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Old 10-03-2006, 08:11 PM   #11
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another wetpack test: .380acp hollowpoints

Ballistic gelatin testing, as done by those who are expert (not I, BTW), is done under fairly strictly controlled conditions.

First, the gelatin is prepared in large batches. Large batches breed consistency. Then the gelatin is stored for a longish period of time at test temperature (4 degrees celsius).

Second, each block must be calibrated with a BB gun at a known velocity, and penetration must fall within specific parameters. I forget the numbers. I have them in a file as I don't do this any more.

Third, each block is shot once only. This is to allow each bullet to have a 'virgin' penetration zone.

Fourth, and this is variable, but not for most reputable researchers: each bullet/load is tested 10 times, and each shot is chronographed. This is the only way of being sure that each tested round falls within acceptable statistical variance.

The chief virtue of wetpack testing, IMO, is in its accessibility to almost anyone. You want to know if your bullets, fired out of your gun, will expand after being shot through a leather jacket? You can find out with wetpack. Correlation with gelatin is nice, but not really necessary. Penetration depth is nice to know, but it's really of value when taken in context... in other words, when compared to other rounds that are "established" by researchers who have the budgets to do gelatin testing.

The thing that's good to know is that some of the people I know who do a lot of gel testing are also closely linked to large law enforcement agencies who shoot a lot of people, and what they're finding is that most of the bullets/loads that work well in gelatin also work well in people. So if you find a load that works well in wetpack--i.e. comparable to proven gel performance--out of your gun, you've probably got a good carry load.
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