Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrong on the internet!

There is a certain subset of the handgun hobby that is into the big boomers. For them, the .44 Special is a cute little pipsqueak, the .41 Magnum doesn't count, and handgun calibers don't start until you're talking about .45 Colt loads that would wreck your grandpa's Peacemaker.

Of course, once you and your shootin' pal each have your .475 Linebaugh or .500 S&W Magnum, the only way to make it better than your buddy's is to launch a heavier bullet. Guys who are into this stuff in a big way will line up a whole bunch of wet newsprint and see how far into it the bullet will shoot, pretending that the wet newspaper is a charging grizzly or a pissed off elephant.

And these bullets will go a long, long way into wet newsprint. The key factors for penetration in wet newsprint (or a critter) would be a very heavy bullet with a lot of inertia and a high sectional density and, most importantly, a neutral (or even forward) weight bias so that the bullet will resist yawing as it decelerates, because once that bullet turns sideways, it's going to slow down in a hurry.

Now, these factors are not the same as what makes something "armor piercing", and vice versa. The big, heavy lead cylinder that will shoot through a bison from end to end will flatten into a shiny lead disc the size of a silver dollar hitting ballistic weave or hardened steel plate, and the dinky little needle of an M-16 bullet that will punch through that armor plate will tumble and break apart inside the bison...

All this chatter about terminal ballistics is to bring up a phenomenon I ran into on the internet this morning. There is a poster on a forum I frequent who is one of the aforementioned "big boomer" enthusiasts. It's all he can talk about. He can rattle off the names of the famous gunsmiths and cartridge developers in the large-bore revolver industry in his sleep. He can tell you just how much wet newsprint any load in any caliber will traverse like a teenage boy can tell you Peyton Manning's passing stats. And someone suggested that a .308 rifle round would penetrate steel better.

He was aghast! Heresy!

I agreed with the other poster; the high velocity rifle round with the smaller frontal area would be more likely to go through hard targets than big, heavy lead cylinders would.

He countered with "I'm sorry but if you're going to convince me, you'll have to show me studies..."

And that's when I realized: I'm not here to convince him. It's okay for someone to be wrong on the internet. There's no point in me trying to Google up a page full of links with which to beat him over the head.

I feel so cleansed. :D

25 comments:

Ted said...

Gee, I think it's a violation of Usenet etiquette not to correct someone who's wrong.

I think you're supposed to use ALL CAPS, too.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

If you don't humiliate me in public, how will I learn?

Dr. StrangeGun said...

People will stew in their own idiocy, and we aren't crusaders.

Anonymous said...

Bet I know which forum and poster without even having been over there yet this morning. Heh.

og said...

LOL! SuWheet.

I like big bore rifles, and SOME big guns, but just because I like to shoot 'em. Some big handguns are just painful to shoot. I have no delusions as to even KNOWING what "stopping power" they have.

I have seen a falling plate penetrated by a 223 round, and NOT fall over- while a 22 long rifle knocked it down.

Turk Turon said...

Off-topic, but I love your new "motto" about Goetz and Genovese.

Turk Turon said...

Or how about paraphrasing Emo Phillips: "I want to die in my sleep, like Bernie Goetz, not screaming and crying like Kitty Genovese."

karrde said...

Sounds like the opposite of this.

Anonymous said...

Just ask him what characteristics steel and soggy tree pulp have in common.

Glenn Kelley

Weer'd Beard said...

Does this post corrilate any with the New VPC "Study" on "Vest Buster" "Big Boomers"?

No matter how scary-big you make the handgun, handguns are handguns, and rifles are rifles.

Ross said...

I know someone who loads 700 grain wadcutters for his S&W 500... I've shot his other thermonuclear loads but I flat out refuse to even try the 700s...

Tam said...

Yeah, those have sailed clean past "serious" and straight into "silly".

Personally? If it can't get done with a 240gr .429" bullet @ 1200fps, I really should have brought a rifle...

TD said...

My .45 Ruger Bisley and I are highly insulted! :-P

Jay G said...

Ross,

And my little 360PD bit him and made his finger bleed...

BTW, try the 700 gr monster loads.

They're fun...

(Just don't plan on playing the piano for about a week after...)

Noah D said...

Dang. Karrde beat me to it.

As for 'studies', you could have said 'f=mv²' and 'a=πr²', but I've got a feeling that wouldn't have helped.

(And not being a ballistics junkie, I could be (probably am) seriously oversimplifying it, but those two equations made a lot of pistol v. rifle things more clear to me.)

Michael said...

And that's when I realized: I'm not here to convince him. It's okay for someone to be wrong on the internet. There's no point in me trying to Google up a page full of links with which to beat him over the head.

Took me quite a while to figure that one out myself. I try to educate, but sometimes you have to just throw in the towel.

perlhaqr said...

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

Kristopher said...

Heretic.

butch_s said...

Had an opportunity to shoot a .500 S&W a little over a year ago. IIRC, the first three shots in the cylinder were 300 grains, the last two were 500 grains. Target was a suspended railroad tieplate at 25 feet. (For those that don't know, a tie plate is a piece of 5/8" thick steel plate placed between the rail and wooden crosstie.)

Hit the plate with my third and fifth shots. Both dented the plate, though neither penetrated it.

Interesting experience, and I'll admit I think the cartridge would be fun in a carbine of some sort.

Ted said...

Perlhaqr, this one is pretty funny, too:

http://xkcd.com/481/

zeeke42 said...

@ Ross and JayG:
Jim's 700 grainers are fun. The bullet is larger than a complete 45ACP cartridge. At one of the previous shoots, there was a steel swinger. After being shot with a factory 44mag load, it swung up about 80 degrees and came back down. After being shot with the 700gr 500 load, it spun around 6 times. The load is powerful enough that you have to single load it. The recoil is enough to make the bullet jump the crimp.

@Butch_s:
The same guy has an H&R handi-rifle in 500S&W with a red-dot on it. I shot a watermelon with it once, and it was GONE.

Charles Pergiel said...

Shooting an old 30 caliber military rifle at some quarter inch steel plate, expected to find some dents in the steel. Surprised to find holes instead.

Stopped at a gun store in Iowa a while back. Had some single shot pistols that looked like they were cut from the center of a rifle. Used medium size rifle cartridges, like a 30-30. Supposedly made for hunting.

Why use wet newspaper? You can poke a hole in wet newspaper with your finger. Use dry. Requires less paper, should get more consistant results.

Phyphor666 said...

It's basic physics, anyway. Obviously, a smaller but higher velocity round is going to penetrate better than a bigger. lower velocity round. OTOH, the bigger round is more likely to transfer all of it's energy to the target than a smaller, faster round, but WTH.

What is really required in these debates is a ruler for measuring how long each poster's wang is, since that seems to be what they're trying to demonstrate anyway.

Xavier said...

Where is Tam and who is this posting on her blog?

Glenn Bartley said...

I'll bet that the guy who demanded the studies to prove another person's point offered no studies of his own to prove his point. Just tell him TICSMYD. (Talk Is Cheap Show Me Your Data). That should shut him up next time he demands proof.

As for the 308 penetrating steel better, yep it sure would.

Merry Christmas,
Glenn B