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A Beginner's Guide to Stopping Power

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  • Tugaloo
    replied
    Originally posted by Armyjimbo View Post
    Range, in wide open environments you need to outrange the opposition, if they can reach 1000m you want to be beyond that.
    Well said. At the two way range, one wants their effective range to exceed their opponents.


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  • Armyjimbo
    replied
    Correct the reasons for the ,50 BMG rifle are penetration power, It can turn cover into concelment unless it's really solid. Range, in wide open environments you need to outrange the opposition, if they can reach 1000m you want to be beyond that. With a suppressor and an area that allows the muzzle blast to me minimized, it then becomes a guessing game where exactly the shot came from.

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  • Garand
    replied
    I believe that the Finnish chose the M23 in 7.62x51mm largely based on the terrain in their country. A very large percentage of the country are forest, minimizing the maximum effect that the .50 bmg round generates. Any future defence of the homeland, like in 1939 & 1944 will largely be an infantry conflict. As in 1939, after this mess in Ukraine the Russians will need at least a decade to rebuild their army.

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  • Armyjimbo
    replied
    Just preference.

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  • Tugaloo
    replied
    Originally posted by Armyjimbo View Post
    Yup the 107 is a nice piece of kit. I prefer the TAC-50 though. JMO
    The M107 isn't as accurate as the TAC-50. Any opinions on the more accurate M95?

    Unfortunately, the signature of all the 50s are their weakness.

    Based on their heavily forested AO with limited LR potential, the Finns chose the Sako M23 in 7.62x51 NATO.
    https://www.joint-forces.com/defence...ystem-contract






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  • Armyjimbo
    replied
    Yup the 107 is a nice piece of kit. I prefer the TAC-50 though. JMO

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  • Tugaloo
    replied
    Armyjimbo, Exactly.
    In real estate, they say location, location and did I say location.
    Shooting's version is shot placement, shot placement, and did I say shot placement.. ;)

    If Ma hits, she kills or detaches body parts and if Ma grazes, she doesn't.
    I have a good bud, Reno who was ground zero for a B-40 (RPG-2) in Vietnam; it vaporized his toes and nothing else. Unbelievable, except it is all about shot placement.

    I did get to shoot the Army's issue M107 by Barrett's .50. at SOCOM's open house.
    https://www.military.com/equipment/m...per-rifle-lrsr
    All I can say is it was major cool!

    They had more Drags and Tigers than are supposed to be in CONUS.

    Garand,
    As usual, you are spot on.
    All the ballistics magik juju or whatever will not replace an accurate shot. Spending all the time in the world reading magazines will never replace well spent range time practicing.. Not only practicing but understanding drift, drop, and doping the wind.

    I'm a rifle junkie or I enjoy them all.
    Last edited by Tugaloo; 03-04-2022, 10:12 PM.

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  • Armyjimbo
    replied
    EGG ZACHERY! 1 would figure a .50BMG will stop everything, but shot placement trumps kinetic energy if it's misplaced.

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  • Garand
    replied
    Going to prove skill and marksmanship trumps all. Maybe I'm old fashion but I've always believed the native definition of "magnum" ( as in Bad Hunter). While caliber, bullet design, propellant development are extremely important subjects, I get the feeling that for the younger generation, that the numbers are far more that time spend on skill and marksmanship. For years I worked in a Government Research facility after my retirement from the Army, daily I came in contact with dozens of Phd's developing expensive systems to be used by people that had Grade 10 or 11 education, under enormous financial and allocation restraints which meant minimal range time, unless they were actually on a 2 way range. The same goes for civilians that go out and drop serious dollars on exotic hardware that rarely sees a range, much less shot in competition. We should always consider the numbers as complimenting skill and marksmanship, since the bullet is useless if it hasn't been delivered properly.

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  • Armyjimbo
    replied
    In Afg, I was on a long gun McMillan TAC-50. While a C.O.M. hit is good, I saw 1 AQ take a hit and carry on. After a wait ,the area was searched found a blood trail no body. That was with a 750 grain AMAX hit him.

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  • Tugaloo
    replied
    Originally posted by Garand View Post
    During the time period of 9x21mm popularity, Gun Kid was a felon, so I would question his comments.
    I 'd question anything Gun Kid says and for all the obvious reasons.

    There is two places for the so-called instant stop. The first is the one everyone has heard about or the Medulla Oblongata.
    There is another, the neural motor strips. Either of which kills so instantly that body reflexes cannot react. Either kills with immediate incapacitation.

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  • Garand
    replied
    During the time period of 9x21mm popularity, Gun Kid was a felon, so I would question his comments.

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  • registror
    replied
    I rechambered a spare barrel for my Sig P938 to 9x21mm and get 45 grs to 2200 fps, in a 3" barrel, for less recoil than a makarov, and 500 ft lbs of power. I get 8" of penetration in animals. Pretty damned good in a 6" long, 15 oz pocket 9 that lets me get .19 sec repeat hits on the 10" vitals circle at 10 ft. With a proper kydex holster, thin left grip panel, rounding off of a lot of sharp edges and corners, it looks just like a wallet in a front pants pocket. Starting 'hand in pocket". I can react to the beep of the timer, draw, and get a hit on each of TWO 10" gongs at 10 ft, 5 ft apart, in sub 1 second. Starting gun in hand, low ready,, only Miculek can do better with a full-charge 357 and it has to be a full size and weight 357, too.

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  • registror
    replied
    the 12" of penetration thing is a croc of crap. Very few men are more than 9" from sternum to spine. Hitting the ribs on the way out of the body contributes nothing. You can't reasonably expand anything short of the 155 gr 10mm, full bore ammo, from a 5" barrel, to get such penetration but also expand. and it's not going to be ccw'd or controlled by anyone short of A class IPSC competitors. If somebody made a 100 gr .40 bullet, driven to 1500 fps in a 4" barrel, that would be about as close to perfect as you can get with normal, copper jacketed, lead-cored ammo. for use in a ccw pistol. The recoil is managable, altho stout. in a ccw gun and you;'d have decent penetration, 8" or more, with real expansion and 500 ft lbs of power,

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  • registror
    replied
    Originally posted by USMC0351Grunt View Post
    B]A Beginner's Guide to Stopping Power [/B]
    By Chuck Hawks

    Much of what one reads about the subject of handgun stopping power is a mixture of truth, half-truth, untruth, rumor and legend. A good place for inquiring minds to start would be to read the books by Ed Sanow and Evan Marshall, which are the most important works on the subject at the present time. They did the research, visited the morgues, talked to the shooting victims and police, and in the end collected the validated data from actual shootings that demonstrates what has worked in the real world. Their findings can correct a lot of popular misconceptions for those who are willing to learn.

    When discussing terminal ballistics what seems "reasonable" on the face of it often turns out not to be, sometimes for fairly complex reasons. One example would be the alleged superiority of the semi-wadcutter (SWC or "Keith style") bullet form. General Julian Hatcher, who invented the widely quoted (and copied) theory of Relative Stopping Power, and those who followed his lead theorized that such a bullet should be 25% more effective than the traditional Round Nose (RN) bullet. And, in fact, the SWC style bullet does look somehow deadlier than a RN bullet. Its sharp shouldered, truncated cone configuration was alleged to "chop" a chunk out of tissue and blood vessels as it passed through, rather than press them aside as it was alleged a RN bullet would do. This seemed to make sense to me, and for years I shot SWC style bullets. But when Sanow and Marshall evaluated over 100 actual shootings with 158 grain .38 Special lead SWC bullets, there proved to be no significant difference in stopping power compared to 158 grain .38 Special lead RN bullets at the same velocity. Clearly, the Hatcher theory has some flaws, no matter how reasonable it may seem.

    The stopping power of any handgun bullet turns out to be a function of its ability to disrupt vital bodily functions, not the diameter or weight or initial shape of the bullet that strikes the victim. For example, the difference in the size of the entrance hole made by a .451" bullet compared to that made by a .355" bullet in an elastic (semi-self sealing) material like skin turns out to be largely irrelevant to stopping power. The idea (which I have heard expressed) that a bigger bullet makes a bigger hole to "bleed out" a man or an animal is faintly ridiculous.

    The principle method of both stopping and killing with any firearm, whether rifle or pistol or shotgun, is the disruption of vital bodily functions. Fatally damage any animal's heart, liver, lungs, or central nervous system (including Homo sapiens) and it is not going to live long enough to bleed out. Fail to put your bullet in a vital spot and you are very likely to have a problem with a man or an animal. That is not to say that some bullet placements might not eventually cause death by loss of blood, or infection, or some other mechanism, but that is never the goal of any hunter OR gunfighter who wants an immediate one shot stop.

    Readers who have done some deer hunting have probably observed that often the entrance wound from a modern expanding rifle bullet (like a 100 grain .243, 130 grain .270, or 150 grain .308) seems minimal, with almost no external blood loss at all. In addition, there may be no exit wound--the bullet is often found just under the hide on the off side. But if the shot was true the deer's lungs probably look like they went through a blender, and the animal was down in seconds. That is an illustration of nearly perfect stopping power and it has little or nothing to do with the relatively small caliber of the bullet involved.

    Modern big bore advocates, following in the footsteps of Jeff Cooper (who I respect greatly and regard as a fine and very persuasive writer), will claim that the example cited in the paragraph above and witnessed by countless tens of thousands of deer hunters does not apply at typical handgun bullet impact velocities. They argue that below some magic impact velocity (usually about 2000 fps) the temporary stretch cavity that contributes so much to the lethality of rifle bullets like those in the example above ceases to exist. These writers continue to ignore any facts contrary to their preconceptions. (As an aside, it is interesting that big bore rifle fans use a similar argument, but for them the magic velocity is typically about 2400 fps.)

    Unfortunately, they are simply wrong about pistol and rifle terminal ballistics being fundamentally different, which can and has proven by controlled testing and high speed photography. In fact, they are fundamentally similar. Both depend on disrupting the function of vital organs, and bullets that reach such organs and expand quickly and violently, thus destroying a lot of tissue, are the best way to accomplish this, whether fired from a short barrel or a long one.

    How could the terminal ballistics of pistols and rifles be so different, since today we have pistols chambered for rifle cartridges and rifles chambered for pistol cartridges? In general, rifles have an advantage in kinetic energy, and this gives them an advantage in the amount of potential damage they can cause. (Of course, most of the big bore boys don't believe that kinetic energy matters, either, but that is their problem.)

    But in terms of the mechanisms of wound dynamics, rifle bullets and pistol bullets are both bullets, and function in pretty much the same way. The stopping power of pistol loads and the killing power of rifle loads are both based on a combination of the temporary stretch cavity and the permanent crush cavity produced by the bullet as it traverses the target. Any theory that ignores either of these factors will give erroneous results. Ignore the temporary stretch cavity and your results will favor big caliber bullets. Ignore the crush cavity and your results will favor high velocity, nearly explosive bullets. Both results will be incorrect.

    For at least 40 years I have been reading claims by various "authorities" that bullets cannot be made to expand reliably at typical handgun velocities. This is just plain not true. I discovered that in the middle 1960's by shooting game with .357 Magnum JHP expanding bullets, and it certainly isn't true now. These opinions usually trace their origin to ancient theories and flawed experiments, particularly the Thompson-LaGard study conducted around the turn of the (20th) Century and General Julian Hatcher's aforementioned Theory of Relative Stopping Power.

    When applied to contemporary handgun cartridges, theories based on Hatcher (which include Cooper's and Taylor's "Short Forms") have a statistical correlation to reality of only .64. In other words, they are meaningless. A vocal minority of gun writers and their disciples (again mostly big bore pistol fans) have come to accept this bunk as gospel, but it is really in the same category as urban legends. These "authorities" have been repeating this misinformation for as long as I can remember--but that does not make them right.

    It is instructive to read the actual results of the Thompson-LaGard cattle shooting experiments, which I have done. I urge my readers to do the same. It would be hard to imagine a less appropriate or more poorly controlled study. Despite the significance ascribed to it to this day by the ignorant and willfully blind, it proved absolutely nothing about the lethality or stopping power (on humans) of the handgun cartridges and loads tested. And it is even less relevant (if possible) to modern handgun ammunition, since no expanding bullets were tested.

    All that the Thompson-LaGard experiment really proved is that none of the handgun loads tested were effective at killing cattle. Most of the bovines those early experimenters shot had to be put down with a sledge hammer! The conclusion that the .45 caliber pistol was superior was forgone from the outset due to the bias of the testers, and it became their official conclusion despite a startling lack of data to support it. Interestingly, the only steer put down quickly with one shot was killed by a round from the high velocity 7.65mm (.30 caliber) Luger pistol!

    Well designed bullets (which includes most of the JHP pistol bullets now on the market) expand very reliably at their intended impact velocity. How do you imagine the 115 grain JHP 9x19 +P load, 125 grain JHP .357 load, 155 grain JHP .40 S&W load, and 230 grain JHP .45 ACP loads earned those outstanding 90%+ one shot stop records in the real world? In a sentence: due to the consistent performance of their JHP bullets.

    The famous 125 grain .357 JHP bullet, the most effective one shot stopper of all handgun loads, penetrates 13.25" in ordinance gelatin and produces a football shaped stretch cavity. This is how the very best bullets perform. And bullet performance has a great effect on stopping power.

    For example, the .40 S&W has higher one shot stop percentages in the real world than the 10mm Auto. Yet both use exactly the same caliber bullets, and the 10mm Lite load has exactly the same velocity as the .40 S&W. What gives?

    The difference is a function of the terminal performance of the bullets involved. The FBI adopted the 10mm Lite load and became the main driving force behind 10mm load development. The FBI protocol calls for more penetration, and therefore less expansion, than is desirable to maximize stopping power in most shooting situations. They are more concerned about shooting through car doors, barricades, and so forth than putting criminals down with one shot in the typical frontal shooting situation that homeowners and civilians are most likely to face. The FBI essentially wanted ammunition designed for extended gun battles with perps hiding behind cover, and that is what they got. But as a result most 10mm ammo has less actual stopping power than the lighter, faster expanding bullets used in the best .40 S&W loads.

    I wrote this article, not as a diatribe against big bore handguns (indeed, some of them--using JHP bullets--are near the top of the stopping power list), but because I have grown weary of hearing and reading the same old misinformation endlessly repeated. My opinion is no better than anyone else's unless it correlates with reality. Read the actual studies, not what others say about the studies, and decide for yourself. For those concerned with the problem, handgun stopping power is too important a subject to be left to urban legend.

    .45 ACP full metal jacket 230 grain ....... 49
    .45 ACP jacketed hollow point 230 grain ....….. 60.7
    .44 Magnum full metal jacket 240 grain ......….... 92.3
    *.44 Magnum lead wad cutter 240 grain ...... 136.8
    .44 Special full metal jacket 240 grain ......... 51.6
    *.44 Special lead wad cutter 240 grain ...……...... 76.5
    .41 Magnum full metal jacket 230 grain ........ 54
    *.41 Magnum lead wad cutter 230 grain ........ 80
    10 millimeter full metal jacket 180 grain ....…..... 50.3
    10 millimeter jacketed hollow point 180 grain ... 62.1
    .40 S&W full metal jacket flat nose 180 grain .... 53.4
    .40 S&W jacketed hollow point 180 grain ......... 59.4
    .38 Special full metal jacket 158 grain .......……... 26.7
    *.38 Special lead wad cutter 158 grain ........... 39.7
    **.357 Magnum full metal jacket 158 grain ........ 32.7
    **.357 Magnum lead wad cutter 158 grain ........ 48.5
    .357 SIG full metal jacket 147 grain .....…….... 36.6
    .357 SIG jacketed hollow point 147 grain .... 45.2
    9 millimeter full metal jacket 147 grain ...... 32.3
    9 millimeter jacketed hollow point 147 grain .... 39.9
    .380 Auto jacketed hollow point 95 grain ...…..... 18.3
    .32 Auto jacketed hollow point 71 grain .......... 11.1
    .25 Auto jacketed hollow point 50 grain ......... 3.7
    .22 Long Rifle jacketed hollow point 40 grain .. 4.2
    Performance in gel has almost nothing to do with performance in flesh and blood. JHP's that expand fine in gel do nothing of the kind in animals 230 gr jhp .45's do not expand. Plus P 185 gr .45 jhp;s just BARELY expand when used in4" barrels 147 ht jhp 9'mm's do not expand from pistol barrels. The best loads can no longer be had, since Corbon is out of biz. The 90 gr Hornady and Federal jhp 9mm's are wussy loaded, under 1300 fps and the hornady jackets are too thick and tough for such low velocities to work well. What works in uncontrolable, too big and heavy for ccw 357's is irrelevant. youve got to have sub .20 second repeat hits in a lw, compact pistol. 124-5 gr jhp's do not expand in 3" barreled 9mm's., in FLESH> Non plus p 115 gr 9mm's do not expand from 4" barrels, either. civilans better NOT be shooting at cars or even men who are sideways to them. They are likely to end up in prison or sued out of every dollar they ever make

    Physical incapacitation takes FAR too long,in handgun type confrontations, unless you hit the spine or the brain. You can blow apart the heart and the man or animal can fight for 4-5 seconds. We need his arms to fall in 1/2 second or less. You never see this from incapacitation. It only occurs from a psychological QUITTING. The loads more likely to achieve this are the loads that do the most destruction of tissue and the most shocking. We CAN get controllable 2000 fps loads in ccw handguns, but they pierce soft armor, so they will not be sold to the public.on any mass basis. Such high velocity loads DO produce temporary gas cavities that ARE capable of actually damaging vital organs.. They wont damage muscles or blood vessels, but they DO tear up lung, kidney, spleen and liver tissues. The very best of these loads is the "Split Nose" bullets, 45 grs at 2000 fps from 3" 9mm's, for 400 ft lbs. or the 70 gr 10mm or 460 Rowland loads, at 2300 fps from 4" barrels. They are hollowpointed, hollowbased, and sawn nearly in half lengthwise. They are made on a lathe, out of solid aluminum rod, with a grease groove and Alox lubricant Only Alliant Bullseye powder will even cycle the slide with such lw bullets. The get going so easily that chamber pressure is not an issue. You need so much BE just to cycle the slide that I want mention the powder charge, cause know-nothings always insist that it's" suicidal. However, pressure testing proves them to be full of it.

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