Federal introduced the Hydra-Shok in 1988 and shortly thereafter I purchased my first box from a police supply store. It came in a long 20 round box with the cartridges packaged side by side much like you see with rifle ammo. It was in .45 ACP with nickel plated brass. The Hydra-Shok was one of the first bullet designs to come out to meet the FBI’s new testing standard. It was originally designed by Tom Burczynski and loaded in a .38 Spl. If I remember correctly, he took a hollow base wadcutter, turned it around and stuck a post in the base. The idea was the post would force the fluid outward, enhancing expansion. He later sold the design to federal and went on to design more self-defense ammo.
When I was going through my box of miscellaneous ammo I found one round of this first generation of .45 ACP 230gr Hydra-Shok left. You will notice the original bullet had a more truncated profile as opposed to the newer rounded style. Also, the post is huge, taking up a large part of the cavity.
Of course, the question is: how will it perform in Clear Gel? I also had one round of the newer design HS and one Remington Golden Saber. All three were shot into the same block of Clear Ballistics Gel at distance of 10 feet.
The older 1988 round in the bare gel had a velocity of 744fps, it penetrated to 16.5 inches but had almost no expansion. Looking at the bullet before shooting it I had a feeling it wouldn’t have much expansion. I have shot enough bullets in the past year or so to know that it didn’t look promising.
The newer round had a velocity of 976fps (turns out it was 165 grains), it expanded to .72 inches but only penetrated 11 inches.
The Remington Golden Saber had a velocity of 936fps (185 grains), it expanded to .69 inches and penetrated to 14.5 inches.