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Bullet Velocity Evolution: The Need for Speed

The quest for bullet velocity traces its roots to the early days of smokeless powder.

Bullet Velocity Evolution: The Need for Speed

(Photo courtesy of RifleShooter Magazine)

During the 600 or so years of the common use of blackpowder as a propellant in firearms, velocity rarely came close to reaching 2,000 fps. In the United States velocity peaked during the late 1800s with the introduction of metallic cartridges of American design such as the .45-125 Sharps and .50-140 Win., both intended for single-shot rifles. Maximum bullet speed was still only about 1,500 fps.

The only ways hunters had to increase killing power on bison and other large game was to increase bullet diameter and weight, and in the case of the Winchester cartridge, it was 700 grains. Moving to smaller targets, the maximum velocity of America’s favorite deer cartridge, the .44-40...

Read The Full Story On RifleShooter

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