Monday, November 4, 2013

CORBON 9mm +P 125 Grain Denim and Clear Gel Terminal Test

Many thanks to Ammunition Depot for supplying the ammunition used for this test.  I buy most of the ammunition used for testing, but generous donations like this really help me cover a much broader assortment of ammunition available in the marketplace.

Over the last two years that I've been publishing terminal ballistics testing reports, I've tested a few CORBON products.  Most of the tests have been with 380 Auto, 32 Auto, and 32 NAA.  I've always found CORBON ammunition to be well made, fast, and priced at a premium to most other similar loads.  This test was my first opportunity to see how their traditional 9mm jacketed hollow points would perform.

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 test shot into bare gel.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  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:
There were some interesting things that came out of this test that I wanted to share with you.  I really didn't notice them when I was producing the video so consider these value added items exclusively for blog readers.

As I was analyzing the high speed video footage, I found this one frame very interesting.  I believe this is the first time I've captured the shock wave preceding the bullet and also the bullet on video.  At 480 frames per second, getting this shot was pure luck.  I wish the resolution was better, but this is as good as it gets with a $300 high speed camera.

The next image will show you a possible reason why this load performed so well in the 4 layers of heavy denim test.  I've seen these cookie cutter circles of denim in previous tests, but none have been as perfectly cut as these.  My theory is the jacket extending slightly forward of the lead core cuts the circle.  Hydraulic pressure pushes the denim down into the hollow point cavity.  The cavity is quite deep so even with 4 circles of denim, the nose of the bullet still starts to expand outward and form the mushroom shape. 

I was very pleased with the performance of both test shots.  The bare gel shot was fully expanded and almost flat.  You could make the argument that it may have expanded too much.  The heavy denim test shot also expanded, but you can see how the denim plug in the center of the hollow point cavity kept the bullet from expanding as deeply down the bullet shank.  Both test shots penetrated to a depth between 12 and 18 inches and retained 99% of their initial starting weight.  

Pick or Pan:
The 4 layers of heavy denim test protocol is a formidable barrier.  Since moving from 2 layers of medium weight denim to 4 layers of heavy denim, I've had a significant increase in the number of expansion failures.  This barrier didn't seem to pose a problem for this bullet at the tested velocity.  Based strictly on terminal performance, this load is a pick.     

Bonus Blitz Test Video with 4" Barrel Bare Gel Test:

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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