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Does Energy Count In Handgun Calibers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by kokapelli, Oct 28, 2012.

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Do you think energy counts in handgun calibers?

Poll closed Nov 27, 2012.
  1. Yes

    208 vote(s)
    79.1%
  2. No

    49 vote(s)
    18.6%
  3. Don't know

    6 vote(s)
    2.3%
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  1. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Energy is a measurement. I suspect the question that the OP is trying to ask is: Do you believe energy correlates strongly with effectiveness of a handgun round, or is there a better predictive measure?

    Energy is out of fashion right now along with fast-and-small bullets. For a long time, people engaged in some magical thinking about "energy dump" by itself being the primary incapacitation or killing mechanism of handgun rounds. The debunkers assembled empirical data suggesting that the primary method of forcible incapacitation is, instead, intersection of the wound channel with something immediately required for survival/aggression/action.

    Many who are drawn to debunking and/or who crave a definitive and simple world-view went on to conclude that this is the ONLY meaningful mechanism of incapacitation. If one takes that view, then energy is important only to the extent that it predicts the dimensions of the wound channel. There are other calculations and experimentations that predict the wound channel better than energy, so energy is not viewed as being the most important number at the moment.

    I have my suspicions that things are more complex, and that there are some shock/pressure/cavity incapacitation mechanisms that sometimes come into play. There are still a lot of "one shot stops" to explain where the CNS wasn't touched if a bullet is nothing more than a loud hole-punch.

    Only a fool would take Wikipedia to be the gospel truth, but some of the controversy is laid out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

    In the end, nobody yet KNOWS the truth of this matter. There are competing theories, each of which has some evidence. Keep an open but skeptical mind.
     
  2. ozo

    ozo Member

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    "It's interesting to see how people see what they want to see, isn't it."---

    PERFECTLY !
     
  3. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Well, almost anyone's JHP looks good in promo pics. Take a look at the test in calibrated 10% ballistic gel. Sure, the newer 147s expand and penetrate but they don't equal the total wound volumes created by the better 124 +Ps and +P+ that penetrate as well as the standard pressure 147s. For that reason, if I used a 147 gr. JHP load, it would be rated +P because of better expansion and total wound volume compared to the standard pressure 147. If you want to post something meaningful, post some pics comparing the 124 +P and +P+ loads compared to 147 gr. Standard pressure loads tested in ballistic gel. ;)
     
  4. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Not necessarily....

    I work with a young lady who has the nickname "bullet-head".
    She was hit in the head by a stray bullet (probably by some idiot shooting in to the air).
    She didn't even know she had been shot at first....she thought a bee had stung her, but it wouldn't stop bleeding.
    She went to the hospital and an X-ray showed that it was a slug.
    The doctor removed it and it was a .22 slug...she still has it today.
    It didn't fracture or enter the skull.

    Now imagine if it has been a .50 round!!!

    Yes, shot placement is king.
    But with equal shot placement the more energized round is going to perform better.
     
  5. 481

    481 Member

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    Actually, the 147s produce slightly greater wound volumes than the 124 +Ps and +P+s and don't need those elevated pressures to do so.

    The 147 gr +Ps only leave the barrel ~50 fps faster than the standard pressure 147s- heck, that's less than the variance between most of the pistols that it'll be fired in.

    According to the Schwartz bullet penetration model, an increase of 50 fps in a 147 gr JHP that expands to 0.65" will only give you about 3/10ths inch more penetration over the slower standard pressure 147 gr. JHPs @ 1000 fps. It's a negligible difference.

    Nah, I'm good- already posted something meaningful. ;)
     
  6. hammerklavier

    hammerklavier Member

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    Energy: the ability to do work (in this case, make holes in things). It's got to be important. I think the question you were trying to ask is, "Should I use light for caliber, high energy rounds, or heavy rounds with greater momentum/penetration?"
     
  7. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Actually, all you've posted are your opinions. Nothing meaningful about it. Like I said, post the gel test pics. For one thing better +P 147s are traveling from 1125 FPS or faster whereas the standard pressure 147 is subsonic producing less than 1000 FPS at the muzzle and usually less at about 950 FPS. The disparity is considerably greater than 50 FPS.

    I have yet to see a gel test where 147s were producing greater wound volumes than 124 +P or +P+. Show me the money!

    It may be negligible to you but at .65" diameter and 3/10" deeper penetration still equates to greater wound volume and your assumption that a +P 147 is only going 50 FPS is absolutely wrong unless you've managed to find the weakest 147 +P I've ever heard of. ;)
     
  8. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Energy helps (more that is), weight helps, bullet diameter helps, bullet design helps, but really shot placement helps the most.

    Deaf
     
  9. 481

    481 Member

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    Funny- so have you. ;)

    Lighten up, dude.

    Those are the specs for the Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2) and Federal HST 147 gr JHP +P (P9HST4).

    Your "better 147 gr +Ps", whatever those are :confused:, are nothing more than a vague superlative meant to distract from the issue under discussion.

    Then you haven't seen many tests.

    Look 'em up, they're easy enough to find.

    The difference isn't even significant, it'd have to be a lot more to rise to the level of being "negligible". It's barely a rounding error.

    An increase of just 3/10ths of an inch of penetration with an expanded JHP (@ 0.65") amounts to a difference of just 1.6 grams (or about 6/100ths of an ounce) of damaged tissue according to the Schwartz bullet penetration model.

    For the sake of comparison, the MacPherson bullet penetration model concurs with those results yielding an increase of just 1.2 grams (or about 4/100ths of an ounce) of additional crushed tissue for that extra 3/10ths of an inch.

    As for the quoted muzzle velocities, check out the specs for the Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2 is 1000fps) and Federal HST 147 gr JHP +P (P9HST4 is 1050fps)- it's all there.
     
  10. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Here we have it.

    An "adequate" size and type bullet moving at an "adequate" speed is not significantly inferior to a bullet 50% bigger doing the same. The bigger bullet may have "more" energy, but it's effectiveness for SD is not 50% better.

    So, yes energy matters up to a point; but not in a linear proportion up to practical sized SD handgun calibers.. A bowling ball would be near 100% effective at the proper speed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  11. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Energy does all sorts of things, like push bullets faster. The transfer of energy INTO a creature also causes shock - the more energy the more shock.
     
  12. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    There really isn't a better 147 bullet for defense use than the HST, it is one of the best in class for expansion and consistency, it reliably gets between twelve and thirteen inches of penetration in comparative testing, and it is one of the least sensitive JHP designs as far as clothing is concerned.

    You may be able to buy a 147 going faster, or a 124 putting up better energy numbers, but you really can't use objective testing and claim that any of them work better than the 147 HST does.

    It also apparently has done quite well for police departments who have had shootings while carrying it.

    Spend some time here, this company has put a lot of money into research and development, and has put on a lot of test seminars comparing various service calibers.

    http://le.atk.com/wound_ballistics/load_comparison/load_comparison.aspx

    Here's a comparison of the 124, 124+P, and 147 HST, along with the 115+P+ and 124+P Gold Dots. They all seem to work pretty well, doesn't really seem like differences in energy numbers have as much of an impact as choosing a well-designed bullet does.
     
  13. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Well, I'm glad you could find 1 example. There are +P loads available from Double-Tap, Buffalo Bore that are rated 1125 FPS or higher and Underwood Ammo has a 147 gr. JHP rated at 1175 FPS and +P+. They all use bonded bullets. Stick that in your theoretical Mcpherson modeler. No need to be in LE to buy from any of these companies either.

    You can also go to Hornady's website and check out the new 135 gr. +P Critical Duty that is clearly better than a standard pressure 147 and it passes all FBI barrier penetration tests.

    The only reason to use standard pressure 147 gr. JHPs is if you're recoil sensitive. Any serious shooter should be able to master 124 gr. +P or +P+ JHPs. If not consider the 135 gr. +P Critical Duty. ;)
     
  14. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    But what you don't see is the total wound volume these bullets produce in ballistic gel. You can go to www.m4carbine.net and see a fairly good stahdard pressure 147 @ around 1025 FPS which is about as good as it gets for standard pressure 147s and compare it to the 124 gr. JHP shown that is also standard pressure and the wound volume is both larger and better defined with the 124 gr. JHP load. Move up to 124 gr. +P or +P+ and it's a whole different ball game. ;)
     
  15. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Edited.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  16. maskedman504

    maskedman504 Member

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    Would you rather get kicked in the jewels by a five year old or kicked in the kneecap by a donkey?

    Neither.
     
  17. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    What does any of this have to do with the subject of this thread?
     
  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    In fairness to the heavy-for-caliber crowd, ballistic gel may show "wound volume" that would be temporary wound cavity in humans that is within the elastic range of tissue. In other words, the impressively large-diameter wound volume may only predict a temporary, non-wounding displacement of tissue in a human, even if the displacement remains in gel.

    That said, having your organs moved around can be an overwhelming sensation. Temporary wound cavities may not cause bleeding, but I tend to think the overpoweringly unpleasant and visceral sensation it gives probably incapacitates, at least for a bit, quite a few people hit by bullets. As I mentioned earlier, there are still a lot of one-shot stops by light and fast bullets that don't kill to explain. The Facklerites tend to hand-wave those as "psychological" stops, but stops they remain. Heck, if a bullet somehow instantly transforms a criminal aggressor into a pacifist, then that's good enough - in fact, it's perfect.
     
  19. 481

    481 Member

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    Now, now......there's no need to be rude. I'd remind you of rule 4 of the THR CoC, posted here for your convenience-

    4. Spamming, trolling, flaming, and personal attacks are prohibited. You can disagree with other members, even vehemently, but it must be done in a well-mannered form. Attack the argument, not the arguer.

    Do try to be civil.

    If you have misgivings or lack an understanding of these models (Schwartz, MacPherson), you might do yourself a favor and read one or two of the two books.

    Well , we were discussing 124s and 147s, so I am not sure why you are changing horses mid-stream. I see no proof that the 135s are "better" than the 147s or the 124s- again, all I see is another superlative tossed out with no explanation.

    I was unaware that the 124s were intended for "serious shooters" (another undefined superlative again? :confused: )- I think all of those rounds (115s, 124s, 135s and 147s) are pretty serious rounds.

    So how is that it takes a "serious shooter" to master the 124s?
     
  20. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The old axiom states that nothing is everything, but everything is something.

    Too many people make a choice based on energy figures alone, and the picture is much bigger. For one thing, muzzle energy doesn't represent impact energy because energy and momentum are velocity dependent. And...The faster the bullet is moving when it hits the air, the more rapid it decelerates. So...The faster, more "energetic" bullet will lose more of that velocity and energy than a slower bullet, even of the same mass...at any distance further than about five feet. The faster/harder the bullet hits the air, the faster/harder the air hits the bullet. Newton's 3rd Law is always lurking.

    Also...

    Energy...velocity...momentum...are all variable, while only mass is constant.

    Thus...The heavier, slower bullet will close the energy gap with the faster, lighter bullet as distances increase.

    That Newton and his pesky 3rd Law. Always spoilin' the show.
     
  21. 481

    481 Member

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    Yeah, his second law is a real pain in the neck, too. :D
     
  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Well, all else being equal. A heavier wadcutter isn't going to run down a boat-tail spitzer just because it's 10 grains heftier.
     
  23. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    I haven't seen too many boat-tailed spitzer bullets in handgun calibers, have you?

    :pullchain:
     
  24. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    No, at least not if you don't count the current craze for rifles-sans-stocks.

    And I knew what 1911Tuner meant. He's ordinarily VERY precise, though, and I simply wanted to give an illustration that showed that there were some other factors in there. For most defensive handgun bullets, I'm not sure it matters much. Of course, for defensive handgunning, I'm not sure the comparative velocity loss matters very much either... it takes space and time for the start-slow-finish-fast bullet to first match/exceed the velocity of the decaying fast-starter. (One could easily descend into a Zeno's paradox discussion if one weren't careful.)
     
  25. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    I think you have not yet mentioned the importance of bullet design in service pistol calibers and how it affects their behavior in tissue.

    It's the single most important aspect of a defensive handgun bullet, and the only one that makes any real difference, provided you are within the reasonable limits of the discussion.

    '147' grain loads do not all behave the same, and their differences are not the result of different speeds and energy figures, because they are all close enough. Same goes for the lighter bullets, they aren't really moving that much faster than the heavyweights, not enough to make the specific bullet in question less important.
     
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