Thursday, January 3, 2013

PMC Starfire 9mm 124 Grain SFHP Clear Gel Test

I'd like to thank the folks at Lucky Gunner for donating the ammunition for this test.  They contacted me recently to see if I would be interested in testing some PMC Gold Starfire ammunition.  I took them up on the offer and they told me that I was free to publish any result regardless of how the tests turned out.  Last week, I published the Starfire 380 Auto test results and this is my second test with the 9mm Starfire load.

The PMC Starfire ammunition line has been around for quite some time.  I purchased the brand back in the 1990's.  Currently, the ammunition is manufactured in Korea by the Poongsan Corporation.  Poongsan manufactures ammunition for both the Military and Civilian markets.

Test Pistol Specs:
Kahr PM9 3.1" 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 bullet.  Immediately prior to shooting the block, I take a 5 shot velocity test over my chronograph.

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

My Thoughts:
As we saw with the 380 Auto version of this line, velocity wasn't even close to the published specification of 1090 fps in our short test barrel.  From experience we know that the best performing 124 grain 9mm loads are running velocities in the low 1100 fps range when fired from the 3" barrels of the 9mm subcompacts.  When I started seeing mid-900 fps velocities on the chronograph during initial POI and velocity testing I realized there was a very good chance this load wouldn't fully expand.  This load is not optimized to perform well in short barrel pistols that do not allow the bullet to come up to the speed required for expansion.  As with the 380 Auto Starfire, I may try this test again at another time with a longer test barrel and see if I can get it to expand.

The good news is we did get a chance to review what a flat nose FMJ wound channel looks like in the clear gel block.  That's something we have not had a chance to view previously.  I was actually surprised to see how deeply the bullet penetrated into the phone book after clearing the 16" gel block.

Again, thanks to the folks at Lucky Gunner for supplying the sample ammunition for the test.  I really wish the test results would have been better.      

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.

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