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Barrel of water for expansion testing?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Steve H, May 22, 2012.

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  1. Steve H

    Steve H Member

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    I have seen a few You Tube Videos where a 55 gallon drum full of water is used to test HP expansion. In the video the shooter stands on a ladder and is a few feet above the barrel. Have any of you done this? Seems to me that there is a possibility of things going wrong doing this. Any thought or opinions?
     
  2. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    You're gonna get wet...

    Trust me...
     
  3. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    Over the years I have tried many ways to test bullet expansion using water, including shooting down into large containers of water, lined up water jugs, etc.

    Some years back I settled on using a single one gallon plastic water jug backed up by a box of rags to catch the bullet.

    I found that if a bullet was going to expand it will do so in the first water jug.

    The system, while not perfect, nothing is, is simple and works very well.

    Example, a 45ACP Gold dot and a .223 Remington 55 grain JSP shot from a Kel Tec PLR pistol.

    PLRRemJSPand45GD.gif
     
  4. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Member

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    I use a single water jug (used milk jug with a lil food coloring for added fun) with a medium sized box of sand behind it. It's not ideal but it works and I really only do this when I'm trying out a new round. Shooting from a ladder into a barrel doesn't seem like the brightest ideas but hey to each their own.
     
  5. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    According to a recent Rifleman article, the FBI used to test ammo by firing down into two 55-gal drums they had welded together end-to-end. Shot down from a "sniper tower" on the range.

    At the crime lab, they test fire weapons into a large metal tank of water with a lid and downward-sloping tube to curtail splash-back.
     
  6. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    But were they testing expansion or trying to capture a fired bullet for forensic analysis? A crime lab would obviously do for the latter.
     
  7. pockets

    pockets Member

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    No, but Mythbusters did the same basic thing a long time ago. Probably where the 'YouTube Star' stole his idea.
    Mythbusters did a series of tests to see how far various bullets would travel underwater.
    They built a giant aquarium and planned on shooting down into it from a ladder.
    IIRC: The first shot was from handgun and did okay. Then they split the seams on the tank when they tried a 12ga.
    The tests were finished in a swimming pool, as I recall. The .50 BMG test was spectacular! The bullet simply disintegrated as it entered the water.
    The conclusion being you only had to swim 2 feet underwater to be safe from most handguns.

    .
     
  8. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    Even a 5 gallon bucket of water will stop any hollow point from most pistols...I have done it many times with 9mm, 45acp, and 357 mag.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX!
     
  9. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    The only problem is I don't buy my Milk in 5 gallon jugs.:)

    Here are a series of pictures shooting a 5 gallon water jug.

    The plan was,
    as my friend filmed I'd try to shoot the top half of the jug. Then, if possoble I'd shoot the bottom half of the jug.
    The gun was a Kimber Ultre (3 inch 45ACP).
    The ammo was Aguila 45 IQ.
    It worked out far better than expected.

    The jug sitting at the backstop on my backyard range.
    5galjug1.gif

    The first shot hitting the top half of the jug. The shock of the bullet hitting the water causes the jug to lift up.
    5galjug2.gif

    The jug continues to rise and start a roll to the left.
    5galjug3.gif

    The bottom half of the jug is still full of water.
    5galjug4.gif

    I manage to put the second bullet in the bottom of the jug while it's still in the air and the result is a second water "explosion". :)
    5galjug5.gif


    I wish we had a bunch of 5 gallon plastic water jugs.
     
  10. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    5 gallon buckets are reusable, just leave the lid off...stand on a 6 ft. step ladder and shoot straight down into it...the bucket will be fine as long as you use hollowpoints.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX!
     
  11. Safetychain

    Safetychain Member

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    I tried a 40 gal plastic garbage can with a single layer of blue poly tarp laid loosely over the top to check out the first plated bullets I ever reloaded. This was for a Colt 1911 series 80 shooting 230 grain ball. Shot from about a foot above. Didn't get wet but ruined the trash can (won't hold juicy stuff anymore). It left 8 holes in the bottom and I had to dig a couple of inches down in the ground to find the bullets. If the grooves were not there, I could have reloaded them again. I even did the CSI thing and tried looking for similarities in the rifling. As far as I am concerned, they could have been shot by 8 different guns.
     
  12. Warp

    Warp Member

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    The thing about testing expansion in water is that, relative to tissue, water more readily expands bullets. If a bullet does NOT expand in water, you can count on it not expanding if your life is on the line. The reverse, however, (expansion = expansion) does not seem to necessarily hold true.

    That said if I had a yard or location where I could shoot stuff, I'd be shooting stuff, and water would be one of the targets.
     
  13. Rampant_Colt

    Rampant_Colt Member

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    Fackler Box:

    33e3rbk.jpg

    All ya need are some one-gallon ziplock storage bags and water
     
  14. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    The problem is,
    some bullets I've tested look like they would expand well into a good defense bullet.
    Instead, they surprised me and they didn't expand at all. Just drilled through the water and backstop like a FMJ.

    Any time I pick a new expanding bullet I'll test it in a water jug first. If it doesn't expand in a one gallon jug I don't count on it for a defense load.


    I tried it. Too much trouble and a LOT of plastic bags. One gallon jugs are easier. Plus there is no permanent structure in the back yard that may only get used once in six months.
    Even worse if you have to carry it, water and plastic bags to the range to use it.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  15. Driftertank

    Driftertank Member

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    Never recovered a .45 Hydra-shock, but i always figured, if it turns a plastic gallon milk-jug full of water, into a wet strip of plastic, it's expanding nicely. Hardball doesn't do that.
     
  16. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

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    The hollow tip might just be holding air and causing serious cavitation in the water. It's possible it isn't expanding, just creating a shockwave.
     
  17. dromel

    dromel Member

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    Swimming pool

    I have fired all kinds of pistol rounds into the deep (7 ft) end of my swimming pool and on one occasion watched the rounds with snorkel gear. All of them lost all velocity within 3 or 4 feet and just sank. A couple of JHP's shed their jackets on impact. Gave me something to dive for latter on.
     
  18. Warp

    Warp Member

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    If you are not familiar, look up the Mythbusters episode where they fired into a swimming pool. This was mentioned back in post #7.
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I don't trust water testing much anymore.

    Ran into this last winter while testing Speer short-barrel Gold Dots.
    I'm a wet catalog or wet dirt guy now.
    100_4859.jpg

    rc
     
  20. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    Wet phone books. Hell, they fall out of the sky nearly twice a year straight to you doorstep :D
     
  21. Dean1818

    Dean1818 Member

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    It appears EVERY HP bullet expands well in water.

    To me.... Its not much of a test

    No media is perfect, but I believe that 4 layers of blue jean matierial over ballistic gel
    (or wetpack for us folks that dont have the ballistic gel) gives a much better indicator.

    I have stuffed plastic milk jugs with newspaper strips and soaked overnight, then drained the day of the shoot. I line them up, taping them together. I was able to test multiple rounds for expansion and penetration
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  22. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    All that would tell me, is that I couldn't trust Speer short-barrel Gold Dots to expand in flesh. Wetpack is much more dense and will cause expansion many times when water (or flesh) won't. Good for testing bullet expansion, but worthless in determining whether said bullet will reliably expand in flesh. :rolleyes:
     
  23. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    My only other thought in regards to water is that once you lose the pressure containing it, you may find your results going ary. If your medium explodes in a shower on impact, you aren't likely getting legit pressure. Initially, sure, but once the water has someplace to go, all bets are off.

    Of course, all that may be a moot point if all the expansion occures within that inital impact and I may just be rambling. Just food for thought is all.
     
  24. M7

    M7 Member

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    Lately, I've been attempting to educate myself about terminal ballistics (which is no small task considering the overwhelming noise-to-signal ratio found on many of the gunboards) and have run across several mentions of the use of the "Fackler box".

    Is there some way of determing how far a bullet would go in a human body from such a test? :confused:

    Picked up a few physics books from the library the other day and they don't seem to have much to say about this sort of stuff... :(
     
  25. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    I never thought of shooting into wet dirt. I might have to try that.
     
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