Previous Post
Next Post

TTAG commentator jlp uploaded this underneath our post Carry Gun: A Bear Necessity?

In 1945 the U.S. Military tested the .45 acp with military 225 grain bullets V/S the 9×19 with the 125 grain bullet. The anemic .45 acp bounced off a helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9mm penetrated the helmet at an astonishing 125 yards and may have been able to do it even farther but the accuracy of the gun and the skill of the shooter was beyond its capability to make any hits at any farther ranges . . .

P.O. Ackley when shooting into a U.S. Army Half Track with 1/2 inch hardened armor plate blasted right through it with nothing more than a .220 Swift using 48 grain soft point bullets while the 30-06 with armor piercing rounds with a steel penetrator core bounced off the half track. Ackley when shooting feral mules found the .220 Swift was the ultimate killer caliber fare surpassing the military calibers he also used.

The Old .228 Savage rifle with an 70 grain bullet was used to kill Grizzly Barrels early in the 1900’s. Now in modern times people use the .223 with the 80 grain bullets to shoot 1,000 yard matches. What looks to be “the latest and greatest” is often nothing more than a rehash of what was discovered long ago.

Many Old Time Elephant hunters got themselves killed precisely because they were using slow moving big bore bullets that because of their very large diameter did not penetrate as deeply as small 6.5mm bullets used by W.D.M. Bell. Bill Judd and his Son were using .577 Nitro Express double rifles and shot an enraged bull elephant 6 times and the Bull Elephant still managed to kill Bill Judd. Bill died while W.D.M. Bell shot over 1,000 elephants using the 6.5mm and 7×57 and lived to tell about it. All this proves that the “big bore myth” is just that, a myth, because without adequate penetration and bullet placement caliber is meaningless.

Agnes Herbert in 1900 who used both the .450 double barrel and the 6.5mm preferred the 6.5mm and she hunted with both guns on three continents and shot more big game than anyone today could do in 100 lifetimes. Again more proof that her little 6.5 mm at 2,300 fps was more deadly than her .450 elephant gun whose bullets were much heavier and were traveling at about the same speed (2,100 fps) were inferior in killing power.

Big bore guns whether they be pistol or rifle kick more, have more muzzle blast, many times less penetration and people in general shoot them less accurately. Jack O’Connor, the Dean of American Gun Writers wrote of this a century ago. Its nothing new. But the big bore myth lives on. People today still believe the .45acp will knock a man down or spin him around like a top or make him disappear in a red puff of mist. Nothing like that ever happened in America’s war of rape, pillage and Conquest of the Philippian islands.

Jan Libourel the famous gun writer found not one documented U.S. Military statement that was written during the conflict that told of any superiority of the .45acp over the .38 caliber revolvers then being used in the conflict. It was a myth Colt used to sell pistols after the war and was one of the most successful advertisement bullshitting that they ever pulled off as people still believe such nonsense even to this very day. It might be noted the Military even complained of their .30 caliber rifles not stopping people all of the time. The only statement that Jan found was that the shotgun at close range was a very deadly weapon.

I might add I have seen no difference at all between shooting a deer with a .357 Mag and a .44 mag. None whatsoever. And it is known that two projectiles having the same sectional density and ballistic coefficient, the smaller caliber will penetrate more deeply.

Pistolero Magazine in the 1980’s went to Mexico and shot pigs which are anatomically similar to humans except for the fact they are better behaved and they found no difference in killing power between the .38 special, .357 Mag, .9×19 and .45acp. If anything the .45 seemed to work the worst.

In short if you want the ultimate big game caliber the .260 Nosler would kill anything on the planet with ease even if all you had were fmj bullets and then again W.D.M. Bell said he would never pollute his barrel with an expanding bullet. Perhaps his advice even today is not so outdated as one might think.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Some of my firearms have ugly barrels, but they are not grizzly barrels. “The Old .228 Savage rifle with an 70 grain bullet was used to kill Grizzly Barrels early in the 1900’s.”

    Sorry to be a grammar Natzi, but I and everyone else needs to proofread their posts before hitting the send button.

      • My grandpa had a Grizzly Bull Barrel mounted in his study! It had scars all along it from its lifetime of battles (shootouts) for territory and mating rights. It truly is a thing of beauty to see a full grown (16″+) grizzly barrel in the wild, using the naturally occurring chamber brushes to clean itself.

        • I have a Grizzly lathe in my shop that would turn a barrel but I’ve never done it . Grizzly makes some fairly decent machines these days for the $

    • Not sure about that. I had a cheap AK-74, shot a few clips of Russian [=corrosive] ammo, and forgot to clean it. Came back a few months later, the barrel was very grizzly.

      • Clips? For the love of all things holy can we just wipe this whole article and comments and just start fresh with proper grammar and vernacular? My brain hasnt had enough caffeine for this yet…

        • Sorry Vendetta its time to educate you. The other poster was correct and you are dead wrong. Clip and magazine are interchangeable and have been used as such since at least the year 1911. U.S. Army manuals describing the feeding device of the 1911 pistol call the feeding device a “clip” not a magazine”. This comes from the manuals as well as recent statements on TV by American Rifleman TV.

          Flash forward to 2016. In todays jargon clip means a detachable feeding device to most people while the term magazine has come to mean a fixed feeding device as found on a pump shotguns tubular magazine or the old fashioned fixed magazines of the bolt action military rifles.

        • Time for some re-education jlp. A clip, in correct terminology, is a device used to hold ammunition to be fed into a magazine. It doesn’t have the capacity to feed on its own. That is supplied by the user. The magazine, on the other hand, has the capacity to feed ammunition to the action of a firearm. That is the distinguishing factor between a magazine and a clip. Its capacity to feed directly through the force of a spring or other mechanism. You would think, as of 2016, that someone would be able to correctly distinguish between the two.

          • You have got the terminology wrong. You do not understand the difference between the “stripper clip” and say the banana clip. They are two entirely different animals meant to do two entirely different jobs. Lets get the names straight to begin with.

            If you worked at a gun store today in the 21st century you would hear just about everyone who walked in use the following terminology which is “I would like to buy a 30 round clip for my AK 47 or my AR15. If you said no, you mean a 30 round magazine they would say, “what is that”, I told you I wanted a 30 round clip, you know that banana thing that sticks out below the gun that holds the bullets.

    • In the poster’s defense, English is not his first language, and unless I miss my guess he speaks at least 3.

  2. Not entirely sure how I feel about this. I recognize that I’m no ballistician, but it seems that with a “stopping” (e.g. self-defense) cartridge vs a “killing cartridge,” the ideal bullet would dump all its energy into the target almost immediately.
    It would also be interesting to see a controlled trial RE: small-caliber versus large-caliber with big game, because anecdotal evidence aside, I don’t know if there’s any substantial data on the subject.

    • Energy does not play directly into killing. Energy gives a bullet momentum which helps with penetration. The actual killing mechanism is either a central nervous system hit, (brain, spine) or bleeding out.

      So a solid wound channel is what counts. Or, more importantly, a proper organ hit. If you hit a brain, that’s a last thought
      Hit a lung, last breath
      Heart? Last heartbeat
      So on and so forth. Please refer to the ttag article written by the medic who writes about his experience with .223 fmj. It’s not that great when it fails to connect with vital organs. But with a soft point, it has enough speed to open up and create larger wound channels.

      • I’ve seen lung shot deer run for miles, so I wouldn’t count on a lung shot taking a bad guy out of the fight too soon.

      • I agree with the Gov and more than a few EMTs – lung shot is only faster than a gut shot, which is to say minutes (often many) vs. potential hours with a gut wound.

      • If we’re diving into the baseline science, let’s keep it accurate. No insult intended…

        Energy does not give a projectile momentum. They are two separate, physical properties of an object in motion. They use the same variables (mass and velocity) but in different equations.

        It doesn’t matter much until you start discussing elastic vs inelastic impacts. Energy can be transferred in a number of ways: sound, heat, light, motion, nuclear emission, etc. the sound of a bullet hitting a steel plate is some of that bullet’s energy dissipating in the form of sound waves. That means less than 100% of the bullet’s energy was imparted to the plate.

        Momentum is always conserved. It is a truly kinematic property: you can only transfer momentum through motion, if the two objects in question don’t somehow transfer mass.

  3. Guess I’m trading in my 45 1911 for the rock island 22 tcm. Lol. Maybe not today. But interesting discussion none the less.

    • seems the .22tcm 40gr at near-2000fps would be great for penetration. would that round pierce level 3/4 body armor?

      • You don’t start piercing rifle armor until 3000+ fps and level 4 seems to require both a heavy and fast bullet.

        • Bear in mind that the “valid until” date on body armour is there for a reason.

          About two weeks ago we tested this exact point to demonstrate to a client in Afghanistan why they should be buying new PPE when their old stuff “was in great condition”…

          All equipment tested was end of service life, plus one year, but otherwise had not been abused. All equipment was fired upon from a range of 30ft.

          NIJ L-3A PASGT helmet
          9x19mm ball – clean penetration through one side
          12ga. slug – clean penetration through both sides
          5.56x45mm – clean penetration through both sides
          7.62x39mm – clean penetration through both sides

          NIJ L-4 ceramic chest plate / L-3A soft armour
          9x19mm ball – no penetration
          12ga. slug – partial penetration, plate delaminated, slug stopped in soft armour behind the plate
          5.56x45mm – partial penetration, round fragmented but several sections penetrated soft armour behind the plate
          7.62x39mm – partial penetration, round fragmented but several sections penetrated soft armour behind the plate
          7.62x39mm AP – full clean penetration through hard and soft armour

          The issue is that the common manufacturing process for a lot of ballistic armour is basically a layering one. And over time the bonds between layers break down due to environmental factors (heat, humidity, general movement, etc.), even if there’s no visible damage, which severely degrades the armour’s effectiveness against ballistic impact.

          Clearly YMMV, but we tested a whole lot of armour and found that more or less anything over 3yrs old failed to meet its standard. This across a whole bunch of manufacturers, including reputable US, British and South African brands.

          The real surprise for me was the 12ga. on the NIJ Level 4 plate. I expected it to dump a whole heap of energy and make a real mess of the plate face, but to see it consistently penetrating or partial penetrating was remarkable. Most times the wadding would be caught up in the middle of the plate, but the actual slug would have penetrated right through and stopped in the soft L-3A armour behind, or hung up just as it exited the rear of the plate.

          In any case, it makes the point that plate-carrier PPE absolutely cannot be relied upon for anything higher rated than pistol calibres unless you know it’s new and has been kept in good environmental conditions – and that’s still a lot of trust to place in your kit.

    • I carry a Five Seven. To test your confidence in a.22 of any sort, consider using it for self termination. It starts to look real small to me in that light.

      • Your post got me to thinking of the attempted Reagan assassination. The assassin used nothing more than a .22 rim fire but lets take a look at what happened. Jim Brady was only saved from death because the assassin used an exploding bullet that had a black powder charge underneath a small pistol primer. I tested these rounds long ago when they were still legal and still being made. If the round hit soft flesh it did not explode but when it hit something really hard like a log or in Brady’s case his head they did indeed blow up with little penetration as opposed to what a solid bullet in this caliber would have done.

        Now lets look at the very tall large body guard that was hit. He spun around and was down for the count as the bullet did not blow up but penetrated. He knew beyond all doubt he was hurt. The only reason Reagan did not know he was hit was because he was violently hit and shoved into the waiting car. I doubt that even a foot ball linebacker could have hit Reagan harder.

        The bullet lodged a half inch from his heart. The doctors said it was a miracle he survived considering the loss of blood. and his age, This was from a bullet that weighed less than the usual 40 grain weight found on most .22 long rifle cartridges due to the cavity that was drilled out for the black powder to make it explode which it did not do. Reagan claimed he felt the bullet hit his rib and that he thought it was broken. He may have been right about it hitting his rib as this may have slowed down the bullet so that it never reached his heart.

        The point being that this small light weight bullet knocked out 3 large grown men and almost killed two of them. If it had not exploded on the outside of Brady’s head and if Reagan had not got almost immediate medical attention both would have died. If a larger caliber had been used with the same result people would have said that Brady and the Body Guard were flattened due to the large powerful caliber but since it was actually no more than a .22 rim fire people said , well it was just an unusual occurrence, a fluke etc etc. as everyone knows you only make a person mad when you hit them with a small caliber handgun especially a rim fire. Reality proved the big bore boys all wrong again.

        • I am not positing that they are not deadly but that rather that that is a hard notion to accept looking at the bullets in your hand. I do however have some confidence in the 5.7 (Elite ammo or my own hand loads anyway) because of my own gel tests and some of the shooting reports.

        • “He may have been right about it hitting his rib as this may have slowed down the bullet so that it never reached his heart.”
          You do realize that you just disproved your own point, right?

          • NO the opposite. My point was that if the bullet had not glanced off the rib it would have gone on to hit the heart.

            If the projectile had been .45 caliber and weighed say 40 grains (the same as the .22) and traveling at the same velocity it would not have penetrated as far as the .22 caliber projectile did and probably not even reached the rib or if it did the rib would have stopped it cold. Remember the .22 bullet kept on going after it glanced off the rib doing a lot of damage. And we do not even know what would have happened if the .22 had hit the rib dead on. It might have gone right through the rib and still hit the heart. Doubt my word, then shoot a .22 into a board the same thickness of a human rib and it will easily go right through it.

            In other words the smaller caliber penetrates much more readily than the lager one does when comparing apples to apples.

        • “Reality proved the big bore boys all wrong again.”

          Did it? Did anyone go back later and shoot Reagan, Brady, and the Secret Service guy again in the same places with a larger caliber round? Because unless that test was done, that anecdote doesn’t prove much other than “getting shot sucks, even if it’s a tiny, slow bullet”.

  4. shot pigs which are anatomically similar to humans except for the fact they are better behaved

    I cannot accept that statement as authoritative unless the author can document his time living with pigs.

      • Yes a good analogy and the pigs because they have no protection from a bigger government end up eaten on someone’s dinner table. Here is another analogy. People end up being eaten alive by the greedy rich because the greed monger rich want less government so they can do to the working people what people do to the barn yard pig. Now you know what Socialism is all about. It protects people from the greedy parasitical rich.

        • 🙂

          Pigs end up eaten because they lack guns, not government.

          All things are for sale to the highest bidder. Government included.

          Funny thing is, in the infancy of the political left, there was very much an understanding of this. Which was why many nominal “leftists” were staunchly opposed to the Bolsheviks, and prior, to the whole notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They were very much aware that what the Bolshies wanted to do, was not to change the existing system of privilege, but instead simply replace those on top with themselves.

          Which turned out to be correct (surprise, surprise…), as that is all the left has ever done. Most recently and pertinently in the US context: The 60s radicals, as “poor students”, “fought against” the existing order (their parents having more more money and power than themselves). Then, upon graduating from Berkley and joining daddy’s law firm or Goldman Sachs, became yuppies bent on pulling up the ladder for potential competition, while ensuring government protected their right to graft. Then, as they got older and tired of the long hours Goldman demanded, went full nimby to ensure government kept anyone else from having other options than bidding up the prices of their houses and other “assets”, i.e using government to shift purchasing power and wealth accumulation from work to “capital appreciation.” Then, when it became obvious to even a lefty that everyone just sitting on their hands getting “richer” as their cheese palaces “appreciates” isn’t particularly sustainable; bailed out banks, aka rob workers and savers for the benefit of well connected leeches (by now a pretty accurate code word for leftists.) Etc, etc. That’s all the “left”, including the RINO side of the aisle, have ever done, childish propaganda aside.

          While this sort of “leftism” was being developed in Europe, in the US the alternative of simply leaving the scum behind and moving West opened up. Giving people a realistic say on whether they wanted to be governed or not. And, again surprise surprise, most “voted” against. And instead left for places were only “safety net” was your gun and the gold buried out back. Heck, someone could rape and murder your whole family, and it was up to you, your gun and noone else to do something about it. At least if the perpetrator bothered to move across state line post “crime”. Which is exactly how things ought to be, as anyone promising to “help keep you safe”, is simply Newspeaking for taking enough of your stuff, to afford enough superiority in arms over you, to keep you reliably enslaved. Just like the feudal serfs that the left originally claimed to be “fighting for.”

          The “other side” of the original “left” (Bakunin, Spooner, Proudhon and later and more pragmatically Zapata//Flores-Magon), which unfortunately ended up “losing”, were much more palatable, and actually brought something useful to the table. Their understanding of economics didn’t really amount to much, but neither did anyone elses prior to the Austrians (or, for that matter, after the Austrians). But their instincts were very much dead on, as Europeans back then was just as beholden to government mediated privilege for a bunch of dolts, as the West once again has become. The solution to too big a government/too concentrated power, is never to build up another organization even more powerful to take them on. But rather to smash it all to a million pieces until, again, you’re down to every man and his gun. Then, let properly armed, hence realistically equal, men form associations as they please. Unconstrained. Hence free.

          • Its basically the far right Businessmen that have been luring immigrants here for decades to be used as slave labor working at less than minimum wage with no benefits , not holidays and no retirement. Corrupt Businessmen then pay of their prostitutes the Republicans to make sure no immigration reform is passed as has been done in European Civilized Socialist Countries that have guest worker programs. This of course would cause corrupt Right Wing Businessman to pay a few pennies more that would cut down on their greed monger profits. You left out the fact that the Left Businessmen at least support Socialist programs while the far Right would no think of supporting any benefits to the needy or less fortunate.

            Lets look at Trump and how it was revealed in the last few days how he exploited illegal Polish immigrants by PROMISING to pay them less than minimum wage and then paid them nothing. Come on, how greedy can you get. Of course he and his contractor knew the illegals were too frightened to take them to court.

            As far as your illogical rant, Socialism is the dominate form of Government in European Countries and France and Germany are beating the hell out of the U.S. in creating new 21st Jobs. On Sunday’s GPS Fareed Zakaria revealed that France in 2015 created more new 21st high tech jobs than even Germany did and far more than the U.S. did. Kind of beats the hell out of your demented, rambling baloney that Socialism is the death of Western Civilization doesn’t it.

            Germany is considered one of the Richest countries in Europe and one of the most desirable places to live. Norway and Denmark are very close also and Norway has had more new start up businesses than the U.S. Not bad for a very small Socialist country.

            In 1936, the popular US journalist Marquis Childs first described the result to Americans in the book Sweden: The Middle Way. Since then, all the Scandinavian countries and their Nordic neighbors Finland and Iceland have been improving upon that hybrid system. Today in Norway, negotiations between the Confederation of Trade Unions and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise determine the wages and working conditions of most capitalist enterprises, public and private, that create wealth, while high but fair progressive income taxes fund the state’s universal welfare system, benefitting everyone. In addition, those confederations work together to minimize the disparity between high-wage and lower-wage jobs. As a result, Norway ranks with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland among the most income-equal countries in the world, and its standard of living tops the charts.

            So here’s the big difference: in Norway, capitalism serves the people. The government, elected by the people, sees to that. All eight of the parties that won parliamentary seats in the last national election, including the conservative Høyre party now leading the government, are committed to maintaining the welfare state. In the US, however, neoliberal politics put the foxes in charge of the henhouse, and capitalists have used the wealth generated by their enterprises (as well as financial and political manipulations) to capture the state and pluck the chickens. They’ve done a masterful job of chewing up organized labor. Today, only 11 percent of American workers belong to a union. In Norway, that number is 52 percent; in Denmark, 67 percent; in Sweden, 70 percent.

            In the US, oligarchs maximize their wealth and keep it, using the “democratically elected” government to shape policies and laws favorable to the interests of their foxy class. They bamboozle the people by insisting, as Hillary Clinton did at that debate, that all of us have the “freedom” to create a business in the “free” marketplace, which implies that being hard up is our own fault.

            In the Nordic countries, on the other hand, democratically elected governments give their populations freedom from the market by using capitalism as a tool to benefit everyone. That liberates their people from the tyranny of the mighty profit motive that warps so many American lives, leaving them freer to follow their own dreams — to become poets or philosophers, bartenders or business owners, as they please.

        • I do get the impression that you mean well, but man, try looking at the real world though slightly less myopic eyes for a second. You are aware that when Moses stumbled down from Sinai, he did not bring along a once-and-for-all definition of “high tech jobs”, don’t you? And that, lacking a definition, anyone can pick whichever one fits their current political and public relations narrative the best? And, that, this is what 98+% of “studies” bandied about by progressives are all about?

          When most, way above 90%, of people hear “high tech jobs”, they associate it with “the kind of jobs concentrated in Silicon Valley.” As in, you know, a place in the US. There are plenty of software development jobs in Europe as well, just like there is in Indiana. Virtually all of them, do nothing but integrate products developed in California and a few other US locales. Hence wouldn’t even exist, were it not for US “technology jobs.” I do have to say, for those of us who realize the above 90% are, let’s be nice and say, less than well informed, things are much less one sided, as Europe do have plenty of industry left that is very technology intensive despite not being typical “tech jobs.” I’d even suggest many bring much more real value add than the typical “21st century tech job” that idiots are fond of spouting off about. Similar to how improving rifle barrel machining to improve accuracy 10%, is infinitely more useful than creating yet another useless app for dating banged up, no longer fertile skanks.

          But in the bigger scheme of things, the US is no different from Europe. It is all the same. +-5-10%. Pretending that the exact same system of government, the exact same institutions, the exact same superstitions and religion (secular progressivism), somehow happens to lead to paradise in Sweden but Hell in the US, just because some yahoo on HuffPo says Swen is nice and Trump is mean, does nothing more than play straight into the dominant playbook on both continents: That there is really, really do exist some “good” version of corporatism/social democracy/neo-liberalism/fascism/…. whatever it is fashionable to call the ideology at this moment.

          In reality it’s all the same. Again, +- a few percent. In all countries on both continents, taxes have gone up steadily. Government has grown, both in absolute and share of the economy terms. Banks have gotten wealthier and wealthier, at the expense of productive people. Ditto lawyers. The number of laws have risen. The price of a house/apartment as a share of median income has skyrocketed, rendering more and more young people unable to obtain a place to live. More and more kids are born out of wedlock, despite fewer and fewer kids being born at all. Police are getting more and more militarized. People have less and less influence over how they can arrange for their own health care, instead being pushed aside to make way of one petty scheme more harebrained than the next. “Social mobility” has dropped across the board. Wealth has become more and more concentrated, with precious little evidence the same has happened to realistic value add and productivity. Etc., Etc…. In other words, every conceivable social metric has deteriorated. here, there, and virtually everywhere. And that’s not even beginning to look at the infinitely more important metric, simple liberty. As in, freedom from intervention and meddling in ones life by government.

          In some areas, America may have a bit of a lead, in others, different Euro countries. But they’re all going to hell pretty much in lockstep. There is no meaningful difference. Just as there is no meaningful difference, except at the margin and perhaps wrt special interest issues like gun control, between even Sanders and Cruz. Or Olof Palme, for that matter. They all believe(d) government is some sort of useful organization. And that, if only THEY can run it, any restriction on how powerful it is, is nothing but a restriction on how much good they can do. If Sanders wins the election, taxes after 8 years will be +- a few percent of what they will be if Cruz wins. And, including local and state taxes, within a few percent of what they are in Sweden. Or Norway. Or France. Or any other progressive hellhole.

          And, in every bloody instance, waaaaayyyyy different from what they were under the last decent US President, Jefferson, who presided over a budget of somewhere in the high single digit millions. Which is about what it costs taxpayers every time Michelle Obama wants to go to Whole Foods. Or some Norwegian Ola goes to the UN to talk about some new nonsense “we” must force someone else to do, lest “we” drag them in front of some pointless “court of law.”

          Where the Euroes/Scandies have “us” beat, is in the parasitic lawyer arena. More of their restrictions and harassment come directly from Government, while ours often arise more indirectly; from laws and lawyers. And as always, the comparatively “free market” solution does become more efficient than the socialist one. Meaning our lawyers have become notably better at the job of harassment and graft, then even the best of socialist governments could ever hope to become.

          But still, it’s all just the same. Wasting one’s life on pretending there is some sort of difference, does, again, nothing more than play into the ruling party’s playbook. Just the way they want their indoctrinated stooges to act.

  5. I have an old .264 win mag left to me after my father passed. Grew up shooting it, didn’t enjoy, it still don’t. But after I knocked the dust off of it for a cull hunt in South Texas I have decided it is too much rifle for our antlered prey here, short of a 200 plus yard shot. Absolutely devastating.

    • I love 264 as my ‘open country’ round. I shoot 250 Savage on everything smaller than Oryx. I love hot 200 cal rounds. One of RFs best posts.

    • The .264 WM is an awesome round, and there are now bullets available for the 6.5mm’s that are better than anything available when the .264 WM was first introduced to the market.

      The big downside of the .264 WM is the tendency to burn out the throats of barrels. People who are shooting maximum pressure loads can see the throat burned in as little as 1500 rounds.

  6. The author comes off as a douchey conspiracy nut, frankly.

    Also, as to this “Again more proof that her little 6.5 mm at 2,300 fps was more deadly than her .450 elephant gun whose bullets were much heavier and were traveling at about the same speed (2,100 fps) were inferior in killing power” – if the bullets are really travelling the same speed, then it sounds like the .450 suffers more from the shape of its tip then its overall diameter.

  7. Super velocity bullets like the 22 swift, .223 and 22-250 have better penetrating capability against steel but tend to fragment and dump their energy without penetrating very deeply in soft tissue. Heavier, slower bullets tend to hold their momentum and penetrate deeper in soft tissue… I’m not terribly worried about penetrating steel…

    • It’s easier for a small caliber bullet to penetrate because it has to drill a smaller hole. IOW, slightly less energy into a much smaller area. However, the question becomes – what does it do once it penetrates?

      Against elephants and the like, if it doesn’t penetrate, there is no point in discussing what it might have done in the soft tissue. But most self-defense targets don’t pose that problem.

      • Physics are interesting but reality if often very different. I had a buddy who for years lived on an isolated farm. He had a large family and paid no attention to game laws. He regularly shot deer out of his kitchen window with a .223 with fmj bullets and also expanding bullets too at a measured distance of 225 yards. The deer seldom went more than 25 yards and many fell down dead and did not run at all. Ohio Whitetails are noted for being some of the biggest of all white tale deer as they gorge themselves on Ohio corn. If we go with the “big bore boys” philosophy such big deer should have all got away but it was not the case at all.

        As I have stated before when you can kill big European Red deer whether it was Kaiser Wilhelm with his .30 Luger or whether it was my own experience with the 9mm it taught me smaller calibers often kill way out of proportion to their size and I have every confidence that the 9mm will do the job because I have used it and it worked. I don’t have to quote ballistics tables because I have shot live game with it.

        • Physics are interesting but reality if often very different.

          Unless you can demonstrate a case where reality violates the laws of physics, physics is reality.

        • “Physics are interesting but reality if often very different. “

          Just wow.

          I really want to stop there, but…

          So, you observed a few anecdotal incidents that do NOTHING to invalidate the statistical nature of the larger experiment you are observing and use that to indict the entire abstract notion of “Physics?”


          You might do well to remember also that man’s application of “physics” is not “Physics.” You have made a classic, and sadly common, error in science:

          You’ve confused man’s model of reality with actual reality.

          I suggest some reading and careful meditation on the thought experiment called “Einstein’s Watch.”

    • So you’re probably safe against The Blob, but anything with a tougher hide, not so much. First rule of penetration is, you’ve got to get inside. Smaller pointy things tend to do this better.

  8. Where the heck are the Philippian islands? And why isn’t island capitalized if it’s part of a proper noun? This guy’s ballistic claims are less reliable than his grammar, so take everything he says with 225 grains of salt.

  9. A few years back I read about an incident in which a tigress got loose at a zoo–it was in California and may have been SF. A couple of deputies responded and killed it with their .40s. I don’t think the story said how many rounds they fired. I have to admit, I wouldn’t be keen on confronting a tiger with any handgun. Better than bare hands, of course, but …

  10. Robert: I beg to disagree. I am a trial lawyer and have spent more than 3 decades in jury trials where experts butt heads and try to convince juries which one is right. One doctor will say you have nothing wrong with you while the other will swear that you will die any minute from something given to you by the defedant. They will say that some folks decades ago proved this or that….and the other side will say the opposite and each will cite some book somebody else wrote a long time ago. As a bullet researcher myself, I have the opinion that little slow bullets moving very fast are the best for killing animals at long range. I have killed well over 100 four legged meat products that way. On the other hand I spent the first half of my career in law enforcement and still believe that big heavy bullets in handguns penetrate walls and evil doers much better than high speed 9mms…Yes I have a Glock 43 in my pocket , but that is for self defense while at home or at the local stop and rob, and I no longer shoot thru walls much. My point is different applications require different bullets. They nearly wiped out the American Bison with 45-70 trapdoors and bullets moving 1,200 fps. Just saying, I dont think your sources provide enough credible data to convince people that big bullets dont work and that they should leave their 45-70 or 12 gauge slug gun in favor of a 22-250 while in grizzly country. Smarter people than me may differ.

    • You covered this better than I could. I would also like to point out that the same physics applies to to large solid projectiles fired from artillery tubes, I.e. armored piercing anti-tank rounds. Does anybody think that a hv 76.2mm AT round has superior penetration to a 88mm AT round let alone a 105 or 120? If that were true then the Abrams would be armed with one.

      • AP rounds from the 76.2 and 88 mm guns were essentially full bore diameter hunks of metal, bullets, in other words, big honking angry bullets. The APFSDS-T round launching from an Abrams’ 120mm has a diameter approximately 30% of the bore diameter once the sabots detach upon leaving the muzzle and looks more like a dart. A lonnnnnnnng dart. Travelling in the vicinity of 1500m/s there’s no comparison.

  11. If you are hunting, don’t care how far the animal wanders away, and don’t care how long the animal takes to die, use any caliber you want as long as you can put the bullet in the animal’s brain or through the animal’s lungs/heart. It will kill the animal — sooner or later.

    If you care about self-defense in the woods, then you want a caliber that is most likely to stop a 4-legged attacker immediately. And there are only two ways to stop an attacker immediately: central nervous system destruction or MASSIVE trauma to the animal’s body. And … only large calibers with proper bullet selection can inflict massive trauma to a large animal.

    That is why I carry a large caliber firearm with hardcast lead bullets for self-defense in the woods. Heavy, large caliber hardcast lead bullets penetrate at least 36 inches of bone and flesh, and the hardcast bullet impacting at velocities of 1200 fps and higher creates a massive wound channel at least 1 inch in diameter — which creates massive trauma and bleeding.

    Basically, a large caliber firearm sending hardcast lead bullets at decent velocities is a “coring tool” (much like the tool you use to core an apple) that punches a 1+ inch diameter hole over 36 inches deep through bone, muscle, and organs of an animal attacker. That shuts them down really fast — especially if you put two or three such massive holes in them. Of course that same large caliber platform is just as capable of destroying the animal’s central nervous system as well. I like to have my cake and eat it.

      • Velocity does not “trump” mass. They are different properties…orthogonal, if you will.

        Something possessing kinetic energy does not necessarily cause destruction upon impact. There are many ways that energy could NOT cause damage. The energy has to be delivered to the material and often in a certain way.

        If these systems were reducible to a single equation, the debate would be over. The debate rages on (and I’ve been reading this same back-n-forth for at least 35 years) precisely because energy transfer/tissue destruction is NOT simple.

        And, that lack of simplicity is not even taking into account the uncertainties that make any single given experiment subject to statistics and probability. There’s just no way to predict, with certainty, the outcome of any given terminal ballistics “event.” No. Way.

        Attempts at reductionist logic don’t settle the debate. They add confusion to ‘newbies’ that are seeking non-existent easy answers to complex, real-world problems.

        • That’s what the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range” was about. Using lightbulbs to kill.

          (I’ve explained elsewhere that would have been a more intelligent line were it given as 40 kilowatts.)

          I do know people who mount strobe lights to their astronomical telescopes at the eyepiece side, to set up photon cannons. Something to do when the star party is killed by overcast.

    • Propelled by PV=nRT.

      (Also, it’s properly noted as “F=ma”. But blame it on auto correct, and you get geek points regardless.)

    • Agree, WDM Bell could shoot. And his .275 Rigby was relied upon when high accuracy was possible, which was most of the time. He did own a .450 and had it carried by a bearer, while he carried the small bore. Bell wasn’t stupid. He later used the .450 in aerial gunnery during the WWI.

      To the extent the post argues that we do not need both high sectional density and large momentum to drive a bullet deeply through the torso of a thick-skinned dangerous animal, the post over-states its case, and is flawed.

      As for what caliber/bullet weight is required to kill a whitetail deer or man…these simply are not tough-to-kill animals. The larger bears, too, can be killed with a shot from a 5.56 or such. However, they cannot reliably be STOPPED QUICKLY with less than a medium bore or quality shotgun slugs. Stopping requires enough SD and momentum to penetrate to vitals from nearly any angle, and, if the animal is charging, with less than bench-rest accuracy.

  12. Well, my experience is somewhat anecdotal. Here is what I have seen:

    — .270 Winchester and .30-06 shots on deer inside of 150 yards means the deer runs anywhere from 35 to 80 yards before keeling over.

    — .44 Magnum, .50 caliber muzzleloader, and 12 gauge shotgun slugs means the deer falls over right there.

    I have heard of exceptions to both results. Your mileage may vary. All I know is that it is a much greater pain the @ss carrying a rifle in .30-06 than a large .44 Magnum revolver while picking blue berries and hiking in the woods. Given that the .44 Magnum seems to put animals down right there when using hardcast bullets at close range, I’ll stick with it.

    Additional anecdote: I shot a smaller deer in the shoulder at 50 yards with a .44 Magnum rifle shooting 240 grain soft point bullets (muzzle velocity around 1650 fps and impact velocity around 1550 fps). The impact literally spun the deer half way around and the resulting whiplash actually broke the deer’s neck. I have never seen that sort of thing from a .223, .243, .270, or .30-06.

    • I helped a buddy skin and butcher a Doe he shot this year. Hit her in the butt (no joke) with a 20ga slug. She dropped right there.

      We found the slug in the ribs on the far side of the animal. The slug hit the hip bone, snapped the spine, ricochet and ended up traveling through another 36″ of flesh before hitting the ribs and stopping.

      It was wicked.

    • First deer I ever shot was a 160ish pound doe quartering away shot with a 12ga. slug. The slug entered right in front of the hip and broke her shoulder on the way out. That deer took off so fast I thought I missed. Ran over the hill and bedded down to die. Unfortunately I was young and stupid and it was around dusk so I unloaded my shotgun while I was walking back only to jump the doe with an empty gun. She ran for 2 miles before she collapsed and died. Another 5 minutes and she’d have been done, but once she started running it took a while. That slug bored a one inch hole through 3 feet of venison. Took out a lung and a shoulder. If that ain’t enough gun for a deer, I’d hate to see what it would take to stop a bad guy high on jenkum.

      • Yeah, I have heard that my father-in-law put a perfect broadside shot on a deer with a 20 gauge shotgun slug — it was a perfect double-lung/heart shot and a pass-through at that. Family members who were present said that deer ran over 200 yards before falling over dead. And it looked like someone had taken a bucket of red paint and splashed it all over the place pretty much the entire length of that deer’s 200+ yard sprint. When they field dressed it, there was no blood left in the critter.

        Needless to say, that is the exception rather than the rule.

    • I think its more about shot placement than anything. I shot 1 deer this last season stone dead in the upper front shoulder with a 150grn Speer Grand Slam in 308 at 75 to 100yds. I shot another 1 last season with a 150grain 30 cal flat point lever gun bullet at 50 yds and it ran 50 yds. That was a gut shot. Shot another 1 last season with a 12 gauge slug at 25 yds in the lower front qtr and it ran 25 yds. Shot 1 the previous year with a 44cal pistol bullet out of an old muzzle loader, in the neck and it dropped on the spot stone dead. Backbone/spine/neck shot that disconnects the brain from the rest of the body, its going down on the spot. I’ve done it and seen it repeatedly done on hunting shows with arrows and bullets. Anywhere else and they run a little or a lot.

  13. I’ll not be taking anything under .40 caliber for my upcoming Cape buffalo hunt, thank you very much. And I’ll be shooting solids.

  14. this diatribe is a perfect example of literacy failure. Fact-checking needs to be done IN DETAIL on a lot of this, which generally appears to be opinion and hearsay.

    Let’s be clear about one thing, for example. I have about 9 different references on the M2/M3 family of halftracks, having helped restore two different ones. The armor plate on these vehicles is face-hardened 1/4 inch thickness. It is NOT 1/2 inch in thickness. The M5/M9 variations used 5/16 untreated (not face-hardened) armor due to the need to weld the seams, but never saw service with the U.S. except as training vehicles.

    Given that most basic error and the total lack of references for the rest of the verbage, I have to lay this article at the foot of my mudroom for appropriate use.

    And, yes, you can ask and I will provide my references so that you can either purchase them or (oh, my!) Google the data yourself.

    • See P.O. Ackely’s book, “Hand-loading for Shooters and Re-loaders”. P.O. Ackely documented every one of his experiments not to mention the eye witnesses that are mentioned in the book as well. P.O. Ackley was one of the most respected gunsmiths and firearms experimenter’s of his day. He was also the inventor of many “Improved factory wildcat cartridges” that are still popular to this very day.

      • So, yet another of your oft-used Appeal to Authority fallacies without addressing the poster’s comment content directly.


        • I proved my point and you responded with the typical comment “don’t confuse me with the facts I have already made up my mind”. I am sure you would have said the same if I had quoted Einstein on another subject.

        • Geez, you are thick.

          You don’t even know what an Appeal to Authority Fallacy is, do you? You do it all the time, get called out on it, then hide behind replies like this?

          What actual FACTS are in your reply that refute what the commentor above you said in reply to your article? Answer: NONE.

          All you had was Ackely said so, so it must be true. The other problem with that statement (in this case) is, as others have pointed out, you don’t really understand what ANY of those guys you mentioned in your article did or said.

          You have a typical Progressive weak-minded approach to debate, and I for one am glad RF posted your “article” so everyone here can see it.

          Now. Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong so you can continue to feel self-superior, right about everything under the sun and pretend the world revolves around your misapprehensions of the truth and reality. It’s cool. Those of us that “do logic” can see what’s really happening every time you post.

          • Give a man the facts about one of the worlds great Gunsmiths and he says “Don’t confuse me with the facts or with documented experiments by them because I have already made up my mind and it does not fit in with my pre-conceived notions on how I want the world to be, not as it is”. If you disagree with Ackley then lets see the results of your counter experiments complete with documentation, and names of witnesses exactly like Ackley did.

            As I said before if I had quoted Einstein on a completely different subject you would have used the same lame excuses.

        • ” Fact-checking needs to be done IN DETAIL on a lot of this, which generally appears to be opinion and hearsay.”

          There’s the part you are missing from the OP.

          You read some of Ackley’s work and now are trying to “school” us all well beyond your understanding of what he was doing/saying.

          Your interpretation of the work of the “great gunsmith” is not fact.

          After all, you are the person that said above that physics is not reality. That alone speaks volumes.

  15. This post is based upon a flawed premise – or would you have me believe that .220 swift is more deadly than a .50BMG?

    So… since this is an argument not about absolutes, but about degrees, and since .45acp +p will pass through an unarmored criminal, which I imagine is nearly all of them, as will 9mm +p, the discussion should be about whether the larger hole, the more significant wound channel, that the .45acp makes is statistically significant. Something I have yet to see discrediting data for, only anecdotes as above. Since the likelihood of firing your CCW is so small, statistically, at the extreme edge of the bell curve, it seems reasonable, to me at least, since we are talking about unlikely events, that the larger hole, with its associated larger more deadly wound channel, imparts an advantage, small though it may be. After all, any advantage is an advantage.

    As to people shooting small calibers better than large calibers… well clearly you don’t shoot at the same ranges I do, where the targets are missed / hit in non-critical areas much more frequently than they are hit where they ought to be regardless of caliber, including 22 LR. It is truly embarrassing, frankly. Get out and practice with whichever caliber you ultimately decide to use and stop making excuses.

    • The heart stops if hit with a .177 cal pellet rifle or a 20 mm cannon. Dead is dead not deader. There have been many, many people killed with pellet guns which proves that again the big bore myth is just that, a myth. When the brain or heart is destroyed death results. When their is a hole in the lungs they bleed out.

      And lets not forget the difference between the .45 cal and the 9mm cal is a scant 1/10 of an inch. Now in all seriousness whether we are talking about a .45 cal rifle or pistol and a .35 cal rifle or pistol it is again a scant 1/10 of an inch in diameter. I think one can see how ridiculous the big bore diameter myth soon becomes. Rather it is bullet placement and adequate penetration that matter most.

      • There is only a 1/10th of an inch difference in the rounds, not in the wounds. With any penetration at all, it is not a surface wound, but a wound channel. You have to add that .10 to every inch of penetration. That adds up, and that’s even if you assume neither round expanded at all.

        • Again I state that the wound channel is meaningless if the heart is destroyed. Pellet gun deaths prove it beyond any doubt and the .177 pellet wound channel is quite small not just because it is small but because its velocity is low.

          . Speed a .177 cal projectile up to say 3,500 fps such as found in the various center fire rifle cartridges and you have a completely difference wound channel. Often such bullets if they are very long and heavy will even tumble because of their super velocity.

          It was found in Vietnam when using only 55 grain fnj bullets in the M16 that they not only tumbled but often fragmented as well producing spectacular and deadly wounds something that was not found to be true of the larger .308 diameter rounds used in the M14 at the time.

        • .38 has a surface area of 0.113354″. A .45 that is a “scant 1/10″ larger diameter is an area 0.1589624″ for a difference of 0.0456085”. To state it another way, only a 1/10 increase in diameter increases the surface area of the projectile 40.235457%. Or again, a .45 caliber round creates a 40% larger wound cavity than a .38. Some can choose to concentrate on the 1/10 number but the reality is the .45 projectile must displace a significant more material than a .38.

          .177 pellet vs. .45ACP or .223 vs. 50BMG there are obviously more factors than simple caliber. Larger caliber will certainly need more speed to get the same penetration as a smaller diameter projectile, not even factoring in the style of projectile and the material it is fired into. A larger caliber that is specifically designed to maximize it’s wound cavity and deliver most of its energy in the first 10″ of penetration will be far more effective against a human than a grizzly. A smaller faster round that will penetrate 36″ may work on a human but much of its potential is wasted. Maximizing effectiveness all depends on selecting the appropriate cartridge for your intended/probable need.

      • jlp

        Fair enough… Lets have a duel. 30 paces. You can shoot me with a .177 pellet gun and I’ll shoot you with a .45 acp. You name the place and time. /smirk

        • The point being that we both would drop dead if hit in the head or heart or spine. So what is your point? Again you just proved bullet diameter is meaningless.

        • Many police agencies, including the FBI, report that their officers/agents shoot more accurately when switching to 9mm from 40/45.

          Deer hunters tend to shoot their .243 Win better than their 30-06.

          Precision Rifle Series participants almost exclusively shoot 6mm or 6.5mm catridges with drop and drift similar to the 300 Win Mag… at 1200 yards. They don’t shoot the 300 Win Mag.

          Maybe some people are truly immune, but it is human nature to be effected by recoil and anticipation of that recoil.

        • Again… your missing the point, it would seem almost on purpose. So let me refer you to the FBI Handgun Wounding Factors Study.

          And I quote:

          “A review of law enforcement shootings clearly suggests that regardless of the number of rounds fired in a shooting, most of the time only one or two solid torso hits on the adversary can be expected. This expectation is realistic because of the nature of shooting incidents and the extreme difficulty of shooting a handgun with precision under such dire conditions…”

          So, the odds of you hitting me or anyone else that is shooting at you in the head or the spine are what exactly? As to being hit in the heart, I address that below. So read the words again, let them sink in:

          “…regardless of the number of rounds fired in a shooting, most of the time only one or two solid torso hits on the adversary can be expected.”

          The study continues:

          “…the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet.”

          Did you get that last bit? I’ll repeat it for you:

          “…the edge is always with the bigger bullet.”

          • Since you either did not read or understand any of my posts I suggest you go back and read them as it will answer your question and prove you wrong.

        • No. Your point is only valid if you are a super operator ninja crack-shot that can perfectly place your bullet every time no matter the circumstances. Perhaps you can put a .177 airgun pellet through a perps eye while jumping out of a helicopter during a hurricane. For the rest of us, we mere mortals, bigger bullets offer an advantage, the degree of advantage being somewhat debatable, but nevertheless an advantage. The argument you are trying to make flies in the face of ALL of the documented evidence. The only mitigating factors are anecdotal, or perhaps an inability to handle larger calibers, which admittedly is an issue for some.

          • Sorry bud but I do what you only fantasize about. I actually have shot wild game with a lot of calibers. So unlike you I know from experience what works not only in rifle calibers but what works in pistol calibers.

            I forgot to relate an experience of one of my friends who used a .45 acp High Point pistol to shoot a deer with. It was a miserable failure. He shot it 5 times and finally came down out of the tree stand and walked up to the deer and shot it I the head to kill it. Again it showed that the .45 acp’s lack of penetration and its killing power is a myth. It did not knock the deer down, it did not spin him around like a top nor did it make him disappear in a red puff of mist either. The slow moving .45 acp becomes less and less lethal as the distance increases as well. The 9mm has way more velocity if we are talking about its original velocity in the military load as compared to the military load of the .45acp.

            In another test I once did I used a full power load with a fmj bullet of 225 grains in 45 acp and a LOADED DOWN 9mm 121 grain fmj bullet. I shot both into a 55 gallon drum at a distance of about 5 feet. The full power .45 loading penetrated one wall of the drum and fell down inside while the 9mm WHICH AGAIN WAS LOADED DOWN TO LESS THAN FULL POWER went right through both sides of the drum. Now if I had been an enemy soldier hiding behind that empty 55 gal drum I would have been safe and shot back if someone had used a .45 acp while shooting at me and I would have been deader than hell if shot at with a full power 9mm loading.

            Another example of why bigger is not a guarantee of success. Two friends of mine went Moose hunting and one shot a Moose 3 times with a .375 H&H. It did not knock the Moose down but the Moose after standing there awhile finally and very slowly sank to its knees and died. The other man shot his Moose with a .280 Remington and it fell down as if hit by lightening. Now does this mean the .375 is a dud round. No, it means that if you do not hit the vitals it does not matter what caliber you use and it proved the little .280 was quite capable of killing a large animal like a Moose if you hit the animal where the vitals were located. Again disproving the big bore myth that bigger is better all the time rather its shot placement and penetration not caliber that kills.

        • Once again, flawed premise leads to faulty reasoning supported by anecdotes.

          In the real world, where I might be mugged on the street, or have my home invaded, there are no 55 gallon drums laying around. So, in a word, irrelevant. At self defense distances BOTH the .45 and 9mm will fully pass through a perp. This is not hard to grasp. Therefore, a fully penetrated perp will cease to be a threat sooner if the hole is bigger. It’s quite simple really. The FBI data clearly shows this.

          As to hunting moose, a good shot is always better than a bad shot. Your anecdote proves nothing other than the presence of a cognitive bias. Show me data, or it didn’t happen.

      • The amusing part about referring to .177 airgun pellets is how wildly inconsistent their kill rate is on common crows, of which I have shot dozens, more than half of which, after having receiving a center of mass hit, fly away, or drop to the ground, only later to recover and fly away… this in spite of the small diameter, pointy tip and 1200 fps velocity of the .177 pellet. On the other hand not a single one has escaped my .25 cal Benjamin Marauder flinging hollow point Crow Magnum pellets at 850 fps.

        Interesting, isn’t it? Care to comment?

        • My experience has been quite different than yours. Crows I have shot with the .177 even the non magnum guns which fire a pellet much slower kill crows very easily if the distance is not extreme. I have even shot ground hogs which are way tougher than crows and got adequate penetration if pellet placement hit the chest cavity and not the guts,

      • Oh…and I forgot…reading comprehension…

        Let me quote you:

        “And lets not forget the difference between the .45 cal and the 9mm cal is a scant 1/10 of an inch…”

        And now let me quote myself:

        “…the larger hole, with its associated larger more deadly wound channel, imparts an advantage, small though it may be. After all, any advantage is an advantage.”

        I’m glad we agree 🙂

        • Your reading comprehension leaves a lot to be desired as you the only agreement is with your self alone not me.

  16. I guess it just goes to show you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    • Rock Island Armory does make a Glock-to-.22TCM9R conversion kit for you!! (grin) I don’t know if it is rollmarked “GROCK” or not however.

  17. 357 SIG is my carry choice. I generally carry gold dots, but switch to the hottest flat nose Underwood loading when I go into the woods. Even with a 4 inch barrel, I am getting velocities that give me muzzle energy approaching 700 ft/lbs. I don’t feel under gunned against anything I might come across out in the woods East of the Mississippi.

  18. penetration and placement rule. in 40 years of deer hunting , 270, 308 and 30/06 are almost overkill with modern bullets at moderate range. 12 , 16, and 20 ga slugs seem to work about the same. only 000 buck is worth using on deer. just my, my relatives , and my friends experience.

  19. It is interesting to note that when FN developed its 5.7 mm pistol it was looking for a pistol round that would penetrate body armor. FN did not developed a big pistol round for this job because the smaller diameter pistol round penetrated better. The original FN military round is not legal to civilians in the U.S. so do not compare the U.S. civilian 5.7mm to that of the original military round.

    Its also interesting to note that when Thompson conducted his pistol round lethality tests back in about 1900 much to his shock he found such rounds as the .30 Luger and 9×19 were killing 1,200 pound Steers as well as the slower moving .45 caliber revolvers he was using. In a blind panic he went out and bought “Man Stopper bullets” which were designed to expand and he claimed they did just that but alas killed no better than the solid .45 cal bullets he was previously using in the test. Thompson then simply quit testing the smaller caliber pistols as he did not want to prove his theory wrong that ” bigger was better”. A great impartial test eh what? Never the less he went before the U.S. ordinance board, lied between his teeth that a big .45 cal pistol round fired out of a semi-auto pistol would be the ultimate man stopper and the board which conducted none of their own testing bought the bullshit hook line and sinker. The rest is history.

    Its also interesting to note that the .45acp 1911 never even made it to the Philippian war until the last year of the war so it saw very little action but to read all the lurid advertisements ever since you would think that the 1911 was there for most of the long 13 year war.

      • See the excellent article Jan Libourel wrote shortly before he retired and how he did indeed reference this fact about the 1911 not reaching the war until the last year of it and also other fascinating facts about the Philippian war. He debunked much of the .45acp myth. He went over reams of U. S. government documents.

        Jan also wrote that the Moro Warriors were not a bunch of dope crazed drunk on their ass idiots either. They found out in their very first battle with the U.S. that their hide shields did not stop bullets and that their spears were no match for modern weapons so they resulted to fighting a guerrilla hit and run war with captured and bought modern weapons. So the Moro suicide dope crazzed charges with viral U.S. troops blowing them off their feet was again just Colt propaganda to sell pistols after the war. In other words the 1911 Myth was pure bullshit right from the very beginning.

      • Try rereading the post. He did not say that the .45 acp saw little action, what he said was that it saw little action in the Philippine War. If you can refute his claim, post it, but otherwise the ad hominem adds nothing.

        • Oh no I read it clearly. My point was that to suggest that the .45ACP wasn’t really tested because it only served one year in the Philippines is asinine, as it has been used to great effectiveness in every war the US has fought since. To ignore that long record of service and effectiveness of this caliber is either spectacular ignorance on display or intentional misdirection.

          • I was not ignoring its long service but emphasizing its inferiority to the 9×19 in all aspects such as inferior penetration, excess recoil, less capacity, less human ability to shoot it as accurately because of its recoil, less able to hit at longer ranges because of its looping trajectory due to its much lower velocity, less controllability in full auto weapons, and its myth that it knocks people down or is somehow more lethal, just to name a few of its inferiorities as a lousy combat round.

  20. Its also interesting to note that when Jack O’Connor’s wife Eleanor shot an elephant she used only one shot from a 3006 to kill her elephant.

    Several years ago there was broadcast on cable TV and elephant culling operation. It clearly showed the men using nothing more than military FN FAL rifles. Every elephant shot went down deader than hell with just one shot.

    The gun of preference for elephant and rhino poaching today in Africa is the AK-47 shooting a military fmj bullet weighing on average 125 grains and of .31 caliber (7.62×39). The Chinese ivory markets are flooded with illegal ivory from not hundreds of dead elephants but thousands. See “Carter’s War” and other documentaries that detail the current slaughter going on.

    • You need to talk to more hunters and guides, who will tell you horror stories of the animals they find dying slowly from the multiple 7.62×39 rounds they have received from poachers that couldn’t wait around for the days it took the animal to die.

      • True enough what you just said but its not because of the caliber rather the poor placement of the shot. In WWII the German 8mm Kurz caliber which was for practical purposes very close to the 7.62×39 it was noted that with a penetrator core it had tremendous penetration and often shot through defensive log barriers. The AK round with the usual military steel penetrator core kills well enough when the bullet placement is correct and not randomly sprayed at the target.

        A poorly placed shot with a .600 Nitro kills no better than a poorly placed shot of a smaller caliber. The animal may eventually die as you just said. There are many documented cases of elephants running for miles that were only wounded with big bore calibers. Strange no one then bad mouths the big calibers when this happens but they only bad mouth the small calibers when the exact same thing happens.

        • Your entire argument is based on the unreality of perfect shot placement, from an ideal angle, every time. Of course shot placement is paramount, but it has nothing to do with the argument that a lighter caliber is better. In fact, the heavier round will penetrate farther, allowing the shooter to reach vitals from more angles than the lighter round. Go hunt brown bear with that 9X19 you seem to be so proud of. Not interested? Maybe the .475 Linebaugh would be a better choice. Ask yourself why.

          • Wrong that was precisely my point and that was what W.D.M. Bell said over 100 years ago. The big bore weapons then did not penetrate as well as the smaller caliber military cartridges he was using.

            Now we can fast forward to newer calibers like the .460 Weatherby magnum that were not available back then but it is one of the few big bore rounds that finally achieved the penetration that small bores have had for years over many of the big bore calibers. And we still must realize that other factors enter the picture to this very day. Fatigue from carrying a big bore gun, excessive recoil that causes people to flinch and miss their target sometimes by feet not inches and less inherit accuracy as proven by the Remington Arms Co. years ago. You will not find a big bore calibers in bench rest matches and for good reason, they are not as accurate for a variety of reasons.

            The other point Bell made was that when the vitals were hit caliber was irrelevant something the big bore boys have consistently refused to admit even when Bell proved it over 100 years ago. The Big Bore Boys to this very day will say that even if you hit an animal in the toe nail the bigger caliber will stop an animal in its tracks, spin it around like a top, throw it straight up in the air 10 feet or if hit in the tone nail make it disappear in a red puff of mist.

    • Jack O’Connor once wrote a fantastic article for, IIRC, a Guns & Ammo annual (or possibly Gun Digest Annual) called “I’d walk across Africa with a .30-06”. O’Connor’s rivalry as the reigning .270 Winchester enthusiast vs Elmer Keith and his big bore advocacy was legendary in the hey days of the old school gun writers.

      O’Connor was also adamant that when using the smaller bores and higher velocity rifles, precision and shot placement were paramount.

  21. Why are those smaller calibers simply illegal to use on dangerous game in many places in Africa? Why are so many illegal to hunt with in the U.S.?
    It is because of the large percentage of animals wounded, or left to die slow painful deaths with those small, fast rounds.
    Yes, shot placement is key. Penetration is vital. But It is ridiculous to think that you will hit the brain or heart 100% of the time, and from any angle. And the more massive the round the more penetration it will achieve, allowing you to strike those vitals from more angles.
    Also, the anecdotal evidence given in the article fails to mention the ranges many of those animals were shot at. Bell talks about shooting elephants at 20 and 30 yards in massive culls. Good luck getting that today.
    And if you want anecdotal evidence, as mentioned above, I’ll see your 1,000 elephants and raise you an entire species (the American Bison) practically eradicated with a big, slow, .45 caliber round.

    • When P.O. Ackely tried to get the .220 Swift approved for deer hunting he found he was up against “the big bore myth” as people who sit on “game commission boards” often no less about hunting than they do about rocket science.

      Bullets penetrate when they are long and heavy in relation to their diameter and due to the fact that bigger calibers kick hard and heavier bullets lose velocity very fast in the bigger calibers this often results in the bigger calibers penetrating less not more as compared to smaller bullets like the 6.5mm with the 160 grain bullet that has been known for over 100 years to shoot right through an elephant consistently while the bigger calibers especially when we get into calibers larger than 40 as witnessed by W.D.M. Bell who stated he often saw the bigger calibers fail to penetrate sufficiently while his 6.5 always went right through an elephant.

      • “…bigger calibers kick hard and heavier bullets lose velocity very fast in the bigger calibers this often results in the bigger calibers penetrating less not more as compared to smaller bullets…”

        With all due respect, this is complete crap. In a basic High School physics class you will learn that wind resistance is equal to the square of velocity. Therefore heavier slower projectiles have more downrange energy and penetrate further. Given enough distance the heavier projectile will overtake the lighter projectile both in energy and velocity. There are numerous videos of high velocity rounds being shot into swimming pools. Can you guess which ones penetrate most deeply into the water before stopping and dropping to the pool floor? Is it the 3000+ fps 5.56? Guess again. It is the venerable, slow, .45acp. Here is another scientific fact: most of the mass of a human body is… drum roll…thats right…water.

        • When you compare apples to apples the smaller caliber often wins out. For example when Jeff Cooper shot sharks the .357 Magnum firing the 158 grain bullet at 1600 fps it failed to penetrate the water to kill the shark but the .30 Mauser with an 85 grain bullet at 1600 fps did penetrate the water and kill sharks despite the fact that the .357 was using a heavier bullet but it was a larger diameter bullet which slowed it down when it hit the water and tried to penetrate it. Bigger bullets run into the same problem when penetrating animals. Animals are not only made of flesh but there is a lot of water in flesh and the bigger caliber with a more massive frontal area has more difficulty in penetration than the smaller diameter projectile.

          Ever try and punch or drill a hole in something with a large diameter shaft or a drill bit rather than starting first with a much smaller diameter shaft or drill bit. I think the U.S. Military test on the Military helmet with the 45 acp v/s the 9mm was another good example of a bullet with a larger frontal area failing miserably in a penetration test.

  22. What works for elephants is not the same as what works for people. The logical fallacy in this article is ridiculous.