Ballistic gelatin tests of prototype/hard to find 5.56x45mm


Greetings. I run, a website where I have posted the results of about 300 ballistic gelatin tests that I have conducted.

I am interested in testing prototype or rare 5.56x45mm cartridges in ballistic gelatin - especially the flechette loadings. Here is my ‘deal’… if you provide the ammunition (preferably more than one of the loading to be tested… in case I miss or want to shoot more than once into the block), I will provide the gelatin testing, free of charge. The results with pictures will be posted to this forum and my website. Please let me know what you would like to see tested.

Thank you!



Sorry but I have to say I would find it difficult to support anybody who intends to fire off ‘prototype or rare’ cartridges which could otherwise be preserved and appreciated in somebody’s collection.


Agreed that most rare prototype and exp rounds are just that,



I agree with the others. Even the most common experimentals and/or prototypes are far too valuable to be fired.

May I make a suggestion? Loose flechettes are often available in large quantities at low prices so why not devise a way to load a few into conventional cartridges, such as the 5.56 x 45, and shoot them in a more-or-less conventional rifle? Figuring out a way to make a few sabots or pullers should not be too big a challange for someone with a lathe and the most basic machining skills.




Good suggestions. I was just thinking that some people would be interested in how the cartridges would have worked, had they been adopted for use.

As far as the rare guns… well, that’s why I’m looking for 5.56x45mm… I’m thinking that the price of making the reamers for the other cartridges would make the project too specialized - something like 400USD per cartridge, yikes!


I have been privileged to watch and even take part in Ballistic Gelatin Tests at the Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR), Wound Ballistic Lab, when it existed at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. It was fun to watch.

However, in tune with other answers, you are probably asking the wrong group of people on this Forum. Remember, collectors of most anything are, by nature, preservationists. I don’t think it is even the monetary value of the cartridges that would influence a lot of collectors against testing rare cartridge specimens to their ultimate destruction.


That is true. But, is there any interest with collectors as to how the bullets that they collect, actually would have worked. That is what I am asking. Destroying irreplaceable things is not something that I would like to do either… but I am wondering as to whether there is some margin where 1 or 2 of the specimens could be ‘sacrificed’ to expand the knowledge base on that particular cartridge?


What would it prove to conduct these tests except to reduce the number of rounds available to the collecting world. Since they were not and never will be used in the real world, who cares what they might have done. Besides, I can guarantee you that the test firings were done by the developing agency or company already. That information is in a report someplace, so why do it again, just for curiosity sake?


JE223, Actually I appreciate the offer. I understand that you would also want to do this with standard calibers because of the cost of rechambering. I collect 9mm Para and every not and then I pick up a few rounds, up to a box of cartridges with “special” bullets of some sort. With all the people who assert that they are designing the magic loads, it would be worth it to burn a few just to see what they actually do. I’ve wondered about some of the new frangible cartridges. Drop me an email sometime and I’ll put together a packet of 9x19mm loads for you like some of the German PEP and Action loads and such. Can you do testing in behind multilayer Kevlar??? Drop me a PM!!!


Lew and JE223

If you can supply me with an unfired and fired projectile, I will pay both of you for those, regardless of whatever arrangements you make with one another to achieve the testing.

I like 9x19 and I like exotic samples.
But I do require a matching unfired and fired pair. This can be a nice three way benefit:

  1. JE223 gets to test some exotic rounds and gets part payment from me.
  2. Whoever provides the rounds will get X-ray images of the projectiles and part payment from me.
  3. I get the projectiles.

I think you both can appreciate I am not a time waster. When you have finished PMing each other, then PM me please.