Posted July 15th, 2004 @ 07:31pm by Erik J. Barzeski
Here is a picture that may shock you (and not because of the glass of straight up amaretto in the background):
What you see here are three bullets (and their casings). From the right, we have a CCI .22 LR Mini-Mag, used in my Ruger Mark II semiautomatic handgun with an UltraDot red dot scope. Next to it we find the standard 9mm Luger. Finally, far to the left, we see a .50 caliber round (yes, it's live) for use from a machine gun, primarily those mounted to helicopters and used in Vietnam or on today's Blackhawks. Lately, such bullets have been used for shooting competitions at 1,000 yards with 30 lb. rifles costing well over $2500.
The .22 means ".22 inches" and the bullet is a .22 caliber "long rifle" bullet. The description is as much marketing ("long rifle") as it is accurate (.22 caliber == .22 inches in this case). The 9mm Luger denotes both the size (9 mm = .354 in =~ .35 caliber) and the inventor (Luger), and most of my 9mm are 115 grain bullets (with smokeless powder). I shoot only FMJ (full-metal jacket) bullets, because I shoot indoors. Vaporized lead isn't the best thing to breathe in, I'm told. The .50 caliber bullet is just that: .5 inches in diameter. It has a few more grains of powder and, well, it'll put a hole in someone as easily as it'll simply tear their arm off.
Contrary to what you may think after having watched The Jackal, the rather weak .22 is the preferred ammunition for actual hitmen. The little stingers are rather quiet, and they usually lack the power to penetrate more than one bone. This simply means that after breaking through one side of the skull, the bullets will ricochet around inside of the skull, making mincemeat of the grey matter inside.