I had the itch to try out one of my MP 640 LG HP's up against several of the top brands and recommended self defense rounds out of my 45 ACP. What I had on hand were some factory loaded 230gr Gold Dot's, some 230gr Federal Hydra Shoks,and a handloaded Star 185gr which for all practical purposes resembles the old Speer Lawman 200gr Flyin Ashtray. My boolit weighed in at 255grs and was cast from about 2# of Iso Core alloy with about 3" of 95/5 solder thrown in. I loaded them atop of 5grs even of Salut. Can't say what the velocity was, as I didn't have time between showers to set up my chrony. Just a WAG based on the Laser Cast Manual load data I used, it was somewhere in the 725-750'ish FPS range.
I set up the same bucket of sandy loam which I had shot into the last trip up, and backed up 5 good steps, or about 5yds. Figuring this might be close to an indoor encounter at the house with a bad guy, I wanted to see how my cast HP stacked up against the so called best on the market.
I fired each shot into a separate area of the bucket so as to not have any collisions or to have softer dirt on one shot verses the other. The bucket was tamped down before shooting, by raising by the handle and dropping on it's bottom from about 6-8", so the dirt was slightly packed.
After firing all four rounds I set the bucket gently on the tailgate where the grandsons and I slowly removed the dirt using a wide paint scraper so as to be able to keep the surface of the remaining dirt as flat as possible to measure the depth of penetration.
The first we came to was my cast HP which had an overall depth of 8.5", followed closely by the factory loaded Gold Dot which attained an depth of 8.75"
We gently scraped until we came to the next which was the handloaded 185gr Star JHP which had reached a depth of 9.25", and was exceeded only slightly by the Federal Hydra Shok at 9.75"
So the Hydra Shok won in the penetration dept by 1.25" over my own cast HP, and only slightly edged out the others. What surprised me however, was that none, of the jacketed HP expanded over their original diameter. In every one of them the nose was plugged with the plastic lid material, including the cast, however the cast DID expand to .710" from the initial nose diameter of around .325".
So while my boolit might not have bested the best in penetration, it surely did in expansion even WITH a big chunk of bucket lid squashed squarely into the middle of it. While I would SO VERY MUCH HATE to ever have to do so, I do feel that after this, plus other very similar test, if I were faced with the situation of having to use that particular handgun for defense of my life, I can rest assured that the cast load I shot this past weekend would surely dissuade any BG from wanting to pursue further intentions upon myself or my family.
( L-R; 230gr Gold Dot, 230gr Hydra Shok, 185gr Star JHP, 255gr MP 452 640 LGHP )
As I mentioned above, if you believe the advertising, these are the most recommended factory loads. I have no doubt that their history shows they ARE reliable, as I have used the GD for years with no issues in my 10mm in the 180gr version. The Hydra Shok is used by plenty of LE in their carry weapons for a good reason, they DO usually work, and work well. While my boolit surely doesn't qualify as anything near perfect I do believe that I will look into having at least a couple in the clip from now on.
This said, I have found that on numerous occasions the same results as above while testing one against something else. The media as well as the initial material contacted has a great deal to do with how they respond. I simply did not figure on the dismal results I got when shooting them up against my own cast when it did what I had hoped they all would do.