Sunday, October 28, 2012

Federal Premium 9mm +P 124 Grain HST Clear Gel Terminal Test

I tested this load back in April with a denim and SIM-TEST test.  Based on the results of that test, which you can read HERE, I decided that this would be my carry ammo in the Boberg XR9-S.  I've shot several boxes of this ammo in practice over the last few months and had to put in an order to replenish my stock.  Since I carry the Boberg frequently, I thought it wise to go ahead and test the new lot of ammo, but this time I would use the clear gel in place of the SIM-TEST. 
Pistol Specs:
Boberg XR9-S with 3.35" 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 bullets.  Immediately prior to the terminal test, I shoot a five shot velocity and point of impact test string from 8 feet over a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital chronograph.  All the data gathered during the test is shown in the picture below.

As my experience with the Clear Ballistics Gel product increases, I'm starting to better understand how to read the blocks and capture more of the data that is visible in the blocks.  You may have noticed I added two new data points to the test recap data sheet.  Those points are a measurement of the maximum stretch cavity height and also the penetration depth when the maximum stretch cavity was measured.  These new data points may provide additional comparison points between various bullet types and loadings as we collect more of this data over time.  The video below documents my entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts
I'm not at all surprised by the results of this test.  When I decided on this round as my carry ammo, I did so after testing the directly competing loads from Remington and Speer.  While the HST is not a bonded bullet like the Speer and Remington, I doubt I will ever need to shoot through the barriers that bonded rounds are designed to penetrate.  Achieving more velocity would be great, but there are limits to how much speed can be developed in the short barrels I use for testing.  This load falls right into expectations of 1100 to 1200 fps.  Retained weight was excellent.
The clear gel test let us see a bit more about how this round performs in the block.  Full expansion of .875" occurs within the first 2 to 2.5 inches into the block.  Penetration was excellent at 14".    

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.


  1. One of my favorites for the Boberg XR9-S, as well.
    However, I still favor the Black Hills 115grain +P JHP for its reliability and overall improved velocity performance.

    1. What chrono numbers are you getting with the Black Hills?

  2. Hey Bruce! Thanks for the info! I just picked up a Solo and this ammo will be tested in it when I get out to the range. I would like to see how this compares with the 147 +P's... I am still leaning towards heavier bullet weights. Maybe it's too old school thinking, but it is what it is... lol

    1. I've got a few boxes of various 147s here to test. I hope to get them tested some time this Fall. Nice score on the Solo. I'll never get my hands on one so you are more than welcome to publish your impressions on the PG&G Blog is you want.