When Double Tap had a 40% off sale I decided it would be a good opportunity to try some of their 10mm and .45 heavy cast loads and compare them to the Cutting Edge bullets I tried recently. I ordered one box each of 200 and 230-grain hardcast and one box of 200gr FMJ-FP. In the .45 ACP, I grabbed a box of the 255gr hardcast.
For background, you may find my other post on this subject helpful.
The first order of business was to see how they do over the chronograph. Starting with the 10mm 200gr FMJ-FP, I got an average velocity of 1149fps with a high of 1156fps and a low of 1135fps. If I’m not mistaken Double Tap uses a Montana Gold CMJ bullet in this load. This was quite a bit lower than the advertised velocity of 1275fps. The 200gr hardcast had an average velocity of 1241fps with a high of 1246fps and a low of 1235fps. Once again lower the advertised of 1300fps. In the 230gr loading, I got an average velocity of 1096fps with a high of 1105fps and a low of 1085fps. The advertised velocity of this load also higher at 1120fps. In .45 ACP, the average velocity of the 255gr load was 915fps with a high of 930fps and a low of 889fps. In this load, the velocity was exceeded from the advertised of 875fps.
All fired cases showed signs of pressure with the 200gr FMJ-FP being very modest and the others having flattened primes and primer flow into the firing pin hole, the .45 was the worst. Some of the 10mm cases also had bulging, the .45 didn’t.
Next up was shooting a five shot group of each at 10 yards. All loads shot well and to point of aim. The one problem I did have with the 10mm was the slide on the Delta Elite repeatedly locked back with a partially loaded magazine with the 200 and 230-grain hardcast loadings. Functioning was fine with the 200gr FMJ-FP and the .45.
So how will they perform in the gel? I gathered up four 16 inch blocks of Clear Ballistics Gel and laid them end to end for a total length of 64 inches. That’s almost as long as my wife is tall. Considering the Cutting Edge 10mm 190gr bullet went almost 53 inches I felt it was reasonable to expect some of the loads would pass through all four blocks. My plan was to place an old IIIA body armor behind the last block to catch any pass-through.
Starting off with the 10mm 200gr FMJ-FP I set up 10 feet in front of the blocks and fired into the top left corner of the block. The 200gr bullet passed completely through all four blocks and was not recovered. I had forgotten to put the body armor behind the block. I was a little surprised, I did not expect this one to penetrate so far. Realizing my mistake I put the body armor in place and proceeded to try the 200gr hardcast.
The first round I shot exited the block about midway through the third block. The second bullet didn’t exit the side of the block, in fact, it didn’t exit the block at all. It came to rest in the fourth block for a total of 49.5 inches. I really expected this bullet to penetrate better and after seeing the 200gr FMJ-FP pass through all the blocks, I was surprised this one didn’t.
Surely the 10mm 230gr would give me complete penetration. However, I was once again wrong. It was also found in the fourth block at the 59-inch mark, just five inches short.
I wasn’t expecting the .45 to achieve a total pass through. The bullet just had too big of a meplat to push that much gel out of the way. And while I was correct in my prediction that it would not pass through, I was expecting more then what I got. The bullet only penetrated into the second block at 30.5 inches. So far the Cutting Edge still held first place at 42.25inches.
To make sure the 200gr FMJ-FP wasn’t some kind of fluke I decided to try one more. Just like the first it complete pass through all four blocks. This time it was stopped by the body armor. I only wish I could have found a way to put a fifth block up to see how much it would take to stop it.
So what’s the take away for all of this? Back in September when I tried out the Lehigh Xtreem Penetrator in .45 ACP I came away disappointed by the lack of penetration it displayed. This sent me on a quest of sorts, to find suitable woods load to carry in my Colt 1991. I have always been under the impression that penetration was the most important attribute and with this philosophy in mind I started my search.
It was not my intention to prove that the .45 ACP and 10mm are somehow better or even the equivalent to a large bore, .44 to .50, revolvers. That would be a silly notion. A properly loaded .44 magnum will far exceed even the best 10mm or .45 load one could come up with. My intention was to find out whether the .45 or 10mm was a viable alternative. This testing also focused on penetration in Clear Gel and how one load would compare to another. It did not take into consideration how a bullet may perform against heavy bones.
Based on these tests alone, the 10mm is clearly the winner. The least penetrating load, Double Tap’s 200gr hardcast at 49.5 inches beat the best .45, 200gr Cutting Edge solid copper at 42.25 inches, by 7 inches, and the farthest load, Double Tap’s 200gr FMJ-FP, went well over 15 inches greater.
If I were to choose one based solely on this testing it would be the 200gr FMJ-FP. It was undeniably the best penetrator of all the loads. Second would be the 190gr Cutting Edge copper solid. Even though the 230gr hardcast beat it slightly. This load, as well as the 200gr hardcast, was not reliable in my Delta Elite. Out of the 20 rounds I fired for velocity and accuracy I had 9 malfunctions! All the malfunctions were the result of the top round in the magazine moving forward and hitting the slide stop and locking the slide back. Yes, I could modify the gun to work with one or both of them but why, when there are loads that work just as well if not better? I personally prefer ammo that would work in a stock pistol then having to modify one to make them work.
I do however have some reservations about an FMJ penetrating thick heavy bones and so a solid copper one may be a better choice. The Cutting Edge bullet did penetrate a lot, and in a different gun, it could probably be loaded hotter then what I have loaded them to increase the penetration to that of the 200gr FMJ-FP.
I think the .45 also did well, not as well as the 10mm, but still well enough to be a good alternative. The Cutting Edge bullet was the clear winner in the .45 beating its closest competitor, my 230gr ball at 38.5 inches, by almost 4 inches and the Lehigh XP by a foot and a half. The Cutting Edge load is probably capable of more since it was not showing any signs of pressure. I was disappointed with the Double tap .45 performance, I think it was a case of using the wrong bullet profile for the job. Underwood makes a 255gr +p load with a more traditional WFN profile and I suspect it would do better. Maybe someday I will try it out. Something like the Montana Bullet Works 230gr LFN-PB should perform well also.
I’m going to try and figure out a way to test penetration through a hard object, something to simulate heavy bone. Maybe sheet metal angled to about 30 degrees or so. For now, I will just load up the Cutting Edge bullets I have left over and wonder why I went through all this trouble to find a bullet to take to the woods when I rarely find myself in the great outdoors anymore.