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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that I am old school and love energy, but it seems to me that measuring peneration and final expansion are probably a couple of the least important predictors of a bullets performance. Why do we not look at what the bullet does to the gel. If a bullet had a final diameter of 0.60" and the petals were folded back against the shank, does it make a difference if that bullet completely expanded and folded back in an inch and stayed that way for the next 13", as opposed to keeping an expansion of 1.10" for 10" and folding back over the last two. To a point, I would say that penetration is important and we can discuss where that point is. You have to damage important things, but do not count on a bleed-out because your bullets penetrate 15".

This is not an arguement for fragmentation, although it is funny that some bullets are considered bad because they fragment some. No this is an arguement on the best predictor of a bullet's potential to stop an armed threat. It would seem to me the more damage done to the tissue, at least to a certain depth to be the biggest predictor, or should I say what the bullet does to the gel. I think you can see this with the 125gr SJHP 357 Magnum, which often fails the FBI protocol.

I tested the Speer 357 magnum with a 125gr bonded bullet against a Remington 125gr SJHP both shot from a 6" S&W 686 through the heavy clothing protocol. The Speer passed with greater than 1.5 times expansion at the end and a penetration of just under 14". The damage to the gel was nothing to write home about with maybe an 1.25" channel for 4.5" the settling down to just a hole.

I do not have the velocities yet. The 125 SJHP started to severly fragment is 0.9", sending and expanding cone of fragments that reached a diameter of a little less than 6", ending around 8.5", but this was not a perfect cone with some fragment only going 6". A 73.2gr base of the bullet traveled just over 11", pretty much in a straight line and the final expansion was 0.52". I was extremely surprised by the damaged done to the gel in this cone-like area. I have always read that fragments do not cause much damage, but this area was liguidied and shredded. This was not part of the temporary cavity, but I can see how the temporary cavity could have aided in the damage. It was very hard to estimated, but think of a 3.5" diameter destruction channel for about 6", if i was to visually estimate.

I am 200 pounds and my chest is 11" deep. This is not a plug for going back to the 125gr SJHP 357 Magnum, but after seeing the damage difference between the two rounds, that is the way that I would go without question. But if I just read about the two bullet's perofrmance, the second one would not even be included, prabably and if it was, it only expanded to 0.52" and penetrated just over 11", far inferior to the Speer that expanded to 0.61" and penetrated 14".

Are we looking at the right things and what about ammo like DRT. A friend called me to tell me that he dropped a mule deer of well over 200 pounds in its tracks with one DRT 40 S&W round from a Glock 23 at a distance of about 40 yards. He said there was unbelievable damage to the lungs and heart. It has been a long time since a 9mm 115gr Silvertip bullet fired from an FBI gun failed to go one additional inch and turned the ammo industry on its head. Where do we go from here?
 

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I like the Remington 125 SJHP myself though I am not averse to using the Gold Dot or PDX1. I have about 70 rounds of the SJHP on hand, been using it since the early or mid 1980s.
 
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Why do we not look at what the bullet does to the gel?
Because the damage done to the gel does not directly correlate to the damage done in the body. Testing in gelatin (or water) is simply a "test bed" that produces the expansion of a given bullet and the maximum penetration depth to which it will penetrate in a consistent and valid test medium calibrated to match or simulate the density of swine tissue which in turn is an analogue to human soft tissue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Because the damage done to the gel does not directly correlate to the damage done in the body. Testing in gelatin (or water) is simply a "test bed" that produces the expansion of a given bullet and the maximum penetration depth to which it will penetrate in a consistent and valid test medium calibrated to match or simulate the density of swine tissue which in turn is an analogue to human soft tissue.
My point, what are we actually measuring? It does replicate muscle in its proper form. We are now saying that the 9mm standard velocity 147gr. is just as effective as every other service round. Why? Becuase we told the ammo manuaftures not to make effective ammunition, but to make it so that it penetrates a certain medium and expands a certain amount in that medium, which you admit means nothing. Now they all do that, so they all must be equal. Even by your statement it will give us a standard medium to measure damage, who cares if it matches reality, we have not care in quiet a while. Every day I ask God why Agent Dove did not hit him a couple more times with that 9mm. We have no idea if we have changed the ammunition for the better.
 

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There’s a reason specs call for 12” minimum penetration. I’ll take 14” over 11” all day long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There’s a reason specs call for 12” minimum penetration. I’ll take 14” over 11” all day long.
Would you take a 4" diameter destruction path for entire 11", or would you just want a small hole for the whole 14". If you would still rather have the 14", I do not know what to say. The DRT bullet dropped the mule deer in it's tracks and only penetrated about 11" What is the 14" going to get you unless maybe you have to shoot from a bad angle. The amount of tissue destruction is the best predictor of a bullets effectiveness as long as it goes past 8". That is my opinion. You have shot a lot of things and in certain instances certain penetration may be needed, but not a human attacker. I want him to know that he has been hit really bad. I think everyone has been brainwashed. Do you bow hunt? My 1.5" broadheads go completely through a deer and unless I hit the heart, he runs away.

The 357 Magnum would have failed the test. You are old enough to know that it is an effective round on humans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There’s a reason specs call for 12” minimum penetration. I’ll take 14” over 11” all day long.
Actally, what is the reason? It was arbitrarily chosen by the same people who could not hit the bad guy more than once and are involved in the least amount of shooting then other big agencies or departments.. The Secret Service does not agree with the 12" at least when they had a say on specifications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One engineering principal, "What are we trying to accomplish and how do we measure progress?, comes to mind. Your points make sense to me.
That is what I am saying, and with new forms of ammo like the bullet that causes cavitation (when they told us that energy did not matter) and the fragmentattion ammo like DRT. The test is inadequate. Maybe what happened helped and maybe it did not, but where do we go from here? The test was set up so all ammo would perform the same, to the test so to speak. Now we aree told with new bullet development the standard 147gr 9mm is as effective as any other service caliber. Yes, according to the protocol all manufactures developed bullets to give certain penetration and expansion in this media and we do not even look at the damage that the bullet causes. That is the result of this protocol and I do not believe for one minute that the standard 9mm 147gr is the same as a +p 45 ACP in stopping effectiveness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also, bullets and rounds that performed pretty good on the street were just thrown out becuase they did not do well in this protocol. The 9BPLE for instance. We have absolutely no data that demonstrates that any 9mm made today is any better in stopping a threat then the 9BPLE. I do understand that going through glass a bonded bullet may have an edge, but the ISP were not complaining about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We measure what we can measure. We don't measure what we can't measure. That's my worldview, and I'm sticking with it.
Maybe your powernoodle needs recharged. We are not even coming close to measuring what we can, and it is not the measuring per se, but the meaning given to the data measured. For instance, I was reading a year summary of police activity for a large metropolitan police force and I thought it said that average number of gunshot wounds to a threat was 4. It could mean that the new semiautos and good training they are puting 4 shots into him before he hits the gound. It could mean other things, but I wondered if it has anything to do with the ineffectivenes of the 9mm. We could measure many things that could be closer to our objective than what we are measuring
 

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My point, what are we actually measuring? It does replicate muscle in its proper form. We are now saying that the 9mm standard velocity 147gr. is just as effective as every other service round. Why? Becuase we told the ammo manuaftures not to make effective ammunition, but to make it so that it penetrates a certain medium and expands a certain amount in that medium, which you admit means nothing. Now they all do that, so they all must be equal. Even by your statement it will give us a standard medium to measure damage, who cares if it matches reality, we have not care in quiet a while. Every day I ask God why Agent Dove did not hit him a couple more times with that 9mm. We have no idea if we have changed the ammunition for the better.
I never said that testing in gelatin means nothing. I said, ''Testing in gelatin (or water) is simply a "test bed" that produces the expansion of a given bullet and the maximum penetration depth to which it will penetrate in a consistent and valid test medium calibrated to match or simulate the density of swine tissue which in turn is an analogue to human soft tissue.''
Put another way, testing bullets in gelatin will replicate the bullet's expansion and penetration depth in a simple wound―that is, through one type of tissue; replicated human muscle tissue―in that validated test medium. Gelatin was never meant to replicate complex wounds (involving bones and multiple tissue types); it simply replicates the average density of the human body (including bones, muscle tendons, organs) while representing a simple wound.
Even if we could set up a gelatin test 'dummy' that somehow perfectly replicated the human anatomy right down to the last detail, the variability (where the bullet strikes, aka 'shot placement') would result in differing outcomes every time just like what happens in humans which brings us right back to needing a simple, but valid, physical model that produces a monotonic result.
 

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I think we spend a lot of time and effort worrying about some nuances of guns and ammo when in reality it doesn’t matter much. Trying to measure something precisely, when there are so many variables in actual use that it may render our measuring not very relevant.

Your odds of needing a gun are extremely remote, but if you do, having any gun/ammo is far better than nothing. You can’t foresee the circumstances, all the factors that will affect the performance of your ammo, so basically it's a big WAG anyway. For all we know, cheap range ball ammo may be the perfect choice in the circumstances you encounter.

A lot of this is psychological, what makes you feel prepared or comfortable with your choices. When I used to do lots of bike racing, I would get on bike forums where people would debate whether an aluminum or carbon fiber seat post was more comfortable. Really? An 8” long rigid tube can have a detectable difference in comfort? BS.

These measurements are interesting, but not sure they really matter much.
 

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I get that gello is consistent means of grading ammo, a test medium. I also agree though, that most important giblets in a person are protected by some bone and sometimes more bone in the form of arms or legs, hands etc.
I think some of the negative associations with fragmenting/ core seperation become more apparent when that is considered.
As good as the old scallop jacketed sjhp 125gr .357 was, it has to be viewed in terms of what else was available at the time...not much. It looked good because it performed much differently than 9mm/.38sp/.45 of the time.
Had Platt taken that round through the arm and into the chest, would it have done any different than the 115gr ST? Not sure it would have.
I thought all this testing and criteria would help achieve something more reliable across the cross section of typical shootings- in that light, for me at least, I'd be more inclined to trust the Gold dot vs the old Rem load.
Not sure it answers the validity of gello testing or not, but given all the variables of human anatomy and terminal ballistics, that saying of ' expansion may be the icing, but penetration is the cake' makes sense to me. Glaser slugs make really cool cavities in gello, but I wouldn't carry the stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I get that gello is consistent means of grading ammo, a test medium. I also agree though, that most important giblets in a person are protected by some bone and sometimes more bone in the form of arms or legs, hands etc.
I think some of the negative associations with fragmenting/ core seperation become more apparent when that is considered.
As good as the old scallop jacketed sjhp 125gr .357 was, it has to be viewed in terms of what else was available at the time...not much. It looked good because it performed much differently than 9mm/.38sp/.45 of the time.
Had Platt taken that round through the arm and into the chest, would it have done any different than the 115gr ST? Not sure it would have.
I thought all this testing and criteria would help achieve something more reliable across the cross section of typical shootings- in that light, for me at least, I'd be more inclined to trust the Gold dot vs the old Rem load.
Not sure it answers the validity of gello testing or not, but given all the variables of human anatomy and terminal ballistics, that saying of ' expansion may be the icing, but penetration is the cake' makes sense to me. Glaser slugs make really cool cavities in gello, but I wouldn't carry the stuff.
Yeeah, I heard that it was just the best at the time, so it looked good, but I was there. It is very effective, but not practical in a semiauto world. It does not concern you to use only one form a media, or the guy above you, for penetration and final expansion, but not for an indicator of tissue damage. Bones, etc. would affect expansion and penetration as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think we spend a lot of time and effort worrying about some nuances of guns and ammo when in reality it doesn’t matter much. Trying to measure something precisely, when there are so many variables in actual use that it may render our measuring not very relevant.

Your odds of needing a gun are extremely remote, but if you do, having any gun/ammo is far better than nothing. You can’t foresee the circumstances, all the factors that will affect the performance of your ammo, so basically it's a big WAG anyway. For all we know, cheap range ball ammo may be the perfect choice in the circumstances you encounter.

A lot of this is psychological, what makes you feel prepared or comfortable with your choices. When I used to do lots of bike racing, I would get on bike forums where people would debate whether an aluminum or carbon fiber seat post was more comfortable. Really? An 8” long rigid tube can have a detectable difference in comfort? BS.

These measurements are interesting, but not sure they really matter much.
I really do not know what o do with your comment except to say that this is Caliber Corner, andwe talk about this stuff here, but I do agree that we do not know much. For instance if Agent Dove had used a FMJ it probably would have penetrated that extra inch. For me it is just a question if current testing methods really tell us anything valuable. When a test is set up to show that penetration is about the most important, because that was what the FBI blamed on the failure, I wonder about that actual validity, especially when we are now told that a standard 147gr 9mm is just as effective as any other caliber.
 

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Yeeah, I heard that it was just the best at the time, so it looked good, but I was there. It is very effective, but not practical in a semiauto world. It does not concern you to use only one form a media, or the guy above you, for penetration and final expansion, but not for an indicator of tissue damage. Bones, etc. would affect expansion and penetration as well.
I'm not sure I understand what you think 'concerns me'...
I'm not actually wed to the 'absolute' of gello testing either, other than the simple purpose of comparing ammo 'apples to apples' and a general acceptance of the reasoning behind what the FBI was trying to do.
I honestly can't say I'm certain it accurately reflects tissue damage since there's no bones or blood vessels in gello- if that's your assertion, I'd agree.
But..
Do you you think for certain, going back in time, you'd be better off with the old Remington load in the typical shooting than the same weapon loaded with 125gr gold dots? Or FTX or Barnes..etc?
Yes, the old load was known for it's lightning bolt effect, but the same has been said of +p+ 9mm 115gr and .357sig using modern non fragging bonded jhp's.
We really don't have the same body of data on modern .357mag loads anymore since agencies dropped revolvers. I'm primarily a wheelgunner, and I wouldn't turn down loading rem sjhps in my LCR or GP100....but honestly I'd wager the mid vel Golden Saber at 9mm velocities would probably 'as' or more effective.
ETA: I also don't believe 147gr 9mm is as effective as any other caliber, but I do believe it's a good 9mm load presuming a good bullet and service length gun.
 

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I really do not know what o do with your comment except to say that this is Caliber Corner, andwe talk about this stuff here, but I do agree that we do not know much. For instance if Agent Dove had used a FMJ it probably would have penetrated that extra inch. For me it is just a question if current testing methods really tell us anything valuable. When a test is set up to show that penetration is about the most important, because that was what the FBI blamed on the failure, I wonder about that actual validity, especially when we are now told that a standard 147gr 9mm is just as effective as any other caliber.
I'm agreeing with your questioning the standards. I think we agree that 64" of penetration is too much (usually), and 1" of penetration would be too little. But, whether it's 12" or 18" in gel, probably doesn't tell us a lot about real world effectiveness, as there are far too many variables to resolve the issue with that degree of apparent precision.
 
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