Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ballistics Testing Winchester Ranger 9mm +P 124 Grain Bonded JHP

First off, I would like to thank Fred for his generous donation of the ammunition for this test.  Fred has been "on the job" in many capacities over the last several years and when he approached me about doing a test on this ammunition I gladly accepted the opportunity.  The test was conducted back in early June before the Summer heat shut down SIM-TEST use for the season.  The picture on the left is one of a few photos I sent back to Fred after my testing so he would know a bit more about the performance results of this ammunition during my testing.  Fred told me he suspected this Winchester loading would be a poor performer in short barrels and immediately removed it from his carry ammunition options.

My only prior experience with this ammo was during the ammo drought several years ago.  I ordered a few boxes, because it was available, from an on-line ammo retailer.  After inspecting the ammo, I immediately called the retailer to request a return authorization because it looked so much different than any JHP ammo I had ever seen.  In the photo below you can see that the Winchester Ranger 9mm +P 124 Grain Bonded JHP looks much more like a jacketed soft point than a jacketed hollow point.  The lead core comes up to just below the top of the jacket.  Undaunted, I followed through on my promise to Fred to do the test.
Pistol Specs:
Kahr PM9 9mm with 3.1" 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 2 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets  Immediately prior to the terminal test, I shoot a five shot velocity test string from 8 feet over a Competition Electronic ProChrono Digital chronograph.

I don't really have much to say about the terminal performance of this load other than it appears to be a poor choice for short barreled pistols.  Lacking a traditional hollow point cavity, the bullet expanded poorly and plowed through the entire length of the 15" block of SIM-TEST before coming to rest in a water jug that was placed behind the SIM-TEST block.  The video below documents the entire test from range testing to bullet recovery. 

My Thoughts
It was pretty cool to actually capture video of the bullet ending it's travel in a water jug and gracefully fluttering down to the bottom of the water jug backer.

The overall velocity average of this +P loading should have been in the 1100 to 1150 fps range based on previous 9mm +P testing in this barrel length with this bullet weight.  With my limited experience with this loading, I'm not really sure if it was designed for very deep penetration and modest expansion.  If so, then this loading met expectations.  If it was designed for more typical penetration of 12+" and more typical expansion of .5" then this load was a poor performer in our short barrel 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. 

1 comment:

  1. Bruce,

    Thanks again for doing this test. Although it performed poorly in this test media, I know it has excellent results in actual shootings - from what I hear from range officers in my old PD. (If you watch Chicago news, you'll see that the CPD is involved in a lot of shootings - looks like seven in the past seven days and over 50 this year.) Anyway, I'd still prefer a 124+ HST, Golden Saber or Gold Dot in 9mm. Fred