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Gel test: 38 spl 135 gr +P (redux)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by chopinbloc, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    I did a previous test with Speer .38 spl +P 135 gr Gold Dot from my S&W 638 and it had less than stellar results. This load is supposed to be one of the few recommended loads for a short barreled .38 revolver and it did not perform as expected. I thought it might have something to do with the colder temperatures the day we did the testing so I redid the test. I left the revolver and ammo in the refrigerator overnight and kept it in the cooler on the way out, then fired a couple shots with it cold and one with it warm. I also fired a shot from a 4" GP-100. All shots were through four layers of denim and impact velocities are noted.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ukjPssIYQ
     
  2. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    More interesting results. Not quite the scientific method, but you got some repeatable and unusual outcomes; broadens the overall body of tests on this round and lends to the discussion.

    Thank you for taking the time and sharing.
     
  3. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    Yeah, I wish I had the resources to test this properly but I just don't. To set up a proper test and control, you'd have to ensure that the gun and ammunition were actually at the target temperature for each shot and shoot a statistically relevant sample size with time to cool between each shot. I think that what I did is nowhere near controlled enough to be conclusive but I think it indicates this load may be somewhat sensitive to temperature. I really hope a professional takes the time to test this load at low temperature so we can know for sure whether it can be trusted for carry in the winter. What good is a round that can only penetrate heavy clothing if it has to be hot to do it?

    I don't think I'll be testing this anymore unless we have another cold snap. Next up will be Buffalo Bore 158 gr LSWCHP.
     
  4. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    Seems as though it will penetrate well, just not expand. In some regards, I'll take that over early expansion at the expense of penetration, though obviously neither is ideal.

    Will you be testing the BB +P or standard pressure?
     
  5. JellyJar

    JellyJar Senior Member

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    Interesting!

    Looks like you could almost measure the temperatures by measuring how much bullet expansion took place.
     
  6. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    Hapworth,

    Sorry. I don't know why I typed that. I meant expand through heavy clothing. Obviously it penetrates adequately. I agree that if given a choice between expansion and penetration, I'll take penetration every time. Speer's tests indicate that this load is capable of adequate penetration with expansion.

    The BB load I have is +P.

    JellyJar,

    I actually fired a couple more rounds that aren't shown in the video. I could clearly see the velocity rising with each shot as the cylinder warmed up.
     
  7. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Senior Member

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    Actually, the velocity from the 4" barrel is surprisingly respectable. I've long turned my nose up at the .357 version (990fps in a world of 1100 fps 158 gr buffalo bore .38s did nothing to excite me), but your results make me want to chrono the .357 version out of a service weapon just for giggles.

    Interesting stuff.
     
  8. Indifferent

    Indifferent Member

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    I actually would be interested to know what Speer thinks about this.
     
  9. JJE

    JJE Member

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    Your results (inconsistent expansion) confirm why I gave up on 2" revolvers altogether, and decided my 3" SP101 was going to be the smallest revolver I'd use for SD. I originally loaded the 135+P GD SB in the SP101 (hoping for similar results to what you got with your GP100). After seeing various test results for Hornday's Critical Defense ammo, I've gone to the 110+P Critical Defense to hopefully improve the chances of the bullet expanding as designed.

    Thanks for sharing your results.
     
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Member

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    Actually, I would like to see the results from a short barrel from a different revolver. I have a feeling that revolver has a slow barrel.
     
  11. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    ArchAngel, please note the chrono data. Velocity was 880fps after the revolver and ammo had warmed up to ambient temperature. That is consistent with what Speer claims and what others have verified in normal test conditions.
     
  12. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

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    I have a suggestion. How about trying the Buffalo Bore 150 gr hard cast wad cutter. Cuts a great wound and penetration is much better that any hollow point. The velocity is right a 800 to 850. In a short barrel revolver this should have a better track record.
    Howard
     
  13. ACP

    ACP Senior Member

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    +1 on roaddog28's suggestion
     
  14. Resto Guy

    Resto Guy Member

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    I've been carrying the Speer Gold Dot 135 in my 642 J frame and recently started carrying it in my 4" Rossi. I'm no expert on ballistics, but that looks like a pretty impressive difference to me.
     
  15. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    Roaddog, you buyin'?
     
  16. F-111 John

    F-111 John Member

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    Moral of the story: Don't shoot cold bodies.
     
  17. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Senior Member

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    LOL, no it's the temperature of the powder that produced lower velocities, resulting in inadequate expansion. The gelatin is *supposed* to be cold.
     
  18. chuckpro

    chuckpro Member

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    My question is if the lack of expansion is due to the lower velocity or the metallurgy of the bullet when cold.

    But in a real world situation i dont think it matters that much. Gelatin testing is fun but and gives a scientific base line to compare ammo but, unless you plan on shooting a BG in the stomach it does not come close to representing what a projectile would do in a real life. A well placed shot is going to hopefully go through ribs, spinal column, scull or facial tissue.
     

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