In what has now become my favorite example of
redneck tomfoolery independent and measured testing, Eric from IraqVeteran8888 has put a cannon to ballistics gel testing. Why? Who cares!
The cannon in question uses a 37mm cast slug, coming in at 1.2 pounds. For those wanting to compare to the .223, it is 8400 grains (or about 152x as heavy as a M193 55 grain projectile). Propelled by black powder, the cannon puts out an astounding 45,000 ft/lbs of energy (only about 25x more powerful than the military 62-grain M855 loading). The cannon is nearly 4x as powerful as a .50 BMG round, which has “only” ~14,000 ft/lbs of energy.
The cannon uses a Minie ball design, with a rear skirt that obturates (expands) under the pressure of gunpowder detonation. Once expanded, the skirt engages with rifling which then imparts spin onto the quickly accelerating round, stabalizing it for long flight. Eric states the cannon is capable of firing over 1 mile.
When fired, the lead slug penetrates over 38″ of ballistics gel, plenty of wood, and a stack of dirt. The torso of gelatin is especially telling nearly imploding over the impact (though surprisingly, not breaking apart showing the robust nature of the ballistics gel).
Check out the video below and enjoy the “experiment”.