Informal Ballistic Tests


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Finally got around to it.....
This is my ammo, same thing I sell and shoot.
First 3 pics from the late fall in northern NV desert, elevation about 3500 ft.
into hard earth, top 2 inches were sand.
With the exception of the extreme case penetration was 6-9 in, and at least 96% weight retention.
Left to Right, all 40S&W
165gr. Sierra HP, 150gr. Nosler HP, 165gr. Speer GDHP, 155gr. FMJ, 135gr. Nosler HP
This is a Nosler 135gr. HP at around 1500 fps. estimated. It's flatter than the quarter and I didn't have to dig it up. Obviously beyond its limits.
Left to Right, all 44 Mag
Sierra 300gr. JSP, Hornady 240gr. XTP, 240gr. FMJ

The next pic was from 2 weeks ago, same place different dirt area, much more sandy and soft.
Tests were cut very short because of the accident. This is all I had. Penetration was 4-6 in, at least 99% weight retention ... ics002.jpg
Left to Right, all 40S&W
155gr. FMJ, 165gr. Sierra HP, 180gr. FMJHP

I was surprised at the FMJ results, thought they wouldn't expand.
Let me know your comments/questions.

Almost for got....Original tests also fired one 9mm. original 147gr. Black Talon. Never got that one back, even with a shovel.


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Very soon I also plan to go back and finish the test.
Will try a few 22lr loads on coconuts. Skulls if I find some out there.
Doubt I'll have gel by then so...
9mm, 40, 44, 243, 32 Win, and 308 on the following;
Plastic water bottles behind plywood
Wet phone books
Railroad plates
Cast iron skillets
If I can find it........a 4 inch diameter 1/2 inch thick piece of titanium from a former job.
They save all their scraps now.
Something else you think I should try? Different media? Different bullets? Different velocities?

Midnight Raver

Well-Known Member
Old steel pots(helmets) from past military service. I had just thought of this right after the ShootzenFest on June 4th- wish I had thought of it earlier, as I would have gladly donated a few. This will change for the next one!

My reasoning was that different caliber handguns and some of the older military firearms would make for good actual penetration tests. Frost and I were talking about this- I suggested putting them on something like a horseshoe stake or rebar segment. Of course he had come up with dummie heads or manequins...

gotta love that guy, he cracks me up! :lol:


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He's great, glad to call him friend.
You can get foam heads from beauty shops and such. They may have old ones in th back room. That may work for your helmet tests. How much would a helmet cost? I'd like to see what happens to a modern helmet.


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Shrapnel762 said:
metal plate inside phonebook?
That would probably destroy the bullet completely. Be tough to find it that way too. If I could come up with some kind of bullet trap.

Midnight Raver

Well-Known Member
Some catalogs like Cheaper Than Dirt sell some old school stuff, there are others that have surplus goods as well. My last aqquisition was an old American style French helmet- no liner and chin straps for maybe about 5 bucks. That will be the first donor from me. As for modern/current issue, they aren't too cheap- hence using the old stuff. I have like 6 different ones, at least a couple can volunteer...

Flea markets and garage sales could yield some similar cheap targets, and they'll ring too!


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The water jugs in a line seem to work for TheBoxOfTruth. The water jugs are lined up in the direction away from the firer and are contained within dry wall, I believe. Almost always recover all bullets and fragments.


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That sounds like a good idea. How much does drywall cost?
How many ]ugs would be enough? 308 would probably be the largest round fired.

I stopped by a beauty shop and a 99 cent store and asked about display heads, both plastic and foam. They agreed on 1.50 for foam and 2.50 for plastic.
It's worth a try in your neck of the woods.
The plastic is pretty brittle though, it will probably crack in short order.


Well-Known Member
Here's his write-up about shooting drywall to measure penetration:

Here's the main selection of his tests:

He doesn't maintain the control standards of the FBI but his informal testing is more than adequate for comparison. His methodology appears sound and when using water jugs lined up back-to-back he tends to retrieve bullets and fragments almost every time. You really get to see how rounds act when they strike something.


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Ya know the box of truth has some good information.
It is really too bad that the place is so eaten up with advertisement.