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Bullets vs Breastplate

Discussion in 'Research' started by SeverinR, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Yes, I know that those scenes of people flying after getting shot are just movie stuff.

    I have watched almost every episode of Mythbusters too, it's one of my favorite shows. In one episode they were trying to determine whether it was possible to disarm a person by shooting at the gun in his/her hand, and then Jaime calculated that a bullet's kinetic energy is similar to that of a good blow from a baseball bat.

    The bullet's impact against armor or a bulletproof vest would still hurt, I disagree that it would be like getting clapped. I agree that the impact would hurt much less if the bullet was deflected, but still I would not volunteer to try it out.

    Maybe a medieval-like steel armor would need to be very thick and heavy in order to stop bullets, I am not sure. After all, medieval armor could be pierced by bodkin-style arrows shot from a short distance.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    You guys are talking about MythBusters!

    I love how they use guns, and teach their viewers that, handled with respect and caution, guns are fun and exciting tools. Too many people out there have the idea that guns are bad, all the time, no exceptions. Guns are usually only dangerous in the hands of people who are dangerous, inexperienced, or disturbed.

    On to the main point...bodkins are made for optimum penetration, and they do that by punching through the steel plate with a sharp tip.

    Hollow-point bullets that are often used in .22s are designed to kill mostly by impact, and so they spread out as they hit the target, the nose deforming into a flat, flower-like shape. I'd expect a typical copper hollow-point .22 round to simply deflect off a steel breastplate. Plate armor was designed to spread out blunt impact across a large area, absorbing the force. The steel might dent, but in the case of an impact blow like that of a fully expanded bullet, it probably will retain its integrity.
     
  3. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    I would really like to believe that Medieval armor would be able to resist gunfire because I love everything about the Medieval world and achievements, and your argument against hollow-point .22 bullets is great, Tom... but anyway, I don't think that the plate armor would resist a good and direct hit.

    My personal experience is related to airguns only, I am far from being an expert in firearms.

    However, I have seen what air rifle pellets can do even at moderate muzzle speeds and I know that even the smallest bullets are far more dangerous. I also have noticed the difference between hollow point pellets and the pointed ones:

    Hollow points deliver a severe impact force, and eventually they tear the steel cans to shreds. The pointed pellets cause clean and sharp piercings, but in the end the target is destroyed one way or another after a few hits. My theory is that if we upgrade this scenario to represent bullets and plate armor instead, the results would be pretty much the same.

    I wish somebody would carry out this experiment, just to see what really happens...
     
  4. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Time to email the MythBusters team.
     
    FarmerBrown likes this.
  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    On a side note, did you guys know they're doing a revamp of the show, and Tori, Kari, and Grant, got the boot? They're going back to basics with only Jamie and Adam as the hosts. Booo-erns... For me the show got infinitely better when the three Build Team members became regulars. Also, the science and stuff is great, but Kari just made things just that much better. :D
     
    psychotick likes this.
  6. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Thanks, that's really sad to hear. And I agree with Tom. Maybe it's time to email them and find out just what sort of steel / titanium / armour / etc would resist a bullet. My thought is that some sort of alloy should do it at not too much weight.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  7. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I know. It sucks. I loved the Build Team, especially Tory. His jokes and antics made the show so fun. Kari was great, and I enjoyed seeing her working alongside two men and being just as knowledgeable and obsessed with science as they were. It's not every day you get a woman in media like her.

    So, as much as I like Adam and Jamie, I'd have to say that the choice to drop the Build Team really made me lose a lot of my interest in the show.
     
    Jan Conradie likes this.
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I'll also miss things like this from Tori. I still laugh my arse off every time I see it.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
    Tom likes this.
  9. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Hi
    Can't believe my google search sent me HERE as the top source for my question. How can it be that it has not been asked more intensively?
    What's more is that I happen to be writing a mythical fantasy.
    Here is the scenario: A time-traveller went to the 910 AD to change history by messing up a certain key battle, and afterwards ends up in a shield wall on top of a bit of a slope with 5 real warriors facing a charge by 18 armed Danes in 9/10th century mail. This callous time-traveller (call him TT) is armed with a .38 Special six-shooter revolver and lots of bullets, mostly lead-tipped (not hollow) fortified copper-sheathed slugs. At 100-50 metres the time-traveller takes out some horses and 5 Danes with 12 bullets. One flees, the other 12 dismount, make a shield (wood with iron hilt) wall and charge the smaller group. He re-loads. At 15 metres he has to take out at least 4 of them despite peeing in his pants, shove the revolver and take position in the wall with his Toledo steel blade, for his group to survive. (He should hand his steel blade to a real warrior but doesn't, they don't know what steel is.)
    So I googled can a .38 special revolver (easily) pierce medieval mail and then filtered to lead-tipped ammo.
    Please reward me with some discussion, I ask thee most interestedly, oh fair company? :))
     
  10. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Hi
    Can't believe my google search sent me HERE as the top source for my question. How can it be that it has not been asked more intensively?
    What's more is that I happen to be writing a mythical fantasy.
    Here is the scenario: A time-traveller went to the 910 AD to change history by messing up a certain key battle, and afterwards ends up in a shield wall on top of a bit of a slope with 5 real warriors facing a charge by 18 armed Danes in 9/10th century mail. This callous time-traveller (call him TT) is armed with a .38 Special six-shooter revolver and lots of bullets, mostly lead-tipped (not hollow) fortified copper-sheathed slugs. At 100-50 metres the time-traveller takes out some horses and 5 Danes with 12 bullets. One flees, the other 12 dismount, make a shield (wood with iron hilt) wall and charge the smaller group. He re-loads. At 15 metres he has to take out at least 4 of them despite peeing in his pants, shove the revolver and take position in the wall with his Toledo steel blade, for his group to survive. (He should hand his steel blade to a real warrior but doesn't, they don't know what steel is.)
    So I googled can a .38 special revolver (easily) pierce medieval mail and then filtered to lead-tipped ammo.
    Please reward me with some discussion, I ask thee most interestedly, oh fair company? :))
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Pretty sure the armour wouldn't stop a bullet. But from what I can read, assuming he takes out four of the Danes at fifteen yards, that still leaves eight against his five defenders. Not good odds. The question is can they fight them off by themselves with him helping, or should he stand back, reload and pray? Don't know. If he had a quick reloader things would be in his favour. Otherwise I think he'd just be overrun.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Thanks for replying, Greg!! But how can we be sure medieval armor would be pierced? The real (retired) Mythbusters must do an encore for this.
    The defenders do stand behind an obstacle on a hill, like many minorities who won battles in the Dark Ages. At Esc's Hill a mere ditch saved the outnumbered Saxons.Well, how many stories have you read where the hero wins because he outnumbers the enemy?:):):) But 18 Danes would be way too many of course, thus the shots at 50 and 15 m.

    Maybe in this fantasy, the 5 warriors are stalwarts similar to...let's say...Uhtred of Bebbanburg, Uhtredson of Bebbanburg, Finan the Fast, Father Pyrlic and, of course, a time-traveller with a modern sword of Toledo steel..you never know with these kinds of mythical stories. :sneaky:Never know.

    Finally, imagine the effect of gunfire on an attacking party of Danes in the year 910 AD? Would not all of them run perhaps, or at least have doubts about whose side Thor is on?o_O
    Did you know that at the battle of Adrianople, Constantine crushed an army of 140,000 with a mere 90,000 because they feared his....flag? Alexander was almost always outnumbered.
    Cheers
    J.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  13. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    We can be fairly sure that the mail would fail against the bullet because its iron mail considering the date and hand made. But even if it was steel and somehow held, it would still undoubtedly give way and the man would be injured by the impact - broken ribs etc. If you want the armour to be stronger, place it over a thick leather cuirasse or make it part of a gambeson.

    As for the rest that's how you write it.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  14. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello Jan Conradie!

    First of all, Welcome to Mythic Scribes. I hope that you are going to stay and be a part of the community here! Your Time Travel story sounds intriguing, it's a nice concept and so I wanted to ask, how far have you advanced into the novel?

    Now, regarding the particular scenario that you have described:

    Time Traveler's greatest advantage would be the psychological effect that a rapid-firing .38 revolver would cause on 10th Century soldiers. After all the first revolvers were bloody impressive weapons even in the 19th Century, so just imagine what those Dark Age Danes in your story would think about it!

    Total surprise, great fear and an excellent advantage for your protagonist.

    I very much doubt that the Danes would dare to attack somebody equipped with such a mysterious and deadly weapon, and yes, the bullets would pierce shield and armor easily. Very sharp metal arrows could do it, later in the Middle Ages. I think that Skallagrim in YouTube has created some videos that demonstrate this.

    Imagine that you are a soldier in our times, you are in battle and all of a sudden this guy pulls out some kind of crazy ray gun and starts to set your buddies on fire. The revolver would be that impressive, for 10th Century people.
     
  15. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Thanks, o Queen of Titania.
    For this scenario, armed with promises of a hoard of gold if they complete the mission, I hope the Danes would not after the first 6 shots which at 100 metres missed most of their targets, run away before at least trying to attack the 5 lonesome warriors. In my scenario only one rides away. The time-traveler is lying down on the hill with his shooting arm on a rock because he, like myself, would find it very difficult to hit any target at that range with a revolver. So maybe the Danes would not understand that their prey are responsible for the thunderbolts.
    At 15 metres when the standing traveler shoots from within the shield wall, they would know. But they would also know that turning away that close to a shield wall would surely mean death.
    Is it improbable? Obviously. It is after all a time-traveler who went to 910 AD by stepping from a particular stone in Adam's Calendar to a certain stone in Stonehenge! Is it impossible? I hope not. Time-travelling is enough myth for one story, the rest I hope to make as realistic as humanly possible.
     
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  16. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Hi Greg, thanks, I am surprised by all this help for my silly little scenario.
    I do hope the armor was not steel in the 10th century, because I would not want my protagonist to die right there. Being an ordinary man, a bad shot, peeing in his pants against real Vikings, I would hope the revolver wins the skirmish easily before he faints.
    He still has to live after the skirmish to use antiseptic, fire and aspirin to heal the leader of the warriors' wound in order to gain acceptance! His quest would be futile if they reject him or burn him at the stake...
    Cheers
    Jan
     
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  17. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    I believe that a good rifle would also be a great weapon for your protagonist, I mean that he could carry a revolver and a rifle too with enough ammunition for both guns, why not?

    In any case, the best strategy to cause a severe psychological effect would be to open fire at close range, like you say. Also, if Time Traveler is trying this history-altering feat all by himself then that's a bad idea for him. I would prefer to have some friends with me, so we could open fire together and scare our 10th Century opponents a lot more than I would ever achieve alone.

    Some time ago I started a thread about what would happen, if a Victorian-era kingdom was suddenly invaded by very large Medieval armies. Who knows, perhaps you would find it interesting.
     
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  18. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Dear Queen of Titania
    Unfortunately his rucksack is completely overloaded already. He has to walk from Glastonbury Tor (the mound, not the Tor itself which did not yet exist) to Tettenhall in 10th century Mercia, and survival will be tough. ;) I have actually planned and measured the whole bag of provisions in minute detail. He has 4 months to change the course of history! With provisions that are readily available in a certain place in 2019. And he must get all of it unnoticed to Adam's Calendar (in a gun-free zone with a security guard) in order to access the worm-hole portal to connected spots in 10th century Britain.
    His other option is to swing the Battle of Hastings in 1066 but I decided that is too hard, and the countryside was then too crowded already to walk around unnoticed in a jean and a modern coat with a canvas rucksack...it is less of a walk though, using the Stonehenge portal. You see, one can change the history of the Western Hemisphere completely by just starting a forest fire East of Tettenhall in 910 AD. This idea is copyrighted, everyone, seriously!
    Cheers
    J.
     
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  19. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Yes, Tory and Kari were one of the best duo's on TV ever. Heavily underestimated. The world is poorer without that combination. The other guy, the brainy one who worked on Star Trek, was crucial too of course.
     
    Tom likes this.
  20. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Well that's true, and in fact changing history would most likely be too easy and perhaps even accidental. If you could travel far enough to the past, even the slightest change back then would result in great changes for the entire world. I believe that a better approach for your protagonist would be to murder somebody important, instead of trying to change the result of an entire battle.

    I believe that according to Copyright laws you cannot copyright an idea or concept by itself, you can only copyright your particular expression of it. No need to worry, anyway: Most people in this site have our own ideas and concepts, unwilling to copy those from others, and many of us have completed novels of our own, and we are very proud of our achievements.

    I only asked about your novel advance because I am curious to read some of it, in case that you are willing to share.
     

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