Ry and I were at the Boomershoot site in Idaho this weekend when Sebastian sent me an email asking about steel penetration by bullets. I was pretty sure I gave him off the cuff correct answers but I was in a good position to do some of the tests. The next morning Ry and I found a piece of 0.5” mild rod and I shot it a few times.
The question was, “Could a pistol bullet severely damage the mild steel rod? Or is severe damage proof that AP rifle rounds were used?” I said, “I don’t think 1000 FPS pistol bullets will do that.” But I also said that a rifle, even relatively low powered lead core rounds, would go right through. Ry said, “The pistol bullets will only polish the metal.”
Here is the photographic evidence:
The Winchester Rangers were probably going about 1015 fps and polished the metal a little better than the handloads going about 950 fps. I don’t have any chronograph data of my own for the .223 rounds out of my gun but Black Hills says to expect about 3250 fps.
This shows why those who wish to ban ammo that penetrates police soft body armor are actually proposing to ban all hunting ammo.