Winter Penetration Test


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MikeNice
October 21, 2011, 04:29 PM
Let me say sorry right away. Sorry. There are no pictures available because I forgot to charge my cell phone last night.

Me and a friend decided to test out the penetration and expansion of a few rounds. With winter coming clothing is changing. So, why not see which rounds do through local winter wear? For our winter wear we put a t-shirt under a "sweat shirt" and medium density polyster "fleece" pullover. It was all draped over 1 gallon plastic ice cream buckets that had been filled with water and wet newspaper. The buckets were set up top to bottom on their sides. This was done to provide consistent depth regardless of where the bullet hit. Similar rigs with milk jugs have provided numbers similar to gel test of the same bullet "model" bfore. So, the test was taken as being fairly accurate.

We used a Smith & Wesson 908 as our test gun. We fired from 18 feet to simulate the width of a master bedroom.

Hornady 124gr Custom
This ammo was about as accurate as it gets. Point of aim and point of impact matched nearly perfectly shooting free hand. That gave the ammo a big plus in my book. I was a little upset over the performance though.

The two rounds we fired failed to penetrate even 11". One came to rest at 10 & 3/16". The second achieved 10 & 1/16". They opened up completely achieving .53" of expanded diameter. I say completely because the petals were folded back completely. It was obvious that the bullet couldnt expand much if any more.

So, they will work and they are accurate. Both are very important in any round. I would be hesitant to carry them because they fell way short of the FBI standard.

Remington Golden Saber 124gr+p

The bullet was accurate enough. At 6 yards it will get pretty much as close as human error allows. It was slightly further off than the Hornady. Then again, we're talking differences of about 1/8" or less.

The two rounds we fired expanded to about .55". One round penetrated to 13 & 7/8". The other round achieved a full 14" of penetration. To nobody's suprise the core and jacket of both rounds seperated. The jacket was about 1" behind the core with both rounds.

Despite the age of the design the bullet performed reasonably well. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable with it. With the core and jacket seperation it probably isn't a bullet for barrier busting. Some shooters don't believe that is a concern for civilians, they should be fine with this round.

Remington Golden Saber 147gr
I was anticipating this test. I like 147gr 9mm ammo. It usually does well with barriers and provides great penetration. Expansion is usually slightly sacrificed, but I can live with that.

The bullet was just as acurate as the +p version. The expansion suprised me though. One round expanded to .60" and the other expanded to .66". However the penetration came in at only 13 & 1/4" for both rounds. At first we thought we had gotten confused about which rounds we were shooting.

To make sure we had the information correct we fired two more 147gr rounds. We got nearly identical results. Both bullets expanded between .60" and .66" while travelling less than 13.5" in to the test medium. Some how Remington got the formula backwards.

This round should work just fine for most shooters. There is still the issue of core and jacket seperation. However, it is accurate and works as designed. If barrier busting is a very low priority on your list this bullet could serve you well.

Federal Premium 135gr Personal Defense Hydra-Shok

The ammo was just as accurate as the Remington. It was a severe disapointment other wise.

One round only expanded to .42" and penetrated 19 & 1/4". You might as well fire .40S&W fmj. The other round failed to expand and exceeded 24" of penetration. The bullet was not recovered. Not a great performance by any stretch when you're paying $21 for 20 rounds.

I can not recomend these to anyone.

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MikeNice
October 21, 2011, 05:06 PM
I hit reply a little early. So this is the rest of our data.

Winchester USA 147gr JHP

They were easy to shoot and accurate. Other than that they were a complete failure. No expansion was evident and both rounds penetrated over 22". Over penetration is a real concern with these rounds.

Winchester 115gr Silvertip

Yes they are still in production and available for purchase. They also perform exactly as I expected.

Both rounds expanded even after passing through the cloth. Both rounds also failed to meet the minimum FBI requirements. One round penetrated to 10 & 5/16" while expanding to .57". The other penetrated 9 & 15/16" while expanding to .61".

I can see someone comfortably carrying these. They aren't hard to shoot well, they work, and they are all over the Hornady for accuracy. You can get nearly the same performance from Speer Gold Dot .380 ammo though.

Speer Gold Dot 124gr

The Gold Dot is considerred to be the gold standard by many. I must say I was suprised by the performance. I expected more expansion and less penetration from a 124gr 9mm.

One round penetrated 17" while only expanding to .52". The second round penetrated 17 & 5/8" with an expanded diameter of .50".

I don't know what to say. I was completely floored by the results. Firing three more rounds showed no improvement in performance.

Winchester 147gr Ranger Bonded

The round was less accurate than the Hornady or Remington. However, accuracy variances were so small it may have been human error.

Both rounds expanded to .60". One round penetrated 15 & 3/4" and the other penetrated 15 & 7/8". I found the amazingly consistent performance suprising. One round looked like there was nearly no "core" inside the jacket. The other had significantly more lead in the middle and had spots with no copper colored jacket. Still they performed or out performed Winchester published specs for heavy cloth.

I will continue to carry these in my CZ.

My Conclusion

A lot of bullets don't perform the way we expect. It may have something to do with our 3.5" test barell. I still urge others to try out their ammo before carrying it though.

hatt
October 21, 2011, 05:24 PM
I still urge others to try out their ammo before carrying it though.
There's not too much to try out as far as terminal performance. No one is going to be attacked by bundled up plastic pails full of water and newspaper. And few have the resources to conduct a proper test. We're left with looking at the test results from people who can conduct tests properly.

MikeNice
October 22, 2011, 12:19 AM
No one is going to be attacked by gel either. At the very least the test proves that there is a pretty big difference in performance between rounds in the same medium.

The thing is, using this water and shredded paper set up got numbers pretty close to the posted performance from Winchester, Remington, and test results posted on Shawn Dodson's website. 9mm data (http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/9mm.htm)

People can wait for somebody else to tell them what to do, or they can try to find out for their self. My method isn't as scientific as casting a perfect gel block. I don't claim that it is as accurate either. I claim that it fairly well represents whether or not the round will work and the difference between rounds.

My test, nor gel, are actually designed to simulate a shot to the human torso. Several engineers and scientist have noted that gel most closely resembles the human thigh if anything. So, you can wait for somebody to tell you what might happen if you shoot a guy in the thigh, or you can test it yourself to see what happens in a less than 100% water environment. Your choice. I chose to see what the bullets I carry do,

gvf
October 22, 2011, 03:40 AM
Let me say sorry right away. Sorry. There are no pictures available because I forgot to charge my cell phone last night.

Me and a friend decided to test out the penetration and expansion of a few rounds. With winter coming clothing is changing. So, why not see which rounds do through local winter wear? For our winter wear we put a t-shirt under a "sweat shirt" and medium density polyster "fleece" pullover. It was all draped over 1 gallon plastic ice cream buckets that had been filled with water and wet newspaper. The buckets were set up top to bottom on their sides. This was done to provide consistent depth regardless of where the bullet hit. Similar rigs with milk jugs have provided numbers similar to gel test of the same bullet "model" bfore. So, the test was taken as being fairly accurate.

We used a Smith & Wesson 908 as our test gun. We fired from 18 feet to simulate the width of a master bedroom.

Hornady 124gr Custom
This ammo was about as accurate as it gets. Point of aim and point of impact matched nearly perfectly shooting free hand. That gave the ammo a big plus in my book. I was a little upset over the performance though.

The two rounds we fired failed to penetrate even 11". One came to rest at 10 & 3/16". The second achieved 10 & 1/16". They opened up completely achieving .53" of expanded diameter. I say completely because the petals were folded back completely. It was obvious that the bullet couldnt expand much if any more.

So, they will work and they are accurate. Both are very important in any round. I would be hesitant to carry them because they fell way short of the FBI standard.

Remington Golden Saber 124gr+p

The bullet was accurate enough. At 6 yards it will get pretty much as close as human error allows. It was slightly further off than the Hornady. Then again, we're talking differences of about 1/8" or less.

The two rounds we fired expanded to about .55". One round penetrated to 13 & 7/8". The other round achieved a full 14" of penetration. To nobody's suprise the core and jacket of both rounds seperated. The jacket was about 1" behind the core with both rounds.

Despite the age of the design the bullet performed reasonably well. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable with it. With the core and jacket seperation it probably isn't a bullet for barrier busting. Some shooters don't believe that is a concern for civilians, they should be fine with this round.

Remington Golden Saber 147gr
I was anticipating this test. I like 147gr 9mm ammo. It usually does well with barriers and provides great penetration. Expansion is usually slightly sacrificed, but I can live with that.

The bullet was just as acurate as the +p version. The expansion suprised me though. One round expanded to .60" and the other expanded to .66". However the penetration came in at only 13 & 1/4" for both rounds. At first we thought we had gotten confused about which rounds we were shooting.

To make sure we had the information correct we fired two more 147gr rounds. We got nearly identical results. Both bullets expanded between .60" and .66" while travelling less than 13.5" in to the test medium. Some how Remington got the formula backwards.

This round should work just fine for most shooters. There is still the issue of core and jacket seperation. However, it is accurate and works as designed. If barrier busting is a very low priority on your list this bullet could serve you well.

Federal Premium 135gr Personal Defense Hydra-Shok

The ammo was just as accurate as the Remington. It was a severe disapointment other wise.

One round only expanded to .42" and penetrated 19 & 1/4". You might as well fire .40S&W fmj. The other round failed to expand and exceeded 24" of penetration. The bullet was not recovered. Not a great performance by any stretch when you're paying $21 for 20 rounds.

I can not recomend these to anyone.
Boy, we wear parkas in the winter where I live. Wonder what penetrates THAT?

I just ccw a snub, pocket holster in the parka pocket if I'm outside a bit. Buffalo Bore ammo, hardened wadcutter or hollowed very soft lead bullet, both are 38 Special - I have older snubs, not supposed to use +p - anyway, standard 38 in Buffalo Bore is hot enough - wouldn't want to shoot Buffalo Bore 38 spl +p out of a snub. (Both of these standard 38s penetrate gelatin about 18")

MikeNice
October 22, 2011, 04:31 AM
Penetration isn't exactly a problem. The hollow point clogging and retarding or eliminating expansion is usually the problem.

All of them worked except for the Winchester USA and Federal Hydra-Shock 135gr. Besides those two they all do the job, just to varying degrees. I believe it boils down to the design of the bullet and not really the clothing barrier. Now the question is, if I run the test again with just a t-shirt for a barrier will anything change?

MikePaiN
October 22, 2011, 07:25 AM
Jeez.....so far the replies have been pretty harsh :mad:

I want to say thanks for all the hard work and testing. I thought the read was informative.

We "Mikes" have too stick together ;)

Mike1234567
October 22, 2011, 03:22 PM
^^^ Says yoo!! Most Mikes I know are pretty "dodgy". :D

Bobson
October 22, 2011, 04:04 PM
Not to be a jerk or anything, but I don't really see how this test could have even been expected to produce quantifiable results, much less replicate expectations in any particular bullet types/brands.

Just as an example, of the Hornady 124 grain Custom, OP mentioned:
The two rounds we fired failed to penetrate even 11". . . . So, they will work and they are accurate. Both are very important in any round. I would be hesitant to carry them because they fell way short of the FBI standard.
Then again, the FBI doesn't test by shooting into plastic jugs filled with water and newspaper, so that's a moot point. For all we know, under normal conditions (shooting actual people), this round may have been the most effective. Is that likely? Probably not. But you definitely can't know for sure, based on this arbitrary test.

There was no way for you to know that your test medium (in this case, plastic jugs filled with water and newspaper) would replicate a human body, or ballistic gel for that matter, with any sort of accuracy. While it did serve as a great way to stop rounds, you should have expected that penetration and expansion would both be pretty haywire. Shooting through a couple of shirts probably made no difference whatsoever.

Edit: At a minimum, I think if the test were repeated using the same gun, the same rounds, the same distances, etc, etc, but the rounds fired into a ballistic gel or something similar, I would be surprised if the results were even slightly similar to those posted here.

MikeNice
October 22, 2011, 04:46 PM
You know what, forget it. You guys are right. The test was just a pointless way to waste a day. I'm sorry I thought it might be interesting or informative. Please forgive me for sharing.

I never said it was exactly like ballistics gel or any part of the human body. I said it previous versions of the test it had been fairly accurate. If you check the numbers against available data it is pretty close. I don't believe your bullet will behave exactly the same way in a body. I don't believ a bullet in to gel predicts action in the body. Gel simulates thigh muscle. It is just an engineering tool to compare bullets in a controlled manner.

I do believe that my results show what different bullets do when shot in to the same medium. To me the numbers are close enough to the available data that a bullet not getting 12" bothers me. I shouldn't have said FBI standard it was just a way of communicating an idea in a way most people understand.

I will not make the mistake of burdening you guys with my bandwidth wasting test results in the future.

Mike1234567
October 22, 2011, 04:58 PM
MikeNice... Don't let a few nay-sayers crap on your tests. Some folks have no sense of appreciation or common decency.

Bobson
October 22, 2011, 05:56 PM
MikeNice... Don't let a few nay-sayers crap on your tests. Some folks have no sense of appreciation or common decency.
Nobody rolled in here laughing at this guy or calling him names. There wasn't any personal attack taking place.

Flaws were simply pointed out. No need to take it personally. High Road doesn't mean, be kind and encouraging, even if it requires dishonesty. The truth is only useful if it comes with a coke and a smile.

MikeNice
October 22, 2011, 08:20 PM
Edit: At a minimum, I think if the test were repeated using the same gun, the same rounds, the same distances, etc, etc, but the rounds fired into a ballistic gel or something similar, I would be surprised if the results were even slightly similar to those posted here.


It isn't about name calling or not. I pointed out the flaws at the very begining. I said the results were similiar, and that it was taken as fairly accurate. That means me and the person doing the test assumed it was fairly accurate. It doesn't mean that Fackler, Ayoob, or anyone else is going to back it. It doesn't even mean the average person should take it as gospel.

Then people make the statement like the one quoted here. I posted a link to scientific data from FirearmsTactical.com. If you check the numbers our numbers were close. You highly doubt something, but have you checked it against anything?

Check it against the available data. It would be much better to say, "hey I checked the link, maybe it is a fluke that you got so close because. . ." Instead people are dismissing it completely out of hand. It is symptomatic of a much bigger problem in the gun world. There seems to be a cult of personality around supposed experts and methods. If something doesn't agree with the expert or isn't an approved method it is dismissed as ignorant or useless.

Even if the numbers were a hundred miles off, it is useful for comparing the performance of same caliber bullets. Nobody takes this type of test, wet pack, juice bottle, or fity gallon drum tests as gospel. It is simply a way of testing bullets against each other in a single medium. I use this method instead of 100% water because 100% water exagerates performance in the extreme.

J2FLAN
October 22, 2011, 09:23 PM
Good job MIKENICE
I would like to see more folks post results of test like you did. Test like that help ones like me see results of different ammo used. As a result of your post and the replys I am going to test my SD ammo just to see how it does, though maybe useing a different media with heavy clothes as a wrap.

MikePaiN
October 22, 2011, 10:50 PM
MikeNice.....Next week myself and a few buds from a local forum are getting together to test caliber muzzle velocities of different weight bullets from carbines vs. pistols
Just for you I'm going to post the results here....and I even hope this will yank a few a-holes' chains :neener:

MikeNice
October 22, 2011, 11:52 PM
I can't wait to see the results. I've been pondering a pistol caliber carbine. It will be interesting to see if the numbers show a big difference in performance.

Shadow 7D
October 23, 2011, 12:22 AM
The point of these test are that they offer a relative (mostly to each other) way of comparing bullets vs. heavy clothes

And they showed that some bullets are prone to clogging and failing to expand.

PabloJ
October 23, 2011, 01:16 AM
Ole' security service fella from Eastern Europe told me long ago that if one stood three people one behind the other they could all be killed with one round from TT-33. You can buy pistol, holster, 2 mags and cleaning rod for about $250.

mio
October 23, 2011, 10:03 AM
great test! if you do it with .357mag let me know id like to see the results.

ku4hx
October 23, 2011, 10:47 AM
Very interesting data; some comparative data here:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/ammodata.htm

and here:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/9mm%20Luger.html

willypete
October 23, 2011, 03:31 PM
MikeNice: thank you for using your time and resources to conduct this test. I don't think anyone is going out of their way to be rude to you, just that people are used to seeing ballistic tests done in a variety of ways, and your way might not be theirs, so they ding you for what they deem "inconsistencies" or failings of your tests.

Personally, I take all these tests with a grain of salt, as no one's going to be attacked by gelatin, jugs of water, wet newspaper (my preferred expansion medium ;)), wet sand/sawdust/clay/etc. To me, the most important information is hollowpoint performance in the face of layers of clothing, which I think you've addressed quite well. Thank you.

Realistically, the only performance data that matters is gained from use on a living human target. Everything else is a model, and as I've heard before, "all models are wrong, but some are useful."

shadow9
October 24, 2011, 03:43 AM
willy - agreed.
Mike, Thank you, it seems like this long-time .40 shooter may be going 9mm. Post very informative. It doesn't give scientific fact, but golly it lets us know what's what in the MARKET these days. Something gel, phone-books, or anything is gonna say. If GS's separated in your test, likely they will elsewhere. Hydras didn't open? Also likely. GD's performed great? Same story, glad it's still workin' right... :P

A request - similar test but with a THICK winter coat? I come from the northlands, and most of our potential perps wear thick beefy coats...and I'm hesitant of flying ashtrays for a new purchase, and heard the internet yadda that "JHP's pack in the fabric and fail to expand"...though I can't entirely believe that...

Robert B
October 24, 2011, 04:19 PM
Why doesn't firearms and tactical ever gel test any new loads? Everything on that site is from the 90's.

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