Bullet Penetration Test
Recently I began testing bullets as a response to a thread on another forum. There are plenty of misconceptions out there. While this first simple test is not the end all in testing it was certainly conclusive.
I thought I would share the results here.
Caliber: 470 Nitro Express
Rifle: Krieghoff Double
Primer: Remington 9 1/2M
Powder: Reloder 15
The test box is fabricated from 2 by 6 pine boards and is 72” long.
Test media consisted of ¼” luan, 12” of saturated newspaper, 2 by 6 treated pine (shooting through the 1 5”8” thickness), and approximately 60” of saturated newspaper. Great care was taken to make certain the newspaper was thoroughly soaked in a tub prior to placing in the test bed.
After placing the paper in the test bed excess water was permitted to drain for 30 minutes.
The bullet entered the box at 32 feet from the muzzle.
Woodleigh 500 Grain solid @ an average impact velocity of 2065
North Fork 500 Grain solid @ an average impact velocity of 2075
First portion of the test consisted of firing consisted of firing 5 Woodleigh bullets in the test media.
Shot 1: 36” of penetration then came out of the top.
Shot 2: 40” of penetration then stopped at the top of the newspaper.
Shot 3: 33” of penetration then came out of the side
Shot 4: 40” of penetration then stopped in paper, seemed to be straight.
Shot 5: 39” of penetration then came out of the top
The first 12” of penetration was very straight line. I matched the luan from the front of the box to the 2 by 6 positioned 12” behind the luan and the bullet path was straight. Only after traveling through the 1 5/8” of treated pine did the bullet path start to deviate. Please note the bullets entered the wood at a 90º angle. I placed the 2 by 6 to simulate bone.
After this test, five more tests were conducted firing one Woodleigh and then one North Fork. Penetration was measured and the media was changed prior to the next test. While there possible could have variations in density from test to test, one type of each bullet was fired in each lot of paper.
All of the North Fork bullets had straightline penetration the entire length of the box. One actually exited the 2 by 6 on the back of the test bed. The others were stuck in the 2 by 6 or the plywood I added at the rear of the box to make certain the bullet did not leave the box. The engraving looked good on the bullets. None were bent or otherwise damaged.
The Woodleigh bullets performed the same as the first five; straight penetration until reaching the 2 by 6. Average reasonably straight penetration was 20” total. After that the bullet would start turning and exit the box out of the top or hit the side or stop sideways in the newsprint at an average of 41”.
If any variations in results were noted I would have continued testing. The results were very conclusive: In this media the North Fork Solids simply outperform the Woodleigh Solids in heads up testing.
The next test will be the penetration of standard 470 Nitro velocities versus 1650-1700 fps velocity. Both Woodleigh and North Fork bullets will be tested.
Above is the test box with chronograph.
Above is typical damage to the test box caused by the Woodleigh bullets veering off line.
Typical position of Woodleigh bullet found in media.
The above picture is of the typical condition of North Fork bullet after firing.
The above picture is taken from outside of box. It is a North Fork bullet after traveling through 72” of test media.
The above picture is taken from inside of box. It is another North Fork bullet after traveling through 72” of test media.
Woodleighs have been around for years getting the job done. But there are always better ways of doing things. Over on another forum, a poster conducted penetration test with a similar media as mine and had the same results. Another poster conducted test with water and glued plywood and ended up with same results.
I am real anxious to start the low velocity test. It will be interesting. I ordered some accurate 5744 for the test and it should be in Tuesday.
Mike, Here is an article that might be of interest to you: Penetration Index & Energy
A very well-structured test! As you said, it's not the final word on the topic, but it does give a good head-to-head comparison.
Thanks for sharing the information.
Backing the Woodleigh
Some very thorough testing that has taken considerable time and effort. While I appreciate that none of this objective testing would be intended to be an attack on any brand, when you publish these kinds of findings on a website like this, it's hardly going to help a brand.
So while I think my approach to your post may be slightly of topic, I thought it would be only right to provide a response in defence of Woodleigh from a lot of my personal experience in the field.
Firstly, there have been a lot of tests in all sorts of contraptions that have shown flat nosed bullets can out-penetrate round nosed bullets. The Woodleigh bullet design has been based on the original Kynoch profile so that it would regulate in old and new doubles. Any review of the literature available will provide countless testimonials from hunters who have had a great deal of success with Woodleighs in the field, on game. We should also note that premium and custom ammunition manufacturers continue to utilize Woodleigh bullets in their premium big game and dangerous game range of ammunition.
Secondly, there's plain old field experience. I have shot more animals with Woodleigh bullets than I can possibly count with outstanding results. I fired a 180gr .308 cal bullet into a sable bull at 275 yards as he quartered away and got full straight-line penetration from the left hip, with exit at the right shoulder.
On a particulary difficult cape buff hunt we found that we had less than 5 seconds to get a shot off at a bull from when we made contact; in the terrain we were hunting, there was no way to approach in silence. We agreed that I would have to take the shot presented and quickly. On day 8, I approached a dagga boy and at 80 yards he wheeled around and presented a shot at the base of his tail. My Woodleigh 500gr RN FMJ entered an inch left of centre, smashed the pelvis, took out the liver and then stopped under the skin. The second shot, a soft point RN entered on the bridge of his nose, travelled through the skull and through the spine stopping after about 12" of travel down the length of his neck. Needless to say he was very dead.
And all of this shooting through thorns and mopani and whatever else I happened to hit on the way through, at awkward angles, using a hastily assumed position or off hand.
For my money, this evidence is plenty good enough for me to stick with my Woodleigh bullet of choice for any of my big game or dangerous game safaris, at home or abroad, where I know that the game or the conditions will demand a premium bullet.
I agree Woodleigh/Kynoch design has been around and working for a 100 years. But there are always better ways to do things as evidenced by Woodleigh introducing their new line of, I believe, monolithic solids.
I have not tried to regulate my double with the North fork bullets. If you are shooting a bolt gun they can be problematic to feed. Are they ideal for all applications?, probably not.
I am not tied to any company nor am I a professional ballistician. However I do possess a certain amount of common sense. I will continue testing and posting results. Individuals can make their own decisions as what to use.
I have hunted in Africa with Woodleighs. I have not decided what I will use when I return this year. Today it would be the NF's but more testing is required.
Very informative post Mike
This test consisted of 4 of completely saturated newspaper, 1 ¼ of HardiPlank nailed to 1 5/8 of pine all on a 20º angle, 28 of water with 9 newspapers suspended in the water with each paper containing 40 pages, 5/8 of HardiPlank nailed to a another 1 5/8 of pine on a 20º angle opposite of the first setup, and then the remainder of the 72 box filled with saturated newspaper.
This is the description of HardiPlank from there site:
First, what is HardiPlank made of? HardiPlank falls in the fiber-cement siding class, which means that it is a combination of cellulose fibers, along with cement-like materials. In other words, its partly wood, partly cement.
It is also flexible.
I fired one .474 500 grain North Fork solid at 2070 FPS IV. It penetrated through everything in a perfect straight line. The measured deflection was less than ½ through the 71 of penetration. It stopped at the back of the box. I thought it would certainly deflect on the hardiplank at the angle particularly after going through 28 of water but did not.
The bullet looked like the other North Forks. It could be fired again.
Tomorrow it will be the Woodleighs turn.
Tonight a Woodleigh was fired through the same setup as the NF was last night. (The test consisted of 4 of completely saturated newspaper, 1 ¼ of HardiPlank nailed to 1 5/8 of pine all on a 20º angle, 28 of water with 9 newspapers suspended in the water with each paper containing 40 pages, 5/8 of HardiPlank nailed to a another 1 5/8 of pine on a 20º angle opposite of the first setup, and then the remainder of the 72 box filled with saturated newspaper.)
The bullet entered center of the box, penetrated the first set-up of boards, went through the water, somewhere in the water it went astray. It hit the second set of boards about ¾ from the top with the bullet sideways. It exited out of the top of the board and hit the 2 by 6 I use for a lid.
One thing I did note was that the newspaper I suspend in the water was shredded. There was much more damage than the North Fork generated. Maybe because it was traveling sideways going through the water? It may mean nothing but I did note it.
I may or may not come back to this test. The results were basically the same as the multiple shots I fired in the other media.
This was the only test I conducted firing only one of each type of bullet.