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Practical Bullet Testing

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Aaryq, Jul 27, 2007.

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  1. Aaryq

    Aaryq Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    ND Resident, Stationed out of CA, Moving to NC
    Howdy folks. My American Rifleman magazine came in a few days ago and I was paging through it. I found an article on practical bullet testing (because we all can't afford ballistics gelatin) for the common shooter. The medums the mentioned were water, paper, clay and wood. I got to thinking (scary thought huh?) when my wife told me that her and my oldest daughter made homemade playdough. How would playdough work for ballistics testing? It's cheap to make (flour, jello, and water) and easy to come by. How much would I need for 9mm (from a pistol) and .22lr/.22 short (from a rifle)? What about for bigger stuff like 20ga, 12ga, .308 win, etc?
  2. CWL

    CWL Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    balistics gelatin doesn't cost much at all, probably the cheapest out of your list -also the most accurate for testing v. human tissue media, you just have to expend the effort to make alot of it.

    It's made using regular cheapo cooking gelatin.

    Use the 'search' function as well as Google.
  3. macmuffy

    macmuffy Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Balistics gel

    Try this recipe;


    1 bottle propreonic acid
    1 bottle Cinnimon Leave oil
    1 or 2 packets of Geletin
    1 Automixer
    1 bucket or pail
    1 eye dropper
    1 set of gloves
    1 fridge

    Mix 10 parts hot water to 3 parts gelatin and mix thoroughly with an auto mixer( NOTE this must be an auto mixer)

    Next add the Cinnamon leave oil which will remove the bubbles, mix thoroughly

    finally add the propionic acid( this is an acid so wear gloves), the acid acts as a preservative.

    Pack this is ice overnight so it can set. U must keep this gel cold or it will melt in the hot sun… so u only have a limited time to use this stuff

    (I swiped the recipe and don't remember where to give proper credit.)

  4. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    If I remember correctly from my younger days, playdough is softer than modeling clay (tastes better too :eek:) so penetration may be a little exaggerated. I'd start with a 10" thick block of it and see what the .22 does. One benefit of that over gelatin is I would think you could just smash it back together and shoot it again. Kind of hard to see what the bullet did over it's path though unless you have some way of making the stuff translucent.
  5. Patchbunny

    Patchbunny Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    The reason why using clay is not advised as a testing medium is your expansion and penetration will not reflect actual performance. Clay tends to overexaggerate expansion, and is not recommended.

    1/2 gallon juice/milk cartons are a very quick and easy way to capture bullets. If you have a garage, build a trough and fill it with gallon ziplock bags filled with water. If you're trying to capture expanding handgun bullets, 2 ft has been plenty in my experience.
  6. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

    Apr 9, 2006
    gunblast guys have used smoked/cured virginia ham to see what bullets may or may not do on live game. So you may want to go see if your local butcher or grocery store has any left over hams that have gone multi color for free.

    The only thing wood is useful for is seing how much of it will be penetrated using the old british style system of 1 inch thick pine planks at set distances apart from each other.
    Ive shot alot at stumps and pieces of logs. 240 grain LRN from a 44 magnum just blow a nice little crater into the face of the wood you hit but the bullet just dissapears. 12 guage slugs do the same.
  7. 3rdpig

    3rdpig Member

    Sep 13, 2004
    You don't need ballistics gelatin to compare one bullets performance to another, any unflavored gelatin will do, Macmuffy's recipe is probably as good as the one I normally use, if not better. To make any comparison valid you need to make each batch uniform and keep the temps uniform as well. This will allow you to compare one bullet to another, but of course your tests cannot be compared to anyone else's unless they're using the same formulation at the same temp you are.

    If you want to get realistic as possible make a visit to the local thrift store and pick up some old jeans and other clothes to dress your gel in. Also, try setting your gel blocks to assume you've got to shoot through someone's upper arm to get to a vital organ and put the proper layers of clothing in place as well, even go as far as simulating leather jacket, flannel shirt, and T shirt. I did this and soon after I sold the 32's and 380's and won't carry anything less powerful than 9mm or 38 special.
  8. zinj

    zinj Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    That wouldn't be accurate, cooking significantly changes the properties of meat, especially the elasticity and strength of it. Think of biting through a cooked chicken breast versus a raw one.
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