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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post is only one part of my testing results,these are my notes, informal I know but I want to preface this by saying these are my personal results and my testing methodologies. I pay for this stuff out of my own pocket and I test it for my own benefit. I am not an "Expert" or a ballistician. I strongly recomend that you always test your own ammo/defensive pistol combination for your specific needs and only carry/depend on it when you are satisfied and confident.
Dane gives me the opportunity to share my writing/ideas here so I post them for the benefit of others:

Tactical Penetration and Cars (Sheet Metal).

On Saturday afternoon I had the opportunity while testing the new Black Hills 230gr Gold Dot ammunition to also test it against automobile sheet metal and I was very impressed.
I used three pieces of auto sheet metal (patch panels from the Eastwood company) spaced 3" apart mounted on 2x4 framing with two large semi boneless Hams behind them.
All shooting was done from 24” directly facing the target to realistically duplicate standing next to a vehichle door. I recognize that we are shooting at a flat surface and this may not be a complete representation for shooting at cars but: *I must explain that this was done as I did not want to have rounds go skidding off into my range area in odd directions. *I learned this the hard way once when a Corbon .45acp 200 gr. +P load literally skimmed along the metal surface and bounced off of the wall and went up-range after shooting at the metal panels at a 45 degree angle. I was not injured but… (Safety, safety, safety)

Ok, on to the Sheet metal results:
The really suprising aspect of the gold Dot bullet is the way it performs, specifically the large cavity of the BHGD cuts an almost perfect circle of sheet metal and the discs are then somehow "dropped" or dislodged by the gold Dot hollo point cavity as it continues into the target material and the BHGD expanded to .70" on average and penetrated to a depth of 11.3 inches into the Ham, (I need to note that without photos it may be hard to understand the distinction I am making here.
If I were primarily concerned with automobiles as tactical barriers I would strongly recommend the Gold Dot 230gr bullets)
I tested the BHGD side by side with my favorite loading the Winchester Ranger 230gr +P Talon round and the Talon load semi-clogged on all five test rounds with the "disc", then traveled into the target and still expanded to .73" on average across the semi extended Talons, it penetrated 9.4 inches into the Ham. In comparison the BHGD resembles the classic flat almost square nose profile fully expanded bullet and the WRT is the classic mushroom profile semi rounded shape bullet, the WRT did not expand completely and the Talons were only partially opened, with ham grisel caught in them.
As to velocities the WRT +P clocked 1,020 fps from my SS Springfield TRP.
The BHGD clocked 905fps from the same TRP; this is 5 fps higher than Black Hills advertises.

I am looking for a new service to post some more of my pictures; I hope to have them here shortly.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-05-27 12:46 ]</font>

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67 Posts
David, you testing is fine. If you test several types of ammo, and projectiles, for comparison, using the same protocols, you will have good information for that set of protocols.

I still like to shoot real car doors and other parts. I get a better idea of what I can use for cover/concealment. GLV

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67 Posts
David, I am not trying to knock or belittle your testing. I admire the work you are doing and I thank you. Let me put my post another way:

Almost 20 years ago, I attended the NRA National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Workshop. The workshop director Was James E. Daugherty. He, and all of the Instructors emphasized one concept. All training had to be 'practical, and job related'.

I know shooting real people is not realistic, but shooting real doors is realistic. I would rather see testing on a car door that I or one of my students might have to use as cover, than your test UNLESS we can come up with some sort of correlation between the two.

I hope this explains what I said poorly in an earlier post. Thanks, GLV

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just a little humor on the post, no offense taken.
To correlate, I did use automotive replacment door skins from the Eastwood company (they are an automotive restoration company in PA) I used three skins just to ensure the penetration was close to being realistic. As to the Ham, well I ran out of gelatin and that stuff is getting to be expensive, plus my wife hates it when I fill the refrigerator with those pans/molds.
Ham was cheaper and closer at hand. I absolutely agree with your realism requirement and although I am clearly not an expert or a ballistician I try to be as accurate and methodical as I can be.
Thanks for the input as I am always tinkering and looking for new ways to test and evaluate my equipment. As always please test your equipment personally before you rely on it.

Think, Plan, Train, Be Safe.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-06-05 12:56 ]</font>

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16 Posts
Hey guys/gals, one of THE very best repositories of accurate, comprehensive small arms ammo testing data is the International Wound Ballistics Association, which publishes many different test results on all kinds of defensive ammo in their quarterly journal called the "Wound Ballistics Review".

If you are REALLY serious about learning all the intricacies of defensive ammo performance [especially military and LE type small arms loads], be sure to subscribe to the review.

Call 1-310-640-6065 to get WBR subscription data. This ain't for
any person who doesn't understand basic ballistics, but for the knowledgeable shooter, there is NO other publication even close to the WBR. Word up.

FYI, among many other projects, the IWBA was directly instrumental in encouraging Winchester and Blount [Speer] to redesign their old RANGER and Gold Dot bullets respectively, so that they would actually expand AFTER passing thru clothing, instead of plugging up and acting as a solid. At the time [4 yrs ago], that was something that NO commercially available handgun JHP would do. After working on the problem using IWBA-developed test protocols, Winchester came out with a new, LE-only RANGER T bullet design, and Speer redesigned their Gold Dot bullets. All this is documented in back issues of the WBR, which annual WBR subscribers can also obtain.

If anyone cares, the new Winchester RANGER T is different than either the present commercial Winchester SXT, or the earlier Black Talon and [later]RANGER Talon LE loads which have brass cases and black coated bullets. All new RANGER T loads have a nickle case and copper-colored JHP bullet and are only coded RA45T, RA40T, RA357T, or RA9T. ANY OTHER product codes, including those with the letters SXT are the older bullet designs, NOT the improved LE version.

I've been issued the old and new Winchester RANGER LE loads over the last five years for duty use, although our dept just adopted the redesigned Speer Gold Dot loads for what is believed to be their better intermediate barrier penetration capabilities. Speer has a great little 15 or so minute video for police agencies on their redesigned loads---Contact their LE Sales Div.

Hope this helps. I'm fairly new to this forum and usually work within several restricted LE-Only forums.

Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I believe Jim has commented or posted on the IWBA previously.
To correlate, the IWBA is a non-profit organization started by Dr, Martin Fackler in the 80's it originally went under/disappeared, I believe and was resurrected in 1990 (I may be wrong and no offense to anyone is intended or implied). Membership is restricted to "professionals" but a subscription is available for the Wound Ballistics Review a bi-annual publication that is full of useful information.
I believe the cost is still only $40.00 for US and $48.00 for Canada/Mexico and $58.00 for all other foreign address.
The IWBA is controversial and they do not always agree with the conventional methods and certainly not the "popular" theories.
I have read and followed the IWBA since Volume 1 issue 1 from late 1992.
Duncan McPherson is one of the most published writer/researcher in the group and I generally like his findings and he seems to lack the common “angle-marketing interest” so many writers are after these days.
The work that I do is for my own use and the work of the IWBA is far more scientific and wide reaching and definitely more scientifically valid.
They have in fact helped (or hurt, depending on your view and angle) to further the concept of "stopping power" further than any other organization since the NIJ (some really dislike the NIJ findings, but I disagree, I believe they helped to bring forward a lot of knowledgeable people who worked hard to disprove the NIJ findings thus by result improving the field.) and they do have some very real and very relevant information, a very knowledgeable group and no matter which way you see things you will be more informed by reading the WBR.

You can reach them at IWBA- PO Box 701 - El Segundo, CA 90245-0701

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493 Posts
Thanks to Exec and David for the excellent post on IWBA, which is a "must use" source if you are looking into terminal ballistics... note I did not say you have to accept everything but to be exposed to all aspects this source is mandatory.

Duncan MacPheresons book "Bullet Pentration..." is probably the most detailed examination on the theories behind "Wound Trauma Incapacitation" extant and one cannot actually argue any of the popular theories without reading and understanding this treatment of the subject from a real rocket scientist (who also has a good deal of experience in the hunting fields).

One caveat I am obliged to pass on is that these scientists seem a little too enamored of their powers of deductive logic. Their personal attacks on the character of Evan Marshall do not square with my knowledge of the man. I may disagree with his conclusions and assumptions (heck, I disagree with the ones I made some 30 years ago!!!) but I don't think he makes up stuff. I have known Evan since 1977, shared a lot of thoughts and correspondence with him as well as a few late night gab sessions at the Second Chance and Bianchi Cup matches.... He seems like a Top Hand to me. So I wish the folks at IWBA would stick to their findings instead of making ad homenim attacks.

That said, I can't find fault with their science... which boils down to "bigger is better", gee Elmer told us that ages ago :smile:

Well, I intended this to be a short "amen" to Exec and David but I got carried away again, oops.

Jim Higginbotham

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jim Higginbotham on 2001-06-07 19:54 ]</font>

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My original intent was only to note that you can do your own informal testing of this load and that load till the cows come home, and, at best, you'll only generally replicate what has ALREADY been done by places like IWBA, or some of the folks Evan Marshall let write chapters for his last/latest book, "Stopping Power".

The initial theme of this posting appeared to me to be the differences noted in performance between two .45ACP loads, after they passed thru two different substances. Major parts of this whole area have been covered in the Wound Ballistics Review and I just wanted to indicate that you DON'T have to go out of pocket, or try to write your own "realistic" testing protocols in order to know what a load will or won't do in a defensive situation. Since around 1960, I have shot handgun or rifle bullets into every kind of material you could imagine, but, other than measured velocity or accuracy summaries, I wouldn't presume to pass on penetration/expansion results from such limited, non-controlled personal testing since it didn't use an accepted bullet testing setup developed by the IWBA, CHP, NYPD, the Secret Service, Texas dPS, INS, the FBI etc. I only say this because too many folks still believe those valueless homespun ammo or gun test articles which appear in the gun rags, written in most cases by people who ain't been there or done that.

Since my early days in federal LE [back when Evan Marshall was with Detroit PD], I too thought he was an honest guy and I've never bought into Fackler's attacks; however, keep your eye on guys like Gary Roberts and enen McPherson to some degree as THEY can deliver good analysis in most, but not all cases.
Got to go to work. I'm gone.

Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No harm no foul, I have no issue with it.
I test for myself as I have done since my early hunting, military and LE days as well. As I recommend to each and ever person I speak with, always test and verify the information for yourself.
I do these tests for myself, and at times others have asked for my info, I am ok with that.
And I am glad to share as long as everyone understands that you cannot truly understand the subject without looking at all sides of the equation. Since it was mentioned, I have no qualms with Evan Marshall’s work, just the charts published in his books as they are not mathematically sound. It should also be said that I believe very, very little of what I read. That is not meant to discredit anyone but I am a natural skeptic and I have always had the personal need to explore and understand the subject at hand to the best of my ability. To this end I am open to looking at anyone’s data and reviewing any information or research. When it is all said and done, be it intermediary barriers like fur, denim, or sheet metal we are discussing the final resolve of bullets versus human beings and defensive use of a firearm. It remains an impossible quest for any scientist or common man no matter how diligent they may be to clearly define. With each step along the way all of us can only help, it is up to the reader of each such result to form their own conclusions.
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