PSH over AKs

AK-47-type guns turn up more often in U.S. at MSNBC.

Beyond the typical sob stories, one about a 5-year-old’s birthday party being shot up by some gangstas with AK clones, and another about a cop killed on duty, there are a couple of choice quotes:

The numbers corroborate what police chiefs around the country have been saying: AKs and other so-called assault weapons are terrorizing their communities and endangering their officers.

Right, because guns are now terrorists.

Bullets fired by AK-47s travel at a higher velocity than those from some other weapons, and often tumble, rotate, pancake or shatter, doing grievous damage to the body. Even then, they often still have enough energy to pass clear through the body.

Ok, now that’s just plain silly, although the reporter has an out with the “some other weapons” language. Let’s look at the numbers here. A typical 7.62x39mm cartridge will propel a 123gr bullet at 2365fps. (I’m not sure what barrel length was used to get these numbers, but most AK’s have 16-inch barrels, so it’s a fair bet that most AK’s would fire 7.62×39 slower than this.) A .243 caliber hunting rifle will propel at 100gr bullet at 2960fps. The .30-06 a 150gr bullet at 2910fps. In fact, if you look at the table at Chuck Hawks’ site, you will find that only a few rifles fire cartridges as slow as the 7.62×39. Namely, the .30 Carbine comes in at 1900fps, the .357 Magnum (really a pistol cartridge) at 1550fps, the .35 Rem at 2080fps, the .45-70 at 1810fps, plus a few others too esoteric to mention. (BTW what’s with the guys who call the 5.56x45mm the “Poodle Shooter” but who revere the .30 Carbine, a handgun round if there ever was one?) The 7.62x39mm is actually very similar in performance to another 7.62mm caliber cartridge, the venerable .30-30, perhaps the most common deer-hunting cartridge in this country (it definitely has the lead in terms of the numbers of guns sold, with the Winchester 1894 and Marlin 336 family holding the one and two spots, although not all of those guns were necessarily sold in .30-30, it is a good bet that a very solid majority of them were). The .30-30 fires a 150gr bullet at 2365fps.

So, truth be told, the 7.62x39mm ammo used in most AK-type weapons (at least they got that part of the article right instead of calling them all AK-47’s) is actually slower than most rifle rounds. Yes, almost all rifle rounds are faster than handgun rounds. That’s the whole point of that long-barrel, big-strong-action, too-heavy-to-carry-in-your-hand idea. You know, the very defining characteristics of a rifle. (And let me also point out that I really don’t have a problem with police having AR-15’s or whatever kind of rifle they feel like they should have. IMO the police should be allowed to have any civilian-legal weapon that they want. Whether that’s an AR-15, a Barrett .50 cal or whatever in between. I am dead-set against making special exceptions for full-auto guns, SBR’s, etc. for law enforcement. They should have to follow the law like the rest of us, even if the law is retarded and should be repealed or struck down in court.)

Now let’s look at the rest of the statement. Pancake, shatter, tumble, oh my! And on top of that, they’re powerful enough to pass right through! It’s obvious that the reporter doesn’t know much about guns at all. Pretty much all bullets are designed to do maximum damage to whatever soft tissue they hit (except for military bullets which are limited to FMJ because of various international treaties). The jury is still out on the science of all this, as you can tell by the never-ending debates among gun nuts about stopping power. It is pretty well established, however, that a bullet that will just “pass right through somebody” is actually the least lethal kind of bullet and usually denotes a failure on the part of the designer of the ammunition, or a failure to choose the right kind of ammo by the shooter. The exact same types of bullets can be used in practically any hunting cartridge.

Normal ammo clips hold 30 rounds, but higher-capacity ones are also available.

Sweet! A MSM outlet saying that normal capacity magazines (ahem) hold 30 rounds! Maybe we’re finally making some headway!

Also, that is a pretty badass stock photo of a guy firing his AK.  The bolt is fully back and the empty cartridge (I almost said brass) has just cleared the ejection port.  You can also see the smoke hanging around the muzzle.  The only way it’d be cooler is if it had caught the muzzle blast 🙂

In related news, I have ordered a couple of AK’s since I posted my gun list. They are on their way to my local FFL at this moment. I will refrain from discussing them immediately, but rest assured, you’ll get photos and a writeup at some point 🙂

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4 Comments on “PSH over AKs”

  1. Sailorcurt Says:

    BTW what’s with the guys who call the 5.56×45mm the “Poodle Shooter” but who revere the .30 Carbine, a handgun round if there ever was one?

    I’ll bite.

    The .30 Carbine was designed and intended as a more powerful alternative to handguns. It was designed for REMFS and Officers to give them more firepower than a sidearm. It’s purpose was never to replace the battle rifle.

    And yes, for all intents and purposes, it is a pistol caliber carbine.

    The “poodle shooter” replaced the battle rifle. Those who deride it for it’s diminutive round do so in the context of its role as the primary infantry weapon. When the 5.56×45 was introduced, it was intentionally a (quite large) step down in firepower from other loadings, in direct contrast to the .30 carbine.

    I think my Eastwing 24 oz framing hammer is the cat’s meow; but as good as it is for its intended purpose, I’d never recommend it as a suitable replacement for a screwdriver.

    Every tool has it’s appropriate and proper use. The .30 carbine is extremely well suited to the purpose for which it was designed. I would submit that the M4 variant of the M16/AR-15 is an outstanding carbine and 5.56×45 completely blows the .30 carbine out of the water as a carbine cartridge…but as a battle rifle loading, which was its original purpose: IMHO, it leaves a lot to be desired.

    By the way, excellent post. I know it seems I got lost in the weeds, but I really just don’t have much to add about your main point. You covered it thoroughly and well. Good stuff.

  2. BobG Says:

    The 7.62×39mm round is not much more than a weak 30.30 round, and the 30.30 is not what I would call a high powered cartridge.

  3. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Indeed great post. The non-gunnies I meet all the time are suprised at how weak 7.62X39 and 5.56X45 are. Seems that most anti-gunners are scared of certain guns, but not others. So they don’t have any issue with Gran’pa’s deer gun (in .30-06, or god forbid up here in Moose Country .300 Win Mag) or Uncle Bubba’s 12 guage. It then becomes a logical step that “Assault Weapons” must be more powerful. Couple that with practical ballistic data with no frame of reference (ie rounds going through a ballistic vest, or rounds going through cars. FYI I sponsored a car shoot once, and the wussy Walther PPK in .380 Auto easily punched holes right through car doors. Serious handgun cartridges like .357 Magnum will go right through the car. Cars suck at stopping bullets.)

    All that crap spawns stories like that, which breed more crap, spawning more stories….

  4. anon Says:

    “AK-47-type guns turn up more often in U.S. ”

    Well, of course they do! Now that we know the libtards want to ban them, and have a decent shot at the Oval Office, everybody and their brother is buying two (or more) AK’s while they still can. The anti’s are their own worst enemy. The 10 year ban did more for gun sales than amount of advertising ever could.

    The law of unintended consequences can be beautiful!

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