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Thread: Penetration and Expansion

  1. #1
    ASD Senior Member Cottonmouth's Avatar
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    Default Penetration and Expansion

    I've been doing a little very un-scientific research on the penetration and expansion of bullets in water. I used one gallon milk jugs filled with water. I know that this isn't as good as ballistic jell, but the bullets all expanded beautifully. I am attaching pictures of the bullets and the guns that I used. Here are the results. The first bullet on the left is a 9mm Hornady Critical Defense round. It penetrated four jugs, and I recovered it in the fourth jug. The petals expanded completely to the body of the bullet, but didn't enlarge the diameter very much. The next one, going right, is a 9mm Winchester Silvertip hollow point. It expanded well, and the final diameter was larger than the CD round, and almost as large as the .40 round. The next one is a .40 Federal Hydra Shok. It penetrated into the fourth jug, and was recovered there. It performed beautifully. PICT0140.jpgPICT0141.jpgPICT0142.jpgPICT0074.jpgPICT0076.jpgPICT0077.jpgPICT0082.jpg The next two rounds are .45 Winchester Silvertip hollow points. I fired two of them because the first one broke up, after expanding nicely. The second one did almost exactly the same thing. They both were recovered in the fourth jug. Next, I fired a 9mm fmj, and it penetrated into the sixth jug, and knocked a flap out of the back of the sixth jug, but didn't have enough energy left to exit the jug. It was recovered in the sixth jug. I fired a .22 long rifle solid bullet, and it penetrated into the third jug and was recovered there. I also fired a .45 fmj, but it deflected up and went through five jugs and then went through the bottom of the neck of the sixth jug, so I didn't recover it. I hope this information will be interesting to all you fellow sheepdogs. I had to drink a lot of milk to come up with it. In the future, when I accumulate enough jugs, I want to shoot a 12 gauge slug and another .45 fmj.

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Cottonmouth For This Useful Post:

    Jim Trueblood (09-05-2012), rkbartley (09-05-2012), Rossi (09-07-2012), suncat05 (09-08-2012)

  3. #2

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    Thanks for the info, good job. I'm thinking that you enjoyed your research. I like to have information from sources other than magazine articles, manufacturers, etc.

    (With all the milk drinking you must have bones and teeth of steel : )
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    Thanks for the work Cottonmouth (and for keeping your local milk producers in business )!
    This is great info.

    rkb
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    Great non-scientific analysis. Thanks for providing the information...however, on a more technical note, four or five gallon jugs of water is equal to approximately 3/4 feet. A hollow point will never travel that distance through any substantial substance. Water displaces mass in a completely different manner than a body. I have attended an FBI forensics ballistics class and shot several different hollow point rounds through various substances and into ballistic gel. The penetration varied from 8 to 11 inches....we shot through clothing, sheetrock, steel, glass, etc.

    Just a technical note for our members.
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  7. #5
    ASD Senior Member Cottonmouth's Avatar
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    Well, I said it was very un-scientific, but there is one other thing to consider also. When you shoot through 3 jugs of water and enter the fourth jug, the round is also penetrating 7 thicknesses of plastic. I don't know what that amounts to, but it must have some effect.
    Roy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottonmouth View Post
    Well, I said it was very un-scientific, but there is one other thing to consider also. When you shoot through 3 jugs of water and enter the fourth jug, the round is also penetrating 7 thicknesses of plastic. I don't know what that amounts to, but it must have some effect.
    Roy
    7 thicknesses' of plastic is not even close to a 5/8" piece of sheetrock, or even 4 layers of clothing. Your study was great for a non-scientific test...but we must be careful in populating any statistics to the general public on forums.
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    ASD Senior Member Jim Trueblood's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your range results and photos.

    I too have enjoyed unscientific comparisons of ammo over the years, simply for my own interest and to have a little fun. I'd use a one gallon water jug as my "vital organ". A piece of 3/4" plywood in front of the jug for "bone". A piece of cotton t-shirt over the plywood, a piece of heavy flannel shirt over the cotton, then a piece of an old leather jacket with a wool lining over the flannel. I used to frequent second-hand clothing stores and I'd buy old, heavy winter coats for $10 while my wife rolled her eyes, knowing their destination.

    Back then we didn't have all the GREAT ammo available to us like we do today. I was interested in seeing how the most common hollowpoints of the day reacted to winter clothing. Totally unscientific, but I came away with some interesting, consistent differences in the different brands of ammo.

    And oyea, it was always a helluva lotta fun.
    Last edited by Jim Trueblood; 09-05-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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    ASD Senior Member Jim Trueblood's Avatar
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    P.S. Nice handguns Roy. I don't own one but have shot the EMP. Sweet!
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    I found this very interesting when when you emailed it to me, and I'm glad to see that it presented well on the forum.

    Thanks for the hard work.

    Rossi

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