Cartridge with the highest body count?


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spittle8
March 8, 2009, 06:29 PM
A few months ago, someone said that the 7.62x54r Mosin-Nagant probably had many more kills attributable to it than the 8mm Mauser. This got me thinking...

While there is no truly accurate way of estimating overall kills attributable to any one cartridge or rifle, has there been any research into the most "lethal" firearm/cartridge?

I half-assed an estimation based on my knowledge of 19th and 20th century conflicts, and I figured on the 8mm Mauser having caused the most deaths. From there it seems hazy. .303 British undoubtedly caused millions of deaths, as did the 7.62x54r and more recently the 7.62x39 and 5.56. Anyone familiar with any studies into this issue? Feel free to share your guestimations.

I don't mean to sound... overly morbid, just curious. It is a depressing subject though. Cheers

Ross

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clemsonu0219
March 8, 2009, 06:30 PM
I would def say 7.62 x 39 has a HIGH count... think about Africa.

armoredman
March 8, 2009, 06:30 PM
Very very very few caused death all by themselves, usually trigger fingers were involved. I would have to agree that people using AKs in foriegn countries have accounted for a huge pile of bodies over the years. Your post has some unfortunate overtones, spittle.

DeathByCactus
March 8, 2009, 06:33 PM
AK47, 7.62. I look to Africa and other foreign countries with long, drawn out wars and genocide of their people.

Bill2e
March 8, 2009, 06:35 PM
This is a sick topic in some ways, but interesting in others.

Are we forgetting the .50 cal Musket Ball. That may be the winner of highest battle field casulties.

boredelmo
March 8, 2009, 06:38 PM
thought it was .22?

lol.

rcmodel
March 8, 2009, 06:49 PM
I think the .58 cal Minie-ball has to be up there towards the top somewhere.

It has killed more Americans in one war then any other caliber in any other war, at least.

rc

Officers'Wife
March 8, 2009, 06:52 PM
Cartridge? Considering all the imperial wars, WWI and WWII that would almost have to be the .303 Brit.

Bullet? I would have to go with the British Brown Bess ball. I'm not that sure but I believe was a .54 caliber.

ArmedBear
March 8, 2009, 06:57 PM
Didn't something like 20 Million Russians die in WW II?

Not sure what killed 'em.

If it was rifle fire, it'd be the 8mm Mauser, though.

Might have been the .30-06, if George S. Patton had had his way.

rcmodel
March 8, 2009, 07:01 PM
Someone with time on their hands could probably wade through this and break it down by the arms used by the army's involved.

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstats.htm

But the problem with modern wars is that, far more died of artillery, gas, bombs, torpedos, disease, and weather then died of small-arms fire.

rc

paintballdude902
March 8, 2009, 07:04 PM
is machete a cartridge?

iff not probably 8mm just because of how long it was used then the .303 and 7.62x54r then 7.62x39 .30-06 5.56

MaterDei
March 8, 2009, 07:11 PM
Yes, 20MM Russians died during WW2 but most of them were civilians who starved to death. Before, during and after the war Stalin had millions murdered, many by firing squad. I'm not sure what was used for this task but it would have to rank high on the list.

spittle8
March 8, 2009, 07:29 PM
But the problem with modern wars is that, far more died of artillery, gas, bombs, torpedos, disease, and weather then died of small-arms fire.
Exactly, which makes an estimation all the more difficult.

Very very very few caused death all by themselves, usually trigger fingers were involved. I would have to agree that people using AKs in foriegn countries have accounted for a huge pile of bodies over the years. Your post has some unfortunate overtones, spittle.
I don't want to get into that debate, people kill people not guns, but people using guns kill people. I'm not coming after your 2nd Amendment rights merely asking a question. It's a morbid topic but I don't see what unfortunate overtones I'm using.

Cartridge? Considering all the imperial wars, WWI and WWII that would almost have to be the .303 Brit.
I imagine it would definitely be near the top, but with the exception of WW1, how many people did it really kill? Take for Boer war for instance, most deaths were attributable to the non-violent genocide rather than British rifle fire. Difficult to estimate anyways.

Art Eatman
March 8, 2009, 08:19 PM
Morbid subject, but I'll guesstimate.

The '06 was used in WW I, WW II and Korea. In WW II, both the ETO and the PTO. The Mauser and the Enfield were limited to the ETO.

If you add in civilians, the 9mm Parabellum must be considered, via the Luger, the P-38 and the Schmeisser. The SS and the Gestapo stayed pretty busy.

For rifles, then, I'd guess the '06. For pistols, certainly the 9mm Parabellum.

For just WW I, probably the Mauser cartridge, due to the amount of usage in machine guns as well as rifles. SFAIK, the Germans used more of them than the Allies. Many Allied soldiers were killed via machine guns in the fruitless charges from out of the trenches.

As near as I can figure, the Japanese didn't do that much percentage of killing with rifle fire in our island invasions as they did with machine guns and explosives. I've no real clue as to their fighting in China.

No way to really know. Only guess...

CB900F
March 8, 2009, 08:36 PM
Fella's;

I'm in the 9mm camp. It was the preferred round for extermination before the gas chambers were built in Nazi Germany. Given its world-wide usage in SMG's as well as other guns, it has to be a contender.

900F

ThrottleJockey
March 8, 2009, 08:45 PM
Stalin murdered over 30,000,000 people.http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis45.html

Big Daddy Grim
March 8, 2009, 08:53 PM
I still gotta go with the 7.62 just from the number of wars still going on.

makarovnik
March 8, 2009, 09:03 PM
Many of the Russians that died in the first half of the 20th century died from disease, famine, freezing or being hung by their own countrymen.

I would vote for the 7.62 or maybe one of the popular machine gun rounds used in the two world wars.

It's a good question though and would take some research.

Among civilian deaths in the U.S. the .22 and .25 rank pretty high (I think).

Hush
March 8, 2009, 09:06 PM
At least in the US, the cartridge most commonly used in homocide is the .22lr.

earlthegoat2
March 8, 2009, 09:25 PM
I think the 45ACP has put more bullets into the same body with the St Valentines Day massacre.

divemedic
March 8, 2009, 10:03 PM
Hands down, the 8mm Mauser. Not only was it used in rifles, it was used in the Maschinengewehr 08, the German heavy machine gun. In WWI, that machine gun butchered TENS OF THOUSANDS of Allied troops in a single day of a single battle- the battle of the Somme. That one battle lasted 5 months and claimed more than 1.2 million lives. The Allies lost 5.5 million dead in that war. Being trench warfare, a high percentage of the dead were killed by small arms and machine gun fire.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 8, 2009, 10:56 PM
Well, Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, plus a LOT of Germans, so 7.62x54 or .30 Tok would be good candidates, probably.

Course the German killed lots of Allies and lots and LOTS of Ruskies with 8x57mm, so I dunno.

Fisherman_48768
March 8, 2009, 11:20 PM
Cartridge with the highest body count I don't know the exact cartridge that retains that legacy but it would be one possessed by one of the tyranical governments of the world, take your pick: Stalin, Pol Pot,Mao,Hitler,Idi Amin, Saddam, Tojo, Peron,Pinochet,Franco and lastly Castro. Probably won't be long before we will be adding that nut case in Venezula when he runs out of oil.

FM12
March 8, 2009, 11:36 PM
Fat Man and Little Boy, for "all at once" incidents.

Kind of Blued
March 8, 2009, 11:41 PM
I certainly don't think it's an American caliber.

I would guess 7.62x39 followed by .303 Brit, followed by 7.62x54r.

Why? There are more AKs than any other gun ever created, and bad guys tend to be able to find them the world over.

.303 British & the Enfield post numbers as high from African and Middle Eastern use as they do from British use, if not more.

The Russian cartridge has simply been produced in huge numbers in millions of guns and used in two World Wars by some voracious soldiers.

4Freedom
March 8, 2009, 11:49 PM
In the last 50 years , cannot we say the .223 and 7.62x39 have the highest body counts going for them? I know if we count WWII , we have to go back to the more classic calibers.

Kind of Blued
March 9, 2009, 12:09 AM
I have a big disagreement with 5.56/.223 being anywhere near the top.

Since it has been issued, the US Military has had technology which has relegated the rifleman as a sort of last defense. When the rifle is to be used seminally, intelligence and planning keep the need for fire to the lowest amount possible. Any other part of the world which has much more continual and ongoing conflict, doesn't often have another option than the AK, or whatever non-American rifle they're using.

ShadyScott999
March 9, 2009, 12:39 AM
No cartridge has killed as many as the bow & arrow, the sword, mace, axe, etc.

10,000 + years of war. Only 300 with firearms.

mbt2001
March 9, 2009, 12:51 AM
I think that the 44-40 and 45/70 most likely have underrated body counts. Indians, outlaws, border skirmishes...

divemedic
March 9, 2009, 07:09 AM
I have a big disagreement with 5.56/.223 being anywhere near the top.

I agree. The bloodiest war that the .223 has seen was Vietnam, and that was a minor skirmish when compared to other wars. The total casualty count for all participants of the Vietnam war combined was less than the allied count for the battle of the Somme.

Odnar
March 9, 2009, 07:36 AM
Are we talking human bodies only? Otherwise I'd humbly suggest 12 gauge shells. :)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 9, 2009, 11:17 AM
Good point, Odnar!

Matrix187
March 9, 2009, 02:44 PM
Definitely not the .223/5.56. 7.62x54R, 8mm mauser/7.92x57, 7.62x39, 9mm Luger, 7.62x25, and the .303 are all among the top somewhere.

Kleanbore
March 9, 2009, 03:12 PM
I think there's no way of knowing, but

The 7.62X54 was used in the First World War on the Eastern Front, the Russian Civil War, World War II on the Eastern Front, and the Korean War, and it remained in service in Viet Nam.

The 7.92X57 was used on both Eastern and Western fronts in WWI and WWII and in North Africa, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans in WWII, and by Chiang Kai-Shek's army before, during, and after WWII.

The .30-'06 was used in WWI in Europe and in all theaters in WWII (Europe, North Africa, Pacific), and in Korea.

The .303 British was used in WWI on the Western Front and in the Middle East, and in WWII on the Western Front, in North Africa and the China/Burma theater, and in numerous other conflicts.

All four were used in both infantry rifles and machine guns.

There have been a lot of 7.62X39 rounds fired but I don't think the scale of warfare compares to the big wars of the first half of the last century.

rem2429
March 9, 2009, 03:58 PM
The rifle caliber is difficult to say. I agree that is is likely 8mm mauser, or 7.62x54R - which is still in widespread use I might add. Certainly 7.62x39 and .303 have long records as well.

What I find interesting is the handgun calibers.
I would have to say the 9mm by far has the greatest numbers with the 7.62x25 a very distand second. There isn't much room for discussion here. Even the fabled .45 long colt hasn't seen conflict to the scale of the 9mm.

Duke of Doubt
March 9, 2009, 04:09 PM
Kleanbore is right to point out Chinese usage of 8mm Mauser. Between 1927 and 1949, millions and millions of Chinese were killed in their civil wars, and very few of those casualties were inflicted by high explosive. Granted, the Chinese used other cartridges, too, but 8mm Mauser led the list by a long mile.

Between that, the Somme, Passchendaele, Verdun and all that stuff that happened from 1939-1945, I think 8mm Mauser takes the title.

maksim
March 9, 2009, 06:51 PM
my vote for the 7.62.

Watch lord of war. more people die in africa that are going unnoticed. from one country to another. I think they actually give some stats on it too.

AK's are everywhere. Russia, middle east, africa. nearly all of the conflict zones, are armed by the ak, or an ak knockoff.

matrem
March 9, 2009, 07:37 PM
The lack of "any" available to civilians when the government of that unfortunate country gets a bit too power hungry.

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