View Full Version : Testing in Wetpack?

February 18, 2006, 10:50 AM
Hi! I'm looking for "how-to" on using wet newspaper to compare end result of various rounds (expansion/penetration.) I'd like to see first hand from my gun/barrel the difference between the latest (expensive) and yesterday's "outdated" factory HPs. I do not have private land to shoot so I'll have to transport to an outdoor public range.

Best idea I've had so far is buy empty plastic 5 gallon "paint buckets" from Lowes etc. Plan to "try" to fold/pack the newspaper the same way in each bucket, fill w/water, & snap on the lid. At the range, pop one side of the lid & let them drain the same length of time. Then shoot half a mag into the top of each bucket from about 15'. I'd use a different bucket for each load.

Anyone personally tried this? Any hints, tips, or better ideas? Thanks in advance for any help! :)

Dave R
February 18, 2006, 02:44 PM
I use the Rubbermaid storage bins to hold newspapers while soaking them. The ones that are about the same size as the folded newspapers. No folding required. Makes sure they don't have drainage holes in the bottom...

IIRC, here's the process I uses.

1. Stack the newspapers in the plastic bins. I stack 'em vertically, but I don't see why horizontally wouldn't work.

2. Fill the bins with water. You may have to refill several times to get the water all the way to the center of the newspapers. Let 'em soak overnight.

3. Turn over the bins and let the newspapers drain, so they won't leak all over your car when you take 'em to the range.

4. Bundle the wet newspapers in twine. I transport them in the rubber bins, too, to keep from getting the car wet.

5. Report on TFL what you find when you shoot 'em.

February 18, 2006, 07:57 PM
Thanks Dave, that makes more sense than my "bucket" approach. Any advice on how thick I should make the bundles? I'll be shooting .40s&w. Do the rounds penetrate the wet newspaper more or less than the gelatin tests?

When I get this done I'll definitely post the results & pics. I'm interested (others might be also) to compare the performance of the latest "super-rounds" with "outdated" loads like silvertips etc. Thanks for the prep tips!

February 19, 2006, 04:15 AM
I've been toying with the idea of using regular gelatin in 1 quart ziplock bags. If you made them 1 inch thick, then had a shooting rack that could hold 20 in a row, you could get some idea of penetration and expansion. Should be cheaper than ballistic gelatin, and easier to transport to the testing range.

Para Bellum
February 19, 2006, 04:23 AM
there are some tests here:

you can also use clay. The paper isn't as telling (reg. temorary cavity).

enjoy your tests.

February 19, 2006, 02:39 PM
Admitting that this is in no way an accurate substitute for a human body and volunteers aren't available, I use soaked newspaper.

I take about 18" of newspaper stacked as neatly as possible, and I bind it with duct tape. I also put either an old cotton shirt doubled (4 layers) or some old denim pants legs (2 layers) on top of the print. Since the material will swell when it starts to saturate, I don't bind it tightly, just enough to keep it all together. I use 2 wraps each way with a continuous piece and overlap a bit on the wrap.

I soak them in a 30 gal. (+-) plastic trash can overnight. Back when I first started shooting them, I took them out of the can and set them up off the ground to shoot them. Since they're so heavy and are neutral bouyant when soaked, and I don't see any benefit to taking them out, I just leave them in the can and shoot straight down from my porch (my house is on stilts).

Again, I don't know how comparible this is to a human body, but I'm not interested in trying to make or buy any gelatin. I have had some hollow point bullets over the years not open up fully, open only on one side and some not open at all. Through my very unscientific testing, I have concluded that the Speer Gold Dot bullet in the .40 S&W 165 grain offering to be my carry round.

Now all I have to do is decide what will be my carry round in my new 9mm. :D

Dave R
February 19, 2006, 09:10 PM
Any advice on how thick I should make the bundles?At least 18". Most handgun rounds will penetrate at least 10" of newprint, so a foot doesn't give you much margin for error. IIRC, my .380acp went about 9", and 9mm Silvertips were 11-12".

Rifle rounds will go well over that.

February 20, 2006, 06:09 AM
Wow! Thank you Dave & Peeweester. These are really good insights and will save me a lot of trial & error. I think the outdoor public range re-opens next month and I'll get on this. Will certainly post photos/results. Thanks guys!
Hiker out. :)