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Discussion Starter #1
I read somewhere that 100 + years ago, many saw 3,000 FPS a barrier to be broken. If I am not mistaken, Savage's .250-3000 was the first commercially available cartridge to do this. Seems that I've seen charts where some have broken 4,000 FPS and read where someone took the .458 Winchester, necked it down to .224 but it was not really doable. I also read where the gasses from burning powder only expands at so many FPS, so that a bullet can never go faster than that no matter what.
So my question is basically in two parts 1) Has 4,000 FPS been obtained with any real accuracy? and 2) Which modern day cartridge holds the present speed record?
 

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The .220 Swift factory loads were 4110 fps in 1937 and still the fastest factory load. 5,000 is behind us, too.
Capacity equals velocity, that's no secret.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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A 110 grain Vmax from a 300RUM hits 3950. Like a 220 Swift times two. Twice the bullet, twice the powder but 5 times the splat. Leaves a crater where the prairie dog was.

Looking at modern data for the 220 Swift, like everything else it's not what it used to be.

I believe the Swift hit over 4100 fps with 40 grain bullets if I'm not mistaken.n

RJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The .458 Winchester necked down to .224 was from an article in an old Guns and Ammo magazine from the late 70's or early 80's. I don't remember what velocity they said they reached, but bullets were disintergrating before hitting the target and once that was fixed, I think they shot a barrel out in about 100 rounds. I think it was also in that article where they estimated the FPS of gas expansion when powder burns. Seems like they determined that 8,000 FPS was the maximum that could happen. That was in the early 80's. I don't know if a powder has been developed that can better the fastest velocities that we have today or not.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Had a Ruger M77 (old style) 22-250 AI. Loaded up some thin skinned Speer bullets an witnessed a long grey streak heading toward the target in the scope. Nary a scratch on the 100 yd paper target.
 

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There are very few commercial guns that reach or exceed 4000 fps.
At that velocity and above barrels wear very fast and the state of the art bullets are not strong enough (with a few exceptions) to handle impacts at those higher speeds.
In short it just isn't practical to go faster than about 3500 fps and much more practical below even the 3500 mark.
The above is my opinion based on my experience and my knowledge. Others may have different experiences and different knowledge and come to different opinions.
 

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Speed kills. Varmints, game and barrels. Everything is a compromise. Everything last longer if a cartridge is loaded 'sensibly'. That seldom involves the highest velocity of which it's capable.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I heard years ago that the military was experimenting with rail guns, which if I remember correctly would have virtually unlimited velocities, but the problem would be with the size of the rails and batteries that would be required to make that work. The idea being better capability to shoot down attacking aircraft, but I am sure that with guided rockets and such that projects like rail guns and other velocity enhancing devices may have been scrapped.
 

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I read about Navy rail guns in the mid '50s in Popular Science. They're still in development and have proven somewhat successful. Most are magnetic but projos are tested with high pressure gas guns.
Visit a WW-II Battle ship if you ever get a chance. To see the Fire Direction Control 'computers' and think of the math involved to shoot from a moving ship, at a moving ship on the horizon with shells weighing a ton each boggles the imagination.
The proximity fuse was the AA development that was said to have won the war. The history of that is amazing and there is a film clip of one working during a kamikaze attack off Okinawa.
"Mid range trajectory" is very important in direct fire weapons and high velocity and high BC is very advantageous. Check out the sabot rounds used in smooth bore tank guns.
 
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My first 22-250 was a rem 700 vtr. I was loading 40gr Nosler bt with cfe223. At the time I was all into speed and the faster I sent those 40’s the better the gun shot. 5 shots would make 1 ragged hole...at a chronoed 4102 FPS. The first 2 flashed duplicate on the screen. The rest were close. The barrel on the vtr was about 20” before the ports. We tried the same load in my friends 26” 22-250 and the chronograph showed 4400 FPS. They didn’t shoot well out of his gun. I ran about 400 through mine and realized the throat had grown .100”. I have learned a lot since then and now only push my 22-250’s to about 3700. I also found the cfe to be temp sensitive and the loads that were fine in the winter were too hot in the summer, but I killed a lot of pigs and coyotes with it. I shot a beaver one night at the edge of the water and chunks kept falling into the water for a few seconds! It was amazing. When that gun started shooting 1 1/2” groups at 100 I traded it in on my Uberti 1886 45-70.
 

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Speed was only important in hunting. For target accuracy is all that matters, and hyper velocity seldom if ever gives that.

The reason hunters like higher velocity was for a flatter trajectory; which was only important in long range shooting where range estimates were difficult. So with a fast cartridge if your range estimation was off by 50 yards the bullet drop error was less critical.

Today speed in hunting isn't that important..we have laser range finders for a hunter to know accurately whether a shot is 450 yards or 500 yards and then hold to the actual range.

True, high velocity gives more energy (vel squared) but today most cartridges have more energy that is needed for good kills on the game we hunt.
 

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The Shadow
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I heard years ago that the military was experimenting with rail guns, which if I remember correctly would have virtually unlimited velocities, but the problem would be with the size of the rails and batteries that would be required to make that work. The idea being better capability to shoot down attacking aircraft, but I am sure that with guided rockets and such that projects like rail guns and other velocity enhancing devices may have been scrapped.
Not years ago, currently testing and using them. They were all over the news 6-8 months ago because they got a power milestone and we're sticking one on a naval ship.
They use capacitors, not batteries. And given the amount of current dumping at firing, most definitely do not have unlimited velocity. Things melt with that kind of current

Cheers
 

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Benchrest shooters in the 40s and 50s thought that velocity was important to accuracy, many BR shooters of that era used the .22-250 in various versions and set records with them. Today we know better, although high velocity could have advantages in varmint hunting by reducing wind drift and recoil. My 6mm Remington breaks the 4000 fps barrier easily with 55-grain Noslers and has less drift than a standard .22-250 or Swift with 1/2 moa accuracy.

The Swift was introduced with its 48-grain bullet traveling 4110 fps. Most current ammunition is slower using heavier bullets, but Federal does offer a 40-grain Nosler at a published 4250 fps. The .204 Ruger reaches 4225 fps in a 32-grain factory load. So yes, 4000 fps is not a dream.


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Discussion Starter #15
Not years ago, currently testing and using them. They were all over the news 6-8 months ago because they got a power milestone and we're sticking one on a naval ship.
They use capacitors, not batteries. And given the amount of current dumping at firing, most definitely do not have unlimited velocity. Things melt with that kind of current
Oh yeah. Capacitors not batteries. I think that I remember hearing about that installation. I was thinking the other day of how much the firearms industry has changed along with the invention of smokeless powder and how much that changed the game from black powder days. I was wondering if technology has taken smokeless propellants as far as they can go, or if there are some other barriers that can be broken with smokeless of some sort or other. I guess the point is this thread is more about barriers being broken rather than just quest for more and more velocity.....
 

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One of my first rifles as a kid was a M722 that had been rechambered to 222 Rem Mag. The gun came with a Lyman 10x, 8lbs of 4198, several thousand primers and an ammo can full of Sisk 45 grain HPs with jackets made of 22LR cases. The headstamps and firing pin marks were visible on many of them. I had to drop the load below max to keep the bullets together. I'm sure the velocities couldn't have been more than about 3400 but the bullet made an odd gray streak in the scope.
The splatter factor was out of sight!

I mowed that guys's 3 acre yard for nearly four years!! Just before I went in the Army he told me we were even on that gun trade!
 
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Advancement in the speed at which a projectile can be delivered is an ongoing study with the military. The top speed at this point is the speed of light, with lasers and masers being in the forefront. There are other "particle beam" weapons but size constrictions keep them from being usable technologies. Lasers, even the highest power fiber optic lasers, take time to destroy a target. Particle beam weapons have an advantage in that area over the laser but are far less compact and require more power.
For those of us that are in need of a portable shoulder fired hunting arm the modern rifle is about as good as it gets for now.
 

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Just think, somewhere there's a guy thinking about necking down that laser and loading it with slower electrons in an effort to get more velocity. :rolleyes:
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Advancement in the speed at which a projectile can be delivered is an ongoing study with the military. The top speed at this point is the speed of light, with lasers and masers being in the forefront. There are other "particle beam" weapons but size constrictions keep them from being usable technologies. Lasers, even the highest power fiber optic lasers, take time to destroy a target. Particle beam weapons have an advantage in that area over the laser but are far less compact and require more power.
For those of us that are in need of a portable shoulder fired hunting arm the modern rifle is about as good as it gets for now.
All of that seems such a long way from the old black powder days, but when you think about it, it's only been about 120 years away. 120 years in technology years is kind of like 1,000 years though. It would be cool if we could see into the future and see what kinds of hand held weapons would be possible even 100 years from now.
 

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JBelk,
Actually that is a good analogy to the fiber optic lasers. Take a bunch of 15 watt diode lasers and fire each into a special fiber optic cable that feeds into a "lasing" fiber optic cable. the feed lasers cause the cable to lase which amplifies the output over the input power of the laser diodes. Keeping the cable cool is easier than cooling crystals or tubes and it is "flexible" so it is easier to aim and hold a moving target in reference. Laser diodes are still not even 90% efficient and there are other factors but the fiber optic laser is the most efficient design available for now.
 
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