Thursday, August 4, 2011

Applied Fun

The .22 LR .380 ACP and The Baking Powder Can
Millions enjoy the shooting sports. We run and gun, bullseye shoot, hunt, plink, reload, modify, design, and sometimes earn a living with guns. We have fun, we bond, but we are doing something that applies to darker circumstances. For example, when we run and gun we are preparing for a fight that someday might require us to defend ourselves, our family, or someone we have never met (where allowed by law, of course). That preparation also is focused on ending someone else's life immediately, or potentially by putting that person out of that fight - with deadly force. Our fun has an element of pain that we make into abstractions (e.g. the zombie-talk epidemic), or we avoid really thinking about it.

One fun area is ballistics. There are endless arguments and comparisons about downrange effectiveness. But how many people are going to actually shoot someone - or get shot. What percentage of the population has dropped something on their feet? 100%? I dare say.

A few weeks ago I reached into the fridge and a dinky little can of baking powder fell out and landed on my bare foot. It hurt a lot - figured I might have bruised a bone - and, not to be dramatic, but in the interest of full disclosure, I had trouble walking for a week. I didn't break out a pair of crutches and start calling for my wife to get my beer, but I noticed it every time I took a step.

I couldn't curl my toes all the way for a couple weeks, and the bones in my foot still hurt. I was amazed at how such a little thing falling such a short distance could cause so much distraction over a protracted period of time. So I did some calculations on line (Force, gravitational acceleration, etc.), and then I quadruple checked the calculations.

The can fell more than 5 feet (I used 5 feet to calculate), and I entered a generous half inch deceleration distance. When the can hit my foot it generated 239 ft-lbs of force. That bests most .380 ACP rounds!

Of course the force was spread out over a larger area compared to the maximum frontal area of an .380 ACP bullet, but maybe not a fully expanded hollowpoint!

Did I apply the fun I've had with ballistics? Yeah. Will I apply the fun I had dropping a baking powder can on my foot? Well, a .380 ACP doesn't fully expand until it has penetrated something, usually. So I won't be traded in my 9 mm ammo for a case of baking powder.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments, suggestions, and ratings.

Real Time Web Analytics