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 Does any1 do penetration tests on their handloads?
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Kosh75287
Advanced Member



USA
796 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2017 :  14:00:22  Show Profile Send Kosh75287 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know that sheer penetration doesn't measure ALL aspects of a particular cartridge's ability to down its target, but it seems that not much good happens when rounds don't penetrate sufficiently. Certainly, this is less critical for someone shooting prairie dogs and other pests, than it is for someone after game-sized and/or very thick-skinned animals. I do a fair amount of handgunning, and the penetrative capacity of those rounds make a diff.

Instead of ballistic gelatin (which I'm never able to afford), I used blocks or boxes of tightly packed water-soaked newsprint in the past. In an age of more virtual and less printed reading material, it's been difficult to collect enough "test media" to evaluate many rounds.

The absence of a private place to shoot has also crimped testing. Most public ranges frown on such tests, even when the used test media is carried away. I haven't figured that one out.

I'm mainly interested in penetration of high(ish)-velocity (for MY purposes over 1100 f/s) cast projectiles from defensive pistols or revolvers. Information on jacketed projectile performance (rifle or pistol) would be welcome, too.

I've owned and shot a Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt for a number of years, and have fed a steady diet of 18.5/2400/250gr. RNFP through it.I have never been able to test it (systematically) for penetration. Anyone who might have used this or a similar load should chime in. I know it has PLENTY for any target I hit, but numbers would be nice.

Does anyone do this? Or is it considered much ado over nothing?

God bless Jeff Cooper

Carpe SCOTCH!

Edited by - Kosh75287 on Sep 07 2017 14:08:01

WonderMan4
Advanced Member

USA
2851 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2017 :  18:00:17  Show Profile Send WonderMan4 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just so happens that I have tested all the handgun bullets that I use....cast and jacketed.

I even did tests on 22 LR years back.

I started using Bentonite, which is a clay material. It can be bought at a lot of Farm & Ranch stores and IIRC I have seen it at a Home Depot. Its used in construction of stock tanks and mixed with the soil will aid in holding water. Aw, crap, I don't need to describe it, just look it up. I mix up wiht water to form the clay like material and you can almost make it as thick or thin as you want it.

As far as testing the bullets, I used my results to gain the alloys that I use.

I remember many years ago when I first started casting, I made a bunch of 44 slugs (actually 0.432") 250 gr and thought I really had something. This was before the common chronograph was made but I was punching them out the barrel pretty good (estimated 1350 fps...remember I said estimated).

I tried to expansion test and after blowing a few through the media, I found no bullets. There was a 20" diameter willow tree near by, so I figured what the heck, and I shot it dead center.

I rammed my rod thru the whole to see how deep it went, and I pushed it all in and it was sticking out the other side. Needless to say, I softened the alloy and began my experimentation with earnest.

Penetration all depends on how hard the alloy is. That is why I do not believe in all the "hardcast" crapola invented by the mass producers.

My 44 mag alloys are at 10-14 BHN depending on what the load is for. I don't simplify my cast bullets by one alloy for all bullets. I cast for what I am shooting.

As far as your 45 Colt loads, your 18.5/2400/250 gr should achieve a minimum of 14" penetration depending on alloy and I would think it would prolly do 16" or better.....in the bentonite media that I use.

My latest endeavor has been a 260 gr cast in 44 Mag at 1275 fps and BHN 10. It will do 16" consistently and expand good at 50 yds. I haven't tested it any farther than that.
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Kosh75287
Advanced Member



USA
796 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2017 :  21:29:47  Show Profile Send Kosh75287 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Wonderman! The 250gr. RNFPs I use in .45 Colt are from Missouri bullets, marked as having a Brinell hardness of 12. I used the 18.5/2400/250 RNFP load on a variety of trees that had to be 15"-18" in diameter, and the projectiles sailed majestically through them (except for that low-rent, drop-kick, knee-lift, rabbit-punch mother-truckin' Bois D'arc tree)!

God bless Jeff Cooper

Carpe SCOTCH!
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WonderMan4
Advanced Member

USA
2851 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2017 :  21:41:04  Show Profile Send WonderMan4 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're welcome. You can figger that if the BHN 12 (I'll bet they are harder) will go thru a tree that size, they will perforate 3 or 4 deer if you gettem all lined up.

Maybe they could hurt the same amount of bad guys too. Last time I checked, trees are much harder that game and BGs.

I have one in my front yard (a Red Maple) that hurts like hell if I happen to not duck when I make a mowing pass close to it.
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