Round 7 - Denim testing, 9mm, 45 acp, 357 magnum

Testing was done with a Beretta 92fs, S&W 686 6" 357 magnum, and a Springfield XD 45acp 5".  Altitude was approximately 5200 feet, and temperature was about 90 degrees.  Phone books were soaked for 18 hours, and had both front and back covers removed.  Jean leggings were used for denim testing, and were folded over to present 4 layers of denim (basically, the bullet had to cross the front and back part of both legs).  Bullets were fired from about 10 feet away.  For each test, I fired two identical rounds.  A final note, I'd like to thank the Glock Talk member who's name I have forgetten who sent me the denim for testing over a year ago.  My apologies for not having this done sooner.

For 45 acp, I used the following rounds.

230gr Federal HST, standard pressure, factory load.
230gr Speer Gold Dot, 5.3gr of W231.
230gr Remington Golden Saber, 5.3gr of W231.

I did not chrono the reloaded JHP's, but based on my prior testing, I believe they were doing about 850-900fps.  Since this is fairly warm compared to non +p factory ammo, I feel that my reloads would compare about the same to factory ammo using the same bullet.

For 9mm, I used the following rounds.

127gr Winchester Ranger T, +p+ pressure, factory load.
147gr Federal HST, standard pressure, factory load.
147gr Winchester Black Talon, standard pressure, factory load.

For 357 magnum, I used the following rounds.

158gr Speer Gold Dot, loaded by Double Tap.  Does about 1400fps based on prior testing out of my 686.
125gr Remington Golden Saber, standard pressure, factory load.


Results:

.  

9mm observations:
The HST performaned as expected.  In other words, fairly deep with excellent expansion.  The one HST did look pretty deformed, but it was intact, so I have no doubts it would of done the job on a hostile.  The Ranger's kinda surprised me this time.  Shot #1 was very deformed, the core was almost bent back on itself.  Shot #2 suffered a core/jacket separtion.  I've seen this before with the ultra high speed Rangers, but the surprise factor was how badly bent back the sharp petals were on both rounds.  This cut down on their overall expansion compared to the HST's, but gave some really deep penetration. I believe that these rounds during this test spent excessive amounts of  energy penetrating at the cost of expanding.  I suspect the 147gr Rangers would work a lot better, something to test in my next round of denim shots.  Finally the Black Talons.  Despite the MASSIVE hype I've heard about these rounds, they didn't do anything really shocking.  They penetrated and expanded ok, but not near as good as the more modern rounds.  I'm not real surprised about this result, though I admit the Black Talons did perform better then I would of guessed.  

As a final note, both the HST's and Rangers had a LOT of wet shredded phone book stuck to them.  I wonder if this means that a real life hostile would have a lot of shredded tissue as a result, and if this would lead to quicker incapacitation or not.  Something for the trauma surgeons to answer.

9mm numerical results and explanations: 
All measurements in inches.  Because the Rangers and Talons expanded in a weird way, I measured their expansion by how wide the lead core was, and how wide the sharp petals were.  Unlike Golden Sabers or the HST's, the petals on the Ranger and Talon rounds are pretty narrow, and in my opinion, don't really make for a wider wound channel.  For Ranger #1, I took 2 measurements of the jacket, as its really managled and measures differently in various spots.  

Ranger 127gr
Shot 1
Ranger 127gr
Shot 2
HST 147gr
Shot 1
HST 147gr
Shot 2
Black Talon 147gr
Shot 1
Black Talon 147gr
Shot 2
Penetration    12 1/2 8 1/2 jacket 11.0 core 8.5 8.5 8 3/4 8 1/2
Expansion .45 core
.60 jacket
.77 jacket
.53 core
.67 jacket
.78 .68 .55 core
.68 jacket
.55 core
.66 jacket


9mm pictures:

Black Talon 147gr



Ranger 127gr



HST 147gr





45acp observations:
The 45 HST's worked even better then I had expected.  Good penetration, and massive expansion.  They didn't even seem to notice the denim at all.  The Gold Dots did about what I expected, deep penetration and moderate to good expansion.  I wonder how they would do if loaded really hot.  Another idea for the next batch of tests.  Golden Sabers in 45acp seem to do better then they do in 9mm.  The HST's and Golden Sabers showed a LOT of shredded phone book on their petals, similar to what I saw in 9mm.


45 acp numerical results and explanations: 
All measurements in inches.  

Gold Dot 230gr Shot1 Gold Dot 230gr Shot2 HST 230gr
Shot 1
HST 230gr
Shot 2
Golden Saber 230gr
Shot 1
Golden Saber 230gr
Shot 2
Penetration  8 1/2 9 3/4 8 1/4 8 3/4 8 1/2 8 1/2
Expansion .74 .72 .90 .83 .73 .72


45acp pictures:
Bullet on the left is shot 1, and bullet on the right is shot 2.

Gold Dot 230gr




Golden Saber 230gr.



HST 230gr




357 magnum results:
The 357 magnum 158gr loads blew threw the denim, more then 14" of soaked phone books, and continued down range on both rounds.  Based on the exit holes, I do believe they had expanded to some degree.  There was MASSIVE shredding and wound cavaties of the phone books, which makes me suspect the strech cavaity these suckers would make in ballistic gel would be hugely impressive.  After this test, the rearest phone book was too badly damaged in my opinion for further testing (none of the 45acp or 9mm rounds had reached the rearest book), so I discarded it.  I then fired my 125gr 357 mag golden saber rounds.  These cleared about 11" of phone books, also shredding the "new" rear book, which pretty much ended my testing for the day.  None of these 4 rounds were recovered.  Based on what I saw with the 158gr DT load, I think these might be a good load for dangerous critters like mountain lions, small bears, etc.  I will definitily get a LOT more phone books, and retest these.

Bonus testing:

After I was done testing the pistol rounds, I decided on a lark to grab my 16" AR, and pump some of my plinking rounds into the phone books.  My 223 target loads are a 55gr Hornady FMJ round on top of 24.5gr of AA2230 powder.  Does about 3000fps give or take out of my gun.  The 223 tore wide cavaties in the phone book, and towards the end, you could see that the round was starting to fragment and really shred the hell out of it.  Was very impressive visually.  I also found several water jugs of various sizes at the range that someone had been nice enough to fill up.  I grabbed 3 of em, lined them up, and shot a round into them.  About the 3rd jug, I saw a pile of bullet fragments, and a nasty shotgun like pattern on the rear of the jug.  As I was hoping to see, the bullet had fragmented (visually I'd say it exploded) at about the beginning of the 3rd jug.  I've always read and heard that certain types of 223 will fragment and cause horrible wounds if pushed fast enough ( see http://ammo.ar15.com for a really good writeup on how this works ) and this quick and dirty test sure reinforces that.  Another idea for a future test.