I have been using Gorilla Ammunition for only a few months but have come to respect the brand integrity. I often see preposterous claims concerning velocity, expansion or what a bullet may be capable of. The claims are seldom borne out.
Solid Copper Bullets With an Edge in Performance
The performance is based upon sound manufacture and intelligent choice in projectiles. I have been able to test the Silverback line in .45 ACP. The Silverback offers two loadings, one for personal defense and another that is simply marked FBI. This load meets or exceeds stringent FBI criteria for barrier penetration. My limited testing indicates that each load is well within design parameters. I am impressed by the loads and, after all, my standards are high.
The first concern is cartridge integrity. The loading must exhibit good case mouth and primer seal. The bullet must not be subject to setback in the cartridge case after numerous chamberings. The ability to load and unload the pistol without bullet setback is important. Gorilla Ammunition meets these baseline criteria.
When firing the ammunition I discovered that these loads demonstrate a full powder burn. There were at best a few sparks in the Commander-length pistol I chose for testing. There was little powder ash. I perceived no muzzle flash at all. This is a sign of good load development and powder selection.
There was a tendency a few years ago—and a path still taken by some—to load a caliber to the hottest standard, practically too hot in many cases. This was done to ensure expansion with a certain bullet. With a highly-developed pistol projectile, this isn’t necessary. A standard pressure loading is capable of demonstrating a good balance of expansion and penetration without excess recoil.
I chose one of my favorite carry guns to test this ammunition. The Remington R11 Commander suits my needs and has proven accurate and reliable. If you use a 5-inch barrel, 1911 velocity should be approximately 50 fps greater than my Commander length R11. If you use a Glock 21 with its polygonal rifling you will realize at least 50 fps over the R11—perhaps 65 fps. A short Officers Model 1911 might demonstrate 20-30 fps less velocity on average.
The Silverback line uses a solid copper projectile. Solid copper bullets are designed with a hollow point in the nose similar to conventional cup and core lead and copper bullets. The annealing of the bullet is used to control expansion. The design of the bullet and the cuts in the nose that instigate expansion are also used to control depth of penetration and expansion. Solid copper bullets are useful in areas that prohibit lead bullets for hunting or target use on the range. Copper is useful for long-term storage and resistant to corrosion. It is hard enough that it will withstand handling over the long term.
Firing the personal defense loading first velocity averaged 780 fps. This meets the subsonic criteria advertised. Control is excellent. Accuracy was as well. Although this is a personal defense pistol, its accuracy has proven excellent. Over a solid bench rest firing position at 25 yards, the R11 put five bullets into 1.5 inches. That is “good enough for government work” as they say and above average for this pistol. The FBI load was slightly faster at 802 fps and exhibited a group of 1.75 inches.
Each load had given good results in testing for cartridge integrity. I fired a box of each to familiarize myself with the loading. The R11 is well regulated for 230-grain loads and each Silverback struck to the point of aim. Control, feed and cycle reliability were flawless. I fired the loads into water jugs as my standard test of bullet expansion. I expected some sort of expansion but was not prepared for the outcome. The personal defense load penetrated about 13 inches of water and expanded to 1.25-inch. That is the greatest expansion I have recorded with any .45 ACP bullet.
Often, rapid expansion negates penetration, and deep penetration does not come with good expansion. This loading has both. When testing with water, the bullet may penetrate the first two jugs—12 inches—and come to rest in a third. I carefully estimate the spot the bullet is laying for 13-14 inches of penetration. The water drains, and I shake the bullet out of the jug. The Silverback would not shake out of the jug’s mouth! Coupled with fine accuracy, integrity, and function, this is a credible personal defense load.
Some like more penetration—many agencies and the FBI demand it. Dealing with heavily clothed cons in the winter months, or an adversary behind cover or in a vehicle demands greater penetration. Some will opt for a bullet that is capable in the worst case scenario. The FBI Silverback penetrated to just over 18 inches, often stopping in the outer layer of the final water jug, and expanded to .875-inch. This is excellent performance. Anyone needing a load that will perform with a balance of expansion and penetration (favoring penetration) would be well advised to choose the Silverback FBI loading.
Gorilla Ammunition has earned a respectable name in the ammunition world. The Silverback loads are well worth your time and money to explore. Quality control is excellent and performance cannot be faulted.
Have you tried Gorilla Ammunition’s Silverback? Will you? If so, what did your testing show? Share your opinions or results in the comment section.