28 Feb 2015

.44 Magnum Versus Balloons

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It would have been useful and informative if they had also fired a .223 bullet at the ballons.


You’ll notice on the video that the shooter is using soft-nosed hollow-point bullets. That’s a detail of tremendous importance since it reduces considerably “piercing-power” (bullets of this kind expand and “mushroom”, as the video shows too). The piercing-power of any caliber is a ratio between the diameter of a bullet, its weight, its speed, its material and how shaped it is.

For example, the piercing power of an “insignificant” 22 LR High-Velocity with a lead bullet roughly equals this of a 9 para with a full metal jacket bullet. And both are far superior to this of a 45 ACP with a full metal jacket bullet, which has roughly the same piercing-power as a 32 ACP with a full metal jacket bullet.

A 223 full metal jacket bullet has an enormous piercing power, capable, for example, to cut a clean hole in an iron railway’s rail at a distance of 100 yards. However, the combination of a very high speed (about 3000 feet per second in the case of a 223) and of small diameter and weight is making a 223 bullet shattering into tiny balls and shrapnels of lead and copper as soon as it hits a thin plate of metal, or even much softer types of matter. It literally explodes. Thus this 223 bullet can barely pierce more than three successive thin sheets of metal about 2 or 3 feet spaced. You’ll obtain about the same performances with similar calibers such as 222 Rem. Magn. and even 222 Rem. The 22 LR (so the same bullet’s diameter as a 223 exactly), or even a High-Velocity version of this smaller ammunition with a full lead bullet doesn’t explode or shatters just because of a far inferior speed of about 1200 to 1500 feet per second (full lead bullets spontaneously melt at velocities superior to about 1600 feet per second, owing to the heat of air friction).

I’m an ex-gunsmith and, some decades ago, I made extensive tests with various calibers and types of guns and with metal, wood, concrete and stone. But not much with water I must confess. I noticed surprising results in some instances.

So the same 44 Magnum with a full metal bullet would certainly get through two more balloons, in my opinion. The surprising result this video shows us owes to the fact that water is getting nearly as hard as concrete at a bullet’ speed. You can easily figure this fact by your own when you try to hit some water as fast as you can with your fist; right? So now try to figure what it can be at speeds such as 3000 feet per second! That’s why some drops of water left in the barrel of a M16 or of a M4 can cause serious damage to it if you shoot with it.
I guarantee you that a hollow-point 223 will shatter into numerous tiny parts in water, while the same in full metal jacket is likely to hold good, somehow.

In other words, there is a good deal of chance for that a 223 full metal jacket would get through all the balloons used in this video, whereas the same with a hollow point, or even with a soft-nosed point wouldn’t do much better than the 44 probably!

As an aside, there has been some attempts to build guns for military divers and spacial forces, and their range (though the ammunition was as powerful as this of an assault rifle) could barely exceed 50 yards at a low depth of 10 feet; the practical range of the same types of guns ridiculously shrinks to 10 to 15 feet at a depth of 150 feet, owing to the sole water pressure.

I hope it helps. It has been fun for me to talk about the matter anyways.


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