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Thread: The .32 S&W Long as a man-stopper

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    a self defense shooting will most likely be up close. like stick that .32 right in their face and let go. you will not be shooting across the room across the street. i used to say you needed a big gun. then i grew up and found out shot is shot.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly View Post
    Dr. Martin Fackler (President of the International Wound Ballistics Assoc.) has long championed permanent cavity volume as the only reliable indicator of 'stopping power'. He has stated (words to the effect) that the temporary wound cavity so often dramaticly photographed is without value in incapacitation unless it infringes the heart or central nervous system. He has also said that expanding bullets waste a lot of energy in generating the expansion that produce the temporary wound cavity. I suspect a lot of people here will disagree with that, but I also suspect nobody here will have a tenth of the experience that Dr. Fackler brings to his opinions. He has international acclaim and respect in this field that few men can match.

    Uh huh.


    1. Power levels are for pre-event, feel good, discussions designed to build confidence based upon a single shot event.

    2. Wound channels are for after event explanations of the "WHY" the single shot either worked or it did not.

    The doctor's expertise is that he "guesses" that he can create and then tell you a successful 2 will provide stoppage under any and all circumstances.

    How do you remove the heart from a body and have that animal still run for 200 yards? Or have an animals liver fall out of a it's body and still go for 150 yards?

    No body understands death, certainly not in emotional charged states. And any number of uneducated and limited experienced members of this board can tell you that having created these "perfect" wound channels.

    The question that arises is: In that totally unique, emotional state that is the self preservation (self defense) act that occurs between item 1. and item 2.:

    A. Did you trust the Doctor's vast expertise of perfect wound channel stoppage?

    B. Did you throw that garbage out the window and do what was necessary to survive?
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  3. #23
    Moderator Emeritus/Boolit Master in Heavens Range
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    I'm a bit surprised that nobody has mentioned one of the most potent aspects of man-stopping handguns; The simple fact that they are HANDGUNS. The simple presence of ANY handgun is an unmistakable, multi-lingual, cross-cultural and cross generational announcement that the fun and games are over, because things are likely to get REAL serious if they don't stop.

    My wife and I had gone to bed one evening, when there was a pounding on the door, and one of the sisters who lived next door was screaming for help. My wife let her in while I put on some jeans and dropped a .38 revolver in my pocket just on general principles.

    Seems three drunks had run out of interesting things to do, when one of them announced that he knew where there were a couple of girls they could have some fun with. When they knocked on the door, one of the sisters thought she'd met one of them at a party, and let them in. It didn't take long for their true nature to manifest itself, and the girls had a few rough minutes until the fiance of the other girl showed up for a visit. His reaction provided enough distraction for the other girl to get away and call on me for help.

    The fiance was having a rough going-over from all three drunks, but when I walked in, they backed off of him to assess me. One of them noticed the 38 grip sticking out of my pocket, and sneered something to the effect of "What do you think you're going to do with that, buddy?"

    I told him that I thought I'd do any ****ed thing I wanted to with it, and that anything I wanted to happen had better happen ****ED fast, and the first thing that had better happen was for him to go to the far wall, sit down with his back against it, legs spread, followed in a hurry by his buddies.

    There was an instantaneous realignment of attitudes. Some of the nastiest drunks you could never want to meet became real gentlemen, sober as a judge, and said 'yessir' & 'nosir' when I addressed them. The fiance then went to each one in turn and carefully searched them for anything dangerous. Then I put them back against the wall, legs spread and sitting on their hands, mouths shut. I told them that the first one to try to get off his hands would die. They didn't seem interested in following up to see if I was serious. I was, and they knew it.

    We discussed several options to deal with the situation, but decided to simply turn them over to the police. When the police got there, I simply dropped the pistol a little further into my pocket, so that the grip didn't show. I noticed one LEO staring at my pocket, but he didn't say anything.

    End of story. The point of the story is that in this (and in a couple other incidents I could relate), the mere presence of a handgun (of ANY caliber) was able to restore order and prevent the further commission of a crime. A strong, self-assured attitude on my part undoubtedly contributed to the effect, AND THE HANDGUN WAS NEVER PULLED OR PRESENTED. My hand never touched it after I'd dropped in in my pocket at home until the police arrived. Its presence contributed to my self-assured attitude, and there would not have been any difference in outcome if it had been a 45 or a 22.

    To date, I have put an abrupt end to at least four attempted rapes / assults, and have apparently been functional in restoring order in a number of situations that held promise of becoming quite unpleasant. And to date, I have not had to shoot anyone. The closest I have needed to come to that involved a hoodlum trying to force a car driven by a pretty girl off the road on a desolate stretch of road. He didn't know I was asleep in the back seat, and that the girl was my wife. I will leave his reaction to seeing me sit up and cock a loaded .357 at him to your imagination. But peace and order was quickly restored, and it was not necessary to shoot him.
    Last edited by Molly; 12-29-2010 at 05:18 PM.
    Regards,

    Molly

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  4. #24
    Boolit Master S.R.Custom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly View Post

    Dr. Martin Fackler ... has also said that expanding bullets waste a lot of energy in generating the expansion that produce the temporary wound cavity. I suspect a lot of people here will disagree with that...
    Well, that's a "depends" statement. He's correct in that it takes a fair amount of energy to expand a bullet. Whether or not that energy is a waste is another matter.

    In the case of the 9mm, without expansion the bullet will penetrate 21" of ballistic goo. That pretty much guarantees over penetration. Any energy the bullet takes with it out the other side is the waste. With a hollow point, any energy expended in expansion which keeps the bullet in the body is a wise investment. Enhanced wound channel is a bonus.

    On the other hand, the .32 ACP ball round barely has enough **** to penetrate 9" of goo. A functioning hollow point would waste precious energy in a scenario where penetration is paramount. In other words, some calibers should utilize hollow points. Others, not so much.



    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    ...When the state laws related to use of force to stop criminal activity/attacks were initially drafted in our country, it was generally believed that the interests of justice were well served by having both private citizens and public officers fire upon fleeing suspects believed to have committed felonious acts, irrespective of the fleeing suspects' status as being armed or not. This mindset prevailed well into the 20th Century...
    Ah, the good ol' days... Do I take this as agitating for the return of law enforcement fundamentalism? If so, good on ya...

  5. #25
    Moderator Emeritus/Boolit Master in Heavens Range
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    >1. Power levels are for pre-event, feel good, discussions designed to build confidence based upon a single shot event.
    >2. Wound channels are for after event explanations of the "WHY" the single shot either worked or it did not.
    >The doctor's expertise is that he "guesses" that he can create and then tell you a successful 2 will provide stoppage under any and all circumstances.

    I recommend you read some of Dr. Fackler's numerous articles. They are readily available on the web if you just search on his name. I particularly recommend "What is wrong with wound ballistics and why". Dr. Fackler is careful that your elements 1 & 2 above do not affect his conclusions. You should also read his statistical analysis of some currently popular 'handgun effectiveness' tables, wherein he demonstrates that the information in them is statistically almost certain to be the result of doctored data. Wanna bet your life on it?

    >How do you remove the heart from a body and have that animal still run for 200 yards? Or have an animals liver fall out of a it's body and still go for 150 yards?

    A simple postulation that the animals involved were high on adrenalin and excitement could account for what you report. A liver is not necessary for the IMMEDIATE functioning of leg muscles, and for that matter, neither is a heart: Under the influence of powerful stimulants, the animal could continue to run until the supply of oxygen in its muscles was exhausted. My grandfather once shot a doe and physically removed two of her spinal vertebrae (?SP), yet she ran for about a hundred yards before folding. How she managed to run without any nerve communication between her brain and her hind legs is still a mystery to me, but it was done.

    >The question that arises is: In that totally unique, emotional state that is the self preservation (self defense) act that occurs between item 1. and item 2.: A. Did you trust the Doctor's vast expertise of perfect wound channel stoppage? B. Did you throw that garbage out the window and do what was necessary to survive?

    We are not talking about mathematical or geometric precision here. The examples that both of us provided above are good evidence that there will ALWAYS be exceptions to any explanation that our current levels of knowledge will permit us to formulate. The best we can do is to examine the explanations and their justifications, and play the odds that seem to favor us best.

    You will note that I have not abandoned my .44 Special in favor of the .32 S&W Long, or suggested that anyone consider doing that. The reason? It's simply because Dr. Fackler's explanations concerning temporary and permanent wound channels make a lot of sense to me. They certainly suggest that the through-the-torso wound produced by a .32 flat nosed bullet could be an effective man-stopper, but there is NO suggestion that a through-the-torso wound produced by a .44 Keith slug would not be even more effective at producing a large permanent wound channel.

    I still play the odds that seem to favor me best. But I will no longer sneer at a .32 revolver as I might have once done. I have long held that I didn't want to be shot with ANYTHING if I could avoid it, even a 150fps Daisy BB gun. But like all of us, I would consider injury by some guns as less distressing than by others. Given the necessity and a choice, I would rather be shot with a .177 pellet rifle than with a .22 LR rifle. That's just common sense. I also consider it common sense that I no longer rank a .32 S&W Long handload that out-penetrates a 45 ACP as one of the less distressing options.
    Last edited by Molly; 12-29-2010 at 10:37 PM.
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #26
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    I have given a great deal of thought as to why certain early metallic cartridge loads were so underpowered by modern standards and I have come to several conclusions which I would like to present to you all. I would like to point out something that I don't think anyone has noted yet: Guns are loud. REALLY Loud. At the end of the 19th and dawn of the 20th century, nobody wore hearing protection when they shot guns. Really loud guns existed, but were NOT popular for recreation. Smaller caliber, high velocity rounds were decidedly unpopular, compared to similar rounds in larger calibers. Most people who carried handguns did not shoot with hearing protection, but they probably wanted to preserve their hearing as well.

    People didn't hunt with handguns, even small game, because hunting was done as a way to put food on the table during a time when even the wealthier Americans would be considered middle class by todays standards. Hunting was not sport, it was survival. This meant that the ownership of handguns was centered primarily in urban areas and cities, where carrying a rifle would have been illegal, or at the very least, impractical. Most places that allowed the carrying of arms would prohibit open carrying. Back then, the only Semi-Automatic handguns that were available were large, expensive, and unreliable. The ammo for "Automatics" was expensive too, since it had to use smokeless powder AND it had to use that new fangled jacketed ammo. All primers were corrosive, so nobody cared if Black Powder loads were corrosive. Everybody knew that you had to clean your gun after you shot it, even if you only fired once! A revolver could fire Black or Smokeless powder with ease.

    Since Semi-Autos were not yet popular, most people carried revolvers, and the size of the cylinder on a revolver is directly tied to the size of the caliber and the number of rounds which was almost always 5 or 6 for serious cartridges. People wanted something they could carry in their pocket that would be safe and reliable, and a revolver fit the bill for a great many. This meant that thin and powerful guns, like a modern semi-auto, were not commonplace.

    Clothing was heavier, as it was intended to be more durable and last longer than clothes do today. Also, a great many places were poorly insulated and not well heated, so more layers of clothing would have been worn even in moderate temperatures. This meant that all that was necessary for concealment was that the gun not be so heavy that it caused your coat to sag on one side. Printing would be pretty unlikely if you had a gun in your vest pocket and a coat over that, and then perhaps an overcoat on top of that in winter.

    Small towns were much smaller then, and if there was some outsider wandering around, people would know who it was that mugged you. People in more rural areas would just use their hunting guns for defense, should the need for defense arise. Nobody picks a Handgun when a Shotgun is present, as true now as it was then.

    Everybody knew veterans of the War Between the States, and you could always tell which ones had seen action, because they were almost always nearly deaf. America was a society that had come to abhor violence as pointless and futile, as a great many of those veterans were horribly disfigured and many of them were missing limbs and appendages.

    The main way that the power of cartridges were tested were penetration into Pine Wood Planks. Penetration was all that mattered, expansion likely being without consideration of any kind. By the standards of penetration, even a .32 S&W Long will out penetrate a .36 Navy Caliber Cap and Ball pistol and will usually perform as well or better than a .44 Army Caliber C&B Pistol. Again, since almost everybody knew someone who'd been on the receiving end of Percussion Revolvers in the War Between the States, there was no doubt to there efficacy.

    All that being said, I would state the following about late 19th and early 20th century handguns:
    1. Guns that were not excessively loud were more popular with everyone.
    2. Handgun hunting was not popular, since hunting was done more for sustenance than sport back then.
    3. Mostly city dwellers had to worry about crime, and they were the ones most likely to carry handguns.
    4. They were considered powerful enough because they were as powerful as Cap and Ball Pistols.
    5. Violence was probably considered far less acceptable to most people, so the idea of carrying a “Man Killing” caliber was probably considered barbarous. They didn't have the knowledge or the wealth of statistics that we enjoy now, nor did they have the variety of calibers to choose from.
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  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    This thread is getting interesting... And I was thinking that the 32 ACP would probably be a better candidate for a .17 caliber bullet and a box magazine.... I wonder how a 1903 colt in 17/32 ACP would do?



    I tend to agree with a lot of what's being said here, especially the comments that say that having any handgun is better than none at all. I tend to carry a .45 with handloads, but I've thought about a .32 revolver as a light carry piece for hotter weather months here in FL. I've got loads for the .32 long that shoot at 1100 FPS from my 3" revolver, and I'd bet that they'd put quite a hurt on a bad guy, especially since I practice head shots at 15 yards with any pistol I might carry. If I can't empty the cylinder or magazine in quick order into the 4" head circle of a silhouette target at that range, I find a load that I can, or don't carry the gun.

    If I can find a stainless 32 snubbie for a price I can justify, I'll probably carry one in the summer when I'm wearing shorts and flip-flops.
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  8. #28
    Boolit Master in Heaven's Range HammerMTB's Avatar
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    I will say this about the subject:
    I have seen enough terminal ballistics to know there are some cartridges that deliver significantly more stopping power than others, this should be self-evident. I have been in altercations where deadly force was justified. Why would I deliberately handicap myself and put my loved ones at greater risk by carrying a less powerful round? I want the biggest cartridge that I can handle well, meaning put rounds on target efficiently. Tho I have a .32 (Auto) I don't think of it as a carry weapon, it is a curio (1903 Colt)
    It has been said by those who have studied the matter at length, that if the caliber starts with a 4, it's enough. That is my standard.
    Those that want to carry something small, put themselves at risk, not me. If your life is only worth a .32, you'd know better than I.

  9. #29
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    Facinating thread. Thank you for starting it, Molly. About the only thing I can add is how common carring a firearm was around the turn of the last century. There was a prize fight in New York City and John Jones (? I know the last name was Jones) was fighting. It was announced that all weapons would be confiscated at the doors prior to the fight. This was in all the advertisements for the fight, I understand. When all was done and over they discovered that they had confiscated more firearms than there were people attending the fight!

    This basically means that everybody carried, men and women, and some carried more than one gun that they were willing to loose.
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  10. #30
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    Think about this when you think about how effective the gambler guns were.
    In the old days before modern medicine it was common to die from infection. If you took a lil 32 in the guts you were in big trouble. The death you would die would be very painful and slow. I believe that was the terror of the little gambler type guns, the thought of a very slow very painful death. Some of the guns that were used then to deter conflict we may laugh at now like a tiny derringer shooting a 22 short.
    Take the 22 short in the middle today and as long as you can get some medical attention before too long your likely going to be OK. The same 22 short in 1870 and even with a doctor sitting in at the poker table wouldn't do you much good. After a couple days you may be begging for someone to finish you off.
    That thought would surely make a person not want to look down the business end of one of those.
    For today they wouldn't get much respect though. That said I do carry a single six in 32 mag when I go to town, that or a single six 22 ccm. My back up is a Bond arms 45/410.

  11. #31
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    I'm no Facklerite. If Doctor Death's idea of an effective self-defense round is the 9 x 19 with a 147 grain JHP @ 950 FPS.......he spends too much time in front of a computer and too little in E.R.s and morgues.

    I shoot a whole lot of 30-32 caliber handguns. Several thousand rounds per year. Love 'em! They are primarily recreational devices for me, though--paper, steel, and smaller varmints absorb their hits. None of them--from the 32 S&W Long through the 7.62 x 25--are my idea of an ideal carry sidearm caliber.

    My most frequent sideiron is a Glock 23 in 40 S&W. S&W Model 19 x 2.5" and 686 x 4" get a lot of carry time also, with 357 Mags on board. Soon to be added is a Commander- or compact-sized 45 ACP. Those 4 units will handle it for me--urban, rural, back-country, vehicle.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  12. #32
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    I have a Smith Model 30 3 inch nickle. I have wrote about it here. I paid 140 for it and took some time cleaning it up. I got dies and brass from some kind folks here and have been loading and shooting it since. I have a Lee TL SWC mold and an RCBS RNFP 98gr. mold, also a Lee RN mold too. I have shot several different bullet types through this gun and almost all of my outings with this pistol have been enjoyable and accurate. I would not feel under gunned carrying this for defense at all. If I can put all 6 in the center mass region I am ok. A couple in the eye sockets and it's done. It is light handy and accurate. I have all manner of handguns, from .22 to 44Mag and 45 ACP. 38 specials, 9MM, .357 etc. I have no lack of options. If I chose to carry the .32 Long I will be ok...
    Last edited by EMC45; 12-30-2010 at 09:46 AM.
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  13. #33
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    I have owned a lot of hand guns and have tested most of them (at least caliber wise) on live targets. I used to live near and open dump where you could hunt rats to your harts content. I used to do this at night with a handgun and a flashlight. When cought in the light a rat would freeze and look into the light. I would then shoot the critter. I started using a 22 ruger auto with HP ammo. I quickly found out that unless my shot was a head shot it would not necessarily stop the rat and it would run away and might or might not die before finding a hole to hide in. So I tried pistols and revolvers in 25 auto, 32 auto, 32 S&W long, 380 auto, 38 spl, 357 mag, 45 auto, and 44 mag to and kept records of solid body hits to one shot stops. Now this was not very scientific and I had to find my old note book to refreash my memory. But the results were as follows: 22 RF with 37 gr CCI HP bullets one shot stops 35%, 25 auto with FMJ winchester ammo one shot stops 35%, 32 ACP with cast 77 gr hand loads one shot stops 41%, 380 ACP using 120 gr cast LRN one shot stops 42%, 38 spl with LSWC at 900 fps one shot stops 50%, 357 mag loaded with same bullet at 38 but at 1200 fps 60%, 45 auto with 230 gr LRN at 850 fps 61% one shot stops and 44 mag laded with 240 gr LSWC at 1200 fps 71% one shot stops. I only counted rats that I was sure I hit in the body. Some shot with the bigger calibers were actually flipped away and they came down running. From all of this I decided that anything smaller than 38 caliber was not worth carrying for self defense. Now as to all the small 30 and 32 caliber revolvers used by foreign armys they were mostly issued to officers who used them more as a badge of rank than a combat weapon. They were nice and light and when adopted originally most of the nations had not fought a real war in many years. You will note that the US and British armies who did fight wars during the late 1800s bought 45 caliber guns.

  14. #34
    Moderator Emeritus/Boolit Master in Heavens Range
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    >You will note that the US and British armies who did fight wars during the late 1800s bought 45 caliber guns.

    True for the US, but the Brits traded in their 455 Webleys for 38/200 revolvers (that's a 38 S&W with a 200g bullet) - a mistake in my opinion, but historical fact nonetheless. Nor did the Brits consider going back to the 45 caliber after their experience with the 38/200 during WWII. It would give American big bore types the galloping shudders, but they seemed to consider it quite adequate.

    Are there any British military types out there who could comment on this?
    Regards,

    Molly

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  15. #35
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    Don't know if I'm a British military type but I would like to comment. NickSS is right because of the time frame he referenced. Brits and Americans used .45s until the .38/200 was adopted in 1928 (I think). Of course it would take a while to get the .45s replaced and, make no mistake, .455s were also used in WWII.

    Unfortunately there was a transition to the 178 gr. ball ammo before WWII began. I suspect these still tumbled because I saw a picture of a fired bullet that was a hollow base. If the ball 178 was hollow based it would be quite long and would likely still tumble with it's round nose. Unfortunately the jacketed bullet made a slow round even slower. Occasionally they would stick in the barrel! From my reading it appears the concensus on the .38/178 was that it was a poor performer.

    I just finished a good book. It is a Samworth publication from the late 1940s called With British Snipers to the Reich. The reason I bring it up is because the author carried a S&W in .380R and as far as he was concerned it and the .38 Enfields were the best WWII handguns and he got to shoot them all because he was a gun nut and got access to toys in 1944, 45 and 46 in Europe. I should also mention he never had to shoot anyone with his handgun. Still he thought these .38 revolvers were rugged, reliable, pointed well, and were powerful enough.
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  16. #36
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    I recently read an article about ww1 trench fighters. These men volunteered for the duty of cleaning out trenches behind enemy lines. They would sneak into the enemy trench and take out troops one at a time as they worked thier way through the trench.
    For volunteering for this job they were relieved of all other duties. Life expectancy of volunteers was usually short. The thing I found interesting was the choice of weapons. The dagger was the most used weapon and second was a French made 32 auto.

  17. #37
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    Bullshop reminded me of something I read in a WWI book a couple of years ago. The Brits found the men who volunteered for hazardous duty like that tended to be older and married. This puzzled them. Captured papers from the Germans later confirmed that the same was the case for their men. It was concluded the older men were somewhat disillusioned with life, whereas the younger men had these dreams of the family and job and everything would be wonderful.

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  18. #38
    Moderator Emeritus/Boolit Master in Heavens Range
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    Hmmm. Are we drifting just a bit from the topic of the .32 S&W Long as a man-stopper?
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    Molly

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  19. #39
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    Some missed items to consider

    The military primarily uses a handgun for MPs, a badge of rank for officers, and a secondary weapon for crew served weapons.

    Military theory is that a wounded person requires assistance...wound someone and take other personnel who are caring for them out of the fight also. A body is a sanitation problem, but requires minimal care.

    Jeff Cooper made some remarks about the difference between STOPPING and KILLING someone...think about what you wish to achieve.

    My limited personal experience was several individuals who had minor wounds from 22 LR or 22 Magnum revolvers. One individual was shot several times in the torso with a 22 LR...didn't kill him, but pretty much ruined his health...never was 100% afterwards and died of generally poor health several years later. The 22 Magnum incident was a bullet in the leg....beat the h*** out of the estranged wife who caught him "honky tonking" and shot him...then went to hospital. Permanent limp and an expensive divorce.

    The Europeans have a tradition of small caliber guns for police forces. The British used big bores when they had an empire and dealt with the Afghans, Zulus, etc. in situations like US forces dealing with the Moros in the Phillipines.


  20. #40
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    I collect all things .32. If you have something you don't need, please let me know!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check