When you push bullets above 4,000 fps, strange things happen

During the 1980s and 1990s, Field & Stream was owned by a corporation based in Los Angeles. Its management, from my lowly vantage point, was comprised of dimwits, lickspittles, blunderers, Harvard MBAs, toadies, and no-hopers. One of the ideas this bunch had was to hand out Lucite plaques with the company logo on one side and the company motto on the other ("Bend over. Here it comes again") to all its employees. I believe this was done in lieu of bonuses.

Anyway, no one wanted these things but me. I thought they would make terrific targets, and when I let this be known, I shortly had more plaques than I could carry. And they did blow apart in a wonderful fashion. But when I shot them with a .220 Swift, a curious thing happened: The tiny, 4,000 fps bullets simply bored holes through the Lucite.

When you push bullets above 4,000 fps, strange things happen. I’ve seen paper targets sprayed with molten lead from a bullet’s core as it passed through. Apparently the heat and stress of the trip up a rifle barrel at that speed melted the lead cores. I’ve seen highly frangible .22 varmint bullets go through mild steel plate that .30/06 slugs couldn’t penetrate. Perhaps the bullets acted in the manner of a shaped charge and burned their way through.

And of course if you really want to make the prairie dogs fly, nothing beats 4,000 fps. But on Lucite blocks, it’s pretty disappointing.