View Full Version : Ballistic gelatin test results : Federal Low-Recoil slug 12 gauge

August 15, 2005, 11:29 PM
Federal Tactical Slug, 12 gauge 2.75" chamber

Mossberg 500 with 20” barrel

14.75” penetration

Final overall diameter = 1.01”

16x6x6 inch block, upon being struck with the projectile, flipped 1.5 feet into the air and off of the test stand. Permanent cavity was 6” in diameter, until 10.5” depth.

Block calibrated at 9.1cm penetration and 586 ft/sec impact velocity

I have done other tests with this particular loading - the shell is waterproof to DoD standards and emits no visible muzzle flash when fired from a 20" barrel.

If you like what you see here, be sure to write/call Federal, Speer, Remington and Winchester and ask them why certain ammunition types are not available to non-law enforcements 'peons' ... like us. There is nothing illegal about 'Police only' ammunition, it appears to be a marketing strategy on the part of the major ammunition companies. The ammunition used was obtained from an associate who happens to be a law enforcement officer.

Thank you.


August 16, 2005, 08:49 AM
:barf: Thank God I wasn't on the end of that, hmmm ok so I'm deffiently using slugs for home defense.


August 16, 2005, 09:54 AM
I'm very surprised it was only 14". I though slugs penetrated deeper than that?

August 16, 2005, 10:22 AM
Low recoil.

I'd REALLY like some of those.

August 16, 2005, 02:00 PM
Well from the picture it looks like a hollowpoint, which would explain the limited penetration. Good test, and thanks for posting the results!

August 16, 2005, 02:05 PM
Just about any dealer can get LEO stuff from all the major manufacturers. Find a tactical supply dealer and he shouldn't have a problem getting them for you.

August 16, 2005, 06:22 PM
xenophobe, thanks for the info. But I still don't feel that honest people should have to jump through hoops to get premium ammunition. Having tested gelatin for a little over a year now, including 'LEO-only' Winchester Ranger in calibers from .380ACP to .45ACP, I would like to say that there is a physical difference in the effectiveness of a maximum loaded .45ACP in a standard JHP and the .45ACP 'talon', which also speeds along out of a 5" barrel. I would assume that this is the case with the other Ranger loads tested, although I have not experimented with maximum pressure loads in calibers other than .45ACP.

I don't know ... the feeling that I get from being told that I cannot buy something because it is 'law enforcement only' is 1. My life is worth less than a law enforcement officers and 2. Being a civilian makes me somewhat less trust-worthy than a sworn LEO . Just my two cents ...


August 17, 2005, 07:32 PM
Hi all. Sorry if I came off a little bit harsh ... I do not want to end the comments to this thread. I would like to make friends and open a discussion, more than turn people away...

If I could put forward some numbers to substantiate what I said earlier regarding the performance of 'police-only' ammunition when compared to 'civilian' JHPs - most JHPs in .45ACP that penetrate to twelve inches in gelatin will wind up with an expanded diameter of 0.70". This is by measuring with calipers the straight-line distance from the tip of a jacket 'petal' to the tip of the jacket 'petal' directly opposite the first. This is repeated three times for a six 'petal' bullet. The same approach is taken with the expanded lead inner core. These six numbers are then averaged and the above figure for expanded diameter noted.

The best 'civilian' JHP that I have ever tested was the 230gr Federal Hydrashok, out of a 5" .45ACP barrel. It penetrated to exactly 12" and expanded to 0.71" . What makes it the 'best' IMO, is that the face (the side facing the direction of penetration) of the hollowpoint was almost perfectly flat - which makes a larger hole than a more rounded hollowpoint face. This bullet met FBI standards for penetration to a 'T' and offered the lowest chances of overpenetration possible for a bullet that still goes the 12" distance needed for compliance. Average impact velocity was 859 ft/sec.

On the other hand, I had the opportunity to test Winchester 230gr. +P 'Ranger' (black talons nicer looking brother) for an aquaintance who happens to be a sworn LEO. Their department issues the .40S&W, but oddly enough, the .45ACP is optional and the gun may be chosen from a list of approved .45s. The person in question obtained the .45ACP talons and thier 5" barrel 1911. The five-shot average in gelatin this time was 0.77" and the penetration was 12.7" into the block. The average impact velocity was 852 ft/sec.

The Ranger bullet has the 'talons' exposed on the periphery of the bullet, just like its forerunner, Black Talon. Winchester kept this feature, most likely, because it works. Next time you are cutting chicken or steak, make a note of how hard you had to push with the knife edge to get it to cut the meat. Now turn the knife over to its dull side and try it again. This is the main reason for the Ranger lines superiority over more 'civilian' bullets.

At any given distance in the block, the Ranger bullet was likely moving faster than the Hydrashok bullet because of the decreased resistance to penetration experienced by a bullet that 'cuts' more than it 'pushes' like a conventional hollowpoint shape. The faster a bullet goes the more damage it does to the tissue surrounding the wound path. So, the Ranger bullet is slightly larger in diameter, faster and deeper penetrating than a PC bullet that hits at a slightly higher velocity.

I would imagine that if the day ever came that Nosler decided that Partition and Ballistic tip bullets were 'too effective' to be in the hands of non-professional hunters, there would be quite an uproar in the gun community...?

Why should law-abiding non-LEO civilians have the same logic applied to them? Hunting is a great pass-time for me and millions of other Americans, but it is not as necessary to the modern persons survival as is defense against street hoodlums. Please, let's discuss this issue.


August 17, 2005, 07:49 PM
Thanks for those images. Wow. :eek:

I don't understand the thing about LEO only... I can buy Federal Low-Recoil Tactical Slugs/Shot from my favorite gun store... :confused:

August 17, 2005, 07:57 PM
Tom, With that post, you could easily start your own thread me thinkith.

I have a few small things to mention

August 17, 2005, 10:42 PM
I'm a little confused too; Ammoman and others sell the Federal Tactical ammo. Is there a different product line for LEO sale, or just the same products marked LEO for contract/pricing reasons?

August 17, 2005, 11:14 PM
The Federal slug that I used for the test are indeed available to the civilian market as mentioned by others ... They are the exception, though.

When I test ballistic gelatin, I usually only do the 'bare gelatin test' - because the test fixtures for the other stages of the FBI test protocol are beyond my financial means and practical interests.

For example, in bare gelatin, about the best bullet going that I have found for the .223 Remington is the Barnes X-Bullet (53gr). It exhibits performance equal to the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw in 55gr weight, but does not flip at the end of its travels (increasing the overall wound cavity size). We can buy both bullets in component form and handload them or buy them as pre-made hunting cartridges. Strangely enough, when it comes to shooting 'common barrier materials' such as car doors and windshields - the 62gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw is superior in terms of terminal performance to even the 55gr. offering. As far as I know, this 62gr. bonded bullet is available only to law enforcement officers.


To me, the assumption that civilian self-defense shootings do not involve having to shoot through 'common barrier materials' (such as your car windows or household interior walls) is just plain wrong. It is a vieled attempt to say that your life is less valuable as a civilian and that any concerns of having to shoot through light cover is 'paramilitary' in nature. Just like owning a semi-automatic rifle or a concealable, non-plinking type handgun. :rolleyes: