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  1. #1
    jdw68 is offline Member
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    What is your theory?

    Some of the published ballistics reports raise some interesting questions. I have my own theories, but would like to hear what other people think. For example, Firearmstactical published various caliber results in ballistics gelatin. The 357 magnum Remington Golden Saber penetrated 14.4 inches in bare gelatin and had a recovered diameter of .56 inches. In clothed gel it penetrated 20.55 inches and had a recovered diameter of .48 inches. While, the Remington Golden Saber in 38 +P penetrated 13.45 inches and had a recovered diameter of .59 inches, in bare gelatin. In clothed gelatin it penetrated 14.5 inches and had a recovered diameter of .59 inches. Both of these results came from a 4 inch barrel and they were both Remington Golden Sabers.

    It would appear that the 38 special out-performed the 357 magnum, from just the published results. I have my theory, but would like to read others comments on the above data.

    Keep in mind that there is a school of thought that says things like "energy dump" and "temporary stretch cavities" have little value in handgun ballistics. Do you agree? Did the 357 magnum under expand or did it maybe over expand making it's final recovered diameter less than it was while it penetrated the gelatin? Thanks in advance for any responses! I find these topics interesting.

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  3. #2
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    The "recovered diameters" compared to original and recovered weight? It would seem possible that some of the diameter may have been shed if the bullet fragmented. The .357 Magnum did what it was supposed to do ~ penetrate. Bodies vary, human or animal, in density and bone structure.

    And, clothed ~ what type of clothing, summer, or bitter cold winter?

    Bob Wright

  4. #3
    jdw68 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    The "recovered diameters" compared to original and recovered weight? It would seem possible that some of the diameter may have been shed if the bullet fragmented. The .357 Magnum did what it was supposed to do ~ penetrate. Bodies vary, human or animal, in density and bone structure.

    And, clothed ~ what type of clothing, summer, or bitter cold winter?

    Bob Wright
    Thanks for your reply Bob
    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Firearmstactical is interpreting old FBI data. The Website makes reference to the IWBA Handgun Specification Supplement, which when you click on this, appears to be the basic FBI protocol. Therefore, clothed gelatin would be the standard 4 layers of denim. In addition, the Golden Saber in 357 magnum is not known for fragmentation. It would be more prone to jacket seperation, which their was no indication of this in the data. I would have to study the data more to see if that was possible. Fragmentation usually happens with full house 357 magnums that travel 1450 fps, this test stated the 357 magnum golden saber went 1220 fps. Hope that helps provide some more info. I would appreciate any more responses to help me understand what was going on with these tests.

    Or even help understanding why the 357 magnum has a much better street reputation than a "jello reputation". Many of the jello test I've seen show that the 357 doesn't expand all that much but penetrates very well. Is it energy dump? Velocity creating a cavity larger than the bullet? I have some theories, but honestly don't know.

  5. #4
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    I know that you don't want to see this yet again, but...

    Bullet placement trumps ballistics, every time.
    If you hit the right place quickly, it doesn't matter whether the slug goes in eight inches or 12 inches.
    If you hit the right place quickly, it doesn't matter whether the slug expands to 0.75", or it doesn't expand at all.

    Ballistic gelatin, clothed or naked, is merely a medium which produces repeatable results.
    It is not a real-life stand-in for a person.

    Of course, theoretical discussion is lots of fun.
    I indulge in it all the time. Just ask Bob Wright.
    But one has to remember which criteria are those that are really important.

  6. #5
    NMpops is offline Junior Member
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    The Golden Sabre was designed to expand at lower velocities so it's no wonder it does well as a 38+P. Even at the reduced loading for the .357 it probably got clogged so it penetrated deeper. Last the .357 got it's street reputation from the full bore 1450 fps 125 grain load, not the Golden Sabre.

  7. #6
    jdw68 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I know that you don't want to see this yet again, but...

    Bullet placement trumps ballistics, every time.
    If you hit the right place quickly, it doesn't matter whether the slug goes in eight inches or 12 inches.
    If you hit the right place quickly, it doesn't matter whether the slug expands to 0.75", or it doesn't expand at all.

    Ballistic gelatin, clothed or naked, is merely a medium which produces repeatable results.
    It is not a real-life stand-in for a person.

    Of course, theoretical discussion is lots of fun.
    I indulge in it all the time. Just ask Bob Wright.
    But one has to remember which criteria are those that are really important.
    I always enjoy reading your posts Steve. Thanks for responding! I agree with you that placement is King. I also really enjoy theoretical discussion and wonder why the 38 special appears to out-perform the 357 in this bullet design, at least on paper. Hoping that someone with a greater knowledge than me, on ballistics gelatin testing, can educate me on what exactly is happening. Maybe NMpops has done so already. Perhaps, the 38 just works better in the golden saber bullet design. Would love to hear others weigh in on this topic.

  8. #7
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    My question is, who makes the ballistics gelatin? Is it Jello brand, or the generic stuff from Aldi's? Or, is it some off brand that I've never heard of? These are just some of the questions that keep me awake at night.....

  9. #8
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Jello junkies vs morgue monsters. The .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, thanks largely to the efforts of Elmer Keith, and has a wealth of data to support its claim to being one of the best all around handgun calibers for use against two-legged predators. The thing with ballistic gelatin, water tanks, and stuffed plastic gallon milk containers is an attempt to find some sort of common or realistic criteria from which to draw conclusions as to how a given caliber and load design is going to work in the human body. This brings us to the morgue monsters (not the best of terms, I know).

    What actually happens to the human body, how many hits were needed to stop the aggressor, and how fast he was stopped is going to be different with each event simply because no two shootings are alike. So we do the best we are able with the information at hand to try to arrive and the best possible caliber/load to use for our defense. Unfortunately, you're never really going to know if you took the right decision until the time comes when you need to call upon your gun. And even then you will only know for that one specific incident. So what does this mean.

    Read as much as you can about the various loads available in your chosen caliber/gun. Listen to the experts; i.e., the ones who really know about this topic. Apply common sense. And practice until you can consistently deliver rounds to target. This is what I do. I spend a fair amount of time reading, viewing, and researching the best loads available for my primary carry calibers and I still am not certain I have what is really the best. I put in range time with differing target scenarios and pit my primary guns against one another because I want to have the one I use best available as my first goto gun.

    The beauty of the gun world beast is the fact that it is dynamic but in so being, it can also be quite frustrating at times. Just when you think you have it, the best gun/ammunition combo, your world changes and some other choice(s) enter the picture. Crazy but in the end, we are the ones who benefit.

  10. #9
    jdw68 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    Jello junkies vs morgue monsters. The .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, thanks largely to the efforts of Elmer Keith, and has a wealth of data to support its claim to being one of the best all around handgun calibers for use against two-legged predators. The thing with ballistic gelatin, water tanks, and stuffed plastic gallon milk containers is an attempt to find some sort of common or realistic criteria from which to draw conclusions as to how a given caliber and load design is going to work in the human body. This brings us to the morgue monsters (not the best of terms, I know).

    What actually happens to the human body, how many hits were needed to stop the aggressor, and how fast he was stopped is going to be different with each event simply because no two shootings are alike. So we do the best we are able with the information at hand to try to arrive and the best possible caliber/load to use for our defense. Unfortunately, you're never really going to know if you took the right decision until the time comes when you need to call upon your gun. And even then you will only know for that one specific incident. So what does this mean.

    Read as much as you can about the various loads available in your chosen caliber/gun. Listen to the experts; i.e., the ones who really know about this topic. Apply common sense. And practice until you can consistently deliver rounds to target. This is what I do. I spend a fair amount of time reading, viewing, and researching the best loads available for my primary carry calibers and I still am not certain I have what is really the best. I put in range time with differing target scenarios and pit my primary guns against one another because I want to have the one I use best available as my first goto gun.

    The beauty of the gun world beast is the fact that it is dynamic but in so being, it can also be quite frustrating at times. Just when you think you have it, the best gun/ammunition combo, your world changes and some other choice(s) enter the picture. Crazy but in the end, we are the ones who benefit.
    I agree with you SouthernBoy. I do try to practice a lot and enjoy doing so. I also study quit a bit and enjoy that too. But, everyonce in a while I come across something that kind of stumps me. The question I put in this post was one of those times. I have some theories, but thought I would listen to some other people on this subject. Thanks again.

  11. #10
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    The .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, thanks largely to the efforts of Elmer Keith
    With all due respect for Elmer Keith, it was largely through the efforts of Phil Sharpe that birthed the .357 Magnum. While Keith did a lot with the .38-44 Special, he held out for a .44 Caliber.

    Bob Wright

  12. #11
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    With all due respect for Elmer Keith, it was largely through the efforts of Phil Sharpe that birthed the .357 Magnum. While Keith did a lot with the .38-44 Special, he held out for a .44 Caliber.

    Bob Wright
    Both men were responsible for the inception of the .357 but Keith was the primary instigator. His later work in convincing S&W and Remington to take the .44 Special to new heights resulted in the .44 Magnum. Keith's longest shot on an animal was 600 yards... with the .44 Magnum. He took four shots to walk in his last two hits as best as I recall. Those early pioneers of these calibers were quite amazing.

  13. #12
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdw68 View Post
    I agree with you SouthernBoy. I do try to practice a lot and enjoy doing so. I also study quit a bit and enjoy that too. But, everyonce in a while I come across something that kind of stumps me. The question I put in this post was one of those times. I have some theories, but thought I would listen to some other people on this subject. Thanks again.
    Good for you. If I had to push anything it would be to never stop learning, never think you have reached a point where you "know everything", keep any open and inquisitive mind, and remain humble. The gun culture world is vast and fascinating. I have been at it for 44 years and I still learn new things every week. Keeps and makes things interesting.

  14. #13
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Actually, I believe it was Doug Wesson who was the primary instigator of the .357 Magnum. I'll have to dig out my files.

    Bob Wright

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