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 Steel Sheets o' Truth Table added P.6
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 1:46:44 AM EDT
A while back, I got into a debate with johnwayne777 about the merits of the 357 Sig round. My belief was that it was better at penetrating steel barriers than 45 ACP. Well after sitting on the idea of running a somewhat controlled test for a year or so, I finally got off my lazy butt and did it. Got some steel at a local scrap yard (highly recommend you go this route if you want to run some tests of your own, buying it at Home Depot would have cost 4X more at least), and ran off to the range…

Here is what the “box” (apologies to the fine work of Old_Painless) looks like. It was built from ratchet bar clamps and 35mm film canisters used to space the steel sheets. The sheets measured .05” on my caliper.


First up is DoubleTap 115gr 357 Sig shot from my Glock 24 with a 6” Lone Wolf barrel. Fired a shot, saw a plume of dirt rise from the berm, and wondered if I bought enough plates! Here is the back of the 3rd plate:

Hot knife…butter. I know people may be wondering if it’s fair to compare the 357 Sig when it is being shot from such a long barrel but I think it’s valid because this is a new (tight) barrel with traditional rifling. I was chronographing roughly the same velocities with it as from my friends broken-in G31 (~1600 fps, done at a previous range session).

Time for the 45. Ammo was the hottest 230 gr you can get without going to 45 Super, DoubleTap 230gr Gold Dot. The pistol was a USP 45 full size with a 4.41” barrel:

Went through 2 plates and put a really nice dent on the 3rd. You can see the hole made by the 357 Sig round below the dent.

Side shot:


Front:


Here’s the bullet, it didn't look too happy:


Now I wanted to try the fastest 45 round out there. The DoubleTap 165gr Gold Dot that screams out of my USP at an average of 1350fps. I wasn’t sure how this one would do, the velocity is very high but the sectional density (also important when talking about penetration) goes way down with a bullet this big and this light. Here are the results:

It only penetrated 1 plate and was stopped in the 2nd after putting a pretty good dent in it. Not very good.

Here’s the bullet:


And the entrance:


Next I wanted to see how a FMJ round would do. This is again, the hottest one out there, DoubleTap’s 230gr FMJ round:

I’m giving this one 2.5 sheets. It penetrated 2 and almost punched its way through the 3rd.

Here is the bullet:


And the entrance hole:


Now time for the pansy round known as the 9mm This is a Speer 124 gr Gold Dot +P from a 6” barrel which is also fresh and therefore delivers lead at the same velocity as shorter broken in barrels:

It ALMOST penetrates all 3 and is just sitting there stuck. I thought it was cool Perhaps lubing it with ex lax would have worked here. 9mm doesn’t look too shabby for steel.

Oh yeah, here’s the entrance of the 9mm round:


Next up is the 9mm in FMJ. This is NATO spec so it’s hotter than normal 9mm:

It went through 2 plates and dented the 3rd.

Here’s the bullet, notice how the jacket is shed from the impact with the steel, even though it was FMJ:


And the entrance:


About now I realized I forgot to try 357Sig in FMJ. Swapped out my barrels and loaded up some plain old WWB 357 Sig, 125 gr FMJ:

Zipped right through all 3 plates again.

The entrance:


And of course no penetration test would be complete without the tok. This is some surplus 7.62x25 Tokarev out of my CZ-52:

As expected, it did pretty well. Here is the entrance:


Now I’m curious how these rounds would do out of subcompacts. Here is the Speer +P 124 grain Gold Dot again, this time out of my PM9 with a 3” barrel:

Just barely cracks the 2nd sheet. Not bad I thought.

Here’s the bullet:


And now the 9mm NATO FMJ out of the PM9:

The picture doesn’t show it well but it also just barely breaks the 2nd sheet so I’m giving this round 1.5 sheets.

Now time for the .45 in a subcompact, this is from my PT145 with a 3.3” barrel. Ammo is DoubleTap 230gr Gold Dot:

Not too bad, puts a nice hole in the 2nd sheet but the bullet doesn’t make it through.

Now for the surprise of the day, DoubleTap 230 gr FMJ from my PT145:

Didn’t even make it past the 1st sheet! I’ve heard people talk about 45s bouncing off of drums and propane tanks before but I was surprised to see this. Figured it might be a squib so I tried it again:

Same results. I’ve chrono’d these rounds (on a separate range session) to come out of my PT145 at around 830fps, about 50 fps slower than with the equivalent DoubleTap Gold Dots (even though they spec them as the same on their site). These 230 gr FMJs are the only DT rounds I’ve found that don’t perform to what DT specs them to be. Still hotter than any other 45 FMJs though.

I didn’t try the 165 gr in my PT145 because the last time I did, it started peening the slide. I also didn’t have a subcompact 357 sig so I couldn’t test how it did there. I wouldn't carry a subcompact 357 Sig anyways, it doesn't make sense to have such a short barrel with this cartridge IMO.

Now time for 40 S&W. Put the compensated barrel that came with my Glock 24 back in and loaded it with some Triton 135gr screamers:

Punched through 2 sheets and dented the 3rd one pretty good.

Then I tried some Speer Gold Dot .40 S&W rounds. Sorry I don’t know the bullet weight, I got it from my friend who’s a LEO for Austin, it’s whatever 40 round they’re issued:

A nasty hole in the 2nd plate but stopped by the 3rd.

Here is how it looked after I got done with the handgun rounds, including a few bad shots that touched previous shots


For kicks, I thought I’d shoot some 12 gauge 00 buckshot (Nobel from my 18” Saiga):

If you look closely, a couple of pellets just break the 1st sheet but not much penetration.

Then time for the real fun, a 12 ga slug

I heard the sheets scream OUCH!!!

And the front:


Then I figured I was done so I just started blasting away with my CZ-52. Then I was surprised to see that some of the tok rounds weren’t going all the way through. After the 12 ga rounds, the canisters were crushed and I figured the limited penetration may be due to the plates flexing and absorbing some of the impact. So I thought I’d try an experiment and take off one of the clamps and allow the 3 sheets to sit cantilevered and able to flex a good bit. Loaded a 125 gr WWB 357Sig round and here are the results (top shot):

Again, the 357 Sig rounds had no trouble with the steel. I’m not sure why some of the tok rounds weren’t penetrating. It could be simply variation which isn’t surprising for surplus ammo. When I was blasting away with them, I also wasn’t paying attention to making sure I was hitting the sheets orthogonally as I was when I was running the test so that could have been it too. I will say none of the 357 Sig rounds failed to penetrate all 3 sheets though, which doesn’t hold true to the other pistol rounds I tested.

So in summary…

From the results of this test, the talk about 357 Sig being a superior penetrator through steel is true. I’m sure someone will say “that’s great if you’re ever attacked by steel sheets.” I personally think that the difference between handgun rounds is not that great in terms of terminal ballistics in flesh/gelatin:

The differences between handgun rounds for penetrating materials like steel however are significant and there are many instances where you may find yourself needing a round that can punch through steel. Ayoob documented one case where an officer tried to shoot a suspect taking cover in tractor but his 45 would not penetrate it. Using his 357 Sig backup gun though, he was able to hit the suspect inside. In everyday life, similar barriers such as truck beds, mailboxes, drums, etc… could be used by BGs for cover. I like the piece of mind of knowing my carry piece is still effective should this be the case (note I’m not talking about auto panels here, I think most people here know they are very thin and the popular handgun rounds from 9mm up wouldn’t have any trouble penetrating them).

That's just my take on the test though, hope it's informative to others also, however they may interpret it.

And oh yeah, shooting stuff is still fun….handguns are handguns, but 12 ga slugs are bad mofos!
DK-Prof  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 1:53:43 AM EDT
Great post! Thanks!

Even though I don't have a gun that fires it, I've always been interested in the 357 sig and 400 Cor-Bon. I actually had 400 Cor-Bon conversion for one of my 1911s, but could never get it to work right, and evenually gave up on it.

I think part of my fascination with the round goes back to the original Mauser round for the Broomhandle - adapted for the Tokarev, so it was nice to see you test the Tokarev round!
krpind  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 1:53:54 AM EDT
THAT is an awesome post.


AND cool as hell too.
Observer  [Member]
5/16/2007 1:54:16 AM EDT
Nicely done and a very good writeup!

I enjoy shooting stuff too.
chips  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 1:59:42 AM EDT
good post! i love threads like these...
AR15fan  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:03:40 AM EDT
Well done.

Too bad you didnt have a .38Super 1911
scrum  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:05:00 AM EDT
Great post. .357 Sig is fun to shoot too.
No_Expert  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:07:27 AM EDT
good read! maybe you can have Old_Painless add it to his site as a guest article?

No Expert
Firelotus  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:09:59 AM EDT
Sweet post, good info
dpmmn  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:10:36 AM EDT
Great post
US_PATRIOT_1776  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:11:52 AM EDT
Excellent post. I think the .40 is an ideal general purpose L.E. round while the .357 SIG round is more of a specialist round. I never understood why anyone would want to carry a subcompact .45 auto. That round is only a viable round when fired from a 4 1/2 inch barrel or more. Also, I think the 9mm loaded properly is a great round...especially for a compact auto or the like.
Pete
ScrinMaster  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:14:05 AM EDT
I wonder how 10mm would compare to .357 Sig.
krpind  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:14:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By US_PATRIOT_1776:
Excellent post. I think the .40 is an ideal general purpose L.E. round while the .357 SIG round is more of a specialist round. I never understood why anyone would want to carry a subcompact .45 auto. That round is only a viable round when fired from a 4 1/2 inch barrel or more. Also, I think the 9mm loaded properly is a great round...especially for a compact auto or the like.
Pete


Now you've done it......10 pages.
mhpoole  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:15:41 AM EDT
Wow, thank you for all your work. Great post!
Oblivion  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:18:54 AM EDT
Awesome post.

This stuff makes me want to go out and get a 10mm...
Bushtree  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:19:15 AM EDT
Wow great post.. Nice job on all the pictures.
VT4meGunCtrlisAntiUS  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:19:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By krpind:
THAT is an awesome post.


AND cool as hell too.


Yes!!
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:20:29 AM EDT
Thanks folks Just trying to add back given all that I've learned here
swingset  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:21:01 AM EDT
Good post!

I love the 357Sig round myself, and have always favored it over 9 or 40. Don't really need anyone to agree with my choice, but I like the round and its ballistics.
krpind  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:22:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:
Good post!

I love the 357Sig round myself, and have always favored it over 9 or 40. Don't really need anyone to agree with my choice, but I like the round and its ballistics.


I didn't like it when I shot it out of a Glock. Now I kinda want one.

Damned ARFCOM
Tomislav  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:24:23 AM EDT
Neat, but:



...which is also fresh and therefore delivers lead at the same velocity as shorter broken in barrels...


Is there chrono data to back that up?
swingset  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:28:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By krpind:

Originally Posted By swingset:
Good post!

I love the 357Sig round myself, and have always favored it over 9 or 40. Don't really need anyone to agree with my choice, but I like the round and its ballistics.


I didn't like it when I shot it out of a Glock. Now I kinda want one.

Damned ARFCOM


357 is a weird pill in that I've never shot a round that had such a pronounced effect on recoil, not so much as being brutal ever but just making the gun FEEL different. I have an XD in 357 and it shoots wonderfully and with little flip but that same round out of a heavier Sig 226 is very snappy and awkward for me. Boreline and center of balance have a lot to do with it, but I choose my 357sig guns carefully and not by the round.
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:34:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Neat, but:



...which is also fresh and therefore delivers lead at the same velocity as shorter broken in barrels...


Is there chrono data to back that up?


As mentioned further up:


I know people may be wondering if it’s fair to compare the 357 Sig when it is being shot from such a long barrel but I think it’s valid because this is a new (tight) barrel with traditional rifling. I was chronographing roughly the same velocities with it as from my friends broken-in G31 (~1600 fps, done at a previous range session).


Here is the raw data:

From my friends G31:
Ammo Bullet Type "Bullet Weight
(grains)" Velocity Energy
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1600 654
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1543 608
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1561 622
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1525 594
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1645 691
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1570 629


ETA sorry that wasn't it, this is the data from the G31, pretty much the same though:
Ammo Bullet Type "Bullet Weight
(grains)" Velocity Energy
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1589 645
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1549 613
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1583 640
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1605 658
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1558 620
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1609 661


For the G24 with 357 Lone Wold bbl:
Ammo Bullet Type "Bullet Weight
(grains)" Velocity Energy
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1576 634
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1584 641
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1579 637
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1621 671
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1627 676
DoubleTap Gold Dot (357 Sig) HP 115 1628 677
garanditis  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:36:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bushtree:
Wow great post.. Nice job on all the pictures.



yup!!!!! Thanks!!!!
HRSGRUNNER  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:37:27 AM EDT
Damn good post.

Soooo you didn't shoot any of your clamps?

I wonder how many plates the 357sig would go through
themagikbullet  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:41:37 AM EDT
sweet post! i'd be curious what 5.7 rounds would do, also maybe some of those zomg cop killer bullets from lethal weapon
NH_AR_Shooter  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:44:08 AM EDT
Great Post!

Thanks!

Penetration is good.


Blackmagic94  [Member]
5/16/2007 2:45:02 AM EDT
IN the words of Old Painless



Pistols are Pistols and Rifles are Rifles.


Nuff said



If you are worried about pentration through barriers then dont be bringing a pistol to a rifle fight dude.
NH_AR_Shooter  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:48:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Blackmagic94:
IN the words of Old Painless



Pistols are Pistols and Rifles are Rifles.


Nuff said



If you are worried about pentration through barriers then dont be bringing a pistol to a rifle fight dude.



Well Dude, you don't always have the luxury of knowing what sort of fight awaits you, or of carrying a rifle around with you all the time.

It is good to know the capabilitys and limitations of any given round.

Hoppy  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:54:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:
but I like the round and its ballistics.




And that's all that matters.
chrome1  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 2:55:48 AM EDT
I bought a 229 in 357sig when they first came out , noisy little sucker .
My unscientific testing I found the 125gr .357sig knocks down steel plates
just as fast as 230gr .45 and much faster then any of the hot 9's .

If you really want to see some impressive muzzle flash , try firing
a 229 in .357sig at night . even if you don't hit the target you will blind them .
Of course you won't be able to see their reaction because your blind as well
Glock_10mm  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 3:00:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ScrinMaster:
I wonder how 10mm would compare to .357 Sig.


OWNAGE!

I would've loved to see it included though, a 5.7 would also be great but harder to locate.
Cold  [Member]
5/16/2007 3:04:23 AM EDT
Nice post! Good late night read!
Blackmagic94  [Member]
5/16/2007 3:08:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NH_AR_Shooter:

Originally Posted By Blackmagic94:
IN the words of Old Painless



Pistols are Pistols and Rifles are Rifles.


Nuff said



If you are worried about penetration through barriers then dont be bringing a pistol to a rifle fight dude.



Well Dude, you don't always have the luxury of knowing what sort of fight awaits you, or of carrying a rifle around with you all the time.

It is good to know the capabilities and limitations of any given round.




Very true but when I only have one of my three different 45 ACP pistols with me, I dont feel under-gunned. Hell the 45 ACP did a hell of a job cleaning the world of the Nazis and Imperial Japanese forces. Handguns are defensive weapons and I dont really see when I would need to shot through a barrier in that kind of situation, although stranger things have happened, but again im not going to lose any sleep about having a 45 on me and not a 357 sig, i prefer to have energy dump over making a hole in a 3rd layer of sheet metal.
mayoroscarmayer  [Member]
5/16/2007 3:09:36 AM EDT
nice!
PlaysWithAtoms  [Member]
5/16/2007 3:20:00 AM EDT
Great post! I'm curious just how many plates the 357 sig will penetrate...
outofstep  [Member]
5/16/2007 3:38:50 AM EDT
It's actually good that you didn't test 10mm. One shot and it would have vaporized all three steel sheets. It's hard to get measurable results when your test material has been atomized.
kap_x  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 3:39:13 AM EDT
Incredible work! Thanks for posting!
Noname  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 3:40:18 AM EDT
Most excellent test and post!


















One_Slayer  [Member]
5/16/2007 4:23:15 AM EDT
Good job.
BLY  [Member]
5/16/2007 4:28:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ScrinMaster:
I wonder how 10mm would compare to .357 Sig.


I was thinking of getting a 10mm, but I would like to know more about the above quote before I make the final decision.
justinwb  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 4:34:54 AM EDT
Very Nice!!!!
LArifleMAN  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 4:40:41 AM EDT
And the solution to everyones problem.....


The .357 Sig AR



I haven't had the opportunity to chrono it yet because, well I don't have a chrono. Although she rips through cast iron pots at 25yds.
fortyfive4life  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 4:49:46 AM EDT
Well Done. I think this test actually confirms what a useful round the 45 is against Flesh and Bone targets.

The Round will ultimately deposit most, if not all of it's energy within the target instead of passing straight through.
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 4:59:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Blackmagic94:

Originally Posted By NH_AR_Shooter:

Originally Posted By Blackmagic94:
IN the words of Old Painless



Pistols are Pistols and Rifles are Rifles.


Nuff said



If you are worried about penetration through barriers then dont be bringing a pistol to a rifle fight dude.



Well Dude, you don't always have the luxury of knowing what sort of fight awaits you, or of carrying a rifle around with you all the time.

It is good to know the capabilities and limitations of any given round.




Very true but when I only have one of my three different 45 ACP pistols with me, I dont feel under-gunned.


And that's all that matters


Hell the 45 ACP did a hell of a job cleaning the world of the Nazis and Imperial Japanese forces.


Nobody said 45 isn't good at killing people. If I knew I were to get into a gunfight with a guy that had no cover, I'd take it over a 357 Sig.


i prefer to have energy dump over making a hole in a 3rd layer of sheet metal.


If you like energy dumps, 357 Sig in 125 gr has 580 ft lbs of energy, .45 tops off at 520 ft lbs with 230 gr, and if the guy is behind 3 sheets of .05" steel, 100% of the energy from the 45 is dumped onto the steel and 0% on the bad guy

Not trying to bad mouth the 45, I would have rather the 45 come out on top as I got 2 45s and only 1 357 Sig
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 5:01:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By outofstep:
It's actually good that you didn't test 10mm. One shot and it would have vaporized all three steel sheets. It's hard to get measurable results when your test material has been atomized.


But then I could have followed up with a 5.7 and it would have healed itself!
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 5:08:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HRSGRUNNER:
Soooo you didn't shoot any of your clamps?

I wonder how many plates the 357sig would go through


Haha, I thought they would be a mess but they held up pretty good. I admit to nicking it once and having it come off They fell off a couple times from the shock too, they didn't like the 12ga buckshot too much

Yeah I was kicking myself for not getting a 4th sheet, there was one more at the yard I went to. I figured 3 would be plenty The exit holes look clean on the 3rd sheets, I'm guessing the 357 rounds could have made it through another one.
DukeSnookems  [Member]
5/16/2007 5:18:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fortyfive4life:
Well Done. I think this test actually confirms what a useful round the 45 is against Flesh and Bone targets.

The Round will ultimately deposit most, if not all of it's energy within the target instead of passing straight through.


I don't think the test says anything about how these rounds will do in flesh. As I have said many times on these boards, different rounds perform differently in different mediums. 5.7 will beat all these rounds in armor and maybe plate steel, but underpenetrates them all in gelatin. Same thing with 5.56 and 7.62 x 39. Ballistics is one thing you can't extrapolate, lots of different mechanics at work here.

Once again:


Not shown in the above photo, the 115 grain GD bullet used in the 357 Sig round which zips right through the steel plates will actually fragment in gelatin when put in a 9x25 cartridge and underpenetrate (only 10" of penetration).

This is my last post till tonight, off to the airports...
John_Wayne777  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 8:22:43 AM EDT


"The statement that the .357Sig, “has the ability to defeat hard targets better it can expand more with an equal bullet type.”, is not supported by either our research or that of the FBI FTU Ballistic Research Facility in Quantico, VA. When firing through heavy clothing, automotive steel panels, automobile windshield glass, interior wall segments, exterior wall segments, and plywood, both the .357 Sig Speer 125 gr JHP Gold Dot and 9mm Speer 124 gr +P JHP Gold Dot exhibited nearly identical penetration and expansion results THROUGH ALL THE DIFFERENT BARRIERS. Several .40 S&W and .45 ACP loads offered superior terminal performance through barriers compared to the 9mm and .357 Sig loads."


www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=000368



I am looking at 2 separate FBI tests of 357 Sig 125 gr Gold Dot compared to 3 different FBI tests of 9 mm 124 gr Gold Dot: the results are basically the same in terms of expansion and penetration depths. In the steel testing, two of the 9mm's penetrated slightly deeper than the 357 Sig's--one 9mm expanded better, one the same, one slightly less. There was around 100-200 f/s or so velocity difference between the 9mm's and .357 Sig's, depending on which barrel lengths and lots were compared. As far as I can tell, terminal performance between the two calibers is roughly equivalent, with a slight edge to the 357 Sig because of its more consistent performance.




We have found .40 S&W 180 gr to perform very well against barriers--better than the 9 mm and .357 Sig. The CHP has continued to report greater success with their .40 S&W 180 gr JHP than with the .357 Magnum 125 gr JHP they previously issued.


I will say it again:

If you want better intermediate barrier penetration than a 9mm, choose a .45 or a .40. The .357 sig offers you 9mm-like performance.

That's not my opinion.

That's what dozens of professional ballistics tests have demonstrated. It's what every medium shoot I have been involved with has demonstrated.
rob99rt  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 8:32:32 AM EDT
Great job. Thanks for the info
eye_spy  [Team Member]
5/16/2007 8:36:27 AM EDT
Very informative ... thanks!