Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thanks Readers for A Great Year


When I started my blog last year, I really didn't have a clear vision of how it would all work.  I barely knew the basics on how to set up and maintain a blog.  I knew even less about the tools needed to create and share the pictures and video required for a visually appealing blog.  I knew the information I wanted to convey, so with that as my guiding light I set off down the path of learning how to use the tools of the blogging trade.  Luckily, it didn't take very long to get up to speed on the tools.

Spin the clock ahead about a year and Mouse Guns and Gear is just about to hit the 100,000 views milestone.  It's only May 17th today as I write this, so this post won't be published until May 30th which is the official blog anniversary date.  I never thought the blog would grow from 5,000 views a month up to the 16,000+ views it now gets per month.  It didn't really hit me until about 6 months ago, but I think the blog is becoming a reference resource for folks that search for information about mouse guns and gear.  That makes me feel great that I can give back to others a bit of the enjoyment that I've had with the shooting sports as they do their own homework on the right guns and gear for them.

What started out as an information sharing and review blog has morphed into a display case for the ballistics testing work that I have really come to enjoy.  Based on various comments I've received from readers, they seem to get some value from the test results too.  I still post the occasional gear review, but most of my posts deal with testing ammunition from short barrel pistols.  When I went looking for this data from other sources, I realized there wasn't much out there so it's a target rich area for me to focus on and I'm genuinely interested in what I discover. 

Just a quick note about my tests.  I'm not trying to strictly replicate any specific testing protocol.  My initial plans were just to test for expansion at a measured velocity.  Really just making sure JHP ammo would expand at short barrel velocities.  When I couldn't get my bullet trap to work, I switched over to SIM-TEST ballistics media that also allowed me to capture penetration data.  It works great in the Fall, Winter, and Spring when temperatures are moderate.  Now that Summer is here again, I don't believe I will be able to do much testing.  Just a few minutes in the sun can really warm up a block to the point that it softens and invalidates penetration measurements.  It also takes forever for the recast blocks to cool off even if I bring them out of the hot garage and into the house to cure.  I'll try my best to get some testing in this summer, but I really think the heat will be slowing me down.      

Last month I added two additional pages to the blog.  The first lists my upcoming tests and previously completed tests as of May 2012 going forward.  You can view that page via this link Upcoming Tests or from the tab at the top of the page.

Over the last year, I've had some folks contact me about helping support the blog.  I've added a page to facilitate those requests and that page can be access via this link Fund More Research or from the tab at the top of the page.  I would like to publicly thank those that have contributed so far.  A running list of blog supporters will be maintained on the Fund More Research page.

I would also like to especially thank Ken and Frank at NCTA for their generous contribution of access to their top notch range facilities.  Without their support, I couldn't do my testing.

Alan Bogdan at Remora Holsters has been fantastic about making holsters for new on the market pistols in time for reviews.  He has literally turned around a made from scratch holster order for me and had it to my door in days.

Honor Roll of Donors
The following folks have contributed funds or ammo in support of further testing and evaluations.  I really appreciate them for their support.

Alan Bogdan with Remora   All Year Long
Ken and Frank at NCTA  February 2012
Brian    April 2012
Steve    April 2012
Brett    May 2012
Fred     May 2012
Conan  May 2012
Lehigh Defense  May 2012
Ventura Munitions May 2012

I'm really looking forward to year 2 of the blog.  I have a large, and growing, list of things I want to test which includes stepping up my game and getting into the big boy calibers like .38 Special, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.  I will still be focused primarily on the short barrel testing of these calibers.  Hopefully, everything I've learned so far from the smaller caliber tests will enhance my testing with the more powerful loads.

Thanks for keeping up with the blog.  If you have any comments on how it can be improved, feel free to drop me an email.   You can get to my email address through the "About Me" profile view on the right.  Also, all the videos from the blog and a few others that didn't make the blog are on my YouTube page.  Please feel free to visit and subscribe if you would like to be alerted when new videos go up.  http://www.youtube.com/user/ljutic1

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lehigh Defense Ammunition

 
Several weeks ago I received an email from Mike at Ventura Munitions.  Mike introduced himself and told me that he had watched my YouTube video on my terminal testing of the COP solid copper 380 ammo that I posted about HERE.  Mike wanted to know if I would be interested in doing some additional tests on a new line of solid copper ammunition from Lehigh Defense that Ventura Munitions was distributing.  I'm not one to turn down a chance to test new stuff so I told Mike that I was definitely interested in running my terminal tests on the ammo from Lehigh Defense.

I really didn't know much about Lehigh Defense so Mike pointed me to their website.  There I discovered that Lehigh Defense is based in Quakertown, PA.  Having grown up in NJ, I immediately realized that that the Lehigh part of their name comes from their location in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  I also discovered a ton of information about the company and the ammunition they produce.  I won't bore you with a bunch of info about companies affiliated with Lehigh Denfense, but I will say they've been in the defense and aerospace industries for more than two decades with a significant small arms background through their Lehigh Bullets business.   

Over the last few weeks, I've exchanged a few emails with the principals at Lehigh Defense.  What started as a test of the .380 Maximum Expansion line of ammunition grew into something quite a bit larger.  I recently returned home from a family vacation and found a package from Lehigh Defense waiting for me.  In the package were samples of several varieties of their ammunition.  Let's just say that the ammo samples they sent will keep me pretty busy testing for at least the next month or so.

Lehigh Defense also sent me one of their sales demonstration boards along with the ammo to test.  I shot a picture of it so you can see what the baseline performance looks like before I go out and start my testing.  The ME or Maximum Expansion line is where I will be starting my tests since Lehigh sent me samples in .45 ACP, 9mm, and .380 ACP.  The recovered bullets on the sales demonstration board were previously fired and have rifling marks on the bullet bases so my recovered rounds should look similar to what you see on the board.

Additionally, I was provided with samples of CF or Controlled Fracturing in 9mm and .45 ACP.  I also have samples of MP or Multiple Projectile in .45 ACP.  I'll be testing these additional loads after working my way through the ME samples.

In the interest of full disclosure, everyone now knows that the Lehigh Defense ammo I will be testing over the next few weeks was provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer.  I have not received any other perks or payment of any type so rest assured my testing and documentation with be as unbiased and honest as any of my previous tests.

I had the chance to get out to the range yesterday and did some preliminary testing with denim and water jugs.  I had the time to put a video together this morning that captured the tests.  Pretty impressive stuff so far.




Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ballistics Testing Cor-Bon Pow'Rball .380 Auto


This was another one of those tests that I really wouldn't have done if I didn't have multiple blog readers asking me to do the test.  Most of the pistols I own were made in the last 20 years so they have no issues feeding any of the current full metal jacket or jacketed hollow point loads.  As I understand it, Pow'Rball ammo was created to provide JHP like performance in older pistols that were originally intended to run with FMJ ammo.  It's also a last ditch effort for a modern pistol that just won't feed modern JHP ammo.  The "ball" part of the ammo name comes from a polymer ball that is an integral part of the bullet design.  The ball changes the bullet profile from a typical open ended JHP profile to a bullet that looks very much like a FMJ.  Cor-Bon's website publishes 1100 fps velocity for this round from a 3 inch barrel.

Test Pistol Specs:
Kahr P380 with a 2.53" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.  For this test, my second shot at the block was a Cor-Bon DPX .380 Auto.


As stated previously, I had no previous experience with Pow'Rball ammunition.  My comments during the bullet recovery portion of the video should be generally ignored because I really didn't understand what I was seeing as I recovered the bullet.  I believe the load performed exactly as it was designed to perform.  It was different than anything I had previously seen, but this ammo is quite different than your typical JHP load.  The video below documents the entire recent test from range testing to bullet recovery.



My Thoughts
In general, I tend to shy away from the specialty ammunition in the marketplace.  This is primarily because it's usually very expensive compared to more conventional loads.  This leads me to not want to shoot up the ammo in practice or in assuring it will function 100% reliably in my specific pistol.  I honestly didn't know what to expect from this test and as noted in the video, I was a bit surprised by the results when doing the bullet recovery.  It wasn't until later when I had all the data in front of me that I realized Pow'RBall had performed really well and exactly as advertised.  Velocity was right on target considering my barrel was only 2.5" and expansion and penetration are about as good as you could expect from the 50 grain bullet core.  Having core jacket separation with conventional ammo is a bad thing, but with Pow'RBall it is to be expected as that is how the bullet is designed to perform.

If you are wondering where the Pow'RBall polymer ball went, it was accidentally washed down the drain when cleaning up the recovered bullet.  I seriously thought about pulling the trap off the drain to find it, but then voice of reason took over and I stopped before running out for tools.  I did capture the ball on video.  



Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ballistics Testing Remington Golden Saber 9mm 124 Grain BJHP


I've used Remington Golden Saber for many years.  I think the first box I every purchased was in .45 ACP that I kept in a S&W 625 revolver in case of home invasion.  The brand has really taken off for Remington as their flagship defense brand.  This is another ammo choice recommended by Diamondback firearms as a highly reliable ammo choice.  Personally, I've not invested in enough boxes to confirm or deny that claim, but I will say that the limited amount of rounds that have gone through my DB9s fed and fired reliably.  I have received several requests to do a terminal ballistics test on this load by fellow DB9 owners.  

Test Pistol Specs:
Diamondback DB9 9mm with 3" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.  For this test, I also included two previously recovered test shots I did last February.  The data listed with the February recovered samples is incomplete and is shown only to demonstrate continuity of measurements between the two tests.


Recovered rounds from this test, and the previous test in February, showed consistency in expansion across velocities ranging from 1008 to 1035 fps.  Uniform expansion and projectile weight retention was also consistent across all samples from both tests.  The video below documents the entire recent test from range testing to bullet recovery.


My Thoughts
This is another Remington load that demonstrates a wide range of velocities, but still manages to expand even at 1008 fps.  I previously captured velocity of two 5 shot strings with two different DB9 barrels.  Those strings averaged 1035 and 1024.  You can find that test HERE.  The good news is that when penetration testing an average shot (1024 fps), it still expanded and penetrated over 14" after passing through two layers of denim.

The recovered bullets tell me an interesting story.  You can see that the lead core flattens and expands, but the bronze petals extend the expansion considerably.  The SIM-TEST media can slip between the petals so the entire expanded circumference isn't pushing against the media.  I believe this is what allows the bullet to penetrate so deeply in testing.  It really looks like the core is ready to pop out of the jacket, but I have not had that happen with any recovered rounds, even with rough handling.






Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ballistics Testing Remington UMC 9mm 115 Grain JHP


If you've ever shopped for ammo at Walmart, you've probably seen this Remington UMC ammo on the shelf.  Back in the 90's the boxes were sunshine yellow with black writing.  At some point over the last 20 years, the packaging was updated to look more like the Remington Express premium line of handgun ammunition.  Packaged in bricks of 100 rounds, this ammo is bargain priced and can frequently be found in-stock.  Bargain priced is a bit tongue in cheek as we all know ammo prices have increased dramatically in the last 5 years, but at about $25 per box here locally these JHP rounds are only slightly more expensive than the FMJ practice ammo fodder they share shelf space with.

Over the last year, the owners of Diamondback DB9s have discovered that this ammo is one of the best choices for feeding reliability.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't consider an economical price as the key factor in picking ammo.  I pick ammo based on reliability and availability first, then shop around to find the best price.  It just happens that this ammo is generally available at a reasonable price and works wonderfully in DB9s, so it was time to do a terminal ballistics test on it and make sure it performed well in that area too.

Test Pistol Specs:
Diamondback DB9 9mm with 3" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.  For this test, I also included two previously recovered test shots I did last February.  The data listed with the February recovered samples is incomplete and is shown only to demonstrate continuity of measurements between the two tests.


Recovered rounds from this test, and the previous test in February, showed consistency in expansion across velocities ranging from 1062 to 1141 fps.  Uniform expansion and projectile weight retention was also consistent across all samples from both tests.  The video below documents the entire recent test from range testing to bullet recovery.


My Thoughts
For a bargain defense round, I can't find much fault with this loading.  The only real fault I can find is the wide variation of velocities from the three different boxes I sampled.  I shoot quite a bit of this ammo and previously captured velocity of two 5 shot strings with two different DB9 barrels.  Both strings averaged 1063 and you can find that test HERE.  The good news is that when penetration testing our slowest shot (1062 fps), it still expanded and penetrated over 12" after passing through two layers of denim.

Getting decent performance from a widely available ammo that's affordable enough to practice with, and also carry, really elevates this ammo to one I need to keep around.  The fact that it also works great in Diamondback DB9s is just icing on the cake!




Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Heizer DoubleTap Update

As quarter 1 came and went without the release of the DoubleTap from Heizer Defense, people were asking me what was up with the production of the gun.  I really didn't know anything more than what was being posted on the Heizer Facebook page.  Most of the Facebook updates were references to all the cool accessories for the DoubleTap, but devoid of any real insight on when the pistols would actually start shipping.  The overall tone of the Facebook page was supportive, but you can see that folks were starting to wonder if the DoubleTap was ever going to come to market.

I sent an email to Laura Burgess Marketing two weeks ago to see if I was still in the mix for the Heizer Testing and Evaluation program, but didn't hear back from them on my query.  It would be great if I will still be included, but I have my doubts as I am sure there are a bunch of more popular reviewers that have jumped on the Heizer bandwagon since my initial acceptance into the program in October 2011.  If it works out, great.  If not, I completely understand.

Not sure what inspired me to check Bud's this morning, but when I did I saw that Heizer is now listed in their list of manufacturers and the full line of DoubleTaps are listed on the Heizer page with their Bud's Price and button so you can add your DoubleTap of choice to your wish list.  Bud's price is slightly lower than Heizer Retail.

After seeing what was up on Buds, I made a stop on the Heizer Defense page and found two interesting things.  The first is an open letter to customers from Ray Kohout explaining the delay in release of the DoubleTap.  You can read that letter here.  http://heizerfirearms.com/pdf/20120517_Customer_Letter.pdf



The other interesting thing was a video of Ray shooting a DoubleTap.  This video was just added to YouTube yesterday so perhaps we'll be seeing some DoubleTaps shipping soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diamondback DB9 One Year Follow-up Review

 
In June of 2011, I took delivery of my first Diamondback DB9. It's the black one on the left in the picture above.  I immediately took it out to the range and ran over 200 rounds through it on the first day. I did a blog post about that range trip in this blog post. I've shot it frequently over the last year and ran the round count up to over 1000 by October 2011. I picked up a second DB9 at that time and have not shot the original DB9 very often since last year. I probably put another 200 rounds through it since October. To celebrate the first year of ownership, I took the DB9 out to the range this weekend with a 100 count box of Remington/UMC 115 grain JHP ammo with a plan to exercise the pistol by shooting it in just about every safe and practical manner I could.

This video below documents the 100 rounds I put through the pistol as well as some general comments about my ownership experience over the last year. The video is long, but you will get to see every round fired as well as any problems or issues that came up during shooting. I'll say up front that I had one failure to feed out of 100 rounds fired and that happened while shooting one handed.  The slide cycled, but did not strip the top round of the magazine so I was required to manually cycle the slide to continue shooting.

Initially the plan was to run through all 100 rounds in a continuous video.  That plan changed when I had two stop by visitors during the 100 round session.  Since these guys own the range, and have been great about providing me with access, I always have time to stop what I'm doing and shoot the bull with them.  I promise there was no other reason for stopping tape.

No excuses, but I started out pretty dismally.  I really struggled on the first two plates to keep my shots where I wanted them to go and maintain a good grip on the DB9.  You can see my support hand re-gripping between shots.  I think part of this was due to spending so much time recently shooting another pocket 9mm with a more hand filling grip.  Later on in the video when I switch from the standard DB9 to the EXO version with the Hogue Hand-all Jr. installed, the accuracy really picked up.  I will be adding a Hand-all Jr. to the original DB9 even though it really pains me to add any additional width to such a trim and slim pistol, but it's results on target that count and any change to improve those results should be implemented   

I also switched over to the DB9 EXO with compensated barrel for a few magazines just so I could comment again about the difference in felt recoil with the compensated barrel in place. I captured all shots on camera so you can compare how much my arm moves with the compensated and standard barrels.  In this blog post, I originally compared the compensated and non-compensated barrels.  In that blog post I also commented on the accuracy improvement between the two DB9's and the different barrels.  There is either something wrong with the barrel fit on the original DB9 or something special with the barrel fit of the EXO.  Even if I shoot slowly, and carefully aimed every shot, the EXO DB9 with the comp barrel is still much more inherently accurate than the original DB9.



The upshot from Saturday was another confirmation that the original DB9 continues to be a solid performer as long as I keep it stoked with the Remington/UMC 115 grain JHPs.  In an ideal world, 100% reliability should be the norm for any defensive arm.  I'm willing to accept 99% reliability from my particular DB9 because I know it's track record over it's lifetime of 1200+ rounds, and I've tried shooting with several different holds.  The EXO DB9 still has some rounds to go before it earns that same level of trust from me, but I'm willing to stick with it due to the accuracy improvement over the stock DB9.

In the video I made an error I would like to cover.  I stated that I didn't modify the DB9 in any way other than to swap out the magazine springs.  That was incorrect because I forgot to mention that all early DB9s received an updated set of knurled assembly pins last Fall.  I did install those replacement pins.  I did a blog post about the pin change HERE.

If you've got a DB9 of your own and find yourself struggling with reliable feeding, I really encourage you to check into replacing the factory magazine springs with KelTec PF9 springs.  I did a post about the change HERE and made a video walk though on trimming the springs to work.  Others have reported success using the springs without trimming.  You may want so test different trim lengths to see what works best for your specific DB9.

After a year, I would say I'm satisfied with the DB9.  Being an early adopter is always a risky proposition, and when you are adopting the thinnest and lightest new pocket 9mm of the day, you can only hope for the best.  Being familiar with Diamondback's lifetime repair/replacement policy took away some of the concern during the first year and also for as long as I continue to own the pistols in the future.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Corbon DPX 380 Auto Test


This is undoubtedly the most requested .380 ammo test by a very wide margin.  Over the last few months, as I ramped up my testing and developed my test methods, I would frequently receive emails or messages at various forums that I really needed to test the Corbon DPX .380.  I knew I would eventually get around to it after I shelled out the money for this very expensive box of 20 rounds.  I actually ran the test yesterday. 

Corbon DPX falls in the ultra premium ammunition category.  Boxes of 20 run close to $30 with tax or shipping.  It's loaded with an 80 grain solid copper projectile, manufactured by Barnes, that is claimed to exhibit massive expansion AND deep penetration.  After testing scads of 380 ammo over the last few months, these claims got my attention because we've discovered that massive expansion comes at the cost of deep penetration.  Keeping an open mind, it was out to the range to dump a couple of rounds into the Denim and SIM-TEST.

If you follow my blog and my tests, then you know my testing process.  If you are not familiar, please view the video as it includes footage from the range and also footage from the bench where I extract the captured bullets from the SIM-TEST ballistics media.  My testing process is pretty simple.  I take two shots at a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 4 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  This testing was done with a Kahr P380 with a 2.53" barrel.




The recovered bullets, and their corresponding measurements, are shown below.  The results were pretty close to what I expected they would be.  The recovered bullets had fully expanded to nearly double their initial diameter, so the X claim was met.  They didn't deliver the DP (deep penetration) part of their name at all with both rounds penetrating less than 7.5".   

My Comments:  You just can't cheat physics.  As I stated at the beginning of this test, I was open-minded, but a bit skeptical about the claims made about this ammunition.  It's really peppy so speed isn't the issue.  The issue is the massive expansion of the petals acts like a parachute that slows the bullet down so quickly that it can not deliver the deep penetration claimed by the manufacturer. 


Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ballistics Testing Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection 9mm 124 Grain +P GDHP


One of the big advantages of purchasing the Boberg XR9-S is the ability of the pistol to handle +P ammunition and get good performance out of it with it's 3.35" barrel length.  I decided to test a few of the better known and used self defense ammunition loadings through the Boberg to see how the gun would handle them and also the terminal performance of the ammo  This test was done on the Speer Gold Dot 124 Grain +P GDHP.  I know this brand very well and it's been a go-to choice in many calibers because it was one of the first lines to standardize bonded bullets across the entire line up of calibers.  Bonding refers to the manufacturing step that bonds the bullet jacket to the bullet core.  The stats below came from the two test rounds.

This test may seem a bit self serving due to my test pistol choice, but I think the results should be very similar to those you would get from the Glock 26 or other small 9mm with barrels in the 3.25" to 3.5" range.

Pistol Specs:
Boberg XR9-S 9mm with 3.35" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.


For the first time in over a dozen tests, I failed to recover a bullet.  Shot 1, of the two shot test, shed a petal during expansion that I was able to recover in the block.  The balance of the slug veered down and left and exited the ballistics block.  If you watch the video below in high definition and full screen you can literally see the slug impacting the dirt berm and rolling down the dirt wall.  I was oblivious to this when I shot the bullet recovery portion of the video as I had not yet edited the video of the range test.  If we didn't have some torrential rains over the last two days, I probably could go find the slug but at least I captured it on film.  I checked the board the block was sitting on and did find a scar in the plywood where the almost out of steam slug bounced off the plywood base and up into the wall.  I totally felt like a CSI investigator going through this process.  I got a pretty bad screen cap from the video and labeled it so you know where to look if you want to try watching the bullet exit on YouTube.  It's right at the tip of the pointing finger in the picture below.
 
 The second shot was recovered normally and it gave me that Gold Dot good feeling once I cleaned it up and got it all measured.  If I have any concerns with the test it is that shot one shed some jacket and core 8" into the block.  That's just not something you normally see with my testing protocol.  The video below documents the entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts
I think there is a very good reason why so many people put their trust in Speer and the Gold Dot bullets.  In test after test we see uniform expansion and good penetration.  It may not retain it's fully expanded shape through it's entire terminal journey as some of the other do, but by folding back on itself it picks up some penetration distance over some other loads in this weight and +P velocity.  I will be doing a follow up head to head test in the same SIM-TEST block with the Gold Dot and HST soon.  I'd really like to see the results of that head to head test.




Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ballistics Testing Remington Golden Saber Bonded 9mm 124 Grain +P



One of the big advantages of purchasing the Boberg XR9-S is the ability of the pistol to handle +P ammunition and get good performance out of it with it's 3.35" barrel length.  I decided to test a few of the better known and used self defense ammunition loadings through the Boberg to see how the gun would handle them and also the terminal performance of the ammo  This test was done on the Remington Golden Saber Bonded 124 Grain +P BJHP.  I know very little about this ammo other than it's a bonded bullet version of the Remington Golden Saber line of ammunition.  Bonding refers to the manufacturing step that bonds the bullet jacket to the bullet core.  The stats below came from the two recovered test rounds.

A Small Detour To Discuss Bonded vs. Non-bonded Bullets
I keep all my recovered bullets so for this test I dug into the archives and pulled out the two recovered bullets from a previous test of Remington Golden Saber 124 grain.  This load is not bonded and you can really see how the lead separates from the expanding petals in the non-bonded rounds on the right.  The recovered bonded bullets on the left show how the lead core actually adheres to the petals and the core follows the petals during expansion.  If you've ever wondered what the difference was between bonded and non-bonded, this is a good visual example.   End of detour....back to the test.  


This test may seem a bit self serving due to my test pistol choice, but I think the results should be very similar to those you would get from the Glock 26 or other small 9mm with barrels in the 3.25" to 3.5" range.

Pistol Specs:
Boberg XR9-S 9mm with 3.35" barrel


Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.


Both recovered rounds showed consistency in expansion and penetration.  The velocity difference between the two shots seems excessive for a premium ammunition offering, but in this case it provides another data point on the range of velocities needed for expansion of this load.  From the data we see a range of 1069 through 1122.  The slower bullet expanded less, but still penetrated 1/2" deeper.  This is also consistent observed results with many of my other tests.  I was mildly surprised by the weight loss on both recovered rounds, but not overly concerned by this.  The video below documents the entire test from range testing to bullet recovery. 



My Thoughts
I purchased this ammo because of my prior good experiences with the non-bonded Golden Saber load in 124 grain standard pressure and +P varieties.  While the bullet looks a bit odd in shape, it's blunt'ish rounded nose can really help Golden Saber feed in ammo fussy semi-auto pistols.  The bonded load is marketed to folks that may have to shoot through barriers like auto glass.  I don't have that requirement, but I found it difficult to pass up these boxes of 50 for a price that was less than buying two 25 round boxes of non-bonded Golden Sabers.  I'm pleased that I didn't spend my money foolishly and that this purchase performs as expected. 



Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another Range Trip with the XR9-S

I had a chance to head over to a local range on Saturday and spend some more quality time with the Boberg XR9-S I received about 3 weeks ago.  There was nothing happening at the range so I decided to shoot in one of the new mega bays instead of squeezing into one of the bays with the props left over from a previous shoot.  My primary objective was to do some ballistics tests, but I also made time to run another 100 rounds through the Boberg.

I had this section of the range to myself so I thought I would try some different shooting techniques that included movement, shooting from the draw, point shooting, and finally some long range shooting at an interesting target. 

I'm now over 500 rounds through the XR9-S and I'm really very pleased with my purchase.  I'll continue to practice with it and may report back at the 1000 round mark and let you know if I've had any issues and if I've gotten any better shooting it.