Thursday, June 11, 2015

Magic Bullets?

So there are several varieties of high-speed ultra-light bullets on the market today that make some pretty amazing claims about their ballistic capabilities, both exterior and terminal. I plunked down some of my own money over a couple gun shows on a few of the better-known ones with the intention of trying them out, first over the chrono, and then into ballistic gelatin to see if they held up to the claims in the ad copy.

The three loads, all in the ubiquitous 9x19mm, are Polycase's 74gr Inceptor ARX, Dynamic Research Technologies' 85gr Terminal Shock frangible hollowpoint, and Liberty Ammunition's 50gr Lead-Free +P hollowpoint. Since all the rounds tested made pretty bold velocity claims, I used the Sig P230 for chrono testing, since its 4.75" barrel was the longest 9mm tube I had handy.

First is the Inceptor ARX. This oddly-shaped bullet is designed not to fragment in tissue. Instead, its designers claim, the shape of the bullet causes it to yaw and the fluted ogive uses "lateral force dispersion" for "rapid energy transfer" to the target. The box claims 1475fps at the muzzle for the injection-molded polymer/copper bullet. The chrono results for a ten-shot string were as follows:
HI: 1525
LO: 1458
AV: 1490
ES: 67.07
SD: 20.95
So that's pretty much spot-on, and likely would have averaged exactly at the box-flap numbers out of a 4.5" gun like a Glock 17.

The 85gr Terminal Shock frangible HP from Dynamic Research Technologies (DRT. Get it? Huh? Do ya? DRT?) runs at a claimed 1350fps out of a 4" test barrel. Out of the 4.75" P32, the test numbers went thusly:
HI: 1348
LO: 1280
AV: 1306
ES: 68.59
SD: 22.75
As you can see, despite having three quarters of an inch more barrel length, the average velocity was still 50fps shy of what was measured at the box flap. Further, the somewhat erratic velocities common to hot-loaded, light-for-caliber pistol bullets were even more noticeable here than in the Inceptor.

Finally comes the Liberty Ammunition 50gr +P Civil Defense HP, with its claimed 2000fps muzzle velocity. From the Sig, the actual numbers for the ten-round string were:
HI: 2090
LO: 1994
AV: 2037
ES: 95.42
SD: 28.35
Well, no reason to doubt that it would have matched the velocity claims when fired from the typical 4"-4.5" service pistol. It was loud, but recoil was minimal. Check out that Extreme Spread, though... The fastest and slowest rounds varied by almost 100fps in the same magazine!

Further, none of the thirty rounds chronoe'd rounds caused any malfunctions in the test pistol, despite their exotic shapes, weights, and velocities.

Tune in for the next segment, where they'll get shot at, into, and through things, to see how well the claims of terminal effectiveness match reality.