Monday, May 25, 2015

Bolo Magic

The search for the magic bullet continues. 

new magic bullett
The latest entry for Magic Bullet Award

 It is our nature to search for a cure that can be bottled, packaged or shrink-wrapped and purchased.  Smarts, skill, grace under pressure, surely we can buy a product to replace these core skill, can’t we?

If there is one message I came away from competitive bulls-eye shooting with, it is every competitor is a sucker for bottled advantage.  Don’t take my word for it; check out most of the gun rag articles and advertisements.

Some designer looked at handgun ammunition and boiled down the stopping power problem to insufficient bloodletting.  And he is, in my opinion, correct.  There are many variable to stopping power, but nobody doubts that if we could drop the VCA’s blood volume by 30% almost instantaneously, the fight would be over.

Sailing navies had the same problem and they came up with a solution.  It might not be a stretch to metaphorically link the wooden ships sails with human blood circulation.  

Sea combat with sailing ships boils down to wind and your ability to use the wind.  Opposing ships would sail towards each other in one manner or another to bring their guns into range.  If you could rob your opponent of the ability to move, he became a stationary target you could simply hammer away at.  The easiest way was to destroy the sail and rigging. 

A single canon ball might hit and destroy a mast. But more likely it would punch a hole in the canvas.  Some naval designer came up with the idea of chain shot.  Simply put, it was two halves of a cannon ball joined by 6 feet of chain.  Fired from cannons this would cut rope rigging, shred sails and have a much better chance of shattering the mast.  The downside is the fired shot was relatively inaccurate and had to be used at close range.  I also suspect the penetration power against the thick wooden hulls of warships was significantly reduced by the separating mass of the cannon ball.

Multi Impact Bullet (MIB) Company has come up with a high tech version of this round.  This innovated design was brought to my attention by my good friend and fellow cartridge collector, Marty.

magic bullet
Note the partial separation and independent  top of bullet

top of magic bullet
top view

The round, called Multiple Impact Bullet, is a four component projectile.  There is a center portion and three equal weight fragments joined bolo style by Kevlar string.  The rotation imparted by the gun’s barrel cause the projectile to open up bolo style.  The stated purpose for this is poor shooting.  Even if you are 4 inches off center of mass, the theory goes, one of the bullet bolos will hit somewhere near the center of mass.

We just had to try it out.

Multiple impact bullet on paper
Marty cracks one out, note the happy brass in midair.  (It's happy cause it's doing its thing)

Marty set up a paper target on a cardboard backing board and shot it at two distances.  He used the zero on the target as the point of aim and he marked each impact.

Here's the target.  Marty got two center of mass hits, which conventional, and often wrong, wisdom indicates should have ended the conflict. 

Mary marks the magic bullet impacts
This target was fired at 9 and 12 feet.  Note the two impacts at aiming point at "0"
 In this case the reduced mass of the center of the projectile may not have had enough oomph to penetrate deeply into the body.

If you were expecting the stronger-than-steel Kevlar to open-up the target like a wire cheese cutter through a wedge of Swiss cheese you’d be wrong.  

The red box shows the end of the Kevlar string which was attached to one of the bullet bolo ends

The Kevlar cut the paper, but not the cardboard.  The bullet bolo pieces did penetrate the cardboard but we don’t know what that would have meant to a person.  So I went to their website.

It’s a slick site.  Nice cartoons of how it works and of guns firing cartoon bullets.  There are several videos of real people, but they’re fluff videos.  Nowhere did I find actual numbers about penetration into ballistic gelatin.  

I’m a performance-based prejudiced shooter.  Shooting clay, wet phone books and gelatin tissue stimulant is, in my mind almost worthless.  Give me coroners/doctors reports detailing internal damage and what the person did after they were shot.  Yeah, I know, it’s ghoulish, but it is what it is.

As I understand the website the MIB has problems with accuracy, which they discount with the standard disclaimer most self-defense shootings happen within X number of feet.  (Pick your own X depending on your belief system.)  This mirrors the problem with chain shot, reduced accuracy. 

Would I collect this round cartridge?  Hell yes, this is an innovative and quite amazing round.  Would I carry it?  Not even if I knew I going to be attacked by paper targets.

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