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.36 vs. .44 "Stopping Power"

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PastorB

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This is a follow up to a recent thread concerning the "Stopping Power" of a .36 Navy. Today's test was simple, and I did not use a chrono today. The test was to see if a .36 and .44 would penetrate a 2x6, and at what distance it would not. Well, I ran out of distance before I ran out of complete pass-thrus. Might repeat the test in the near future when I have a longer range. All loads used round balls, as I don't have conicals right now for .36. Powder loads were my standard 25 grains in .36, and 32 in .44. Neither are max loads, but moderately heavy. Balls were .375 and .451, using Pyro P as a propellant. Pyro P is the equal of Swiss 3f, and way hotter than Goex 3f, based upon thousands of shots over the chrono. All the shots easily blasted through the 2x6's. I figure if it will go thru a 2x6, it will go thru a sternum or brain-pan. As a means of comparison, a .31 1849 Pocket Model, using round ball, will only barely go thru a 2x6 using a max charge of 777 at very close range. Pyro P and Swiss 3f will bulge the back side out, but remain imbedded. The 2x6's are an analog for nothing other than a 2x6. Would not want to be hit by either! See pics attached for "wound cavities", marked by caliber and distance in yards.
 

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This is a follow up to a recent thread concerning the "Stopping Power" of a .36 Navy. Today's test was simple, and I did not use a chrono today. The test was to see if a .36 and .44 would penetrate a 2x6, and at what distance it would not. Well, I ran out of distance before I ran out of complete pass-thrus. Might repeat the test in the near future when I have a longer range. All loads used round balls, as I don't have conicals right now for .36. Powder loads were my standard 25 grains in .36, and 32 in .44. Neither are max loads, but moderately heavy. Balls were .375 and .451, using Pyro P as a propellant. Pyro P is the equal of Swiss 3f, and way hotter than Goex 3f, based upon thousands of shots over the chrono. All the shots easily blasted through the 2x6's. I figure if it will go thru a 2x6, it will go thru a sternum or brain-pan. As a means of comparison, a .31 1849 Pocket Model, using round ball, will only barely go thru a 2x6 using a max charge of 777 at very close range. Pyro P and Swiss 3f will bulge the back side out, but remain imbedded. The 2x6's are an analog for nothing other than a 2x6. Would not want to be hit by either! See pics attached for "wound cavities", marked by caliber and distance in yards.
Interesting. Thanks
 
There is much more to stopping power than pass through shots.
If that was the case cops would be issued fmj ammo and carrying 158gr LRN 38s in their model 10's.
Btw, I know of NO agency that approve FMJ in their sidearm, due to poor stopping ratio and increase liability.

Will it Kill?? Absolutely, but will it Stop?? That's the Rub.
I saw first hand a 44 rb fail to stop an 80lb feral dog. It took 3 body shots, and stayed on its feet. A coup` de grace` to the skull ended it.
As I've said, the CNB revolver was all the rage in its day. But I'd not trust my life on one given the advances in ammo and firearms.
 
Well I carried a 41 magnum and it was to shoot myself with. That was before bear spray. Now its in bear spray we trust.

The reality is that sans a lethal hit (to the hog brain etc. ) it is not stopping power, simply no such thing (20mm would do it)

A 22 hit in the right place will kill something and 10 rounds of 45 ACP in a non lethal place will not. Its why the behind the shoulder shot works on game. You take out the heart and or lungs and its dead even if it keeps moving a bit on momentum.

Penetration is not stopping. Using the same Gell formula to compare penetration is a comparison, not stopping power.

You do not want over penetration. You do want bullet expansion.

After that its a drop the ball on the roulette wheel.
 
My uncle( now passed) was a St Louis police officer during the 1950’s. He had arrested a certain neighborhood character, who was found to be carrying a very small semi automatic pistol in …. 22 short. When told that little 22 would not drop a mosquito, the perp told them-“ wal, officer, this here gun ain’t much, but the boys know me and where I will shoot them at, they ain’t havin no more kids!!” I guess you could call that psychological stopping power…
 
I quite often regret simple posts I put on this forum for information. This thread is about the relative capabilties of cap and ball revolvers, not a discourse on the merits of every modern handgun against possible opponents, human or otherwise. Yes, I am very aware that "Stopping power" is a ubiquitous poor term, and that lethality is determined by shot placement rather than caliber. As a matter of fact, I know a certain fellow very well that immediately and permanently stopped the attack of a meth'ed up violent felon with one shot from the smallest centerfire cartridge available in a handgun. But that is a topic for a self-defense forum with modern handguns, which I have zero interest in. Perhaps I should have titled this thread, "The Ability of .36 and .44 Cap and Ball Revolvers to Penetrate a 2"x6" Douglas Fir Board at Various Ranges"
 
I respectfully submit that it was your title of 36 v 44 Stopping Power to which i responded. I don't want anyone to make CCW decisions based on Penetration alone.

I look at Stopping power as baking a cake. There are many ingredients to a cake, leave some out and it doesn't go as planned.

There are MANY variables to Stopping Power. Penetration is needed, but not too much. Expansion is needed, but not too soon. Bore size matters, too big and you can't handle it, too small and not enough ft/lbs. Velocity is important, but to much or too little ruins the "recipe". It also is strongly based on the desire of the one shot to survive. This maybe the most important factor.

I'm basing this on over 30 years of studying real life shootings, and 20+ years of law enforcement. We constantly recieved info regarding OIS, and what worked and what didn't.

I reiterate that almost anything can and will "kill", but when it's life or death you want to "stop" them before they do you harm.
On this I speak with Authority.
 
This is a follow up to a recent thread concerning the "Stopping Power" of a .36 Navy. Today's test was simple, and I did not use a chrono today. The test was to see if a .36 and .44 would penetrate a 2x6, and at what distance it would not. Well, I ran out of distance before I ran out of complete pass-thrus. Might repeat the test in the near future when I have a longer range. All loads used round balls, as I don't have conicals right now for .36. Powder loads were my standard 25 grains in .36, and 32 in .44. Neither are max loads, but moderately heavy. Balls were .375 and .451, using Pyro P as a propellant. Pyro P is the equal of Swiss 3f, and way hotter than Goex 3f, based upon thousands of shots over the chrono. All the shots easily blasted through the 2x6's. I figure if it will go thru a 2x6, it will go thru a sternum or brain-pan. As a means of comparison, a .31 1849 Pocket Model, using round ball, will only barely go thru a 2x6 using a max charge of 777 at very close range. Pyro P and Swiss 3f will bulge the back side out, but remain imbedded. The 2x6's are an analog for nothing other than a 2x6. Would not want to be hit by either! See pics attached for "wound cavities", marked by caliber and distance in yards.
I did that type of testing myself and posted here on this forum. Said few people know the power of black powder. The problem is we are talking to to many paper target shooters and mocho people, that if it doesn't hurt after you shoot you aren't using enough powder or not using a big enough gun .
 
Very interesting. I’ve had .44 caliber revolvers but never a .36. Looking at your photos, I can’t tell any difference. Either one should work fine on varmints and 2x6’s around the farm. The .36 uses less lead and powder, but is it really enough to make a big difference? Thanks for the comparison!
 
[snip]
I reiterate that almost anything can and will "kill", but when it's life or death you want to "stop" them before they do you harm.
[snip]
To whit, Halyna Hutchins is now dead, after the pass through of a solid lead 250gr projectile which subsequently was lodged in the shoulder of Joel Souza.

For those interested, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow wrote three books on the subject where they analyzed over 5000 real world shootings and developed an alternative metric for efficacy of handgun loads. In their last book, there is a chapter on tests performed with cap and ball revolvers.

Greg Ellifritz is also renowned for an article he wrote, partially in refutation of Marshall and Sanow, but largely using their metric formula where he analyzed ~3000 shoots. There is a very popular, very slick video on YouTube by a prepper about Ellifritz's "study" which has several errors, typos in the data, and inaccurately presents Ellifritz's conclusion. I encourage those interested to read what he wrote, not what somebody else thought he wrote.

If that ongoing debate isn't sufficient, then there is a debate over hydro-static shock and whether ballistic pressure waves can disrupt or damage the central nervous system. In one corner, we have noted World War II trauma surgeon Frank Chamberlin arguing pressure waves affect the central nervous system versus Vietnam War trauma surgeon Martin Fackler who argued pressure waves cannot damage tissue. Far from settling the issue, there are numerous studies and papers taking opposite positions on these questions up through the recent wars in the Middle East, and to this day.

There seems to be broad consensus on the importance of shot placement, but whether penetration or energy are more important, in combination, and to what degree are all hotly contested as seen in the thousands of caliber debates in other forums.

@PastorB didn't have his chronograph with him on that day, so we can't calculate the energy at the muzzle. Unless they were significantly less accurate, personally I would use the max load for self-defense: there is no prize for stopping an attack with the smallest caliber or lightest load that barely gets the job done.

I think it was Jeff Cooper who argued one should choose the biggest, most powerful caliber one can shoot accurately (shot placement is king!). Even after all the debates, that still seems to be very sound advice.
 
There is much more to stopping power than pass through shots.
If that was the case cops would be issued fmj ammo and carrying 158gr LRN 38s in their model 10's.
Btw, I know of NO agency that approve FMJ in their sidearm, due to poor stopping ratio and increase liability.

Will it Kill?? Absolutely, but will it Stop?? That's the Rub.
I saw first hand a 44 rb fail to stop an 80lb feral dog. It took 3 body shots, and stayed on its feet. A coup` de grace` to the skull ended it.
As I've said, the CNB revolver was all the rage in its day. But I'd not trust my life on one given the advances in ammo and firearms.
Similarly, we do not seek out doctors practicing 19th century medicine and for the most part no longer use horse drawn transportation.
 
Very interesting. I’ve had .44 caliber revolvers but never a .36. Looking at your photos, I can’t tell any difference. Either one should work fine on varmints and 2x6’s around the farm. The .36 uses less lead and powder, but is it really enough to make a big difference? Thanks for the comparison!

There is a large difference in performance, as when loaded to normal capacity, the .44 is nearly twice as powerful as a .36. Both can achieve similar velocities, but the .44 ball (.454 or so) is twice as heavy. For shooting varmints and plinking .36 will suffice. My 1851 Navy in .36 is my favorite revolver. Lots of talk on a muzzleloading forum about modern ballistics, shockwaves, and statistics. I would like to share a statistic now. I have shot 11 large bodied bucks (200 lb. and well up from there) with a .44 cap and ball revolver. 100% were killed quickly with one shot from a range of 4 to perhaps 30 yards. A few fell immediately, a few ran a short distance, same as a modern rifle. Didn't get the deer's opinion on wound channels and such. For general shooting, I love the .36., for hunting and two legged varmints, a warmly loaded .44 is the way to go. Of course, if I'm expecting 2 legged trouble, I'm not carrying a cap and ball revolver anyways. So, discussions about concealed carry and stats seem a strange tangent for a muzzleloading forum that covers a time period from the Late Medieval world to 1865.
 
Nothing beats real world performance. Chronographs, statistics and ballistics charts are interesting and useful, but it’s what we can do afield that counts. I’ve killed several coyotes with guns and loads that the “experts” said were inadequate for the task.
 
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