Q: Do you think that killing power can be measured by reading ballistic tables and comparing velocity and energy figures? And is kinetic energy a true indicator of cartridge performance?
Or does it leave something to be desired?
A: Velocity, beyond all doubt is an important factor in killing power and so, I believe, is the high rotational speed imparted by initial velocity and barrel twist which does not decrease during flight to the target. The two combined – high retained velocity and high rotational speed of the bullet – can result in greater downrange killing power – if it is combined with bullets of good ballistic shape and the proper construction. The pure energy of the projectile must be complemented by other factors in order to be effective, for energy alone does not kill. It must be effectively transmitted to the game at, and immediately following impact. Construction of high velocity bullets is extremely critical, for if the speed is too high at impact, they may not penetrate deeply enough. If the velocity is too low, they may pass through without expanding. Only when combined with properly constructed controlled-expansion bullets of high ballistic coefficient is high velocity the factor that many believe it to be. The fact remains, however, that bullet placement is always the most important single factor in true killing power, and that bullet construction commensurate with impact velocity and tissue destruction runs a close second.