View Full Version : Temperature of Gases at Point Blank Range?

September 1, 2002, 10:22 AM
Hello All,

Does anyone know how hot the gases and the projectile are when fired at contact distance? I'm interested in the pistol rounds such as .45 acp, .357 mag, 9x19 mm, .38 spl., and 22 lr.

Thank you.

September 1, 2002, 05:14 PM
The gas temperature can be determined pretty accurately by color, but you need a color chart for the powder formulation, and I don't know whether or not powder makers provide them. My guess is in the 1500 degrees Farenheit range

The bullet temperature is harder to estimate because it depends primarily on friction and extrusion heating as it travels down the barrel and secondarily by some heating from the combustion gasses. My guess is in the 200 degrees Farenheit range

September 1, 2002, 07:51 PM
Hot enough to REALLY hurt :rolleyes:

James K
September 1, 2002, 10:03 PM
Gasses at contact range are hot enough to scorch cloth, but I doubt a person on the receiving end would worry much about the heat. The bullet or the blast itself (as in a blank) will do far more damage than the heat of the burning powder.


September 2, 2002, 06:53 AM
Not sure why you ask and I don't know the answer to your question. But, when a firearm is fired at contact distance to a human, the propellent gases following the bullet into the wound cause significant damage not from heat but from the ?pressure?. I am not sure that is the right word for it. Blast might be better.

September 2, 2002, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the replies. I was hoping the info maybe in Hatcher's Notebook.

The reason I ask is that there is debate on another forum about high temperatures degrading the perfomance of Spectra Shield and other synthectic fibers that are used in body armor. I was curious how the newer fabrics would hold up to a muzzle contact gunshot. Supposedly, kevlar will retain is strength even in very high temperatures.

September 2, 2002, 06:53 PM
Gasses at contact range are hot enough to scorch cloth, Actually, they're hot enough to vaporize cloth, which has an ignition temperature in the 400-500 degrees Farenheit range. :D

James K
September 2, 2002, 11:48 PM
I smell an experiment coming up; maybe tomorrow if I get time. I'll try several pistol calibers, with and without bullets.


September 3, 2002, 12:14 AM
The ones with bullets are going to be best, I'll bet. Powders don't burn right unless they're under pressure, and the temperature is a function of pressure.

I've fired primed brass only into a towel, which resulted in holes and scorching without any ignition of the surrounding area or smoke distinguishable as being from the towel.

There's another experiment I'd like to perform, but I don't have what I need. I'd like to know how exciting cooking off a cartridge base down on a hotplate is. Maybe suspend a piece of plywood a few feet above it. I'm betting that the plywood will be mostly scorched and maybe dented from the slug but nothing major from the slug. My curiousity was aroused in a thread about dropping live cartridges on concrete and, in the unlikely event of a primer strike, how dangerous and spectacular the round going off would be. There's a possibility that the primer alone will discharge the bullet and the majority of the powder will just burn slowly as in the open air.