When is a Gimmick Not a Gimmick?

This is a guest post by Andrew Bettsgimmick ammo

Lehigh Defense is well known for producing gimmick pistol ammunition like the Controlled Fracturing Hollow Point as well as their Extreme Defender and Extreme Penetrator which are based on specious claims about magical fluid dynamic faerie dust.

We have covered in other articles why those pistol offerings are complete hogwash so I won’t bore you by being redundant, but suffice to say that there is nothing magical about their flutes. They also make rifle ammunition, though, and in our due diligence we tested the .300 AAC 115 gr Controlled Chaos offering. It has an equally sensationalist sounding name, but is it all hype like the pistol loads? Let’s take a look:

 

  • Impact velocity: 2,146 fps
  • Penetration: 19″
  • Retained weight (core): 43.1 gr
  • Neck: 1.75″

Petals:

  • 12.1 gr
  • 14.4 gr
  • 10.2 gr
  • 11.6 gr
  • 12.8 gr
  • 16.0 gr

Average petal weight:

  • 12.9 gr

First things first, this ammunition performed exactly as claimed. For the most part, there is no question as to whether gimmick ammunition from any manufacturer does what they claim, at least in terms of external and terminal ballistics. The velocity, fragmentation, expansion, and penetration figures they claim are generally accurate.

That is not what is at issue. What is at issue is whether the thing that they do is useful or effective in stopping a threat. In the case of pistol ammunition, experts tell us that those fragmenting bullets that leave a tiny core to penetrate more deeply are less effective than modern jacketed hollow point ammunition because the small fragments create tiny wound tracks that do not promote vigorous bleeding. (http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf) The temporary cavity produced by bullets moving at pistol speeds isn’t large enough to tear tissue, but at rifle speeds, it is. At rifle speeds, these fragments can assist in converting the stretching into tearing and cause a substantially more complicated wound. Loads like the .223 Rem 77 gr TMK or 75 gr TAP are praised for being able to fragment relatively early and dramatically, while retaining a large enough core to reach deep into the vital organs. This load was also able to upset quickly, with a short neck. It produced a large stretch cavity and the fragments penetrated almost to the 12” minimum that is expected for the core. The core itself, while significantly smaller than the original projectile was still much heavier than what we would expect for the retained portion of a heavy OTM like those listed above. In short, this load performed as well or better than some of the loads that are preferred by the experts in every quantifiable way.

Now, to be clear, I am not qualified to form an opinion. I can only judge whether or not ammunition meets the standards that the experts have laid out. In this case, it seems to me that it does. Lehigh still leaves a sour taste in my mouth and it is hard to justify the additional expense. I also wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is better, but at least in this caliber, bullet weight, and design, it seems to meet the standards. That may not be the glowing endorsement that you are accustomed to hearing from gun writers, but this gun writer doesn’t get all expense paid trips to Turkey to tour ammunition factories, either.

As always, your training matters more than any other factor. Ammo is important, but the skills and willingness to fight are the most critical components to whether you survive a bad day.

 

Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.

 

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