Caliber (bullet diameter in decimals of an inch or in millimeters) is only one indicator of wounding potential but not a very good one ( Fig, 2..5.6..-!). Caliber indicates bullet diameter, but not bullet length, and therefore does not disclose bullet mass. Caliber also is independent of bullet velocity and bullet construction.

Unfortunately, commonly used weapon and bullet designations are often misleading. As an example, the .38 special and the .357 magnum use bullets that have the same diameter [.357 in. (9.07 mm)] (Table. ...2.5.6^.!). The longer cartridge case of the magnum can hold more powder, giving the bullet higher velocity and greater wounding potential.

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