One of the companies whose products everyone (seemingly) wants to see tested is Buffalo Bore. I think that I get more requests for tests of various Buffalo Bore rounds than for just about any other company’s offerings. One viewer took it to the next level though, sending me a money order with instructions to buy three specific loads he was interested in. Well, heck, I’m curious about the Buffalo Bore loadings too, and so yes, I gladly took him up on the offer and ordered the requested rounds . . .
First one to be tested here is the 9mm 115-grain +P hollowpoint, part #24D. Buffalo Bore advertises this round at 1300 fps, which would be over 431 ft/lbs of energy. Presumably that rating is from a longer barrel; from the 3″ barrel that I test from, it delivered an average of 1203 fps. That’s still quite potent, it’s still over 369 ft-lbs of energy.
Normally I conduct tests by firing five rounds through bare gel and five rounds through denim-covered gel. For whatever reason, with this round, I did it the opposite way, firing the first rounds through the denim-covered gel. After firing three rounds, I checked and saw that all three bullets had failed to expand, and over penetrated. One was just barely in the “overpenetration” category (19″ depth), but the other two were serious overpenetrators (23.25″ and 26.00″).
Since the standards I test to call for a maximum of 18″ of penetration through gel, I knew right there that this ammo would not be one of my recommended loads. Accordingly, instead of wasting two more bullets through the denim, I used the rest of the block to shoot two bare-gel bullets.
The bare gel performance was really very good, in terms of expansion size and penetration depth. The bullets made a nice large temporary cavity and penetrated to an average of 13.75″, well exceeding the minimum 12″ requirement. They did however shed some of their weight, which is never a good sign. Even so, they still made big holes deep in the gel, which is exactly what you want a self-defense bullet to do.
In the end, I thought this round wasn’t a standout performer overall, because of its subpar performance on the denim test. However, I do acknowledge that at least it didn’t underpenetrate — all the bullets (bare & denim) exceeded the minimum penetration requirements, so they all would have poked sufficiently-deep holes in whatever bad guy you were forced to shoot them at. It’s just that the denim-covered bullets wouldn’t have made nearly as big or nearly as devastating a hole as they would have if they’d performed properly. I’ve tested enough other rounds that do perform properly through both the bare and the denim to say that I really don’t see any reason to settle for self-defense ammo that can’t pass both tests.