Best home-made medium for testing bullets?


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ArtP
July 7, 2010, 05:46 PM
I'd like to do my own bullet testing on reloads, and test for expansion as well penetration and how well a bullet stays together. I've got a fantastic BLM shooting site so I don't need to be concerned with range rules.

Is it just me or does ballistic gelatin seem too soft and lacking bone-like material? I've never played with the stuff first hand, so I don't really know.

I've heard of phonebooks and cardboard pressed together. I had my own idea of using wet concrete cement, small rocks and all, maybe a few branches tossed in. Although that would require me to hurry if I expected to recover any bullets.

Thoughts and ideas?

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CoRoMo
July 7, 2010, 05:54 PM
I've done something like this:

How To: Make your own Ballistic Buffalo (http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/guns/rifles/2006/04/how-make-your-own-ballistic-buffalo)

Basically a lot of soaking wet paper with other things of your choosing added in.

hso
July 7, 2010, 05:58 PM
Ballistic gelatin is the standard used by testers and any comparisons between custom loads should probably be done with it if you're interesting in comparing them to commercial or other loads tested in ballistic gelatin.

While it may not be a perfect medium to shoot into, it is consistent and repeatable.

Carter
July 7, 2010, 06:06 PM
I've seen people stuff gallon jugs full of wet newspaper. Whatever medium you choose just use it repeatedly to make the tests as accurate as possible. Try to make some type of measure when making the medium for consistency.

Manco
July 7, 2010, 06:09 PM
From what I've seen, aside from homemade ballistic gelatin, wet newspaper in plastic jugs seems to work fairly consistently (if they're prepared consistently). One of the worst is probably water-filled jugs, which rarely seem to yield any useful information.

Lee Roder
July 7, 2010, 06:12 PM
Some technique in forensics (to obtain the "markings" on recovered bullet for cross reference to the slug that killed) uses IIRC a type of "pillow stuffing" which doesn't "deform" the bullet in any way, just "stops" it. Bullet is recovered as an "egg shaped" mass which has to be cleaned up. I'll try to find it and post specifics later if I do.

I'm pretty sure it's some type of synthetic fiber (nylon, ...)

ArtP
July 7, 2010, 06:18 PM
I always thought they fired into a water tank for forensic tests. Besides I'm trying to mimick flesh, not pillows. (please accept that as a smart ellec comment not intended to offend or put down your intelligence)

Shawn Dodson
July 7, 2010, 06:34 PM
Dr. Fackler published an article in which he suggested using a single water-filled cardboard milk carton and a box densely filled full of polyester pillow stuffing to test handgun bullets. The bullet is shot through the milk carton, where it expands, and the polyester fibers catch the bullet without damaging it. Penetration can be estimated using a formula found in the book "Bullet Penetration," by Duncan MacPherson.

Water soaked newspaper provides a reasonable indication of rifle bullet deformation, fragmentation and penetration. There was an article published in one of the IWBA Wound Ballistics Review journals describing the procedure in detail. Soaked newspapers are good medium for testing handgun bullet expansion, but penetration results do not realistically represent soft tissue penetration performance.

Is it just me or does ballistic gelatin seem too soft and lacking bone-like material? I've never played with the stuff first hand, so I don't really know.

There's been some recent discussion about ballistic gelatin as a realistic soft tissue simulant and how it relates to the human body at:

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=57037
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=57622

Scrolling to the last 2/3 of this web article (starting at "Wound Ballistics Misconceptions") you'll find discussion from Duncan MacPherson, Dr. Fackler, which address soft tissue variation in the body and tests involving bone: http://www.firearmstactical.com/tacticalbriefs/2006/04/03/0604-03a.htm

jonmerritt
July 7, 2010, 08:28 PM
for realism, use a pig carcass. Thats how I found out that a .380 actually does pretty darn good, contrary to the so called "experts". A pig is the closest you will get to the human body, other than a dead person. Gell block is just a standard used for lab results, it is nothing like human flesh.

rmfnla
July 7, 2010, 09:02 PM
Trespassers...

sonier
July 7, 2010, 09:18 PM
johnmerrit what was the pentration with 380 and the pig, i did a full magnum loaded 357 mag with 125 grain hp at about 1700fps and penetration was about 7 inches

hammerklavier
July 7, 2010, 11:03 PM
cheesecake... I hate the stuff :neener:

NMGonzo
July 8, 2010, 12:34 AM
Fruitcake ... !

klav ... send me the cheescake for tasting ... I mean testing.

Dentite
July 8, 2010, 02:36 PM
I think a chimp would actually be more analogous to a human body but a little more hard to come by than a pig! :D

I'm also interested in the penetration of .380 into the pig.

sm
July 8, 2010, 05:32 PM
Dirt.

The fancy-smancy version is Scientific Mud/Dirt Test or for those into letter-soups: SMDT.

How raised, what you do...and you know what?
There are some members here that still do this, and it would baffle folks as to the background of these folks.

M2 Carbine
July 10, 2010, 01:33 AM
For some time I tried to come up with a simple way to test and compare the expansion of JHP and JSP bullets.
I tried the usual stuff like a row of water jugs, wet phone books, elaborate bullet traps, etc.
Finally I settled on one water filled plastic jug backed up by a cardboard box of rags to catch the bullet.
I found that mostly a .32, 9mm, 45ACP, etc, bullet will do about everything it's going to do within the first water jug, so more than one jug wasn't necessary.
This test won't tell you much about overall penetration but neither will stiff like wet phone books.
This is a very simple and fast way to get a reasonable comparison of bullets and loads.

A couple examples of common bullets after going through a single one gallon water jug.
Remington .223 JSP shot from a 11 inch barrel Kel Tec PLR.
45 ACP Speer Gold Dot shot from a 3 or 4 inch barrel Kimber (I don't remember which).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/PLRRemJSPand45GD.jpg


If you think wet phone books/newspaper gives you any useful information at all, consider this.
Two good 45ACP defense loads only penetrated these wet phone books 2 1/4 inches.
Two FN 5.7 (pistol) bullets penetrated 6 inches after turning sideways a couple inches into the books. The FN 5.7 V Max at 4 inches mushroomed, so didn't penetrate as far as the two other FN 5.7 bullets.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/FNphonebooks2.jpg

Snowdog
July 10, 2010, 02:05 AM
For about a decade I used the same chunck of play-doh stored in a 5 gallon bucket. I must have shot the stuff hundreds of times. If you find one of my "expansion tests" posts from The Firing Line in 2001 or here in 2002, and perhaps one from 2009, it was using the same Play-doh. It kept something crazy until all-of-a-sudden it molded up. It did offer picture-perfect expansion most of the time.

These days, I simply don't have as much free "fun" time as I did then, but if I were needing new material simply to see in what fashion a particular JHP expands, I would probably use Plumber's Putty. It's low maintenance, low mess, reusable and cheap. I could see the stuff lasting me for another 10 years if I kept it right. I don't know if I would be able to make 6" cubes from it as I did with the Play-Doh, but these tests are so informal that I would just rather shoot a blob of it anyway.

ArtP
July 10, 2010, 02:52 AM
A couple examples of common bullets after going through a single one gallon water jug.
Remington .223 JSP shot from a 11 inch barrel Kel Tec PLR.
45 ACP Speer Gold Dot shot from a 3 or 4 inch barrel Kimber (I don't remember which).

Some highly impressive results!!

I'm not too surprised at what appears to be poor penetration within the phonebooks. I think phonebooks must be much denser than flesh.

Sunray
July 10, 2010, 03:38 AM
"...my own bullet testing on reloads..." Reloading isn't about that. It's about the best accuracy out of your firearms.
"...ballistic gelatin..." Isn't about bones. It's about penetration in soft tissue. In any case, handgun bullets have already been tested in ballistic gelatin. Ballistic gelatin is expensive stuff too.

dakiller493
July 10, 2010, 05:42 AM
that's a great medium

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