Hunting Cartridges Power and Velocity
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Hunting Cartridges Power and Velocity

Hunting Cartridges Power and Velocity


Hunting Cartridges Power and Velocity

Hunting Cartridges Power and Velocity

The power of a cartridge is a multiple of the weight of a bullet and its velocity. Rules for calculating the power of a bullet, given its weight and velocity will not avail much, for the information is generally found in ammunition catalogs, but here is a simple one that may be remembered: Square the given velocity and multiply by the weight of the bullet in one hundred grains and fractions thereof; for example, if the bullet weighs 100 grains multiply by one, if it weighs 250 grains multiply by 2.5. Divide the result by 4,508 and the quotient will be the energy.

Power and energy are almost synonymous terms. Penetration has little to do with the power of a cartridge, but the striking energy is usually taken at a fair measure of the killing qualities, provided the character of the missile is such that it will expend its full force upon the object struck. It follows that the shape and kind of bullet, whether full metal patched, soft-pointed, split-jacketed, or hollow pointed has much to do with the actual execution by a projectile of any given energy.

There is much room for the exercise of good judgment in the choice of a bullet for any particular species of game. First the velocity at which the bullet is to be sent must be taken into consideration. A bullet with a soft point, driven at two thousand feet, might penetrate just right and do good execution; sent at three thousand feet it would possibly expend its force upon the surface and fail to kill, even though its energy were much higher.

At a given velocity a certain kind of bullet may slip through an animal, merely stinging it, while at a higher velocity the ball might have an explosive effect on animal tissue, killing instantly. Diameter of ball is not to be entirely overlooked when considering killing qualities relative to energy. It is generally granted among big game hunters, that given like energy, the missile of largest caliber will have the greatest smashing power.

There is no subject of such perpetual interest to big game hunters as that of the correct shape of bullet to insure its expending its full energy in the right way. The object is, of course, to select a bullet that will penetrate sufficiently and yet expend its entire power on the animal. Naturally if we were shooting deer with a rifle powerful enough for elephants it would not be desirable to have the full energy spent upon the beast unless we wished to make mincemeat of it.

Thus we have, in practical results, that the energy of a bullet, governing its killing power, is modified by its shape, character, weight, diameter, velocity, and the animal upon which it is to be used.

Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.

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