Weekly DTIC: The Ultimate Caliber – Myth or Reality?

    This weeks’ DTIC document looks to frame a historical and technical context for the ongoing debate on general purpose infantry cartridges. A PowerPoint presentation by Shawn Spickert-Fulton of RDECOM, it provides a pretty solid framework for understanding rifle ballistics and the part cartridge design plays in it. While without the accompanying narration it seems a bit bare, the concepts outlined in the presentation do I think create a good starting point for the modern military small arms ammunition enthusiast to tackle some of the more advanced literature also available on DTIC.

    The presentation covers:

    – The design space for small arms projectiles across calibers from 4mm to 15mm.
    – The design space for small arms cases, projectiles, and propellant charges as a unit.
    – Why form factor matters.
    – Projectile energy retention at range.
    – Why velocity matters for point blank range.
    – Barrier penetration and terminal effect.

    As mentioned, this document is something of a teaser, as without Mr. Spickert-Fulton’s narration, the discussion of each subject lacks for depth. However, for the beginner, I think the document helps suggest what questions they should be asking, reducing “unknown unknowns” perhaps to “known unknowns”.

    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]


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