*TEST* "Short Barrel" 135gr+P Gold Dot Water/Denim - Pistolsmith

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Old 09-01-2007, 09:38 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wabash IN
Posts: 77
*TEST* "Short Barrel" 135gr+P Gold Dot Water/Denim

Revolver: Rossi M68 1-7/8” Barrel
Ammunition: 38 Spl Gold Dot “Short Barrel” 135 grain +P

Readers have been asking for a test of this ammunition. I do not order ammo for my own reasons and was unable to get any. A friend saw my dilemma and sent me a sample.

In celebration, I built a new test platform.

This new testing platform is designed to better retain the water jugs. It will take a leaden shield in the back to stop any rounds which may pass through five water jugs. The side shields cover all but the first jug, which many times comes undone in an enthusiastic manner. I believe that it’s better to let this one go as the box may suffer damage, and flying wooden debris are likely more dangerous than flying water.

This is a dual-purpose box. The sides have holes in them to accept dowel rods. The idea is to turn it into a Fackler box should I decide to use Dr. Fackler’s method.

The box is marked at 1” intervals so I can make more accurate estimates of penetration.

On to the test…

This is one gaping Gold Dot. The bullet has only the slightest of curve before it opens up into the hollowpoint.

Speer claims a velocity of 860fps from a 1-7/8” barrel from this round. I’ve seen figures published on the Internet which give it over 900fps from the same length barrel.

Additionally, Speer advertises penetration figures of 11” in bare gelatin, 11” in heavily clothed gelatin, and 13” in gelatin covered with four layers of denim.

The new setup…

… and the shot.

I found the first jug shredded, on the ground.

The denim went its own way too, with a bullet hole through the middle.

The bullet impacted at 21” of water and bounced back a few inches (lower left hand corner). The jug which it bounced off of was cut.

The shoot looked like a 9mm standard pressure round from a service sized pistol, not a round from a 38 Spl snub nose. Additionally, while recoil was a bit brisk, it was not at all uncontrollable and because it was quick, it was actually quite pleasant from my all-steel revolver.

These are the numbers I came up with inside after shooting.

Expansion was about .62”.

As you can see, the petals folded back further than they probably would have in tissue or gelatin. This is common in water testing.

The 21” of penetration I got in water through denim would give approximately 10.5” to 13.1” in gelatin, which is consistent with the numbers provided by Speer.

In summary, it looks like we may have a winner. Though I’m not aware of any actual street usage of this round as of yet, it would seem that it does approximate a standard pressure 9mm round from a service sized pistol. It almost duplicates the performance of the standard pressure 115gr Remington hollowpoint (non-GS) I tested a while back.

I will carry this load in my revolver and keep the FBI load in a speed loader I have on the way, ready to go on my belt. The test numbers look very promising, but I’m a bit leery of relying solely on data collected in testing, whether it be an informal water test or a more scientific calibrated gelatin test.

Regardless, this is the only round besides the old FBI load I would feel comfortable using from a snubby to dispatch a coyote. If I get the chance, I’ll report the results. Usually though, I have a long gun with me on my hikes and hunts.

Hope you enjoyed!

Josh <><
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:11 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: North Texas
Posts: 34
Thank you. PM follows.

Well, it would have followed if I could have figured out how to send one.


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