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In reply to several requests, my wetpack details follow....

I don't own a chronograph and can't afford ballistic gelatin (or the large refrigerator for it) so I try to test self defense ammo (JHP) using a wet pack of newspapers. Some sites recommend milk bottles full of water but that's a hard job and you usually only get one shot per jug. Plus, sometimes (for me) the jugs explode with high velocity ammo and you could get wet. Published data from many sites using gelatin are a good way to get a preliminary idea of what to expect, but your own personal handgun may give altogether different results. Barrel length, slide design and spring, or revolver type, cartridge and bullet type can really affect things.

Saw this on a shooting site long time ago, maybe the Calibers site, not sure. Soak a pile of newspapers, about 8 - 10", overnight in a small tub making sure all layers get wet as you add them to the water. Don't use magazines or might get eratic results from the slick paper. Also, don't use the slick newspaper ads, they don't wet good. You should add more water to the tub after the paper soaks it up (important) to be sure the paper gets good and wet. Don't soak over 24hrs. or the lignin in the paper will dissolve and get too mushy. And less than 8 hrs soak leaves the paper a little too stiff. Overnight is best.

Place the wet papers in a small cardboard box that just fits them flat and wrap with duct tape using a piece of 1/2" plywood for backing support. Leave the front of the box open so the papers are exposed. Stand the pack about 8 -10 feet away at your shooting range. I'm lucky to have a public range not too far from home. Try to get to the range within an hour so all the water doesn't leak out. Or take a jug of water with you and wet the pack down when you get there. You can even put a layer of denim over the pack if you want to. It doesn't make much difference, except with some of the +p+ stuff.

After you've finished firing the rounds you want to test into the pack, you can take it apart, note the size of the enlarged (wound) holes in the paper, measure the depth to the expanded bullet (I use a tape measure as I remove papers), and measure the bullet expansion with calipers. Then you can compare your results with published results for gelatin from websites like ammolab, firearmstactical, goldenloki, and others. I've found that expansion numbers are close to the same for gelatin but penetration in the wetpack is only about 2/3 that for gelatin. Multiply your penetration number by 3 and divide by 2 for a rough idea what gelatin would have been. You might even get the same results as goldenloki with the .32acp from a short barrel where some brands don't even expand!! Or .22cal from a real short barrel don't expand either.

The pictures posted below show a wetpack we shot full of holes, mostly .22cal hollowpoints that day. But a few 9mm JHP were also fired. The 9mm "wound holes" are largest about 2 to 3 inches into the pack where the petals on the bullet jacket are begining to open. You can see that on the picture on the right. The .22hp's don't have petals so the holes don't enlarge.
The pack looks kinda sagged from lifting it off the range bench and dropping it on the tailgate of my truck. It's nice and flat when we first shoot it. Note (important): if you shoot 9mm and larger calibers in the wetpack you can't shoot as many holes as this picture shows. About 10 shots would be enough so bullets won't hit each other.

OK, now for a disclaimer. In no way do I claim the newspaper wetpack is a "ballistic", "FBI certified", "100% valid", etc. etc. method for testing ammo. I have not found a way to "calibrate" the wet paper, except shoot a 9mm FMJ round into the pack. If it goes all the way thru 10" of wet paper plus the 1/2" plywood backing, then I feel the pack is "valid" enough for me. And a 9mm FMJ will go thru it!! In past years I've been flamed for posting results without this disclaimer.
Cheers, og
 
G

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OG, have you ever tried using phone books? As I only get the paper on the weekends I will have to start saving up. I do like that you can get multiple shots out of a setup. I think it is time to start buying 10mm ammo. I am due to pick up some Cor-Bon 135gr 10mm on Monday. Also, I see that Cor-Bon is making powerball in 380 now, might be an interesting comparison.
 
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