Home-spun 115gr. Hollow-Point Development

With the scarcity of defensive ammunition this year I started messing about with modifying Xtreme Bullets 115gr. target hollow-points to be suitable for self defense. I wrote about that here: https://tinkertalksguns.com/2020/08/18/homespun-hollow-points-for-what-if-situations/.

I used a modified de-capping die to re-swage the hollow-point cavity of the Xtreme bullets 115gr. target hollow-points.

My first attempt tended to over-expand and shed the front of the bullets in fragments, but they were arguably better than ball ammo. I modified the swaging pin slightly and tried again. This time they expanded decently and retained their weight well, but expanded asymmetrically. They did this because the copper plating (thick enough to form a jacket) would split on one side. They were adequate for self-defense, but they could be better.

I modified the pin again, and depth of the cavity. It no longer split the ‘jacket,’ and I had high hopes that these would perform better yet. I’d pretty much got as much use as I could from the Clear Gel block I had, and needed to re-cast it before I could test the new bullet. What with one thing and another it was months before I got around to that… and then the new FBI block I got on sale from Clear Ballistics arrived. Time to test the new bullet!

Designing a hollow-point is no simple thing. It has to be tailored to the caliber and a given velocity range. It needs to cycle properly too, and the shape of the interior of the cavity needs to be able to absorb fabric or such and still allow the bullet to expand. The new bullet shape has a slightly narrower but deeper cavity, but it doesn’t split the outer edge of the jacket.

The test gun for this was my Sig Sauer P6, which has a 3-3/4″ barrel. The load used is 4.9gr. of Universal and a Federal Magnum small pistol primer, which yields 1142 fps. and 334 ft./lbs with an extreme spread of 14 fps. So, time to test. I placed four layers of denim over the face of the block and fired. The results were gratifying.

The bullet penetrated 13-1/2″ and as often happens using Clear Ballistics gel the bullet bounced back around half an inch.
The bullet expanded almost immediately on penetrating the block, creating a permanent wound cavity about 1-1/4″ across for the first five inches or so.

Penetration of 13-1/2″ was good, and the bullet expanded in a very satisfactory manner. It did shed one ‘petal’ but this wound up quite close to the resting place of the bullet. The bullet’s maximum expansion was .625″, and the minimum (where it shed the petal) was .508″, making for an average of .563″.

Overall the bullet mushroomed quite well. I’m very satisfied with its performance.

Retained weight, including the shed petal, was 115.4gr. So, good penetration, good expansion, good weight retention. I’m gonna call this one a win.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 15 December 2020

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