I have a question about the .50 bmg as used in special-purpose military sniper rifles. I read a work of fiction recently that repeatedly asserts that the .50 caliber "destroys people" "blows men apart", and so on. Is this realistic (at a few hundred meters)? I would have thought ball ammunition would put a .50 caliber hole straight through them without slowing down much or expanding much, the way a .458 caliber bullet does when shooting a human-sized animal. Am I wrong?
Trust me . . . a .50 bullet explodes a head at any range:
Garbage in, Garbage Out is a good way to understand the damage done by any non-exploding (cannon) projectile. Take the energy in foot-pounds striking the victim, subtract the energy of the projectile exiting the victem the result is a very accurate measure of the damage inflicted. A .50 BMG ball round with 10,000 ft lbs of energy exiting a torso with 8500 ft lbs of energy does no more damage than an old 50 cal muzzle loader.
"Destroys people" sounds pretty close, "blows men apart" could be a stretch, it will do considerable damage but stops short of actually cutting you in half like some claim. at any rate, 12,000+ FT/LBS of energy could ruin your day.
Hope this helps - S.L.
"Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair." - Winston Churchill