More 250A gelatin alternatives?

Back in June, I explored the possibility of using store bought gelatin as a substitute to the more expensive Vyse 250A Ballistics gelatin. The idea was to find a way for someone to to test their own ammunition or handloads with easily obtained items at an affordable price. 

While I thought it was a great way to do limited testing of a few blocks, there wasn’t any real savings over the Vyse gel when bought in bulk.  The idea came to me that there must be more suppliers of gelatin out there, so I conducted a search to see what alternatives there may be.

What I found was a place called WinCrest Bulk Foods, Under their gelatin section, they carry 250A porcine gelatin, and I thought it would be interesting to try some to compare it to the Vyse 250A Ballistics gel. 

WinCrest sells their gel in three different sizes, 1.25lb, 10lb, and 50lb. The price of the 1.25lb containers, are $13.95 each, 10lb is $74.29, and 50lb is $329.89 before shipping. The per pound price of each, before shipping is, $11.16, $7.43, and $6.70. The 1.25lb containers has a flat rate shipping of $7.99 bringing the price, of two, to $35.89 for a per pound price of $14.36. Shipping on the larger sizes will depend on where you live, but for me, the per pound price for 50lb would be $7.63, and $8.79 for the 10lb. If this brand of gel works as well as the Vyse gel, then it would cut my gel cost to about half of what it is now. 

Of course, the only way to find out is to get some and see how it works out. I ordered two 1.25lb containers, giving me enough to make one block of gel with a half a pound left over for dessert. I prepared the block of the WinCrest gel the same way I prepare my Vyse’s blocks. Likewise, I also made a block of Vyse gel to compare. I now use a drill press instead of a cordless drill. I run the drill at about 550 rpm, and I’m getting much less foam and a better mix. It’s just flat out easier.

Visually, the WinCrest is a lighter shade of color than the Vyse, but not as light as the Knox I tried in June. However, the granule size was closer to the Vyse than it was to the Knox.

Mixing the gel was for the most part uneventful, much like mixing the Vyse gel. I measured out two pounds of gel powder and slowly added it to the 140 degree water.  It did foam up a bit more than the Vyse; however, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the Knox gel and mostly dissipated before going into the fridge. Slowing the drill speed and adding the gel powder slower would probably help. After pulling the two blocks out of the fridge a few days later, the WinCrest block was noticeably lighter but not as clear.

I shot two BB’s for calibration and both penetrated to 3.5 inches. The velocity of both was 585fps. The FBI standard is for a steel BB at a velocity of 590fps + or – 15fps to penetrate to a depth of 2.95 to 3.74 inches. The Vyse gel, on the other hand, calibrated out of range to 4 and 3.75 inches, I wasn’t able to get the velocity of the two shots. This brings up a continuing problem I have been having with Vyse gel not calibrating. I have already increased the mix from 2 pounds of powder to 2.1 pounds, but it’s still coming outside the calibration range.   I’m going to increase them mix to 2.2 pounds next and see if it improves. 

Now let’s see how this block will compare to the Vyse block I made at the same time and use in my last test of the Underwood .380 +P XTP. Like the last test, the average velocity was 1036fps. I intended to shoot a total of four rounds, two in bare and two through clothing. However, the front sight came off my LCP after the two bare gel shots. Even at 10 feet, placing your shots without a front sight is more difficult than you would think, so only one round through the clothing.

Firing the first round through the gel, the bullet hit at a velocity of 1088fps and penetrated to10.25 inches. It’s recovered weight was 79.8 grains, and it expanded to .51 by .46 inches.

The next round penetrated to 11 inches, had a recovered weight of 76.3 grains, and expanded to.50 by .43 inches. No velocity was recorded. 

There was also no velocity recorded from the only round shot through the heavy clothing. It penetrated to 11.25 inches and expanded to .50 by .47 inches. It’s recovered weight was 84 grains. 

Now, let’s compare how the bullets performed between the two blocks. The Vyse block gave deeper penetration with an average depth of 11.25 inches. The WinCrest block came in with an average of 10.63 inches. That gives us an average difference of about half an inch. Through the clothing, the Vyse block had an average of 13.12 inches. The one round through the WinCrest block went 11.25 inches, for a difference of just under two inches.

So, why the discrepancy? It is more likely because of the differences in the calibration depths. Just like the test with the Knox gel, the Vyse gel calibration was at 4 and 3.75 inches, more than the max of 3.74 inches.

In the Knox test I did in June, I mentioned a formula for correcting out of calibration blocks. These two blocks are closer to agreement when using that formula. However, I got two different calibration depths with the Vyse block and since I didn’t get the velocities of either, I don’t know if one of them was out of the proper velocity range or not.

At any rate, I think the WinCrest gel did very well and is a good, and cheaper, alternative to the Vyes gel. I have already ordered another 10 pounds and plan on using it in future testing to see if it continues to perform as I hope it will. 

If someone has been on the fence about trying “real” gel because of the cost, this would be a great way to try it at minimal expense. In fact, at this price point it’s about the same as using Clear gel and the work involved really isn’t much more, if any.

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