Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Now, I looked these up

Tam called out a dude that confused the .38 Long Colt with the 9mm NATO standard, somehow.  He thought 9mm was much weaker than it actually is.  So I looked em up. Did the legwork.   Pistol energies, average-ish, with FMJ bullets, in general, are:
  • 9mm 400 ft/lb
  • .45 ACP  360 ft/lb
  • .38LC  175 ft/lb
  • .38ACP 330 ft/lb
  • .38Super  480 ft/lb
  • .38Special  200 ft/lb

You all know the stories...  .38 Long Colt blackpowder revolver cartridges seem inadequate again drugged up Phillipine insurreectionists over 100 years ago, so we got Browning to make a semi-auto 1911 in God's own caliber for the world.  Yay.

Later, in the Reagan era, we switched to 9mm to make our allies happy or something.  At least simplify supply issues in the event of a hot war with the Soviets pouring through the Fulda Gap.  Right.

Plus, we must remember, the Hague conventions restrict bullets to full metal jacket only, and maybe we should unilaterally pull out of that part of the agreement, yada yada yada.  Modern ammo would be better, yes. 

And foot pounds of energy doesn't tell the whole story, no, yes, we all understand that.

What surprised me with this exercise that I had done before, was how close .45ACP and 9mm were in energy.  My assumption up to now was that there was a much bigger gap in foot pounds of energy with 9mm head and shoulders way above .45.  I was mistaken.  The two were closer than I thought.  That detail slipped by me up until this point.  I like when I learn junk.

Ok, ok, ok...   Ok.  How bout this?  185 grain .45 ACP.  But a semi-wadcutter.  Still fully jacketed.  Or with a tungsten carbide needle like core. Much gentler recoil with thems, I've found, but the speed might get north of 1000 ft/s with a subsequent bump of energy.  Nah, that hard tip will mess up any gun's feedramp.  Forget I said anything, I don't know what I am talking about.  Those gentler recoils I experienced were prolly from less propellant as well as less bullet weight.


Robert Fowler said...

Every now and then, I think about replacing my carry gun. I've been thinking lately about either the 38 super or a 40 Mag (10mm).

If I could find a 39 Smith, a friend has a 38 super barrel for one. That would be a excellent carry gun.

Angus McThag said...

I don't believe we're signatories to the Hague convention even if we abide by it.

All we'd need do to "pull out" is to cease our voluntary compliance with it.

Geodkyt said...

Angus -- A VERY strong case can be made that the Hague Convention restrictions on small arms ammunition have entered "the customary international laws of war" (and therefor enforceable as a customary ar crimne, even against nations that are not one of the "high contracting powers") by virtue of having been (for the most part) observed for so long by almost every military - including those who never signed,like the US.

Nor would we EVER set up our servicemembers for such a ready-made kangaroo court war crime if captured.

Last but not least, despite the really sucky soft target terminal ballistics of FMJ pistol rounds, I would advocate keeping ball ammo for warfare for penetration - not penetration of body armor (good luck getting through modern military body with ANY pistol round), but penetration through all teh crap soldiers have strapped to their body. Even an Afghan insurgent is likely to have something like a chest bandolier - and punching through a rifle magazines before getting to the Bad Guy is a place where you really don't want JHPs.