All along, we’ve said that if someone wanted to take the time, trouble, and expense to do some additional research along the lines of our protocols, that we’d be happy to include their data on our site. This is particularly true if it helped expand the selection of “real world guns” associated with the data for a given caliber/cartridge. Well, for the first time someone has expressed an interest in doing just that, prompting us to come up with an outline of what standards we feel are required for making sure it relates to our previous tests.
The biggest problem is that ammo manufacturers may, and do, change the performance of their products from time to time. This is why we have on occasion revisited certain cartridges, doing full formal chop tests in order to check how specific lines of ammo have changed. That gives us a benchmark to compare other ammo after a period of several years have passed, and shows how new tests relate to the old data.
But without going to such an extent, how can we be reasonably sure that new data collected by others using their own firearms is useful in comparison to our published data?
After some discussion, we feel that so long as any new testing includes three or more of the specific types of ammo (same manufacturer, same bullet weight & design) we had tested previously, then that will give enough of a benchmark for fair comparison. (Obviously, in instances where we didn’t test that many different types of ammo in a given cartridge, adjustments would need to be made). With that in mind, here are the protocols we would require in order to include new data on our site (with full credit to the persons conducting the tests, of course):
- Full description and images of the test platform (firearm) used in the tests. This must specify the make, model number, barrel length, and condition of the firearm. Ideally, it will also include the age of the firearm.
- That a good commercial chronograph be used. Brand isn’t critical — there seems to be sufficient consistency between different models that this isn’t a concern. However, the brand and model should be noted.
- Chronographs must be positioned approximately 15 feet in front of the muzzle of the firearm used to test the ammo. This is what we started with in our tests, and have maintained as our standard through all the tests.
- That five or six data points be collected for each type of ammo tested. This can be done the way we did it, shooting three shots through two different chronographs, or by shooting six shots through one chronograph.
- All data must be documented with images of the raw data sheets. Feel free to use the same template we used in our tests, or come up with your own.
- Images of each actual box of ammo used in the test must be provided, which show the brand, caliber/cartridge, and bullet weight. Also including manufacturer’s lot number would be preferred, but isn’t always possible.
- A note about weather conditions at the time of the test and approximate elevation of the test site above sea level should be included.
We hope that this will allow others to help contribute to our published data, while still maintaining confidence in the *value* of that data. Please, if you are interested in conducting your own tests, contact us in advance just so we can go over any questions.
Thanks once again to the efforts of Jason Coon, we have now added the ME (muzzle energy) charts to the website for the new round of tests. As noted on the website:
For another measure of bullet power, some people prefer to use Muzzle Energy. One of our BBTI readers went through and did all the calculations for this, using our data, and has been kind enough to share this information. You can find our Excel data files with muzzle energy calculations added in red, and a muzzle energy graph for each caliber on the caliber pages.
Well, we’ve done another substantial upgrade to the BBTI site – adding in two new cartridges and greatly expanding another. In addition we’ve done some clean-up and tweaking – big kudos to my good lady wife for all her hard work!
The two new cartridges are 9mm Makarov (9×18) and 9mm Ultra (also call 9mm Police). Both of these were ‘European’ rounds, and are only available to a limited degree here in the US. This is why we only were able to test a limited variety of ammo (two for the Mak, one for the Ultra) and only used one ‘real world’ gun. I had been somewhat uninterested in both cartridges previously, but based on our tests I certainly would consider them to be viable self-defense rounds. It would be interesting to see the selection of both guns and ammo expanded.
But the bulk of our testing, and data, this time around was in revisiting the .380 ACP cartridge. We tested 8 different brands of ammo, including two we had tested previously. And we also did ‘real world’ tests of an additional 8 handguns. This was such a large increase over the previous data sets that we added a whole additional page and separate link in the “results”, and you can find it here. I had always considered .380 a marginal cartridge for self defense, though it is very popular due to the large number of very small pistols which shoot the cartridge. And it still wouldn’t be my first choice for a self-defense gun. But were I going to carry it, I’d feel very comfortable loading it with either of the Buffalo Bore ammos which we tested – they were quite impressive.
Lastly, we had a chance to do a bit of additional testing of the .327 Magnum round, this time shooting it through a Bond Arms derringer. This round still continues to impress me, and I am giving serious thought to getting one of these barrels for my own derringer.
So, check out the new data, and spread the word!
- .25 ACP
- .30 carbine
- .32 ACP
- .32 H&R
- .327 Federal Magnum
- .357 Magnum
- .357 SIG
- .38 Special
- .380 ACP
- .40 S&W
- .41 Magnum
- .44 Magnum
- .44 Special
- .45 ACP
- .45 Colt
- .45 Super
- .450 SMC
- .460 Rowland
- 6.5 Swedish
- 9mm Luger (9×19)
- 9mm Mak
- 9mm Ultra
- black powder
- Boberg Arms
- General Procedures
- Shotgun ballistics