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Discussion Starter #1
Dean:

Your article in the GZ regarding Federal dropping the HydraShok line in favor of the TMJ design got my curiosity. I went to http://www.ammonman.com and looked at the close-outs. Eric is closing out ALL for Federal's handgun ammo from the looks of it. He's selling Nyclads, HydraShok, High Shock and Tactical and what seem to be reasonable prices. Is Federal dropping everything for the TMJs?
 

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Sam, more info will likely be forthcoming soon, but this could have something to do with Alan Corzine. He's one of the co-patent-holders on the Black Talon/SXT technology along with Dave Schluckebier. Corzine went with ATK (parent of Federal, et al.) and may now be attempting to sever ATK's connections with Tom Burczynski's Hydra-Shok design.

Corzine reportedly told the Primedia writers that Federal would be debuting something along the lines of an updated "Black Talon."

What seems pondorous is what Federal is going to do with all those agencies and departments who swear by Hydra-Shok.
 

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Thanks for the feed-back. Guess I may have to switch to what the Texas DPS are using if HydraShok goes away. They've settled on 125 grain Gold Dot for their 357 SIG P229s - either that or go back to what I grew up with, 230 grain GI ball. :wink:
 

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Interesting... I was at Federal on July 28 and was shown the new- then unnamed- bullet that appeared to be a blend of Gold Dot and SXT technology. I specifically asked Corzine if Hydra-shok was to be discontinured and was told "possibly" but didn't have the impression it would be any time soon.

In a way it doesn't make sense to drop a product that has been so successful... even if a newer- better product is there to take its place. I believe that Federal's royalty agreement has expired and, if so, it doesn't cost them anything to make it.

The test data I was shown compared the new bullet with the current Winchester SXT which Corzine called the "best bullet. That was something of a surprise too, for he ignored Gold Dot.

The new bullet showed 100% expansion and excellent performance through various barrier materials. Perhaps the most interesting aspect was the penetration was often less than 12" and asked about that. The answer was to the effect of "we don't think that's necessary."

It is true that Corzine has a part in the Black Talon patents, but those are assigned to Winchester and he has no control over them.

One thing that isn't well understood is that many of the ammo patents are process patents and deal with the tooling used to make the bullet rather than the bullet itself. It's getting pretty hard to find "new and novel" bullet designs.
All of this will probably shake out by Shot Show time.
 

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Several years back, I once asked Guy Neill why Blount had not combined the Gold Dot with the Hydra-Shok. It seemed like a cheaper way to achieve a bonded-core Hydra-Shok without all of the processes required for the 'Tactical' Hydra-Shok.

Neill confirmed that it had been proposed internally, but nothing ever came of it.
 

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The new bullet showed 100% expansion and excellent performance through various barrier materials. Perhaps the most interesting aspect was the penetration was often less than 12" and asked about that. The answer was to the effect of "we don't think that's necessary."
They sure as heck should think it is necessary if they want to continue to enjoy law-enforcement agency purchase contracts. The FBI protocols specifying 12 inches minimum penetration in calibrated gelatin are pretty much the "standard" these days, and a requirement for agency purchase.
 

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Rob you are surely correct that 12" has become "standard" but I spent a lot of time with the FBI during that period and had some interesting chats. I always thought they were a mite arbitrary in 12" and it never struck me as "right" that a bullet that penetrated 11.5 was a failure.

If you look at some of the other tests, such as INS, there is a more flexible view. Hopefully Federal will be able to do some education along with selling.
 

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Charlie Petty said:
The test data I was shown compared the new bullet with the current Winchester SXT which Corzine called the "best bullet. That was something of a surprise too, for he ignored Gold Dot.
Hmmm, but did they do any goat tests. :twisted:
 

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:lol: Guess we will just have to do without those tests then, but I was looking forward to all that BBQ'ed goat. :lol:
 

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Hi y'all!

Charlie Petty writes:
I always thought they were a mite arbitrary in 12" and it never struck me as "right" that a bullet that penetrated 11.5 was a failure.
If I was required to perform 50 pushups to pass a physical fitness test and all I could manage to pump out was 49, I'd fail the test. Does that make me a bad person? No, it just means I failed to meet a minimum performance standard.

Attempting to rationalize acceptability of anything less defeats the purpose of a minimum performance standard.

Yes, there are times when penetration less than 12" is adequate, and these incidents may substantially outnumber those in which 12 inches of penetration is necessary. However, 12" is intended to provide a margin of safety for those times when deeper penetration is indeed needed.

It's easy to be lulled into complacency by a history of successful performance, and to overlook or rationalize the potential risks that can produce catastrophic failure. The recent space shuttle Columbia failure is a superb example. After getting back on track from the Challenger failure, the Space Shuttle program established an impressive history of success leading up to the Columbia failure.

Charlie also writes:
If you look at some of the other tests, such as INS, there is a more flexible view.
A test I performed suggests that an expanding bullet that hits an outstretched arm, expands in the musculature, exits, center-punches and passes through a rib bone as it penetrates the thorax can loose as much as 30 percent of it's total penetration potential. Hence I have reason believe the INS minimum standard of 9" is too shallow. A bullet that barely meets the minimum standard may penetration only a couple of inches into the torso after passing through 4" of arm muscle.

I understand there have been incidents when 12" was not enough penetration.
 

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Shawn - I can always count on you to stir things up. :)

After being at the INS Symposium back in 1998 I can assure you the INS were concerned with angles of incident other than straight on into the upper torso. Issues of engaging targets at multiple angles, including side shots through the arm were brought up and thoroughly discussed among the bullet designers and the folks at the INS. The entire concept of searching out a bullet design that would perform within a window of 9-12 inches was based partly on shootings involving those in the Border Patrol. They looked at the performance of their previous duty loads in .357 Magnum and found them to be better than what they were using in .40 S&W. What was also discussed was the performance specifications outlined by the FBI. It was clear that a minimum penetration depth of 12 inches was fine for the FBI but not for the INS. That didn’t make the INS right or wrong, they simply wanted something to meet their scenarios.

To look for a round that will penetrate a minimum of 12 inches and a maximum of anything greater can find some agencies (and civilians for that matter) with ammunition that will overpenetrate. While that may be acceptable in the world of hunting, that is a serious liability in the world of personal defense in an urban environment.
 

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Point taken Shawn, but pushups and gunfights aren't in any way alike.

We all know that the 12" came from a "through the arm" shot in Miami so if we get a bullet that meets that criteria after having gone through muscle and bone in the arm it is almost sure to go through if shot straight on.

"Overpenetration" is perceived as a major liability issue by law enforcement administrations- whether it is or not is yet another topic- so we basically have a question for which there is no right answer.

Please remember that I used the word "flexible".

That's why Winchester still sells lots of 9mm Silvertips and why some folks carry nothing but ball.

The ammo companies- all of them- just want to sell bullets so they make something for every taste.

But my bottom line gut feeling in this debate is that it is just another example of trying to find hardware solutions to software problems.

The problem- of course- is that very few agencies or people can get the level of training- or skill- to make all this burdensome stuff go away.
 

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I’m not here to stir up controversy, just to join in on the discussion.

The point I was trying to make, which I apparently didn’t do a good job of getting across, is that a minimum performance specification exists for a reason, and the reason is to increase certainty of success, regardless of whether the goal is to ensure someone possesses the strength and stamina to perform vigorous physical activity or to increase the chances that a bullet penetrates deeply enough to reach vitals.

If it doesn’t make sense to fail a bullet that falls a half-inch short of meeting the minimum performance standard, then why can’t we apply the same logic to question why 8.5” fails when the minimum required is 9”. You have to draw the line somewhere and then comply with the standard.

This thread started out discussing Hydra-Shok. Therefore I find it interesting to note that the .45 ACP 230gr Hydra-Shok cartridge has the best reputation among all Hydra-Shok loadings. It penetrates 13-14” in bare gelatin, and deeper in clothed gelatin and people, yet I’ve never encountered any complaints that it penetrates excessively.

I don’t know of many people who’d agree that 6” penetration is adequate, yet that’s what one can reasonably expect with an expanding bullet that normally penetrates 9” when it passes through the muscles of an outstretched arm. 230gr Hydra-Shok, which normally penetrates 13-14”, can be expected to penetrate about 10” in the same conditions. I’ll concede that 10” ain’t 12”, but it’s better, in my opinion, than 6”, because it’s more likely to reach vitals. That’s the goal, isn’t it?

So how do we draw the line of minimum acceptable performance? Previous success is one good indicator, but in my opinion one must look at both previous successes and previous failures and determine how the outcome of each came to be. Why did one bullet successfully penetrate deeply enough to reach vitals? Why did another fail to penetrate deeply enough?

Penetration failures are going to receive more attention and emphasis from me than penetration successes. Why? Because I want to understand the causes of failure so I can do something to minimize failure in the future.

I believe placement and penetration are equal in importance. If I solve the penetration problem by choosing ammunition that’s more likely than not to reach vitals, then I’ve already solved half my problem.
 

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Shawn Dodson said:
If I solve the penetration problem by choosing ammunition that's more likely than not to reach vitals, then I've already solved half my problem.
Yeah, but you've "solved" the wrong part… I submit it's one one-third, not one-half… of the equation first.
 

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I think it's less than that Dean...

First you gots to hit them and I don't think the hit percentages have changed much over the years while the number of rounds fired has been multiplied once or twice.

When was the last time you heard of a .22 in the ear or eye "failing"?
 

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The FBI's test series, or something similar (shooting through hard and soft barriers into gel blocks) has become the standard method for testing ammo. Just about everybody tests that way now, or wants to know how brand X does in tests like that, even if they score the test differently (some think 9 is enough, some 12...). From what I've seen, the Hydra-Shok still does pretty good there; from lot to lot on avg as good as the best of the rest overall, sometimes better.

But if the perception is out there it is old tech, past it's time, etc, and sales are declining/market share is slipping, somebody at Federal may have decided it's time to change/move on, no matter how good it still is?

TQM's CIP (continuous improvement process) catches up to everybody sooner or later, no matter how "perfect" they are? Even the 1911 is getting firing pin safeties, external extractors, accessory rails, etc now?

Some folks do focus too much on getting the best tools before they learn to get the best from their tools? $200 Nike's won't make much difference if ya are still crawlin' instead of runnin' ?
 
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