Civilian Hydra-Shok selection - Pistolsmith

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Old 01-18-2002, 01:09 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 77
Could someone please educate me on the Hydra-Shoks that are being offered on the market?

I see different types such as 'Personal Defense' but I hear these are down-loaded Hydra-Shoks.

Which is the best bet to load in my Beretta? I hear +P+ 147gr are supposed to be good stuff, is this true?
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Old 01-18-2002, 07:52 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 420
The Personal Defense loads are maketed as being "lower recoil" and use a pretty light bullet.

I've personally never been impressed by any of the Federal Hydrashock line, as they all tend to fail to expand through clothing and normally only offer minimal penetration if they do. Muzzle flash is always excessive as well.

I would go with a standard 147gr JHP like the Federal Classic (as used by the Navy), Winchester "Subsonic" 147gr JHP(as used by the Army), or the Proload 147gr JHP, which uses the Speer Gold Dot bullet. All of these rounds are much less expensive and offer better performance compared to the Hydrashock stuff.

From Dr. Gary Roberts(DocGKR) at TF:

"Recently, there has been a trend in 9 mm LE ammunition sales to the 124 gr JHP's. The most recent sales distribution data I have seen indicates 50% 124 gr, 40% 147 gr, and 10% 115 gr. Is it possible that the illogical hype of bullets shown to be less effective than the 9mm 147 gr JHP’s is a result of bullet salesmen and gun magazine writers who need to sell a product? Perhaps the well documented success of the 9mm 147 gr JHP in California is a result of differing laws of physics on the West Coast than in other areas…….. Unfortunately, that conjecture does not stand up to scrutiny, as the extensive Royal Canadian Mounted Police studies determined that the 9mm 147 gr JHP was the most effective load for the caliber. In addition, during the ammunition trials for the U.S. Military M11 pistol (Sig P228) conducted by Navy Weapons Center Crane Indiana, the 9mm 147gr JHP was selected as the issue load for the M11, beating a variety of other 9mm JHP loads, including both standard pressure and +P pressure 115 gr and 124 gr JHP’s. The largest independently verified study of bullet penetration and expansion characteristics in living human tissue has shown the 9mm 147 gr JHP to offer acceptable performance in law enforcement lethal force confrontations. A senior criminalist with the San Diego P.D., Mr. Eugene J. Wolberg, has analyzed their 9 mm 147 gr JHP performance in 10% ordnance gelatin and compared the laboratory results with the actual terminal effects produced in human tissue in nearly 150 officer involved shootings with the San Diego Police Department. When I last spoke with Mr. Wolberg in May of 2000, the majority of their bullets have penetrated 13 to 15 inches and expanded between 0.60 to 0.62 inches in both human tissue and 10% ordnance gelatin. This appears to be ideal performance from a 9mm. San Diego PD switched to the 9mm 147 gr JHP when their lighter weight, higher velocity 9mm 115 gr JHP bullets had several failures to penetrate deeply enough to create damage to vital organs in the torso and cause rapid incapacitation."

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Clay on 2002-01-18 08:26 ]</font>
Old 01-26-2002, 12:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 257
The HS (9/40/45) have been used for yrs by the city/county here and have worked just fine on dogs and people time and time again.

The HS was designed to do well in the FBI test series/LE market that emphasizes penetration, and it does. The PDA was designed to expand better in the bare and clothed gel tests and it does so at the expense of reduced penetration in the other tests. Federal seems to think, or wants us to, that civilian personal defense requires less pen, more exp. The bonded Tactical loads were designed to do better through glass and get back some market share lost to Speer's Gold Dot. EFMJ is for the JHP deprived markets. Sometimes the product follows the market, sometimes ya make a market for a product.

I've seen some results from the FBI test series for the 180/40 Fed HS and std Win JHP. On avg, the Fed HS penetrated deeper and expanded more. Not much, but the edge was there. Same for the 147/9 Fed HS v the std Win JHP.

But it was close enough that if I had to buy a lot and wanted to save money, I would get the Winchester (or Federal Classic JHP)loads. Same for the glitter twins, Rem Golden Saber/Speer Gold Dot v the std Rem JHPs. CHP and INS/BP (among others) save oodles buying std JHP ammo instead of premium and don't seem to suffer because of it.

Still, the more testing I see from more sources the less I think "premium" ammo means premium performance along w the premium price. All this testing does make it a little easier to decide what to buy; decide what ya want it to do, shoot, measure, score, cut the check. Of course, low bidder wasn't/isn't all that hard either. :wink:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MichaelOrick on 2002-01-26 01:01 ]</font>
Old 01-26-2002, 11:09 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 170
Georgia Arms offfers a very zippy 147gr Gold Dot +P(+) that would be my pick for 9mm.
Old 01-27-2002, 03:27 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 503
On 2002-01-18 01:09, Skunkabilly wrote:
Could someone please educate me on the Hydra-Shoks that are being offered on the market?

I see different types such as 'Personal Defense' but I hear these are down-loaded Hydra-Shoks.

Which is the best bet to load in my Beretta? I hear +P+ 147gr are supposed to be good stuff, is this true?
I haven't been real impressed with most of the PD line but two stand out... the 9mm [email protected] and the 130gr. .357 which is better than most 125s for reliable penetration (but I still prefer the 145 Silver tip).

Any bullet can fail to expand...the technology is not perfect just yet...but the H-S works about as often as the others under normal conditions. Regular H-S loads seem to perform as advertised *most* of the time. Trouble is, Federal (as well as all other manufacturers) can change the design or materials without notice. There are several iterations of the .45 230 gr. H-S. And when they do, all that experience learned from earlier useage flies out the window.

Good luck,
Jim H.
Old 01-27-2002, 04:12 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 420
Excellent points, Jim.

I've noted differences in several brands of ammo as well, although the Hydrashock stuff seems to have gone through the most changes.

I've read a couple of reports noting that the older design of the Hydrashock was better in regards to terminal performance, but wouldn't feed in some guns.

I think as long as you stick with a heavyweight bullet you are okay, because at least you've got penetration covered, which is always number one.

FWIW I've also had excellent results with the 9mm Remington Golden Saber 147gr BJHP. I've tested this load in everything from pigs to newsprint and terminal results were always very good.

Best regards,
Old 02-24-2002, 05:38 PM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 10
A civilian is anyone, law enforcement personnel included, who is not on active military duty. If you aren't living under the rule of the UCMJ, you are a civilian.

Had to do it - I see this too often. Nothing personal. Thanks.

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