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THR MythBusters: No Touch .50 Kill...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by PaladinX13, Oct 11, 2004.

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  1. PaladinX13

    PaladinX13 Member

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    The myth goes something like this: The Geneva Convention bans the use of .50 caliber weapons used against humans because the force of the bullet is so great, if a round even passes you, the shockwaves in the air will jellify your insides and kill you.

    Sadly, I've heard this myth repeated 2 times in the last 72 hours by self-declared military persons. Bust the myth!
     
  2. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Anybody want to buy a 100lb pig and brush its tail with a .50 before making it into bar-b-que?

    Kharn
     
  3. Seventhsword

    Seventhsword Member

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  4. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    I will bust it...

    There is no reg or rule stopping a troop from opening up on personell with a M2.

    As for the concussion, unless they changed the rounds in the last 10 years, I know for a fact that near misses do not kill, but they sure do make people move awfully darn quick.
     
  5. Ian

    Ian Member

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    The physics part of tht is easy to bust. Look at what happens to a paper target that is the victim of a near miss form a .50: nothing. If it won't damage paper, it certainly won't hurt a person (excluding heart attacks).
     
  6. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Member

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    From what I've heard, the 'No .50 on Personnel' myth came about in Vietnam. Evidently theatre commanders could limit ammo distributions and had some trouble getting .50BMG to everywhere it needed to be, so they passed a local rule that .50's were not to be used on such (really) soft targets such as personnel, but rather on light vehicles etc.

    Don't know if it's true or not, but of the explanations I've heard for the .50 Myth, it's the most plausible.

    -Teuf
     
  7. geojap

    geojap Member

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    After watching the history channel, I know that 50's were used in Somalia against the khat-chewing hoards that descended on the downed Blackhawk, and it did drive them back with some effectiveness.
     
  8. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I remember my father mentioning use of halftrack-mounted quad .50's on a Banzai charge during WWII. It worked well - you actually could depress the barrels below horizontal. But near-misses were just that - misses.

    Through the grapevine, someone somewhere "supposedly" questioned the use of anti-aircraft weaponry on infantry . . . the inquiry went nowhere, assuming it existed at all . . . .but quite honestly, I can't see a soldier in actual combat NOT using all available weaponry on the enemy just because some REMF issued an order to the contrary. (Hmmm . . . use the .50s, or get overrun by the enemy . . . decisions, decisions. :rolleyes: )
     
  9. Shaughn Leayme

    Shaughn Leayme Member

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    I beleive the first instance was around WWI where I remeber reading about a prohibition on using the 50 cal agaimst personnel as inhumane under the Hague conventions of 1907. But I imagine that any concerns about that went out the window at the first opportunity when the enemy was trying to kick down the door.

    If one really wants to interpret the Hague conventions in the strictest sense then one could make a case for prohibiting the use of the 50 Cal and Anti Aircraft weapons (14.5 mm, 20mm, 23mm,40mm etc) being used against ground personnel, but what standing army or soldier is going to hesitate to use any weapon he has at hand when in dire need.

    Compared against all the other mean and nasty devices that are on the modern battlefield the 50 caliber is well down on the list of worries, I imagine.
     
  10. Slaytera666

    Slaytera666 Member

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    An old special forces guy told me that if someone got shot in the face with 50 cal, personel next to him would be wounded from flying pieces of skull and bone matter from the internal pressure of the impact. ?????? Don't know if it's true, but it sounds like it could happen.

    BTW I'm military, and I've been told it's illegal to open up with a 50 on personel.
     
  11. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    Technically speaking, it would be from the kinetic energy. And yes, I do believe that.
     
  12. cool45auto

    cool45auto Member

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    :D :D
     
  13. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    Just so's you know, it's not.
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    It's a complete myth. The Hague Convention does not ban bullets merely because they are big. .50 Ball uses FMJ bullets, so no problem.

    MTW, IIRC Kerry cited the "illegal" use of BGM's on human targets in his testimony before Congress.
     
  15. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Somebody might want to tell the Stryker Brigade Combat Team that they cant use their remote-controlled .50s on personel. :rolleyes:

    For some reason, commanders love the idea of every vehicle mounting a .50.

    Kharn
     
  16. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Sgt. Carlos Hathcock occasionally sniped with a Ma Deuce mounting a 10-power scope, IIRC; the cyclic rate was low enough he could fire single shots with it. No mention of that being illegal, and it's in his official record and such.
     
  17. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Any statement of "fact" with the word "jellify" in it isn't very credible to begin with. I wonder if you shot one by a doughnut store if it would "jellify" all the doughnuts? :D That might be cool.
     
  18. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    Valkman, good one. :D
     
  19. myrockfight

    myrockfight Member

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    I read that account also. I can't remember what book it was, but I was thinking it might be the one by J.T. Ward. Is that right? Great book anyway.

    I am certainly not in the military, but common sense, as absent as it is to some, or self-preservation, would certainly rule the moment if a wave of enemy personnel were coming at me and I had the choice between an M-16 and a M2...well most of us would know what to do. If you don't, please don't be in the way of those that do.

    I forgot to add that I remember someone telling me they hunted squirrel with a 30-06. As I pictured squirrels exploding, he told me they didn't actually shoot them. They just grazed their heads to knock them out. It's not a fifty, but the scale is about right! Has anyone heard of that?
     
  20. Average Guy

    Average Guy Member

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    At what range? Our platoon sergeant opened up with a HMMWV-mounted .50 over our heads once. Unnerving, yes, but I'm pretty sure my brain wasn't jellified. Then again... :D
     
  21. Darkmind

    Darkmind Member

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    Ok let me start by fixing a few of these. I was a 50 gunner for four years in the Marine Corps so i feel i can help shed a little more light.


    (benEzra) Sgt. Carlos Hathcock occasionally sniped with a Ma Deuce mounting a 10-power scope, IIRC; the cyclic rate was low enough he could fire single shots with it. No mention of that being illegal, and it's in his official record and such.


    Number one, the M2 Ma Deuce can be fired on fully auto AND SIMI AUTO!



    (PaladinX13) The myth goes something like this: The Geneva Convention bans the use of .50 caliber weapons used against humans because the force of the bullet is so great, if a round even passes you, the shockwaves in the air will jellify your insides and kill you.

    Sadly, I've heard this myth repeated 2 times in the last 72 hours by self-declared military persons. Bust the myth!


    Number two, I do not know much about the Geneva Convention as i have not looked at the whole thing so dont quote me on it. But i can say that i was given direct orders not to fire at persons, insted i was ordered to aim at the gear on their body. This order came directly from the CO of my regament.





    Number three, Near misses can kill a man! But they got to be close (really close) to the brain houseing group ( head ). Have you ever seen what happens to a man with busted blood vessels in his brain? Kind of the same concept as a man being killed by a hand grenade without being touched by any shrapnal. The shock wave!



    Like i've said before i'm not god and i dont know everything, but because of my extensive experience with the M2 i flet that i could add my .02 cents.
     
  22. Shaughn Leayme

    Shaughn Leayme Member

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    The Hague conventions of 1907 do not prohibit big bullets , but it does set limits on what you can do and subject to interpretation of parties at hand and after the fact.

    As you can see below a case could be made against the 50 cal and anti aircraft type weapons being employed in an anti personnel role.


    Article 22
    The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.

    Article 23
    Besides the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially prohibited:--

    To employ poison or poisoned arms;

    To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army;

    To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;

    To declare that no quarter will be given;

    "To employ arms, projectiles, or material of a nature to cause superfluous injury; "

    To make improper use of a flag of truce, the national flag, or military ensigns and the enemy's uniform, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention;

    To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.


    If a combatant were to be captured and it could be shown that he employed " arms, projectile, or material of a nature to cause a superflous injury" then the country could conceivably try him/her/them as a war criminal.

    BUT both parties have to be signatories to the accord and also declare war as per the rules of the accord.

    Vietnam was a police action, not a war in the strictess intepretation of war under International Law.

    Gulf War 1 and 2 are also police actions, since they are basically covered by the various UN resolutions .

    The War on Terror is also not a formalised war as per the Hague Conventions or International Law.

    So really the 4 cases above are not really limited by the Hague accords and it basically means anything goes with the only limiting factors being treaties concerning the use and implementation of Chemical, Nuclear, and Biological agents and some other recognized standards as laid out under International Law.

    I should also note that the United States Never ratified the Hague Conventions of 1907 and therefore are not bound by them, but have observed the letter of the accord since it's acceptance.
     
  23. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    There was an article about hunting squirrels with muzzle loaders back in a Gun Digest in the 60's. I remember reading it as a kid. The author said there was an old guy that killed squirrels with a large caliber muzzle loader without ever touching them. He said he sometimes saw a squirrel laying chest down on a big branch of a tree. Chest in contact with the wood. So he would fire a big lead ball into the wood right below the chest. The impact would cause such a snap to the ribcage of the rodent that it would fall out of the tree without a mark on it. Usually just a little blood out the nose. He said the oldtimers called that "barking" a squirrel.

    Gregg
     
  24. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    That's exactly what I was told (several times) while I was in the active Army in the late 80's.

    Gregg
     
  25. myrockfight

    myrockfight Member

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    I'm going to petition Jamie and Adam on the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters to bust this myth! I would love to see a .50 round rip past Buster's head on one of those high speed films. Ahh yes, a show dedicated to THR...I can see it now...:D
     
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