Ammo testing update

To add to my articles last week about caliber, cartridge and firearm selection, Lucky Gunner has just added .38 Special and .357 Magnum to the list of cartridges it’s tested in ballistic gelatin.  They’ve taken samples of most available loads, run them through everyday firearms, and posted the results.  It’s a very useful tool to find out how your chosen round performs in that test medium, or to help you select one if necessary.

I hasten to add that ballistic gelatin isn’t a perfect simulacrum of human flesh, which contains tissues of varying density (bone, muscle, fat, etc.), and varies in thickness, and is protected by more or less clothing depending on location, season, weather conditions, etc.  Nevertheless, it’s adequate for apples-to-apples comparisons of bullet performance, and gives us useful insights into how they’re likely to perform when the chips are down.  I prefer bullets that are heavy for caliber, and penetrate deeper than normal, because I’ve had to shoot through an arm to reach the torso on more than one occasion, so limited-penetration bullets just don’t do it for me.  However, if you’re likely to use them inside your home, with loved ones on the far side of partition walls to think about, limited penetration is a lot more valuable to you!  Consider your own circumstances when making your selection.

I still won’t buy ammunition from Lucky Gunner, in the light of my ethical concerns about their business practices.  Nevertheless, this is useful research, for which they deserve credit.



  1. Over penetration is one reason I favor a short barrel shotgun with trap loads inside a home or apartment.
    Most of an ounce of lead shot, but shouldn't penetrate a solid wall. And you can keep buckshot or slug loads handy in case of need.
    A lot of collateral damage in police shootings has been caused by over penetration resulting in harm to bystanders down range. Which is a significant reason why nearly every law enforcement agency has switched to hollow point ammo.

  2. IMHO over penetration is highly over rated. More the issue are pure misses. The studies I've seen of police shootings continue to show an atrocious hit to miss ratio. So when one considers over penetration to this it is not that great a problem.

    Peter try sgammo of Oklahoma. Very reasonable prices and very fast order processing and shipping. Just a customer here.


  3. Peter –
    With respect to your ethical concerns, are you aware that there are some authors who will sell some books under one name, and then sell others under a completely different name? Should we call out these people who are masquerading under different names in order to ostensibly compete with one another?

    with tongue firmly in cheek….

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