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Test By Request: BH 124gr+P GDHP Water/Denim

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Joshua M. Smith, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member

    Handgun: Taurus PT92AF
    Ammunition: Black Hills Gold Dot 124 grain +P
    Test Media: Water jugs, one gallon each, first jug covered with four layers of denim

    I had a request to test some +P Gold Dot ammunition.

    I had on hand some Gold Dots as loaded by Black Hills. The factory claims that these 124 grain bullets scoot along at right around 1,250fps, and though I do not have a chronograph, those who do report that they do at least that velocity.

    The standard setup from the side…

    … and from the front.

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Gold Dot is a popular bullet among several manufacturers and the shooting public. I figured there had to be a reason.

    Here’s the shot. Whoa, look at that jug fly! I’m glad my camera has zoom…

    It shredded the first jug.

    I set the first jug back up with its mates. I was expecting total destruction of the first three jugs and deep penetration.

    I’m not seeing, upon first glance, the total water and plastic carnage I had come to expect from the hype. My first thought was, “It didn’t even make it to the third jug???

    Hmm… strange, for a legendary bullet.

    It actually made it into the third jug, barely. I found it intact in approximately the middle of the third jug.

    It turns out the Gold Dot, driven to around 1250fps, will only penetrate about 15 inches of water, or approximately seven to nine inches of ordnance gelatin.

    After I got inside…

    I will say this for the bullet: It’s commendable how well it held together.

    Expansion was approximately .63”. Not the best I’ve seen, but far from the worst.

    Here are the numbers for the Black Hills 124gr +P GDHP loading:

    Expansion was about .63”.
    Penetration was about 15” of water plus four layers of denim.

    I can’t help but compare that to other loads I’ve tested. Here are a couple other rounds tested, numbers according to the notes I took right after the test:

    The Remington 124 grain +P Bonded Golden Saber expanded to about .75”, though it did show fragmentation of the hollowpoint. However, the first two jugs were torn up equally, indicating that it fragmented mainly in the first 12” of water. It continued on, destroying all five jugs after defeating the denim, though it only destroyed the last jug by cutting it as it deflected off an angle. Total penetration was 24+” of water, or 12” inches of gelatin.

    The Remington 115 grain standard hollowpoint, standard pressure, showed an energy dump in the first two jugs, as did the Gold Dot, and expanded to about .50”, just a shade less than the Gold Dot. Penetration was right at 18” of water, three jugs after defeating the four layers of denim. This equates to nine to 11” of penetration in ballistic gelatin.

    The Gold Dot did not expand as much as the Bonded Golden Saber, nor did it penetrate nearly as much. It looks as if it is approximately equal to the Remington 115 grain standard pressure in penetration, though it did show a bit more expansion.

    After reviewing this load, I simply cannot recommend it above either of the loads to which I compared it. It does not have penetration superior to either loading, and it falls between the two in expansion. Additionally, it has more muzzle blast and recoil than either loading.

    I believe that while the Gold Dot is a good bullet, it’s no longer superior to most state-of-the-art loads as the above test shows. It’s not past its prime, but there are better loads out there. However, if it’s your cup of tea, you’re not handicapped by carrying it.

    Josh <><
  2. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Well-Known Member

    Thank you sir.

    If you are willing, I'd be interested in seeing how well various caliber generic jhp from Wal-Mart function in short barrel sidearms.

    There are lots of caliber chices available from 38 spcl to 45 acp. It would be an expensive and time consuming project.

    I can't help with the time, but I'd be more than happy to help with the purchase price of the ammunition. It seems reasonable that, if we are going to ask you to do stuff like this, you oughta get some help with ammo expense.

    Others may be willing to help also.

    You'd have to drink LOTS of milk though.


    send me a PM and let me know what you think.
  3. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Well-Known Member

    Bearing in mind...one of the main objections to CCWing 9mm is overpenetration, even with HP projectiles.

    The Gold Dot was specifically designed to be nose-soft for rapid expansion and moderate penetration, while also not falling apart like the BGS did. Unless you're shooting at a 24"+ thick bad guy, I'd much rather have immediate energy dump via the Gold Dot, than having to worry "what's behind the bad guy?" in a self-defense situation.

    Now, for woods carry in 9mm, those Remingtons are worth a look!

  4. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Well-Known Member

    I've found that the Gold Dot penetrates more when it isn't driven so fast. Doing similar tests, I usually find the slug in the fourth jug, having dented the rear.

    I don't think there is a bullet that's best for all uses and situations.

    Nice test! Thanks for posting it.
  5. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member

    That's my hypothesis, Fumegator. The gunshop that carried standard Gold Dots closed, and I'm currently trying to find more locally (I don't order from the 'net). I appreciate the info, and look forward to trying it myself.

    Josh <><
  6. Dean407

    Dean407 Well-Known Member

  7. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member


    Most of the time it's cheaper to buy locally. The gunshop owner gets it directly from the regional supplier (and I do mean directly - he travels all over the States to get different things, and the ammo just happens to be on his route).

    When it's not cheaper to buy locally, well... I still don't want my dollars to go to inflated shipping costs. Without going too much into politics, which I try to avoid discussing, I believe that the shipping companies use a scare tactic to justify artificially inflating shipping costs, making a bunch of rich guys richer. That's something I won't bow to.

    Josh <><
  8. Kilgor

    Kilgor Well-Known Member

    My experience with Georgia Arms +P 124 GD in a 3.5" barreled gun is that it always makes it to the 4th milk jug.

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