Wet Phone Books

Wet Phone Books

This is a discussion on Wet Phone Books within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; A lot of the videos I see on youtube for ballistics testing use a wet phone book. However, I haven't been able to find the ...

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Thread: Wet Phone Books

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Wet Phone Books

    A lot of the videos I see on youtube for ballistics testing use a wet phone book. However, I haven't been able to find the reason for soaking the phone book. I'm trying to figure out if the purpose is to make the paper softer, so that the rounds will penetrate further. Or perhaps it is the opposite. Maybe the water is there to add density so the rounds will penetrate less. I could see it going either way.

    I'm wanting to do some ballistics testing myself, comparing some different types of ammo. I've looked into making gel, or using phone books, or both. Just don't know if I should soak the phone books or not. I'd probably just try it both ways but I don't have many phone books. I have opted out of receiving them the last few years and so I don't have many left.


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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    soaking over nite and 2 layers of denim replicates cheap & easy how ammo will act in a body comprised of tissue and water.

    it is not 100% but to test your short bbl SD gun & ammo and tan compare your results against published gelatin tests is helpful.
    you have to do it a few times to get a base line but it can be made to be fun; notice how the cavities are in the book also, not just the inches of penetration.
    and not the bullets expansion...if any.

    when gearing up for SD carry--always be on the outlook for ways to think and compare.
    the world is an interesting place when one takes the time to look at what they are seeing.
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    Soaking is probably best; though dry can compare bullets even if it doesn't tell you what it will do in a body.

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    I used to have an unlimited supply of the old Fort Worth phone books back with they were extra thick with both white and yellow pages together. I'd just toss them right into the lake at our old place and come back and fetch them later in the day when they were well soaked.

    I sometimes shot the phone books dry but this seemed to give a more uneven performance for expanding bullets, sometimes clogging hollow points. Bullets were a little more prone to shatter in dry phone books.

    Wet phone books seem to yield a pretty good impression ... of how bullets work in wet phone books. Guess it lends a bit of uniformity to any "non-tests."

    It is perhaps a good test enhancement but I never bothered with layering denim or other cloth over phone books. No one thought to suggest it back then and I wasn't clever enough to adopt it.
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    Senior Member Array Bob O's Avatar
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    Expanding bullets are designed to expand in flesh which contains a lot of water. In general expanding bullets will expand much better through water. That's why many tests are made using water filled jugs. The problem with using just water is that the bullets tend to expand more than they normally would in flesh and provide a skewed indication of an actual shooting.

    Soaked paper is a fairly inexpensive substance to use and gives results closer to flesh than plain water does.

    Here are some good threads on how to use soaked newspaper (which is even better than phone books).

    Comparison with other test methods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post

    Wet phone books seem to yield a pretty good impression ... of how bullets work in wet phone books. Guess it lends a bit of uniformity to any "non-tests."
    Amen!

    With all the existing bullet performance data available on line, besides the fun factor I can't see that there is serious information to be gained by shooting into home-made test media. Your testing needs to be controlled to a much higher degree to have meaningful results. For example, don't assume that all phone books are made of the same paper of that they will all absorb the same amount of water. I won't deny anyone the fun factor - heck, I started testing slingshot projectiles for "penetration" in magazines and pine boards when I was about 8. Just don't kid yourself that the results are particularly meaningful for shooting into living critters or for defensive purposes.
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    "I started testing slingshot projectiles for "penetration" in magazines and pine boards when I was about 8."

    Hah, you too?
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Amen!
    Your testing needs to be controlled to a much higher degree to have meaningful results. For example, don't assume that all phone books are made of the same paper of that they will all absorb the same amount of water.
    Well, that is sort of what I'm wanting to do. I want to create some highly scientific tests. Not specifically to show penetration into flesh, but rather simply comparison between different ammo calibers and types relative to each other.

    Currently, I'm thinking of building a little setup that I can use standard printer paper at the store. I'm thinking I could buy several reams of paper and stack them several feet deep with a metal plate backstop. My contraption needs to be able to hold all of the paper reams together tightly. The benefit of doing this is that I could come back days or weeks or months later and perform the exact same test with the exact same medium only using a different bullet. That way over time I can collect data on lots of different bullets and know that the conditions were the same.

    I'm thinking of actually starting with some BB/Pellet guns, then moving up to different types of .22 ammo, then to .380, 9mm, etc. The idea is that I'll be able to construct a chart showing the penetration power of various calibers relative to each other. That is why i was looking for a .22 short the other day in another thread, but realized I could fire a .22 short from my existing pistol by loading it into the chamber manually.

    Part of this project will be for fun, but I also hope to get some good results. You can go all over youtube and see lots of poorly made videos shooting all kinds of bullets into all kinds of mediums. But it is difficult to compare one to the next because the conditions are never the same. Since I make very high-quality videos, I think many people would get a kick out of watching these tests.

    Here is a little test video I made a few days ago. Very short for one of my videos, but it was mostly just a test.


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    Hah, it is apparent that you don't waste perfectly good Dr Pepper in the interest of science.

    Fun video and cool little pistol! Do you have a "real deal" Walther? Does the slide cycling give any similar sensation of recoil to a cartridge arm?
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    the humidity will change in a matter of a few days. if you wish to employ the scientific method--READ WHAT IT IS FIRST

    it is one thing to have a thought ( lets hope it does not die of loneliness)
    quite another thing to be able to express that though with facts...some facts...any facts....please, even one

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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude clay View Post
    the humidity will change in a matter of a few days. if you wish to employ the scientific method--READ WHAT IT IS FIRST
    Thank you for your "constructive criticism." I am well aware of the scientific method. Although it is true that the humidity will change, as well as the atmospheric pressure, along with the fact that each round varies slightly from the next in the amount of powder and lead from the next, as well as the position of the moon causing a different tidal effect on the bullet. I can safely say that I'm confident none of these differences are likely to make a calculable difference in my tests. At this point I'm quite certain you are just out to insult me at this point since I'm from the "entitlement generation" as you said in another post, so obviously I can't know anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
    Hah, it is apparent that you don't waste perfectly good Dr Pepper in the interest of science.

    Fun video and cool little pistol! Do you have a "real deal" Walther? Does the slide cycling give any similar sensation of recoil to a cartridge arm?
    bmcgilvray, I actually have 2 real Walthers, a P22 and a PK380. I do not have a PPK, though. I also have another one of these replica BB guns, which is based on the Walther P99. The slide action does actually create a little bit of recoil realism. But obviously it is nothing like shooting even a .22LR. You can see in the slow motion video that the muzzle actually does flip up a bit. Oh - and I don't drink Dr.Pepper. I pretty much drink water only. But my wife is addicted to the stuff so we always have plenty of Dr.Pepper cans in the recycle bin.

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    Oh boy... I have to control myself, since you ignited my technical 'fuse' I'm a career test engineer with deep roots in aerospace, but "measurement scientist" would be about the most appropriate description.

    To get meaningful results, you need to control variables as best as you can, and that means you start by measuring them. As another poster suggested, humidity changes may be important, but part of your measurements and data analysis (even BEFORE yo start testing) needs to identify the extent of the effects of those variables on your test results. OK, let's assume humidity is one. Will your test results be sensitive to, or affected by, a 1% change in relative humidity? A 5% change? 10%? 20%? This is where you need to assess the effect of the variables to see if they're important. If a 20% change in relative humidity only changes your test results out to the fourth decimal place, I'd say with some confidence you can ignore that variable.

    But take it a step further. WHY might humidity affect your test data? Will water vapor in the air corrode the projectile during a 20 millisecond event? Or maybe the density of the air will affect projectile velocity, and thus, penetration? But would that effect be mitigated if you measured the projectile velocity a millisecond before it hit the target?

    Just throwing some grist out there for your mind to mill. Again - don't let me deny you of the fun factor! But give some serious thought as to how you will construct your experiment (in the biz we call this 'DOE' - design of experiment) so that when you have an array of data to share, one overlooked variable doesn't make it all useless.
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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    But take it a step further. WHY might humidity affect your test data? Will water vapor in the air corrode the projectile during a 20 millisecond event? Or maybe the density of the air will affect projectile velocity, and thus, penetration? But would that effect be mitigated if you measured the projectile velocity a millisecond before it hit the target?
    Being that I plan to conduct these tests indoors at a local gun range that rents a special private room for whatever you might want, machine guns, etc.. I think humidity will be fairly constant since it is air-conditioned. Secondly, being that I plan on conducting these tests from probably 5 or 10 feet away from the object, I don't think air density is likely to affect it in any measurable way. It would be different if it was a rifle shooting a target 100 yards away.

    Regardless of the outcome you can be sure my tests will be better than 99% of what is out there on youtube. I got angry at Claude because he has made it a point to disagree with me no matter what I say and insult my intelligence. I could say that 2+2=4 and he'd tell me I need more training in math and don't know what I'm talking about. I think I need to just add a filter to hide his messages, that would probably help keep the peace around here.

    Claude may think he knows more about firearms and related issues, and maybe he does. But very few people on this planet know more about science and engineering than me. This is one issue I will not be talked down to unless you have some serious credentials, such as gasmitty. Besides, I am doing these test for my own benefit and nobody is paying me for them. They will not be used in any government study, or anything else that will affect anyone. If my measurements are off by 1% to 2% it isn't like it is going to cause an economic meltdown or something.

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    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    cool video. I kind of want a bb gun now for backyard plinking. thanks for giving me something else to add to my shopping list, So uncool, im capable of spending my own money, I don't need any DC influence to spend money on toys lol. I never thought of using cans filled with water for shooting fun. Thanks for the idea
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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