Monday, June 2, 2014

223 Rattlesnake Tactical 55 Grain Jacketed Soft Point Clear Gel Tests

A big Pocket Guns and Gear thanks to the folks at Ammunition Depot for supplying the ammunition for this test.

The Rattlesnake Ammunition line covers the most popular calibers from 380 Auto to 45 Auto.  The ammunition is made in the USA with new brass cases and premium components.  The line is intended for target shooting and range training with FMJ/TMJ bullets used in all calibers.  I've been using the 9mm and 380 Auto loads in my recent gun reviews and have nothing but good things to say about the quality, accuracy, and appearance of the ammunition.  I think it's on par with, or better than, the range ammunition currently offered by the large US ammunition companies.  I've found Rattlesnake to be value priced.  A buck or two more than Wolf steel case/Blazer aluminum case, and a buck or two less than the basic brass cased range ammo from the large US ammo makers.

The Rattlesnake Tactical ammunition, tested here, has different packaging than the other Rattlesnake Ammunition.  I'm going to make a guess that the Tactical ammunition line will feature loads for self defense and home protection.  I do know the Tactical ammunition shares the same quality, appearance, and value pricing of the target/range ammunition. 

Test Rifle:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 3 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 25 yards.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 25 yards.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Test and Load:
Going into the test, I really didn't know what to expect.  In the video you can see that I had two gel blocks on the testing table because I really didn't know how deeply the bullets would penetrate.  I think the test worked out well and gave me confidence that a soft point bullet at rifle velocity will expand and penetrate sufficiently at 25 yards.  My fear of over penetration has relaxed quite a bit after this test.

I thought about modifying my standard testing protocol for this test.  In the end, I decided to extend the distance, drop the tee shirt shot, and record all velocities at 25 yards.  I don't think there is  anything wrong with the changes, and I think it makes the test results more realistic.  If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a comment.   

If I end up doing many more of these tests, I should probably design a new testing fixture that doesn't fly apart after every shot and leave the gel block teetering on the edge of the table.  The energy of the bullets, as compared to hand gun rounds, was really incredible to see on the high speed camera footage.  Unfortunately that same energy dump causes the ballistics testing gel to "flash" on every shot.  The sooty residue left in the block detracts a bit from the bench recovery.   

Pick or Pan:
Since this is the first .223/5.56 test done with a rifle, I have no benchmark to compare against.  I think the load tested well with almost 2x expansion, good penetration, and a reasonable retained weight percentage.

If you are interested in learning more about Rattlesnake Ammunition, just click on the Ammunition Depot ad link at the top of the page.  Searching the Ammunition Depot website for "rattlesnake" will bring up a listing of all currently available loads. 

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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