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Homemade ballistic gelatin

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by chopinbloc, Dec 2, 2012.

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  1. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Member

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    Proper ballistic gelatin is made from 250 bloom photographer's gelatin. Problem is, that stuff is fairly expensive. According to Vyse, the gelatin they use is 250 +/- 5, whereas food gelatin is typically 250 +/- 10. There are also variations in other metrics, which you can read about at the link. While these variations may invalidate tests for a ballistics lab, I feel that the results should be close enough as to be useful for the layman to get a general idea of how certain loads perform, especially with cartridges such as the 10mm where there just isn't hardly any good, professional data available. At the very least, the data collected should be far more relevant than water or wet pack and probably more accurate than Simtest or Cleargel. I have verified this by shooting my gelatin with a factory Speer Gold Dot 180 gr .40 S&W and a 75 gr PPU BTHP. In the former case, the result was practically identical to a published FBI test and in the latter case, the results were nearly identical to Molon's (from AR15.com and M4carbine.net) test of the same cartridge. I used grocery store gelatin and had to do some fiddling to get the mix right but was eventually able to get consistent calibration results. Proper calibration is a .177 BB fired at 590 fps +/- 15 fps into a 40 degree block of gelatin. Penetration should fall between 2.95" and 3.75". I initially had some trouble getting the right velocity out of my BB gun but I think I've got it figured out now. Here are some of my tests. Penetration, expansion, retained weight, etc. values are in the descriptions for each video.

    Per request, here is my recipe and procedure:

    I use grocery store unflavored gelatin in a ratio of 45 cups of hot water to 48 oz of gelatin, which yields about 2.5 gallons of the mixture. I've since made another batch for a total of about five gallons. The cost is about $6.50 for an 80z box of gelatin.

    I start by measuring out 45 cups of hot tap water and adding a few drops of bleach (to prevent mold), jet dry (to prevent foaming), and cinnamon oil (to clarify). I then slowly add the gelatin while running the mixer. It's easier to just open all the packets first into a bowl. I try to avoid chunks but I think some are inevitable. Once it's all mixed, it goes into the fridge for about a day. This is necessary to give time for the gelatin to fully hydrate. Then I heat it in a double boiler (actually just a two gallon bucket in a large pot) on the stove to remelt it, stir it well with a long spoon and pour into molds. Then it goes into the refrigerator at 39 degrees F. It needs to refrigerate for at least 3 days to fully cool on the inside. It will need to be calibrated immediately before shooting but you may also want to test it at home to be sure your mix is right before heading out to the range.

    Proper calibration is a .177 cal BB at 590 fps +/- 15 fps and the penetration should be between 2.95" and 3.75". If you make multiple blocks, they must each be calibrated.

    If anyone knows how to embed here, please let me know. Thanks.




    10 mm Precision cartridge 180 gr Golden Saber:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiuvCMsPLGE

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    10 mm 165 gr Hornady Critical Defense:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTndHTYkXCc

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    .22lr CCI Minimag:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISRj9Zb-pzY

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    10mm Underwood 155 gr Gold Dot at 1,148 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRkKoe3g9lA

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    10mm 200 gr XTP over 8.3 gr of 800-X @ 1,140 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEqEC8mZLg0

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    5.56mm 65gr Sierra Game King over 24.0gr of TAC:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PtAG_6NQOQ

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    .223 Rem Prvi Partisan 75 gr BTHP:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTB0sfKF3ec

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  2. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Member

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    10mm CORBON 180 gr BCSP:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wEAPXNAkxY

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    10mm 180 gr Gold Dot @ 1,317 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuGFfgZb5a0

    [​IMG]




    10mm 200 gr XTP @ 1,037 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc3_TaAldVo

    [​IMG]



    10mm Buffalo Bore 180 gr Montana Gold bullet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_m1hgY5-sc

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    10mm 200 gr XTP @ 1,142 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPs2EsdmQS0

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    7.62x39mm fragmentation from steel plate:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNoKHNHuWQk




    .40 S&W Speer 180 gr Gold Dot (factory):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVccgbXxMcs

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]





    10mm 165 gr Gold Dot @ 1,610 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR14jBsZpWk

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    10mm 180 gr XTP @ 1,290 fps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XahzIeDo1Vk

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  3. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    To paraphrase a good movie, " Gump, you are a ____ ____ genius. This is awesome. I will be going grocery shopping this evening. Thanks for posting. Great photos btw.
     
  4. 10 Spot Terminator

    10 Spot Terminator Member

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    Thank You Chopinbloc !

    This has been the the best and easiest thread I have read to date on making ballistic gel. You also showed pics of several of my frequenly used bullets and one that was on my list of ones to get and is now definitely at the top of my list. Hats off to you and others like you who take the time and effort to put together threads like these to share.

    10 Spot
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  5. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Thank you for the great research and the great pictures.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  6. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Member

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    Thank you for the kind words. I'll keep testing as long as Household Six lets me get away with it but if I forget to post a test here, you should still see it on my YouTube channel.
     
  7. dgod

    dgod Member

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    Test Results

    Superb Data, Thank You very much.

    I would like to know more about the UTube Channel, it is new terminology to me.

    Thanks
    Dan
     
  8. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Can the gelatin be re-heated and re-used?
     
  9. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRkKoe3g9lA

    just go to youtube and search for chopinbloc
     
  10. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Member

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    Yes, the gelatin can be reused but you have to do it in a double boiler to prevent the temperature getting over 130 and it gets a little cloudier each time.
     
  11. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    I thought so. Thanks.
     
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