The age in which was a great boost the development of modern ammunition for weapons for hunting and shooting rifled identifies the last two decades of the 1800s was the era in which it began to have the availability of smokeless powders, alternatively black which until then had been the only possible propellant in firearms.
The appearance of smokeless powder bore arms manufacturers to pursue the path considered easier, ie the conversion of weapons for hunting and target shooting, born progettualmente for black powder.
But they were pioneering years to the cartridge, because, despite having established the breech, the muzzle-loading yet absorbed the majority of the market and only in regard to the breech coexisted at least 3 systems: a central percussion, spiked and rimfire. The second type was soon abandoned, as the undisputed realm of percussion center, came alongside, coming up to the present day, the rimfire, always limited to small sizes and limited power. All designers, scientists and inventors who wrestled on the study and the patenting of new cartridges, especially hunting, always kept in mind, that the realization of any hunting ammunition, had to meet two basic features: the shooting accuracy and a good stopping power, the latter being understood as the ability of the projectile to “stop the wild.”
But in hunting weapons, “stop target” meant very different from military weapons, in the same period in rapid evolution. In the latter, the stopping power is the capacity of ammunition to knock out an opponent, depriving him of his ability to harm: this other humanitarian aspects, namely to cause him the least possible damage was associated with the fact that a wounded soldier goes relief and more are injured, more “personal health military” will be used in the armies, to the detriment of the staff of the infantry.
There was also to be considered that the difficulties of designing a good cartridge military, are limited to the target “human”, whose body mass and therefore weight are included in a rather narrow range (140 -308 lb). But when you pass by weapons military weapons for hunting in concepts are quite different.
In this case stopping power means if possible to kill on the spot, or in any case inflict such wounds to immobilize the prey, preventing the escape or the reaction. Moreover, in contrast to those military cartridges for hunting, compared with wild range of physical characteristics quite dissimilar, as are very different resistances to blow. The range is very large since the rifled weapon is used on wild ranging from marmot elephant, and as is obvious, it is impossible to think provide a cartridge adapted to both.
The stopping power is then physical concept, function of many variables, among which the main one is the energy possessed by the projectile at impact which is given by the difference between the kinetic energy in the launch point (muzzle) and the energy lost during the trip.