Gel test Comparison - Full Metal Jacket vs Soft Point Ammunition

Gel test Comparison - Full Metal Jacket vs Soft Point Ammunition

This is a discussion on Gel test Comparison - Full Metal Jacket vs Soft Point Ammunition within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Video What's the difference between Soft Point and Full Metal Jacket Ammo? I made a simple video comparing the terminal ballistics of soft point and ...

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Thread: Gel test Comparison - Full Metal Jacket vs Soft Point Ammunition

  1. #1
    Member Array usmc9688's Avatar
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    Question Gel test Comparison - Full Metal Jacket vs Soft Point Ammunition

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    What's the difference between Soft Point and Full Metal Jacket Ammo?

    I made a simple video comparing the terminal ballistics of soft point and full metal jacket .223 ammunition. Before you check out the test keep in mind that this is a very small sample size, so take this info with a grain of salt.

    What's a Full Metal Jacket?

    A bullet that is classified as a Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) features a soft metal core, usually lead, that is encased in metal. The casing or jacket surrounds all of the core except for the base. This is one of the cheapest ways to manufacturer ammunition besides using lead cast bullets. The metal jacket has many advantages over standard cast rounds. It provides the barrel with a bit of protection from core all while increasing muzzle velocity.

    What's a Soft Point?

    A Soft Point Bullet or Jacketed Soft Point (SP or JSP) is very similar to a FMJ. The soft metal core is surrounded by a harder metal jacket. The difference between a FMJ and a SP is the tip of the projectile. A SP has no jacket protecting the tip of the core. This exposed nose is designed to force the bullet to expand, and often fragment, once it strikes soft tissue.

    Which is Better for Defensive Use?

    In this test I was hoping to get a clear cut answer to this question. I fully expected the SP to be lodged somewhere in the synthetic gelatin, and the FMJ to pass on through. Of course like any test my expectations were dead wrong.

    The SP began expanding around the two inch mark. Immediately from that point the bullet fragmented as it tore through the target. The widest diameter of the permanent cavity was roughly 1.75 inches. Dozens of fragments of the bullet remained in the gel, but surprisingly the SP penetrated the entire 16 inch block. It seems that only a small portion of the bullet over penetrated, but it was an unexpected result.

    The FMJ also gave an interesting performance. As it hit the block, we saw the standard FMJ "tumble". The projectile expanded but remained in one piece. The widest portion of its permanent cavity was measured at 1.5 inches. The FMJ was found stuck in the gelatin at the 15 inch mark.

    I think this test raises some interesting questions. What kind of ammunition do you think is best for home defense use? Do you think it is advantageous to have a rifle round that fragments as much as the SP, or would you rather use a solid FMJ?


    _______________________________________________

    More Boring test Details

    Both rounds used the same brass, Lake City, and were cut to the same length.
    They were both loaded with 24 grains of IMR 4320 and loaded with CCI Benchrest Primers.
    The projectiles were Hornady 55gr SP and FMJ.
    Fired from a DelTon Echo 316 AR-15
    Fired from the same distance of 25 meters


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    I think this test raises some interesting questions. What kind of ammunition do you think is best for home defense use?

    seriously?...

    only 3 people purposely use FMJ for defence...
    the poor
    the uneducated
    the .mil

    and even the .mil is smart enough to use "OTM" / HPBT when they can.


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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    With a .223, I'd be fine with FMJ in terms of stopping power. I wonder if there might be an advantage to the soft point in limiting penetration through walls, by ensuring fragmentation.

    Sounds like a joncon question...
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

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    Member Array wrinkles's Avatar
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    1. Clear gel is not FBI grade ballistics gel.
    2. SP bullet type and brand matter greatly.

    A good barrier blind SP or HP will not fragment. Not all SP are made the same as are not all FMJs.

    Over penetration is not bad in a rifle. You guys have gotten stuck on this over pentration thing. The HPs and SPs are designed to make big holes as soon as they enter the target and penetrate at LEAST 12" if they penetrate more that's even better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrinkles View Post
    1. Clear gel is not FBI grade ballistics gel.
    2. SP bullet type and brand matter greatly.

    A good barrier blind SP or HP will not fragment. Not all SP are made the same as are not all FMJs.

    Over penetration is not bad in a rifle. You guys have gotten stuck on this over pentration thing. The HPs and SPs are designed to make big holes as soon as they enter the target and penetrate at LEAST 12" if they penetrate more that's even better.
    I agree about the Over Penetration thing. I want ammo that will do as much damage to a bad guy as possible.---Sturgis
    Powpig2002 likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    seriously?...

    only 3 people purposely use FMJ for defence...
    the poor
    the uneducated
    the .mil
    [/IMG]
    Yes.. but the .mil, average combatant not snipers or Special Ops, are not supposed to be in it to kill, they are supposed to trying to wound and incapacitate the enemy without introducing un-needed pain and suffering... gotta love then politicians write the rules of engagement and war. Hence HP and SP are not allowed, well with minor variations.. and large calibers are only supposed to be aimed at equipment, not the individual.. but hey a chin strap is equipment right?
    manolito likes this.
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    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    I use 55 grain Nosler Ballistic tips for SD in my AR. When I was working I used 64 grain Bonded Speer LE Gold Dots. Two different needs, two different bullets.
    Cuda66 likes this.
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    I can only speak to what I saw in the field. The full metal Jacket used was a different round when it hit bone. I have seen the bone fragment into hundreds of pieces. I am not a ballistics expert in any manner but when a AK round hits bone it is devastating compared to when it hits just muscle and tissue.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I handload my home defense 5 56/223 ammo. I use a Sierra 60 grain soft point loaded to a vocity of 2900 fps out of my Colt M4. These are very violent loads.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    Member Array usmc9688's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    seriously?...

    only 3 people purposely use FMJ for defence...
    the poor
    the uneducated
    the .mil

    and even the .mil is smart enough to use "OTM" / HPBT when they can.

    FMJ for self defense use is not all that uncommon if you're using a rifle. I never said it was the best choice, but it did perform surprisingly well. The picture you posted is inaccurate. Ballistic gelatin tests do not perfectly portray what would happen in human flesh. The reason the FBI suggests at least twelve inches of penetration is because the gel doesn't and can't take bone or other obstructions into account. Even if that weren't the case, the picture is comparing FMJ to M855 Steel Tip rounds not FMJ and SP.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxwell97 View Post
    With a .223, I'd be fine with FMJ in terms of stopping power. I wonder if there might be an advantage to the soft point in limiting penetration through walls, by ensuring fragmentation.

    Sounds like a joncon question...
    I think that's the thought process behind those that use these rounds for HD. I would be interested to see if that were the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrinkles View Post
    1. Clear gel is not FBI grade ballistics gel.
    2. SP bullet type and brand matter greatly.

    A good barrier blind SP or HP will not fragment. Not all SP are made the same as are not all FMJs.

    Over penetration is not bad in a rifle. You guys have gotten stuck on this over pentration thing. The HPs and SPs are designed to make big holes as soon as they enter the target and penetrate at LEAST 12" if they penetrate more that's even better.
    Synthetic gelatin is not the same as FBI grade ballistic gelatin, but it has been proven to give the same results upwards of 95% of the time. Synthetic gelatin is much more stable than ordinance gel which makes it much easier to keep the block calibrated. For our intents and purposes ballistics gelatin and synthetic clear gel are the same thing.

    I agree that there is a fixation on over penetration. For HD use I believe it is a serious concern. FBI testing has shown that over penetration for handgun ammo is no a reasonable threat. Higher velocity rifle rounds may still have enough energy to injure and even kill. I may actually do a video concerning this topic as I have always wondered how much energy these rounds have after leaving the block. Thanks for bringing up that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    I can only speak to what I saw in the field. The full metal Jacket used was a different round when it hit bone. I have seen the bone fragment into hundreds of pieces. I am not a ballistics expert in any manner but when a AK round hits bone it is devastating compared to when it hits just muscle and tissue.
    Bones and other obstructions are an interesting dilemma for testing ammo. They tend to make rounds do very odd things. Do you mind elaborating a bit on your experiences? I would love to hear about them if you don't mind sharing.

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    Distinguished Member Array Madcap_Magician's Avatar
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    That's very interesting that you saw full block penetration despite the fragmentation with the softpoints. Do you know how penetration in your gel compares to standard ballistic gelatin, and what was it calibrated to?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madcap_Magician View Post
    That's very interesting that you saw full block penetration despite the fragmentation with the softpoints. Do you know how penetration in your gel compares to standard ballistic gelatin, and what was it calibrated to?
    Great question. Synthetic gelatin gives results that are 95% comparable to ordinance gelatin. In essence it is the same thing. The synthetic clear gel is far more stable which allows me to focus less on keeping it calibrated. Our clear gel is calibrated to FBI specifications.

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    Member Array agalindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc9688 View Post
    Synthetic gelatin is not the same as FBI grade ballistic gelatin, but it has been proven to give the same results upwards of 95% of the time. Synthetic gelatin is much more stable than ordinance gel which makes it much easier to keep the block calibrated. For our intents and purposes ballistics gelatin and synthetic clear gel are the same thing.

    I agree that there is a fixation on over penetration. For HD use I believe it is a serious concern. FBI testing has shown that over penetration for handgun ammo is no a reasonable threat. Higher velocity rifle rounds may still have enough energy to injure and even kill. I may actually do a video concerning this topic as I have always wondered how much energy these rounds have after leaving the block. Thanks for bringing up that point.
    Depends on the bones hit.

    Until I see independent tests involving more than 4 or 5 rounds compared to properly calibrated and prepared gel I would not take clear gel as being in the 90% identical to gel. You can't claim something to be FBI grade when it isn't because there is no such thing as FBI grade clear ballistics gel.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as an FBI grade body either, so it's all relative.
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    Member Array agalindo's Avatar
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    No because properly prepared and calibrated gel replicates tissue within a 4% variance.

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