Weekly DTIC: The Hall Report

    Continuing my series on articles found at the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), today we will be taking a look at another landmark document in modern firearms history, An Effectiveness Study of The Infantry Rifle, by Donald L. Hall, and more commonly known as the Hall report. The significance of this work is difficult to overstate, as it was one of the first comprehensive examinations of lightweight, high velocity ammunition. It’s purpose is conveyed in the introduction:

    In accordance with the request of Office, Chief of Ordnance in
    their letter /00 474/18 (s) dated 28 Nov 50, a study has been made of
    the effectiveness of an infantry rifle. This report was prepared without
    regard to present established military characteristics of the Army
    Field Forces, since the purpose of research is to provide basic data
    which may assist Army Field Forces in developing future reqitirements.
    The status of critical raw materials was not considered. The conclusions
    contained herein are tentative and are subject to experimental
    In evaluating such a weapon, it is necessary to consider its probability
    of hitting when in the hands of a combat soldier, its ability to
    wound, and the weight of rifle and ammunition. These characteristics
    are somewhat dependent on each other. The probability of hitting of a
    rifle is primarily dependent on the range and muzzle velocity, or more
    explicitly on the flatness of the trajectory. The wounding power is a
    function of mass, striking velocity, and bullet shape. Both the hit
    probability and the wounding ability could be improved by increasing
    the muzzle energy, but this would increase the weight of both the gun
    and the ammunition thus decreasing the number of rounds that the soldier
    could carry.
    In this study a family of weapons was considered. The caliber was
    varied from .30 to .21 and the weight of the charge was taken to be 1.0,
    0.8, and 0.6 times the charge (53 grains) normally used in the present
    standard Ball M-2 Cal. .30 ammunition.

    Not all the premises of the Hall report proved true. For example, it was later determined that the probability of a hit of the rifle-shooter system was much more overwhelmingly influenced by the shooter, and not as much by the capabilities of his weapon as was previously thought. However, the Hall report represents the first baby steps of the small caliber high velocity ammunition concept towards its eventual adoption.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]