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> Gun vs Sword, Katana vs .50 MG, showdown in 2005
Sandoval Smith
post Jan 1 2005, 03:08 PM
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I was watching one of the year end specials on various oddities and ends that pop up on Japanese TV at New Years, and one program included a segment pitting a katana vs a bipod mounted .50 machin gun. The kanta blade (it was removed from the hilt) was put in a vice about ten yards from the gunner. I expected one shot to take the sword out, but it managed to withstand six hits (indeed actually cutting some of the bullets in half, while others exploded into shrapnel after striking the edge, which tore the heck out of the cinder block wall behind it) before the seventh tore off the top two thirds, the rest peeling back along fold lines in the metal.

Given some of the blade vs bullet hijinks that pop up in Shadowrun, I thought it'd be interesting to mention.
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Birdy
post Jan 1 2005, 03:54 PM
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On the other hand you normally don't aim at the sword, you aim at the guy holding it. And I think he'll "peel back around fault lines" after the first hit.


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Herald of Verjig...
post Jan 1 2005, 04:02 PM
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It just means that if you can get a success on a TN 35 parry test, and on the TN base 8 dodge test that follows, you can successfully cut a bullet heading at you and get out of the way. It's still better just to dodge than show off and then have to deal with two half-bullets.
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Walknuki
post Jan 1 2005, 04:21 PM
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What a waste of a Katana. :(
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Sandoval Smith
post Jan 1 2005, 05:22 PM
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I think it was worth it. The segment was pretty cool, and it's not like they're exactly rare. I suppose that this topic doesn't have a lot of signifigance for Shadowrun, but it seemed like an interesting thing to bring up.
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 1 2005, 05:29 PM
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I could definitely imagine it surviving a hit from something at such an extreme angle. I assume the bullet material was relatively soft?

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Fortune
post Jan 1 2005, 05:30 PM
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What type of stats did they give for the katana in question? Was it one of the old and rare '1000 folds' variety, or was it of modern manufacture? Were the bullets soft or hard or normal or other?

There are too many unknowns for this to be of any real value.
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Sandoval Smith
post Jan 1 2005, 05:52 PM
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Well, I didn't understand a lot of what was going on, but I think that the sword was made for the demonstration or at least was modern made (there were several clips of an a swordmaker working on a blade, and he took obvious pride in it as he was setting it up for the demonstration). When they talked about the sword, I kept hearing numbers in the hundreds, which I think corresponded to the folds he used in making it.

As for the machine gun, there wasn't any real special attention paid to the bullets, so it's probably not too far off to assume that they were using whatever ammunition is 'standard' to belt feed through a machine gun. Even though the rounds were probably soft lead, I'm still impressed that the sword took seven of them before breaking.
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Soma
post Jan 1 2005, 06:24 PM
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Still, by far, the best use of the katana goes to:

http://media.ebaumsworld.com/katanaslip.mpg

I mean, with the amount of skill that guy uses in his swordplay...It's just beyond most forms of expression.
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SirKodiak
post Jan 1 2005, 07:12 PM
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Striking a katana on-edge is going to be hitting it in the way that is the most likely to not break it. Turn it so that the broad edge is facing the bullets and the first one is going to shatter it. Part of the skill of using a katana is absorbing blows on it correctly. This is one reason why people who are used to western swords aren't very fond of them.
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mmu1
post Jan 1 2005, 07:42 PM
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I have to ask, what "bipod mounted" .50 cal machine gun was this? Was it actually tripod mounted instead? Was it really a .50 cal?

Also, unless they specify what bullets it was loaded with, the "test" doesn't mean much, for all we know, they could have custom loaded with unjacketed lead to make it look good.
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Voran
post Jan 1 2005, 08:01 PM
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QUOTE (Soma)
Still, by far, the best use of the katana goes to:

http://media.ebaumsworld.com/katanaslip.mpg

I mean, with the amount of skill that guy uses in his swordplay...It's just beyond most forms of expression.

Heh.

"We uh...may need...emergency surgery...in the studio."

Still, wonderful craftsmanship. It survived like 2 whole hits on a wooden table before breaking!
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 2 2005, 02:21 AM
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I'm seconding mmu1. "a bipod mounted .50 machin gun" is seriously setting off my bullshit alarm system. As does "As for the machine gun, there wasn't any real special attention paid to the bullets, so it's probably not too far off to assume that they were using whatever ammunition is 'standard' to belt feed through a machine gun. Even though the rounds were probably soft lead [...]".

Until I see something more, something more concrete, I'm calling BS on this.

I don't claim to understand everything about the physics involved, however. If the katana were instead a solid steel plate as thick as the sword blade is "deep", it would stop the round just nicely. [Edit]Not too great a margin, though, since 1"+ of armor steel will be penetrated by standard Ball rounds at 35 meters, and still 21mm at 500 meters.[/Edit] Also, even if this is true, it wouldn't do the person wielding the blade any god damn good at all -- s/he'd still get hit by what's left of the round, which means about 2 Heavy Pistol shots worth of bullet fragments traveling at over 2000fps. Can you say "Gore"? [Edit]Nevermind, that's basically what people were saying already.[/Edit]

This post has been edited by Austere Emancipator: Jan 2 2005, 02:34 AM
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toturi
post Jan 2 2005, 02:43 AM
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Well, Sandoval's story isn't setting off my BS detector (which is located between my danger sensor and my pussy radar, maybe i need to get it fixed :) ). I've got to see it for myself, most people who see a HMG mounted on legs and they call the leggy thing a bipod. As to the actual sword vs bullet thing, I've seen stranger things happen (in my former lab, no less).
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Crusher Bob
post Jan 2 2005, 03:18 AM
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Here's a link to the video on another forum.
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lorthazar
post Jan 2 2005, 05:06 AM
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Not to metion that if you were holding the katana when it took a round form a .50BMG, you aren't going to be holding it any longer. And your hands and forearms are going to hate you in ways you cannot imagine.
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Sandoval Smith
post Jan 2 2005, 05:34 AM
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Thanks for saving my bacon Crusher Bob. Like I said, I was just watching TV when that segment came on, and I didn't start really paying attention until I realized they were setting up the gun to be fired at the sword. So I missed a few of the cognizant details. I just saw a belt fed gun on some sort of stand.

The gun was a Browning .50 M2. I didn't pick up if they used any special ammunition. From the example, it looks like a regular lead round. Apprently, they didn't go into much detail about the creation of the sword, but it certainly was NOT an old, valuable, upteen thousand times folded katana.

Nor was I advocating that a sammy could use a katana to block a bullet. In a previous post I mentioned how much damage the shrapnel from a bullet that struck the edge did to the cinder block wall behind it. I just thought it was cool that the sword took seven rounds to break (as, even edge on, I was expecting it'd just be one).
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DrJest
post Jan 2 2005, 12:25 PM
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It's the dingbat half-way down Crusher Bob's link that gets me...

QUOTE
it is a waste of skill and effort to cut a bullet in half. it is much easier to hit it from the side with the flat of your blade, simply redirecting it. it is incredibly easy to do with spears and arrows and your bare hands, so swords and bullets is just a matter of practice.


The response was on the money though:

QUOTE
Uh.... right. You go practice deflecting something that moves faster then your eye can see


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Austere Emancipa...
post Jan 2 2005, 01:23 PM
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Of the bullets that hit, it seems several only nicked the blade, since there were only very few tiny fragments visible, the bullet staying intact as far as you can tell from the slow motion video. It's a pity they don't show exactly what happens with the back stop with each round, but it certainly seems only 3 of the rounds were actually cut (one instance) or mostly fragmented (2 instances).

It is rather amazing, though, that it could stand up to even one hit.
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mmu1
post Jan 2 2005, 04:33 PM
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Ok, so it was pretty impressive :P Although most of the bullets were transferring only a very small fraction of their energy to the blade - for the most part, it was just pieces of the jacket getting stripped, it looked like.

Although I have a feeling any piece of reasonably high quality steel hit edge-on would perform in a similar way.
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 2 2005, 06:52 PM
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Probably, or at least any similarly-designed piece of steel, but that's not the point.

~J
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FlakJacket
post Jan 2 2005, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE
It is a waste of skill and effort to cut a bullet in half. It is much easier to hit it from the side with the flat of your blade, simply redirecting it. It is incredibly easy to do with spears and arrows and your bare hands, so swords and bullets is just a matter of practice.

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Cray74
post Jan 2 2005, 09:11 PM
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QUOTE (Voran)
Still, wonderful craftsmanship. It survived like 2 whole hits on a wooden table before breaking!

It might've been the steel, not the craftsmanship. 440 stainless steel is fine for cutlery (one of 440's popular applications), but it doesn't have the toughness for use in long blades being pounded against hard corners. That's assuming the 440-grade stainless is of good quality; 440 stainless with a lot of impurities is just going to be brittle crap. You can't tell from the video if it was good or bad quality steel.
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 2 2005, 10:10 PM
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I've got one of the swords being demonstrated, and they are indeed 440 stainless. The production quality isn't great in general, so while I'm positive that it isn't among the worst of possible qualities for the steel type (otherwise I'd've probably broken it by now) it's probably pretty far down there.

~J
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Soma
post Jan 2 2005, 10:27 PM
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QUOTE (Cray74)
It might've been the steel, not the craftsmanship. 440 stainless steel is fine for cutlery (one of 440's popular applications), but it doesn't have the toughness for use in long blades being pounded against hard corners. That's assuming the 440-grade stainless is of good quality; 440 stainless with a lot of impurities is just going to be brittle crap. You can't tell from the video if it was good or bad quality steel.

You want a microscope to overanalyze the humor inherent in that video next time, hoss?

It's QVC, or the Home Shopping Channel, so most likely it's crap quality to begin with. But overall, something tells me that host will think twice about slapping his junk on the counter like that again.
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