Ballistics by the inch

So, you think .44 magnum is powerful?

Yesterday I got a box of cartridges. Now, even with the shortages these days, that isn’t that unusual.

But take a look at the contents:

Box

OK, for scale: that’s a full-sized .44 magnum cartridge on the right, outside the box.

What the Hell???

This was a box of, um, BIG cartridges put together for me by one of the other BBTI guys, just for fun.  Yeah, we have odd senses of humor.

Now, I’ll admit, most of these I didn’t even recognize. But I spent some time with my copy of Cartridges of the World by Frank C Barnes, and poking around online. And I thought I’d share the results. For simplicity in putting this blog post together, descriptions of each cartridge is from Wikipedia and in blue text. Other info is probably from Cartridges of the World.

Here are the cartridges, lined up for better display:

Standing

You can make note of your guesses for each one, if you’d like, then test to see whether you’re right.

Ready?

OK, from left to right … (with ruler and full-size .44 mag for scale):

950JDJ

.950 JDJ.950 JDJ cases are approximately 70 mm in length, and are based on a 20×110mm case shortened and necked up to accept the .950 in (24.1 mm) bullet. Projectiles are custom-made and most commonly weigh 3,600 grains (230 g) which is 8.2 ounces or over half a pound. The cartridge is derived from a 20mm Vulcan cannon cartridge.

 

12.7 x 108

12.7 x 108mm. The 12.7×108mm cartridge is a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the former Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, China and other countries. It was invented in 1934 to create a cartridge like the German 13.2mm TuF anti-tank rifle round and the American .50 Browning Machine Gun round.

 

12.7 x 99

14.5 JDJ. It uses the .50 BMG case with the neck opened up to accept a .585 in (14.9 mm) bullet. Barnes notes that this proprietary cartridge is capable of sub-MOA groups at 1,000 yards out of a SSK Industries rifle, with almost 15,000 ft/lbs of energy.

 

50 BMG

.50 BMG. The .50 Browning Machine Gun (.50 BMG, 12.7×99mm NATO and designated as the 50 Browning by the C.I.P.[1]) is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. * * * The .50 BMG cartridge is also used in long-range target and anti-materiel rifles, as well as other .50-caliber machine guns.

 

700 Nitro Express

.700 Nitro Express. The .700 Nitro Express (17.8×89mmR) is a big game rifle cartridge made by Holland & Holland, London, England. It was developed in 1988 by Jim Bell and William Feldstein and built by H&H.

 

600 Nitro Express

.600 Nitro Express. The .600 Nitro Express is a large bore Nitro Express rifle cartridge developed by W.J. Jeffery & Co for the purpose of hunting large game such as elephant.

 

500 Nitro Express

.500 Nitro Express. The .500 Nitro Express is a rifle cartridge designed for hunting large and dangerous game animals in Africa and India.

 

500 Jeffery

.500 JefferyThe .500 Jeffery is a big-game rifle cartridge that first appeared around 1920, and was originally introduced by the August Schuler Company, a German firm, under the European designation “12.7×70mm Schuler” or “.500 Schuler”. When offered by the famed British outfitter W.J. Jeffery & Co, it was renamed the .500 Jeffery so as to be more palatable to British hunters and sportsmen following World War One.

 

50 Alaskan

.50 Alaskan. The .50 Alaskan is a wildcat cartridge developed by Harold Johnson and Harold Fuller of the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in the 1950s. Johnson based the cartridge on the .348 Winchester in order to create a rifle capable of handling the large bears in Alaska.

 

50-110

.50-110 Winchester. The .50-110 WCF (also known as the .50-100-450 WCF , with different loadings) in modern 1886 Winchesters with modern steel barrels is the most powerful lever-action cartridge, with up to 6,000 foot pounds of energy.

 

11 x 59 R Gras

11 x 59mm R Gras. The 11×59mmR Gras, also known as the 11mm Vickers, is an obsolete rifle cartridge. France’s first modern military cartridge, the 11×59mmR Gras was introduced in 1874 and continued in service in various roles and with various users until after World War II.

 

458 Win Mag

.458 Win Mag. The .458 Winchester Magnum is a belted, straight-taper cased, Big five game rifle cartridge. It was introduced commercially in 1956 by Winchester and first chambered in the Winchester Model 70 African rifle.[2] It was designed to compete against the .450 Nitro Express and the .470 Nitro Express cartridges used in big bore British double rifles. The .458 Winchester Magnum remains one of the most popular game cartridges, and most major ammunition manufacturers offer a selection of .458 ammunition.

 

500 S&W Mag R

.500 S&W Magnum. The .500 S&W Magnum (12.7×41mmSR) is a fifty-caliber semi-rimmed handgun cartridge developed by Cor-Bon in partnership with the Smith & Wesson “X-Gun” engineering team for use in the Smith & Wesson Model 500 X-frame revolver and introduced in February 2003 at the SHOT show.[5] It has two primary design purposes: as a hunting handgun cartridge capable of taking all North American game species, and to be the most powerful production handgun cartridge to date.

And there you have it.

How did you do at identifying the cartridges? As noted, a lot of these I could not ID just by looking at them, though most of them I recognized once I examined the cartridge base for headstamp info. Two I was unfamiliar with (the .500 Jeffery and the .50 Alaskan), and one I had to break out my calipers in order to figure it out: the 14.5 JDJ. Because it’s headstamped as a 12.7 x 99mm, or BMG, cartridge. Once I realized the projectile was larger, then I guessed what it must be.

And no, we’re *not* going to be testing these or anything. It was just something fun to share.

Jim Downey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2, 2020 Posted by | .44 Magnum, Discussion., Links, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The BEST way ever! Just like last time …

Recently I had the opportunity to take some defensive firearms use classes from some highly-respected pros in that field (no, I’m not going to say who). This was the first formal training I’ve had in a while, and it was a great weekend of experience which taught me a lot, and reminded me of a number of other things. Seriously, if you have firearms for any kind of self/home-defense, you owe it to yourself to occasionally get such training.

But in discussing the classes with friends later, I made a comment which surprised them: that while I found the classes both insightful and useful, I was going to continue to do one thing in particular the way I had previously, not the way that the instructor taught.

Why? Why would I take the time and pay the money to take a class and then not follow the lessons taught? That seems … foolish, at best.

So let’s talk about that.

First, I want to be clear on something: while I was taking the class(es), I did all that I could to follow the techniques and philosophy of the instructor(s) to the best of my ability. That started with using their preferred/recommended style of gun and extended to such things as proper grip on that gun, stance, carry style, aiming technique, reloading, etc. Because, yeah, I did indeed sign up for a class from those instructors and wanted to learn what they had to offer. It would have been foolish to take their class and not do my best to learn from them. Not only foolish, it would have been a waste of both money and time (mine & theirs) to do so.

And, as I said, I did learn a number of things, which I will be putting into my regular shooting practice going forward. Things I will share with others, as appropriate.

Yet I am going to stick with several of my previous techniques.

Is it fair to pick and choose like that?

Yup.

If you have enough experience, it’s not only fair, it’s smart. And expected. At least it is expected by almost any decent instructor I’ve ever known.

That’s because with something as dynamic as any serious martial art (and defensive firearm use is definitely a martial art), there are so many complex factors that are involved that it is impossible to reduce the skills used to one simple equation that works for everyone. And there are just too many variables in physical ability/limitation, reaction time, opportunity for practice, and so forth. This is obvious, but sometimes gets forgotten by people who become enamored of the “one true way” — whether that’s the “perfect” gun, or stance, or grip, or whatever.

And besides, I’ve been around long enough that I’ve seen a LOT of fads come and go. Each time, there’s some set of true believers who think that their way is the objectively BEST way … until the next fad comes along to knock it off the pedestal.

So, what’s the “best” way? The way that works for you, when you need it. And really, only you can make that decision.

But make it intelligently. And I mean by exposing yourself to a lot of different possibilities, from different sources. And testing those possibilities with honest, conscientious practice.

 

Jim Downey

 

 

November 3, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Been a busy month.

Hey everyone,

So, the BBTI relaunch just keeps plugging along. As mentioned previously, it’s hard to do a direct comparison in terms of hits and whatnot, but it is clear that on all fronts the numbers are up. Thanks, everyone!

I’d also like to thank those who have made donations to help defray our costs. Unfortunately, said donations do not help enough, and as a result sometime soon we’ll be adding in some Google Ads. We’re going to try and keep it minimal, and if donations continue to come in . . . well, we’ll see.

I’ve been keeping very busy with a number of different projects. I continue to do a lot of writing for Guns.com, both feature articles and reviews. Check it out!

And I’m about to ‘launch’ the publication of my novel, Communion of Dreams. The Kindle version is now available, and the paperback will be available in a couple of days. When we ‘go live’ with the paperback edition, there will be three days when anyone will be able to download the Kindle version for free. That’s coming Friday, 1/27 through Sunday, 1/29 – watch for it!

Jim Downey

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amusing.

I was checking the web stats, saw that BBTI is closing in on 2.5 million hits (probably hit that mid-afternoon tomorrow). A link from a site listed in the referrals had this comment about the project that I thought I would share:

“As I recollect, it was actually someones Master’s research project at the University of Iowa. Can you imagine doing graduate level work in external ballistics? Kinda cool.”

At first I just thought it was amusing, since we explain right on the homepage what prompted us to do the testing. But then thinking about it a little further, I realized that it was actually a nice compliment and somewhat insightful: what we did could be seen as being comparable to graduate-level study and research. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to my personal blog.)

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Data, Discussion., General Procedures, Links, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wiki, oh Wiki, where do you roam?

Just spent a chunk of the afternoon and early evening doing something I had been meaning to do for at least a year: adding info about BBTI to various and sundry Wikipedia pages about ballistics and cartridges. I still need to create an actual ‘page’ about BBTI, but haven’t ever done that, so . . .

Anyway, now for all the cartridges/calibers we tested there are links on Wikipedia, plus any related entries that I could think of. But if you find yourself poking around there, and come across an entry which would appropriately link/mention BBTI, please edit it to do so (or drop me a note and I’ll take care of it.) This isn’t an effort to get more hits to the BBTI site (we’re rapidly approaching 2.5 million), but just to help more people get the information that they need.

Jim Downey

April 30, 2010 Posted by | .25 ACP, .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, 10mm, 9mm Luger (9x19), Data, Discussion., Links, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Some thoughts from the data graphs

JE  mentioned to me observing some oscillation in some of the graphs. I have spent a little time today working through all of the graphs and have the following thoughts:
– most of any oscillation appears in the “saturation” velocity tail. Since we have not put the “error/spread” bars on the data points I suggest that most of what one sees in the portion of the data is the natural variance in the ammunition.
– the smallest calibers show the biggest effect. With the lightest bullets a small variation in powder should produce a larger variance in the velocity.
– there is some anomaly in combining these two effects in a couple of the calibers. In particular I think it is the .44 spc and .45 colt.
– even with these, one can readily see that some of the ammo has maxed out and is actually slowing in the 18″ barrel.
jim k

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Welcome!

As noted there to the right, this blog is intended to be a discussion forum primarily concerned with the ‘nuts & bolts’ of how we did our testing and the results we obtained, not a general gun discussion forum.  As such, you’ll find a number of posts already created pertaining to each of the different calibers, as well as some general topics – just go to the appropriate entry and pose a question or comment, then you can follow the discussion either by visiting the blog or subscribing to the RSS feed.  If a discussion thread gets too long, or takes a turn which warrants further attention on its own, we’ll create a new post and shift things over to it.

We reserve the right to moderate comments – to keep them on-topic, and to keep things ‘family friendly’ – but will take a fairly light hand insofar as possible.  Your cooperation on this is appreciated.

If you need to contact any of us directly, you can do so via this email address:

Jim Downey: jimd@ballisticsbytheinch.com

So, welcome – and jump in!

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Welcome!