Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remington Golden Saber Bonded 9mm +P 124 Grain Denim and Gel Test

The Remington Golden Saber line has been around for many years and can usually be found at mass and local retailers that sell sporting arms and ammunition.  Though less common, the Golden Saber Bonded line was created for Law Enforcement and features a bullet that has the lead core "hot-bonded" to the brass jacket.  This bonding process helps the bullet stay together when it passes through various barrier materials.  The Bonded line also features lacquer sealed primers and is packaged in 50 round boxes.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run first test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.  Repeat for third test shot.
Step 5)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
I previously tested this load with light denim and SIM-TEST through a longer barrel and really liked the terminal performance results.  Since Golden Saber 124 grain is a recommended ammunition for the Solo, I decided to test this load again to see if it might be suitable for the much shorter Solo barrel.  I was again pleased by the performance of this round through the barrel that was over 1/2" shorter than the original test pistol.

I was very happy to see this load expand through the 4 layers of heavy denim test.  Having previously tested two other 124 +P loads, from other ammunition companies with resulting expansion failures, I was starting to question if I would find a suitable load for this very short barreled pistol.

The bullet fragmentation observed in the gel block was concerning at first, but after weighing the recovered rounds the total bullet weight loss as very small.  I would much rather have some minor fragmentation with consistent expansion, than no fragmentation with unreliable expansion.  

Pick or Pan:
I'll admit to becoming a fan of this load.  I thought it was good when I tested it the first time and after testing it again, in an even shorter barrel, I'm really impressed.  If this load has a flaw it is the limited availability.  It's not a loading you will find in many stores.  Most likely, you will have to order it from an internet ammunition retailer.  I've become quite fond of the little Kimber Solo so I was really glad I found something that would expand that was also on the Kimber approved ammunition list.  I'll keep watching for the non-bonded version of this loading to get back in stock and I'll see if it also demonstrates similar terminal performance from the Solo.

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. Hey, when did you get a Solo? I missed it! I'm trying to sell mine right now to fund another 45, but I really like the gun. I know this is off topic, sorry! NICE review!

  2. Bruce -

    Glad you finally got mine. Actually sold my Shield in favor of mine. Ammo I have shot without issue through mine:
    Gold Dot 124 and 147
    Golden Saber 124, 124+P, and 147
    HST 124, 147
    Ranger T 147, 127 +P+ (NOT FUN!)
    Critical Defense 115
    Critical Duty 135 and 135+P

    Doesn't have to shoot only the "approved ammo" choices, FYI.

  3. Bruce -

    Also forgot to ask, how was the recoil with this load? Most of the +Ps I've shot through mine have not been fun.

    1. Hi Brad. Sorry, for not speaking much about the Solo. I was waiting for my review to be published on another website. For me the very heavy recoil springs soak up quite a bit of the recoil bite, even with the +P stuff. I rarely feel the need to regrip as I'm running through a magazine. That's different for me. The trick will be finding the ammunition that will work best with the very short 2.7" barrel. I picked up the pistol because of the short barrel length and +P capability. It's unique, so it's a good carry option and will be seeing terminal test duty from time to time. My Solo review is up on the GunsAmerica Blog.

  4. I wanted to add that of the pocket pistols I have tried (DB9, PM9, LC9, Shield 9mm, SIg P938) the Kimber has far and away been my favorite. Mine has always been 100% reliable, with zero issues after almost a full year of ownership. The rounded edges at the tang, top of the slide, the frame, the heel, and front of the weapon really reduce printing greatly when OWB carrying --- something the Shield and P938 could take lessons from, those things are built like a square brick. The safety is easy to flip off, but not so easy that it's going to come off in your pocket. All around just a solid, quality weapon.