Chart for Ranking Penetration of Various Rifle Calibers?


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scotjute
March 10, 2013, 11:41 AM
Is there a chart or information somewhere that ranks the various rifle calibers in terms of penetration ability? Know this would be somewhat dependent on bullet type powder, and the media being penetrated, but assuming the variables were standardized, how would the various calibers rank with each other?

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rcmodel
March 10, 2013, 12:04 PM
No chart that I'm aware of.
Way to many variables.

Penetration is a result of a combination of things including, bullet shape, bullet construction, bullet weight, sectional density, or length for caliber, impact speed, and the type of medium impacted.

But in general, with soft point hunting type bullets, going up in caliber & bullet weight results in more penetration.

IE: A 180 grain 30-06 going 3,000 FPS will penetrate more then a 60 grain .223 going 3,000 FPS.
And a 500 grain .458 Mag will penetrate more then a 180 grain 30-06.
Or a 30-06 Armor Piercing bullet will penetrate more then a soft point.

rc

CA Raider
March 10, 2013, 12:11 PM
i really find this guy below to be very helpful with info related to handgun and rifle penetration.
PLUS - he's just plain funny.
nothing beats seeing what a bullet will really go through.
this guy as made a "living" - and had a blast - finding out the answers.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/

CA R

3006mv
March 10, 2013, 12:14 PM
220 swift would be an exception small fast high penetration search p.o. ackley

rcmodel
March 10, 2013, 12:15 PM
That related to penetrating steel armor.

For that, velocity is king.

Elephants or moose?
Not so much.

rc

Andrew Leigh
March 10, 2013, 12:22 PM
Although not a list in decending order this site is one of the best I have seen as a hunter / shooter. The first link is to the main page, the second link to a specific page to give you an idea of the data contained.

http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/ballistics/wounding.html

http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/ballistics/methods.html#medium_bore

benEzra
March 10, 2013, 12:39 PM
Ranking a list of rifle calibers by average bullet mass would be a good first approximation, if you are talking about penetration in animals or in building materials. Within each caliber, fragile JHP and SP will penetrate less than FMJ or solids, and lighter bullets within each caliber will tend to penetrate less than heavier bullets, but comparing caliber-to-caliber, looking at bullet mass is a decent rule of thumb. For example, .45-70 and some 12-gauge slugs have pretty remarkable penetration despite low velocities, and .223 doesn't penetrate all that much with any load short of restricted AP (compared to other rifle calibers).

The_Armed_Therapist
March 10, 2013, 01:12 PM
Momentum... Mass X Velocity.

It isn't "perfect," but in my experience is quite accurate.

150-grain bullet @ 2820 (most FMJ BT .308) = 423,000
300-grain bullet @ 2000 (.45-70) = 600,000
55-grain bullet @3200 (.223) = 176,000

3006mv
March 10, 2013, 07:20 PM
I realize p o ackley did tests regarding penetration of steel plate but that being said i think 220 swift would still penetrate the hide of a moose or elephant, probably take down a moose if hit right broadside, wouldn't consider using for an elephant. OP didn't mention if it was for hunting humanely, just mentioned different media for penetration.

HOOfan_1
March 10, 2013, 07:53 PM
Momentum... Mass X Velocity.

It isn't "perfect," but in my experience is quite accurate.

150-grain bullet @ 2820 (most FMJ BT .308) = 423,000
300-grain bullet @ 2000 (.45-70) = 600,000
55-grain bullet @3200 (.223) = 176,000

also sectional density

jmr40
March 11, 2013, 10:13 AM
how would the various calibers rank with each other?

It is not calibers as much as bullet construction and sectional density. Long bullets in relation to their caliber penetate deeper. For example a 170 gr 30-30 bullet will outpentrate a 200 gr 35 bullet all other things being equal.

This is a study done by the Alasks game and fish dept back in the 80's to determine the effectiveness of bear defense guns. I've seen published reports from others who came away with similar results, but don't have internet access to the results.

Several pages into the study there is a chart showing penetration of several different chamberings and bullet styles. You have to really pay attention because several chamberings are listed multiple times with different bullets. The 30-06 is only average with some bullets, but with 220 gr Partitions it outpenetrates everything but the 375 magnum.

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152

Traditionally heavy, slow bullets offer good penetration because the bullets hold together, while many lighter faster bullets would break up on impact and give poor penetration. That is no longer true with many modern bullet designs.

The newer solid copper hollow point bullets such as the Barnes bullets have changed the rules. A traditonal lead bullet in a copper jacket loses about 30-50% of its weight on impact. That means a 180 gr bullet fired from a 300 mag at about 3000 fps will only weigh around 90-125 gr after impact.

A 150 gr Barnes bullet fired from a 30-06 at about the same speed will retain 100% of its weight on impact. It will outpenetrate and do more damage because it will weigh more after impact.

matrem
March 11, 2013, 04:24 PM
With expanding bullets, I believe the variables may give even Einstein a headache.

Somebody mentioned .220 swift, so I'll add this:
I've killed quite a few g-hogs with .22 centerfires and highly frangible bullets. At similar ranges .222s &.223s have shown me a better chance of exiting a large g-hog than those same 50 & 55gr bullets fired from .22/250 or .220 swift which are impacting 300-400 fps faster.

Yep.
Way too many variables.

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