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Thread: Which is More Powerful

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    Which is More Powerful

    There's on ongoing debate as to what guns should be allowed for home defense, some would say any gun you want but to many it's a choice between a semi-automatic rifle or a pistol (or a shotgun)


    Ignoring shotguns for right now. which is the more powerful, the common 5.56mm rifle round, found in most AR-15 type platforms or the .45 ACP of the M-1911


    I've read that the 5.56mm at a range of about 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.
    Would this make a difference in power or energy delivered to the target ?


    Or is the assertion that the .45 ACP is a more powerful weapon at pistol ranges simply a categorical statement that is false and a display of ignorance ?


    What do you think.
    Was what I've seen written about a comparison between a 5.56mm rifle round and a .45" ACP pistol total garbage or is there some truth init, that the pistol round will pack a bigger punch and do more damage at shorter ranges ?

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    There's on ongoing debate as to what guns should be allowed for home defense, some would say any gun you want but to many it's a choice between a semi-automatic rifle or a pistol (or a shotgun)


    Ignoring shotguns for right now. which is the more powerful, the common 5.56mm rifle round, found in most AR-15 type platforms or the .45 ACP of the M-1911


    I've read that the 5.56mm at a range of about 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.
    Would this make a difference in power or energy delivered to the target ?


    Or is the assertion that the .45 ACP is a more powerful weapon at pistol ranges simply a categorical statement that is false and a display of ignorance ?


    What do you think.
    Was what I've seen written about a comparison between a 5.56mm rifle round and a .45" ACP pistol total garbage or is there some truth init, that the pistol round will pack a bigger punch and do more damage at shorter ranges ?
    Who in the world would have wrote such a thing as the bolded above?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    Shotguns are not portable firearms

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    There's on ongoing debate as to what guns should be allowed for home defense, some would say any gun you want but to many it's a choice between a semi-automatic rifle or a pistol (or a shotgun)


    Ignoring shotguns for right now. which is the more powerful, the common 5.56mm rifle round, found in most AR-15 type platforms or the .45 ACP of the M-1911


    I've read that the 5.56mm at a range of about 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.
    Would this make a difference in power or energy delivered to the target ?


    Or is the assertion that the .45 ACP is a more powerful weapon at pistol ranges simply a categorical statement that is false and a display of ignorance ?


    What do you think.
    Was what I've seen written about a comparison between a 5.56mm rifle round and a .45" ACP pistol total garbage or is there some truth init, that the pistol round will pack a bigger punch and do more damage at shorter ranges ?
    Reference the bolded: You're answering your own question with the statement that precedes it though you could be more precise by specifying projectile type.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    Shotguns are not portable firearms

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    There's on ongoing debate as to what guns should be allowed for home defense, some would say any gun you want but to many it's a choice between a semi-automatic rifle or a pistol (or a shotgun)


    Ignoring shotguns for right now. which is the more powerful, the common 5.56mm rifle round, found in most AR-15 type platforms or the .45 ACP of the M-1911


    I've read that the 5.56mm at a range of about 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.
    Would this make a difference in power or energy delivered to the target ?


    Or is the assertion that the .45 ACP is a more powerful weapon at pistol ranges simply a categorical statement that is false and a display of ignorance ?


    What do you think.
    Was what I've seen written about a comparison between a 5.56mm rifle round and a .45" ACP pistol total garbage or is there some truth init, that the pistol round will pack a bigger punch and do more damage at shorter ranges ?
    Here's something I've wrote on the topic recently. While it isn't what the unknown author you reference above said, perhaps you may find it illuminating.

    .223 FMJ at pistol range of say 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP JHP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.

    I wrote that in response to this: A 5.56mm round will do more damage than any .45" at any range.
    Last edited by RF667799; 03-06-20 at 03:49 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    Shotguns are not portable firearms

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    It's all in how you're keeping score. Over-penetration isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it typically is couched that way.

    I believe the "power" of a round is a fairly straightforward calculation of the projectile\powder masses involved. My impression is that by the math, the 5.56mm is considerably more powerful. The relatively tiny bullet at a very fast velocity is likely to trump a larger projectile going at a much lower velocity. Much typical .45 ammo is subsonic!

    Another aspect to consider is that 50' is a fairly long range shot for a pistol, but would be a close range shot for any 5.56 rifle.

    My amateur opinion would be that the way to test would be to grab an average person or two off the street, and put one of these weapons in their hands, and do some shooting.

    Generally, I expect you'd see better results with the rifle, because it is easier to use effectively for low-skilled users.

    Probably many here know him already, but I can't recommend Paul Harrell enough. He does a lot of practical testing on these things.
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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by WillyPete View Post
    It's all in how you're keeping score. Over-penetration isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it typically is couched that way.

    I believe the "power" of a round is a fairly straightforward calculation of the projectile\powder masses involved. My impression is that by the math, the 5.56mm is considerably more powerful. The relatively tiny bullet at a very fast velocity is likely to trump a larger projectile going at a much lower velocity. Much typical .45 ammo is subsonic!

    Another aspect to consider is that 50' is a fairly long range shot for a pistol, but would be a close range shot for any 5.56 rifle.

    My amateur opinion would be that the way to test would be to grab an average person or two off the street, and put one of these weapons in their hands, and do some shooting.

    Generally, I expect you'd see better results with the rifle, because it is easier to use effectively for low-skilled users.

    Probably many here know him already, but I can't recommend Paul Harrell enough. He does a lot of practical testing on these things.


    So does it matter if a 5.56mm round passes through a man at say 50', when weighing up which is the more powerful tool for home defense: a 5.56mm rifle or a .45" ACP pistol ?

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    So does it matter if a 5.56mm round passes through a man at say 50', when weighing up which is the more powerful tool for home defense: a 5.56mm rifle or a .45" ACP pistol ?
    I expect it matters to many, particularly in built-up areas, but the guy who got shot probably won't care.

    I've heard that 5.56 has a tendency to tumble after the initial impact, which serves to shed much of that force, and also to fragment, so the force is spilt up.

    I've even read claims that the fragmentation effect makes it less likely to over penetrate that your traditional pistol ammo, as the pistol projectile is less likely to fragment, and so focuses whatever force it has in one spot.
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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    So does it matter if a 5.56mm round passes through a man at say 50', when weighing up which is the more powerful tool for home defense: a 5.56mm rifle or a .45" ACP pistol ?
    LOL! You never tire it appears.

    Did you so soon forget that this categorical statement: A 5.56mm round will do more damage than any .45" at any range. was in response to someone comparing two rifles in a hunting scenario?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    Shotguns are not portable firearms

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich2018 View Post
    There's on ongoing debate as to what guns should be allowed for home defense, some would say any gun you want but to many it's a choice between a semi-automatic rifle or a pistol (or a shotgun)


    Ignoring shotguns for right now. which is the more powerful, the common 5.56mm rifle round, found in most AR-15 type platforms or the .45 ACP of the M-1911


    I've read that the 5.56mm at a range of about 50' could easily over penetrate, expending very little energy on the target. While a .45 ACP would expend all its energy on target...and a much larger hole besides.
    Would this make a difference in power or energy delivered to the target ?


    Or is the assertion that the .45 ACP is a more powerful weapon at pistol ranges simply a categorical statement that is false and a display of ignorance ?


    What do you think.
    Was what I've seen written about a comparison between a 5.56mm rifle round and a .45" ACP pistol total garbage or is there some truth init, that the pistol round will pack a bigger punch and do more damage at shorter ranges ?
    why bother? you want to ban every weapon that shoots either cartridge
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    Yeah; a shotgun IS a rifle; it uses a different load.
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    You know that Reagan signed the Brady Bill - right?
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    The only "sport" that most gun owners participate in is suicide or murder.

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    Re: Which is More Powerful

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    why bother? you want to ban every weapon that shoots either cartridge
    So what are your thoughts, would a 5.56mm rifle serve me better as a home defense weapon or does the fact that it might pass through a person at 50' range matter at all ?

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