U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In the ever-continuing search for a better performing round, it is common to see ammunition being tested in ballistic gel. This brick of “Jell-o” like goo approximates the same consistency of mammalian flesh, though not total composition which includes skin and bone. Scientifically speaking, it provides a standardized medium in which to gauge penetration, expansion, temporary stretch cavities and permanent wound cavities. Today I'll be covering how to make ballistic gelatin at home. Soon, I'll follow up with calibrated gelatin to compare how close or far the homemade recipe gets us.
First, I want to cover the difference between homemade ballistic gelatin and calibrated ballistic gelatin. The standardized gelatin is tested (and adjusted) to meet a specific density requirement, so all batches should theoretically be close enough for standardized results. The stuff we make at home should be as close to the calibrated gelatin as we can make it.
Homemade ballistic gel gives us a fun visual test medium, aesthetically customizable targets (stock up on Halloween skulls) and the ability to modify the medium to satiate our curiosity. We can do this by adding a layer of deer hide, soft body armor or beef ribs to see how the bullet's performance is affected. Any modification to the standardized tests renders the results incompatible with bullet tests using the standardized methods, but that doesn't mean the information isn't useful.
ClearBallistics.com details the FBI standardized 10% gelatin they use:
“The FBI protocol we follow is firing a standard .177 caliber (4.5 mm) steel BB from an air gun over a chronograph at 590 feet per second (fps), plus or minus +/- 15 fps into the ballistic gelatin. The penetration of the steel BB must result in 8.5 centimeters (cm), plus or