Which rifles have the highest muzzle velocity?

Comparative test: 9mm Luger catch cartridges

For a long time, hunters only had cartridges with full-jacket, lead or simple partial-jacketed bullets at their disposal for catching shots with handguns. Highly effective hollow point projectiles or those with predetermined breaking points were decried as "dum-dum" ammunition - and forbidden. Fortunately, that changed with the reform of the Arms Act.

What are the advantages of hollow point and deforming special bullets?
Hollow point bullets are actually superior to conventional partially jacketed, full jacketed or lead bullets in almost all areas. In the “rest of the world”, such cartridges have long been standard ammunition for marksmen, hunters and the police. If you look in the brochures of bullet manufacturers, there are clearly the majority of hollow point variants.

All over the world, sport shooters prefer hollow-point cartridges because they are significantly more precise than normal partial-jacket or full-jacket ammunition, which can easily be explained ballistically: With hollow-point bullets, the center of gravity is shifted towards the base of the bullet through the hole in the front part of the bullet, which is ballistically advantageous.

In addition, hollow point bullets have a longer guide surface, as they are longer than full or partially jacketed bullets of the same weight due to the lack of lead in the bullet head. We also know these advantages with bullets for long guns - all really precise match bullets have a hollow point.

Hollowpoints are environmentally friendly
In contrast to full-jacketed bullets, the bottom of hollow point bullets is closed, so hot powder gases cannot melt the lead core. This reduces emissions, especially in closed indoor shooting ranges. In addition, hollow point bullets protect the bullet trap systems of shooting ranges, as they release their energy much earlier than conventional lead, full or partially jacketed bullets.

Better target ballistics
Hollow-pointed projectiles aim for the highest possible energy output programmed, through their bore in the bullet head (often supported by notches in the jacket), the bullet should mushroom as quickly as possible and release its energy quickly at the target. Police authorities all over the world therefore use hollow-point ammunition because of their high instantaneous effect and low risk to the rear area. The bullet releases all of its energy in the target, and there are usually no rejects that could endanger other people.

However, depending on the bullet construction and caliber, the penetration power is more or less great. It depends on what the manufacturer wants to achieve. So there are bullets on the market that after a few centimeters penetration into "soft targets" completely mushroom or completely disintegrate - useful when using firearms in an aircraft or in crowds, if the bullet must be avoided under all circumstances that the target medium again leaves.

So you have to think carefully about which bullet is the best choice for the respective purpose. Not every hollow point bullet can also be used for catching purposes.

What do hunters need?
A good safety catch cartridge should give off as much energy as possible - that is the main requirement. However, the energy must also be released where it is of use. A bullet that breaks down completely on the shoulder blade of a defector and does not penetrate the chamber at all is of little use to us.

The effect is only superficial and no vital functions are impaired. A certain amount of penetration power is essential for a safety catch cartridge.
There is a great risk of simply buying hollow-point projectiles with a melodious and promising name and using them as a catch shot.

The disadvantage of too high a penetration power with too little energy output, with which German hunters have been confronted so far, can quickly turn into the opposite if the projectile construction is too aggressive.

From police studies for the evaluation of firefights, reports are known where light, fast hollow-point projectiles were stopped at short range by a wallet or a cigarette case and caused the criminal little harm apart from a powerful blow. However, the emergency services who had to use such ammunition usually did not have much of these analyzes ...

So that there are no similar reports from hunters and boars in the future, JAGDPRAXIS will test a large selection of handgun ammunition available here with hollow-point projectiles or projectiles that are designed for effective deformation in the target for their target behavior. Typical catch calibers such as .38 spec., .357 mag., 9 mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .44 mag. come to the test.

How does JAGDPRAXIS test?
At the beginning there is the measurement of the bullet speed with a light barrier chronograph. A high muzzle velocity is also necessary for high energy output in the target. Cartridges that are “floppy” are not very effective, even with hollow point bullets.

The fire tests are carried out with typical catch guns, i.e. revolvers and pistols with a medium barrel length - 4 inches are the measure of all things here. Nobody carries long-barreled match weapons or heavy army pistols in the area, and it makes little sense to use such weapons for ammunition tests.

Extremely short-barreled weapons make no sense either, because the energy loss is extremely high with them - with many calibers, the bullet is hardly likely to mushroom, as the manufacturer intends.

The bullet's mushrooming behavior is simulated using ballistic soap. Such blocks are used worldwide in ballistic laboratories to simulate target ballistics, as they largely correspond to the resistance value of animal or human tissue. The advantage of these blocks is that they can be manufactured according to a standardized process, bought ready-made, and so there are always comparable requirements for later tests.

As opposed to ballistic gelatin, the second Substitute for ballistics tests, the gunshot channels are retained in soap and can be better evaluated.
Soap guns can easily be filled with water, and the weight displaced by the projectile can be used to determine the volume displaced by the projectile in no time - an important value for comparing projectile effects.

In order to get even closer to reality, JAGDPRAXIS has covered the soap blocks on the bullet side with pinnacles (winter defectors). There are always police reports that hollow-point ammunition is inadequate when it comes to penetrating thick clothing. If a hollow point clogs and the bullet does not expand, the notorious “full jacket effect” can occur.

To investigate this phenomenon, we placed pelvises on the bullet side of the soap blocks.

Precision not so important this time
Precision plays only a subordinate role at the catching distance. In a short test, scatter circles over 15 m are determined. The assessment criteria are analogous to our assessment of compact catch guns:

The sandbag rest is shot because pistols with polymer grips cannot be cocked in the classic clamping device for handguns (ransomware remnants). The distance from the center of the outer bullet holes of a group of five is measured.

The full number of points depends on the caliber and is calculated from three times the caliber value. Caliber 9 mm up to 27 mm, .40 to 30 mm and .45 to 36 mm. Each five millimeters more circle diameter costs one point deduction.

The precision is determined with three different weapons and two shots are shot with each cartridge. The best of the six shot images is rated.
If various weapons do not provide usable precision, this type of ammunition cannot be recommended. The exact hit position is still important, regardless of the energy output.

Pistol calibers are also checked for safe function in at least three makes of weapons. Many pistols only work reliably with full-jacketed cartridges, as tests with semi-jacketed ammunition in the past have often shown. A safety catch cartridge is only useful if it really works safely. 30 cartridges are fired with each pistol.

The ideal catch shot cartridge should have a high muzzle velocity from compact weapons, function reliably in pistols, expand in a controlled and safe manner, but develop enough penetration power to develop its effect where it is effective.

The JAGDPRAXIS test series will show which brand comes closest to these wishes. We have selected 6 cartridges from the premium range that already have a good reputation. - 5 hollow point bullets and one special bullet from Federal.

The specification was a bullet weight of 124-125 grains, Hornadys Critical Defense alone weighs only 115 grains, but was nevertheless included in the test, as this new bullet is said to have very good target ballistic properties. First, let's take a look at the six test projectiles.

The 9 mm Luger is used around the world as a military and police caliber, and civilian weapon carriers also appreciate the effective and easy-to-shoot cartridge. The 9 mm Luger was developed in 1902 by DWM in collaboration with Georg Luger.

It was the standard cartridge in two world wars, established itself as NATO ammunition and even superseded the .45 ACP in the US Army in 1986. Countless police stations around the world carry weapons of this caliber. Military full jacket ammunition has a high penetration power, but little stopping effect. In the police sector, therefore, quickly deforming projectiles were developed for cartridges very early on.

A Glock 19 with a 102 mm barrel was used for the JAGDPRAXIS bombardment of the soap blocks. The muzzle velocity was also measured from this. A Walther PPQ (barrel length 102 mm) and a Heckler & Koch P 8 (barrel length 108 mm) were added for the function test.

Spear Gold Dot
The Gold Dot by Speer is a composite core bullet and is intended to achieve a great depth effect through low loss of mass. During production, the copper jacket is first applied electrolytically to the lead core and the bullet is then pressed into its final shape. Separation of the sheath and core is impossible.

Speer loads the cartridge with 5.2 grs. Powder, the sleeve is nickel-plated. Nickel-plated sleeves do not tarnish, there is no verdigris deposit. They are considered to be more reliable than brass sleeves.

The bullet weight is 124 grs. stated, on average of five measurements, the projectiles of the test cartridges were 125.1 grs. - are a little heavier. However, this is within the tolerance range and should not have a major impact on the target ballistics.

Speer gives a muzzle velocity of 353 m / sec. on - the Glock became a V 0 of 344.5 m / sec. measured. On the basis of the actual V 0 and the real bullet weight, a muzzle energy of 481 joules is calculated - a powerful load. The Gold Dot produced little muzzle flash, its fine flake powder burns cleanly.

Hornady Critical Defense
As the name suggests, this new ammunition was not specially developed for hunters, but for use in defense cases. American police authorities encouraged the development, as the evaluation of numerous firefights with criminals showed that the hollow-point projectiles used did not always work reliably.

Gangsters also wear clothing, and in the worst case, fibers can clog the bullet's hollow point and the projectile acts like a full-jacketed bullet. Instead of a staggering effect, one then has a considerable risk to the hinterland ...

Wild wears no clothes, but the thick winter rind of a sow could also clog a hollow point. This new development is therefore also very interesting for hunters.

The storey structure is not entirely new. It was first invented in order to be able to use pointed projectiles in lever action rifles with a tubular magazine. This is where the cartridges lie one behind the other in the recoil direction, their bullet tips therefore inevitably touch the primer of the cartridge in front if the bullet is so pointed that the tip has a smaller diameter than a large rifle primer.

Normal pointed bullets can therefore detonate the cap of the cartridge in front if it moves back in recoil. Such incidents are documented, in most cases all cartridges still in the tube magazine were ignited!

What happens when several center fire cartridges, which are usually loaded with offensive propellant powder in the usual lever-action calibers, detonate in a steel magazine tube, which is also well dammed up in a wooden fore-end, one can imagine, but one would like to better not experience it.

The new projectile construction comes from Hornady development engineer Dave Emary, who constructed a hollow point projectile with a ballistic insert made of plastic. Plastic tips are old hat and can be found on many bullets today, such as the Nosler Ballistic Tip or Hornadys SST.

However, these inserts are tough and have no advantages over lead tips. Emary's Lever-Evolution, on the other hand, has a soft tip made of elastomer - more rubber than plastic. Hornady calls the material a Flex Tip because it is completely flexible from -40 to over 130 degrees Celsius.

The tip can be pressed flat on a hard surface and immediately returns to its original shape as soon as the pressure subsides. The recoil of cartridges lying in front of this tip is completely excluded.

Hornady is now also equipping hollow point bullets for handguns with this soft point. Of course not to prevent other cartridges from igniting (impossible with pistol magazines or revolver drums) but to prevent the hollow point from clogging.

The Critical Defense is 115 grs. the lightest cartridge in the test, its bullets weighed 114.5 grs. Hornady gives 4.9 grs for this load. fine powder a muzzle velocity of 350 m / sec. what almost the 345.3 m / sec. measured from the Glock. corresponds to.

The muzzle energy is 446 joules. Hornady also uses nickel-plated cases for Critical Defense. The muzzle flash is barely noticeable and was the weakest of all test cartridges.

Hornady XTP


The XTP has a very large hollow point with a thin jacket in the front part that extends to the point. The hardness of the lead core is caliber-specific and depends on the muzzle velocity. The aim is to ensure that the front, thin part of the jacket mushrooms up quickly and this process decreases as the jacket thickness increases.

That with 124 grs. Weight given bullet corresponds with real 123.9 grs, almost exactly the manufacturer's information. Hornady loads this load with 5.1 grs. medium-fine powder in normal brass sleeves. The XTP is at 341 m / sec. from the Glock a little slower than the Gold Dot, but also comes to 465 joules. Muzzle flashes could be seen a little more clearly here.

Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ)
Federal's EFMJ is a bullet development that works entirely without a hollow point. With this bullet, a pressurized rubber insert under the tip of the bullet is responsible for the deformation - it works flawlessly.

The EFMJ was developed for the government market. What was needed was a deformation bullet that does not have a hollow point, for the same reason as the Critical Defense. However, the EFMJ was on the market much earlier.

During a police operation in New York, several bystanders died because Federal Hydra Shok hollow-point 9 mm Luger projectiles clogged themselves when penetrating clothing and penetrated like full-jacket projectiles. Due to the design, this cannot happen with the EFMJ because it lacks a hollow point.

The cartridge comes with 4.5 grs. Powder is laboring and should therefore have a muzzle velocity of 347 m / sec. come. 330.7 m / sec were measured, which is noticeably lower. With 123.9 grs. The weight of the bullets corresponded almost exactly to the stated 124 grs. The calculated muzzle energy is 439 joules. This makes the Federal the weakest load in the test. Your muzzle flash is very bright.

Likes Tech Guardian Gold
Mag Techs Guardian Gold was developed for police use and is designed to deliver energy quickly at the target. The hollow point is correspondingly deep and is provided with strong control notches, which are intended to ensure rapid and even mushroom formation.

The one with 125 grs. Weight given bullet weighed 124.7 grs in real terms. and the powder charge consisted of 4.8 grs. fine nitro powder. Mag Tech gives a muzzle velocity of 334 m / sec. coming out of the Glock at 347 m / sec. was clearly exceeded.

This results in a muzzle energy of 487 joules, making the Mag Tech the second most powerful cartridge in the test. Conventional brass sleeves are used.
The muzzle flash was quite powerful.

Remington Golden Saber Bonded
The Golden Saber was developed for use by the authorities and has a hard brass jacket.Control notches in the projectile head are intended to ensure maximum expansion. During the construction, however, special emphasis was placed on deep penetration, so that enough energy is still available after the windshield has been penetrated.

Remington also apparently noticed that a cladding-core separation can occur and offers a second load with a "bonded" Golden Saber, which we selected for the JAGDPRAXIS test. The core is also "fused" with the jacket, and this bonding process prevents the jacket-core from separating. Otherwise the two cartridges are absolutely identical.

The powder charge is 4.8 grains and the powder is very fine. Remington also uses nickel-plated sleeves. The muzzle velocity was 358.7 m / sec. measured, the cartridge is stated at 346 m / sec., so it is still above the manufacturer's specification.

The bullet weight is exactly as stated, 125 grs. The Remington has a muzzle energy of 521 joules and is the only load in the test to crack the 500 joule mark. The muzzle flash is clear, but not yet disturbing.

Precision and functional reliability
From three test weapons, 30 rounds of each type of cartridge were fired in rapid-fire mode. All cartridges prove to be astonishingly reliable. With a total of 540 cartridges fired, there were only four faults: Heckler & Koch produced two with the Mag Tech Guardian Gold, and an empty case got stuck in the ejection window.

Two malfunctions were at the expense of the Walther PPQ, once with the Speer Gold Dot, once with the Remington Golden Saber. Here, too, the sleeves got stuck in the ejector window. So there is only one point deduction for Mag Tech in this evaluation, all other cartridges achieve a full 15 points. There were also similarly good results in terms of precision.

The Hornady Critical Defense and the Remington Golden Saber thus create the 27 mm mark for full marks from at least one weapon. All other cartridges are only deducted one point, none is less than 32 mm. A top result - in terms of precision, all cartridges are unreservedly recommended.

The bombardment of the soap blocks
In front of each block there was a piece of pork rind that must first be penetrated. This should show whether one of the constructions with an open hollow point is clogged and looks like a full metal jacket. This assumption was not confirmed - all test bullets mushroomed according to the program.

Constructions without an open hollow point therefore have no advantages in this regard. The soap blocks were shot at from a distance of five meters from the Glock; Hornadys XTP reached the highest penetration depth, which only got stuck after 282 mm and thus almost penetrated the 30 cm block.

However, it by no means left behind the largest wound canal - this was measured at the Federal EFMJ, which, however, got stuck after 205 mm. Target ballistic not really surprising, because the remnant of the EFMJ's bullet has a significantly larger diameter and thus displaces more volume. But it is also stopped more, which leads to a reduced depth of penetration.

It is interesting to look at those in the soap blocks, so to speak frozen Firing channels. It is easy to read from this when a bullet reaches its largest diameter. This maximum diameter is by no means the diameter of the remnant of the bullet, because after the bullet has mushroomed, the bullet tails come into contact with the bullet body as it penetrates the soap.

With the EFMJ, a wound cavity width of 4.8 cm was measured after a penetration depth of 3.1 cm. This did not reach any other bullet and explains the high volume of the firing channel.

The Hornady XTP with the highest penetration depth only has a maximum diameter of 3.7 cm for the cavern and this is already 2.5 cm after penetrating the block.

The Speer Gold Dot proved to be very balanced, stuck 261 mm deep in the block and left a cavern of 52.5 cm 3. The remaining weights of the test cartridges are exemplary, all of which hardly lost any of their mass and achieved the full number of points here.

It looks similarly good with the diameter of the bullet residue, the very small differences are between 13.0 mm (Mag Tech) and 14.2 mm (Hornady Critical Defense). All soap bombardment results are detailed in the table below.

Final scoring
Six criteria were assessed. For the results of the soap bombardment, the scales were specially aligned with the 9 mm Luger. The evaluation of precision and functional reliability applies to all pistol cartridges, the evaluation of effectiveness is caliber-specific.

This means that cartridges of the same caliber can be compared with one another, but not different calibers. This is not possible because a .44 Magnum cannot be rated according to the same criteria as a .38 Special.

The winner in terms of points is the Gold Dot from Speer. With a good depth effect, it leaves an effective firing channel, is precise and reliable. With this she deserves our four magnifying glasses and the test result very well.

This is followed closely by three cartridges with 93 points (three JP magnifiers) - Federal EFMJ, Hornady XTP and Remington Golden Saber are tied in terms of points. However, it should be borne in mind that Federal's EFMJ does not have a sufficient penetration depth and the high point rating is achieved through the large firing channel of the bullet, which is strongly expanding - an effective cartridge for light game to defectors, but which will not have sufficient penetration power with a strong sow.

Hornadys Critical Defense got 3 points less and also showed weaknesses in the depth effect. It gets half a centimeter further into the soap block, but that is not enough for strong sows either. One should bear in mind, however, that the bullet weight of this load is only 115 grs. scam.

The last light Guardian Gold from Mag Tech does not have this problem and showed a sufficient depth effect, but the volume of the firing channel at 38.8 cm is the smallest in the test - that cost points. Here it is also clear that the calculated muzzle energy as a benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of a load is not necessarily decisive, because the Mag Tech was the second most powerful cartridge in the test in terms of energy.

We did not evaluate the price of the individual cartridges in this test, because the consumption of catch ammunition is likely to be so low for most hunters that the price does not play a role when choosing a suitable cartridge.

The exact test procedure according to which JAGDPRAXIS will also test the next types of ammunition and the resulting point evaluation is explained in detail in the following text. We tried to find a workable mix of practical relevance and feasible testing effort. Sure, you could have simulated bone hits, but then the series of tests would have become much more extensive. We have therefore dispensed with this point.

Functional reliability (max. 15 points)
The safe function is of crucial importance for safety guns and is given a high priority. Here are a maximum
15 points attainable. 30 cartridges each are fired with three weapons (maximum magazine capacity / rapid fire). One malfunction per cartridge is accepted for self-loading pistols; one point is deducted for each additional feed or ejection malfunction. If there are an unusually high number of faults in a weapon, it will be replaced. This is pointed out separately in the test report.

Precision (max. 10 points)
In the case of catch ammunition, the precision test is only weighted with a maximum of 10 points, because catches on hoofed game are fired at short range. The shooting distance is 15 m from the sandbag support (pistols with polymer grips cannot be cocked in the Ransom-Rest locking device).

The distance from the center of the outer bullet holes of a group of five is measured. The full number of points depends on the caliber and is calculated from three times the caliber value: caliber 9 mm up to 27 mm, caliber .40 to 30 mm and caliber .45 to 36 mm. Each 5 millimeters more circle diameter costs one point deduction.
The precision is determined with three different weapons.

Two shot patterns are shot with each cartridge; the best of the six shot patterns is scored.

In-depth effect (max. 20 points)
A very important criterion for assessing fishing-shot ammunition is the depth of penetration. In order to check this, one must use test media that show a behavior towards projectiles similar to that of body tissue. The density of muscles can be roughly compared to that of gelatine or soap, which is why these two substances are used for wound ballistic examinations. The advantage of soap is the clearly better assessment of the temporary cavern formation during bombardment - the Wound cavity is retained and can be measured.

For JAGDPRAXIS tests, glycerine soap made especially for wound ballistic tests is used in blocks of 15 x 15 x 30 cm (this material is also used by the BKA). We placed a piece of wild boar rind in front of each soap block. Assuming that a medium-sized sow is about 40 cm wide, a bullet must penetrate at least 25 cm deep in order to work in the chamber.

With this depth of penetration into the soap block, there are a full 20 points, every centimeter less costs one point.

Size of the wound cavity (max. 20 points)
The energy output in the target and the size of the wound cavity are important for the effect. To assess this, the cavern left by the bullet in the soap block is filled with water and this is then weighed. A firing channel of 60 cm³ is rated with 20 points, for every 3 cm³ less one point is deducted.

Remaining weight of the bullet (max. 15 points)
An effective catch bullet should lose as little mass as possible:
If the remaining weight is 95 percent, the full number of points is awarded, for every 2 percent less one point is deducted.

The bullet's mushrooming behavior (max. 20 points)
In order to achieve an optimal combination of energy output and penetration depth, safety bullets should mushroom to 1.5 times the caliber diameter - that would be 13.5 mm for the 9 mm Luger. The less mm 2 points are deducted.