Explain the whole grain weight thing in 50 words or less

Explain the whole grain weight thing in 50 words or less

This is a discussion on Explain the whole grain weight thing in 50 words or less within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know the weight of the Bullet is measured in grains right? What is the advantage or disadvantage of the weights? Why so many options? ...

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Thread: Explain the whole grain weight thing in 50 words or less

  1. #1
    Member Array Extreme Defender's Avatar
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    Explain the whole grain weight thing in 50 words or less

    I know the weight of the Bullet is measured in grains right?

    What is the advantage or disadvantage of the weights?

    Why so many options?

    Which to carry in a 3" Colt Defender?

    Any input will be appreciated.

    I always practice with Winchester White Box regardless of caliber. (just cheap at Wal-mart when you can find it).


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Heavier bullet more momentum.

    Lighter bullet more velocity, KE.

    Pick your poison, make your shots count.

  3. #3
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    There is not really a simple answer, perhaps this will shed some light.

    Bullet Weight vs. Velocity - striking the right balance is important
    Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on Sunday, September 14th, 2008
    LearnAboutGuns.com > How-To Guides and Other Info > Bullet Weight vs. Velocity - striking the right balance is important

    A rather contentious issue in the area of self defense is that of proper bullet weight/velocity - I would guess that this is second only to the “which caliber” or “which gun” question. On one side is the idea that a lighter weight but faster moving bullet is superior, while others contend that a slower moving but heaver bullet is the better option. This article addresses my thoughts on the issue:

    Why bullet weight/velocity trade off occurs
    First a quick and simple primer on the physics involved: Firearms burn gun powder to accelerate projectile(s) down the barrel and on toward the target. The amount of gun powder that can be placed in a given cartridge is limited, primarily by what the gun can handle without experiencing a catastrophic failure due to excessive pressure as the powder burns. This means that the propulsive force is limited, and the primary factors for bullet performance become bullet weight and bullet speed. Physics demands that a reduction in bullet weight will result in that bullet being accelerated to higher speeds, while an increase in bullet weight will result in that bullet being accelerated to lower speeds. In sum, you can either have a bullet that is heaver but slower, or lighter but faster. Finally, a bullet that travels faster will fall a shorter distance toward the ground on its way to its target, making aiming a bit easier at longer ranges.

    The case for a lighter weight but faster bullet
    Those who advocate for a lighter but faster bullet will point to the fact that the formula for kinetic energy is 0.5mv^2 (1/2 of the mass x the square of the velocity); meaning that a lighter bullet at a higher speed will carry more kinetic energy than a heavier bullet at lower speeds. Some will argue that “hydrostatic shock” or “energy transfer” from a high speed bullet will incapacitate the target, independent of the tissue and organs actually struck by the bullet - however this argument seems to lack any basis in fact, at least at the speeds reached by handguns, shotguns, and many rifles. Another argument in favor of a lighter but faster bullet is the likelihood of more effective and reliable performance of a hollow point bullet when it is traveling faster - this is because a hollow point bullet that is moving too slowly may not reliably expand. Finally, a lighter bullet can offer reduced recoil without sacrificing kinetic energy levels, which can matter for those physically unable or unwilling to tolerate much recoil.

    The case for a heavier but slower bullet
    Those who advocate for heavier but slower bullets will argue that bullets work for self defense by penetrating the attacker’s body and physically disrupting vital organs and tissues, not by transferring kinetic energy. They will also point out that a bullet that is way too light can fail to penetrate deeply enough to reach vital organs, making that bullet unable to stop an attacker. Finally, advocates of heavier & slower bullets will say that modern hollow points reliably expand at a wide range of velocities, including lower speeds.

    My Opinion
    I prefer bullets that are slightly lighter than normal, traveling at a slightly faster than normal speed, and believe that this combination will offer the best overall performance. Note that I say “slightly” lighter and “slightly” faster, as when taken to extremes, a very fast but very light bullet is not very effective, just as a very heavy and very slow bullet is not very effective. In the self defense scenario, a bullet’s job is to penetrate the attacker and disrupt vital organs in order to stop the attacker from continuing their attack. A slightly lighter bullet will provide the required penetration, and help ensure good expansion of hollow point bullets, while at the same time providing less recoil (which helps allow accurate follow-up shots).
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Last edited by RETSUPT99; July 7th, 2009 at 01:17 AM.
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    Member Array gold40's Avatar
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    There are 7,000 grains per pound.

    Heavier bulets go slower, and penetrate deeper.

    Lighter bullets go faster and often cause more damage.

    It remains unclear which is better for self defense. Lots of opinions.

    (33 words)

    gold40

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    Seems there should be some scientific proof one way or the other in todays world of modern technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trose49 View Post
    Seems there should be some scientific proof one way or the other in todays world of modern technology.
    I agree. We sent a man to the moon in the sixties and we can't solve this debate scientifically. I guess some things just remain a mystery.

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    Man when I was shooting those 200gr (slow) bullets at the range I sure would'nt want to be in front of one!

    Perhaps a magazine of all weight options just in case!!! LOL!---kidding

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    Gold40 +1
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    I think it's propaganda to get people to buy more ammo in an attempt to find out which one they like best.

    Just think of the time we'd all save if they only offered one type of bullet in one grain weight in each caliber.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    Great article, Retsupt99.
    God is love (1 John 4:8)

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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Remember...Lighter=faster, heavier=slower IN THE SAME CALIBER. A 124 grain 9mm won't touch the performance of the same bullet in a .357 Sig cartridge.
    Last edited by AZ Husker; July 7th, 2009 at 03:16 AM.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    When I was a kid we always heard if you cut a cross in the head of a 45 bullet it would mushroom so big it could blow your arm off,I think somebody zaggerated a little bit
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    Quote Originally Posted by trose49 View Post
    Seems there should be some scientific proof one way or the other in todays world of modern technology.
    It does seem that way, but the problem is that there are too many variables in each individual self-defense situation to account for everything....
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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    There is actually a lot of "science" out there in reference to bullet weights, velocities, etc. when it comes to effectiveness. The problem is that depending on who's science one looks at the answer is different.

    There are basically two camps, light and fast is better and heavy and slow is better. Each side has "science" to support their claims.

    What do I like?

    9x19mm-Light to midweight and fast, 115-127 gr at 1200fps+
    .38 Special-Medium to Heavy and slower, but still +P, 135-158 grain, 850-900fps
    .357 Magnum-Medium and fast, 125-145 gr, 1300+fps
    .44 Special-Heavy and slow, 240 grain, 750-800fps
    .45 ACP-Heavy and slow, 230 grain, 800-875fps

    YMMV
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Carry the weight that best hits to the point of aim of your sights, and don't worry about the rest.

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