Communion Of Dreams

What a long, strange year it’s been . . .
November 27, 2009, 10:26 am
Filed under: Ballistics, Guns, Science

(Cross posted from the BBTI blog.)

One year ago this evening, we sent out the preliminary version of Ballistics By The Inch to a few friends. That day we had a total of 146 hits to the site. Within days, we were getting tens of thousands of hits.

And since then, we’ve had a total of 1,572,698.

When we first started talking about doing this, Jim Kasper had a hard time believing that more than a few thousand people would be interested in our project. I figured that it would be popular, but I never really expected this level of interest. And I would like to say thanks to everyone who has posted on their favorite gun forum about our project, or sent a note to a friend about it, and thereby helped to spread the word. We’ve had some good press along the way: Dark Roasted Blend gave us a link the first week the site was up, The Firearm Blog not only did a post in those first few days, but Steve graciously covered our “2.0” version earlier this year when we added three more calibers and a bunch of real world guns. In April 2009 Concealed Carry Magazine had a nice piece about the project. Ammoland covered it in June. Just recently I had a great interview with Doc Wesson at the Gun Nation Podcast.

We’ve been Stumbled Upon, discussed on The High Road and The Firing Line, chatted about in the Defensive Carry forum, talked about on Glock Talk, referenced on the Survival Blog, cited on, and occasionally found to be Something Awful.

In all honesty, it is no longer possible for me to keep track of all of the places where BBTI has been mentioned around the globe, or even keep tally on the languages used to discuss our project. And I can only imagine how it will continue to propagate. Particularly since we’re not stopping here.

What do I mean? Well, plans are already underway for new tests in the coming year, and we’ve begun to discuss amongst ourselves what else we would like to try to tackle in the future. First, what is already well in the planning & preparation stage:

Announcing the Cylinder Gap Test!

We’ve had a Single Action Army clone in .357 magnum modified to allow for adjusting the barrel position from a standard 0.006″ to 0.001″ to no gap (barrel snug against the cylinder). We have a dozen or so different ammunition loads in .38/.357, and we’ll be essentially repeating the BBTI procedure for each of these, with the normal gap then the minimum gap then without any gap, starting with an 18″ barrel and going down in increments of one inch to just 1″ . Actually, one slight difference – to make sure we get a better statistical sample, we’ll be firing 10 (ten) rounds of each type of ammunition at each point rather than just 3 (three) as we did with the BBTI tests. Because we are limiting this test to just one caliber, we thought this was a reasonable step to take. We hope that this will allow us to conclude with some actual data what the effect of having a cylinder gap in a revolver actually amounts to.

We’ll probably be conducting these tests in the spring of 2010, and if past experience is any guide will have the new data sets available on the BBTI site sometime a couple of months later. We’ll keep you posted!

Other testing ideas for further down the line include an interest in obtaining objective measurements (using equipment and protocols which anyone can repeat fairly easily) for both muzzle flash and ‘felt recoil’. And, of course, we’ve also discussed expanding our standard BBTI tests to include rifle cartridges and rimfire cartridges, since these questions come up all the time. But we’ll see what the future holds.

Again, thanks to one and all who helped make the Ballistics By The Inch project a phenomenal success over the past year. Hard to believe we’ve gone as far as we have.

Jim Downey

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