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Several weeks ago, on one of the firearms forum I frequent, I ran across a thread regarding Berry's Manufacturing and a 185 gr hollow point bullet they were releasing. Following the timeline of the forum thread, Berry's announced this new hybrid HP bullet early on in 2012. Here is a release from Berry's website that was linked in the thread.
New Hollow Points are Going through process development with a handful of OEM
customers, our target date for release will be late summer to early fall. We'll
be offering the hollow points initially in .45, .40 and 9mm and will get it into
the full line by the end of the year. At this time we are not taking orders but
as soon as we have an update it will be posted on the website. The goal is to
replace all of our current Hollow Point bullets with our new design starting
with the most popular calibers. Our customer service reps won't have any
additional information on the new HP's, stay tuned to the website for updates."
Here are a few samples from the one box that I received (brass not included).
They were not available for very long on Berry's website before what ever
quantity they had was quickly sold out. Hopefully Berry's will get
caught up with these and the other bullets that they produce before too long.
I checked Berry's website today and there were still no listed for sale.
More info in the forum thread mentioned a pamphlet that Berry's had distributed
when they first announced the bullet and it showed an impressive amount of
expansion. The bullet petals were pealed back on the bullet, much the same
you would get with a Gold Dot or other high quality self defense bullet.
Here is a photo I took of two Berry's bullets. Sorry about the color shift....I'm not a guru at photo editing. The base of the bullets are oriented towards the lower edge of the photo. On the left is their 230 gr TMJ double struck bullet. On the right is the 185 gr Hybrid HP bullet. As you can see, there is a substantial difference in the thickness of the plating.
Sample Size: 25 bullets
|Std Dev:||0.39 gr|
I broke out my vernier caliper and warmed up my RCBS ChargeMaster electronic scale. I pulled 25 bullets from the box, which I thought was adequate as that provided me with a 10% sample size. The above stats show the diameter and weight obtained from the group. Extreme spread on the diameter was .001" while the weight was 1.5 grs.
Part of the reason I decided to give these new bullets a try was to see if I could produce a suitable practice round that would parallel my self defense ammo. Self defense ammo, at typically around $1 per round or more, is too expensive for me to frequently shoot at the range. However, practicing with what you carry is the smart thing to do. These hollow points could be a cost effective method to practice with essentially what my carry round produces. On another track, if these hollow points are up to Gold Dot performance levels, then loading 500 or 1,000 of them and packing them away would make a good addition to the things are getting bad ammo reserves.
|Handgun||String||Charge Weight Gr.||Velocity FPS|
I went to the range with 30 cartridges loaded using Red Dot powder and the new 185 gr HP bullet. I've been shooting Red Dot under a 230 gr FMJ or TMJ bullet now for some time after coming across a good price on it several years back. My 230 gr FMJ practice load typically runs about 770 FPS out of my 4" XD. My Lyman manual shows a range of 3.5 to 6.1 grs for Red Dot under a 185 gr Hornady HP/XTP bullet. Looking at that data, I'm within specs in regards to velocity. The 5.2 and 5.4 gr loads had darkened areas on the exterior of the brass. This is a symptom that the brass is not completely sealing in the chamber due to low pressure (i.e., powder charge is too small). On the 5.6 gr charge, it was mostly gone, indicating that the higher charge was generating more pressure and sealing better.
In an attempt to evaluate the bullet's expansion first hand in water, I lined up 3 one gallon water jugs and took a well aimed shot. The bullet went through and through all 3 jugs. I did notice that the entry point on jug #3 seemed to be no larger than the entry point on jug #1. It is quite possible that the 860 FPS velocity my bullet was traveling at was not enough to cause any notable expansion. My next trip to the range will hopefully allow time to shoot for some accuracy results and with any luck, I can save up a few more jugs to see if I can capture a bullet.
Overall, I like the bullet design. It was very easy to load in my press. I flared the case mouth very little and these bullets had no problem slipping right into the brass. I intend to increase the charge weight on this next batch based on my current observations and Lyman's data. I'll update this page when I get more info from the next range session.
Spent some early morning time at the range today running more hand loads over the chrono and checking accuracy. I stuck with the Red Dot powder and continue to use mixed head stamp brass which has been reloaded many times. As noted above, a bit more powder allowed the brass to properly seal itself in the chamber. None of today's loads suffered blackened cases. I used my XD compact with the 4" barrel.
Looking through my range notes, I believe my future loads using this bullet will be done with 5.8 grs of Red Dot. Shooting a 10 shot group at 10 yds, 7 rounds grouped under an 1 inch with an average velocity of 884 FPS and a SD of 25.8 FPS. At 6.0 grs (just under the max per the Lyman manual), a 10 shot group also kept 7 of the rounds in less than 1 inch. The velocity was 904 FPS with a SD of 17.3 FPS. On this last loading, the recoil was building, although the primers looked OK and the XD functioned properly. I might do a little more testing with these two loads to see which one consistently produces the best accuracy.