Some observations of caliber

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    1. #1
      Junior Member Tscott's Avatar
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      Apr 2007

      Some observations of caliber

      Ok, I have made some observations from my research on the net. Tell me if you agree. It appears to me based on various ballistics test i have found on the net that penetration has almost nothing to do with caliber. It seems that the lighter the bullet the faster it moves and visa versa. So the penetration with FMJ tend to be consistent through the spectrum of caliber (at least as it pertains to pistol ammo). All the tests I could find had penetration into ballistics media to about 12" to 14". The main different I can see is the damage the caliber does as it tumbles or mushrooms. So all thing being equal it seems that the design of the bullet (i.e. How the bullet is designed to deform) has more to do with effectiveness of a round than the actual size.

      What do you think? Does this theory hold water or no?

      I do realize this will only fit a small range of calibers mainly about 9mm up to .45 caliber. The tests did show .22 penetrating as far as 9mm, but I seriously doubt a hollow point .22 would be any more affective that a FMJ .22

      Last edited by Tscott; 10-03-2007 at 03:51 PM. Reason: I spell Like a 2 year old

    2. #2
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      Jun 2006
      Port St.John,FL.


      Here's a little saying I go by and I don't worry to much about the figures.

      Shot placement is King, Penatration is Queen, everything else is Angels dancing on the head of a pin. Thanks Mr.Erich.

      Good Shooting.

    3. #3
      Senior Member JeffWard's Avatar
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      Aug 2007
      St Pete Beach, FL
      IMHO... A .45 cal hole is better than a .38 Cal hole any day...

      Bigger wound channel
      More lead/copper on target
      Regardless of how well a 9mm mushrooms, it'll never make a .45 Cal hole...

      That said, we're talking:
      1) Shot placement
      2) Penetration (anything from 6"to 12")
      3) Big f-ing hole...
      4) Finally fire-power...

      Get an accurate hi-capacity .45, preferably w/ a laser, and practice, practice, practice.


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    5. #4
      Junior Member lumbermill's Avatar
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      Jan 2007
      sw ohio
      I guess I'll chime in about the .22cal. As an avid squirrel hunter I have used a lot of .22 ammo on these little critters. On a head shot I have noticed very little difference between hollow point and a regular old plated round point. This year I went a little crazy and used Federal champion .22 target ammo (LRN). It worked quite well on head shots. On body shots the hollow points seem to do a bit more damage. I try not to shoot in the body, though. I guess what I'm saying is that my observations seem to reinforce your hypothesis on the .22 hp vs rn. It also reinforces the belief by most that shot placement is the key. I realize the mammoth difference between a small rodent and a human adversary. I would not personally trust a .22 lr to carry as a primary defense weapon, but if it's all you have it's better than nothing.

    6. #5
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      Mar 2006
      Arizona, baby!
      Hmmmmm, not sure where you're getting the penetration figures. Most FMJ rounds (9mm, .45ACP, etc.) will penetrate 26+ inches of unclothed ballistic gelatin. Per the FBI testing protocol, most modern JHPs will go to 11-14 inches. The best rounds will do it in bare gelatin, clothed gelatin, and even after defeating light cover.

      As far as 9mm versus .40 versus .45....if they all expand to roughly the same diameter and penetrate to roughly the same depth, they will all damage the target roughly the same amount. A (handgun) bullet can generally only damage tissue it touches.

      This link is fairly illuminating: An excellent 9mm load seems to perform as well as a very good .45ACP, for example, and it kicks less and comes in smaller pistols. The best .40 loads seem to perform just as well as .45s, and also come in smaller guns, though .40 kicks harder than 9mm.

      As far as 9mms and .45-caliber holes, Jeff is partially right. The 9mms in the test actually made .70 caliber holes instead. In fairness, though, some of the .45s mushroomed to a whopping .84 caliber.
      Employed by Galco Gunleather - Hidden Content / Veteran OEF VIII

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      All opinions, particularly those involving politics and Glocks, are mine and not Galco's.

    7. #6
      Senior Member JeffWard's Avatar
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      Aug 2007
      St Pete Beach, FL
      The only thing I have to add is... the heavier the bullet, the less likely it will be deflected. Newton's Law.

      A 230gr bullet in motion, has a greater ability to stay on line, through fabric, ribs, branches, leaves, drywall...

      Kinetic energy is a function of mass times the SQUARE of velocity, so speed vastly out weighs mass. But momentum, which influences the line the bullet stays on, and theoretically (dependng on which expert you're listening to), takes mass and velocity equally.

      Comes down to what hurts worse??? A bowling ball lobbed at your head, or a baseball whipped at you??? They both hurt like hell.

      With the advent of the 13 round magazine for .45 ACP... (7 in a handgun as small as the new Kahr PM45, if they'll ever release the damn thing... (making me nervous about function issues)) I choose to carry the biggest chunk of lead I can toss at high velocity, with managable muzzle-flip.

      That said, I'm guessing most self defense situations should be ended with one shot. The next 13 are just for good measure, and adrenaline... I want one REAL good one. So I choose 230gr of jacketed hollowpoint.

      Until I replace the Kahr PM40, 185gr will do.


    8. #7
      Senior Member hideit's Avatar
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      Oct 2007
      west chester ohio
      The FMJ can possible go thru the bad guy's body thus not imparting all of the energy. Thus the JHP will mushroom and penetrate less imparting all of the energy into the bad guy. Also will increase the % that it won't go thru a wall.
      230g JHP is the best.
      as far as 22's - they tumble and tear up the inards... Lincoln, bobby kennedy and Reagan were shot with 22s - If the 22 had tumbled 1" closer Reagan would have been killed.

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