the industry 3000 fps = modern, high tech and fast. The popularity of the Rem 700 rifle is partly due to the fact that it was the first gun that chambered the 7mm mag cartridge.

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Hydrostatic shock perhaps? My .25-06 seems to drop deer faster than my .308 and it's pushing 3100+ fps. Not that the .308 doesn't work, just the faster, smaller round (+3000 fps) seems to pack a bit more wallop.

    I'm a big fan of the 7mm Rem Mag over .30-06 though, so YMMV. Yes, I know, heresy for an American to say.
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    There is something "magical" about the 3000 fps mark. I've got my .30-06 cranking at 2950 fps with a Hornady 165 SST bullet. The powder charge is 1/10 of a grain below max. That's close enough for me. Accuracy? .40" @ 100, 1.2" @ 300 yards.
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    My .204 is pushing 4200fps with a tiny little 32g pill... It's a good varmint caliber, but I'd hardly say it was magic!

    Wasn't Cooper a big fan of the .45acp? (yeah, it was a rhetorical question). Fat, heavy, and slow has it's benefits. So does small, light, and fast. Depends on what you want to do with it. There is no 'magic bullet'.
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    Allot of people are speculating on this thread. I refer to my post above as fact, but I will now speculate and say that Col. Cooper was using the term "magic" in a sarcastic tone. He could have inserted "mythical" or "extra special superdy-duper" as his adjective.

    Fact: a 2700 fps bullet generates plenty of hydrostatic shock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    Fact: a 2700 fps bullet generates plenty of hydrostatic shock.
    From around 2300-3500 fps, bullets tend to have explosive effects in tissue. Below that, they leave little 5.56-20mm holes. Not good for the target, but not catastrophically incapacitating. Above 3500 (bullet weight/jacket dependant) tha bullet may disintegrate before achieving real penetration. painful, but again, not reliably debillitating.

    3000fps is a fairly reliable mean for incapacitating a +/-200# target with a modest spread of bullet weights.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    The 3,000 fps mark pretty much separates standard loads from magnum loads in the rifle category. Most standard loads I can think of that accomplish this would be the .223 and the 22-250. Those I would consider 'hi-power' rifles. Maybe most bullet designs see their peak BC at that particular velocity? A bullet traveling at 3,000 fps has nine times the energy one traveling at 1,000 fps does. Google it and you'll find more references to the 'magic 3,000 fps'. Can't seem to find any well defined description though.

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    I'll have a go at it as there is more than one reason this is a magic number.
    1. 3,000 at the muzzle leaves enough energy to make the bullet expand well at 1-300 yards - where most big game is shot.
    2. The industry used to need this speed to get their bullets to spand properly.
    3. Rifles shooting at 3,000 need little correction out to 300 yds.
    4. Maximun tissue upset vs: bullet expansion.
    5. Although you can move bullets much faster, over 4,000, most will not hold up well to this higher velocity.
    6. Reciol for most loads is not to high at this level.
    7. It was the industry goal for many years and now has been reachable with better steel, better bullets, and powder improvements.

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