Thoughts on ARX/Polycase defensive rounds
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Thread: Thoughts on ARX/Polycase defensive rounds

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    Thoughts on ARX/Polycase defensive rounds

    So I was at the gun shop the other day and came across ARX/Polycase rounds for the first time. I guess I have been living under a rock and never saw these before.
    Do these lightweight rounds really do well for defensive carry? Anyone have experience with them. Holding the box it was lighter than a bag of M&Ms. Call me old school but that didn't feel right.
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    A friend of mine showed me some of these, he uses in his carry gun a while back. .45 ACP, something over 100 gr. projectile. Mean looking round, but like you they don't weigh what I'm used to. Felt strange. I've never tried any myself.
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    I've been carrying them for a while now. 9mm's are usually what, 950-1050 fps? Arx rounds are like 1400-1500 fps. And according to ballistics tests, they don't overpenetrate, and with that spiral design in the bullet, they cause massive internal damage. And in my 9's, the +P rounds feel just like standard pressure rounds.
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    One bit of advice I can give you about Polycase/Ruger ARX ammo is to buy a small box first and test it in your carry gun to insure reliable cycling.

    I have a box of Polycase ARX Inceptors in .380 ACP which I received from my brother because they wouldn't cycle properly at all in his TCP-738, I haven't gotten a chance to test them out myself yet, but they already function better in my PPK/S than they did in his TCP because at least the first round will chamber when I rack the slide rather than getting hung up on the feed ramp.

    Based on what I've seen on YouTube in ballistics gel tests, they seem to be solid performers, but ballistics gel tests can only tell you so much, and I personally have concerns of how well the frangible bullets would stand up to bone, so personally I wouldn't place them in my carry rotation until some data is made available in regards to how well they perform in actual self-defense scenarios.
    The way I see it is, if these new bullet designs are as effective in flesh as they are in ballistics gel, then it's only a matter of time before they are adopted by Law Enforcement and the Military. Until then, I'll stick with Hornady XTP.
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    They work fine in my TCP and Ruger LCP and LCR .38.
    But as has been said, ballistic jell testing is not exactly a real test.
    Need to try on something like the knife builder products are tested on the TV show "Forged in Fire".
    That seems to be ballistic gel formed around a artificial skeleton.
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    I use ARX in one of my home defense guns. .38Spc in a CA Undercover that I keep in a bed holster. They cycle fine through it. I like them since the will produce significant flesh damage without over penetration which is what I want in a home defense round. However, I heard a lawyer <ptooey, hack, snort, spit> once quoted as saying that since they DO produce greater wounding they might be subject to an unscrupulous attorney attempting to paint a homeowner as some sort of sadist who want to over-injure or over-maim an intruder. Heck, a lawyer is probably going to say that in court if you throw a stick at an intruder so why not just go ahead and use them.
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    Put me in the skeptic category. Since we are all giving opinions (I assume none of us have shot anyone with an ARX round) I don't have any confidence that they will penetrate sufficiently in real world scenarios. Some examples winter clothing, cell phones, fat people, bone, barriers. SO, just another opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreacherRodgers View Post
    Put me in the skeptic category. Since we are all giving opinions (I assume none of us have shot anyone with an ARX round) I don't have any confidence that they will penetrate sufficiently in real world scenarios. Some examples winter clothing, cell phones, fat people, bone, barriers. SO, just another opinion.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, bullets failing to penetrate heavy/winter clothing is an Urban Legend which has long since been thoroughly debunked, even a .22LR fired from a pistol will zip straight through even ridiculous amounts of clothing which no human being could realistically wear, and seeing as the average .22LR is a soft lead 40gr projectile, even the .380 ACP ARX 60gr bullet should have no problem penetrating any amount of clothing someone could conceivably wear.

    That being said, your concerns over penetrating harder materials such as bones or heavy duty electronics devices which may be on an attacker's person are warranted seeing as the ARX bullets are frangible by design and are intended to break apart on impact with solid objects to reduce the likelihood of collateral damage. I would hope that the bullets have been tested by the manufacturer to insure their structural integrity when coming into contact with bone and that they have thus been calibrated to only break apart on much harder objects like concrete or steel, but it would be hard to tell without testing.

    One of these days I ought to do some testing of my own seeing as I'm not using them for self-defense anyway. It would be fun and educational to test the ARX bullets against a variety of household materials (2x4s, a wooden door, floor tiles, window glass, etc) and make note of the results.
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    Damascus barrels (stick with me, I swear this is related) are very cool. The metal swirls have the beauty of wood grain, and for a time provided some of the best metallurgical performance available. True craftsmen could control the swirls, so much that I've even read of some being able to write their names in the swirls of the metal. Pretty impressive if you wrote your name in old Gothic font. Less so in Arabic. But did that make for better barrels than more natural swirls?

    I doubt it.

    I think ballistic gel is doing something similar in ammunition design. The absolute worst example of this is RIP ammunition, which makes some really interesting patterns in gel. Would I buy it? Heck no. Not on your life. I'd rather have a .45 230 grain FMJ. I'd rather have a flat nosed 180 grain .40.

    To stop an attacker with a handgun, you need to get to vital organs, primarily the heart and major circulatory system structures around it. Lungs are good too, but not nearly as good. Major nervous system disruption will do as well. But the tissues we care about, muscle and bone, are not hydrodynamically equivalent to gel. That's not what gel was designed for. Gel was designed to provide reproducible results that could be roughly correlated to penetration in a human body. So we can shoot 100 of the same type of bullet/load into gel, and they all penetrate about the same (let's just arbitrarily say within plus or minus an inch), and mushroom about the same. If you picture those same 100 bullets being shot into a laid over 55 gallon drum full of portobello mushrooms, ping pong balls, and bowling balls, the penetration would probably be plus or minus a foot. It's much tougher to bullet design when that's the kind of data you get, so gel is better.

    And since gel is consistent, we can come up with correlations, like (again, rough, not-realistic-specific-numbers) 12" of penetration in gel is about the same ballistic performance as 9" of penetration in a human torso.

    Here's one question about polycase and similar bullet designs; how different are the fluid dynamics properties of gel and human tissue? And human tissue varies; lungs are different from kidneys from liver from smooth muscle (heart) from striated muscle (biceps, pectorals, etc).

    And another thing; decades of research have left the lets-get-the-Army-to-pay-us-to-shoot-pigs deeply divided about whether temporary stretch cavity matters at all below rifle velocities. All those fancy voids and tears in gel may not translate to anything meaningful in human tissue. There's no arguing about the crush cavity of a mushroomed .45, though.

    So, all of that explains why I'm really skeptical about designs that rely on channeled hydrodynamic effects to produce wound cavities. I like big, heavy bullets that mushroom. Preferably 158 grains or larger.
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    I bought some a while ago

    Here was my short review of their ammo to them. I never completed the review I was going to do. I didn't think I could be fair. Also, they did replace the ammo and all of it shot fine, but I have my doubts. They claimed my lots were from a first run. Also of note, there was plastic build up in the CCP's gas block. I could scrap it off with a finger nail on the piston, and brass brush in the gas block.

    The two guns I tested it in were both worst case. 9mm 1911's can be problematic. However, the Citadel was 100% reliable with XTP bullets and FMJ. The CCP being delayed blow back was to see if there was some shaving on the gas port.

    Maloy

    Craig,

    I bought two boxes of your ammo at the Heritage gun show in North Canton. I was able to give them a try this morning. Out of the 75 rounds I bought for testing, I fired 16 rounds of the ARX and 32 of the RNP.

    I had a total of 5 failures of the guns to go into full battery causing 5 "Failed to Fire". Both guns are in excellent operating conditions. One a 9mm Citadel M1911-A1 and a Walther CCP. Both shot an equal amount of each type. Out of three magazines the Walther had the failure to go into full battery almost every round, but only two failed to allow a striker hit. The CCP is a delayed blow back like the HK P7. So as long as the striker block was clear, it would shoot. It failed on one magazine of ARX and one magazine of RNP. One magazine ran fine. There did appear to be some very slight bullet residue in the gas chamber. I suspect that the CCP or something gas actuated or delayed may not be a good application for this ammo. I suspect there was some shaving on the gas port.

    The Citadel had the heaviest slide, so when it slammed home and failed to go into full battery it was the bullet that was holding things up. I couldn't get the slide open twice, and had to resort to strikes with a small dead blow to get it closed to fire the stuck round. The CCP has a much lighter spring so I could clear it a little easier.

    When fully chambered, both guns cycled far enough back to eject and strip the next round, and only once on the CCP did the slide fail to stay open when it was the last round (RNP).

    No stove pipes, and no failures to eject when the rounds went off.

    I had 0 "ZERO" FTF, or FTE, with Federal 115 gr FMJ, CCI 124 gr FMJ, Magtech 124 gr JHP +P Federal 115 gr JHP +P, Hornady American Gunner in 124 and 115 gr JHP. In short, each gun got a little over 150 rounds a piece after shooting the Inceptor ammo.

    Both guns are well broken in and have probably over 1000 round each through them. The CCP is currently running past 600 rounds since its gas system was last cleaned. (Trying to determine how long it can go).

    At 15 yards there was no real difference in accuracy from standard ammo.

    I was disappointed in the ammo reliability. The ARX is being pushed as a "Self Defense" round. It is far to unreliable for me or for me to recommend it as I have with DRT. I admit that these two guns are not prime examples of what is out there. I suspect my Glocks would have devoured it without any problems, but my CZ 75 would most likely hated the ammo as their chambers run a little tight compared to other 9mm's. The CCP has run crap Russian ammo where the CZ's will not. The CCP however, is becoming a more common self defense pistol on the market. The CCP is one of my personal carry guns.

    Another thing to point out is the price point for the standard RNP. At my local gun retailer I can buy S&B for around $11 to $13 a box and CCI Blazer brass for $13 to $14 a box. The closest competitor to your offering is DRT. Their price is around $16 to $18 for the 20 round box and near the same for their practice ammo for 50 rounds.

    I'm not restricted at my ranges as they recycle lead, copper, and the brass or steel cases. As for self defense, I use Hornady American Gunner 124 gr JHP +P. The local shop I buy from is $15.99 for a 25 round box. I've never had a problem with it in ANY of my 9mm's.

    The bad part is that I'm requested to offer a review on one of our forums. The only thing I can suggest, to be fair, is for them to try a box as my results may not be the same as theirs. A Glock, Sig, M&P, XD, HK, or Walther's other offerings may not have a problem. 9mm 1911's on the other hand can be temperamental due to the amount of mass that has to be moved rearward. I was going to talk to you at the gun show today, but there was too many people at your table to over hear, and possibly misunderstand what problem I had and mess up a sale for you.

    I'm sorry I'll not be an advocate or future customer. I also suspect you will have an up hill struggle against some of the newer all copper and copper alloy offerings down the road.

    I do ask that you pass this information onto the manufacturer. They need to know this as some people will not bother with feed back and will just never buy it again. Word of mouth is bad, the internet is down right brutal.

    Maloy Mathews AKA the one wearing the "Hillary for Prison 2016" shirt.
    Last edited by maloy; 04-06-2018 at 01:17 PM.
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