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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. mach1.3

    mach1.3 Member

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    Semantics aside---stopping power or whatever descriptor is proper. Knockdown power may not be the correct way to put it but we know what I mean. It's the reason the U.S. Army switched from the .38 cal. in use in the 1890s Philippine Insurrection/tribal uprisings. Where the .38 DA Colt revolvers couldn't bring down a charging doped up tribesman. This spawned the reintroduction of the old .45cal(LC) revolver. Apparently, the Muslim Mindinaoan Bangsa Moros tribesmen couldn't be stopped by the .38 when they were properly medicated and bound by multiple wraps of cloth and leather. The .45 ended this threat and U.S. soldiers survived. Now, I realize this was in wartime/combat and not exactly like a CC situation but it strikes true with me. We can shoot all the water and gelatin we want but why confound ourselves. Carry a big enough stick to do the job, and let's hope none of us have to find out the hard way.

    BTW: a 1911 in .45acp should be a big enough stick.
     
  2. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Only if they don't know their butt from a hole in the ground.
     
  3. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    That is a myth. If you do some research on the subject you will find that the 45 was not any better against the Moros in the Philippene uprising than the 38. Even the Krag 30cal rifle was not that effective and only the Winchester modle 1897 12ga with 00 shot proved to be reliably effective at stopping the Moros
     
  4. 481

    481 Member

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    Honestly, 2z1, you have made it more than clear that it was a handloaded Silvertip and specified the conditions under which it was T&E'd. MacPherson and Schwartz in their respective books have explained why water is a valid (it has to do with both mediums having similar densities and internal speed of sound) tissue simulants. As you said above, even the FBI uses it. Heck, I'll take all three as suitable corroborating sources.

    Once highly accurate equations have been developed (e.g.: Schwartz and MacPherson) the process is simple enough- run the tests and plug in the data. MacPherson's sample was 400+, Schwartz's was 700+ with a correlation of .94 and a margin of error of one centimeter. Both models do an accurate job of predicting penetration in soft tissue and agree across a wide range of test conditions and bullet configurations.

    In the end, the horse can be led to water, but you (and I) cannot make it think. Sometimes I think there are those who'd argue against any one of Newton's laws of motion if they thought that they could get away with it. So goes it with arguing against reality. ;)
     
  5. mach1.3

    mach1.3 Member

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    OK, let's all CC 12ga. pumps with 00 or stagger loaded with slugs. It will work. Our Finest carry .45s or .40s on their hips and ride in a car with a 12ga. 870 within reach.

    Thank God, we're not facing any wild charging Philippino Muslims. Yet.
     
  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    And bullet placement is still the most important factor.

    With handgun calibers, people who are shot stop what they are doing for three reasons.

    They either give up because they realize they've been shot, and they don't want to be shot again.

    Or...

    The brain or spinal cord takes a direct hit, and disconnects the command center from the rest of the body.

    Or...

    They bleed out...either quickly or slowly, depending on the size of the severed blood vessel.

    That's pretty much it.
     
  7. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    When you posted your pic you didn't state that it was a handload, although I figured it would have to be. Winchester's design for that bullet calls for 1250 FPS of muzzle velocity, so you are clearly over-driving it. That's why it fragmented. Shoot a whitetail deer with that bullet @ 1570 FPS and it will likely over-expand and fail to penetrate sufficiently resulting in a very nasty wound that the deer is likely to take a very long time to die from. Game is the intended purpose for the Winchester load, but at medium velocity so it will provide the necessary penetration. Do you think that Winchester doesn't understand how their own bullet performs? Try shooting that 1570 FPS load through 4 layers of denim and into ballistic gel and see what happens.

    At their factory rated velocities, the M&S data showed the medium velocity Silvertip loads in .41 and .44 Magnum to be about the best stoppers in their respective calibers. Winchester actually recommends the .41 Magnum load for defense as well as game with a 175 gr. Bullet also at 1250 FPS (607 Ft/Lbs). The reason is the softer, thinner aluminum jacket used in the bullets construction. The heavier copper JHPs are a different matter, yet 481's calculation using the Schwartz mathematical model predicted expansion and penetration without so much as any consideration for jacket material.

    In 1986 when the "Miami Shootout" occurred, one of the perps took a 115 gr. Silvertip that expanded as advertised but failed to penetrate deep enough to incapacitate, and even though the wound was deemed unsurvivable, the perp continued to fight killing additional FBI agents. If the FBI had followed the lead of the Secret Service and Illinois State Police and used the heavier constructed conventional copper jacketed 115 gr. bullets used in both the SS(Rem) and ISP(Win) +P+ loads, the fight could have been stopped when the perp was shot. The only two loads I would even consider for using the Silvertip design for defense would be .41 and .44 Magnum and at medium velocity.

    I've done my share of water jug testing as well, and any JHP bullet driven to sufficient speed will have impressive expansion and many will still provide adequate penetration. That's why I don't use it as a test medium. I really don't care what testing the FBI does because the only one that's relevant for civilian shooters is the 4 layers of denim test. But by all means continue. Try shooting that 1570 FPS Silvertip .44 magnum load and see how well it stands up to sheetmetal and autoglass penetration. ;)
     
  8. 481

    481 Member

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    No need for that. If you'd actually read either book, you'd know why.

    In Quantitative Ammunition Selection and Bullet Penetration, both authors (Schwartz and MacPherson, respectively) explain that water produces hydraulic forces upon the bullet that are (very nearly, within one percent) identical to those produced in gelatin and soft tissue driving bullet expansion (regardless of jacket material) the same way that it would in the other two mediums (ordnance gelatin and soft tissue).

    Neither of the two models predicts expansion since that must be obtained via firing the JHP into water. Accordingly, non-expanding designs needn't be fired into water prior to applying the model because it is assumed (correctly so) by both authors that they will not expand under such conditions.

    Once that is done (firing the JHP into water in order to make it expand), the average recovered diameter of the JHP, recovered mass of the JHP and its impact speed are entered into (either) model and the maximum penetration depth and permanent wound cavity volume (and mass) is predicted.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
  9. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    So based on the expanded diameter of an aluminum jacketed bullet you were able to conclude what penetration would be from Schwartz's mathematical model? Does it account for the very thin and soft aluminum jacket?

    That's my whole problem with mathematical models. They are purely theory with nothing conclusively proven. Hypothetical models don't cut it for me.

    The bullet in question is designed for 1250 FPS, but because of it's expanded diameter at 1570 FPS after striking water, which is known to expand any fast moving JHP bullet, the model still predicts reliable penetration. I'd recommend actually trying that load on a whitetail except that I already know that it would be inhumane. Shoot it into gel after 4 layers of denim and see what happens. If that bullet worked at 1570 FPS, Winchester wouldn't be loading it down to 1250 FPS, now would they? ;)
     
  10. 481

    481 Member

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    Yes, that is correct.

    Neither model needs a "correction factor" for the effect of bullet construction/composition upon expansion because the water produces the same hydraulic forces that would initiate and drive its expansion in ordnance gelatin or soft tissue.

    You fire a JHP (through a barrier of your choosing, if you wish) into water. It expands as it would in soft tissue or ordnance gelatin (well, to be honest about 1% more) and you take the average of the smallest and largest diameters of the expanded JHP which is then applied to the model along with the JHPs recovered weight and impact speed. You get from that, a prediction of its maximum penetration depth and total permanent wound cavity volume/mass.


    Actually, there is a great deal that can be conclusively determined from a properly developed probabilistic model.

    Look at F = ma, Newton's second law of motion. It is annoyingly correct (hardly pure theory) under all conditions (except where relativistic effects come into play- not that those matter to us much in our mundane everyday life) and its high probability (it is not "perfect", of course) of being correct comes from the fact that it so well constructed. Taking the Schwartz bullet penetration model for example- based upon over 700 points of data, it has a correlation of .94 and with a confidence level of 95% it has a margin of error of just one centimeter. (check out the second page of the QAS website for this information and the model's endorsement from a munitions development engineer)

    Arguably, it isn't perfect (a correlation of 1.00 and a 100% confidence MOE of 0 cm), but it does an excellent job of predicting what it was designed to predict so far as I have seen. MacPherson's model (whose correlation and MOE is unknown to me), based upon 400+ data, is also quite good and it agrees with Schwartz's model across a wide range of conditions/speeds/configurations.

    Yes, regardless of bullet velocity (within reason of course) these models predict penetration depth reliably from what I've seen. I've actually had my favorite SD load tested in calibrated gelatin and the models (MacPherson & Schwartz) both do a fine job of producing agreement with those independent variables. You can see that data below-

    Test /Predicted by Schwartz
    13.7" /13.36"
    15.4" /15.86"
    16.5" /16.03"

    correlation: 0.941

    A correlation of .94 with a high confidence margin of error of 1cm is pretty darned good and likely about as precise as we'll see in anything as homogenous as gelatin.

    I am not sure if 2z1 has tried that handload against a 4LD barrier in a water test.

    If you get a chance to read either book, I'd highly recommend them both.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  11. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Your post has a number of errors, so many in fact that you have lost credibility.

    I have no idea of what bullet you are talking about that has a thin aluminum jacket, perhaps you can be more specific as to how it relates to this Silvertip discussion.

    FWIW, the Silvertip is a nickel plated copper jacket constructed bullet.

    The Silvertip did not over expand, nor are hunters witnessing inhumane kills on whitetails when driven much faster than the 1570fps I tested. Winchester's ammunition MV is not an issue with me, I don't carry the 44mag CCW when I go to town.

    A number of deer hunters load the 210gr Silvertip into the 1500s for handguns and much faster for carbines, I've read 1900fps from lever action action carbines. A number of deer hunters are witnessing DRT results with this bullet over a wide range of velocities, just the opposite of the inhumane kills you predicted!
     
  12. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Great points, one only needs to read/study the ATK data to observe greater performance differences in ballistic gel than those observed in water. Even if I had unlimited funds to use ballistic gel, it would be nearly impossible to test properly calibrated gel during the summer months here because of the intense heat, even in shade.

    I haven't tested the 210gr Silvertip with 4LD, the ST, with its nickel plated copper jacket has become an extremely expensive loading component, more so than the Gold Dot and twice as expensive as the XTP. What the 44mag offers at my place is long distance, but at double action distances the 357mag is more than adequate.

    At one time I bought into the energy and knock down myths, but since the MacPherson and Schwartz books have been added to my library, my knowledge has increased dramatically. IMO, we owe a lot to the IWBA research articles, Doc Gary Roberts and those scientists, bullet techs and MDs etc who participated in multi year and multi million dollar research programs in the field of terminal ballistics.

    It would be nice to progress past energy and get into topics such as stress and cavitation. :)
     
  13. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    Yet you feel compelled to answer.

    The original Silvertip had an aluminum or zinc alloy jacket and expanded faster than a conventional copper jacketed bullet. It was known for under-penetration. You say the .44 Mag Silvertip has a nickel plated copper jacket. I don't know where you got this information, I can't find anything about its construction at the Winchester website. If it is nickel plated copper Winchester is unnecessarily holding it back in velocity and they have heavier copper jacketed bullets at higher velocity. ;)
     
  14. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Looks like you will need to expand your search. BTW, only the 32 has an aluminum jacket. :)
     
  15. 481

    481 Member

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    Sure, I'd like that. I have answered what I can here and it seems to be winding down, so whaddya say we move this conversation to the Petals thru bone thread over in Handguns: General Discussion?

    I've been reviewing those materials lately and wouldn't mind running some stuff back and forth with you.
     
  16. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    Would you guys give a quick sum up of why energy is not the most importaint factor. And what is? Something for the 70% who still read this and vote for energy.
     
  17. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Member

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    If it didn't then .40S&W would be equal to 10mm
     
  18. 481

    481 Member

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    Sure.

    While kinetic energy is an important factor, it is not the only important factor. Where folks tend to get lost is that they begin to rely exclusively on one aspect of the physics (like a bullet's weight or its velocity) involved in terminal behavior to the exclusion of all else. There are other physical quantities and qualities that effect a bullet's behavior like shot placement, assailant anatomy, impact velocity, projectile expansion, and retained projectile mass. It is all important.

    The analysis of terminal ballistic events is best analyzed using a momentum based approach because an energy expediture model is way too complicated to use even though it will get you to the same exact place.

    On page 7 of Quantitative Ammunition Selection, Schwartz states that

    MacPherson also makes similar comment early in his book, but I don't have time just this minute to go dig that one up. 2z1 might have it handy. ;)

    ETA: Nevermind, I found it.

    Excerpt from Bullet Penetration by MacPherson:
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  19. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I say potato
     
  20. 481

    481 Member

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    No, potahto. :D
     
  21. winfried

    winfried Member

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    Yes you are right. Energy contents the potential of doing damage, energy disposal does the damage. I can post a picture here where a guy got shot 4 times with a 45 185 gr JHP. The first shot in the shoulder did not shock the guy at all, nor did two subsequent shots to the chest showed much effect, but the fourth shot hitting his hip joint stopped him.
    Lung shots are generally not effective because no pain can be felt in the lungs, gut shots, intestines, liver and bladder cause a disabling pain.
    Depending on velocity, but not much on caliber or construction (since the bullet has not expanded yet) bullets lose about 50 to 80m/s (x 3.3 in fts) on penetration of skin. These velocities result in reduced energy level and must be subtracted to start off.
    Rifle bullets are a completely different issue and should not even quoted in this context.
    I have a picture of a 110gr .357 bullet going at 510m/s (I think) hitting a large junk of meat. It shows the cost tremendous damage, but I caution everybody not to use a 110gr bullet at such high vel for poor depth effect.
    The Brixton Murder and Robbery Squad used for a time 110gr JHP in Beretta's, but because of poor penetration went back to 115gr FMJ.
    I carry only tracers in my 9mm as a result of my experiences, experiments and involvement in murder cases and spending watching autopsies.

    I would gladly post a very few pictures, but I am scared the moderators will remove them for the unavoidable gruesome content.

    The most comprehensive study was the RII which was ridiculed by Cooper and others because their pet calibers came short. I lost my copy and I would love to have one copy again. As for Cooper expertise, he said DA is a solution to a non-existent problem, and the performance of the 5.7 FN should also open some peoples eyes.
    At least the congregation here is past the heavy-slow-bullet-is-better doctrine.

    Regards

    WAH
     
  22. winfried

    winfried Member

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    No Sir, the momentum of your recoiling gun is always a lot more then the impact of the bullet. Momentum is the least important factor. Since the recoil has no effect on you, the impact of the bullet from momentum point of view is never of any consequence.

    Regards

    WAH
     
  23. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Do you understand the difference between momentum and energy?
     
  24. CommanderCrusty

    CommanderCrusty Member

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    People who are "stopped" by handgun bullets don't stop because they can't fight on--they stop because they give up.

    If you want to literally STOP someone who really REALLY wants to kill you, better plan on a 12-gage or a rifle. Otherwise, plan on shooting them at least twice. Once to show them you WILL shoot them, and once AGAIN to show them the first shot wasn't a fluke. Very few people are angry, drugged or stupid enough to let you shoot them a third time.
     
  25. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    I had to do some reading to be able to make an attempt to understand and explain the difference.

    Energy = work
    Momentum = quantity of motion

    Energy is not retained after a collision (and is transferred into heat?)

    Momentum is retained after a collision and is applied to the medium it strikes.

    Momentum also is linear with increased velocity. Energy is not linear and is very hard to model.

    This is my very limited understanding of the difference. I know energy and momentum are not so one dimensional. I'm just tying to understand how they apply in the world of bullets.
     
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