Ammunition Archives - Page 2 of 3 -
May 16th, 2017 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”30″]By developing a lighter, two-piece case with steel and aluminum, Shell Shock Technologies has begun to capture a share of the factory ammunition and reloading market.[/su_heading]

STORY AND PHOTOS BY BOB SHELL

 

Shell Shock also provides specialized dies for sizing and decapping and belling.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]e live in an age where all types of novel ammo and reloading components are coming to the market. That is good news for shooters, as many of these products are legitimate improvements over previous offerings. One company, Shell Shock Technologies, has recently released 9mm cases using manufacturing methods not previously used, at least to my knowledge.

What sets Shell Shock apart is that the company produces a two-piece case made from nickel steel. The exact process is proprietary, therefore the methods used are not revealed. However, I recently received some cases for evaluation, along with a sizing and decapping die and a belling die so I could load and shoot them. The bullet seating is done with a normal die, which isn’t included. The sizing and belling dies can also be used for standard brass cases, which is a plus because these new cases are superior to brass but will never replace them.

According to company literature, the cases are 50 percent lighter and two times stronger than brass, with a uniform wall thickness and proprietary assembly technique that leads to reliable and consistent velocity. The bottom of the case is an aluminum alloy, while a steel part is the top, which makes the case magnetic and makes it easier to pick up at a range. I placed a number of them on the scale one at a time, and they all weighed 35 grains, with no variation. Some brass cases I weighed came in at 63 to 64 grains, so the advantage of lightweight cases would be evident if you had to carry a large amount of ammo. I also measured several of the Shell Shock cases for length and they all came in at .7505 inch with no variation. Obviously, no variation in weight and length among these cases would contribute to accuracy and consistency.

Measurements confirmed that Shell Shock cases are consistently uniform in both size and weight.

I also received 200 rounds of 9mm loads with copper 124-grain HP bullets. These are produced by L-Tech Enterprises using the Shell Shock cases, and they sent some info showing penetration and weight retention results. They are consistent in size and weight as well, so if you are not a reloader, this ammo might be for you.

A top view looking into the cases.

FOR THE FIRST LOAD, I used five grains of Winchester 231 and a 115-grain FMJ bullet. This load is very mild and the cases were covered with soot, which is normal with light loads. Low-pressure loads don’t completely seal the chamber, which allows some powder to come back into the action. While messy, it is seldom an issue in regards to performance. The soot cleans off easily for those who like good-looking cases. Most nickel cases have that advantage, though brass needs extra cleaning if that is important to you.

So why would you purchase these cases as opposed to more conventional pieces, when most 9mm cases last several firings and are easy to obtain? Performance-wise, there isn’t any big difference. But if you wanted to carry a large amount of ammo, the lightweight case really adds value, and if you combine this case with a lightweight bullet, then it would be a really desirable product. Liberty Ammunition makes a 50-grain nonlead HP bullet, and that paired up with the Shell Shock case should make some top-rate ammo. Carrying a small amount of this ammo wouldn’t make a difference, but carrying or transporting a large amount would show a sizable advantage. I have a 60-grain bullet to work with, and at high velocity it should make a nice self-defense load.

I sized some fired cases with normal dies and don’t see any problems, and the effort is the same as with the special dies; belling is normal and priming feels a little odd. I tried some once-fired cases using both sets of dies and the effort appears identical, though lubing makes them easier to size. I noticed that a couple had increased the size of the groove, but I’m not sure if that is a function of the dies or a case. If you closely look at the groove, it shows that the case is a two-piece case. The inside is slightly shallower than a conventional case, but not by much (an average of .05 inch). A look at the inside of the custom die shows that it appears to be the same as a conventional one with a tungsten core.

It appears that the construction of the case is very different than a conventional piece of brass, and it will be interesting to see how they go through a Dillon or other progressive press. I am going to load cases with the same load but using both sets of dies. I have some 60-grain HP and had to size the new cases to make them fit tight enough. The 115-grain cast did not need to have the new cases sized.

For testing, I used a Beretta with a 5-inch barrel, a SIG with a 4-inch barrel and a Norinco, giving us different guns to provide more info on what to expect with the cases and loads. Some of the cases have now been fired seven times; there is no indication of any problems, and I am using RCBS dies only, as I don’t see a need for the special ones. That would make these cases even more desirable if it isn’t necessary to use special dies. Obviously, you should test their dies to see which method works best for you.

Testing was conducted using a Beretta (bottom) and a 9mm long-slide Glock, as well as (not pictured) a Norinco.

I RECENTLY RECEIVED SOME new powders from Chris Hodgdon that resemble some older powders such as Red Dot. Since I received the powders from Hodgdon while trying out the new cases, I decided to try a couple loads with the Shell Shock cases, starting with the Red. In these tests, the cases held up after five or six firings using standard RCBS dies. I tried many loads using the three handguns I mentioned to get a good overview of the case, along with the new powder and a variety of bullets. I made some of the lighter bullets myself (such as the 60-grainer), as they are not generally available. The Acme bullet is a cast item with a red coating that tends to make them slick and aids in feeding.

These numbers were rounded off, and you can see that if you needed to carry a large quantity of ammo, the Shell Shock cases would cut down on the weight enough to make a difference. The 60-grain CMA fared best, but still jammed on occasion in the Norinco. Of course, that would render it unsuitable for defense work, but I will try and work with the ogive, though due to the short length that may be difficult.

A shiny new Shell Shock case and bullet. (SHELL SHOCK)

The 147-grain Berry did well with the heavier load of Hodgdon’s HS-6 with no stovepipes. Like any situation and gun, it is recommended that you thoroughly check out the ammo that is intended to be carried. I took the 135-grain CMA and changed the ogive to a more rounded shape to ensure that it will feed in everything. In addition, they were .354 in diameter and the reshaping increased it to .358. Since there is a possibility that they may cause some problems, I reduced it to .356. Some .357-diameter bullets (a FMJ and a cast coated, both roundnose) were swaged down to .356. The purpose is for subsonic loads. A company called Liberty Ammunition makes some high-performance ammo using lighter than standard bullets. The 9mm bullet weighs 50 grains, so I measured a loaded round. The Shell Shock case weighs 35 grains, so a loaded round with a Liberty bullet would weigh 85 grains. Several companies are currently using Shell Shock cases, and I would like to see Liberty pick them up with their 50-grain bullets.

I was also curious as to the case capacity of Shell Shock casings compared to other commercial cases. I used Winchester 572 filled to the top on each case and the results surprised me. I thought that the Shell Shock case would have more capacity based on their weight. My “nonscientific” results showed Shell Shock and PMC held 13.1 grains, Federal and Winchester 13.2 grains and GFI 13.3 grains. As you can see, they are very similar. The next step is to use the same load in both types of cases.
ONE THING I HAVEN’T NOTICED is any mention of the cases being reloaded on a progressive machine. That would be a plus, if that is the case. Therefore, I had a friend run some through his Dillion 550. Other than the requirement that they be lubed, the process went off without a hitch. With a normal bullet everything went fine. We fired some of the rounds made on the Dillon and they fed flawlessly, so there should be no issues but they have to be lubed regardless of which dies or machine is used to load them. That would be the only downside. That new powder W-572 seems to work well in the 9mm rounds; you just need to adjust the loads.

Here is some L-Tech factory ammo with Shell Shock brass, in this case, a 124-grain bullet.

Based on my observations and tests, these cases are here to stay. They are durable and can compete with conventional brass cases in regards to price and reloading life. I can see other companies coming out with versions of them, and hopefully other calibers will be offered. In a few years they will have a good share of the market, though they won’t entirely replace the brass cases for several reasons. They have a few upsides such as durability and price, and since they are partly steel a magnet will pick them up. I have fired hundreds of rounds and had one case that split. I can live with that. The only downside is the requirement that they have to be lubed. A quick spray-on may speed up the process with a progressive machine. I would recommend that you give this product a try, and if you do, I think you will become a customer. ASJ

These two-piece steel and aluminum ammo cases from Shell Shock Technologies were a hot topic at the most recent SHOT Show.

Posted in Ammo Tagged with: , , ,

April 25th, 2017 by AmSJ Staff

Federal Premium Ammunition is proud to introduce a lineup of new high-performance products the 2017 NRA Meetings and Exhibits Show in Atlanta, Georgia, April 27-30. The introductions include Federal Premium Gold Medal Berger, Federal Premium Edge TLR, Federal Non-Typical and Federal Train + Protect. Attendees are encouraged to visit the Vista Outdoor booth no. 2542 during the show to see the entire new product lineup.

Unlike other so-called long-range projectiles that can fail to perform at lower velocities, the Federal Premium Edge TLR uses an exclusive Slipstream polymer tip to trigger expansion at extreme distances. On closer targets, the copper shank and bonded lead core retain weight for consistent, lethal penetration. Ballistics are likewise flawless. Credit the Edge TLR bullet’s sleek boat-tail design, secant ogive and unique AccuChannel grooving, which trim drag to an absolute minimum. Available in 308 Win., 30-06 Spring., 300 Win. Magnum and 300 Win. Short Magnum.

Elite long-range shooters will appreciate Federal Premium’s new Gold Medal Berger loads. The rounds feature a Berger bullet with high ballistic coefficient for flat trajectories, less wind drift and surgical long-range accuracy. Available in 223 Rem., 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Win.

Federal Non-Typical centerfire rifle ammunition is designed specifically for diehard whitetail hunters. An optimized, soft-point bullet with concentric jacket provides tag-punching accuracy and lethal wound channels on any buck, anywhere, anytime.

Federal Train + Protect honors the American birthright to bear arms with a versatile hollow-point (VHP) design that delivers precise, practical performance at the range while ensuring instant, reliable expansion on impact. The result is the ideal combination for training as well as the freedom to defend yourself and your loved ones.

These products and many more can be viewed at the Vista Outdoor booth no. 2542 during the NRA Show.

Federal Premium is a brand of Vista Outdoor Inc., an outdoor sports and recreation company. For more information on Federal Premium, go to www.federalpremium.com.

About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has a portfolio of well-recognized brands that provides consumers with a wide range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products for individual outdoor recreational pursuits. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 13 U.S. States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico along with international customer service, sales and sourcing operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. For news and information visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or follow us on Twitter @VistaOutdoorInc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vistaoutdoor.

Posted in Media Releases Tagged with: , , , ,

March 10th, 2017 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”30″]Like the hot desert wind of the same name, Scirocco II bullets are powerful and unrelenting.[/su_heading]

 STORY AND PHOTOS BY PHIL MASSARO 

The .338 210-grain Scirocco II.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap] had been frustrated with the terminal performance of my .300 Winchester Magnum, as the cup-and-core bullets – which flew very well when punching paper – were giving too much expansion when used in the New York deer woods. I needed a stiffer bullet, yet wanted to take full advantage of the flat trajectories and wind deflection characteristics of the spitzer boat-tail bullets. I did a bit of research, and found an advertisement for the Swift Scirocco II. The ad copy touted a newly engineered jacket, which would improve the accuracy of the bullet. I ordered a box of 100 .308-caliber 180-grain Scirocco IIs, and headed to the bench. I had developed a load for this particular rifle that gave just under minute-of-angle accuracy, so decided to start there (it was well below maximum), and see what the new bullets would do.

I firmly believed the first three-shot group was a fluke – my wiggles must’ve accounted for my waggles – as it printed just under a half inch, but when the second and third did the same thing, I was a convert. They gave good velocities out of my 24-inch barrel – 2,965 feet per second, to be precise – but would they perform as advertised in the field?

The .338 Winchester Magnum is well served by the 210-grain Scirocco, giving the cartridge a flat trajectory and good terminal ballistics.

You see, the Scirocco is a bonded-core boat-tail bullet, with a very thick jacket and a black polymer tip. It is designed to not only fly accurately – which it proved to be true – but to give the consummate blend of expansion and penetration. Many cup-and-core boat tails have a tendency to have the copper jacket separate from the lead core upon impact at higher velocities, and that didn’t make me happy. The Scirocco’s thick jacket is chemically bonded to the lead core to hold things together should you strike bone, yet the jacket tapers down toward the nose, allowing for good expansion. That expansion creates a larger wound channel, which destroys more vital tissue and causes death sooner.
MY FIRST FIELD TEST was in Wyoming, where I would be hunting pronghorn antelope. Anyone who has hunted the Great Plains of the American West knows that the wind is always blowing, and sometimes it blows good and hard. I found the antelope I wanted after a couple of hours glassing the prairie, and it required a stalk of just over a mile. I lay prone over a small mound, with cactus everywhere it shouldn’t have been, and settled the crosshairs of my Winchester 70 on the buck’s shoulder 215 yards away. Even through the recoil, I could see that the antelope’s feet drew up to his body as he fell earthward, stone dead, and in that moment, this bullet captured my undivided attention.

The Scirocco II offers good expansion at a wide variety of velocities, and works well in mild cartridges like the .308 Winchester right up to the magnums.

I used it the next spring on a black bear hunt in Quebec. While I knew the shots were going to be inside of 75 yards, as it was a baited hunt, I wanted to see how the bullet would handle the tough shoulder bones of a bear. Canada’s ever-changing weather kept the action slow for the first few days, but a warm-up later in the week drew the bears out like moths to a flame. A 200-plus-pound boar decided to pay a visit to my bait, and I decided to ruin his day. I had loaded the 180-grain Scirocco in my .308 Winchester, to a muzzle velocity of 2,450 fps, and the bullet took him without issue, despite punching through both shoulders. I couldn’t recover either bullet, which was no problem with me, but I was highly impressed with the performance.

Since then, I’ve loaded this bullet in many different cartridges, from the 6.5×55 Swede and 6.5-284 Norma, to the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum, to many of the .30s including the .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield, the .300 Holland and Holland Magnum, and the huge cases like the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and .30-378 Weatherby Magnum. I’ve even loaded the 210-grain Scirocco in the .338 Winchester Magnum with great results.

The 180-grain .30-caliber polymer-tipped Swift Scirocco IIs make a fantastic all-around big game load.

THE OUTCOME IS USUALLY THE SAME: almost all of the rifles (with the exception of one particularly evil .264 Winchester Magnum) gave subMOA accuracy and excellent field performance. The few bullets we’ve been able to recover from game animals have retained between 80 and 95 percent of their weight, with expansion running right around 2 times to 2.5 times caliber dimension. My wife loves the 150-grain Scirocco II in her .308 Winchester, as it offers less recoil yet great terminal ballistics; her Savage Lady Hunter prints ½-inch groups with this load.

This Wyoming pronghorn fell to the author (right) and his .300 Winchester Magnum and a 180-grain Swift Scirocco II.

The Scirocco is available in calibers from .224 up to and including .338, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go hunting with this bullet in any situation shy of the truly large and dangerous game that requires a larger bore and heavier bullet. With the Scirocco, between my own hunts and those of friends and colleagues, we have taken animals ranging in size from deer and antelope to caribou to African plains game to elk and moose. Swift only makes two softpoints – the Scirocco and the A-Frame – and that’s one of the best combinations on the market. ASJ

The .308 Winchester 180-grain Scirocco load that cleanly took this Quebec black bear.

Posted in Ammo Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

October 20th, 2016 by AmSJ Staff

INTERVIEW BY GARN KENNEDY • PHOTOS BY G2 RESEARCH

 

The 9mm R.I.P. was the first G2 Research round available to the public, but it now comes in a variety of calibers.

The 9mm R.I.P. was the first G2 Research round available to the public, but it now comes in a variety of calibers.

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]I[/su_dropcap]f you were to bet that “research” forms the core of projectile manufacturer G2 Research’s company beliefs, you would be correct. And along with research comes development, as in new products. We sat down with G2 Research to learn more about the company’s origins and what new rounds we might soon see.
American Shooting Journal Did you start out small, or jump in with both feet?

G2 Research We thought we were starting small, but our internet presence went viral within a month of release. The servers handling our website crashed four times in a three-day period. At that point, we went in with everything we had.
ASJ The projectile in your cartridges looks devastating the way it opens up like a proud flower.

G2R The round you are referring to is the G2 Research Civic Duty. Our original round, the R.I.P., is designed to fragment, thus increasing stopping power and tissue damage. We found over the course of a year that it was too innovative for some people who were “set in their ways” when it comes to old-school tried and true. We set out to create the most expansion possible out of a solid copper projectile to fill that need.
ASJ What calibers did you launch with, and what have proven to be the most popular?

G2R We started with the 9mm R.I.P. Demand for that round was so high for a fledgling company it took a while to get our next round, the .380 R.I.P., out. In the time since, we have covered all the semiauto pistols, as well as introduced a rifle line for hunting, and a cold tracer for training and plinking. Now we are working to get the G2 Research Civic Duty out in more calibers and research and developing revolver calibers. Nine millimeter is by far the current favorite for shooters, though trends do change.
ASJ Do you have any plans to offer your projectiles for the reloading market?

G2R We load our rounds to such a fine spec for performance that we feel a lot of homeloaders would overload or underload, thus decreasing the effectiveness of the round.
ASJ Is your ammo primarily for hunters, or for home protection?

G2R We provide mostly to the self-defense market. Interest has been building for our rifle rounds as more people test and evaluate them. We also received the California DNR lead-free certification.

For more information, visit g2rammo.com. ASJ

G2 Research designed the Civic Duty round to create the most expansion possible out of a solid copper projectile.

G2 Research designed the Civic Duty round to create the most expansion possible out of a solid copper projectile.

 

Posted in Industry Tagged with: , , , ,

August 14th, 2016 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”30″]Modern 12-gauge Shotgun Slugs Can Be An Excellent Choice For Self-Defense Distances And Beyond[/su_heading]

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY OLEG VOLK

[su_dropcap size=”5″]S[/su_dropcap]hotguns are a perennial home defense favorite. They are generally inexpensive, very common and perceived as being simple to operate. Nearly every gun-owning household has at least one smoothbore. But, since research and anecdotal evidence point towards the relative ineffectiveness of birdshot against large intruders, buckshot is typically used to deliver multiple simultaneous impacts while adding some margin for aiming error.

Buckshot, from .35 caliber 000 to .24 caliber No. 4, works fairly well on opponents up close and in the open, but doesn’t penetrate cover well. For people who want the ability to get through furniture, walls or auto glass, slugs provide another option. The same applies to rural residents who worry less about overpenetration but may have to fire in self-defense at longer ranges where buckshot spreads too much, and individual pellets lack adequate penetration.

Large-bore smoothbores and rifles have long been the first choice of dangerous game hunters. A typical musket was around .70 caliber, and black powder rifles varied from .70 to .45, with long conical bullets providing necessary penetration on ornery creatures like Cape buffalo or grizzly. Jacketed bullets developed by the 1890s and monolithic solids introduced in the second half of the 20th century continued this trend.

While traditional big game hunting rifles and ammunition have always been extremely expensive, North Americans and Russians, two populations with relatively widespread shotgun ownership in areas with dangerous ursine neighbors, developed a number of shotgun slug loads also optimized for penetration and massive stopping power. Century-old Brenneke hardcast lead slugs and the more recent Latvian steel Monolith load both offer accuracy and straight-line punch to put down a wild boar or a bear. For the same reason – great penetration – slugs aren’t favored for home defense use. Nobody wants to overpenetrate while hitting an intruder and endanger family members or neighbors behind the actual foe.
SLUGS COME IN SEVERAL GENERAL TYPES: penetrative, expanding, fragmenting and frangible. Penetrative designs are generally excessively energetic for human foes: they are likely to make a .70-caliber hole and keep on whistling past, with all that power wasted on perforating the landscape or, worse, some innocent positioned behind the attacker.

Frangibles are designed to break up against solid backstops during training. D Dupleks Caviar 26L frangible, a plastic slug with embedded steel BBs, breaks up on flesh with about 8 inches of penetration and nearly 5-inch spread. That’s considered a bit shallow for reliable stopping, but not shabby. By contrast, the Remington Disintegrator round acts as a nonexpanding penetrator on flesh and only breaks up against hard surfaces, like steel range backstops.

The Rio Royal Expanding Fragmentary slug weighs 1 ounce, but produces 7-inch penetration.

The Rio Royal Expanding Fragmentary slug weighs 1 ounce, but produces 7-inch penetration.

Expanding slugs are large-bore variations on hollow point pistol bullets. With much more energy and mass, and fewer constraints on the initial shape, they can be quite effective. For example, the new Team Never Quit 375-grain copper slug sits in front of a 90-grain plastic base. The slug is slightly subcaliber, so it can be fired through any choke. The plastic base acts as a gas check, but also as a drive band when used in rifled barrels or as a drag stabilizer when fired from smoothbores.

With a full weight of just over an ounce and muzzle velocity of 1,200 feet per second, it has mild recoil. Spread was about 3 inches at 25 yards when fired through an Armagon G12 cylinder bore barrel, and 1 inch when used with a rifled choke. The same slug grouped 2 inches at 25 yards from a Benelli M3.

SMOOTHBORE ACCURACY DEPENDS ON MANY FACTORS, including the concentricity and evenness of the bore, the amount of flex on firing and many others, so it is difficult to predict accuracy without testing individual firearms. Molot Vepr 12 and Fostech Origin 12, for example, are extremely accurate even in smoothbore versions, as are most Remington 870s. Similarly, nominal velocities listed here can vary by 10 to 15 percent based on the barrel length, choke and chamber used.

In testing, the Team Never Quit slug delivered textbook perfect results, with about 12 inches of penetration through four layers of denim, and reliable 1½-inch expansion. Fired into bare gelatin, it penetrated 16 inches and had just enough energy left to penetrate halfway into standard residential drywall. While high-energy numbers make for easy marketing, this load minimizes overpenetration and reduces follow-up time, both of much value in home defense. This slug was designed for use in smoothbore defensive shotguns at ranges under 50 yards. With rifled barrels or with rifled chokes, it can be used for deer-sized game out to about 100 yards.

OATH Ammunition recently introduced the Tango expanding slug, a 600-grain, 1,200 fps copper projectile available in traditional plastic or in a machined aluminum case. I was only able to obtain one unfired shell, and unfired and expanded slugs for photos, so I can’t comment on accuracy or recoil. I would, however, expect the sheer weight of the slug to produce a noticeable push on the shooter.

The wasp-waisted projectile uses two rubber rings for obturation. The slug expands to an impressive 2.6 inches, with a ring instead of a solid base to reduce resistance. In gel, it penetrated 12 inches and then bounced back to 7-inch position from the resistance of the media. That’s consistent with how OATH pistol ammunition works, being designed for a penetration depth of 7 inches. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the company is in Chapter 11, so the future of this load is uncertain.

D Dupleks makes two loads that combine fragmenting and expanding features, a 1.25-ounce Hexolit and a 1-ounce Dupo. Both are made of mild steel and have six preformed petals attached to a cylindrical base, then encased into plastic. The plastic provides obturation and improves aerodynamics. Both loads are very accurate from smooth or rifled barrels. Hexolit always expands to 1.5 inches and then produces six sharp 24-grain fragments penetrating about 12 inches with equally wide spread, and a base penetrating about 20 inches.

Destructive effect on gel was greater than from a .308 Win soft point, and approaching that of .338 Lapua Magnum soft point. At longer ranges, Hexolit acts as a large hollow point, penetrating up to 20 inches! The lighter Dupo acts similarly at close range or in case of bone impact, but stays together as a 1.2-inch expanded hollow point in soft tissue at longer ranges. As a hollow point, it penetrates about 18 inches.

With the initial velocities in the 1,400 to 1,460 fps range, these rounds have more felt recoil than Team Never Quit but also a longer useful range. They were originally developed as medium and large game hunting loads, so they are accurate out to about 65 yards from smoothbores and past 100 with spin stabilization. Because of the highly penetrative base, however, both have the potential to hit bystanders beyond the target.

All of these expanding loads are lead-free, which is helpful for indoor use. D Dupleks and OATH slugs, in particular, gain an efficiency from having relatively hard materials shaped with sharp edges facing forward to cut tissue.

Winchester’s PDX1 slug.

Winchester’s PDX1 slug.

FRAGMENTING BULLETS have a poor reputation among handgun users, primarily because of insufficient penetration. With shotguns, each fragment has the weight similar to a complete pistol bullet and higher velocity, so they are rather more effective. Both Winchester and Rio loads proved very accurate, with groups around 1 inch at 25 yards from smoothbores. Both stayed together well through such obstacles as car doors and laminated glass.

Winchester PDX1 is a 1-ounce load starting at 1,600 fps, and the high velocity makes firing one a bit exciting. When I fired it from a Vepr 12, a semiauto shotgun with some drop to the stock, the muzzle rise knocked my safety glasses off. It was much more comfortable fired from MKA1919 and Origin 12, since both are semiautos with straight-line stocks. The same high velocity makes it very effective on target. The slug breaks into three 145-grain fragments, each sufficient to go through 18 inches of gel with considerable cavitation around. The fragments dispersed about 6 inches by the end of their travel, pretty much destroying the 10-inch by 10inch by 20-inch block. If you can handle the recoil, this is a very effective round.

The Rio Royal Expanding Fragmentary slug – there’s a nice mouthful of branding – also weighs at 1 ounce but comes out slower, at 1440 fps. Breaking up into four 45-grain petals and a base, it produces 7-inch penetration with 7-inch dispersion – meaning an approximately 22-degree cone of fragments. The base, about 60 percent of the whole and smaller than the bore diameter, keeps on going 18 inches or so. This load combines reasonable recoil and terminal performance with excellent accuracy and budget price. At $1.40 per shot, it’s the least expensive of the specialty loads.

The Dupo 20 is one of two loads manufactured by D Dupleks with fragmenting and expanding features.

While most of these slugs can be used from a rifle bore, they are accurate enough at typical self-defense ranges to make it unnecessary. Rifling would make the shotgun less versatile by dispersing shot patterns into donuts, and so should probably be reserved for hunting use. With fragmenting projectiles, the spin would also cause slightly wider dispersion of petals.
The last round to consider is the American hunting stand-by, the Foster “rifled” slug. With the ribs on the outside designed to pass safely through chokes, these projectiles are unsuitable for actual rifled bores. They stabilize by having most of the balance forward, and are hollow based. Remington Slugger, the most widely available (and cheapest at around $1 each) Foster slug, is thimble-shaped. On impact, at least up close where the 1,550 fps muzzle velocity is retained, it acts as a frangible despite its intended use as a solid.

Further out, at ranges more typical of deer hunting, the slug holds together better. At room distance, Slugger turns into a cloud of small lead chunks extending about 9 inches deep and nearly 6 inches wide. The smaller 20-gauge Slugger does the same, but to 7.5 inches and 5 inches of width. This is less depth than is recommended by the FBI testing protocol, but probably noticeable to the hostile recipient.

This 12-gauge slug from Team Never Quit delivered near-textbook expansion and penetration.

This 12-gauge slug from Team Never Quit delivered near-textbook expansion and penetration.

ALL MODERN EXPANDING LOADS are generally adequate for selfdefense. Except for D Dupleks Caviar, none of them would safely break up on typical residential walls in case of a miss. Caviar won’t stop for drywall, but tends to break up enough on wooden studs to pose reduced danger downrange. Given the massive variability of shotguns, be sure to test your selected load for functioning: I’ve seen Mossberg 930 autoloader run with plastic riot-control birdshot, and have also seen pump shotguns choke on standard slug or buck loads. Given the precision with which slugs should be applied for best effect, I would also recommend adjustable rifle sights or a red dot zeroed to your favorite load. ASJ

Posted in Ammo Tagged with: , , , ,

December 22nd, 2015 by AmSJ Staff

[su_heading size=”26″ margin=”0″]Bullet Points – Ammunition Cutaways[/su_heading]

 

By Danielle Breteau

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”4″]A[/su_dropcap]rtist Sabine Pearlman worked with photographers Deborah Bay, Christopher Colville and Garrett Hansen to create a fantastic visual of Ammunition in a way most never see it – artistic.

An exhibit, featuring the original photographs will be on display at the Griffin Museum Of Photography in Winchester, Mass., from January 14 through March 6, 2016. ASJ

 

 

SPLIT ROUNDS 2 SPLIT ROUNDS 3 SPLIT ROUNDS 4 SPLIT ROUNDS 5 SPLIT ROUNDS 6 SPLIT ROUNDS

 

You can see more of Sabine Pearlman’s work here.

Posted in Editor's Blog Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 17th, 2015 by AmSJ Staff

Deciphering The Secret Code Of Ammunition

AMMO Infographic

Ammo Cutaways

 

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