Projectile Performance and Power

I’ve been wasting a lot of time lately watching some random stuff on YouTube with respect to guns and ammo. One of the things I notice is the wide spread investment of ego and what’s possible versus what’s probable invading the discussion of the proper application for various calibers and projectiles and the distances and targets they’re well or poorly employed against.

The fact of the matter is stopping a threat means you have to severely damage the threat. They don’t represent a threat if they’re not one and once they are they have to be dealt with in as short a time as you can. So when your gunshop attendant tells you that .38spl is fine and so is .22lr they’re not lying if that’s all the nut you can hold. What he’s also telling you is that 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP and other defensive/combat chamberings are more effective and that you should consider that. You’re not in the market for defensive weaponry to be civil about something. You’re in the market for it because civility has already been tossed out the window. When it’s time to use weapons the time for civility has passed. You do not owe it to your assailant to not kill them or to not maim them. You do not owe them courtesy, forgiveness or mercy. You owe them sudden, crushing, overwhelming injury which happens in sufficient volume and in a short enough time that their combat effectiveness drops to zero.

In the world of rifles you have some similar thinking to the idea that any bullet will do. Well it won’t. If you’re shooting long range then you have a target there obviously. If it’s paper or AR500 steel then you don’t need anything other than the best target bullet you can afford. It doesn’t have to do anything but arrive right? If it’s enemy soldiers, a missile or a truck engine then you need to make sure that in addition to being able to reach the target at all, that once the bullet does reach it the bullet is retaining enough energy, velocity and bullet toughness to defeat the target including whatever armor it might normally be equipped with.

When people wonder why someone would use a .338 Lapua against a truck at 1000m when a .300winmag would have gotten a bullet there on more or less the same ballistic trajectory it’s because of the need to deliver sufficient energy to a target that’s a little tougher than the .300wm would be appropriate for. Long range saps bullet energy so your bullet has to get bigger and tougher as the ranges get longer. The case volume will normally have to grow as well. Bring enough gun starts to take on new meaning in extreme range. .338 Lapua is loved for a reason. Civilian shooters would do well to remember though that we don’t have the need to take out a missile and so we can get away with chamberings that are sufficient to just getting a bullet to the range we need it at. That means that long skinny bullets launched at moderate to high velocity. This is 6.5creedmore and 7rem mag territory more than it’s .300winmag territory.

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