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Terminal Ballistics

 
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  #1  
Old 09-13-2011, 09:22 AM
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Terminal Ballistics

Has anyone published a thorough study and comparison of terminal performance for long range hunting bullets comparing a variety of calibers, makes, and models?

There are plenty of well done interior and exterior resources. But, most of what I see on terminal performance is anectodotal or very limited samples. ...not that it isn't useful data.

I did see information from my CHL class about handgun bullets and the principles are similar. But, it would be nice to have a well funded, statistically significant, and scientific comparison.

How would you structure the study to be (a) realistic and worthwhile, (b) isolate the important variables, (c) minimize subjective characterizations, and (d) provide repeatable results such that new bullets could be compared in the future.

Thanks!
Richard
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2011, 01:46 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

Would this interest you? More reading on the subject than I ever got through.

Knowledge Base


There was another study I've seen several times but can't find it now. Compared many bullets, velocities, and calibers. Seems that it was more based on media than live game. Maybe someone else can refrance that.

Last edited by Varminator 911; 09-13-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2011, 02:22 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varminator 911 View Post
Would this interest you? More reading on the subject than I ever got through.

Knowledge Base


There was another study I've seen several times but can't find it now. Compared many bullets, velocities, and calibers. Seems that it was more based on media than live game. Maybe someone else can refrance that.
That's certainly heading in the right direction.

At first glance, I see their conclusions as to the effectiveness of different projectiles/cartridges. But, I don't see the data.

They do indicate that they have supporting data...
Quote:
As of 2011, over 7000 head of game were killed and autopsied for the initial body of work. To obtain a set of results, animals were taken at differing ranges, differing shot placement and angles. The tests then had to be retaken several times with each cartridge and each bullet to ensure repeatable results. Naturally, while testing so many cartridges over so many years, firearms expertise occurred by attrition.
I'll have to keep reading and see what they've published.

Many thanks!!
Richard
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  #4  
Old 09-13-2011, 03:59 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

Having read a bit more on that website (which appears to be still under construction), I think it's an excellent and necessary resource/methodology. But, I don't think it's scientific enough to my satisfaction.

I don't beleive that multipe parties could necessarily go out and conduct the same studies and draw the same conclusions.

There are lots of references to topics like hydrostatic shock for which I don't see quantitative measurements. Terminal ballistics is a huge subject. So, the research may be there and I just don't yet see it.

To be fair, the proprietor of that website admits to being a small business with limitted resources relying on donations.

Nonetheless, I'm not satisfied reviews like the following...
.25-06 Remington
Quote:
One last bullet worth mentioning is the Berger’s 115 grain VLD hunting bullet. Like the 120 grain Speer BTSP, this is a highly frangible projectile and not ideally suited to larger bodied animals at close ranges. This particular VLD is best suited to lighter bodied game weighing up to 60kg (130lb), perhaps heavier game at a push, out to ranges of around 625 to 650 yards. BC is a very high .523.
I would characterize the above quote as an expert opinion. But, it's still very subjective. If we take a poll, as is often the case here on LRH, we're going to get all kinds of opinions.

Caliber, Weight, MV, ES, SD, and BC are all quantitative and you can argue the relative importance of each one for your application. But, they form the basis for intelligent discussions.

I see people use terms like highly frangible, hydrostatic shock and primary and secondary wound channels. But, I'd still like to see someone publish a study where they came up with a meaningful methodology for measuring these in a way that others could (a) reproduce the same results under the same conditions, and (b) provide consistent testing with new projectiles at varying range, velocity, spin rate, etc.

Has this been done yet?

Or, am I alone in believing that it's necessary/attainable?

Thanks for your input!
Richard
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  #5  
Old 09-13-2011, 05:32 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

A small sample, but an interesting video nonetheless:

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  #6  
Old 09-13-2011, 07:26 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Vette View Post
A small sample, but an interesting video nonetheless:

Federal Premium® BULLET BREAKDOWN - YouTube
We're definitely getting warmer.

I could do without the marketing hype and the cartoonish depictions.

But, they did at least conduct the same type of test on 4 different bullets and discuss the results.

While this was a simple demo for marketing, a real study would delve a good bit deeper.

What they didn't provide in the video...
- rifle and barrel specs including length and twist
- cartridge specs and load data
- environmental conditions include temp, pressure, altitude, wind
- muzzle velocity for each sample
- distance to target
- impact velocity

Also, it was nice to see the ruler added to the high speed video to indicate penetration distance.

But, I'd also like to have seen some measure of the outward expansion of the ballistics gel due to hydrostatic shock. That might be as simple as freezing the frame at the maximum expansion of the block as well as the maximum expansion of the wound channel and then quantify those results.

They discuss weight retention, but it wasn't measured or reported.

You might want several controls to ensure consistency. E.g. same weight/diameter bone +/- some tolerance.

... and then no less than 30 samples for each bullet at the same distance and/or muzzle or impact velocity.

Then, repeat the whole thing at different distances or impact velocities.

It's a non-trivial feat. But, the results would be very interesting to me.

If I didn't have a day job, I'd champion a board to test and certify bullets as such.

You might find a few under-performers and a few over-performers. But, I think it'd be a more objective way to sort out the BS. And, most bullets will do well within some set of parameters.

Perhaps you design a slightly different test method for varmint bullets? It's not really relevant for target bullets. ...although with a published methodology, independent persons might want to evaluate the SMK. ...certainly Sierra or the US Gov won't condone it.

While the people that really care are in the minority, I think the bullet makers could put a marketing spin on useful information thus putting pressure on the competition to get their bullets tested. Or, perhaps it'd be better not to accept funding or fees from the ammo industry?

Does anybody care?

Or, are internet popularity poles the preferred method for gauging bullet performance?

-- richard
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  #7  
Old 09-13-2011, 09:13 PM
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Re: Terminal Ballistics

If you are talking about a comparative study of just bullet terminal performance, Gary Sciuchetti's work with .308 caliber 180 grain bullets is good within it's limits. There used to be a wall size chart picturing the results, my partner has one in his loading room. Wolfe publishing used to sell them I think.
I hope I spelled his name correctly, but I think it's close if you choose to look it up.
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