cal. 6.5mm man stopping power ???

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Markus Becker
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cal. 6.5mm man stopping power ???

Post by Markus Becker » 15 Aug 2006 00:55

Did 6.5mm rounds like the ones used by Italy or Japan have sufficient man stopping power or not? IIRC rifles were mostly used at ranges of 400, maybe 600 meters. Even taking into consideration that in some cases the bullets still had round tips, that resulted in a quick loss of velocity I find it very hard to believe that they were so bad.

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Post by oneshooter » 15 Aug 2006 02:25

It depends on what you call "not so bad". Being shot, by any firearm is not good, irregardless of the range involved. The 6.5 hase a reputation as a very accurate cartridge.

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Post by Tony Williams » 15 Aug 2006 06:23

First of all, effective rifle ranges were not that long. Research into WW2 showed that about 90% of rifle engagements took place at 300m or less (75% at less than 200m), and it was unusual for people to be hit by aimed rifle shots at more than 100m. That's why the Germans developed the intermediate 7.92x33 Kurz cartridge used in the StG 44 assault rifle.

Secondly, bullet design made a huge difference to effectiveness against people. The problem with the long, heavy, round-nosed bullets like those used in the Italian 6.5mm is that they were very stable - they just drilled a neat hole as they passed through, and if they didn't hit anything vital the victims tended to recover quite quickly.

The British discovered this problem with the early, round-nose, versions of the .303 ammo, so before WW1 they adopted a pointed bullet . The main advantage of the pointed bullet is better aerodynamics, but it has another characteristic - it is basically unstable, and only flies through the air point-first because it is being spun by the rifling. When it hits something like flesh, it tumbles end over end, creating a much nastier wound. This was made worse by the fact that the pointed .303 bullet had a light-alloy nose filling, which put the CG even further back.

The Japanese 6.5mm used in WW2 did use pointed bullets, but the CG was not very far back so they were probably more stable than most. Had the Italians and Japanese adopted a bullet design like the .303 Mk VII, I believe they would have been much more satisfied with their 6.5mms' lethality.

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Post by JoeW » 15 Aug 2006 18:09

I read in the past that stopping power was not a consideration in bullet design. With rifles, it was preferable to wound the enemy rather than to kill them. Some computations were made to show that wounded soldiers required five other soldiers to remove them from combat and take them to treatment. A dead soldier required no one other than the burial detail following up. But it was a different matter in the case of a pistol (personal sidearm) that only would have been used in situations of immediate personal defense resulting in life or death. There stopping power was the consideration. At least it was in the development of the US Army Trials resulting in the Colt 1911 in .45 acp. Perhaps that consideration still did not affect European or Asian armies that still selected weapons in .38 range.

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Post by tommy303 » 15 Aug 2006 19:08

Hi Tony.

You are correct about the round nosed bullets being more stable after penetration into living tissue--or water even for that matter. On the whole they tend to keep on a straight path unless deflected by bone. Spitzer or pointed nose full metal jacketed are another matter as you point out. The pointed nose moves the centre of gravity back and at the same time is not an optimum shape for traveling through fluids or living tissue. Generally the spitzer bullet will tumble once in its passage through a body, presuming the velocity is not so high as to cause it to self destruct, and if the amount of tissue is more than 200mm it will tend to stabilize base first after one complete tumble, making entry and exit wounds hard to distinguish. Lesser distances through tissue and the bullet is likely to exit while still making its end over rotation creating an exit wound substantially larger than the entry. The overall damage internally will be greater along the bullet's path with a substantial wound channel as the bullet turned from nose first to base first.

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Post by Tony Williams » 15 Aug 2006 19:56

JoeW wrote:With rifles, it was preferable to wound the enemy rather than to kill them.

I keep reading this but I've never seen any evidence for it, and it is fundamentally illogical. It takes very little power to inflict a lethal injury - the .22 rimfire has killed thousands - but a lot more to incapacitate someone quickly - which is the main priority.

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Post by Markus Becker » 15 Aug 2006 22:00

JoeW wrote:With rifles, it was preferable to wound the enemy rather than to kill them. Some computations were made to show that wounded soldiers required five other soldiers to remove them from combat and take them to treatment. A dead soldier required no one other than the burial detail following up.


That´s the logic behind the design of anti-personnel landmines, not rifles. As far as the handguns are concerned, during the Philippine-American War it turned out the .38 Long Colt revolvers were not powerful enough, but the cal.38LC is rather weak, it´s bullets do not even have half the kinetic energy of a 9mm Luger.

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Post by JoeW » 16 Aug 2006 05:19

Tony Williams wrote:
JoeW wrote:With rifles, it was preferable to wound the enemy rather than to kill them.

I keep reading this but I've never seen any evidence for it, and it is fundamentally illogical. It takes very little power to inflict a lethal injury - the .22 rimfire has killed thousands - but a lot more to incapacitate someone quickly - which is the main priority.

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I wrote that this is what I had always read, after finding an interest in millitary firearms and collecting in the 1960s. I see the logic in incapacitating someone and requiring more non-combatants to care for them. But when these bullets were introduced, did those military designers have technology available to analyze the effects of their cartridges as are available today.

The US military had a reasonably powerful handgun cartridge in use until the introduction of the Colt 38. The Phillipine Insurrection quickley brought them out of their small caliber stupor. The result was the .45 ACP.

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Post by Tony Williams » 16 Aug 2006 06:09

The British certainly weren't interested in just wounding people when they introduced the .303. They were disappointed about the lack of lethality of the round-nosed bullet so after experiments conducted at the Dum-dum arsenal in India they introduced a hollow-point version of the round-nosed bullet, which would expand on impact - much nastier!

However, this was banned by the Hague Convention of 1899 so they went on the develop the pointed Mk VII bullet instead.

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Re: cal. 6.5mm man stopping power ???

Post by Animal » 16 Aug 2006 17:55

Markus Becker wrote:Did 6.5mm rounds like the ones used by Italy or Japan have sufficient man stopping power or not? IIRC rifles were mostly used at ranges of 400, maybe 600 meters. Even taking into consideration that in some cases the bullets still had round tips, that resulted in a quick loss of velocity I find it very hard to believe that they were so bad.
The Dutch also used 6.5mm I believe.

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Post by TRose » 18 Aug 2006 19:52

Think Sweden also used a 6.5mm

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Post by Tony Williams » 18 Aug 2006 20:02

There were several different 6.5mm cartridges used by the militaries of various countries. The Swedes used the 6.5x55 Mauser, which was significantly more powerful than the others.

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Post by The Edge » 18 Aug 2006 20:32

Tony Williams wrote:There were several different 6.5mm cartridges used by the militaries of various countries. The Swedes used the 6.5x55 Mauser, which was significantly more powerful than the others.


I think Portugal's 6.5x57mm Mauser takes the top. :wink:

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Post by Tony Williams » 19 Aug 2006 04:42

The Edge wrote:
Tony Williams wrote:There were several different 6.5mm cartridges used by the militaries of various countries. The Swedes used the 6.5x55 Mauser, which was significantly more powerful than the others.


I think Portugal's 6.5x57mm Mauser takes the top. :wink:

The cartridge case was bigger but the military loading wasn't as powerful. It never progressed beyond a round-nosed bullet at a rather low velocity.

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Post by JTV » 21 Aug 2006 07:13

Tony Williams wrote:
Secondly, bullet design made a huge difference to effectiveness against people. The problem with the long, heavy, round-nosed bullets like those used in the Italian 6.5mm is that they were very stable - they just drilled a neat hole as they passed through, and if they didn't hit anything vital the victims tended to recover quite quickly.



I remember reading similar complaints (ammo causing just neat little hole right through) from Finnish books about 6.5 mm x 50R Arisaka and 6.5 mm x 55 rounds. In both cases the ammunition used in Finland was round-nose variety (6.5 mm x 50R Japanese pre-WW1 and British-made WW1 ammunition. When it comes to 6.5 mm x 55 the Swedes didn't introduce pointed bullet until 1941 and all ammunition in this calibre used in Finland seems to have been with old-fashioned round-nose bullets).

Jarkko

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