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Ammo auteur ShootingTheBull410 goes retro in this episode of his short-barrel 9mm Ammo Quest. One of his viewers donated some classic Federal Hi-Shoks to the cause of scientific inquiry. This ammo design definitely pre-dates the pocket-9mm craze, so will the old schools stuff do well from the newest-style short-barreled pistols? Only one way to find out: click “play” and see.

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  1. So he expected it to do bad, it did great through bare gel, 3 keyholed after going into heavy denim, he refused to average the other 2 and then complained about how mediocre it was? Why not shoot the other 40 cartridges and get better averages and more examples? Why not talk about the fact that it is half to a third the cost of the modern hollowpoints so you can actually practice with it. Seems like he just wanted to complain about it and gave it a backhanded compliment of not being total garbage.

    • I’ve never understood people who bitch and whine about someone else who offers a FREE service with his own time, like STB410. I’m grateful for anything he shows me, as he is doing it on his time with his own money. Don’t like his tests? Buy your own gel and do your own.

    • Here’s the proper way to phrase it:

      I disagree with the conclusions. While they don’t match the HSTs, the Hi-Shocks are significantly cheaper than most modern JHPs, and still managed to perform adequately in bare gelatin. In fact, they did noticeably better than many of the more expensive modern rounds. While they might not be ideal, they’re still better than using FMJs, and given the ammo shortages around the country, are worth considering. Also, because three rounds through denim were disqualified, I don’t think we have a sufficient sample for a proper comparison.

      See what I did there? I think that’s a lot more productive.

      • Why would you skimp on JHP ammo? For the range, you’d buy cheap FMJ anyway, so that’s where the bulk of the ammo you’ll actually use (and hence the cost) matters. But JHP is carry ammo, and for that, you absolutely want the best you can get – and HST is not so expensive as to be inaccessible (around 60c/round online right now) – anyone can get at least one box to carry.

        • Sigh. “The best you can get.”

          My goodness I think if people actually understood the CONCEPT behind “statistical significance” the world would explode. Forget the math part…just the idea behind hypothesis testing and significance level would be helpful.

          Hint: testing 5 rounds each from two different populations of ammo and declaring one ‘better’ than the other solely on the basis of one’s average penetration being ‘better’ than the other is….


          In the absence of some means of variance based analysis, such as an F-Test, comparing the averages TELLS YOU NOTHING about the sampled populations and the sample’s predictive power. And that’s to say nothing about the complications associated gel as a proxy for real living tissue and the vagaries of “incapacitation.”

          But I’m sure Federal appreciates the free marketing that is not based on mathematical analysis that they’d actually have to pay professional researchers to perform.

  2. The problem is he used 9mm. If he used .45 ACP not only would he blow the block away he would also kill its soul. (/sarc)

    Doesn’t seem too bad, if you don’t have or can’t afford anything else. I was wondering about how does it affect penetration and expansion if you put a steel ball bearing in the cavity area (the hollow point) of a hollow point round?

    I know some guys who do that with air guns and .22s and it helps with penetration (They also use a chopped off tip of a nail if they don’t have the ball bearings). Just carefully glued or waxed in. Was wondering how it would help “real” guns, penetration-wise.

    Could you maybe do some tests or should I ask the Box’o Truth? Maybe on the Federal Hi-Shoks to see if it would perform better? Since they are much cheaper than other hollow points.

    • I was about to give you crap about the kind of person who would spend the time to clip the tips off of fu*king nails and carefully glue them- or affix them with hot wax ferchristsake- in to a load of .22lr.

      But then I remembered. You’re Norwegian.

      Crazy bastards.

      • I always wondered if you just took some home calking silicone and plugged some cheap hollow points if they would behave like Hornady’s rubber tipped products.

        • Funny that you would mention that. I just filled some HPR 124gr XTP rounds w/ silicone gel today. Just have to figure out a place/time/method to test them.

      • I am not Norwegian, I am Bosnian. Though that validates your comment even more since we have done crazier stuff. Sadly they (Norwegians) also seem to have been sissified (except the rural folks which I live amongst them).

        It works well on pellet guns and .22s so why shouldn’t it work on 9mm or .45 ACP?

        • Ahh, I must have misread a comment of yours at some point.

          Still standing behind my statement of your (and your friends) craziness. But in a fun way.

        • Its called a Pow”R”ball.
          Made by Corbon and they work OK,
          I use them in some of my more finicky guns that don’t feed well.

      • @Swarf: Hey! I may be Norwegian, and I may be a bastard, but I’m not… well ok. Forgot I was a direct descendant of Erik the Red there for a second.

        @lolinski: I lived in Norway for a couple of years, and I can tell you that most people outside of Oslo and the big cities have in no way sissified, and still are quite close to their country roots. Meaning a love of hunting and firearms. A family member of mine lost his left arm in a sawmill accident, and he still hunts with a SxS shotgun. He just balances the barrel on his hook.

        • That is what I said. City folks=sissified. Rural folks=not sissified.

          I am kinda dissappointed he didn’t get a shotgun arm built. That is the guy who lost his arm. + a chainsaw arm because I watched Army of Darkness too much.

          I like it here in Norway, there is opportunities if you work hard. My family came with nothing 20 years ago, now we have 3 houses.

    • Hey, I heard a tale once that if you filled in the cavity in a .22 LR HP with wax, it would fragment like a .17 mag. Anybody else ever hear that?

      • Okay, we gotta try these things and film them.

        Who is up for it? I can’t since I currently don’t have the time or the gat.

        • got the .22 and plenty of candles–just don’t have the time or the property. Or the ballistic gelatin. Any ideas for a home-brewed substitute? And no, I’m not using next Sunday’s pot roast…

        • Say what you will but I will send a couple of emails.

          DemolitionRanch would probably do it, hmm.

          Carnik Con is way too unserious and tactical for this.

    • Many years ago before the proliferation of effective HP ammo the thing to do was to flip wad cutter ammo over upside down, drill it out and load them over hot powder charges with a copper BB glued inside the cavity. Known by many names from super dum dums to golden gum balls, these rounds underwent enormous expansion in tissue. They were problematic in so many ways, but they were more effective than ball any day. The first time I saw a Federal Hydra-Shok I though it amazing that it took ammo makers so long to bring to market something we’d being doing in the basement for a decade.

      I see no reason why a silicone filled standard hollow point of similar profile, weight and velocity would not closely match the performance of something like Critical Defense ammo. It might not be as good, but it ought to be pretty good.

  3. Damn this mobile setup with no words after the title. I thought he was going to shoot a P1 or a P38… Now that’s old school 9×19.

    • LOL! I agree. Picked up a postwar P38 once, passed it on to my brother and then he sold it off–if I had known he was gonna do that I woulda bought it back from him 🙁 I’m not real hot on 9mm Para myself, but I would have liked one of those.

  4. Boy, when those things mushroom, they really look like a mushroom (as opposed to a five-petal flower). I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, as long as the penetration is still there. Maybe some of the more knowledgeable among us can correct me. Like I say, I haven’t done particularly well with 9mm Para in the past, happy to stick with 9×18 FMJ for the time being. But I may wind up with a 9-Parabellum at some point.

  5. I was buying ammo just yesterday at a gun show in rural northern Alabama. The hard part was finding anything decent in 9mm.

    Somebody had a very ancient-looking box of Speer 115gr Gold Dot factory-labeled +P+. The box looked like it had water-damage…and he wanted $50 for it. Pass.

    I could spend megabucks for a couple of 25-count boxes of Hornady Critical Duty +P, but in addition to cost those are 135gr so I can’t get practice ammo that will print to the same point of aim. And while they’re good rounds they don’t expand very fat.

    I want fatter, personally.

    About the only other choice in quantity 50 was a box of Remington 115gr+P “HTP” meaning “High Terminal Performance”. I went off to google some info on it. Turns out nobody has tested it exactly, but what it is is, the same slug as the cheapo Remmie 115gr “UMC” standard pressure but upped into +P territory.

    So I bought it. Here’s why: believe it or not those standard pressure Remmie 115 old-school JHPs test pretty well – there are scads of pretty credible reports on them and they’re what I had available from the last time I went looking:

    I figure you take that stuff, heat it up another 100fps or so with +P and it should get it done until I can score (or make) something better.

    My gun’s velocity should be similar to a 4″ to 5″ Glock – my barrel is only 3.5″ but being a revolver it has a long unrifled throat in the cylinder bores of .3555″ with very little blow-by and velocity builds like crazy in that. (I was worried enough about impacts at the forcing cone that I did a Taylor Throat of nearly a caliber width to smooth the transition some.)

  6. How can you not like some +P+ ammo? Federal Hydra-Shocks perform very well. It’s the ammo that Nashville PD used before they went to the .40, and it’s the ammo I keep in my Glock 17.

  7. The HI-SHOK’s were selling at Walmart for $14-$15 per box before the Sandyhook meltdown. Haven’t seen it since. I bought a ton of it in the summer of 2012. Runs pretty good in Glocks and SIG’s.

  8. Very interested to see this one as the 9BP is a pet load of mine – laser beam accurate, reasonably priced, available in 50 round boxes, and seems to expand nicely out of service pistol length barrels. Thanks to the viewer who sent the ammo in to be tested.

  9. Interesting in that there was some observed bounce back of the bare gelatin rounds, but he didn’t comment on it, and didn’t adjust his distance on those (like he has on some of the tests). I wonder if that would have increased the minimum distance on those up to an acceptable value?

    And I guess I wonder why he didn’t repeat the 3 that keyholed out of the gelatin, but he’s been pretty consistent about only firing 5 rounds.

    I think I’ll still carry the Federal HSTs or the Critical Defense rounds, so far they are looking the best of his admittedly limited statistical tests.


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