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Old May 24, 2019, 03:20 PM   #1
shurshot
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.45 acp vs. .357 magnum oil tank ventilation.

Yesterday my neighbor asked for my help. He used his tractor to bring over a heating oil tank, that had been cut into 2 sections. He intended to use them as wide barrels to store scrap metal in, but wanted holes in the bottom so the rainwater would drain. Steel was about 1/2 inch thick, I was about 5 yards away, safe behind cover. Happy to oblige and burn some powder, I used my Sig 220 .45 load with Sig jacketed hollow points... "BANG"... just left a big, deep dent. Disappointed and embarrassed, I returned to the house and retrieved my Ruger GP100 3", loaded with PMC jacketed 125 grain hollow points. Ok, NOW we are grooving...... "BOOM"! Although the jackets peeled off on the steel (at well over .75 caliber), the lead core ripped right on through. Damn, I forgot how much raw penetration power the .357 had. Always good to have a .357 Magnum around when you need one.
Years ago, ventilating a burn barrel (old rusty steel oil drum), my .45 1911A1 with 230 grain hardballs would occasionally crack and penetrate one side, but most bounced off and wouldn't make it through 1, much less 2 sides. My Beretta M9 9mm with 124 hardball?? Zipped right on through both sides, no issues whatsoever. Like a hot knife through butter.
So if anyone of you anticipated trouble from steel oil drums or heating oil tanks, you would be wise to arm yourselves with either a 9MM or a .357 Magnum and leave your .45 ACP at home.
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Old May 24, 2019, 03:23 PM   #2
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You're saying your .357 Magnum penetrated about 1/2" of steel?

That's some armor piercing stuff!

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Old May 24, 2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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I didn't measure it with a tape, but it was pretty close to 1/2 inch... very thick stuff. I had no idea how thick those tanks were until I saw this one cut in half. I always assumed they were much thinner, but this was an older tank, scrapped from a old house.
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Old May 24, 2019, 07:56 PM   #4
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The silhouette targets are 3/8" steel plates and a .357 Magnum 125 gr. JHP just splatters on those. And at times the .357 will not knock one down. This at 25 meters.

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Old May 24, 2019, 07:57 PM   #5
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Want to penetrate anything you need velocity. A 22 magnum 40 will almost go through a level 3 bullet proof vest. It is stopped but the vest material is frayed and broken on the inside with a hole on the outside.
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Old May 24, 2019, 08:34 PM   #6
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Want to penetrate anything you need velocity. A 22 magnum 40 will almost go through a level 3 bullet proof vest. It is stopped but the vest material is frayed and broken on the inside with a hole on the outside.
that would be level 3A, not level 3.
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Old May 25, 2019, 01:08 AM   #7
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that would be level 3A, not level 3.
You are correct, thanks for pointing that out, I hate auto correct.
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Old May 25, 2019, 03:18 PM   #8
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"The silhouette targets are 3/8" steel plates and a .357 Magnum 125 gr. JHP just splatters on those. And at times the .357 will not knock one down. This at 25 meters."

Good to know Bob. I don't doubt you. However you are talking about fairly new steel plates designed as targets, right?
I shot an old, semi corroded heating oil tank, that in all probability was constructed in the late 40's, early 50's (or earlier), that was outside for decades... at 5 yards at most. I guess I should have taken photos, with a measuring tape, and had a letter notarized by a NRA Instructor prior to posting, less someone question me.

Last edited by shurshot; May 25, 2019 at 07:25 PM.
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Old May 26, 2019, 02:50 AM   #9
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When 45acp fails there is always 45 Super.
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Old May 26, 2019, 03:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
I shot an old, semi corroded heating oil tank, that in all probability was constructed in the late 40's, early 50's (or earlier), that was outside for decades... at 5 yards at most.
Lots of different alloys of steel with lots of different properties. On top of that, heat-treatment and tempering can change those properties tremendously.

My suspicion is that non-pressurized tanks aren't made from hardened AR500, the most common steel used for firearm targets.
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Old May 26, 2019, 06:25 AM   #11
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I've got an old 60 gallon air compressor tank made in 1949 and .45 ACP hardball wont dent it.
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Old May 26, 2019, 06:46 AM   #12
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Remember guys,,,a .45 was invented to kill people,,,not oil tanks...………...
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Old May 26, 2019, 06:55 AM   #13
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Johnksa,
I agree with you, its like comparing soft pine to hard rock maple. Both are wood, but there is a distinct difference in composition and density. Between the different alloys in the steel, heat treating (or lack thereof), age and corrosion, its difficult at best to compare the hardness of steel targets and an old oil tank.
Both sure are fun to shoot though!
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Old May 26, 2019, 07:01 AM   #14
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Captain, I love my .45's, own several. Please don't think from my post that I was dissatisfied with my .45 as a SELF DEFENSE weapon, not the case at all. I was just noting the difference between the .45 and the magnificent. 357 Magnum, that's all. After all, the Sig 220 .45 was in my waistband when my neighbor rolled up on his tractor with the tank. I rotate my CCW weapons, have several revolvers in the rotation, and 3 .45 autos. I don't get attacked much by heating oil tanks or steel barrels in my region, so the .45's are keepers.
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Old May 26, 2019, 09:04 AM   #15
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That is why 38 Super and 357 mag was invented. Cops found that neither 45 nor 38 specials would penetrate car bodies during the gangster days of the 1920's and 30's. The 38/44, 38 Super, and later 357 mag were invented to solve that problem.

That is also the same reason 45 was never seriously considered by the military after WW-2. They found during the war that 9mm did a much better job of defeating barriers and was not a handicap at all compared to 45. The military tested 9mm vs 45 in 1946 and wanted to upgrade then. They found that 45 would bounce off a GI helmet, but 9mm would still penetrate helmets at ranges exceeding 100 yards. But budget cuts and warehouses full of 1911's meant the project was shelved until 1985.
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Old May 26, 2019, 09:26 AM   #16
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The mechanism of bullets punching holes in steel is interesting.

A friend of mine cut some 1/4 inch steel plates about the size of playing cards then did some experiments with rifles.

Even with the same energies, big heavy slow full metal jacket bullets mangled his targets in to funny shapes.

Switching to his 30-06, high velocity bullets, some punched these amazing holes that looked like someone had a drill press. Increasing velocity, the holes started to develop what looked like melted drops on the back of the hole.

Reducing the velocity, there came a point where the holes stopped and the metal plates just got mangled. He could punch perfect holes with cast bullets, too... verifying it’s not the hardness of the bullet.

We speculated that this must have something to do with the solid crystal nature of steel and some sort of physics that people in the metal fabrication business probably know lots of practical stuff about.

As pointed out, it’s rare to get an Oil Tank tag and they don’t taste very good anyhow.
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Old May 26, 2019, 09:28 AM   #17
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Shooting at steel at 5 years with any caliber gun makes no sense to me. As far as .357 penetrating 1/2" steel, it ain't gonna happen.
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Old May 26, 2019, 12:17 PM   #18
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Good thing that the oil tank wasn't hopped up on drugs. It would have rolled right over you!
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Old May 26, 2019, 01:24 PM   #19
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Remember guys,,,a .45 was invented to kill people,,,not oil tanks...………...
Saw a .45 kill a Tiger tank, in Saving Private Ryan!
Right as a Mustang with period incorrect squadron markings flew over..

Big, slow, ROUND NOSE bullets are prone to bouncing off hard targets. And prone to bouncing off a "hard" target at an angle where a straight on shot would go through.

Step up the speed, you get better penetration performance. A .44 Mag will blow through steel a .45acp will just dent.


And, if you go back and look in the right places, you'll see the .45acp was invented to stop HORSES. Works well for stopping people too but that wasn't the biggest concern back in the day. The Army was very "horse oriented" in those days, Cavalry was the prestige arm, and the Army wanted a round that would reliably put down a horse. They had that with the .45 Colt, and were satisfied with the .45 Schofield ability to do the same.

That was the performance they demanded from the new semi auto pistol. The round Browning came up with essentially duplicated the Schofield's performance, bullet diameter, weight and speed, and the Army said, "good enough". The rest is history...
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Old May 26, 2019, 02:19 PM   #20
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Remember guys,,,a .45 was invented to kill people,,,not oil tanks...………...
Actually the 45 ACP was designed to replicate the 45 Colt and to drop horses, not necessarily kill them.
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Old May 26, 2019, 03:54 PM   #21
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Typically (lots of exceptions) a 357 magnum will penetrate better than a 45 but a 45 will knock the plate around better than the 357. Both are great for self defense!

Kind of like. 30-06 vs a 45-70
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Old May 26, 2019, 04:54 PM   #22
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Yep,,,,your right guys.
I hunt hogs and deer with a .454 Casull. I understand whats going on here with this
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Old May 26, 2019, 05:20 PM   #23
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Actually the 45 ACP was designed to replicate the 45 Colt and to drop horses, not necessarily kill them.
Need a valid reference for this.
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Old May 26, 2019, 05:27 PM   #24
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Need a valid reference for this.
Do your own research if you don't believe me.
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Old May 26, 2019, 05:50 PM   #25
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I have read that before as well, that the .45 ACP was designed to stop horses & replace the .45LC. Can't recall where, it was long ago, possibly Elmer Keith (?).
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