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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.