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Author Topic: Urbal Legend article, .22 caliber balistics
Information Man
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Hay, I was thinking, I have never seen anyone in the urban legend research field ever do any work on the famous rumor about .22 caliber bullets bouncing around in the target.
I have studied this myth and have personally done actual and thural tests on it and researched the history of wear it comes from and all.
I will be doing an article on it. Would you guys like to see it? It's actually pretty interesting.

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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IM, are you talking about .22 cal or upwards of .223 (as in M16 5.56mm rounds)??

Normal .22, as far as I know, don't have the additional ooomph needed to send them a-tumblin' that the .223 round do, and continue merrily spiralling toward their appointed target.

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Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I have read a number of detective novels in which it's mentioned that .22 pistols are the preferred assassin's weapon because (a) its lack of stopping power is irrelevant in the hands of a sharpshooter who can strike a vital point on the first shot; and (b) the bullet will have enough energy to penetrate into the body but not exit, and will bounce around inside the ribcage or skull, causing much more damage.

Not sure if there's any truth to these.

As for rifle rounds, it was my understanding that the 5.56mm NATO vs. 7.62mm Soviet comparison shows that the smaller, faster round brings more stopping power and less tumble.

Alchemy

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Thinking about New England / missing old Japan

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Information Man
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Malruhn:
IM, are you talking about .22 cal or upwards of .223 (as in M16 5.56mm rounds)??

Normal .22, as far as I know, don't have the additional ooomph needed to send them a-tumblin' that the .223 round do, and continue merrily spiralling toward their appointed target.

That's pretty much the direction the article goes in but thurally explains it.
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Mr. Bildo
The Red and the Green Stamps


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If we're to assume that the ".22" referred to in the UL is the typical .22 LR (Long Rifle) rim fired cartridge, than overall it's not very powerful outside of "point-blank".

The Winchester 22 LR (40 gr) produces only around 1080 ft lbs of energy at muzzle point and drops off dramatically to about 77 ft lbs at 100 yards.

Compare this to a typical .223 "varmint" round such as the Winchester 223 Silvertip (50 gr) with 1291 ft lbs of energy at muzzle point, but maintains 289 ft lbs out to 500 yards. At 100 yards it has 987 ft lbs of energy, almost as much as the 22 LR at muzzle point.

If we're referring to a .22 handgun, then that would be a .22 Short. At muzzle it only produces 66 ft lbs of energy.

There is also velocity here to take into account, but this is already starting to sound like an issue of "Guns and Ammo", so I'll leave it at that. [Wink]

From personal experience growing up in Mid-Michigan I can tell you that a .22 LR cartridge has a devastating affect on small critters such as frogs, birds, and rats at 25 yards. Rabbits are ready victims from a .22 at around the same distance. I don't know how that compares to a human, because I stopped at rodents.

I once shot myself at near muzzle distance with a C02 air pistol in the hand. The only thing that stopped the BB was bone and it was slightly embedded. At that range, I'm guessing a .22 Short would have done damage to the bone. With that in mind, I imagine at point-blank range a .22 handgun could peirce a human skull and do enough damage to kill. At 25 yards, I doubt it.

--Mr. Bildo

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Information Man
The Red and the Green Stamps


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It depends on your load. I've fired some .22LR bullets that I can't imagion penatrating human skull at point blank range, i've fired others that I belive can penatrate human skull at grave distance.
CCI recentley came out with A new 40gr bullet called the Velocitor. It has the full performance of the .22 Magnum in every way. I wouldn't be surpprised to learn of that thing penatrating and exiting human skullat point blank range. Of course, this cartridge is the newest, most powerful .22LR round on the market and has only been around for A short period of time.
I use A Colt T-22for home defense loaded with CCI Velocitors. That I trust against personel with my life. Not because I think it's good for nocking people down but because it can be drawn and accuratley fired faster then any other gun I know of and perfict for the 2 in the chest, 1 in the head deal.
I also redid my trigger for maximum accuracy results. Last time I took it shooting, I rappid fired tt at A 2x3 target at 30 yards as fast as I could pull the trigger and every shot hit within A 1 1/4 foot range around the very center of the target and it's the only handgun I have ever seen get that good of speed fire results.
That is the sort of thing A preditor should really fear, morso then stopping power.
A bullet in the brain will leave any preditor just as dead and at room distance, it's not hard to accomplish under stress.

The myth of the .22LR being A perferd assassins bullet is true but not for the swishing around theory.
The lack of noise is probibly the main one. Others include cost, lack of evidence left behind, populearity of the round ( makes finding the gunman more of A needle in A haystack ), price and of course, because of how accurate and easy it is to use making it the ideal pistol round of A sharpshooter assasin.
The .22LRs true combat advantage is the quick ease of critical shots which can be taken much faster and easier under stress then your average 9mm or .45ACP.
It's not for everyone though. People who are capable of thinking straight under stress and are highley skilled and experienced with handguns are the ones who will benafit from them.
Everyone else is probibly better off with A 9mm or 410.

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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There's another thread on the military board a couple years back that dealt in some depth with the 5.56 mm (.223) round and its ballistics. I'll try to find it, but I think it was embedded in a thread with a different title.

To summarize, the 5.56 - as is the case with the larger 7.62 mm round - was designed to tumble after penetrating a given distance. The idea is that the tumbling action maximizes the transference of kenetic energy to the target, thereby increasing the size of the temporary and permanent cavities caused by bullet transit (which is why the exit wounds are so large). Were it not for the tumble, rounds would more often go cleanly through the part of the body which was hit, resulting in fewer incapacitating wounds.

I witnessed a training accident in a tire house where a soldier was shot less than a foot from the muzzle of the weapon. The entry wound was at the love handle, and did not bleed a drop; it looked like a very minor scrape. The round hit and severed the spinal cord, bounced up through a lung, bounced off the inside of a rib, took a second trip through the lung and make a baseball sized exit wound. Yes, they can indeed bounce around inside a target.

I've used the M9 in close combat and respectfully disagree with your opinion on the combat advantage of the .22. With a .22 you need to miss the body armor, and that means precise aiming is more critical, which in close combat is an absurd luxery - Hollywood portrayals notwithstanding. By comparison, a 9mm, even when hitting tyical body armor worn by non-US forces will put the enemy down (temporarily incapacitate), so it easier to get off effective snap shots as you have a larger effective target area. No one I've ever known in a Tier 1 SOF unit (arguably the people most "capable of thinking straight under stress and highly skilled," etc.) would agree with your assessment. They've all opted for 9mm or .45 [and even then, let me stress, only as back-up weapons] for actual operations which I've observed.

At any rate, I suggest that the arguments over combat use of pistols is largely a pointless exercise. Actual close range pistol engagements are rare to the point of virtual non-existance in combat. In 26 years of Airborne-Ranger-Infantry type service, I've only known one other person who actually had cause to fire a pistol in close (20 meters of less) combat. In my last unit the troops used to say that pinning your hopes on a pistol in war is like bringing your mountain bike to a NASCAR race.

I've heard plenty pistolero of "war stories" from saloon hero-wannabes, but that's always been BS in my experience. [Now, I've witnessed others plink away in combat at targets under cover at greater range, but no one ever got hurt by that.]

A more common and realistic setting to discuss pistol employment would be law enforcement, which demands different capabilities.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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Just got off the phone with a guy who related a first-hand experience with a .22 in combat which should lay to rest any idea of its usefullness in combat.

This guy was with SOG in Vietnam and ran a number of attempted prisoner snatch missions along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Cambodia. Some one had the bright idea that if they used .22 LR silenced pistols, they could disable their target without tearing him up too badly, and then bundle him off to the PZ. They tried it three times, waiting alonside the trail until a lone NVA soldier came along. A US soldier would then step out of the brush and shoot the enemy at close range to disable him.

It didn't work. In each instance the enemy soldier was still able to unsling his weapon and try to return fire, and the cover man then had to kill him with his CAR-15. They retired the .22 pistols to bunkhouse rat sniping duties.

I suggest that a round that is unable to reliably temporarily incapacitate a man at less than 5 yards range during a prisoner snatch is not the caliber you want to choose for a close range exchange of fire intended to kill. But that's just my opinion.

That said, I repeat my earlier observation. True close combat pistol engagements are so rare that they do not justify the extensive theoretical, hypothetical and pointless arguments. A pistol in combat generally serves but one purpose: it keeps your mind focused on doing something - however futile - in those few seconds before the guys with mortars, machineguns, RPGs, rifles and grenades kill you from a nice, safe stand-off range.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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