High power

Herra Kuulapaa

High Speed Ballistics Photography

This site emphasizes importance of firearm safety and proper handling of firearms. Weapons are not toys and they should never be considered neither treated as such. We do not participate in any communication attempts involving suspicious politics, racism or general hate talk. If you agree please continue and enjoy our work!

25. October - Shortest and yet very powerfull: .500S&W Magnum, Smith & Wesson Model 500

How big can factory load muzzle flash and flame be?

Like the previous pictures have shown the flames can be quite large but those previous ones aren't actually largest at all when the short barrel .500S&W Magnum model 500 is brought in. This model has compensated barrel, which directs gas upwards to both sides. In theory there should be three separate flash areas: One coming between cylinder and barrel, second from muzzle brake and third shooting forwards from muzzle hole. In real life these are merged together to one big ball of fire. However in above pictures you can make difference between cylinder and muzzle flash.

Used cartridge was Magtech .500S&W Magnum SJSP-flat (25,92g or 400gr.). Naturally shot could be loaded hotter and to make even bigger flash but that isn't actually preferred, at least in these pictures because every time flame gets bigger it also gets more difficult to us catch the bullet and that this site is all about. Bullet just gets lost inside flame. Good example is the picture right above: There is a bullet just in the middle of that bright cloud, it just can't be seen. Nevertheless huge flame pictures are really awesome and they make very practical illustration why you never should put your fingers near the flame sources.

Be carefull !

11. October - .44 Magnum in high speed 3D

This is a second high resolution 3D high speed picture set. Subject is the legendary .44 Magnum and this version of Ruger Super Redhawk is equipped scope. There is paractically no flame coming from muzzle like in the other revolver pictures as well. However side flames shooting out between cylinder and barrel are magnificent once again.

These are stereo pairs and you need to exercise cross eye viewing technique to see them in 3D. It's slightly easier if you keep average distance to your monitor adn start with smaller pictures.

Go here and find out how:


20. September - .500S&W Magnum / The most powerful handgun in the world!

.500S&W Magnum

This is it. The .500S&W Magnum, Fifty cal., 12.7mm - it goes by many names but common to them all is that they represent the ultimate bad assness. It's hard to describe it but .500S&W Magnum makes .44 Magnum look weak and that's a pretty good analogue. Of course .44 Mag isn't weak by any means but when you compare both cartridges in your hand the .500S&W just is the hard core one.

Why did man invent this beast? It's hard to say like it is hard to define whether this is a handgun or a rifle if you know what I mean. One thing is certain though. It was designed to be the most powerful handgun in the world and it's all that matters. Let's look into the numbers and put them in context. In Finland we can hunt moose with 10 g (154 gr) rifle cartridges if they have 2000 Joules of hit energy at 100 meters (110 yards) away. Bullets of this monster weight usually between 20-30 grams (300-500 gr). It means hit energy of 3000 - 3500 Joules at the muzzle. But you can push it over 4000 J if you dare. That is a massive amount of hit energy. It's roughly double the .44 Magnum and ten times the 9mm energy !!! Ok, you need to remember that the .500 S&W Magnum was designed to be primarily a handgun hunting cartridge. But it acts also as a back-up survival handgun cartridge in defense purposes against large carnivores to persuade them not to consider you as a meal again.

How is it to shoot with? If you're experienced shooter it's not too bad. Well, it is bad to be honest and it will hurt your palms but with good grip you're OK as long as you don't plan to shoot full box with it at one stand. It can hurt you if you're not careful though. There is a good selection of videos in Youtube where you can watch people injuring themselves with this gun. They're good examples what not to do so you better learn from them before shooting this beast. Long fingernails are probably not a good idea with this revolver.

Massive amount of flames between cylinder and barrel takes care that I don't need to hide shooters face this time. Luckily we got that picture above with all flame shooting to the left so you can actually see the revolver. It could have been like in picture below. This model has a long compensated barrel and you can see gas shooting up from the vents. Longer barrel also suppresses flame shooting forwards. I know that many of you anticipated huge forward shooting flame but it ain't there. There is still clear amount of unburnt powder though and it surprises me. I thought that we had clean shots with this gun but no. It directs burning powder grains backwards to shooter so you better to keep your eyes shielded. If you're shooting this indoors then you better also take care of you hearing or otherwise you don't need to do that anymore. .500S&W Magnum makes so great pressure blast that you sometimes wish to have double ear protection. Pressure blast in our tests was so great that even though we moved camera back double the distance than in previous shots the camera got blast damage and it cost us $$ to fix it. So be careful with this gun.

This impressive revolver waits your visit at West Shooters. Don't let it wait too long :)


.500S&W Magnum flames and bullet

Bonus picture: Is it on fire or is it just me ? :

.500S&W Magnum flames

18. September. Should we get to real big bore business with The Gun on the right?

I'm quite sure it will surprice you!


But if you can't wait, then you can head to

West shooters and try it out. It's worth it!

13. September - Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .44 Magnum

Ruger Alaskan .44 Magnum
Ruger Alaskan .44 Magnum

I have received many emails asking when shall we do "Dirty Harry Magnum". To be honest that would be a bit dull because of long barrel suppressing much of the flame. We give you something better though. A Ruger Super Redhawn Alaskan .44 Magnum with 2 1/2 inch barrel. No, you don't shoot long range with it and it isn't even meant to do so. It's purely intended to save your life in wilderness. Why, you ask? well, there are some hairy animals with sharp teeth, big claws and pointy ears out there and I don't mean rabbits. If you find yourself in situation being charged by big dangerous creature you'd probably wish to have something in your hand than just gloves. But don't do this in Finland because if you do then you end up losing this and every other gun in your collection due to hunting violation, firearm law violation and several other interesting things. And as a bonus you'll pay up to 15.000€ (nearly 20.000$) fine for saving your life. So, you better save your life in Alaska than in Finland. It's cheaper and safer to let bear eat you in here.

Let's talk a bit about .44 Magnum cartridge. Despite of being very close to diameter of .45ACP the .44Mag is totally different beast. Average .45ACP round generates ~650J of hit energy while .44Mag makes easily 1600J and can be pushed much more beyond that. This specific gun however cannot utilize all potential of .44 Magnum cartridge because of very short barrel. It simply cannot burn all powder. As you can see there is huge cone shaped spray of unburnt stuff flying in the air. With longer barrel show would be different.

Ok, you may have noticed the flames. They are something we haven't seen before. Especially when you look picture below and huge left side flame in it. Interesting thing is that major amount of the flame is escaping between cylinder and barrel. That short barrel seems to puff bullet our so fast that powder mass just flies out unignited. Is the bullet wobbling? Hard to say but it looks a bit more tilted than previously shot .50AE. If you look at middle picture you can see burning fragments shooting back towards the shooter. This is visible in all of the revolver shots we have taken so far so be warned. Your eye is pretty sensitive thing to high velocity burning stuff.

Take a trip to West shooters if you live in Finland and wish to try it out


Bonus picture: Flaming like none before!

Ruger Alaskan .44 Magnum

7. September - IMI Desert Eagle .50AE

Desert Eagle .50AE 1
Desert Eagle .50AE 2

Magnum Research Inc.designed and Israel Military Industries manufactured it. It is considered the first line "defense" of pistols against high caliber revolvers. Yes, we're talking about Desert Eagle .50AE. With AR rifle type bolt and gas piston operated reload cycle it resembles more of rifle than pistols we're used to. Those design methods make it look big and it does also really feel such. It practically radiates the fact it uses the biggest self loading pistol cartridge there is: .50 Action Express. Small remark should be made though: Even with equally bold diameter with its revolver counterparts .50AE cannot compete in hit energy with longer S&W versions due to lower bullet velocity but we'll come back to that later.

After introduction we can get to interesting part. First of all what pops to eye is the big .50 bullet. It is big, just compare to fingers of shooter if you doubt it. Take a look at those 9mm and .45ACP. Immediately you see big difference in size of the flame. This pistol really lights up. There is impressive amount of hot gas rushing out from barrel and that large visible muzzle flash starts to eat it when it comes to mixed with oxygen of open air. But how much more there could be if all powder was consumed? There is huge spray of unburnt powder and other residue with this pistol. It forms clear expanding cone you difficulties to see. I thought that 9mm and .45ACP below made much powder adn residue spray but I was wrong. They're nothing compared to Desert Eagle .50AE. It is rather short round but pressure maximum is approximately equal to both 9mm and .44Mag while .45 is only half their pressure. It can be that spray is also related used specific Topshot [corrected 9.9.2013] cartridge but that needs to be tested. Gas piston operation makes one characteristic effect. You can see gas bursting out from bolt.

So, what can we wrap up. It is big gun, which shoots big bullet accompanied with big flame. It's not very useful as sports gun due high cost of shots and notorious recoil, which differs from so called single wave revolver recoil due to slide movement. Check this video what I mean. Overall very impressive pistol and biggest self loading one you can get!

If you happen to live in Finland, take a trip to West shooters and try it out.

1.September 2013 - Warming up again, huge flame warning given!


Previous couple of weeks have been a bit silent but now I have some really interesting news. We've setup a joint project with West Shooters ry. a Finnish shooting range and store to provide you some hefty material.

First test was done yesterday and I'm happy to say that we have great amount of new and impressing stuff coming up. Here are couple teasers. Let's warm up with Guy shooting 9mm Beretta 92FS Brigadier INOX on above and some shiny revolver gear with smallest bore of .44 on the left. They really make your palms sore!

I'd like to remember you all that purpose of the site site is to serve as international information provider of firearms ballistics and behavior. Although pictures have certain entertainment value the main motivation for us is to provide you information.


22. August 2013 - Preparing for next major :) event


Yes, it has been quiet for a week now. Unfortunately my pay job has taken so much time that I haven't been able to shoot anything by anything. And yet I'm traveling whole next week but we have plans for the next step. Oh yes, a Major test. For it I went little shopping today and what I got was those flatheads on left. No, they're not .44 magnum, we're going major this time: 500S&W!


Before you get too excited I must say that I have doubts whether we can pull that bullet visible under all that flame packed in that no so small cartridge but we'll try.

Copyright 2015 © All Rights Reserved by Herra Kuulapaa