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Old November 19, 2012, 12:38 AM   #73
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,167
Originally posted by Dragline45
When I say save my ears, I am not implying 9mm or .45 will not cause hearing damage, I mean that those calibers have the potential to cause less when compared to higher pressure rounds like the .357. I guess there really is no way to officially say how much less damage one round causes to another. The only way to officially quantify it would be to compile results of hearing tests of people who went in for single shot exposures and how much hearing loss or damage to the cilia in the inner ear. Even without that information it's still pretty safe to assume that the higher the DB levels, the more potential for damage from shot to shot.
I don't think you're understanding the importance of quantifying such things before making absolutist statments. If the .357 Magnum causes only a small increase in hearing damage while also having a great deal more terminal effectiveness, then the extra hearing damage is likely a worthwhile tradeoff. However, if the .357 causes a great deal more hearing damage while only having a small increase in terminal effectiveness than it is not a worthwhile tradeoff. If these attributes cannot be quantified in some way, however, then such comparisons are impossible to make.

When I say the 9mm and .45 acp can get the job done just as well as the .357 magnum, what I really mean is that I don't think there is any self defense situation where a .357 will get you out where a 9mm or .45 cant. Now that doesn't mean each caliber is equal, just that they can all serve the same purpose successfully. Say a building is demolished with 1lb of C4 and a building is demolished with 5lb's of C4. The 5lb's of C4 may have resulted in a bigger more powerful explosion but they both did the job equally as well.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that not all self-defense situations fit into some sort of rule set. What we do know for certain is that a .357 Magnum is capable of performance that is substantially different than that of common service cartridges like 9mm and .45 ACP. Because there is no consensus on what makes a cartridge effective, or even which cartridges are most effective, there is also no consensus on whether or not the differences that the .357 Magnum offers are beneficial, undesirable, or irrelevant. I can only come to the conclusion that, because one self-defense situation can be so drastically different than another, a cartridge which is well-suited to one may not be well suited to another. Because of this, I see no way to rationalize that a 9mm or .45 ACP will "get the job done just as well" as a .357 Magnum in every possible situation.

I think it's pretty fair to say that the higher the DB level the more potential for damage from shot to shot. Since there is no information out there for what DB levels cause how much damage vs cartridge effectiveness, one must make an informed decision based on what information is available. We have plenty of info on the net for ballistic tests for each caliber, and we have charts that tell us the DB levels of each caliber. Seeing as I have first hand experience with how loud a hot 125gr .357 is out of a snub indoors I can make a pretty informed decision that it is loud as heck, and as a result I have high frequency hearing loss and a mild case of tinnitus in my left ear. Because of that incident I choose not to use the .357 for home defense or carry use.
The problem is that we don't really have that much information on hearing damage or cartridge effectiveness. The dB level charts that I've seen only list a one number for each cartridge. Having shot many different loadings in many different cartridges (including a lot of .357 Magnum as it's one of my favorite cartridges), I'm here to tell you that certain loadings seem a lot louder than other loadings even within the confines of one cartridge. For example, a 158gr .357 Magnum doesn't seem nearly as loud as a 125gr .357 Magnum, a 115gr 9mm +P seems much louder than a 147gr standard pressure load, and a 230gr standard pressure .45 ACP seems much gentler on the ears than a 185gr +P loading. Because of this, I find it very hard to believe that every common loading of a given cartridge creates the same dB levels. Because we do not know which specific loadings are being measured for these dB tables, we cannot condemn entire cartridges as "ear killers" based on them.

As far as cartridge effectiveness goes, we certainly have a lot of data on that subject but unfortunately much of it is conflicting or of suspect reliability. As I mentioned earlier, there is no consensus on handgun cartridge effectiveness. Because of this, stating that one cartridge is just as good as another is a statement of opinion, though it may be an educated opinion, rather than one of absolute fact. Despite scientific advances over the years, the effects of a bullets energy and the human body are both things which are not completely understood. As such, nearly all the data that we have on firearm wounding mechanisms is, at best, educated guesses.
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