User Tools

Site Tools


RichardD 9/7/2012 4:20:45 PM

This article is the best and most balanced summary of handgun stopping power I have read, and I have read plenty. (Many of them with a bias toward or against certain calibers.) I offer two observations—one trivial and one that may be of some interest. The trivial one is that one of the best rounds is the .45 Long Colt. It loafs along at barely 700 fps (read that easy shooting, quickly back on target) yet it penetrates a full 12 inches (the benchmark for optimum balance between enough and not too much) and it expands more than all but two of the other rounds tested and it already started out pretty big. Those old black powder cowboys must have known something . . . The other observation is that the chart is useful for comparing cartridges of the same caliber but not so useful for comparing between calibers. The expansion factor only tells you the size relative to the initial bullet diameter. A .22 bullet with an expansion factor of 1.33 (the average for the caliber) is still a lot smaller hole than a .45 that does not expand at all! A better comparison would be the actual cross-section area of the expanded bullet. In other words, how big a hole did the bullet make. This assumes that the bigger the tunnel created by the bullet, the greater likelihood it will stop the fight. Suggested formula: bullet starting diameter (in 100ths of an inch)(1 mm = 4/100”) x expansion factor, divided by two (for radius), squared, multiplied by pi (3.14159) = area of hole created by passage of the bullet. The answer for the .22 is .06723 for easy comparison I called that 6.723. Other calibers (based on chart averages) are: .22 = 6.723; .32 = 15.99 but note low penetration; .32 mag = 15.54; .327 = 25.72; .380 = 22.30; 9mm = 25.09; .38 = 20.76; .357 = 20.19 but note high penetration; .40 = 35.89; .45 auto = 29.42; .45LC = 48.71. Just another number to throw into the discussion. Speaking of numbers, is there any scale for hydro-shock value? Richard D.

With modern hollow points the caliber debate is somewhat mute. In my experience, Magnums adversely effect rapid follow up shots.

see 357 Magnum

"Caliber", "Caliber", Caliber

see AR-15 and Build Your Own AR-15

Specific References
General References

Based on research from diverse Fair Use Disclaimer Sources:

Snippet from Wikipedia: Caliber

In guns, particularly firearms, caliber (or calibre in British English) is the specified nominal internal diameter of the gun barrel bore regardless of how or where the bore is measured and whether or not the finished bore matches that specification. It is measured in inches to an accuracy of hundredths or thousandths of an inch or in millimeters. For example, a ".45 caliber" firearm has a barrel diameter of roughly 0.45 inches (11 mm). Barrel diameters can also be expressed using metric dimensions. For example, a "9 mm pistol" has a barrel diameter of about 9 millimeters. Due to the inaccuracy and imprecision of imperial dimensions "converted" to metric units, metric designations are typically far out of specifications published in decimal inches. True "caliber" specifications require imperial measure, and even when cartridge designations (often mistakenly referred to as "caliber") only specify caliber to even tenths or hundredths of an inch, actual barrel/chamber/projectile dimensions are published to at least thousandths of an inch and frequently tolerances extend into ten-thousandths of an inch.

In a rifled barrel, the distance is measured between opposing lands or between opposing grooves; groove measurements are common in cartridge designations originating in the United States, while land measurements are more common elsewhere in the world. Measurements "across the grooves" are used for maximum precision because rifling and the specific caliber so-measured is the result of final machining process which cuts grooves into the rough bore leaving the "lands" behind.

Good performance requires a concentric, straight bore that accurately centers the projectile within, in preference to a "tight" fit which can be achieved even with off-center, crooked bores that cause excessive friction, fouling and an out-of-balance, wobbling projectile in flight.

While modern firearms are generally referred to by the name of the cartridge the gun is chambered for, they are still categorized together based on bore diameter. For example, a firearm might be described as a "30 caliber rifle", which could be any of a wide range of cartridges using a roughly 0.30 inches (7.6 mm) projectile; or a "22 rimfire", referring to any rimfire firearms firing cartridges with a .22 caliber projectile. However, there can be significant differences in nominal bullet and bore dimensions and all cartridges so "categorized" are not automatically identical in actual caliber.

For example, .303 British firearms and projectiles are often "categorized" as ".30-caliber" alongside several dozen U.S. ".30-caliber" cartridges despite using bullets .310–.312″ diameter while all U.S ".30-caliber" centerfire rifle cartridges use a common, standard .308″ bullet outside diameter. Using bullets larger than design specifications causes excessive pressures while undersize bullets cause low pressures, insufficient muzzle velocities and fouling that will eventually lead to excessive pressures.

Calibers fall into four general categories by size. Small-bore refers to calibers with a diameter of .32 inch or smaller. The medium-bore refers to calibers with a diameter between .33 inch up to .39 inch and large-bore refers to calibers with a diameter of .40 inch or larger. Miniature bore historically referred to calibers under .22. There is much variance in the use of the term small-bore which over the years has changed considerably with anything under .577 caliber considered small-bore prior to the mid-19th century.

James Wesley Rawles' "Caliber"

Jack Spirko's "Caliber"

Jack Spirko's "Caliber"

MD Creekmore's "Caliber"


John Jacob Schmidt's site "Caliber"

Alexander Barron's "Caliber"

Dave Duffy, Massad Ayoob, John Silveira, and Claire Wolfe's "Caliber"

Dr. Bones & Nurse Amy's "Caliber"

Lisa Bedford's "Caliber"

Paul Wheaton's "Caliber"

Jason Akers's "Caliber"

Joel Skousen's "Caliber"

Fernando Aguirre FerFal's “Caliber” and "Caliber" [[Chuck Baldwin's "Caliber" John Birch Society's "Caliber"

Mike Adams' "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber"

William Frank Buckley 's "Caliber" "Caliber"

Alex Jones's site:"Caliber".com "Caliber"

Alex Jones's "Caliber" Bob Livingston's "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber"

An opinionated rural north Idaho housewife's "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" nutnfancy "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber"

Jeff Quinn's "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber" "Caliber"

caliber.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:32 (external edit)