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Discussion Starter #1
I have been read about bullet weight.

Some say lighter bullets move faster and has more stopping power.

Some say it is not the speed but the momentum that you want from a heavier bullet.

I load .357.
125 HP for my pistol and 158 Lead flat head and HP for my rifle.

Does this sound about right.

Dale
 

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Sounds good. 125 grain JHP for self defense and the 158 grain cast I’m assuming is a great round. I load it in my 38’s and if I had a 38 lever gun that’s what I’d shoot.
 

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here is how bullet weight and momentum was explained to me. Take a roofing hammer and drop it from about 2 ft onto your toe.. thats the 123 grain at slow speed, Now repeat using a 5 lb sledgehammer, thats the 158 grain. Now have your wife (shes really mad because you were dumb enough to do the first part of this demonstration. :):) have her hit your right hand with the small hammer, really hard now.. thats at max speed... ready for her to do your left hand? or do you get the idea?
So heaver bullets even if slower speeds usually do more damage to soft tissue on impact,, lighter bullets penetrate deeper in soft tissue but do less actual damage. So light for indoor defense, hard stuff stops them easy.
Heavy bullets for stopping power, More damage and can shock the system to slow or freeze a attack.
 

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With a handgun you have one game to play, penetration. I will always opt for the heavier bullet. In 38/357 that would be 158 gr. jacketed and usually 160 gr. cast. Your two choices are fine. They wouldn't be mine but they're fine.

I have to disagree in the strongest terms that light bullets penetrate deeper. Ain't gonna happen. The sectional density simply is not there. Ask those who have hunted the biggest game or read the accounts from years past and, with very rare exceptions, (William Maitland Dalrymple Bell being the most often mentioned), you won't find any lightweight bullets used. I've recovered from game more than a few bullets in the 270 class fired from rifles and hollow point revolver bullets in the 44 Mag., 357 Mag. velocity class. I have never recovered heavyweight bullets travelling at modest velocities from rifles in the 40-45 cal. class. Even when frontal shots have been taken, 380/410 gr., 40 cal. and 450/520 gr., 45 cal. bullets travelling at about 1200 fps penetrate the length of the animal and continue on their merry way. I've seen it several times and done it myself a few times Lightweights plain ol' will not do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sharps4590, I have to agree with you.
No where have I read that a lighter bullet penetrates deeper in anything.
Last ballistics I saw was 110 grain in jell was about 16" 158 was about 16" or more.
 

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I shoot PDA ammo in 9mm @147gn....just under 900fps. Hard hitter when it ain`t .45acp. Big and slow rules the day to me. I used to have some very old 265gn .45acp factory ammo from way-way back 40s/50s?. Looked like a black golf ball when touched off going down range. You could walk it right to the target like a BB gun of old. Ok, now I have to dig in storage and see if I still have a few left.
Back in the day called "motor" killers.
 

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[QUOTE="sharps4590, post: 2224996, member: 63936"

I have to disagree in the strongest terms that light bullets penetrate deeper. Ain't gonna happen. The sectional density simply is not there. Ask those who have hunted the biggest game or read the accounts from years past and, with very rare exceptions, (William Maitland Dalrymple Bell being the most often mentioned), you won't find any lightweight bullets used. I've recovered from game more than a few bullets in the 270 class fired from rifles and hollow point revolver bullets in the 44 Mag., 357 Mag. velocity class. I have never recovered heavyweight bullets travelling at modest velocities from rifles in the 40-45 cal. class. Even when frontal shots have been taken, 380/410 gr., 40 cal. and 450/520 gr., 45 cal. bullets travelling at about 1200 fps penetrate the length of the animal and continue on their merry way. I've seen it several times and done it myself a few times Lightweights plain ol' will not do that.
[/QUOTE]
Whoa! I think you misunderstand! Let us look at what I am saying. A 270 class bullet entering the target at near 3200 fps will penetrate deeper in soft tissue than a 45 cal bullet entering the target at 1200 fps. 2 things make this happen. The sectional density of the 270 class is much lower than the 45 cal. It has less friction to overcome UNLESS and until it hits denser tissue (MUSCLE, bone or tendon) ( ballistic gel has a density of muscle and dose not resemble soft tissue at all) These tend to really slow and stop the lighter weight bullet. ( remember even wind can push these around really bad!) It just doses not have the MASS to push through! Now the 45 cal has the mass and just crashes through. But the 45 creates a wall of tissue in front of itself. This causes massive bleeding, but also will slow the bullet, like sand does a truck. Think SEMI at 50 mph vs VW Beetle at 90 mph. Which will break through the concrete barrier or dense brush? THE SEMI. Again MASS rules! even if its going slower. But put both in mud.. the VW will travel farther, it dont get "bogged" down as bad.
So against the Biggest game or most Dangerous animals, YOU need the biggest heaviest bullet you can get! At close ranges the 12 or 10 guage shotgun with slugs are the choice to stop Grizzly and Polar Bears almost in their tracks. The bullet must penetrate a tough as nails skin and a dense slab of muscle and break or shatter bone to get to a critical organ.
the front to back penetrations? usually did not hit a bone and only went through soft tissue and very little muscle. There are lots of stories of 270 class exiting when shot side to side as LONG as no bone was encountered. Bone stops them dead or shatters the bullet.

Now I know I still have not convinced many. thats ok This is what I was taught. And I am not a expert, Many of you have far more experience than me. So I would not ignore what Sharps says either! Its something I will need to re-examine when I get to it!
 

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No, the 270 bullet will NOT out penetrate a 480-500 gr., 45 cal. bullet in anything, flesh, mud, sand, green cheese or one eyed, one eared purple people eaters. It isn't I who misunderstand anything.

I have to ask, how is it you assume my front to rear shots and those I've witnessed "usually" did not take out any bone? Not all did however, just as many did shatter shoulder blades or wreck the pelvic, penetrated the ham front to rear or slid along the spine taking off tips of vertabrae as they passed...and those were were all cast bullets. Those cast bullets, none caused anywhere near the "massive bleeding" one sees from expanding bullets at higher velocities. Nor do the solids used on dangerous game. They have one purpose and one purpose only, to penetrate heavy muscle, bone and stay on course to reach vitals and kill the animal. The aren't to expand, rivet, bend or anything else, just penetrate. At 1100-1200 fps a cast bullet acts much the same which is why the importance, to me, of a large meplat.

With 270 class cartridges I also had and witnessed more than a few broadside shots. Those that were, penetration was complete, side to side, whether a bone or several bones, shoulder blade/ribs, were hit. My wife's 243 has done the same, every time she's taken that shot. Bullet fragments were sometimes found but never remains of the entire bullet.

Tell ya what, I've done these penetration "tests" in wet phone books and wet paper and baffle board boxes...and more than a few critters. Ain't no 270, '06, 280, 44 Mag, 357 Mag, 243 or 7mm Mag. gonna out penetrate long, heavy for caliber, cast bullets at moderate velocity whether that be in ballistic gelatin, wet books, wet or dry paper, baffle boxes or game.....or mud. It ain't gonna happen, period.
 
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not arguing with you Sharps! I am a big fan of heavy for caliber, cast bullets myself. I just love 45LC and 45\70 rifles, They are hard to beat in any situation! I just said what I was taught. I do not think the deer or antelope I have harvested would be a difficult target for either light or heavy calibers. But at long range 1\4 to 1\2 mile the 30 caliber (308) works wonders and I feel they are as light as I would want to go. I have no experience on bigger game except for the one Black bear I took with a 12 Gauge shotgun slug. Of course I have seen what the 223\556 does to man sized targets and they were a mess....
 

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At 1/4 to 1/2 mile...and beyond, the 300 Win. Mag works even greater wonders. 'Course then a fella is getting into a horsepower race. 338 Lapua, 50 BMG...where does a fella want to end up? Then again, my Shiloh #1 Sporter loaded with 62 grs. of black and Lyman's 410 gr. bullet cast 25-1 has, on several occasions when all the red gods were smiling and I was having an exceptional day, shot MOA at 600 yards...with iron sights. I don't know the velocity at that range but I bet it would still penetrate a deer sized animal completely, side to side. And I can assure you I will never know. That ceases to be hunting and turns into just killing because you can. Not my cup of tea.

I didn't take any of it as arguing. However, my experience and the experience of others who have more of it than anyone alive today is able to accrue, disagrees mightily with what you were taught. and, that isn't just my opinion. That goes way back before the days of Elmer Keith to Selous, Forsythe, Mayer and later, Taylor, whose findings and opinions I have found to be true.

For light, big game, anything from 243 up is more than adequate. Centerfire 22's don't make my personal list but I wouldn't argue with their effectiveness. I just like a bigger hole and not so much blood and gore as high intensity cartridges produce. We all know a 22LR will kill a deer but that isn't the point. The 220 Swift killed Tigers in India too but is that a suitable Tiger cartridge? It also got some folks mauled and some killed....just like the excellent 318 Rigby did in Africa when used on pachyderm's. Great cartridge, simply not enough bullet weight or caliber for that purpose.

I didn't mean to end up in a short dissertation on heavy for caliber bullets, large bores and dangerous game. However, the same applies when speaking of smaller rifles and/or handguns. The 160-180 grain, .357 bullet is going to penetrate deeper than the 125. If driven to reasonably close velocities, physics allows no other result. Even if there is a hundred or more fps difference between the two, the heavier projectile wins the penetration trophy. The Scandinavian's had excellent results on Polar Bear with their 6.5 Swede cartridge. However, they were shooting 160 gr. round nose bullets and relied on the incredibly deep penetration into the vitals to do the work. The 140 or 120 gr. spire point popular today in 6.5 calibers would have served to get someone killed. 'Course, not many are going to run in to a polar bear when deer hunting with whatever 6.5 they might carry. Bell used the 275 Rigby, (7 x 57 Mauser), and 175 gr., round nose bullets to kill most of his over 1,000 elephants. He also used the 303 Brit and the little 6.5 X 54 Mannlicher/Schoenauer enough to discard them for elephant.

I was just taken completely aback when you said lighter bullets penetrate deeper than heavy bullets. That just isn't my experience or the experience of folks with a whooollle lot more experience than any of us will ever have....or can possibly get today or the physics of the matter.
 

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Given equal velocity-a heavy bullet penetrates deeper......An example-my 247gr cast at 1000fps,suppressed,WILL go through a minimum of 24" of wood-I've seen gel test where the same bullet went through 30" of gelatin and exited.
 

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It's a one-eyed, one-HORNED flying purple people eater, not one-EARED.

As a connoisseur of classic rock and roll, I felt I had to make that correction. :p
 

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And you are correct. I plead......that it's been 50 years since I heard that song.... 🤗 ...what the heck, they both end in "ed" and both work and the 270 still won't penetrate any farther than if it only one ear and two horns....😁 Yet it remains, you are correct....:cry:
 

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Regarding penetration, velocity is king. Thus,

zant said:
Given equal velocity-a heavy bullet penetrates deeper
If velocity was king, bullet weight would not matter.

While it is true that given equal velocity a heavy bullet penetrates deeper, it is also true that given equal bullet weight a faster bullet penetrates deeper.
 

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Regarding penetration, velocity is king. Thus,
Welll....how is it a 480 gr., 45 cal. bullet at 1200 fps will out penetrate by feet a 150 gr., 30 cal. bullet at 2800 fps? That's over a 50% difference in velocity.
 
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As I'm reading down through this I keep thinking "momentum".

In physics, Momentum = mass X velocity. So there can be combinations of light bullets and high speed that will out penetrate a heavy bullet going at a slower speed. Or a heavier bullet going faster can out penetrate a light bullet going slower.

Then add the complication of bullet shape. My guess is that pointy bullets will do a better job of penetration than blunt bullets, given equal momentum.

Does that make sense?
 
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