Taylor KO Factor

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Taylor KO Factor is a formulaic mathematical approach for evaluating the stopping power of hunting cartridges. The term "KO" is an acronym for "Knock Out." The Taylor KO Factor (TKOF) is a derived figure that allows hunters to compare bullets with respect to stopping power. The TKOF was developed by John "Pondoro" Taylor, a famous mid-20th century hunter and poacher of African big game. The factor is computed using Equation 1.

\mathrm{TKOF}=\frac{m_{\mathrm{bullet}}\cdot v_{\mathrm{bullet}}\cdot d_{\mathrm{bullet}}}{7000} (Equation 1)

Where

If the international standard units of grams, millimeters, and meters per second are substituted, the divisor can be changed from 7000 to 3500 to give approximately the same resulting TKOF.

Taylor first described this measure of stopping power in his classic work "African Rifles and Cartridges" (Reference 1). In this work, Taylor did not actually state Equation 1. In fact, he stated in Reference 1 that "I do not think there is any necessity to go into the methods I employed to arrive at the formula I used, suffice it to say that the final figures agree in an altogether remarkable way with the actual performance of the rifles under practical hunting conditions." However, it is obvious from the text and his presentation that he used Equation 1.

Taylor referred to number generated by Equation 1 as the "Knock Out Value" or "Strike Energy." Common practice today is to refer to this value as the "Taylor KO factor" or simply "Taylor KO."[citation needed]

In Equation 1, the denominator value of 7000 is a scaling factor. It can be viewed one of two ways:

  • as converting the units of bullet mass from grains to pounds.
  • giving the TKOF a convenient numerical value from 0 to ~150 for normal hunting cartridges.

The TKOF has no physical meaning or scientific basis and is strictly used as a figure of merit[citation needed] for comparing cartridges. Its main advantage is the ability to attempt to represent complex terminal ballistics as a number.[citation needed] This can be utilized to assign different wounding capabilities to projectiles in video games.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

Example Calculation[edit]

Consider the case of a standard NATO 7.62 × 51 mm cartridge. It has the following characteristics:

  • diameter: 7.62 mm \Rightarrow 0.30 inches
  • mass: 9.7 grams \Rightarrow 150 grain bullet
  • velocity: 860 meters per second \Rightarrow 2820 feet per second

The calculation is performed as shown in Equation 2.

\mathrm{TKOF}=\frac{0.30 \cdot 150 \cdot 2820}{7000}=18.1 (Equation 2)

Alternative Approaches[edit]

Using numerical methods to evaluate the effectiveness of rifle cartridges has a long history and has been subject of much debate. The most common numerical methods used to evaluate the stopping power of cartridges are:

Each figure of merit weighs the cartridge characteristics differently. Some methods are based on fundamental physics (e.g. kinetic energy), while other methods are based on heuristic methods. Some of the more common figures of merit are:

  • kinetic energy: favors high velocity, lower mass bullets (no diameter dependence)
  • momentum: favors moderate velocity, moderate mass bullets (no diameter dependence)
  • TKOF: favors large diameter, moderate velocity, heavy bullets
  • Thorniley Stopping Power: favors moderate diameter, moderate velocity, moderate mass bullets

None of these methods truly consider bullet construction, with the exception of TKO, which dealt mainly with solid bullets. An expanding bullet, for example, may have better "stopping" power over another design, due to its increased wound channel as the jacket opens, even though it may be traveling at a lower velocity. Just as a large diameter solid, at low velocity may have better "stopping" power, due to its deep penetration, than a small diameter hollowpoint at max velocity.

Bullet shape does not factor in these methods either. Example: A solid, wide flat nosed bullet, may create more impact damage, than a solid, pointed or round nosed bullet of the same caliber at the same velocity.

These variables combine to effect bullet penetration, and tissue damage, in different ways. Thus making a simple, single method of bullet effectiveness, difficult to quantify.

Some examples of TKO factor's, and the factory loaded cartridge's derived from, are as follows:


TKO Factor Name Mass (gr) Velocity (fps) Bullet Diameter (in)
1074.9 .950 JDJ 3600 2200 0.950
19.6 .308 Winchester 168 2650 0.308
147 .50 BMG 660 3050 0.510
4.72 .380 ACP 95 980 0.355
6.20 .38 Special 158 770 0.357
8.56 .357 Sig 125 1350 0.355
24.9 .300 Winchester Magnum 180 3146 0.308
13.3 7.62 Soviet 123 2420 0.312
4.64 5.45x39mm 49 3000 0.221
35.5 .338 Lapua Magnum 250 2940 0.338
20.8 7.62×54mmR 181 2580 0.312
70.3 .458 Winchester Magnum 500 2150 0.458
53.0 .500 S&W Magnum 500 1500 0.500
36.5 .45-70 450 1250 0.458
37.7 .500 Linebaugh 440 1200 0.510
35.2 .475 Linebaugh 370 1400 0.475
29.8 .480 Ruger 325 1350 0.475
41.0 .375 H&H 300 2550 0.375
34.7 .405 Winchester 300 2000 0.4115
30.2 .454 Casull 260 1800 0.452
22.8 .38-55 Winchester 255 1650 0.3775
19.9 .44 Magnum 240 1350 0.429
12.3 .45 ACP 230 830 0.452
21.1 .35 Remington 200 2100 0.358
20.8 .30-06 Springfield 170 2850 0.308
10.4 .40 S&W 165 1080 0.400
11.3 .357 Magnum 158 1400 0.357
9.2 .327 Magnum 115 1800 0.312
14.9 .30-30 Winchester 150 2250 0.308
7.31 9mm Parabellum 115 1250 0.355
8.70 .243 Winchester 85 2950 0.240
2.83 .32 ACP 71 900 0.309
5.78 .223 Remington 55 3300 0.224
1.33 .25 ACP 50 750 0.251
1.33 .22LR 30 1400 0.222

References[edit]

  • Taylor, John (1948). African Rifles and Cartridges. Highland Park, NJ: The Gun Room Press. ISBN 0-88227-013-3. 
  • Porter, Greg (1989). Guns, Guns, Guns: Gun Design for Any RPG. New York, NY: Blacksburg Tactical Research Center. ISBN 0-943891-04-3. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Capstick, Peter (1994). A Man Called Lion. Huntington Beach, CA: Safari Press. ISBN 1-57157-011-X. 
  • Taylor, John (1948). Maneaters and Marauders. New York, NY: A.S. Barnes and Co. ISBN 1-57157-311-9. 

See also[edit]