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Thread: Beyond service pistol calibers?

  1. #1
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    Beyond service pistol calibers?

    We know .38 special, 9mm, .40, .45 all cause similar amounts of trauma to a person shot with them. It's often quoted, "service pistol calibers perform about the same given similar bullets".

    And we know rifles and shotguns normally cause more damage.

    So what about the more powerful pistol rounds? Setting aside slow follow-ups, muzzle blast, etc. When does a powerful pistol bullet do substantially more damage/perform better than a service round?

    Does this level start with a hot .357 magnum with a 158 gr 1400 fps gold dot? A .44 magnum?

    Just wondering.

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    Temporary wound cavities start to matter around 1800fps for most rifle calibers. It is somewhat dependa t on frontal surface area(12ga slugs cause temp cavities at lower velocity but I dont remember the number).

    44mag’s biggest advantage is penetration. Not much of an advantage for human defense, but is much better for game that requires deeper penetration, like couger and bear defense or hunting large game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegademiC View Post
    Temporary wound cavities start to matter around 1800fps for most rifle calibers. It is somewhat dependa t on frontal surface area(12ga slugs cause temp cavities at lower velocity but I dont remember the number).

    44mag’s biggest advantage is penetration. Not much of an advantage for human defense, but is much better for game that requires deeper penetration, like couger and bear defense or hunting large game.
    Well, you might be on to something. If a .73 cal. Shotgun slug at 1400 fps pushes tissue asside at a rate beyond its elasticity perhaps a .44 mag bullet that's expanded to .70 in. going the same velocity does the same?

    Obviously the 450 gr .73 in. shotgun slug will have higher SD than a 240 gr expanded .73 in. .44 bullet. Thus the slug won't lose velocity as quickly while moving through the target.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron3 View Post
    Well, you might be on to something. If a .73 cal. Shotgun slug at 1400 fps pushes tissue asside at a rate beyond its elasticity perhaps a .44 mag bullet that's expanded to .70 in. going the same velocity does the same?

    Obviously the 450 gr .73 in. shotgun slug will have higher SD than a 240 gr expanded .73 in. .44 bullet. Thus the slug won't lose velocity as quickly while moving through the target.
    Perhaps, I really dont know. Slugs definately have more frontal surface area. Doc Gkr is active on a few forums, he would know.

    That said, for human defense, the followups, capacity, and reload ease combined with barrier penetration on good rounds makes them a no-brainer.

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    Doc GKR has stated they have observed temporary cavitation wounding with hot loaded 44 mag. So it seems like that is where it really starts. From a discussion I had somewhere about it, he said that shape and mass also play a role. My example was a tank sabot round at 1700 FPS, would that cause temporary cavitation wounds? The consensus was probably yes.

    From personal experience, Ive investigated a few suicides done with magnum revolvers. The wounds were significantly more severe than with what I normally see with the service cartridges. That being said, I always believed the extra muzzle blast was the contributing factor. But who knows.
    C co 1/30th Infantry Regiment
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    IraqGunz:
    No dude is going to get shot in the chest at 300 yards and look down and say "What is that, a 3 MOA group?"

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    I have seen more than a few shootings, having been a street cop for a long time ( about 25 years on the street since 1982 after a stint in the Army). Now I am semi retired.

    All other things being equal velocity counts. Do not include the 38 special with "service pistol cartridges" The 38 special is marginal and about equal to the 380 ACP in the shootings I have seen. The 357 magnum is king or the hill, but the 357 Sig, 40 S&W and +P+ 9mm are princes. When I carried a 44 magnum for SD I carried it with 180 grn JHP's going fast (1450-1500 fps).

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    The most effective and dramatic suicide I ever say was a guy cut down the barrel of his 300 win mag to about 5 inches. The unburnt powder inside the barrel must have created a hell of a muzzle blast which vaporized everything north of his tongue .

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    I'd be curious to see what people (especially DOC) think about something like this 65gr .357sig @ 2100fps, or these 80gr 9x25 Dillon @ 2100fps. Both solid copper (the former non-expanding, the latter expanding). Those would both seem to be well beyond the threshold for TC to start wounding (faster than flesh can stretch), at least from my layman understanding. I mean those are 5.56 SBR numbers...

    Are those enough for "rifle" terminal ballistics from a handgun or do we need to go even faster at .38in?

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    I'm surprised there isn't more interest in this area actually, 80gr @ 2100fps is just about what a 10.3in Mk. 18 is doing, and I'm assuming there is still rifle style wounding with that setup?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Potss View Post
    I'm surprised there isn't more interest in this area actually, 80gr @ 2100fps is just about what a 10.3in Mk. 18 is doing, and I'm assuming there is still rifle style wounding with that setup?
    77gr 5.56 from a Mk18 is about 2400fps.
    Fusion MSR and 70TSX run ~2500fps.

    I agree that 9x25 is a very interesting cartridge that might have the potential to blur the lines.
    RLTW

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