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Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull...Heavy and Slow versus Lighter and Fast for penetration?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Southern Shooter, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Southern Shooter

    Southern Shooter Well-Known Member

    At close distances, 25 yards or less, which would be more effective to achieve deep penetration with less recoil?

    1) 1,000-1,200 fps
    hardcast, wide flat meplat, fast, lighter bullet
    example: http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-265T-D.png

    2) 900-1,000 fps
    hardcast, wide flat meplat, slow, heavy bullet
    example: http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-360V-D.png

    My reason for this post is that I keep reading conflicting information...at least conflicting to me. There seems to be so much emphasis put on velocity, or heavy weight bullets, then a combination of both. Then, there seems to be the argument that so much velocity is not needed. That a heavy, slower moving bullet, of a wide flat nose, and hard-cast is the route to take to deep penetration and bone crushing results.

    Keep in mind that the distance in mind is short...25 yards or less.


    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I can't claim to be an authority on the subject but I can't think of anything in North America that can not be taken with a 360 gr large meplat moving at about 1000 fps.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  3. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    First; 1000 to 1200 fps isn't fast from a .454 Casull.
    Of your two examples I would bet a lot that the 360 gr @ 1K fps to be the penetration winner. Might want to read up on "sectional density".
    John Linebaugh has written several articles discussing .45 caliber pistol penetration, albeit from a .45 Colt.
    Might google him and read the articles.
  4. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    Your loads ain't fast or heavy. For the casull 400gr and 1400 fps second is getting up there. Your loads are much more mid range. Hardcast bullets would be for griz, moose or buffalo. Soft point for black bear and all other things. But stay heavy.
  5. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Heavy and slow is the proven combination for deep penetration. Exhaustive testing has shown that 1200fps is really the balance point. Going much beyond that is an exercise in extreme diminishing returns because recoil increases significantly but actual on-game performance does not. So your 360gr at 1000fps is going to penetrate and perform better no matter how fast you were able to push the 265gr.

    A 360gr is really as heavy as you want to go in a .45 sixgun for optimal penetration.
  6. ms6852

    ms6852 Well-Known Member

    Another thing to remember in layman terms is that the closer you are to your target penetration will be less because most of the energy is transferred upon impact and the bullet mushrooms alot more. Upon longer distance the bullet is now travelling slower and there is not much energy transfer so the bullet will maintain its shape and thus penetrate more.
  7. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    That is because you cannot get both relative to a particular caliber's operational pressure.
    Both would be somewhere in between, closer to a standard load.

    A big consideration for handguns is barrel length. While published manufacturer's data may suggest X FPS for a given load it is often from some larger than typical barrel.
    Say a 10" test barrel.
    When you use some snubby or short barrel the lighter faster loads tend to lose a lot more velocity because they need more barrel to reach and maintain velocity increasing pressures.
    While heavier loads lose a lot less overall velocity from shorter barrels, reaching operational pressure within fewer inches of barrel travel.
    The result is lighter fast loads tend to lose significant energy in short barrels and heavy slow loads are closer to advertised.

    However if you can actually reach higher velocity, increased velocity will often be more effective for calibers that already have far more power penetration than necessary for the expected target.
    So it depends on barrel length and the anticipated target to determine how much of a percentage of power or effectiveness you sacrifice going in either direction.
    You can trade increased energy and expansion for penetration in either direction, and so determining what is optimal requires determining the necessary penetration for a particular target. Then weighing it against actual sacrifices expected for a given barrel length.

    What is the barrel length? What do you want it to be most effective against?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  8. Southern Shooter

    Southern Shooter Well-Known Member

    What is the barrel length? What do you want it to be most effective against?

    Zoogster, "What is the barrel length? What do you want it to be most effective against?"

    .454 Casull with a 2 1/2" barrel. I would like it to be capable of defending myself against larger bears and other large animals.


    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    Myself, I shoot an in-between weight of bullet but in solid copper Barnes XPB.
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    This 'might' be relevant if we were not discussing heavy hardcast bullets from a 2" revolver.
  11. Southern Shooter

    Southern Shooter Well-Known Member

    360 grain bullet it will be....

    Ok, I have made a decision, changed it, and now, have gone back. I allowed myself to doubt my original decision about going with the heavier bullet. I sometimes forget to shut off the outside chatter once my research has been completed and my decision is made based on solid information.

    After reading again John Linebaugh's articles and actually talking with him on the phone a couple times I am thoroughly convinced that bullet mass is the constant always in my favor. And, with a 360 grain bullet, that I could load it up or down to match my needs at that time.

    I don't mind the forceful push of a heavy load. It is the "snap" of a hot load that I don't enjoy...much like when loading up my 2 3/4" barreled .357 Magnums. Not pleasant on my wrist.

    So, I am going with a 360 grain bullet. Am, putting in my order this week for a mold. I feel at peace with that decision.

    Thanks folks....
  12. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    Good decision.
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    This. Keep in mind also that you're dealing with hardcast lead slugs. They're hard, but they're still lead. The more you push the velocity, the more you deform the slug and risk a breakup. I don't know if you'd reach that range with any handgun, but you can certainly deform the slug. Conversely, when you use heavy, high sectional density slugs they will penetrate tissue like crazy even at pretty sedate velocities. And of course the ft. lbs. themselves don't mean squat to a big animal. It's the hole that does the work.
  14. ghoster

    ghoster Well-Known Member

    360 gr. out of a 2 1/2 barrel ---- thats gotta sting! :evil:

    I have the s/w 460 with 8 3/8 barrel fully loaded that beast weighs like 6 lbs and still has a respectable kick.

    I love the 454 cal and hunt deer with the 300 gr loads, took a quick shot this year at 50 yd. and it punched a hole through the first shoulder and completely destroyed the other one, I have no doubt that 360 gr. hardcast would be devestating at 25 yd. provided you do your part. I have a devil of a time with accuracy with snubbies at that kind of range, though a bear is a pretty big target.:p
  15. roscoe

    roscoe Well-Known Member

    I believe the Poncelot calculation is the relevant one for penetration, and it shows that mass is far more important than speed.
  16. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I have a video from F.A. that shows them pushing over 2000 fps with a 300 grain JHP. Hand loading data is also showing plenty of significanty higher velocities than 1200 fps with that big bore.

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