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Does Energy Count In Handgun Calibers?

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

?

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. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Member

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    J.Edgar Hoover carried a 32 Colt revolver if that means anything!;)
     
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    It's reported that John Browning's favored carry gun was the Colt 1903 Pocket Model.
     
  3. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Is it actually a better stopper?

    You keep upholding Marshal and Sanow's work as the one true set of data regarding actual shootings, but what you haven't mentioned is that in order to try to have a usable set of data, they threw out a large amount of shooting reports because either the target was hit more than once or was hit in a part of the body they felt disqualified the shooting from being usable in one to one comparisons.

    Naturally a heavier recoiling weapon is going to be better represented in a list of single-hit stops, because an equal shooter with a lighter recoiling weapon is better able to land successive hits, giving the target less time to cease their activity before being shot again.
     
  4. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    In the M&S one shot stop data the 125 gr. JHP in .357 is #1 and easily better than the 158 gr. JHP in .357 Magnum. The only load that rivals the 125 gr. JHP in .357 is 3 or 4 loads of 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP. So their data does not always favor lighter faster bullets. I'll put my money where my mouth is because I use the Remington 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP. Here in Texas the DPS used the .357 Magnum as their service weapon almost as soon as .357 Magnum revolvers became available. When Jacketed hollow-points came on the seen the DPS began using the 125 gr. JHP and did so until they transitioned to autoloaders not so many years ago. The 125 gr. .357 has a sterling record with the DPS so when they did their testing to select their new service pistol and cartridge, they looked for the round that came closest to performing like the 125 gr. .357 Magnum and the only round that passed their test was the .357 SIG. No subsonic passed the testing. Tell me, what LE agency has more actual gunfighting experience than the Texas DPS and Rangers? Nobody but the US Border Patrol and that's happened in recent years.

    I keep referring to M&S because it's the only data that covers real world gun battles and not just testing theories in ballistic gelatin. Of course they threw out shootings where more than one shot was fired. How else can you compare one load/caliber directly to another load/caliber. You do the same thing when testing in ballistic gel. One round compared to one round. ALL one shot events were included in the data regardless of where the bullet impacted the perp. Don't take my word for it, anyone that's interested can go to: www.stoppingpower.net where Evan Marshall participates in his own forum.

    I don't consider the one shot stop data to be the be-all end-all, but I do believe that there were enough shootings to conclude Ed Sanow's theory concerning the 400 - 600 Ft/Lb window. I also believe that Fackler got it right with the 12" minimum penetration standard. I just don't buy into one single theory where the only evidence is ballistic gel testing or cadavers that may have been shot multiple times. I believe it's useful, I just also believe the one shot stop data is useful as well. More recent ballistic experts are making claims about loads like the California Highway Patrol's success with the 180 gr. JHP in .40 S&W but the data is very skewed and does include perps that were shot multiple times. How are you going to compare one round to another when a perp has been struck by multiple bullets?

    We have better bullets today for sure and there may be some that will get it done at under 400 Ft/Lbs but the standard pressure 147 gr. JHP in 9mm only develops 326 Ft/Lbs @ 1000 FPS velocity. That's just not enough for me to bet my life on. We all know that it takes more skill to control heavier recoil, but do you guys actually consider 124 gr. +P JHPs in 9mm hard to control. I cut my teeth on magnum revolvers and find the 124 +P pretty easy to control. But like I said, my carry load is the 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP and I can shoot it as fast and accurate as I need to. ;)
     
  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    The 147gr Federal HST expands more and penetrates less than the 124gr +P GDHP. This is just further evidence that bullet construction and momentum are far more critical than energy in terminal ballistics.

    We'll leave out that M&S so-called data set is seriously flawed, fails under scientific scrutiny, and was very likely fabricated.
     
  6. x_wrench

    x_wrench Member

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    probably not so much in the smaller ones. those basically push a hole into its target, allowing blood to leak out. but in the big, hunting guns it definitely does.
     
  7. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    Your beliefs about "just testing theories in ballistic gelatin" are incorrect:

    "Given all the wound ballistic data that has been published over the past two decades, I am surprised regarding the continued amount of misinformation being perpetuated about this subject, especially in light of the voluminous results available from CONUS OIS [officer involved shooting] incidents, as well as OCONUS combat results. Anyone who has actually taken the time to read the research (not just peruse the internet) will clearly realize that far from being the "dark ages" we are now in the "Renaissance" of wound ballistics.

    "A variety of equally important methodologies are used for terminal performance testing, including actual shooting incident reconstruction, forensic evidence analysis, and post-mortem data and/or surgical findings; properly conducted ethical animal test results; and laboratory testing—this includes the use of tissue simulants proven to have correlation with living tissue. Both diagnostic imaging (radiograph, CT, MRI) and high speed video are frequently used tools. Some individuals seem to be under the mistaken impression that one of these areas is more important than others--this is not the case, as each category provides important information to researchers.

    "The IWBA published some of Gene Wolberg’s material from his study of San Diego PD officer involved shootings that compared bullet performance in calibrated 10% ordnance gelatin with the autopsy results using the same ammunition. When I last spoke with Mr. Wolberg in May of 2000, he had collected data on nearly 150 OIS incidents which showed the majority of the 9mm 147 gr bullets fired by officers had penetrated 13 to 15 inches and expanded between 0.60 to 0.62 inches in both human tissue and 10% ordnance gelatin. Several other agencies with strong, scientifically based ammunition terminal performance testing programs have conducted similar reviews of their shooting incidents with much the same results--there is an extremely strong correlation between properly conducted and interpreted 10% ordnance gelatin laboratory studies and the physiological effects of projectiles in actual shooting incidents.

    "The last decade of OCONUS military operations have provided a tremendous amount of combat derived terminal performance information. The U.S. government gathered numerous experts from a variety of disciplines, including military and law enforcement end-users, trauma surgeons, aero ballisticians, weapon and munitions engineers, and other scientific specialists to form the Joint Service Wound Ballistic Integrated Product Team to conduct a 4 year, 6 million dollar study to determine what terminal performance assessment best reflected the actual findings noted in combat the past few years. The test protocol that was found to be correct, valid, and became the agreed upon JSWB-IPT “standard” evolved from the one first developed by Dr. Fackler at LAIR in the 1980’s, promoted by the IWBA in the 1990’s, and used by most reputable wound ballistic researchers.

    "The JSWB-IPT, FBI BRF, AFTE, and other organizations get to assess an extensive amount of post-shooting forensic data. The whole raison d'être of these independent, non-profit organizations is to interpret and disseminate information that will help LE and military personnel more safely and effectively perform their duties and missions. Physiological damage potential is the only metric that has been shown to have any correlation with field results in actual shooting incidents, based on law enforcement autopsy findings, as well as historical and ongoing combat trauma results. In other words a damage-based metric has relevance to and accurately reflects the real world, while other measures of "lethality" and "incapacitation" are elaborate fantasy games of mathematical calculations and engineering statistics that fail to truly reflect the fact that in the gritty realm of face-to-face combat, incapacitating the enemy is about rapidly inflicting sufficient physiological damage to the enemy’s critical anatomic structures in order to stop that opponent from continuing to be a lethal threat. The FBI BRF, NSWC Crane, USMC, and USSOCOM are all using physiological damage based metrics.

    "Folks who choose to ignore these documented and verified facts may not like this, but based on all of this carefully collected, independently validated, real-world derived data the wounding characteristics an optimal combat/LE/personal defense rifle projectile are well known."

    -- DocGKR: http://www.m4carbine.net/showpost.php?p=1375793&postcount=97


    See - "Reality of the Street? A Practical Analysis of Offender Gunshot Wound Reaction for Law Enforcement" at - http://www.firearmstactical.com/tacticalbriefs/volume4/number2/article421.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  8. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    In regard to the OP's question: Does Energy Count in Handgun Calibers?

    "As clearly illustrated in the relevant scientific literature over the past 20 years, kinetic energy or momentum transfer from a projectile to tissue is not a wounding mechanism. For that matter, neither is velocity. The amount of energy "deposited" in the body by a bullet is approximately equal to the amount transferred to the body when a person is hit by a fast pitch baseball. The amount of kinetic energy "deposited" or momentum transferred to a body by a projectile is not directly proportional to the amount of tissue damaged and is not a measure of wounding power. Wounds of vastly differing severity can be inflicted by bullets of identical velocity, kinetic energy, and momentum. What the bullet does in the body--whether it yaws, deforms, or fragments, how deeply it penetrates, and what tissue it passes through is what determines wound severity, not velocity, kinetic energy, or momentum."

    DocGKR - http://www.m4carbine.net/showpost.php?p=577782&postcount=8

    And...

    "Kinetic energy is simply a measure of the work potential of a projectile. As noted above, although part of the equation, kinetic energy in and of itself it is not a predictor of incapacitation effectiveness. Recall:

    "-- Bullets cannot physically knock down a person by the force of their impact.
    "-- Kinetic energy or momentum transfer from a projectile to tissue is not a wounding mechanism.
    "-- The amount of "energy" deposited or momentum transferred to a body by a projectile is not directly proportional to the amount of tissue damage and is not a measure of wounding power.
    "-- Wounds of vastly differing severity can be inflicted by bullets with identical kinetic energy and momentum.

    "What a bullet does inside the body--whether it yaws, deforms, or fragments, how deeply it penetrates, and what tissue it passes through is what determines wound severity, not KE!"

    DocGKR - http://www.m4carbine.net/showpost.php?p=1171547&postcount=6
     
  9. 481

    481 Member

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    Well said. :)

    It is good see that there are others who "get it"... I mean, besides Shawn. :D
     
  10. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    In regard to "QUANTITATIVE AMMUNITION SELECTION" I remember a test done sometime back that showed JHP rounds that did not expand in gelatin would frequently expand in water, which brings into question "how reliable is shooting into water" a good gauge of bullet expansion?
     
  11. 481

    481 Member

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    That's a good question.

    In their respective books, Schwartz (QUANTITATIVE AMMUNITION SELECTION) and MacPherson (BULLET PENETRATION) both explain that so long as both test mediums (in this case gelatin and water) have equal densities, the dynamic pressure (P = ½V^2) that initiates and drives expansion is also equal.

    On the first page of Chapter 2 of his book, Schwartz does a good job of satisfying this claim-

    -and actually shows his work (the math) which allowed me to further understand why both mediums are valid without talking waaaay over my head. There's also a supporting reference to Applied Wound Ballistics: What’s New and What’s True written by Dr. Fackler that states-

    From the QAS website FAQ-

    MacPherson also explains it referring to the same paper by Fackler (MacPherson also advocates water tests as a valid test method), but sometimes I found myself getting lost in the lengthy (but not quite "run-on") sentences. :eek:

    Bullets do weird stuff and are unpredictable. Sometimes they don't expand in water either, but that doesn't mean that either medium is questionable. It is more likely a problem with the construction/manufacture of the bullet.

    Although I have my favorite, both books are excellent reading for anyone interested in the topic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  12. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    ^^^^ I agree, both books are a must read if one wishes to gain an informed understanding of WTI. There's a great amount of information to be learned by studying the IWBA articles that are available online.

    FWIW, the 357 magnum attained its lethal performance reputation long before there were jacketed hollow point bullets on the market. The 158gr round nose lead bullet gave way to to the 158gr semi jacket hollow point during the mid to late 60s as I understand it. The 125gr SJHPs were developed during the mid 70s. I entered LE after returning from Vietnam and the only ammunition we carried was the Remington 158gr SJHPs.

    During the peak decades of 357mag carry, we trained to keep shooting until the threat of return fire was eliminated. I've never understood the logic of one shot stops as a determining factor for bullet effectiveness, never during our training were we taught to fire one shot and wait to see if the threat was neutralized.
     
  13. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    In the case you cite, the 124 gr. Gold Dot +P has both higher energy and momentum compared to the 147 gr. HST.

    When you say the M&S data is flawed you should consider the source of it's biggest detractors. Most of 'em have an axe to grind because M&S data showed that sometimes a faster lighter bullet is more effective. In Fackler's case, his early models that the FBI used resulted in three ammo failures where they had to go to something else at taxpayer expense. After the Miami Shootout fiasco the FBI selected the poor expanding and overpenetrating 147 gr. JHP in 9mm. At the same time there were two very effective loads used by the Illinois State Police and the Secret Service as well as some other LE agencies. The loads were 115 gr. JHPs loaded to +P+ velocity with conventional JHPs and had stopping records above 90% effective. The FBI ignored them. The testing they use today is not that relevant for civilian shooters unless you really think you'll be involved in a gun battle where you'll need to shoot through sheetmetal or autoglass. 4 layers of denim is the necessary standard most shooters are likely to encounter. The 180 gr. .40 S&W load they use today may be more effective after penetrating barriers than say the 165 gr. "Medium Velocity"they were using, but in both cases the loads are subsonic and there are better loads out there for civilian use. Particularly the 165 gr. Golden Saber at around 1150 FPS.

    I'm starting to think that some of you guys haven't been at this very long or haven't developed the skills to accurately shoot the higher energy loads, and in the case of the 165 gr. Golden Saber, it has considerably higher momentum to that of a subsonic 180. I enjoy good mathematical data as much as anyone else and can perform all of it. I just don't awe at it. In my work, I consult to engineers, so let's not go there. I'll suffice it to say that good engineers are not manufactured in our universities. The best of them and particularly design engineers have God given aptitude for their profession. Frankly I find it hard to understand how an engineer at the top of his craft would have the time to devote to writing up his opinions on wound ballsitics.

    As far as Roberts and MacPherson, most of their opinions and theories are based on ballistic gel testing. When they have used actual shooting cases the perps were shot multiple times.

    As I said, the Texas DPS has been using the .357 Magnum nearly as long as it's been around. The DPS started using 125 gr. JHP loads about as soon as they were developed. No other state in the US has more highways to patrol than Texas. No other state comes close to the gunfighting experience of the DPS. There are more LE personnel and agencies in some counties of Texas than there are the entire state of Arizona. Harris, Dallas and Tarrant county for example. And as I've stated, the load they used for around 25 years was the 125 gr. JHP in .357 Magnum. Now they use the.357 SIG. You really think they haven't done their homework? Combined, the DPS Troopers and Rangers already have more actual experience than the FBI is ever likely to have. They don't find a need to consult Fackler, Roberts or MacPherson either. ;)
     
  14. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    First you complained that 9mm 147gr JHPs overpenetrate and don't expand enough. Now you're complaining about one of the largest expanding 9mm loads of any bullet weight not having enough momentum. What else do you want?
    Actually, you're so awe struck with the energy numbers of exterior ballistics that you've been blinded to any rational discussion of terminal ballistics.
     
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The original .357 Magnum cartridge was loaded with a 158-grain LSWC. If there was ever a 158 LRN commercially loaded in the caliber, I'm not aware of it.

    I think that pretty well sums it up for most people. I hear far more arguments for the "best" based on velocity/energy figures than anything else.

    To me, it's a little like using the top speed as a basis for the selection of a new pickup truck
     
  16. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    You're putting incorrect words in your own mouth. Today's 147 gr. JHP in 9mm expands much better than the 147 gr. JHP in 9mm of the late 80s that didn't expand. I've said that if you bothered to read the post in its entirety. But at 326 Ft/Lbs I'm not gonna count on it to work as well on some adrenalin charged criminal as it does in gelatin, are you? As far as I am cocerned any rational discussion of terminal ballistics should at least consider actual gunfight performance in the M&S data and not just on theoretical models or examining perps corpses that where shot multiple times with whatever. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  17. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Well, I don't know about that analogy but I don't buy self defense ammo based on energy and velocities alone. I have said it repeatedly now that this is where ballistic gel testing can be useful. M&S also use ballistic gel testing that correlates to their one shot stop data. What they found is that the round that came closest to the 125 gr. JHP in .357 Magnum is the 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP at the mid or upper 90 percentile so they are not stuck on the light/fast issue at all. I happen to agree with this and since I switched to autoloaders for defense a good number of years ago I have found that the 230 gr. JHP in .45 ACP works best for me. The only thing better in autoloaders IMO is a 230 gr. JHP +P in .45 ACP. LOL. It provides both the energy and the momentum in all the quantity anyone should need for a self defense round. For practice I shoot a handloaded 230 gr. JHP .45 ACP load at 900 FPS. ;)

    I also think y'all should look at the poll numbers. The overwhelming majority believe that energy in handgun rounds does matter!
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  18. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    You, like M&S, are correlating the incorrect variables. Every year in North America ice cream sales are at their highest in the months of June through July. During those same months, drowning deaths are also at their highest each year. Clearly consumption of ice cream leads to drowning if you ignore that recreational swimming is also at its highest during those months.

    In the same way, the older 9mm 147 gr JHPs had poor terminal performance, and they have lower energy than some rounds with better terminal performance. Yes, they had poor expansion. So obviously they needed to be driven at higher velocity (which would result in more energy) to get better terminal performance. Right? Wrong - they were already being driven fast enough that had sufficient momentum to completely penetrate a human torso. Higher velocity (which would result in greater energy and momentum) wasn't what was needed. Changes in bullet construction allowed 9mm 147gr JHPs to reliably expand at their standard velocities and in turn greatly reduce over penetration risk.

    Energy is not a wounding mechanism in handgun ballistics. Handgun rounds simply don't have the energy to impart hydrostatic shock in quantities sufficient to create a shock wave that stretches tissue beyond its elasticity limits to create a permanent wound cavity.

    Penetration and expansion crush tissue, which is the only way to create permanent wound cavity when dealing with handgun ballistics.
    Which simply proves that the majority of the people who voted are uneducated or undereducated on terminal ballistics of handgun rounds.
     
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I will admit to having changed my mind in this. I believed all the stories. Then I did a little bit of homework and testing. Among the service calibers, the amount of energy expended makes little difference if any in the terminal performance of the bullet.
     
  20. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I do believe energy plays a part in effectiveness, particularly when expanding bullets are used. Once expanded, a bullet relies on bullet weight and remaining velocity (energy) to continue penetrating.

    Put me in the camp of energy "counting" when expanding projectiles are used ( and less so with RN-FMJ style handgun rounds).

    Just for the record, I have always rejected the idea of hydrostatic shock from a typical service round. However, if a bonded 147gr 9mm jhp were driven 300 fps faster from a 9x25 Dillion, I DO believe (presuming all other variables remained the same) it would likely be a "more effective" round.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  21. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Using ballistic gelatin to "prove" or predict a bullet's behavior and performance in living tissue is petty much a crapshoot...and continuing along the lines of my pickup truck analogy...rather like predicting a Corvette's real-world cornering ability by having a professional driver wring it out on a skid pad. It pads the lateral G force numbers for advertising purposes...a little like velocity numbers for revolvers derived in an unvented test barrel. Looks good on paper, but none of it accurately represents what will happen on a real road or in a real revolver.

    Ballistic gelatin...or any other homogenous medium...is mainly useful in comparing the performance of different bullet/cartridge combinations at various ranges. Gelatin simulates muscle tissues, so the results in that medium carry a little more weight than in water or duct seal.
     
  22. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    And while it may be a crapshoot it's far more telling than energy numbers.
    Energy is a poor way to compare rounds as it really doesn't corralate to permanent wound channel size. more energy doesn't always equate to a larger/deeper hole. If you look at large differences in mass IE 500 ft.lbs with a 100gr bullet is going to make a much smaller permanent wound track when compared to a 250gr bullet with 500 ft.lbs. because of the huge difference in momentum.
     
  23. brnmw

    brnmw Member

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    Same here even though I do believe that for certain cases energy does matter but as a whole if you are talking about how much more deadly is a .357 Mag. to an intruder's skull or vital organ area to a .22LR HV round........ it's well known fact a .22 short can kill.
     
  24. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    I'm going to count on it to perform (expand and penetrate) as well as it does in gelatin covered by four layers of heavy denim cloth.

    I don't expect any bullet to be effective at producing rapid incapacitation unless it damages tissues that are critical to immediate survival.

    Placement and penetration are the keys to rapid incapacitation. A bullet must be placed so it will pass through vital structures and it must penetrate deeply enough to reach and damage them.

    Rapidity of incapacitation depends on which vital tissues are damaged and how much they are damaged. The damage (wound trauma) produced is the only proven mechanism that can be counted on to be reliable in producing rapid incapacitation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  25. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a great example of folks not understanding the physics. First, velocity does not equal energy. Second, once a barrier - like a large mammal for example - is encountered it's momentum, not energy, that allows the projectile to penetrate. This is because energy is conserved only in plastic collisions, and not in elastic collisions. That's why momentum is far more important than energy when discussing the terminal ballistics of projectiles in a self defense context.
     
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