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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 3/22/2006 11:39:39 AM EST
I know this has been kicked around before, but I got some time at the range to myself today, and was able to pull the Old_Painless trick and shoot some water to test the rounds. Here's what came about, given my less than scientific methods.

I realize this doesn't look good, but I was in a hurry when the pics were done.

I used 2 liter Pepsi bottles, nowhere near as good as milk jugs, but I drink much more Pepsi than I do milk, and these were what I had around. The jugs are 4 inches each in diameter, and do not work as well as milk jugs, I think, because the plastic is much more elastic than with milk jugs, causing penetration to suffer.

Side note: O_Ps idea that penetration will be 1.5-2 times more in water than in flesh sounds about right to me. However, the testing I have done today, as well as others in the past, indicate that with the bottles, penetration is greatly reduced. In fact, to much closer to flesh penetration numbers. I am certainly not saying it's a 1:1 ratio this way, but I think it's closer. JMHO

Note the excellent expansion of the Ranger SXTs into water. Each of them expanded just as expected into bare water jugs, but penetration was nearly the same for all four loads. Two bottles were penetrated completely, with the bullet coming to rest in the third bottle. I would like to test the SXT .45 +P and the standard loading in gelatin, though. The noise was noticeably increased, recoil did seem to be only a bit more though. I'd like to see how they compare in a scientific test.

The .45/230 Gold Dot performed very well also, with similar penetration as the .45/230 Ranger T, but not opening up as wide. I'll mike them later to see the exact numbers.

The last round reinforces my concerns about the viability of the .38 as a defense round. I'm very interested to see how the rounds made especially for short barrels works out, but I didn't have any on hand today to try. Even with the 125 grain +P loading (yes, I was wrong about the bullet weight, the Gold Dots are 125, I brought some 110 Hydra-Shoks, but was not able to shoot them) there was little expansion, and penetration went into the fifth bottle. Nearly 20 inches of penetration, where the others went less than 12. You can see that the petals had only begun to open up a little. Essentially, this is, at best, an expensive FMJ round. Mrs gorilla has this 2inch .38 as her nightstand gun, but I'm actively looking for something more impressive and with a bit more capacity for her to use, while being just as easy to shoot.

I was unable to try out the 110gr HydraShoks for a simple reason. I had also brought my S&W 629, and hoped to try out my normal .44 Special load for expansion as well. I used 180gr Hornady XTPs, but when fired, they proved to be a bit more than expected. The XTP penetrated seven(!) bottles completely, and still had enough energy to keep going on, so I found myself without enough bottles to shoot the .38 HS. Apparently, even with the .44Special loading, expansion was nil.

I had a lot of fun performing these tests though, and look forward to doing it some more. Again, I don't claim to be a backyard ballistics expert, and I don't expect the world to stand on end and look at what I've done with a bunch of Pepsi bottles, but as Old_Painless says, "Shooting stuff is fun!"
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:59:28 AM EST
Yep, .38 sucks.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:01:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By triburst1:
Yep, .38 sucks.

Ha, ha. Yep
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:12:03 PM EST
What's the word on .32ACP JHP's? Anyone try doing the same thing with those?
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:41:48 PM EST
Great job! Thanks for going to the trouble to post this!

Looks like the 9mm did quiet well also! I'd rather have the 900 then the .38 for sure.

My wife carries a .38 with Gold Dots.....might have to have her change her carry gun.
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