A new program on Speed TV called ‘Car Science’ performs scientific experiments on . . . wait for it . . . cars. It’s Mythbusters on Wheels, mostly. Car Sience’s tests are more entertainment than Nobel science, but they are fun in a conversation-over-a- few-beers-what-if sense. They decided to test whether Dirty Harry’s favorite handgun really could terminate a 70s sedan with extreme prejudice. The movie said yes, but the producers of ‘Car Science’ were not convinced that the .44 was up to the task . . .
As you can see in the video above, they rolled a 1973 Cadillac Coupe de Ville onto the firing range and shot it. The car’s engine shrugged off the bullet like Superman himself.
The explanation was actually quite simple: a standard issue .44 round does not have enough force or inherent strength to kill a cast iron Detroit big block. The bullet will fly through the radiator with the greatest of ease, but it will lose velocity on the way. Plus lead points have no chance to penetrate iron engine blocks.
So the boys upped the ante on firepower. They dragged out a Smith and Wesson 500 to kill the Caddy. The 500 will drop big game from 200 yards away in the hands of a skilled shooter. It will give a guy a fighting chance to drop a thick-skulled grizzly if unrestrained panic doesn’t compromise his aim.
But can a 500 kill a 1973 Cadillac? Sorry Joe, but the short answer is no, based upon conventional rounds and the kinetic science behind the Smith and Wesson cannon when its discharged bullet hits the engine block.
Needless to say, a 1973 Caddy big block is not completely bullet-proof. The TV guys moved up to a 50- caliber rifle that made the handguns seem like BB guns by comparison. The big rifle dropped the old Caddy in its tracks on the first shot.
So unless you’re staring down the sights of a Barrett, ArmaLite, MacMillan, etc. 50 (or something tastefully chambered in Lapua), it’s best to step out of the way when Murilee Martin-era whips are trying to run you down. Ford Focus? Different story. Which ‘Car Science’ didn’t tell . . .
None of this will be a great surprise to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia. But the experiment raises some interesting questions beyond the scope of ‘Car Science’.
We know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let more than a few .50 caliber rifle walk across the Mexican – American border (thanks guys). Could they be used to shoot down a DEA/ICE/ATF/DHS/CIA/National Guard helicopter? How hard would that be? What about a Predator drone?
What else might the narco-terrorists do with a 50 cal.? Are they significantly more effective for an ambush? Are the rifles actually useful in a firefight (as opposed to a sniper attack)? How much skill is required to use them? How does a 50 cal change the assault group’s strategy? Do defenders need different tactics to repel a narco attack with a 50 cal?
Clearly, the longer the nation goes without a TTAG TV show, the more befuddled American foreign policy will get. And the more entertainment-starved we gun enthusiasts become. TV producers are advised to contact RF at firstname.lastname@example.org.