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Thread: Bullet test medium

  1. #1
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    Default Bullet test medium

    So how many of you have come up with some poor mans materials for shooting bullets into. Just to be able to compare different bullet types and see what they do at the same distances/velocities. The bullets need to be recovered. BrownBear says dry newspapers work good. Any others?

  2. #2

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    I use wired together phonebooks- then soak in water for a day. I will often put a couple of pieces of plywood mixed in with the wet phonebooks. I figure the plywood may act like a bone being hit. Each medium can take about 5 shots if they are spaced properly. Cut apart and it's easy to find the bullets and in a couple of days the books are dry and can go back to the recycling certer.

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    Wet phone books and magazines, I only soak them for 20 min or so. Its nice to see what you bullets will do.

  4. #4
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    Default Bullet catchers..

    CATS! Cats are good but it takes a big sack full for most calibers.:-)

    Cardboard, newspapers and carpet scraps. Duct tape this in two foot thich bundles. If that doesn't stop a bullet....use more duct tape. Sandwich layers of corrugated cardboard and papers, about 12" thick, taped together, in a big box with a gallon jug of water in the middle then another 12" of cardboard and news paper duct taped together.

    Duct tape is tough stuff, I found lots of bullets under the duct tape "hide" at the far end of the stack. Any bullet that survives this will certainly do in a moose.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    just to see what a bullet does when it hits, water is great, client didn't belive me this year, so we shot into somewater and the bullets just sit on the bottom, don't even dig into the dirt, maybe three foot of water i suppose.
    snow burms also work for stopping bullets, then in the spring they'll show up...found that out on accident. i've done the phonebooks too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    CATS! Cats are good but it takes a big sack full for most calibers.:-)
    I thought you meant those big fuzzy tan ones across the pond!

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    I have used wet newspaper bundles. I make up several bundles that are 6 to 12 inches thick.(caliber depending) Then put them into plastic trash bags. Then they are soaked in hot water until they are all wet and mushy.

    I stack the bundles and uses heavy duct tape to hold them together.
    This way you can get right to the bundle where the slug stopped.

    Big blocks of pottery wet clay are also kinda cool since they will hold the shape of the cavity produced. Then you just cut them with a piece of wire.
    Please note that this has nothing to do with shooting flesh, it is just a fun experiment.

    Years and years ago I wrote a paper for my Crim Justice degree where my buddies and I stacked bad meat from the butcher store into a wooden frame and recorded how much it moved from pistol bullet impacts. Plus bullet penetration and expansion.
    Since it was still dog food quality we went broke buying meat and shooting the crap out of it.
    The photos were kinda gory looking and my old college prof thought I was a tad cruesome....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Default harvested game

    After you kill game have some test loads to shoot at different parts of the game.

    True it ain't good for the flavor..could make it more tender though...lol

    Like they tested bullets on buffalo in the .470Mbogo video penetration tests.

    Then do your own autoposy as you prep the meat for packin out.

    jedi.

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    Default fir trees

    When I was growing up down in Washington, we used big old Douglas fir trees. It was surprising how much penetration you could get. Recovery was a bit difficult. I suppose these days the tree huggers would probably frown on that method, so maybe cats are a better option.

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    I'll usually put a couple one gallon jugs of water in front of a 16-18" log when I plan on doing penetration tests. I shoot at a distance of about 20 yards. Not perfect, but I can compare the rounds. I know my 400gr hardcast out of my 45/70 @1600fps goes right through the log (gonna have to find thicker logs).

    I like using the logs cuz as I cut away to find the slug, it also makes good kindling.

  11. #11

    Talking bones

    Fill a gunny sack partially full of bones (moose, cattle, elephant, or whatever else you have lying around) and cut them into manageable sizes to fit snug in sack. If your bullet makes it through them, buy a bunch and share with us. But definintely lst us know the results, ok?

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    Just for comparison purposes, and realizing that it doesn't replicate flesh and bones, I use slick magazines and catalogs, stuffed tight into a cardboard box.

    Bullets don't go very far into that stuff. It kinda deflates your confidence, in any load/bullet.

    Smitty of the North

  13. #13

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    I'm not going to retype my approach, which I explained in a couple of posts in the thread about Gamekings. For continuity I'm pasting it here:

    There's no perfect test medium for duplicating flesh, I think. It's even less informative to me to compare bullets fired into different test mediums. The real value is comparing bullets all fired into the same test medium all the time.

    I used to go the wet telephone book/newspaper route, but finally figured out "the heck with it." What a mess! Newspaper pulp scattered to the four winds and dripping on everything I owned, plus it weighed a short ton.

    I finally standardized on plain old dry newspapers or phone books bundled into 6" stacks for convenience. The dry version doesn't prove a thing more or less than the wet one, but it's sure a lot easier to use and clean up. Used consistently it lets me compare expansion of, say Noslers and Accubonds and X Bullets in the same caliber, weight and velocity. I can sure learn which is tougher and penetrates best in dry newspaper, but it still doesn't tell me anything about game.

    You have to start killing game to make that judgement. But I can do a little "inferring" from newspaper results once I mix in some game for a few of the bullets. If for example my Sierra creates a big "wound channel" in paper and does about the same while stopping under the hide on a deer and the Nosler blows on through but leaves a fair wound channel in both the paper and deer, that tells me something about what the X Bullet is going to do in deer after seeing it's smaller wound channel and much deeper penetration in paper.

    I did exactly that comparison, and as a result I've never even bothered to poke a deer with the X-Bullet. Extra penetration and bucks wasted on blue sky behind the deer, in my estimation.

    Results would certainly be different with different calibers and game, but you can see where I'm going. You can start to muscle up the velocities, bullet construction and calibers if your newspaper testing tells you a .323 bullet isn't giving any more penetration than a 30 cal Sierra at 06 velocities, to cite a ridiculous comparison.

    I recover all bullets from the paper. That's why I tie them in bundles around 6" thick, which are easy to handle weight-wise. Stack a bunch of them back to back, shoot, then go start lifting bundles to see which one has a hole in one side and not the other.

    I prefer string to wire for tying bundles, cuzz I can simply untie it and start folding back papers till I find the bullet or if I want to track the wound channel, then retie it for the next shot. It's easy to do with dry, but with wet the whole mess starts to disintigrate as you go through it looking for bullets.

    With small calibers it's pretty easy to get a total of 5 shots in a small newspaper or maybe 6 in one as big as the ADN. With really big bores or violent expansion, you may need to cut the # in half. With violent expansion, you aren't going to be penetrating a whole lot, so you'll only be replacing the papers in the front bundle, and maybe the second.

    BTW- You may read about folks reducing velocities to "simulate" hits at long range. With the bundles of dry papers, it's easy enough to haul them out to the 200, 300 or 400 yard backstops and move them back and forth between. Use a wheelbarrow if you can't drive on the range. You're just not going to be able to do as much bundle shuffling when you add a bunch of water.

  14. #14

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    Brownbear, I have used the wet phone books for yrs so I have a good idea what to expect from bullets I have tested several times in the past. I am looking forward to trying them in the dry phone books and seeing if there is any real difference in how they penetrate or expand. I found that by using the plysood between the books alot of the bullets lost that nice mushroom shape. I suspect the wood folded the petals back against the shank tighter.It sure would be easier. I also found the swift scirroco was the first bullet to stop expanding as I reduced the velocity to 1900fps. I also noted the Hornady did not mushroom as far back on the shank as did the nosler. I have heard the hornady has harder jacket than the nosler, which may explain this. Great thread.

  15. #15

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    Sounds right on the money, Tony. I simply quit wetting things down because I got sick of the mess and weight. Had to "recalibrate" what I was seeing in dry paper in order to make the switch. Simple matter of shooting loads and bullets you already tested in wet medium in order to compare with the dry. Nothing scientific and lots of room for interpretation.

    The bigger deal overall in my book is to do the same thing consistantly from one test to the next, in order to be able to compare different bullets within the same medium. There's no way that I know to compare bullets from different mediums and learn anything useful. That's why I quit with the wood. There were simply too many variables at work for my simple mind.

    BTW: Using 6" stacks bundled with twine really simplifies the process. That's all I was after. Any other bundle size will stop bullets and tell you lots, but smaller bundles really ease the job, not just in tracking bullets but also in handling all that heavy paper! Ditching the water was based on the same principle.

  16. #16
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Can't say it's a perfect test medium, but it's cheap, there's plenty of it, and the channels that opened up looked pretty close to what I'd expect on game.

    Glacial silt on the mudflats. I was plinking at tin cans with the kids and a 22, and then decided to see what my 480 would do. The cavity at the entrance was about soda can dia and a bit deeper, then tapered down to bullet dia about 30" past the entrance.

    There is some gravel mixed in which can throw results off.

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    Thumbs up

    Alright... now that I've got my shopping list it's time to dumpster divin.

    Thanks all.

  18. #18

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    Don't tell anyone I suggested this, but check with your local recycling center. Long as they get them back, they might be willing to make you a loan. At least one that I know of is really happy to have a "volunteer" haul off a load of paper and bring it back bundled in 6" stacks. Kinda thin by their standards, but it's bundled nonetheless. They don't even complain about the holes!

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