Friday, July 19, 2013

Clear Ballistics Gel Update

Late last Summer, I introduced you to a new synthetic ballistics gel product from a company called Clear Ballistics.  As I come up on my first year of using the product, I'm still loving this stuff for all the reasons I mentioned in my original blog about the gel.  Overall reception of the gel by blog readers and YouTube channel subscribers has been positive, but there are always a few purists/traditionalists that remain skeptical that Clear Ballistics Gel is a suitable substitute for 10% Ordnance Gelatin.  Skepticism is a good thing.  If I wasn't skeptical about ammunition terminal performance, I wouldn't be doing the testing that has become the backbone of this blog.

Several months ago, I picked up a few pounds of Knox Gelatin with the thought that I would do my own head to head test of Knox Gelatin vs. Clear Ballistics Gel.  These 4 cans have been sitting on my shelf for several months simply because I just don't have the time to mess with process of preparing the gel and then storing it in the fridge until we get a cool day on the range.  Sure it would be nice to know how the two products compare, but I've got so much on my plate just testing all the ammunition that readers have requested it's almost impossible for me to take a time out and do the comparison.

Luckily for me, I see that someone has taken on the task of comparing the two ballistics test mediums in a controlled test.  I have no idea who ShootingTheBull410 is, but he/they have my undying gratitude for stepping up and investing their time and money to do the comparison testing that I never could find the time to do.  I'm subscribed to the channel and will be keeping an eye out for future videos.  You may want to do so too.  He's pretty awesome and his video is entertaining, very well produced, and full of facts.  I really like the full of facts part. 

If you don't watch the video, I'll give you a summary.  Is Clear Ballistics Gel a 100% analog for Ordnance Gelatin?  From the video and facts presented, I came to the conclusion that it's not perfect in all cases.  Here's what that means to me when using the Clear Ballistics gel for pistol ammunition testing.  If I'm testing solids or doing a bb calibration test, the results are 99% true to 10% ordnance gel.  If I'm testing hollow point ammunition I'm going to see 5% less expansion and 5% greater penetration with Clear Ballistics Gel than I would with 10% ordnance gel.

In exchange for that 5% variation vs. 10% Ordnance Gel, I gain the following benefits; I can run tests at all temperatures, re-use the gel for multiple tests, and see what's taking place inside the block as the bullet progresses down the block.  That's a satisfactory trade in my mind.  As a person that performs terminal tests as a hobby, economy and convenience trump precision.  If I had tax-payer funding, and associated budget, my decision MIGHT be different, but I would need to work with 10% ordnance gel first and see if it's as horrible to work with as people say it is.

In a way, I've suspected many of the findings in the video.  You guys don't know this yet, but I even went so far as to have some new 20" long custom gel molds made up by the guys at Clear Ballistics because 16" just wasn't long enough to catch some of the deeper penetrating 40 S&W rounds I was testing.  I'm hoping that the new 20" long blocks will keep me from having to stack two blocks end to end.  The new molds are being delivered tomorrow.

After working with the Owners of Clear Ballistics over the last 10 months, I have no doubt in my mind that they will keep tweaking their formula until they come up with a product that's a 100% analog for 10% Ordnance Gel.  I have no idea how long it took to codify the proper process and procedure to prepare 10% Ordnance Gel, but I suspect it was developed over years.  Clear Ballistics has only been at this since January 2012 so with a bit more time, R&D, and customer feedback I bet they'll tighten up that variation vs. 10% Gel.  I'm in for the long haul so I'll let you know how they progress.

Speaking of progress, check this out.  Clear Ballistics has been working on developing some new molds.  They posted this picture earlier today of the negative that will be used to create their new torso molds.  Very interesting......


  1. Good report. I was surprised by the results of the .410 Judge, nice dispersion and great penetration. So many people have said a .410 handgun is a bad idea!

  2. I never had any interest in a 410 revolver until I watched the video above. Now I want one just to test with.