Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin
When it comes to the defense of my family or myself, I don’t mess around. I want to know exactly what I’m capable of and how my equipment will perform so I’m testing expansion with my bullets that could possibly be used in a defensive scenario. That includes pistols, shotguns and rifles but this and my next post will concentrate on two concealed firearms. My two concealable firearms of choice are my 1911 chambered in 45ACP as well as a backup Smith & Wesson 10 chambered in 38 Special.
Since my main carry is my 1911, I’ll begin with it. I will admit it is a heavy full size (all steel mind you) with a standard 5” barrel. My brother tries to sell me a lighter version for easier carry, but I like the one I have. I’m comfortable with it and that goes a long way with me. There is no better feeling than knowing it is close and with the custom holster, it rides well on my hip and even hides easily. What I really wanted to convey with this post though is how the ammunition works.
The bullet is the key to success or failure of ammunition and how it performs is a crucial part of that equation. Impact velocity has a direct relation to how a bullet expands. At 7 yards, that remaining velocity is going to be close enough to the muzzle velocity to not even worry about it.
Of the three rounds I’ll present here, two are factory ammunition and one is my reload. There are a number of reasons I’m carrying factory rounds not the least of them is legal liability but I liked the performance of them. In no particular order they are Winchester Rangers, Sig Sauer V-Crown, and Sierra’s #8805 230gr jacketed hollow point. I have put my best effort into giving them a reasonable expansion test but my home brew methods are a little unorthodox. My expansions tests uses recycled milk jugs, refilled with water and placed with their flat side touching. Because they are at least 4+ inches wide, I don’t have an exact measurement for penetration. Also, because water is such a hard medium, my results are going to be a little different compared to actual ballistic gelatin testing.
Here are my results:
Winchester Ranger: The Winchester Ranger ammo is the continuation of the older Black Talon line. After the black was removed from the bullet, the ammo was known as the T-Series and then went on to become a bonded version. I used the bonded version mainly because it was available and this is what I’ve tested here. The talons are not extended like they used to be but they can still be seen in the photo. This bullet started as a 230gr and now weighs in at 229.56 grains and measures .830” at the widest diameter. The jacket is still secured to the lead core. It went through at least 9” of water and settled in the third jug so I would call that a success. Unfortunately, either I didn’t record the velocity or it was lost in translation, but it wasn’t in my notes so I don’t have that to give. Another unfortunate fact is that I couldn’t find this ammo listed on Winchester’s website but the Platinum Tip looks very similar. In other words, the last remaining box of the T-Series I own is not for sale.
Sig Sauer V-Crown: The V-Crown is the new bullet line from Sig Sauer and as you can see, it looks like a flower when expanded but that is where the cute ended. To handle it, I can feel how sharp the edges of the jacket are. It started out as a 200gr and now weighs 199.64 grains and measures .790” at the widest diameter. The entire jacket is still secured to the lead core. It also went through at least 9” of water and settled in the third milk jug, so I would call that a success also. I do have an average velocity of 950fps from 5 recorded shots. My notes also stated it gave a smaller, more uniform group than even my reloads.
Sierra #8805 Reload: My reload is using Sierra’s #8805 230gr jacketed hollow point. I have used this load in my IDPA matches before. It is easy to hit moving targets out at 30 yards with it, but it is going significantly slower than the Sig. It is traveling at an average of 810fps from a recorded 5 shots but I only used 6 grains of Unique to find my accuracy with it. The bulk weighs 221.92 and the two fragments of jacket weigh 5.72 grains combined for a total of 227.64 grains. The remaining jacket is still secured to the lead core and it measures .760” at the widest diameter. It also went through at least 9” of water and settled in the third jug. Despite the slight jacket loss that settled in the second jug, I would call this a success also.
I’ll carry the Sig Sauer V-Crown on me. I like the way they perform as well as the velocity and accuracy they give me. Being available factory made ammo gives me piece of mind on several levels. It also doesn’t hurt that Sierra made the bullet for the ammunition.
My next post will have my report of my short barreled 38 Special. Some of the results will be shocking to say the least so I hope to see to you then for another conversation.