Blood on the Sand: Crazy Horse vs. Pancho Villa

September 6, 2011

Figure 1Relationship between chamber pressure, barrel length, and bullet velocity (Broemel QuickLoad Software Results).

External Ballistics:

A bullet will not fly accurately and straight unless it is stabilized because of the centre of gravity being behind the centre of pressure as is usually the case with aerodynamically efficient forms. The principal stabilization mechanism here is spin: spin stabilization means giving the projectile rapid rotation around its longitudinal axis which is performed by using a rifled barrel. This spin produces a mechanical phenomenon called "angular momentum." The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that in order for the bullet to tumble while spinning it now requires a torque. There will be a segment on from my Fabrication Laboratory (aka. Fab Lab) where I delve into this concept further.

Terminal Ballistics:

This is where it all comes together. The projectile has made impact with the target. It is characterized by very rapid events, high pressures, and large deformation rates. A bullet must have a significant amount of kinetic energy to reach the target, penetrate into it, and perform its task. However, the key to achieving "stopping power" or the ability to stop a threat is how much of the bullet's energy just prior to hitting the target can be dissipated inside the body of the target prior to passing through the target. This occurs when the size of the bullet causes a permanent cavity or hole in the body and when the bullet creates a large overpressure inside the body and pushes tissues away from its path of travel (temporary cavity), damaging them. Hence, larger caliber rounds (larger permanent cavity) that travel faster and break up upon impact tend to be more deadly.

While it's difficult to say what electronic equipment we'll have available to us during the course of airing of any showing of Deadliest Warrior, the show's hosts are typically available for live tweeting during every week's show so please send in your questions during the show via Twitter to our own former U.S. Navy SEAL, the good Doctor, and your scientist to have them answered LIVE, in real time on September 7 at 10/9c.

That's it for this week's "Blood on the Sand." I hope you're enjoying the more of everything that we are bringing you in Season 3 of Deadliest Warrior!

New Episodes of Deadliest Warrior air on Spike Wednesdays at 10/9c and are posted on three days later.