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Thread: caliber vs. velocity

  1. #1

    Default caliber vs. velocity

    Alright, if high velocity puts out the kind of hydraulic shock that it does, than wouldn't a .338 bullet @ 3000 fps do more damage than a .416 @ 2400 fps?
    Isn't the circumference of damage done by a 3000 fps .338 bullet greater than .416 of an inch?
    I've heard people say that a .375 h&h does less meat damage on a deer than a .300 mag because it's slower. And I think to myself, "if a .300 does more damage on a deer because it's so fast, than wouldn't it do more damage on a bear for the same reason?" (assuming the right bullet is used, of course)

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    The velocity vs mass debate has been going on for a looooonnngggg time.

    Both have there pros and cons.

    You can best illustrate the differences by using extremes.

    Say a 4000 fps 17 caliber 25 grain bullet and
    a 650 grain lead slug from a 50-90 Sharps at 1250 fps.

    1. Shoot a water mellon with both and the 17 cal will make it appear to explode. Compared to the 50 cal plowing a very large hole right through it.

    2. Shoot a 1/4 inch steel plate at 100 yards with both and note that the 50 cal rips right through and keeps going while the 17 makes a dent and the bullet fragments.

    3. Shoot a moose at 25 yards (I saw this done with a 17 Rem) and the High velocity 17 strike to the neck turns everything within 3 inches into jello. The 50 cal blows a half inch hole right through. (I shot a leg broke moose with a 45-90 at this range).

    4. Shoot a buffalo at 500 yards with both. The 17 will stop under the hide like a pellet gun. The 650 grain lead 50 cal will drop the Buff after penetrating several vital organs.

    5. Try making a Billy Dixon long range shot against a 150 pound animal (Billy used a man with his 50-90)
    At 1,538 yards a large 50 caliber soft lead slug will still pentrate a man size animal. The 17 cal, although lauched at 4,000 fps will not make it to 1,500 yards with enough engery to pentrate your shirt.
    In fact the Army let Mike Venturino and a couple other guys try various 50-90 loads to prove Billy Dixon's shot. Using the Army's projectile tracking radars at the Yuma proving ground they discovered that the large lead slugs would travel past 2,500 yards with lighter slugs and out around 3,200 yards with heavy slugs. Those slugs were still going over 400 fps at those ranges.

    Although both sides sotra agree that super fast and super big together is a cool thing....
    Recoil and human factors start to become a problem with big and fast pojectiles.


  3. #3
    Member tyrex13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Endless ballistic gelatin tests, first hand reports and examples, witch doctors. I look at it this way, a well placed shot from anything .30 and above is good enough.

  4. #4
    Member SoldotnaDave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    Would you drather be involved in an accident with a pick-up truck doing 65 mph, or a volkswagon bug doing 80 mph?
    Formerly known as one who clings to guns and religion

  5. #5


    unless you hunt ants, your analogy has holes

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Thought

    If you increase the velocity of a mass (bullet) energy is a by-product, the most desireable aspect of increased velocity is reduced trajectory. If you shoot a buffalo with a 45-70 using a 400 grn. bullet at 1600 FPS it will kill it. Shoot the same 400 grain bullet out of a .460 Weatherby at 2650 FPS it will still kill the animal, only the trajectory and energy and recoil will change. The reduced trajectory being the most positive aspect. Killing energy once reached is wasted or lost when the bullet passes althe way through. Recoil is the most undesirable of the side-effects of velocity, for every action there is a reaction.


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