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Old 03-09-2007, 00:33   #1
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Range report: Glaser PowrBall Defense Ammo

Tried a box of the Glaser 9mm PowrBall self-defense ammo at the range tonight. It's a very small 100gr bullet, with a round polymer ball for a tip, so that it feeds like ball ammo and will penetrate deeply (and through clothing, etc.), but supposedly will still expand. Its leading attribute is that it will not get plugged or hung up on clothing or other natural barriers, due to the polymer ball in the tip, but it still penetrates and expands with extreme reliability. And it's got awesome ballistics for 9mm +P ammo.

Performance Statistics
Muzzle velocity: 1475 fps
Muzzle energy: 483 ft./lbs.
Penetration: 12" in 10% ballistic gelatin
Expansion: 0.64"

**Note: Penetration and expansion results I got from the HiPowers and Handguns site (http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/CorbonPowRball.htm ).

Interesting that these ballistics give the 9mm Powrball round greater velocity and muzzle energy than the 45 ACP Powrball round, although of course the 45 is using a 165gr bullet, so the size would hopefully more than compensate for the lack of energy and velocity. Anyway, this is some very interesting ammo technology; see more about it here:

http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/glaser/powrball.htm

Fired about 20 rounds through my XD subcompact, all fed and fired reliably. Wow, this stuff generates some serious recoil, it kicks like a mule, and really barks in the little Springer. Still, I found it was pretty accurate for self-defense ammo; I managed to keep 18 out of 20 in the black area of the target (6") at about 25 yards, shooting offhand. I'm curious why it seems to generate so much felt recoil, even more than other types of defensive ammo I've tried that have similar ballistics. And remember, this thing is also using a very tiny bullet!

One interesting problem. I tried a bunch of times to get the stuff to work in my CZ 75 SP01, and it would not feed without jamming, even though one of this round's claims to fame is that with the ball ammo-like shape, it should feed well in most pistols. Every time I tried to load a mag, the short bullets would cause a jam I think because of the very steep feed ramp in the CZ. Though I've fired several hundred practice rounds and self-defense rounds of different types through the new CZ, without ever a FTF or FTE yet, this stuff would not work no matter what I tried. It's the first ammo I've found that gave the new CZ any trouble, but clearly it was due to the steep feed ramp and the small bullet size, you could see how the small bullet was getting pushed up too high and jamming against the roof of the slide, rather than going into the chamber.

Finally, because of the supposed deep penetration characteristics of this ammo, I wonder --assuming you used a decent caliber (say 40 or 45) for hunting--if this ammo would make a good hunting round. I also wonder, comparing this round to the other excellent defensive rounds offered by Corbon and Glaser (specifically, the standard JHP ammo, and their DPX "deep penetrating" line that uses the Barnes bullets), which ammo type is most effective overall for self-defense.

Follow-up note: A guy told me in a CZ owner's forum, that Powrball ammo is actually known for having this feeding problem in some guns. The point this illustrates is, ALWAYS ALWAYS test-fire a good quantity of your self-defense ammo in the gun in which you'd be using it, so that you'll know if you are going to have issues like this. To me, even if your self-defense ammo has one unreliable feed in 50 rounds, that's still one failure too many considering it's ammo you're entrusting your life to. And you want to know that in advance, so you can get rid of it and get something reliable. I think this Powrball WILL be reliable in my Springer--and it's otherwise great ammo, because it's giving me the stopping power of a .40 or .45
Attached Thumbnails
Range report:  Glaser PowrBall Defense Ammo-powerball.jpg  

Last edited by timlt; 03-09-2007 at 14:05.
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Old 03-09-2007, 17:26   #2
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thanks for your report. i have heard of this round but never used it . do they make in .380. is it better than corbons.
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Old 03-11-2007, 01:23   #3
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Yes, they do make it in 380. If you go to that link I provided above, you'll see the 380 option listed there, and its ballistics. This ammo is marketed under the same parent company that makes Corbon.

Of all the high-powered ammo out there today for small pistols (such as 9mm and 380), my preferred ammo options for self-defense (if you look at objective measures including velocity, energy, penetration, and expansion testing) include:

Corbon JHP
Corbon DPX
Glaser PowrBall
Buffalo Bore (not sure if they make for 380)
DoubleTap Ammo (not sure if they make for 380)

The only type I haven't actually tried yet, but they look AWESOME on paper, is the Corbon DPX. From what I hear, with the Barnes bullets the DPX uses, that may get the best penetration of all. And you CAn get that for your 380 as well.
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Old 03-11-2007, 17:39   #4
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Glaser does not make power ball ammo. Corbon does. That's a corbon box in the photo.
I'm surprised that you have problems feeding this ammo in your handgun. It might be that the polymer tip is being deformed as it is shoved up the feed ramp into the chamber. This ammo was specufically designed to feed more reliably (FMJ profile) into guns that are notorious for feeding issuses with HP ammo (1911's, Hipowers, etc...)
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Old 03-11-2007, 20:39   #5
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Originally Posted by gunrun45 View Post
Glaser does not make power ball ammo. Corbon does. That's a corbon box in the photo.
I'm surprised that you have problems feeding this ammo in your handgun. It might be that the polymer tip is being deformed as it is shoved up the feed ramp into the chamber. This ammo was specufically designed to feed more reliably (FMJ profile) into guns that are notorious for feeding issuses with HP ammo (1911's, Hipowers, etc...)
Gunrun, on the feeding problem, I checked on the CZ forums, and that apparently is a common issue with that kind of ammo in the CZ 75. It's a steep feed ramp, looks like a different angle from the ramp in my Springfield, which feeds the stuff flawlessly. The CZ feeds everything else I've thrown at it perfectly, but this type of ammo, it wasn't just one round, it was EVERY round, it just ain't gonna go. Time to move on and try something else, though I agree with you, it's a surprise it won't feed, since they designed it precisely to act like FMY and REDUCE the feeding problems.

As for the ammo itself, that photo came off the HipowersAndHandguns site, but the photo doesn't show anything specific to Corbon. I'm sitting here with my own box of PowerBall ammo right in front of me, and it says "Glaser" right on the front. And on the side it says: "All Glaser PowerBall cartridges are assembled using only the finest....[blah blah]." Also, if you go to that link for the PowrBall ammo (http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/glaser/powrball.htm ), they put it in the Glaser section of their site (you can tell by the URL), and their first sentence starts: "Glaser has expanded their line of premium high velocity ammunition to include the Pow'RBall(TM) bullet design."

I think that probably what's going on is, Glaser makes the stuff under their label, but Corbon is the parent company that owns them them all. So they use the Corbon style of packaging their stuff maybe?. Not sure, but if true that may be why all those ammo types (Corbon stuff, plus Glaser PowrBall and Glaser Safety slugs) are marketed on one web site: http://www.dakotaammo.net

Last edited by timlt; 03-11-2007 at 20:57.
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Old 03-13-2007, 01:58   #6
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Its not a big thing. I recognized the box from the corbon ones I have at home. The glazer "safety slugs" are very different in the way they work. I honestly didn't know that they marketed anything like the power ball. I have never encounterd it (I learn something new every day).
Have you tried the Federal expanding full metal jacket rounds? They are designed to operate the same as the powerball but have a copper jacketing around the little polymer ball. It might feed better for you.

I am VERY impressed by this type of projectiles (powerball, Fed FMJHP) results after striking the target. Since there is no hollow point to clog with intermediate material (clothing, etc...) the expansion is always present. Not so easy to say with most other designs that are subject to the "plugging" effect.

Edit: I checked the corbon page and remembered something very important! They bought the glaser line years ago (I'm an idiot). Of course they will share some of the same packaging

Last edited by gunrun45; 03-13-2007 at 02:01.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:29   #7
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Well I just got some interesting news. Customer svc from Glaser replied to an email about the problems with Powrball ammo in the CZ, and they believe it may be related to an older lot of the Powrball ammo. In other words, I may have gotten a really good price on some Powrball from Sportsmansguide because it was some OLD stuff that was dated; last year's model on sale or whatever, you know how it works.

Anyway, Glaser offered me a great deal: they said, send them the bad ammo, and they'll replace it "2 for 1" with their latest manufacturing run of the Powrball, which they claim to have tested and should work ok in the CZ. I'll take them up on that (even if it still fails in the CZ, it worked great in my Springfield, so I"m getting double the ammo for free!), and tell you how it turns out.
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