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Stopping a charge

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by 3000fps, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. I've been watching some Dangerous Game Hunting videos on YouTube this morning, and I was really intrigued to say the least. Some of these guys go out hunting, and intentionally get the hippo's to charge them and then open fire with the hippo hitting inches from their feet. I would post a link but don't know if it's appropriate for GT.

    This got me to thinking, these guys have tremendous faith in their shot placement and the ability of their firearm's powerful cartridge. It has come to my understanding these men are using the .500 Nitro Express cartridge, pushing a 570grn bullet at 2,150fps for a total of 5,850 ft.lbs of energy.

    The average hippopotamus weighs anywhere between 2-6,000 pounds. Let's for all intents purposes choose the middle of the spectrum, 3,000 pounds.

    These men are using rifles that dissipate enough energy that is near close to double the weight of the animal, 5,850ftlbe vs. 3,000lb animal. They fire at near point blank range with complete confidence in the rifle's ability to stop the charge.

    This got me to thinking, if you were backed into a hypothetical corner with NO avenue of escape, and a large person say 6'1 275 pounds were 21 feet away charging you with an 8" chef's knife, would you be confident in dropping your attacker with the current weapon you EDC now?

    I have faith in the 9mm's ability to put multiple rounds on target, but will it actually STOP someone who is charging you in a life or death situation? I don't see dangerous game hunters using the bullet on the lower end of the spectrum to shoot highly dangerous advancing game, why would it be any different for self-defense?

    This is more of a theoretical type question, so please don't get into X vs X caliber. I want to know what you would want (realistically) to stop a charging man 6'1 275 pounds with you up against a wall and him wielding a 8" chef's knife?

    2x energy in weight of attacker = 550lb

    As a point of reference, from Speer's website-

    (heavy for caliber)

    9mm - 147grn - 317ftlbe
    40 S&W - 180grn - 420ftlbe
    45 ACP - 230grn - 404ftlbe
  2. Jameson4all


    May 31, 2011
    Well given your scenario of a charging bg with a large knife, I would say most calibers, given your shot placement is good would do the job. I am a big fan of 357 magnum, 125 grain SJHP. 357 sig and 45 acp are also on my favorite list.

  3. Travclem

    Travclem Badass Member Lifetime Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    Step out of the line of the charge, it's hard to change direction in a full charge. Shoot on the move.
  4. Syclone538


    Jan 8, 2006
    .45 Super

    It depends on the distance, but really, shooting someone center mass, with .380 or better, is most likely going to stop them from advancing, even if they are still capable of it. Unless you get the shot off when they are six inches away, then you are still most likely screwed no matter what the caliber.
  5. English


    Dec 24, 2005
    As you see, your question denies the true faith. I believe there is a lot in your hypothesis and you need upwards of 500ftlb and upwards of 600 is better.

  6. acaligunner


    Aug 20, 2011
    Humans ( maybe even animals ) can all react differently when
    Hit by gunshots. A person to the left of you may go down when
    Hit by a 22 short, while the person to the Right of you may need
    A 308/12 G rifle.

    Then again the biggest baddest BG may stop in his tracks when
    He sees a handgun, heck we can also say a 90 lb tweeker may
    Attack you and take multiple hits from a larger caliber handgun
    Before killing you.

    There are too many variables involved. I say carry the largest
    SD caliber/firearm you can, train, and have a good lawyer. That is
    The best you can do.
  7. Climbhard


    Jun 10, 2010
    Chest, chest, head. Call LE and attorney.
  8. Putnutius

    Putnutius Putnutius

    Feb 20, 2012
    The 21 foot rule. Just because some one gets shot, doesn't mean they are going down. A 275 lb. man running at you with a knife from 21 ft. away, has such momentum that even though you put rounds into him, the body isn't going to just stop. The best move would be to shoot an side step to avoid the body's momentum coming at you. Excellent post by the way!

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  9. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

    Apr 7, 2011
    Arlington, VA.
    I think most responders are failing to understand the question 3000FPS is putting forth. He thinks those animals in the videos are actually having their forward momentum stopped by the power of the bullet hitting them. They're actually stopping becuse they're dead or massively injured, not because of the ft. lbs. of energy from the rifle.

    Basic physics will tell you that there is no such thing as "stoppping power", especially with handguns. An adult male human's forward momentum will not be counter-acted no matter how many times you hit him with your chosen pistol, that's not how pistols work. People stop because getting shot hurts, and becuse the body gets damaged in the process....
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  10. 1gewehr


    Mar 22, 2006
    Mid TN
    Shot placement. The reason they are using such powerful rifles on hippos and buffalo is because it takes a lot of energy to reach through the hide, meat, and bone to a vital spot.

    The energy imparted by the bullet is less than what the animal would feel by bumping into another one of it's own kind. Do the math.

    Shot placement is what counts.


    Aug 22, 2009
    Not getting into caliber war b.s. but their are a few differences between animals and humans. First off heavy for weight bullets. Back before modern bullets and powders were developed about the only way to be sure to get through the the thick hide of elephants, hippo's, and such was a very large, heavy bullet. Momentum carried the bullet through heavy bone, skin, and muscle. And being large in diameter already besides heavy it made a big, deep hole.
    It still works by the way. .45-70 is still a good caliber for most large North American game. And the old "elephant gun" calibers surely can still do their job. But so can the modern mid-bores of higher velocity and solid bullet construction. And not downing the guys that hunt danegrous game. It takes guts. But they usually have at least one other fellow backing them up with another rifle. And it makes sense because things sometimes do go wrong.
    O.K. so on to pistol calibers. Mr. Walker and his Texas Rangers loved the Colt revolvers. The only thing they wanted was something bigger than .36 caliber. The .44 came along too late for Mr. Walker since I read he was killed before the bigger revolvers arrived. But the same idea. Slower projectiles. So bigger bullets are used. But that can even be argued.
    Wild Bill Hickock did fine work with his brace of .36 Navy revolvers. Killed guys armed with bigger guns and bullets. Did so by staying calm (not easy to do in a gunfight) and placing his shots well. And having at least two guns. In other words not trusting one, or five shots to solve the situation. Wyatt Earp was known for carrying large bore weapons. He also stashed 10 gage shotguns all over town's he worked in. Usually had his brothers with him and Doc Holliday (lots of guns and bullets) when he could. Modern LEO's whenever they can have back-up. Smart, old tradition.
    Jim Cirillo carried as many as three revolvers on him. Usually had either shotgun's or M1 carbines to back them up if they could. So if you look at either early or modern history gunfighters did not trust their pistols to stop a person reliably. They usually used them because the situation would allow nothing else at the time. Whatever caliber old or new they seldom carried only one pistol. And if they could had friends with pistols. Again depending on the situation.
    Since each situation is unique in a gunfight it's hard to say what will happen. Much if not most of what happens is out of your control. As far as heavy vs. light bullets it comes down to design more than weight. Rounds are made in almost every caliber in all weights that meet the F.B.I. criteria for performance. So select a good bullet for your weapon of choice. 147gr. 9mm for instance 20 years ago seldom opened up. They do a good job now in the better bullets.
    Make sure the bullets are reliable in your gun. The first thing a weapon must do is fire everytime. Anything else is secondary. Get good with your chosen weapon. Get good training and practice lots. Not just target shooting but shooting from every position you can and force on force training if you can get it. Don't just target shoot. Learn to fight with or without a gun. Not every solution is a gun solution. And I would carry a BUG.
    As pointed out most of the great gunfighters old and new carry multiple firearms. Reason. Things go badly wrong in gunfights. People often don't expire from even multiple gunshots quickly. Whatever the caliber. In fact th statistics are 85% of people shot with a handgun (any handgun) survive. Mostly because of modern medicine and pistols suck at stopping people. Especially with drugs, booze, motivated and/or crazy. Each person has to decide the right caliber gun combination for themselves.
    The important thing is to be able to make good, multple hits on a target with a bullet that will go deep enough to hit vitals and expand. After many years to me it comes down to a quality 9mm with good modern JHP's. Chances are you can't reload in a worst case situation so I want lots of bullets on board. And it's easy to miss in a dynamic situation. Not just pray and spray either. Moving, aggressive targets are hard to hit under th best situation. That's why most gunfighters carrid more than one gun. You simply don't have time to reload. And Mr. Cirillo before his death when he had a choice carried a G30 backed by a G27 instead of 3 revolvers. Again lots of bullets.
    So do I trust my gun to stop someone dead in their tracks? No. Do I trust with training and practice, good load selection, it gives me a fighting chance? Yes. With a handgun that's as good as it gets. Best bet is as much as you can avoid situations and places where bad things are likely to happen. Stay aware. A wise, old police officers once said "if you stay away from where booze and drugs flow you cut your chances of getting into a gunfight by about 80%". He has much more experience than me. But I do remember most of the trouble I ran into when I was younger I was somewhere I shouldn't have been. And most of the pople I saw shot it was not a "gunfight". They were usually in a crowd. Someone came up basically with no one paying attention. Got close, raised a gun, shot them in the chest, neck or head. They fell, usually died. And for the most part in the confusion the bad guy got away. For awhile anyways. It was usually someone they knew that had some sort of vedetta against them. One guy was just crazy. Friend was just in the wrong plac at the wrong time. Hell I had one guy confront me because I looked like somone he was after. Talked him out of it. Friends sometimes think I'm a bit paranoid. I just think I'm as prepared as I can be based on my life experience. Sorry to be so long winded but your question doesn't have an easy answer.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  12. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    But what about in the movies where the BG is blown straight backwards 12 feet? That said, I have shot deer with a handgun and knocked them right off their feet. They weigh about the same as a BG.
  13. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL

    I am far from a physics expert but I think there might be two very distinctly different measurements here. One appears to be weight multiplied by speed or perhaps velocity while the other is just weight. I wonder if one multiplies the weight of the charging animal by the speed of its charge, if that maybe gets us closer to comparing the energy of the bullet to the energy of the charging animal.

    I want a Holland and Holland .470NE as much as the next guy especially during chupacabra mating season. I still expect though to stop a charging chupacabra that I need to break a pelvic bone, spine or cloaca.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  14. It the person was charging on all fours and I could put a bullet through the top of his head, the COM, and out the other end, I would trust my handgun.
  15. crazymoose

    crazymoose Nonentity

    Feb 9, 2005
    That's not how energy measurements work. Any round powerful enough to physically stop a hippo would kill the shooter. The hippo stops because they have short, stubby legs, are ungainly on land, and drop when wounded badly enough.

    Similarly, anything powerful enough to physically stop a man is going to be impractical to carry. Shoot the important parts with a decent caliber. That's really all there is to it.
  16. AustinTx


    Aug 16, 2006
    Thanks for making me use the SEARCH function.
  17. Tony Rumore

    Tony Rumore

    Nov 2, 2000
    OK, USA
    The DG hunter in the video KNOWS there is something coming to kill him, right now. If you knew there was someone coming to kill you, right now, you would have a pretty good size gun yourself, no?

    I have a Ruger #1 in 450 Nitro Express, pushing a 500 grain bullet at 2500fps, producing nearly 7,000 foot pounds of energy from a 7.5 pound rifle. That thing sorts the men from the boys, I'm telling you.

    Now is when the dorks come in to tell me the 450 NE won't do 2500fps. won't from a double rifle, but it will from a #1.
  18. AustinTx


    Aug 16, 2006
    WHY, pray tell?
  19. Tony Rumore

    Tony Rumore

    Nov 2, 2000
    OK, USA
    Why what?

    Why do I need that? Well, I don't. Just like you don't need indoor plumbing either.


    P.S. You might want to change your stage name too. Austin is the #1 liberal city in Texas. I wouldn't be proud of that.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  20. That was an excellent post, thank you! To M&P15, I'm aware that there is no such thing as stopping power. The amount of energy carried by a bullet, compared to bodyweight is what I was talking about. I realize if you take a 3,000 pound animal and have it run at 25mph, the amount of energy it carries is exponentially greater than it's static physical weight.

    I'm hoping this doesn't violate GT's policies as it is a hunting video and not animal abuse etc.