When I was a young hunter of 12 or so, my Grandfather taught me that if I used Remington .22 LR in my rifle, it would function properly. The Remington Golden Bullet was my choice. I learned that even if you had a cheap self-loader, good quality ammunition worked well. Today, Remington enjoys an excellent reputation for reliability with a far greater range of loads than ever.
One of the products of development by Remington’s engineers is the original Remington Golden Saber. The hallmark of the Golden Saber is a driving band of bore diameter at the rear of the bullet. This driving band centers the bullet and produces excellent accuracy. As an example, during the evaluation of SWAT pistols by the FBI many years ago, the 230-grain Golden Saber bullet offered 1.25-inch groups for five shots at 25 yards—as demanded by the FBI. This was sensational performance in the day and remains a benchmark.
The Golden Saber also featured a scalloped nose with cuts that were spiral in design. This weakened the jacket to instigate expansion. Unlike every other service load of the time, the Golden Saber used a bullet that featured expansion by the jacket as a wound mechanism. The jacket, rather than the lead core, expands and creates a wound cavity.
The Golden Saber works well and offers a good balance of expansion and penetration. The new offering, the Black Belt, is an interesting development. The bullet is designed to offer less expense in manufacturing than a bonded core bullet, yet offer bonded-core performance. The belt around the bullet, forward of the driving band, controls expansion. The nose of the bullet expands rapidly while the belt stops expansion, resulting in a shank that remains intact. This results in good penetration and barrier performance.
Remington offers four loads in the Black Belt line. A 124-grain 9mm, 124-grain 9mm +P, 180-grain .40 S&W, and 230-grain .45 ACP are offered. I have tested the standard pressure 9mm and the .45 load. I began with a Glock 45 9mm pistol. I fired 60 rounds for accuracy and reliability testing. The loads fed, chambered, fired, and ejected normally. Recoil was not excessive and practical accuracy was good.
Average velocity was 1,060 fps. This makes for a controllable load. I also fired 60 230-grain .45s in the Les Baer Concept VI. Average velocity was 845 fps. Results were good and practical accuracy was excellent.
The muzzle signature was subdued, and the loads feature a clean powder burn. I fired a number of loads over the RCBS AmmoMaster Chronograph for velocity. Velocity was well within specifications and the standard deviation was low—a sign of good quality. The loads exhibited excellent quality control.
I also tested the loads for expansion in water. Water isn’t gelatin and overstates both expansion and penetration to a degree compared to ballistic gelatin, but this medium allows comparison of one load to the other on the cheap. The Remington loads exhibited a good balance of expansion and penetration without sacrificing one for the other.
If you do not have adequate penetration, you have nothing. Expansion of the bullet increases front diameter and makes for a larger wound channel. The single most important component of wound potential is ammunition integrity. The load must be reliable and feed every time. Shot placement is vital. Good shot placement may make up for power, but the reverse is seldom true.
|Load||Handgun||Velocity||5-shot group, 25 yards|
|Remington 9mm 124-grain Black Belt||Glock 45 9mm||1,060 fps||2.8 in.|
|Remington 9mm 124-grain Black Belt||Glock 34 9mm||1,108 fps||2.0 in.|
|Remington 230-grain Black Belt||Les Baer Concept VI||845 fps||1.5 in.|
|Remington 230-grain Black Belt||Ruger SR1911 Commander||780 fps||2.6 in.|
Notes: Accuracy is more than suitable for personal defense. These loads exhibit modest recoil. The emphasis is on control and good practical accuracy.
Expansion and penetration results, using water jugs
|Remington 124-grain Black Belt||18-20 inches||.55 in.|
|Remington 230-grain Black Belt||20 inches||.68 in.|
The Remington Black Belt is a good product that places reliability first. Accuracy is excellent and wound ballistics represent good penetration and expansion. This load is clearly a good choice for personal defense.