Monday, February 23, 2015

25 Auto JHP vs. FMJ Comparison Testing - 2015 Testing Update

I have a love/hate relationship with Winter.  In our area, you can be out on the range in a tee-shirt on Saturday, and find yourself shoveling snow on Sunday.  Last weekend was a good example of that.  Rather than complain about the weather, I try to take advantage of the nice weather by hitting the range as much as possible.  When it's too cold, I'll retreat indoors and spend my time on more cerebral activities.  Unfortunately, this means I often find myself with many half-finished projects, and it becomes a real struggle to keep fresh content flowing to the blog in the Winter months.

The best part of my indoor work is that it gives me a chance to review all the comments you post on the blog and YouTube channel.  I read every one of them, and try to respond to as many as I can.  I also review the YouTube channel statistics to better understand which videos you liked, didn't like, and liked enough that you subscribed.  With this new information, I can focus my future work on developing more of the content that you are really interested in viewing as well as improving the overall quality of the presentation.

One big change I made this Winter was implementing a new ammunition testing protocol.  You all let me know that you wanted to see more test shots, and different (more realistic) clothing barriers.  For 2015, I'll be doing 4 (or more) shot tests with two layers of 5 oz. 100% cotton Jersey Knit fabric (tee-shirt), one layer of 100 weight Polar Fleece (hoodie), and four layers of 15 oz. Denim (IWBA Heavy Clothing Standard).  I will continue to use Clear Ballistics Gel as my test media.  You can read more about why I will be using this gel media exclusively in this past article.  The artificial "bone" block will also be back in 2015, but reserved for specific tests.    

Something else buried in the blog and YouTube channel statistics was the discovery that when I do ammunition tests, viewers want more than just the facts.  They also want to hear my opinion and/or see examples of why one ammunition choice may be better or worse than another.  After years of focusing on the facts, it's going to be a challenge to change and I will certainly give it a try.

To wrap up this preamble, another change I'll be making this year is to spend more of my time on firearm reviews, and less time on ammunition tests.  Based on the blog and channel statistics, readers and viewers really respond to the firearm reviews.  I enjoy doing the reviews, and manufacturers are willing to loan me the firearms for evaluation, so it makes sense for me to spend more time on reviews.  I'll never turn my back on ammunition testing, and that just makes it more important than ever to make sure each ammunition test is just a bit better, and more informative, than the last.

In closing, I thank you all for reading the blog, viewing the videos, and subscribing to the YouTube channel.  I genuinely appreciate everyone that has previously provided, and those that continue to offer, financial support for the blog and YouTube channel.  At this point, I believe any financial support of Pocket Guns and Gear should come from general advertising revenues and Industry support.  I'm not going to try to sell you a tee-shirt, or attempt a crowd funding exercise.  The best support you can provide is to continue to read/view, comment, like, and share the content you enjoy the most.  Now on to the test.

Looking at the ammunition tests page, I have a big gap in the 25 Auto section.  Much of that is due to the general scarcity of 25 Auto ammunition.  I managed to find, and purchase, a few boxes over the last two years, but it's been more difficult to find than .22 rimfire ammunition.  The catalyst for this test was a recent email from one of the larger retail ammunition mail order suppliers.  The email let me know that the supplier was cancelling my back order on Winchester 25 Auto 45 Grain Expanding Point ammunition because it was "discontinued".  I'm assuming that meant it was discontinued by Winchester.

My original plan for 25 Auto testing was to compare the terminal performance of jacketed hollow point, full metal jacket, and the hybrid Winchester Expanding Point ammunition.  After the news that Expanding Point was no longer available, it was time to move forward comparing the JHP and FMJ to complete the test.

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 various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  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 to verify density.

Test Results:
Hornady 35 Grain XTP JHP

Fiocchi 50 Grain FMJ

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

View Test Video on YouTube Link

View Test Video on YouTube Link

My Thoughts on This Test:

Regardless of how you may feel about the terminal efficiency and effectiveness of the 25 Auto, there are folks that carry these firearms daily.  Manufacturers don't produce items they can't sell if they wish to remain in business.  Beretta, Taurus, Phoenix Arms, and Derringer all catalog current models in 25 Auto.  Winchester, Remington, Federal/Speer, and Hornady all produce 25 Auto ammunition in the US.  Imported ammunition from international suppliers is also available.  The 25 Auto certainly isn't a dead caliber, but does appear to be suffering greatly with ammunition availability at this time.

Reviewing the results of our gel test, I would be inclined to carry the heavier and slower FMJ over the faster and lighter JHP in all test scenarios simply because of the additional penetration depth.  I don't put any value on the bullet tumbling with either load because they may, or may not, behave that way in other media types and real life.

The FMJ loads are also cheaper to purchase which allows for more affordable practice and training time.  It also reduces the cost of verifying the ammunition will function properly all the time with your specific firearm.

Ultimately, it's up to you to choose the best ammunition for your needs.  I hope this test gives you some basic terminal performance information on which to base your choice.

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.