Rem Bonded Golden Saber Report: Water and Denim


Joshua M. Smith
August 16, 2007, 05:36 AM
Handgun: Taurus PT92AF 9mm
Load Tested: 124 grain +P Bonded Golden Saber Hollowpoint
Test Media: Water, one gallon jugs
Barrier: Four layer denim

Tonight I set out to test my carry ammo, Remington’s 124gr +P Bonded Golden Saber in 9mm. I used my usual water method with a barrier of four layers of denim taken from an old pair of blue jeans taped to the front jug. My first test ever was with a 147gr non-bonded version, and I was excited to see what this newer bonded version would do. The 147gr was tested in a five gallon water bucket and performed very favorably with regard to expansion, so I expected the bonded version to perform even better. Penetration was actually a bit shallow with the 147gr standard version, if I recall correctly.
Here is my usual setup from the side…
… and from the front.

I was expecting the expansion/deformation to be similar to Remington’s standard hollowpoint, standard pressure, that I tested a week or so ago. I was wrong. (
My perspective of the shot. Sighting is challenging when done on a camera’s LCD display! I think I’ll also have to work on remembering to turn it off right after the shot… (~ 4mB, 56k users, plan on about 15mins download time should you click the pic.)
As with its older brother, the standard hollowpoint, the Bonded Golden Saber shredded the first two jugs. Curiously, the front jug stayed put instead of being blown off the bench.
A closer look at the front jug…
And the second jug. The gaping hole was not caused directly by the bullet, but rather it blew out at that seam.
As you can see in the movie, the denim was blown clear when the first jug went, and landed about five feet away on the ground.

I traced the bullet path. I was a little off on my aiming as you can see in the video; at the last second the sight was resting on the upper left of the jug. Regardless, the bullet path was an almost perfectly straight line through all jugs but the last. Though it glanced off an angle on the last jug, it did cut the plastic, causing the jug to leak. I am pretty sure it would have penetrated into the fifth jug had it not hit an angle.
I found the shredded bullet several yards away. I didn’t expect it to be in this condition, but it’s commonly known that water will usually act upon a bullet in the most extreme manner of all test media.
This is the only other piece of the bullet I could find, a lone petal in the third jug. I suspect that the others exited with the water.

Though some may consider this a failure, I do not. I actually prefer some fragmentation as long as I have penetration.
The Bonded Golden Saber seems to have plenty of penetration. It penetrated four milk jugs and damaged the fifth beyond reuse, then continued on its way after deflecting off the fifth. This translates into 24+ inches of penetration in water, or more than 12 inches of penetration in gelatin.
A top view of my expansion measurements… right about ¾ of an inch!
And a side view. Notice how the jacket and core stayed together as they should have. After the front disintegrated (about 18” of water), the base continued on as a wadcutter profile.

I like this round. Though it didn’t exhibit picture-perfect expansion in my test, it certainly showed it could cause damage comparable to other rounds I’ve tested in this manner. Further, it didn’t seem to be impressed by the four layers of denim at all, and in addition to causing quite a bit of disruption in the first two jugs and moderate disruption in the third, it penetrated almost as much as a 38 Spl 158gr LSWCHP +P that failed to expand when I tested it against denim.

While the Bonded Golden Saber seems like the best of both worlds to me, this round just begs for further testing.

Josh <><

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August 16, 2007, 02:58 PM
Thanks for the report. Have you tested the non-bonded Golden Saber 124 +ps in comparison to the bonded? Or just the 147 gr?

Joshua M. Smith
August 16, 2007, 05:29 PM
Hello, just the 147gr. This was around 10 years ago and I didn't keep notes. I just did it to prove something to someone on the old forums.

Best I can remember, I took a five gallon plastic water bucket and set it up on a small table I use for camping. I stepped back about three yards and fired. It blew most of the water out, penetrated the other side, and nosedived into the ground, churning it up a bit. It showed minimal jacket separation and good expansion.

I've not ever seen a round of the 124gr standard GS, either in standard pressure or +P. It's hard to get much besides the heavy stuff around here, and I do not order ammo due to my own personal boycott of shipping cost.

I may have to start though.

Josh <><

August 16, 2007, 08:31 PM
You'd be better served by the nonbonded GS. That's a pretty standard failure to fully expand there, caused by the denim. I dunno why, but the bonded stuff just plain won't handle denim, while the standard acts like it's not even there.

August 16, 2007, 11:22 PM
Unbonded saber's work great if your not pushing them super hard. Here's some results I had with 230gr sabers.

Peter Gun
August 16, 2007, 11:33 PM
that is intersting to see the difference in water
i usually test my loads in wet phone books.
I use golden saber 165 in .40.
when i have tested those and the .357 load, they do not fragment at all.
they open perfectly every time. I have not tried with denim, but i tried with leather and it made no differnce.
I am not sure water is a good medium for testing. from other tests i have seen, it seems water causes more fragmentation in many rounds than other medium.
thanks for posting. All tests are informative.

Joshua M. Smith
August 16, 2007, 11:46 PM

I use water for three reasons:

1. Water will act upon a bullet more dramatically than any other test medium I'm aware of. If it fails, I want to know at what point it will fail.

2. Water is about the most homogenous substance you can get easily.

3. Wetpack is good. However, there is a new puppy in the house and she still has her share of accidents. I need the newspaper for that! I live in a fairly small town and it would take about 100 of our phone books to test one round.

I do not consider this round as a failure. It disrupted the first three jugs, or 18" of water (approx 9" of gel) in an acceptable fashion, and with the first two (12" of water, approx 6" of gel) being disrupted in a dramatic fashion. It continued on to penetrate four of the five jugs, and slice the fifth. I believe it did what it was supposed to do.

I will be exploring this round further, but to my eyes it looks very nice.

Josh <><

August 17, 2007, 01:47 AM
Thank you for another excellent write up and report!

I use the Scientific Shoot Dirt/Mud Test :)
I believe Mr. Camp and some others also use this highly scientific test :D

Interesting this is, as others have shared, how the standard loadings compare with the +P.
Interesting is how some "regular" bullets compare with "newer"
Interesting is how the old 158 gr LSWC in standard and +P test and compare.
Interesting is how bullets recovered from critters are scary similar to those recovered from dirt/mud.

My preferred load is a Standard 124 gr in 9mm with a "regular" bullet incidentally.
Be it used in a shorter barrel or longer one, such as Kel-Tec P-11 or BHP

Joshua M. Smith
August 17, 2007, 04:07 AM

IMO, the only thing that the new generation of hollowpoints has over the previous generation is penetration.

Though I like the Golden Saber, I also like the Gold Dot, the regular Remington load, and the regular (c9bp) Federal load.

Josh <><

P.S. I believe my bullet design would trump everything out there, but I'm still trying to figure out how to build and patent it. I simply do not have the equipment I need to make the thing. J.S.

August 17, 2007, 12:46 PM
I still recommend comparing it with nonbonded side by side. Also, divide by 1.6 to find penetration in gelatin, not by 2.

Joshua M. Smith
August 17, 2007, 04:51 PM

If I get ahold of some regular stuff I will compare it side by side.

As for the factors of 1.6 vs 2 in order to get gel penetration, heck, it's not a precise science. I my experience dividing by 2 gets me closer to the gel numbers. The 1.6 factor may or may not be better - but I multiply by 1.6 to get gel numbers when testing in wetpack!

Two just seems conservative, and I like conservative.

Josh <><

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