Trans-Sonic Zone for Handgun Cartridges

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by DMW1116, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    Is this a concern for precision handgun shooting like Bullseye competition? I was advised it might be an issue when shooting some high velocity 22 from my Victory (1240 fps). Due to the short barrel I doubt it’s getting that high, but I have some 9mm and 357 ammo that hovers just above 1150 fps. Is this a problem or are the bullets too heavy to really worry? I have noticed my 9mms seem more accurate with slower loads but that could be half a dozen things.
     
  2. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Not tacticle warrier enough to comment, just a guess - the overall distance travelled by your bullet is probably too short for these kinds of stability perturbations to make any significant difference.
     
  3. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    I doubt in your 22 pistol that you are getting supersonic. That said I have not seen any issues with accuracy out to practical pistol ranges. I shoot 357 and 44 mag out to 150 yards and have not had any issues.
     
  4. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    That’s the type of thing I want to start doing. Much is made of the distance a rifle bullet will stay above the speed of sound but it’s never discussed with hand guns. Perhaps it’s a simple matter of distance. Were one to stretch a 9mm to 300 yards it would be an issue but with all the other things that make handgunning to that range difficult it’s not really noticeable.
     
  5. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    You'd really have to chronograph your rounds to see if you are supersonic to begin with. 1150 fps is only 25 fps above sonic, and that would be on an ideal day where temperature and air density meet the criteria for Mach 1 = 1125.32808 fps. At distances where you're shooting handguns, I doubt it would be an issue. POA and POI aren't too far apart, distance-wise, unlike rifle shooting where the drop becomes significant and bullet speed and stability really matter, and wind also has a much greater effect.
     
  6. Leon tP

    Leon tP Member

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    It's my guess you'll be okay out to about 50 yards.
    Let's just look at the Remington golden bullet as an example, according to this website,
    https://www.mcarbo.com/22LR-Ballistics-Chart
    The 22 golden bullet has a BC of .125 for it's 36 grain bullet. If we assume that the velocity listed (1280 fps) is correct then I won't expect that bullet (at that velocity) to go trans-sonic until around 50 yards.
    You can run your own numbers for different loads here,
    http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj_simp-5.1.cgi

    If the dreaded trans-sonic region really concerns you then just use Target loads which stay below the speed of sound from the get-go.

    Me personally, I don't worry about it. My handgun ranges don't warrant the concern. Good luck. Good shooting.
     
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  7. TransAmConvert

    TransAmConvert Member

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    It's important to remember the sound barrier is not a fixed definite thing. Trans sonic effects occur from Mach 0.8 to 1.2 where the flow has both subsonic and supersonic characteristics. So almost all handgun rounds are trans sonic all the time.
    Being that handgun bullets are basically blunt bodies I suspect it matters very little, as opposed to rifle bullets.
     
  8. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I’m faaaar more apt to chunk shots myself than have the super-to-sub sonic deceleration phenomenon affect any of my bullets impact on a target.

    In the pursuit of the X-ring, I am my own worst enemy on the firing line ;).

    Stay safe.
     
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  9. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    Out to 50 yards my model 41 shoots best with a 35 year old lot of PMC sidewinder 22s, before they started copper plating them. It’s high velocity, definitely has a supersonic crack. I tried something like 10 different brands, Tenex among them and the PMC grouped best. When they went to copper washing it was not as good. It shoots better than I do with CCI std velocity which is subsonic. So for me the sound barrier did not seem to matter.
     
  10. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    90% and 110% are 'popular' boundaries for transonic.
    Once any portion gets close to transonic the Bernoulli Equations simply fail.
    A 'standing pressure wave' can exist and for the most part their is no air flow past that pressure wave.
    The wave is not 'standing' in the sense of not moving, it moves with the projectile.
    It is 'standing' in relation to the cross section shape of the projectiles.

    It creates a large increase in Cd (the drag factor cross section.).
    When it starts to break down the air flow resumes resulting in disturbances to the flight of the object.
     
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  11. velocette

    velocette Member

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    The problem is when the bullets go trans sonic. That is go back down below the speed of sound. They tend to de-stabilize due to the effects noted by brickeyee in the post above.
    With rifles, and hi velocity ammo, that occurs at about 80 yards. That is why rimfire competitors use standard velocity ammo, generally running around 1050 fps.
     
  12. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I tested a trio of ammo from my Marlin rifle at 100 yards. The standard velocity (CCI) was the most accurate, but not by a huge margin. It was CCI Standard, Blazer 22, and Aguila Interceptor. The Interceptor was second most accurate, but I found out I shouldn't use it in the Model 60, so I've got an emergency stash of Blazer and typically shoot the CCI Standard Velocity with that rifle.

    I've been advised about the transonic zone for 22 rifles just not for pistols or for larger calibers.
     
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