Friday, May 26, 2017

Roman Sling Bullets With .44 Magnum Levels of Power

via Stars & Stripes.

But research published Wednesday in National Geographic showed a slingshot used by the Romans some 1,900 years ago had nearly the same stopping power as a .44 magnum.

They used it in the opening attack of a war with the restive tribes living among the hills of Burnswark, Scotland. That war dragged on for nearly two decades. Eventually, the Romans retreated to a fortified barrier they had built known as Hadrian's Wall.

The lead bullets were about 50 grams each. Strangely, about 10 percent of them contained small holes.

The confused researchers made replicas of several bullets, both holed and solid, and gave it to a trained slinger.

The solid ones flew at up to 100 miles per hour and could hit objects smaller than a human 130 yards away. Furthermore, they contained the stopping power of a .44 magnum, that gun Dirty Harry carried around specifically because it was so powerful.

"The biggest sling stones are very powerful — they could literally take off the top of your head," Reid told the Scientific American.

They also solved the mystery of why some had holes. Those weren't as effective as a weapon, but they produced "a weird banshee-like wail" as the wind whipped through and over the holes, Nicholson told National Geographic. The idea, he hypothesized, was to terrify the enemy with the noise during an attack, as a means of distracting them.

"So you are getting these unworldly, unnatural sounds that you have never heard before, and people are falling over on either side of you," Nicholson said.

The location and number of the bullets found suggested a long, pounding siege on a hillside. It's a tremendous thing to imagine, bullets raining down for hours while alien screams fill the air.

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