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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Clear Gel Terminal Testing Federal Premium 45 Auto 230 Grain HST

This was a follow up test of this load in the Clear Ballistics Gel test media.  Two weeks ago I published test results for this load that was shot into the SIM-TEST media.  You can see that report HERE.  I was really disappointed that the SIM-TEST was too soft for the test and penetration values were not accurate.  Since it tested well in the SIM-TEST, I wanted to try it again in the clear gel.

One other thing to mention about the previous test.  When I wrote up the recap I mentioned that I cut the HST 230 Grain +P load because it didn't have a significant velocity increase over the standard pressure loading.  In reality, the rounds I thought were standard pressure were really a mix of standard pressure and +P.  I had purchased two very cheap boxes of standard pressure HST with labels on them that the brass had incorrect head stamps.  Some had the +P designation and some did not.  The box flap specified standard pressure, but the velocity results lead me to believe they were primarily +P rounds.

This test was done with a new box of standard pressure that did not have the cheaper price or warning label attached.  Based on the velocity test, I believe these were indeed the standard pressure load.
  
Pistol Specs:
Springfield XDs 45 3.3" Barrel


Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at the end of a Clear Ballistics Gel block.  I take the shot from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 2 inches away from the block.  Clear Ballistics Gel is calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the block at the range and then bring it home to analyze the block and recover the bullets.  Immediately prior to the terminal test, I shoot a five shot velocity test string from 8 feet over a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital chronograph.

The video below documents my entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.



My Thoughts:
When I started testing the 230 grain 45 ACP loads, in short barrel pistols, I as a bit skeptical about velocity and expansion.  In this test we have a good example of a standard pressure round that had no problems opening up at less than 800 feet per second.  Even with the lower velocity and full expansion, the bullet penetrated more than 12" into the clear gel.  Retained weight was also excellent.

Based on the three criteria of expansion, penetration depth, and weight retention this was my most successful 230 grain standard pressure test so far from the short 3.3" test barrel.  Now that I've found the source of my error in my initial SIM-TEST test, I think I will circle back on the +P version of this load and see what the extra 50 to 60 feet per second will add to expansion and penetration.     


Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

12 comments:

  1. Hey Bruce,

    Nice test man. Are those petals at all sharp?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Not pointy sharp, but kind of sharp around the edges.

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    2. I tend to prefer Ranger-T, personally, because of the perpendicular talons....nasty.

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  2. Would like to see video you shooting the +P version from the "little" gun. I shot the +P HST in a Glock 21, and the muzzle flip was best described as "substantial." I decided that although the performance of that load was pretty awesome, it might be "too much of a good thing," and carried the standard pressure HST, before finally going to a Glock 17 and Gold Dot 124gr +P.

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  3. I got 856 fps out of my 4.5" Commander. Recoil is very manageable.

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  4. Bruce--

    Any chance of a retest of these rounds using the 4 layer denim protocol?

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    Replies
    1. Next test will be stress test with leather and denim.

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  5. Bruce -

    Very nice! When do you expect to post those results? That will be from the xd-s right?

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  6. Hey Brad. I still need to run the test, but will be doing so soon.

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    Replies
    1. Bruce,

      Can't wait. Your stress test protocol is very realistic. It will be interesting to see how expansion is affected. I'm predicting that penetration will be more around 14" or 15", with expansion in the mid-to-high 0.6" range.

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  7. Given the recalls and Problems with Federal ammo, is anyone really willing to trust this ammo?

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    Replies
    1. I've found HST to be some of the best performing ammunition available at the present time. I have not tested everything, but I've tested quite a few. I'm willing to trust it daily, but that's my personal choice.

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