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Jimmy
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Posted: December 19 2009 at 1:22pm | IP Logged Quote Jimmy

"Light and fast" vs "slow and heavy" has been one of the
never ending debates in the firearm world, but most of
the arguments are due to not being specific and careful
enough with language and thought, I'll try to explain
what is and what is not known about the relative merits.

"Is "light and fast" or "slow and heavy" better?" Is not
is not specific enough to have an answer. One must know
which variables are held constant (and it is not possible
to hold them all constant), and what exactly it means for
something to be "better".

For example, 99grains@10,000f/s is clearly superior to
100grains@1000f/s regardles of bullet design.
10,000grains@1000f/s is clearly superior to 100
grains@101f/s. This is *not* contradictory, even though
the lighter and faster one won in the first comparison,
but lost in the second.

If you hold energy and the bullet front design constant,
lighter rounds will have less momentum and tend to spend
more energy throwing tissue outward rather than forward,
since it has less momentum to do so. This tends to make
bigger temporary cavities which can tear tissue if the
energy is high enough, physically disrupt the CNS if the
energy is high enough and the shot is sufficiently close
to important nerves, or cause mental shock because the
hit "feels" harder. The slower bullet will penetrate
further, and if the energy is low enough that the
temporary cavity does not destroy tissue, then will do
more permanent tissue damage.

This is only one small subset of possible comparisons,
but even this is not sufficiently precise to have an
answer. Deeper penetration will be eventually lethal in a
larger percentage of shots, but more damage in the medium
penetration leads to faster incapacitation in most cases.

If you chose to hold momentum constant, then light
bullets have a clear advantage because of the higher
energy (KE goes with v^2 and momentum goes with v, so
KE/momentum is proportional to v). If you chose to hold
bullet frontal shape constant, then the light ones may
not penetrate sufficiently and not be as "lethal" even
though it does massive shallow penetration.

However, the more important consideration is when holding
the bullet design at its optimum- make it penetrate
further by design and you have equal momentum, equal
penetration, but more energy to spend.

If you're stuck with a heavy steel .380, recoil isn't
gonna be an issue, but you can only get so much energy
out- you should be comparing while holding energy
constant. If you're choosing a pistol solely on being
able to handle the recoil, you should hold momentum
constant and pick the bullet design to match the
mass/velocity/application.

The space of all possible values on all variables is
quite large and complex, especially when you consider how
the second bullet has a different problem space than the
first.

I cannot possibly go through the whole thing, but
hopefully I've made the methods clear enough that we can
be precise when asking about a specific application, and
then agree on the answer.
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Rigmarol
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Posted: December 19 2009 at 1:50pm | IP Logged Quote Rigmarol

Uh, ok... I think...Waaaaay over my head.

But..... Welcome to the forum!

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MtJerry
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Posted: December 19 2009 at 6:47pm | IP Logged Quote MtJerry

Each have applications that are useful ... varmints get light and fast from me .. big game get big and slow.
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STCM(SW)
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Posted: December 19 2009 at 8:08pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

I don't know of any bullet that can go 10,000FPS, so thats just theory.

What I do know is a known fast bullet(220 Swift 48 gr. 4100fps) will sometimes make a spectacular kill on a deer size animal while other times fly to pieces when it hits.

Never heard of a 45-70 405 gr when placed properly not putting down the critter of any size with in it's range...

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 19 2009 at 9:26pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I, for one don't care for any further discussion on the subject. But, go for it if you really think you understand what you just posted and it warrants discussing.

Welcome to Handloads.

Edited by Ham Gunner on December 19 2009 at 10:29pm


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wolfdog
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Posted: December 20 2009 at 12:31am | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

Imho within reason, light and fast shoots flatter, slow and heavy breaks bones better. If you're gopher hunting, you don't need to break heavy bones. If you're stopping a charging bear you do. If you're deer hunting, a .243 and a 35 rem both kill them if you hit them, and at that point moderatly light and fast, vs moderatly slow and heavy makes no difference.
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Boomer
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 7:05am | IP Logged Quote Boomer

I used to be a "light and fast" guy... flat shooting bullets were cats meow...Until I realized two things,,, first, two holes make a heck of a lot better blood trail, and second the reason I was shooting at the critter was to put meat in the freezer.

Not having to shoot deer at 400 yards, I use the heaviest bullet in the caliber I can get to aproximately 2700 fps, and enjoy the extra steak and stew meat each winter.

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tommygirlMT
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 11:22am | IP Logged Quote tommygirlMT

Best of all = Big & Fast
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wolfdog
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 2:59pm | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

Not for me, big and fast = recoil and I don't enjoy recoil. Give me a .243 or a 30-30 or 35 rem any day.
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ghostwalker
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 4:38pm | IP Logged Quote ghostwalker

Go get yourself a 50 bmg and then you have the best of both worlds. Range is an issue though you can only hit target out to around a mile maybe mile and half. So you most most likely won't like the sniper rifle of our troops right now.
Me I like relatively light and medium for small game and definitely big and slow for big game. But what do I know as I use calibers that have been around for a hundred years,which we all know are useless calibers. They have only been killing game for that long so they must be useless, because everyone knows that you have to have a slam bang magnum now to hit and kill anything.

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wolfdog
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 7:24pm | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

You know..I honestly think that time has passed. If you look at what's come out lately, it's been a real step forward imho. You have the 204 ruger, 45gap, 6.8mm spc, 300 and 338RCM, and the 375ruger. These are all fairly decent new offerings. The 45gap, and ruger offerings all produce ballistics similar to standard rounds in smaller cases with modern powders and the spc offers a performance similar to the .243win and 250 savage lever of cartrige with a bit wider bullet selection and better barrel life. I think we may have turned the corner.
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J Miller
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 7:36pm | IP Logged Quote J Miller

Jimmy,

Welcome to the forum.

Light and fast = really loud and hurts my ears and head to shoot, even with ear protection.

Heavy and slow = normally loud and don't hurt my ears and head to shoot, even if I forget my ear protection once in a while.

Joe

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tommygirlMT
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Posted: December 23 2009 at 8:53pm | IP Logged Quote tommygirlMT

ghostwalker wrote:
Go get yourself a 50 bmg and then you have the best of both worlds. Range is an issue though you can only hit target out to around a mile maybe mile and half. So you most most likely won't like the sniper rifle of our troops right now.

<snip>


Done X 3

Yes, the recoil is stout but you learn to live with it.
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ghostwalker
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Posted: December 24 2009 at 6:14am | IP Logged Quote ghostwalker

Wolfdog
the 6.8 is on the way out, not enough interest from the public, so it is going into a back seat kind of round position. I am looking at it myself and have found this out from checking around on available rounds, brass and firearms chambered for it.

tommygirlMT
I got to play with the real Ma Duce decades ago and it was really fun to shoot. I was the assistant instructor on the machine gun range.

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wolfdog
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Posted: December 24 2009 at 7:16am | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

I know, seems the only gun really made for it would be a TC or the ruger mini 14 series, which is quite unfortunate. However savage 11s are now being offered in .243, 250savage and 300 savage...so somehow I am still happy.
I won't lie here, if I forget hearing protection, I go home. I don't feel a .243 is particularly louder than a 45-70, and I won't even shoot a .22lr without hearing protection. That's why I own a pellet rifle.
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