Episode-382- All About Ballistics and Ammunition Components

I get a very large number of questions about ballistics terminology, cartridge specific questions and a lot of questions from very new or even aspiring first time gun owners.  Well today I am going to help you with the “ballistics code” so to speak.  Often you can hear a conversation between two experienced rifleman and it sounds almost like a foreign language.  So today I will tell not just what many of these terms mean but why they matter and even why some don’t matter that much at all.

Tune in Today as we Discuss…

  • What is bullet vs. what is a cartridge vs. what is a case
  • What is trajectory
  • What is ballistic coefficient
  • Why more velocity or a lighter bullet is often not the answer
  • What is sectional density
  • What is expansion, why does it matter
  • What is a magnum round vs. a non magnum round
  • What do all the numbers mean
  • Why is a 38 Special a “special”
  • How can a 38 Special be the same caliber as a .357 magnum
  • What is necking up or necking down
  • How are most “new” rifle rounds created
  • How can a short 308 be almost as powerful as a 30-06

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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26 Responses to Episode-382- All About Ballistics and Ammunition Components

  1. Did anybody else have feedback coming from todays show? The audio was pretty bad today, usually it is great.

  2. I don’t know, but the content is beginning to become redundant. It goes like this, debt, taxes, guns, disasters, debt, taxes, guns, listener questions, debt, taxes guns…

  3. Your right about the magnum rifles.A friend of mine had a 300 weatherby a shoulder breaking ground shaking monster.He shot a doe at 60 yards and it hit her so hard that hair from her right shoulder was pushed out the other shoulder it turned her inside out.The big 5 non magnum in this area is the 243-270-308-30-06 and the british 303.I seen that on a show on PBS Missouri Consevation.

  4. Modern Survival

    @Jeb

    Sorry you feel that way, I guess all the 380+ episodes are redundant as they are about preparedness.

    To be fair to me though less then 5% of the shows since the beginning have been on guns, I have never broken down ballistics terminology before today and disasters are what prepping is largely about.

    Sorry you find it redundant but I do what I can to bring as much variety to the subject as possible. Perhaps you have a topic suggestion? Most of the shows are based on listener requests.

  5. Jack,
    Awsome show today. I\’m probably going to have to listen to it 1 or 2 more times and take notes.

  6. Jack,

    Thanks for the show as a whole. I appreciate this episode because I am a new gun owner (1 yr) and I want to be as educated as possible.

    Yes your show is redundant, but that is the point. You must hammer the message home. You have a good variety of topics and try to serve the audience. I can tell that you put alot of prep and research into the show. We don’t agree on everything but that is not the point. We agree on liberty and freedom and self reliance and that is what counts. Thanks again.

  7. Jeb, if you look on the right of the page there are approximately 50 tags for different topics discussed. Do you have an interest in any of those?

    It looks to me that the economy, gardening, food storage, lifestyle planning and permaculture are of interest to many here. My main goals now are reducing my debt and increasing my food supply through gardening, preservation and storage.

  8. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Jack and the show. I mean no disrespect. It’s just that for me, sometimes I tune out while listening, maybe it’s ADD. I love you.

  9. yeah, its redundant sometimes. but so is church and i keep going. repetition. key to learning. not ganging up on jeb. or jack. i check out too, but that\’s because i tend to space out thinking of how what jack is talking about applies to me or how i can apply it to my life/preps.

    rock on preppers!!!

  10. hi jack,
    Mabe some people find it redundant but I find you awesome! I for one am grateful for what you have to say.Sometimes certain things only sink in after I hear them more than once or if they are said in a different way.Your episodes are one of the highlights of my day…
    Gabriele from Germany says THANKS !!!!!!!!

  11. I am not even half way through this episode. Very cool, very informative. I need the repetition so I even listen to older episodes again. This one will be a reference for sure. Way to go Jack!

  12. Great show Jack. I think the perceived redundancy may be getting confused with synergy. Most of the individual topics still all group together into the larger ‘survival/preparedness’ lifestyle. It’s similar to learning a new language, introduce about 25% new material along with 75% well known or previously covered material and eventually it all clicks together like one big puzzle.

  13. I enjoyed today’s show, I already knew 90% of it, but I enjoy the way you tell it. The little history lessons were nice also.

  14. I can agree with that “thequestion.”
    If you love the show, join the MSB! I subscribe to magazines for $25 annually and only get one issue per month that I usually finish in less than a week. With this, I get almost an hour of information every day on my commute.
    Love the show Jack.

  15. Your comment about the armchairs complaining about someone calling a magazine a “clip” reminds me of a training session on the flight deck when I was in the navy. We were phasing out the .45 pistols for the new 9mm pistols, and a Fire Controlman was talking to someone else about the pistol and kept saying “clip” when he was showing the magazine. This was one of our Chief Gunner’s Mate’s pet peeves, so when he walked past, he said “It’s a magazine, not a clip.” FC1 turned to Chief and said, “What’s the difference, Chief?” Chief replied, “A clip is disposable. A magazine is not.” FC1 threw the magazine he was holding over the side and said, “It looks pretty disposable to me, Chief.” It was pretty funny, but FC1 took a lot of heat for doing that. Just thought I’d share.

    Great show today!

  16. I also knew 90% of the topic today but i found out my wife didn’t, so we had a nice talk about m.o.a and other lingo.I am no expert by any means but if it comes down to listening to the T.V blab about mindless dribble or finding a new topic to discuss with my wife, i think it is an easy choice.You may cover the same topics regularly but the content is always different.THANKS!!

  17. Carson from Canada

    Hey Jack, really enjoyed the show! I have something to add to your point about magnums not really being that necessary. I have a friend that’s teaching me about reloading, and he’s very particular about his loads. He has a good number of guns, and has been seriously hunting and reloading for over 25 years. He usually hunts out at 500-600 yards, and hunts a good variety of animals, Pronghorn, Whitetail, Muleys, Elk, Moose, you get the idea. He has a good collection of hunting rifles, and yet the one that he prefers to use is the .270, even hunting out at 600 yards.
    One of his guns is a Remington 700 in .300 Win Mag. All he’s had done to it is barrel floated and action glass bedded. He’s worked up a load here he got two 1 1/8 inch groups at 300 yards and one 1 1/4 inch group at 400 yards. This is a guy that has a great selection of guns, some of them really powerful, and yet he prefers the .270. That’s telling for me.
    Also, I’ve been noticing some issues with your audio compression program that you use. It’s a bit frustrating when parts of sentences get clipped off. I don’t know if you can adjust the setting, but if something could be done it would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

  18. WEll Repatition is a good way to get things to sink into our head,,, Like reading an good book as sometimes it makes us see things we didn’t see the first time around,,,our minds acknowledge things the more we see it and it sinks in… Unless your one of the people who can remember everyting you read or see in every detail then you an exception… Well all I got to say then is keep on keep up with the good stuff Jack… I for one don’t mind an little more even at times if it is repititiious or not… Knowledge is power, an power comes about from knowledge…. Thanks Jack…

  19. This is a Superb! broadcast. Will definitely replay it; so much info I had to write stuff down.

    Are you aware of the new Marlin lever action .308 Express chambering? Uses a slightly tapered case (a la AK47?) for easier extraction if I read the report right; the ammo is Hornaday using a pointed non-metallic tip. This increases effective accuracy from 200 out to 400 yards. Pretty amazing.

    Keep up the great work, you explain things in a well thought out way.Here\’s an html:
    http://www.gunsandammo.com/content/the-marlin-express?page=1

  20. I always thought that caliber was just a synonym for diameter, and they were just expressed using different measurements depending on who made that type of bullet. So a .40 caliber is .4 inches in diameter, and a 9mm is 9mm in diameter…

    So in theory people could call a .40 cal a 10.16mm, but I\’m assuming we are talking about more then the caliber of the bullet when we say .40 cal, like the cartridge size, for weather it will work in a particular gun or not… Am I making any sense at all?

    -Andy

  21. I don’t mind some repetition from time to time. I don’t think I’ll EVER learn all the gardening info I need, for one thing. That may a bit more complex than rifle ballistics, but today’s show explained things in a way that might help some of US teach OTHERS about the subject.

    I especially tuned in to the info on the 6.5×55 and 45-70, 2 guns that are high on my list.

    Which, as far as show topics goes, leads me to a topic suggestion: optics. Sights [the metal ones might be hard to describe, though], scopes, rifle and pistol; lasers and holographic, and, finally, binoculars, day and night vision. One topic of particular interest to me, is the scout mount for rifles, which seems to me to be well suited to the 45-70 guide gun as well as the Swedish Mauser, with the mount fitting right into the rear sight.

    Yer thoughts?

  22. Jack
    I’ve been reloading on / off for 35 years and this was a great show. I too knew 90% of what you talked about but that 10% is good to know. Keep it up!

  23. My only criticism is not the “repetition” issue, Jack’s very good at shuffling his topics, but the unusual lack of organization on the topic. My take is that it is a huge topic and he’s got a ton of info in his head that he’s passionate about and wants to share. My suggestion is to make a macro to micro chart of the topics and stick to those points so that the listener gets the logic of the discussion.

    As an example of a topic that he omitted was the .22LR. It is true that he’s recently discussed it but that topic should have been in there, and so should have been shotguns calibers. Well, IMO.

    Jack: all I’m saying is great topic, but we need more on this. Thanks.

    Here’s some info [from Wikipedia] I wanted to “ask” Jack as I was listening to his program.

    Why is it shotgun gauges and not caliber?
    The caliber of shotguns is measured in terms of gauge (U.S.) or bore (U.K.). The gauge number is the determined by the weight, in fractions of a pound, of a solid sphere of lead with a diameter equal to the inside diameter of the barrel. So a 10 gauge shotgun nominally should have an inside diameter equal to that of a sphere made from one-tenth of a pound of lead. By far the most common gauges are 12 (0.729 in, 18.5 mm diameter) and 20 (0.614 in, 15.6 mm), although .410 (= 67), 32, 28, 24, 16, and 10 (19.7 mm) gauge and 9 mm (.355 in.) and .22 (5.5 mm) rimfire calibres have also been produced.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_gauge_shotguns

    What’s the “06″ mean in the 30-06?
    The .30-06 Springfield cartridge (pronounced “thirty-aught-six”, “thirty-oh-six”) or 7.62 x 63 mm in metric notation, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 (hence “06”) and standardized, used until the 1960s and early 1970s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.30-06_Springfield

  24. Modern Survival

    @RMG7,

    Thanks for your opinion but let me say this show was not about shotguns and not about the 22 and if I had to do it again I would never have included them even on a second go.

    I also try not to parrot stuff people can just get in Wiki.

    I do have a show planned of shot shells and the options presented by them. I won’t be talking about the 22LR in that one either. ;>)

    I don’t know how you want more information put into a show the went 10 minutes long in the first place.

  25. Carson from Canada

    Also, what good is it to know that ’06 in 30-06 means that it was adopted by the US military in 1906 when the SHTF? Jack, I thought you did a great job of putting across the information that makes the biggest difference and threshing out the chaff.

  26. Silver Wolf

    Jack,

    I just heard this show and it was great. I have a pretty decent physics background as well as lots of shooting over the last 25 years (Not to be confused with an expert – nor do I mountain bike nor am I a black belt nor am I a brain surgeon, golf pro, olympic archer, marathoner…:)

    Seriously, you did a great job explaining the ballistics concepts and I appreciate now being able to answer the question “why do they call it a 38?) Especially the distinction between the bore line and the line of sight and the “rising” bullet issues.

    I am going to have to go back and listen to the ballistic coefficient and sectional density parts again and take some notes. I picked up a 6.5 grendel a while back and now I’m pretty excited about getting it to the range.

    Anyway, great show (and I have listened to eavery show before that and never heard you discuss the topic in that depth).

    Thanks,
    Tim