Testing Bullets


New member
Question, I want to see the results of some .45 hollow points. I don't have any ballistic gel or anything fancy like that. I was considering firing them down into a barrel of water. How far do you think the round will travel in water? The barrel is about 3 feet high. Obviously it would make the test worthless if the bullet hit the bottom of the barrel and flattened.

From what I have been able to find on the net, I suspect about 17 to 20 inches. Does that sound accurate?


I did some bullet recovery in 1983-84 when I worked for Super-Vel. I found that an expanding, hot loaded 44 magnum would go 4-5 feet in cold, clear water. Your 45 acp should stop within 4 feet. I make no guarantees, though.
Save up some old telephone books or magazines . Soak them in water for a day or two and stack them in a line. Works great and will give you a good indication on penetration. It will make it easier to measure.
For what it is worth, MythBusters did an episode of bullets traveling through water. They determined that 3 feet of water was enough to protect you from a 50 cal rifle. Handgun rounds seemed to penetrate further. I definitely don't recommend trying this at home, but it was an interesting episode.

You can read more about the episode by clicking here.

Last edited:
I filled a large plastic outdoor trash can with water (39 gallon?), stood on a ladder and fired straight down into the water filled can; I recovered several bullets and got wet. Hollow point bullets stopped before penetrating the bottom of the can. If the pistol isn't pointed perfectly straight the bullet will rip the side of the can or it could be pressure that splits it after several shots? If the bullet didn't expand in this test I wouldn't want to carry it for self protection, because I recovered expanded 45 bullets from a Glock 39 GAP. 185 gr. Silvertips were going 886 F.P.S. and still demonstrated good expansion, Gold Dot 185 gr. @ 932 F.P.S. also formed a plump recovered mushroom. If those 45 slugs expand at subsonic velocity I would expect any bullet worthy of being in my magazine to do the same.

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Latest member