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bullet expansion test results

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  #1  
Unread 02-19-2017, 12:23 PM
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bullet expansion test results

I got out yesterday to test my new bullet trap design and it worked pretty well. It's a wood frame with layers of heavy leather packed inside of it. I get all the leather from a local glove company that would have to pay to throw it away, so they gave it to me for free. The best part is that it's a unlimited source! The goal was to see if leather would act as a more realistic medium for testing bullet performance on game compared to shooting water jugs or something like that. The results I got are promising and I think with some minor tweaks to how dense I layer the leather it should work out to be a pretty good test material. Here's the results I got yesterday:

6.5 Grendel
- 130gr Nosler Accubond
- Muzzle velocity 2430 fps

I fired two of these at 100 yards. Retained velocity at impact is approximately 2270 fps. One bullet penetrated 15.5" and had a retained weight of 115.3gr. Bullet number two penetrated 11.75" with a retained weight of 102.1gr. These both performed about how I expected them to when compared to the same load shot into a small blacktail last season.


- 130gr Berger VLD Hunting
- Muzzle velocity 2385 fps

I fired two of these at 100 yards. Retained velocity at impact is approximately 2247 fps. One bullet penetrated 14" and had a retained weight of 119.1gr. Bullet number two penetrated 11.5" and had a retained weight of 117.9" I was very surprised and happy with how well these bullets performed. They held together well and retained a high percentage of their original weight. I personally believe that the excellent performance is do in part to the moderate impact velocity. In my past tests with higher velocity impacts, the Bergers opened up more violently and retained less weight.




270 AR
- 130gr Speer HotCor
- Muzzle velocity 2718 fps

I fired two of these at 100 yards. The retained velocity at impact is approximately 2500 fps. Bullet one penetrated 11.5" and had a retained weight of 102.2gr. Bullet number two penetrated 11.75" and had a retained weight of 111.9" I'm very happy with how well these bullets did. For a simple cup and core bullet the retained a high percentage of their weight and penetrated very well. Again, I imagine that the relatively modest impact velocity contributed to their performance.




338/375 Ruger
- 260gr Hammer Hunter
- Muzzle velocity 2715 fps

I fired two of these at 100 yards. The retained velocity at impact is approximately 2585 fps. The shank of bullet one penetrated 23.5" with the petals breaking off (as they're designed to do) at approximately 11". The retained weight of the bullet shank was 195.5 gr with a length of 1.087". Bullet two was not recovered, but I was able to track the penetration to within 1" of the other 260gr Hammer bullet. I believe this bullet fell out of test material while I was unpacking it from the trap but I was unable to find it.



480 Ruger
- 275gr Barnes XPB
- Muzzle velocity 1485

Only one bullet fired at 25 yard with an approximate impact velocity of 1385. The bullet penetrated 9.5" with a retained weight of 270.7". Penetrating relative to the rifle rounds matches what I've seen in the past in other test materials. The expanded bullet matches the performance of a bullet recovered from a small bear shot with the same load out of a different gun.


I think I'm going to call this whole project a success. The leather appears to be a good test material since it's a soft leather instead of a hard, dried leather like holster leather. Every shot fired penetrated in a straight trajectory through the material, making it easy follow the path of the bullet. Since I fired multiple different loads into the target before checking, it's hard to really evaluate the damage done by any one load. There was a very consistent pattern of massive damage at about 3" of penetration. This is where it appeared that almost all of the bullets began to expand the most. This is also the depth where I started to see jacket and lead fragments appear.

Over the next few months I'm going to start testing different bullets at different impact velocities. If anyone has any specific bullets they want tested, let me know. Here's a list of the bore diameters I have a gun chambered in that I can test:

6mm/.243
6.5mm/.264
.270
.308
.338
.358
.375
.458

I can get the 6.5mm and .338s up to some pretty impressive velocity levels out of the 338 SnipeTac and the 6.5 Badger so I'll use those to torture test a few bullets. The rest of the chamberings are pretty standard and will work well for down loading to test low velocity impacts without having to shoot them at 5-600 yards.
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  #2  
Unread 02-19-2017, 02:32 PM
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Re: bullet expansion test results

thank you for this great information!

I would personally like to see tests on the 140 & 147 ELD match. 143 ELD X. Ive had terminal performance with the 140 match, but not the others.

also, long range accubonds in 129 & 142 would be awesome too!
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  #3  
Unread 02-19-2017, 04:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Central Oklahoma
Posts: 207
Re: bullet expansion test results

Tagging in on this. Great info!!! I am looking at getting my dad a 6.5 Grendel for deer hunting and I like what your test showed. That is actually the bullet I wanted to run for him!
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  #4  
Unread 02-19-2017, 05:04 PM
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Location: Long Island, New York
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Re: bullet expansion test results

I would expect a few feet of packed leather to be an exceptionally tough target media. How about heavily saturated leather? Just a thought.

Nice job on the bullet tests.
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  #5  
Unread 02-19-2017, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 447
Re: bullet expansion test results

I would like to see the packing of the target...not that you are doing anything wrong, I just think it would help give us an idea of how dense or tough the media and the board are. What would you say it is equivalent to on game - high shoulder, behind the shoulder, etc? And how tough and thick is the leather compared to elk and deer?

I would love to see a 180 BT 30 cal, or even the BT that is comparable to the AB you already tested just to see the difference between the AB and BT. I am also interested in the LRAB as someone else mentioned.
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  #6  
Unread 02-20-2017, 12:55 AM
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Re: bullet expansion test results

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC338 View Post
Tagging in on this. Great info!!! I am looking at getting my dad a 6.5 Grendel for deer hunting and I like what your test showed. That is actually the bullet I wanted to run for him!
My 6.5 Grendel took two deer this year with the 130 Accubond load and both were good clean kills. One blacktail was shot head on in the brisket at 45 yards and the bullet was recovered inside the right hip after penetrating 27.5". The expanded bullet looked exactly like the ones I recovered from the leather with almost identical weight retention. It's a great combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmint Hunter View Post
I would expect a few feet of packed leather to be an exceptionally tough target media. How about heavily saturated leather? Just a thought.

Nice job on the bullet tests.
I had the same concern after testing bullets in newspaper. The leather I'm using is a soft, almost suede leather that's about 1/8" thick. It's what the glove shop calls apron leather and it's been treated so it's water repellent. I'm going to try some more tests where I have the leather mixed in with water to see if that changes anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Oregonian View Post
I would like to see the packing of the target...not that you are doing anything wrong, I just think it would help give us an idea of how dense or tough the media and the board are. What would you say it is equivalent to on game - high shoulder, behind the shoulder, etc? And how tough and thick is the leather compared to elk and deer?
The way I have it set up, I shoot into the leather without hitting any other material. I'll probably play around with different layers to try and get a better simulation for animal tissue. Right now, the leather is proving to provide the perfect medium to test expansion. Bullets recovered from the leather are a perfect match to bullets recovered from game animals. The big difference is that the bullets don't penetrate nearly as far into the dense leather. I actually like this more because it means I don't have to use a bullet trap that's 5 feet long!

Here's a picture of a piece of the leather I'm using. You can see a bigger piece on the floor in the back ground too. This should give you an idea how soft it is.


I'll get to work trying to track down some of the other bullets. If anybody has a few that they can spare, it would save me from having to buy entire boxes of 15 different bullets. I'd only need maybe 5 of each bullet.

Andrew
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  #7  
Unread 02-22-2017, 09:30 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: rathdrum, id.
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Re: bullet expansion test results

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Idaho Hunter View Post
thank you for this great information!

I would personally like to see tests on the 140 & 147 ELD match. 143 ELD X. Ive had terminal performance with the 140 match, but not the others.

also, long range accubonds in 129 & 142 would be awesome too!
+1 on the Hornadys. I plan on testing the 147's this spring as well..........Rich
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