I planned on doing both the factory and modified 180gr XTP tests today, but one of my tubes was not ready, so I had to choose just one. I would have done the factory XTP, but when I made my cardboard tube for my first wax tube, I made it slightly too large in diameter (about 4.5"), and consequently, my wax depth was only about 9". Because of this, I decided to test the modified 180 XTP, since it would be less likely to penetrate as far and exit the tube.
Modified 180gr XTP
Today was my first time shooting 180gr bullets over 800-X, so I had to test a work-up first. Hornady's manual lists a max of 10.1gr, so I started with 9.6gr, and also did strings of 9.9gr, 10.2gr, 10.5gr, and 10.8gr. I made a modified bullet for each of the 10.X strings in case I maxed out at 10.2 or 10.5gr. Pressure signs were minimal (only one tiny Glocksmile at 10.8gr), so I was able to use the 10.8gr load for the test. It consisted of Remington nickel brass, CCI 300 primers, and a COAL of 1.260". In all honesty, I really feel this load might have been too hot. This was the first load that has ever HURT my hand slightly. It felt SERIOUS!
Anyway, I knew over-penetration, and the bullet leaving the tube were possibilities, so I used some 2-liter bottles as backstops. The tube was set on the ground at about a 45* angle towards me. The 2 2-liter bottles were lying down behind it. The round did exit the tube, dented the first bottle, and plowed about 1/2" into the ground.
The bullet fragmented to a degree, leaving 22.1gr of lead in the wax, and about 25gr of lead unaccounted for. The remaining projectile was found in the ground with 133.3gr left intact. The jacket did not separate, but I was able to pull it off of the core. Expansion measure .934" max, and .601" minimum.
Now, when comparing this round to a factory 180gr XTP (only tested in water), it may seem that it was a failure, and perhaps I drilled slightly too far. Maybe a hole of .25-.275" in depth would have been better for retained mass, but as far as tissue damage goes, this is thus far the CLEAR winner.
When examining the wound channel, it looks like a small lead explosion went off about 3-4" deep into the tube. There is what looks like vaporized lead all over the inside of the wound channel's main chamber. The chamber itself is about 2.5" in diameter (a good .5" larger than anything else), and the cardboard tube was completely split and blown out (similar to my original 155gr XTP test, but this tube was way more reinforced).
The results are what I would summarize as a 135gr Nosler that released the massive energy characteristic of it's explosions, while simultaneously retaining all of it's mass (133gr in this case). Because the bullet kept a good bit of mass and its jacked didn't separate, it still achieved what would likely have been 11-12" of penetration. Imagine this in a human. A COM hit that basically exploded at a depth of about 3-4" (basically right on or in the heart), yet a good chunk would keep penetrating to the spine or beyond.
Pics of wax tube:
Pics of bullet:
180gr Gold Dot and 180gr Starfire water jug tests
I fired one each of the 180gr Starfire and Gold Dot bullets into water jugs. They were used with 10.3gr of 800-X, and the same cases/primers/COAL as above.
Update: this Gold Dot load chronographed a 10-shot average of 1259fps on 8/4/11. The Starfire has not yet been chronographed.
Neither round was found. I found many small pieces of each bullet, which suggests they blew apart. Wax tube tests of them will reveal much more, and will be coming soon. I'm now really wondering how hard I should push some of these bullets. Since they are all designed around the .40S&W, I'm thinking I should keep them in the warm-hot zone, and away from hot-nuclear.
The XTPs and Silvertips have proven to hold together at the ridiculous power levels. I fear the 165/180 Gold Dots, 180 Starfires, and I know the 135 Noslers are going to be bombs. I really want to like the Starfire and Gold Dot, and I'm hoping it does well, but today's preliminary test was a bust.