Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

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Charles L. Cotton
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Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#1

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:02 pm

Anyone who has followed my posts on ballistic testing knows I'm a fan of both Luckygunner.com's testing as well as Paul Harrell's work. In my view, testing with ballistic gelatin is valid only for comparing one cartridge against another. It is not useful for "real world" performance testing. This fact is abundantly clear when comparing the results of Luckybunner's testing of Federal HST 90gr. JHP .380ACP v. Paul Harrell's of the same ammo. (See video below.)

The HST did not perform well in ballistic gelatin, but it was excellent in Harrell's meat target. At the end of the day, Paul Harrell's testing by multiple methods is far more valuable than ballistic gelatin. This is especially true with the meat target.

Chas.

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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#2

Post by Rob72 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:27 pm

True, sometimes the meat target decides to run, rather than complete the test, which is a success in itself! :biggrinjester: :lol:

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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#3

Post by The Annoyed Man » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:29 pm

I am subscribed to Harrell’s YouTube channel. At first, I found his ballistics testing to be unconventional. But upon reflection, I have also become a convert to thinking that his methods are probably more valid than ballistics gel.

I think that ballistic gel is valid for one thing - and that is trying to demonstrate the ideal expansion of a hollowpoint bullet. But that is no indicator of how it will actually perform in an animal’s or human’s body.
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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#4

Post by oohrah » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:05 am

Now I want a Beretta 1934.
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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#5

Post by cs1021 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:49 am

This helps confirm my theory....

HST all the things!!! :fire


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#6

Post by jason812 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:51 am

This might have me rethinking my wife stepping up to a 9mm. I might have her check out the 380 Shield EZ along with a 9mm Shield (I would still prefer her to have a slightly larger pistol than her pocket 380). I feel more comfortable with the 380 after watching that and have bought HST for the 380 but never loaded them in her pistol due to the Lucky Gunner test.


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#7

Post by MaduroBU » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:26 pm

I'm working on a 115 grain HDY XTP load for my .380, and I'm trying to put together a test for it. I made out of spec ballistic gel once,and won't do that again as it was a huge mess. I'm thinking of using clear ballistic gel from Amazon, but I want to try it with more than just denim over the top. I have seen folks use a rack of ribs over the top, and i think that's my likely strategy. On the other hand, calibrated ballistic gel is the stabdard for a reason.


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#8

Post by flechero » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:34 pm

Although I enjoy Paul Harrell's videos- my only real complaint is how he builds his "meat targets" and compares bullets, without ensuring the same thing is hit in each. One test (not this video) he uses pork shoulders and doesn't show any concern for the orientation and placement of the bone (unless it was edited out) as he constructs the target or that each bullet hits it.


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#9

Post by flechero » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:37 pm

MaduroBU wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:26 pm
On the other hand, calibrated ballistic gel is the standard for a reason.
Yes, but only as a consistent medium for bullet caparison- and the calibration is to ensure the different lots test the same. It's NOT calibrated to replicate the human body.


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#10

Post by MaduroBU » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:00 pm

flechero wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:37 pm
Yes, but only as a consistent medium for bullet caparison- and the calibration is to ensure the different lots test the same. It's NOT calibrated to replicate the human body.
Yes and no. The FBI became deeply concerned after the 1987 shootout and apart from the 10mm overreaction convened a ton of top and diverse experts, many of them with trauma experience from SE Asia, to figure out how to stop BGs with handgun bullets. I think that the dispute arises from the false equivalence between ballistic gel and a human torso.

The test basically says that a load that meets FBI spec in calibrated gel will reliably cause fatal injuries from center mass hits. We tend to disagree because we over interpret the FBI test, which is fundamentally binary. The gel result doesn't speak to HOW a bullet will perform, what expansion will look like, how large or deep the wound channel will be, et c. We here have a vested interest in comparing small differences in order to find "the best". I don't think that the FBI gel standard ever had that as it's goal, which isn't a mark against it so much as a question of different goals.

We here expect to use firearms in situations in which we will likely be at a disadvantage. We don't have 10 special agents, to the point of probably being outnumbered. Our carry guns have severe weight and size restrictions, which limits barrel length and recoil. We may need to stop someone in mere seconds with poor opportunities for an aimed CNS shot. Our legal protections in the case of a miss or pass through are negligible compared to those for an LEO.

I think that our issue May be that our requirements are so much more demanding than those for a duty weapon/round that a round which meets the FBI gel standard may still be insufficient for us.


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Re: Ballistic testing - Academic discussion v. real performance

#11

Post by flechero » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:55 pm

minor clarification- I meant the calibration was for gel consistency, lot to lot. It has always been conceded that the gel could/does replicate some soft tissue but for purposes of a consistent medium with measurable resistance, the gel is not intended to mirror the human body.

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