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Posted: 9/12/2006 8:11:03 AM EST
I have had a number of folks send me notes on two related questions.

The first is regarding the Bibles that some US troops carried in their shirt pockets in WWI and WWII.  There were reports that some of these guys had bullets or shrapnel stopped by the Bibles in their pockets.  Some enterprising guys even started selling metal covered Bibles that relatives could buy and send to troops.

The question:  Could a small Bible stop a bullet?

Secondly, a surprising number of students have sent me notes asking:  I carry a bunch of textbooks in my backpack.  Could these books stop a bullet if needed?

The question:  How much paper is required to stop common bullets?

Sounds like a good excuse to go to the range.

I visited my local library and found that they had old books for sale for 10 cents apiece.  I picked up the largest 15 in the pile for $1.50 and we were ready to go.

First, a little comparison.  Here's the New Testament that I carried in the Army.



You can see that it is less than 1/2 inch thick, even though it includes both the New Testament and the Psalms.  Not much paper there.
Here's the set-up:



I have filled the Box O' Truth with the books and we are ready to go.

Let's start with small arms.  First a .22 pistol.



The round penetrated about 1 inch.



Then a .32 ACP.



It also penetrated about 1 1/8th inch.



Let's set up to a common military round, the 9mm Ball.



It made it through about 7 inches of paper.



The mighty .45 ACP.



It penetrated to about 4 1/4 inches.



Might as well beat you guys to the draw by going ahead and trying the armor penetrating 7.62 X 25, since you're going to ask for it anyway.



It penetarted to about 7 inches.  It beats the 9mm on armor, but not on paper.



How about rifles?  Tman gives me a break on the shooting.  We also move the target back to about 20 yards.



The 5.56 NATO M-193, about 8 inches and bent..



How about the SS-109?  About 7 1/2 inches and also bent in half.



Let's try a big boy, the Mosin-Nagant 7.62 X 54R.



It made it through about 15 inches of paper and then went to the side and out of the books and was lost.  We decided to shoot another round.

It also was a center hit, but after a few inches, deviated and went downward and stuck in the bottom of the box.



I had to use a pair of pliers to remove it, but it was basically unharmed.



It had penetrated about 15 inches.



How about the .30-06 with an AP (Armor Piercing) round?



It didn't come apart at all, and made it about 19 1/2 inches.



Just in case any buffalo are Bible toting types, let's give the .45-70 a try.



It made it about 16 1/2 inches, but the hard cast 510 grain bullet broke apart.



And here they are, all lined up for a family photo.




Lessons Learned:

1.  It takes a lot of paper to stop a some bullets.

2.  Were the stories of Bibles stopping bullets true?  I believe they are indeed true, but may be misleading.  We do not know how fast the pieces of shrapnel were going when they were stopped by the Bibles.  Maybe the bullets that hit the Bibles had already hit the ground or some other object and were significantly slowed down by the time they hit the Bibles.

One thing for sure, unless the troops were carrying an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible strapped to their chests, only a miracle of God would have prevented a rifle bullet at full speed from penetrating.

3.  Would a backpack full of books stop a bullet?  Yes, if the bullets were pistol rounds.  It would take about 7 inches of paper to stop a 9mm round.

If we are talking about big rifle rounds, you had better have around 20 inches of books in the backpack to be relatively safe.

4.  I have been shooting into piles of telephone books and Sears catalogs all my life.  I've made a lot of confetti, and learned a few things.

But it's still fun to shoot books.


Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:13:03 AM EST
way cool as always O_P

thanks again.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:15:09 AM EST
Great post O_P
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:17:02 AM EST
Great job OP, nice looking Mosin, did you refinish it yourself?
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:17:04 AM EST
Great thread as always, O_P. Looking forward to more O' Truths
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:18:00 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:19:04 AM EST
Interesting results.

Incidentally, I did a check on my bookbag and college texts. In order to have enough paper to stop all the pistol calibers, I would need to be carrying most of my books in my backpack, which bulges it enough that it's difficult to put on. It's also freaking heavy as all get out.

If I was really worried about getting shot in the back at school while wearing my pack, I'd just buy one of the backpacks with a kevlar insert.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:20:28 AM EST

Quoted:

Quoted:
How about the M-109?




Mis-type.  Fixed.  Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:21:02 AM EST
Just glad you didn't use a copy of the Koran or else someone, somewhere would be declaring a Jihad.

Always interesting.  Thank you.  
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:21:37 AM EST
Q'OT?
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:21:48 AM EST
What? No "Wet Newspaper O' Truth"?



<---------------------ETA: POST "LEET"!!!!!!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:21:55 AM EST

Quoted:
Just glad you didn't use a copy of the Koran or else someone, somewhere would be declaring a Jihad.

Always interesting.  Thank you.  


They probably declared jihad anyway, just to be safe.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:13 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:16 AM EST
Thanks for more Truth!!!  I always appreciate the threads.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:25 AM EST
neato...
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:28 AM EST
Awesome.  I love these posts.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:36 AM EST
Excellent work as always.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:22:50 AM EST
Very cool! Great job.

need a lot of paper to stop the big .30 cals

It would have been neat to try 8mm Mauser, as it has a heavier 198gr FMJ, and even the very hot Turkish 154gr.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:24:08 AM EST
My Dad had a pocket bible with a steel cover he carried as aircrew in WWll.  The cover was engraved with a quote, IIRC it said "May the word keep you safe from harm".

I think this is the type bible people are referring to.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:24:16 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:24:31 AM EST
Great post and a sweet P-38.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:24:47 AM EST
Does anyone else find the subject matter of the books ironic!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:24:54 AM EST
Excellent info as always.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:27:26 AM EST
Interesting-I guess that means that Hindu soldiers with the Bhahavagad Gita would fare better than Christians, who would in turn be better protected than Jews with a Torah.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:27:37 AM EST
Another great O'Truth episode
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:28:00 AM EST

Quoted:
Interesting-I guess that means that Hindu soldiers with the Bhahavagad Gita would fare better than Christians, who would in turn be better protected than Jews with a Torah.


Innagaddadavita?

Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:30:49 AM EST
What about the BOOK OF MORMON?

Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:33:23 AM EST
O_P, thanks for throwin in the .45-70.. I'm always curious as to what it will do to the ***** of Truth!  

Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:37:38 AM EST

Quoted:
Great job OP, nice looking Mosin, did you refinish it yourself?


It actually only required a couple of slight touch-ups.  It came basically just like that from SOG.

I'm very happy with it.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:40:56 AM EST
My respect for 9mm Luger has been reinforced. Thanks OP!!!

PS: It's too bad you didn't have a Five-seveN or PS90 to play with just to see what it could do.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:41:04 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:49:14 AM EST
I'm surprised and a little disappointed with the .45 ACP, O_P, but I'd still take it over the 9mm anyday for real-life fighting.

HH
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:50:10 AM EST

I never get tired of your reports...thanks.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:51:01 AM EST
Awesome!!!! thank you!!  I had really been wanting phone books of trouth and this fit my want nicely!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:52:00 AM EST
I always liked shooting 12ga slugs through phone books.  It makes a hole that you can see through!  Plus you get a lot of confetti
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:53:02 AM EST

Quoted:
I'm surprised and a little disappointed with the .45 ACP, O_P, but I'd still take it over the 9mm anyday for real-life fighting.

HH


Don't be disappointed.

We're not planning on being attacked by The Book Monster.  We are planning on defending ourselves from human beings.

The .45 ACP, with modern, well designed bullets, works very well against human bad guys.

And, if they are covered with lots of books, we can probably out-run them.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:54:11 AM EST
Entertaining and informative as always, Sir!

O_P in 08!!!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:55:01 AM EST
Excellent, my Phone Book Armor will work after all!

Sure, laugh now...

Great post O_P!


One thing for sure, unless the troops were carrying an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible strapped to their chests, only a miracle of God would have prevented a rifle bullet at full speed from penetrating.


I think that may have been the idea...
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:55:28 AM EST
Book Him Danno!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:56:28 AM EST
Great post! Thank you!
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:56:47 AM EST

Quoted:
Great post and a sweet P-38.


We have got to get O_P a C&R worthy .32 to do these shoots with, like a Colt 1903 or one of the Walther PPs that are coming in the country.

The Kel-Tec....just looks so out of place...
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 8:59:27 AM EST
Thanks OP.  Another excellent reveiw.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:00:19 AM EST

Quoted:

One thing for sure, unless the troops were carrying an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible strapped to their chests, only a miracle of God would have prevented a rifle bullet at full speed from penetrating.






I love that sentence.



Great post.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:02:38 AM EST
That .45-70 is absolutely beautiful! thanks for the post Old_Painless.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:06:19 AM EST
Great post as usual OP.

Do you think it would make any difference if the books were sideways? I mean like if you were using a bookcase for concealement.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:07:08 AM EST
Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:07:39 AM EST
VERY VERY COOL!  
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:11:12 AM EST
Awesome post Old_Painless! I always look forward to seeing new box o' truth stuff! I may be new here, but I'm a big fan of your work.

-GG
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:18:05 AM EST
What, no .357?
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:20:47 AM EST
Interesting that the 5.56 didn't fragment. Why is that? Is that because of the media they hit, or was there something about the rifle, or was this just random chance?

I'm also a little curious as to how far bullets will penetrate when they hit parallel to the lay of the pages, rather than across them. I've got a lot of bookcases on my walls, and the books are arranged spine-out. Will they stop or slow down bullets?
Link Posted: 9/12/2006 9:23:53 AM EST
You forgot to add that pistols are pistols and rifles are rifles and that shooting stuff with either is fun!
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