Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to a link posted in response to og's earlier discussion of his wetpack testing


I discovered that my previous attempt to do some penetration/deformation testing with dry phonebooks and newspaper was meaningless: the box o' truth testing demonstrated that bullets acted completely differently when shot into books.

Unfortunately, I used up all my newpaper, and it takes a while to accumulate (who needs to buy newspapers when you have "the Internets"?
). But I found a stack of old computer trade paperbacks for a nickel apiece, so I grabbed some.

I know that the paper used in books has different characteristics from newsprint and phonebooks. The question is whether it's different enough that soaking it won't make it kinda-sorta useful for ballistic testing. I don't care whether the results can be compared to "official" ones: I just want to do some comparative testing of different .38 loads that will give me some rough idea of how they'd perform in real-world conditions. The dry-paper test told me nothing: the jacketed hollow points, e.g., were almost "reloadable" after passing through a couple of layers of corrugated and a couple of inches of paper.

Has anyone tried using wet books and found that it does/doesn't give useful results?

I do have a good supply of 2-liter soda bottles. Would I be better off using those?



p.s. Any bibliophiles out there who are aghast at the notion of "book desecration" can forget about lying to try to dissuade me: those Internet Exploder and Windoze 95 books are going out to the desert to be shot up. The only question is whether they'll be "giving their lives for science" :)

· Premium Member
3,910 Posts
Hello. I have not done enough shooting of soaked phone books or books using similar paper to know how bullets will react to them when compared to soaked newsprint. Neither is the "gold standard" to be sure, but results can be repeated and temperatures don't matter as far as I can tell so long as nothing's frozen.

When trying to get an idea of how a bullet will probably react, I shoot it into both water and wetpack and then compare the results from the two separate media. When doing water, I don't worry too much about jacket separation as water will make this occur more readily than in about any other "wet" medium I've tried.

If a bullet performs pretty well or at least somewhat similarly in both water and wetpack, I'll try it in other "things" when I get the opportunity, be they smaller critters or those a bit larger.

So far, the most consistent bullets I've shot in water and wetpack have been Corbon DPX (all calibers tried), Winchester Ranger JHP's, and Speer Gold Dot. Runners up include Golden Saber, Federal "Classic" JHP's (9mm & .45 ACP), along with Winchester STHP or their USA JHP's(.45 & 9mm).

In .38 snub with +P, I've had more consistent results with Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot +P, and Corbon 110-gr. DPX +P.

I think that the water shooting and soaked phone book shooting you or others might do will probably yield very similar results.


· Registered
720 Posts
Just for laughs, years ago when I started some wetpack testing, a famous gunzone writer told me I was doing it all wrong :-[
He lived on the coast and said the only valid wetpack test was soaking phone books in seawater, right in the ocean next to his hut. ::) Since the body is salty, seawater is the only way!!

Anyway, if you want to use phone books just to compare your own ammo, that is fine. You may have to soak them a little longer since the pages are tighter. Also, concern has been expressed about placing the shots too close together in a wetpack. Check DTWilly's thread..... http://www.handgunsandammo.proboards36.com/index.cgi?board=terminal&action=display&thread=1166465129
Phone books are smaller than a box of newspapers so you won't get as many shots.

Go for it! And you will have some great souvenirs to boot!

And try the water bottles too, just be prepared for a big splash!


· Registered
1,053 Posts

Long ago I tried phone books and magazines (sometime mixed). I wouldn't go so far as to say the information is useless. All homogenous material is not realistic to a degree, including lab experiments with 10% gelatin.

However, they are certainly different than newsprint and so only data shot in that exact stack of books (or identical ones) would be comparable to other data.

Sort of like Steve posted. Once you shoot enough you get an idea of what to expect from a "standard".

Same with water.

Rather than some magical performance perameter, when I am shooting into any medium, I just want to know how one bullet compares to one I know something about. Personally, I compare my loads to the .45 230 Hydra-shok (5"barrel), the .357 125 gr Remington JHP (from a 4") and the Winchester 158gr +P LSWCSHP (4"). All of these give reasonable performance and if I can get in that range, I am happy.

Jim H.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.