by David G. Hanger
September 23, 2004
The M14 rifle, M60 machine gun, and the AK47 use 7.62mm ammunition. NATO 7.62 rounds can be fired in all three weapons, Eastern bloc (former) 7.62 ammunition can only be fired by the AK47. The muzzle velocity of the NATO 7.62 round is 2800' per second which with the weight of the bullet at ranges out to 50m or more will simply pulverize any watermelon or head at which it is fired. At longer ranges the wound pattern is generally through and through, and fewer metal shards are left in the wound track. It is a bullet designed to kill human beings at extended ranges of 450 to 1100 meters. It is not a weapon in any of the above instances designed for the purpose of hunting animals. The only humane attribute of the bullet is it is designed so that if the wound created is non-lethal, it is also more frequently easier to treat and mend (which is different from recovery).
The M16, the SAW, the mini-14, and several other rip-offs fire the 5.56mm cartridge or a civilian variant. The military 5.56mm round has a muzzle velocity in excess of 3700' per second and generally both tumbles and splinters on contact. Maximum effective range is only 200 meters, and beyond 300 meters the round is inaccurate to the point of virtual uselessness. It may make a small hole, but the internal trauma is horrendous. An abdominal penetration by a 5.56mm round is generally fatal to the victim; the disintegration of the round as it penetrates results in hundreds of scattering shards. Yummy. It is a bullet designed to kill human beings at a relatively short range. Due both to its short range and the design of the bullet the use of any of these weapons for hunting animals is less than dubious.
Your hand-held 'Chuck Norris' variants, Uzis, et. al, incline to the use of 9mm ammunition with some firing 7mm or 8mm rounds. These are all pistol rounds with limited range. None of these weapons has any practicality as a hunting weapon either as primary or back-up. These are all weapons that have no other purpose except to kill people at very close range. Beyond 15 meters or so all of these weapons will leave a small hole in Glen's watermelon, lots of small holes in point of fact.
I must admit, however, that there are some pretty tough customers out there, and a man has got to be ready. The hardware that Bambi, Blackie, Grizz, and Moose bring to the fray clearly requires a maximum effort by the fruitcakes out in the woods. Hell, Bambi alone requires at least a 20-round magazine, don't you think; a little suppressing fire just so they don't shoot back, right? Humpin' a .50cal into the woods to take on Grizz might slow you down a bit too much, but an M60 would make a great equalizer. Twin Uzis in shoulder holsters and you can pretend you're 'Chuckie.'
The consequential difference between semi-automatic and automatic fire is a marginal consideration at best. In semi-automatic mode a competent user can easily expend three to four rounds a second or 180 to 240 rounds a minute, as compared with automatic mode of 550 to 750 rounds a minute. In each instance the actual rate of fire is limited by the size of the magazine in the weapon. The difference in rate of fire as an issue is further marginalized by the fact that semi-automatic fire tends to be more accurate than automatic fire, and I can assure you that whether rounds are coming at you at the rate of 200 rounds a minute or 500 rounds a minute, it will get your complete attention if you are still breathing. There is only one reason to have a large magazine for a weapon, and that is to kill lots of people. I suppose you could find a bunch of seals or walruses sunning themselves on the rocks somewhere and placidly cut them to pieces with semi-automatic fire, but the last time I looked they are protected. The only other herd animals readily available are caribou up north and some poor rancher's cattle herd, so there don't seem to be too many targets for this massive firepower you apparently need for your hunting or your sense of manliness.
There are indeed lots of gun nuts in Ketchikan, Glen; plenty of folks in fact who know how to mill that one little piece necessary to convert a semi-automatic into an automatic weapon. I am skeptical, however, that there are anywhere near enough extremist gun nuts like yourself to give you a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected to the Assembly.
Dan Rather has been an overrated loose cannon since the Vietnam War, and had you but limited your comments to his latest snafu, you would have had something of an attentive audience locally; instead you in effect provided us all with a disclaimer. You are not a serious candidate. You are not even in the ball park. That simplifies things, so thanks for the information.
David G. Hanger
Footnote: The James F. Dunnigan website has numerous articles available on the subject of weapons and ammunition, their design, purpose, and effect. Not for the squeamish, but I suppose CSI has reduced the number of those folks.
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