Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Comparing the Intermediate Round to the Deer Hunting Round

Apparently it's OK to discuss gun control legislation again, so let's talk. The assault weapon round is wimpy compared to the full sized military rifle round or deer hunting round. Here's the history.

Before the Germans during WWII started using the intermediate round (7.92 x 33mm) there were two rounds for use in their infantry weapons, the 8mm Mauser (7.92 x 57mm), used in the Kar 98 for example, and the 9mm pistol round, used in their machine pistols, the MP-38, usw. Just so, the Russians immediately before the Cold War had a slightly different 9mm pistol round (and a better copy of the Mauser 7.63 x 25mm) and the full size rifle round 7.62 x 55R. The intermediate round the Russians used in the AK 47 had, like the Germans' short round, about the same sized bullet in a shorter casing containing much less smokeless powder than the full sized rifle round. We Americans had a full sized rifle round, the 30.06 (and the Brits had a very similar .303) but we had a better pistol round, the much more powerful .45 APC, which made our submachine guns, like the Thompson and the Grease gun, pretty freakin' deadly; so it took us another decade to develop the intermediate round, the Remington .223 (5.56 x 45mm NATO).

We guys, who actually know about guns and ammunition and this history, are always frustratingly amused by the seemingly completely ignorant politicians and gun control activists having cows about assault weapons, all of which use the intermediate round. They are not more deadly, they are less deadly than a hunting rifle. Indeed, it is illegal here in Colorado to hunt deer with the .223. It's just not powerful enough to kill a deer sized animal humanely.

Here are some ballistic comparisons.


Mauser 8mm (7.92 x 57mm) using a 196 grain bullet (a slightly larger than average war sized bullet) has a muzzle velocity of 2591 ft/sec and 2922 ft.lbs of energy in the bullet.

The 8mm Kurz (7.92 x 33mm) using a 125 grain bullet (same diameter but smaller in length and mass than the Kar 98's round) has a muzzle velocity of 2250 ft/sec (which is comparable) but muzzle energy of only 1408 ft.lbs.

You don't want to get hit with either bullet but the damage done to flesh and bone by a legal military bullet, that is, a full metal jacketed bullet, depends on diameter, weight and energy. The diameter is the same here but the weight of the intermediate round's bullet is more than a third less and the energy of the bullet fired from the father of assault weapons is less than half.  If you had to choose, you would rather be hit by the assault weapon round.

It's very similar with the Russians:

The 7.62 x 54R using a 185 grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2557 ft.sec. and muzzle energy of 2495 ft.lbs.

The AK 47's original round, the 7.62 x 39mm, has a muzzle velocity of 2445 ft.sec. and muzzle energy of 1659 ft.lbs.

And with the Americans:

The 30.06 Springfield round with a 180 grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2739 ft.sec. and muzzle energy of 2978 ft.lbs.

The .223 using a 55 grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2925 ft.sec. and muzzle energy of 1045 ft.lbs.

Banning assault weapons merely because they look more deadly (military utilitarian) is demonstrably stupid. Guess who's demanding it?

I'll get to magazine capacity next time.

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7.62x54R, not 7.62x55R
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