Making ballistic gel


In the ever-continuing search for a better-performing round, it is common to see ammunition being tested in ballistic gel.  This brick of “Jell-o” like goo approximates the same consistency of mammalian flesh, though not the total composition, which includes skin and bone. Scientifically speaking, it provides a standardized medium in which to gauge penetration, expansion, temporary stretch cavities, and permanent wound cavities.  Today, I’ll be covering how to make ballistic gel at home.  Soon, I’ll follow up with calibrated gelatin to compare how close or far the homemade recipe gets us.

First, I want to cover the difference between homemade ballistic gelatin and calibrated ballistic gelatin.  The standardized gelatin is tested (and adjusted) to meet a specific density requirement, so all batches should theoretically be close enough for standardized results.  The stuff we make at home should be as close to the calibrated gelatin as we can make it.

The homemade ballistic gel gives us a fun visual test medium, aesthetically customizable targets (stock up on Halloween skulls), and the ability to modify the medium to satiate our curiosity. We can do this by adding a layer of deer hide, soft body armor or beef ribs to see how the bullet’s performance is affected. Any modification to the standardized tests renders the results incompatible with bullet tests using the standardized methods, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t useful.

I have bought both Knox gelatin powder and Great Value gelatin powder.  Online bulk and in-store at Walmart, I’ve been able to find gelatin powder down to ~$.70/ounce.  We need 1 ounce of powder for every 8 ounces of water.  That’s 4 oz powder per quart of water and 16 oz powder per 1 gallon of water.

Read more: and get step-by-step instructions.

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