Remember this graph comparing Muzzle Energy (ME)?
Well, a discussion elsewhere got me to thinking …
So, let’s take a look at .45 Super:
See what I see? Yeah, at 3″ and 4″ all the .45 Super loads are superior in terms of ME over all the other cartridges in the top graph. At 5″ the .357 Mag catches up with some of the .45 Super loads, and at 6″ it is in the center of the pack.
To really do the comparison right, I’d need to average all the .45 Super loads, then add them directly to the first graph, but that’s more time and trouble than I want to take. But my point is that of all the ‘conventional’ CCW-caliber/size guns, it looks like the .45 Super is at the top of the pile. We did formal testing of just one .460 Rowland, and it is comparable to the .45 Super at those barrel lengths (though I know from informal testing that some other loads are more powerful). You have to step up to full .44 Mag to beat either the .357 Mag or .45 Super.
All along, we’ve said that if someone wanted to take the time, trouble, and expense to do some additional research along the lines of our protocols, that we’d be happy to include their data on our site. This is particularly true if it helped expand the selection of “real world guns” associated with the data for a given caliber/cartridge. Well, for the first time someone has expressed an interest in doing just that, prompting us to come up with an outline of what standards we feel are required for making sure it relates to our previous tests.
The biggest problem is that ammo manufacturers may, and do, change the performance of their products from time to time. This is why we have on occasion revisited certain cartridges, doing full formal chop tests in order to check how specific lines of ammo have changed. That gives us a benchmark to compare other ammo after a period of several years have passed, and shows how new tests relate to the old data.
But without going to such an extent, how can we be reasonably sure that new data collected by others using their own firearms is useful in comparison to our published data?
After some discussion, we feel that so long as any new testing includes three or more of the specific types of ammo (same manufacturer, same bullet weight & design) we had tested previously, then that will give enough of a benchmark for fair comparison. (Obviously, in instances where we didn’t test that many different types of ammo in a given cartridge, adjustments would need to be made). With that in mind, here are the protocols we would require in order to include new data on our site (with full credit to the persons conducting the tests, of course):
- Full description and images of the test platform (firearm) used in the tests. This must specify the make, model number, barrel length, and condition of the firearm. Ideally, it will also include the age of the firearm.
- That a good commercial chronograph be used. Brand isn’t critical — there seems to be sufficient consistency between different models that this isn’t a concern. However, the brand and model should be noted.
- Chronographs must be positioned approximately 15 feet in front of the muzzle of the firearm used to test the ammo. This is what we started with in our tests, and have maintained as our standard through all the tests.
- That five or six data points be collected for each type of ammo tested. This can be done the way we did it, shooting three shots through two different chronographs, or by shooting six shots through one chronograph.
- All data must be documented with images of the raw data sheets. Feel free to use the same template we used in our tests, or come up with your own.
- Images of each actual box of ammo used in the test must be provided, which show the brand, caliber/cartridge, and bullet weight. Also including manufacturer’s lot number would be preferred, but isn’t always possible.
- A note about weather conditions at the time of the test and approximate elevation of the test site above sea level should be included.
We hope that this will allow others to help contribute to our published data, while still maintaining confidence in the *value* of that data. Please, if you are interested in conducting your own tests, contact us in advance just so we can go over any questions.
Six months ago we launched Ballistics By The Inch. And since then we’ve had over 770,000 hits, one major magazine article, and coverage & discussion of the site in countless gun forums & blogs around the globe. When I have checked the stats for the site, I have never failed to be impressed with just how widely it has become known.
Well, tonight we posted a major upgrade to the whole site. This includes three additional caliber ‘chop tests’, but it also includes data collected from testing over 40 additional “real world” guns – including a baker’s dozen carbine-length guns. This data has been separated out into a new series of graphs for easy comparison. All together, there are now over 150 graphs showing ballistic performance – along with all the charts giving numerical averages for each 1″ increment in barrel length for 16 different calibers. And for the true data junkies, there are downloadable files (in two formats) for the entire sequence of initial tests, and another set for the second round of testing done in April 2009.
Like the initial project, this major upgrade and revision has been a huge job – and one only made possible by a lot of work from several individuals. Yes, there were the three of us testers from the original project. But there was also the addition of a fourth tester this time around who helped us gather & operate all those ‘real world’ guns, and I would like to welcome Keith to our team. But I would especially like to thank my good lady wife for all the html coding & design for our website – both the last time and with this major revision. Quite literally, none of this would have been available without her hard work.
There will probably be minor tweaks and additions to the site in the coming months and years. We still have some ideas of data which might be of interest to the gun community. But for now we hope that you will enjoy and make use of the data provided, and help to spread the word to others who may be interested.
(Cross posted to my personal blog.)
Well, April is already as good as March was, and sometime in about three or four days we’ll break 700,000 hits to the site. The Concealed Carry Magazine article clearly has had an impact, and has boosted overall daily hits by about 50%. Unfortunately, the article isn’t available online, so I am going to see whether arrangements can be made for us to repost it on Bbti.
I had promised to start giving some preliminary data from our latest sequence of tests, thinking that it would likely be several months before we had all the data crunched and be ready to make a major upgrade to the Bbti site. But Steve is working hard on getting the data compiled, and thinks that it may only be another week or so before he is done with that. With luck, we’ll be able to do the upgrade *much* sooner than I thought! So I’m going to hold off a bit – there’s no reason for me to muck around with the data (not my forte) and risk getting some bad information posted. Just be a bit more patient, and soon we’ll have it all available: .327 Magnum, .41 Magnum, 10mm and a huge addition to the “real world” data points for all the calibers.
And bets on how long it takes to break a million hits, once we do the upgrade? I bet it’ll happen within a month!
As I mentioned the other day, this last weekend was the next round of testing for the Bbti project. We finished up in good form yesterday, after completing the ‘chop tests’ of three new calibers (.327 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and 10mm) as well as revisiting many of the previously tested ammos with a bunch (like over 40) of new ‘real world’ guns. There are some very interesting results already evident in the raw data, some of which I will be discussing informally here in the coming weeks until we get everything crunched and posted formally on the main Bbti website.
But not for a day or two. As I told a friend this morning: “My hands feel like they have been pounded with hammers for the last week.” Just doing this much typing is very painful.
So, until later . . .
(Cross posted to Communion of Dreams.)
Well, in less than two weeks we’ve seen over 200,000 hits to the site, and the news of our project propagate widely through the gun community and even beyond. There’s been a lot of discussion about our efforts, almost uniformly positive, and this is really good to see. Over 700 people have downloaded the data spreadsheets, and almost 100 have downloaded the emails documenting the project from start to finish.
This response, and the comments we have seen around the web, have prompted us to plan to do another round of testing this next spring. Sorry for the delay, but we need some lead time to have the custom barrels made and to plan our schedules.
After discussion, we’ve decided to test the following calibers:
- .327 Federal Magnum
- .41 Magnum
We feel that these help fill out the other calibers we’ve already tested, extending the coverage of the most common handgun calibers actually carried (with the exception of the .327 mag – we just want to see how that actually performs).
So, something to look forward to in the new year!
- .25 ACP
- .30 carbine
- .32 ACP
- .32 H&R
- .327 Federal Magnum
- .357 Magnum
- .357 SIG
- .38 Special
- .380 ACP
- .40 S&W
- .41 Magnum
- .44 Magnum
- .44 Special
- .45 ACP
- .45 Colt
- .45 Super
- .450 SMC
- .460 Rowland
- 6.5 Swedish
- 9mm Luger (9×19)
- 9mm Mak
- 9mm Ultra
- black powder
- Boberg Arms
- General Procedures
- Shotgun ballistics