Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Weight There's More - Bullets vs Backs

Liberty Ammo 9mm +p
Weight: 50gr, Velocity: 2000 FPS,
Kinetic Energy: 450 FPS
Weight There's More - Bullets vs Backs

About seven years ago, I was at a launch event for Liberty Ammo and was pretty blown away with their ultra-light 50gr 9mm defensive rounds which are actually more powerful than super heavy rounds. We shot into ballistic gel, full pork bone in shoulders, through car doors, through car windows, and a lot of different household building materials. The result of that testing was rather fantastic to see what a 50gr 9mm round can do traveling at 2000+ ft/sec delivering a whopping 450+ Ft/lbs. of energy. It makes sense, after all the 5.56/.223 round is built on the same concept of a light bullet traveling at high speed. I have continued my personal performance testing of various lightweight bullet rounds including Interceptor ARX, Liberty, and HPR ammo.

What is interesting is that these rounds perform similar or better than heavier rounds, but they are obviously a whole lot lighter and this started me thinking - Weight there’s More. The heavier the bullets, the more weight my back has to carry and the weight based in grains is a simple linear weight increase from 50gr to 147gr math but what does a grain weigh.

For example, a 50gr bullet is 0.114 ounces and a 147gr bullet is 0.336 ounce. If we look at this from a purely bullet weight perspective of a 17+1 Glock G17, 18 rounds of bullet weight that is 6 ounces for the 147gr rounds vs 2 ounces for the 50gr rounds. With one full mag in the grip. and an extra carried, that is a ½-lb difference in carried weight between the light and heavy rounds. Considering a backup Ruger LCP only weighs 9.4-ounces you can almost carry a spare LCP as a backup with the weight difference or …. your pants won’t sag as much.

The weight difference gets worse if we start looking at the ammo quantities carried in bug-out and get-home bags when packing some type of AR pistol or PCC - Pistol Caliber Carbine. Usually people are packing four 30-round magazines where weight can add up quickly and especially if someone is packing a 300 Blackout or PCC with heavy bullets. 

Including only the bullet weights without cases powder and magazine the below 30-round bullet weights would make me want to carry the lightest bullet weight available in a get-home bag.  
30 - 40gr bullets = 2.74 ounces, X four mags 11oz
30 - 63gr bullets = 4.25 ounces, X four mags 17oz
30 - 110gr 300 BO bullets = 7.5 Ounces, X four mags 30oz
30 - 220gr 300 BO bullets = 15.09 ounces, X four mags 60oz

A friend of mine notes regularly he carries a 300 Blackout in his get home bag with heavy subsonic rounds so he will deliver heavily hitting and lower noise. Not at bad concept at all, but the weight is a back killer for a lightweight get home bag. The reality is that I could carry five mags of 40gr 5.56 defense ammo for the same weight as one 220gr 300 BO magazine which is a whole boatload more firepower. That is a substantial 3-lb weight difference if four mags are carried is the equivalent of being able to carry an extra loaded Glock G19 + one extra full mag of even super heavy subsonic ammo. If you load down to the typical 6-8 magazines carried by the military, the weight differences get worse. 

Everyone has to do their own testing and not believe everything that they read on the internet, but I am impressed with what 40gr varmint rounds deliver for a defensive need with significantly less over penetration risk than other rounds. Pass through shots on targets are a big concern in dense urban environments and especially in chaotic situations. I own 300 BO guns and know the awesomeness of the caliber; however, I don’t like it enough to carry three extra pounds during a duress based 20-mile sprint home or make the choice to shed extra ammo.

The 40gr ballistic tip is also my preferred round for a get home bag and saves weight. I also like the very deep penetrating high weight retention copper alloy 50gr GMX Full Boar Hornady hunting round rounds as an option for woodsy outdoor type get home situations. The 40gr ballistic tips are super flat shooting with a lot of power and extreme power delivery and insanely accurate in my 10.5” barreled Faxon backpack gun. 

What I learned is that weight is weight and math matters. After playing around with some get home bag options, my hope is that I am on the move and ahead of anything potentially really baddies that shoot back. If I want to be light and save my back I can or I could use the weight savings on light rounds to add a mag of M855 rounds to punch through barriers, an Angle Armor backpack Level III panel, a spare G17 magazine and an extra bottle of water.

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