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Air Guns Shooting Mr. Jelly Chuck: Part One

Shooting Mr. Jelly Chuck: Part One

Clear ballistic gel groundhog 3-D target.

This report covers:

  • Today’s test
  • Denny
  • The tests(s)
  • Uniform target
  • Start testing
  • Daisy 499
  • Springfield Armory M1 Carbine
  • What we now know
  • The Diana 27
  • Walther LGV Challenger
  • The reason I stopped
  • Summary

BB asked for help with this Ballistic Gel target and you gave him help. As expected, 75 percent of your comments were ludicrous, but the 25 percent that were legit gave me some great ideas.

Today’s test

Actually there might be two tests today, it all depends on the outcome of the first one. Before we proceed there are some things I need to clarify. First, I’ll tell you about the the test I hope to conduct. And before that, a word from Denny.


My neighbor, Denny, told me the chuck is just a simple target and all people want to do with it is shoot at it. Bang — whack! He also agrees that for $73, it’s way too expensive for just that.

I told him that I expected for that price I would  find a mold in the box with the target, so that after 50 shots or so we could melt it down and recast it. In the past I told you that Denny worked on the B2 bomber and the C17 cargo plane projects, but what I may not have mentioned is, he is a pattern maker. In other words — he made molds!

He talked me through the process of making a mold to recast Mr. Jelly Chuck, once it got shot up. It took him five minutes to go through the process one time with me being quiet, so I asked him how long he thought it would take to make a mold for this guy — 40 man-hours? No, he said, more like 100.

I had thought this might make a great blog series and perhaps some of you might follow along and make your own molds, but forget it. If it’s going to take 100 man-hours to make a mold then nobody will do it — even if Yogi urges them on or Fish explains how molds are made faster in Europe!

The tests(s)

The test I will conduct today will be the penetration of various projectiles that hit the target at various velocities. Someone suggested shooting a Daisy 499 at it. Now, we know from testing that my 499 shoots a Daisy Match Grade Precision Ground Shot at 240-250 f.p.s. According to Army experiments done in World War II, that’s too slow to even break the skin — not that it won’t hurt a lot and will break softer tissue like that which covers eyeballs. So, what will it do to Mr. Jelly Chuck? We shall see, and BB will be wearing safety goggles.

Next I will select a higher-powered BB gun like my M1 Carbine from Springfield Armory. Daisy Premium Grade BBs average 413 f.p.s. from this gun. That’s not quite double what the 499 does, but it’s in the neighborhood!

Now I do also have the $100 PCP that’s capable of launching a BB at more than 900 f.p.s., but since I am the only person on this planet who owns a gun like that, what’s the value of a test? Yeah, I know — curiosity. Well, as the man in black said to Inigo Montoya in the movie The Princess Bride, “Get used to disappointment.”

After the two BB tests I will start testing pellet rifles. I think I’ll begin with my Diana 27. 

Wait a minute, BB! The Diana 27 is a .22-caliber pellet rifle while the first two BB guns are both just under .177 caliber. Won’t that make a difference? I really don’t know. But what it does do is make my test(s) start to branch apart. Now I also need to test the penetration with different calibers — hopefully shooting at the same speed.

In my Diana 27 the RWS Superpoint pellet averages 468 f.p.s. in the Diana 27. WAIT A MINUTE, BB! You want to use a pointed pellet? Won’t the shape of the pellet make a difference in penetration? Possibly. We branch apart again. Do you see what I meant when I said there could be more than one test today? In fact I think both of these things — caliber and pellet shape — need to be tested. But maybe not all on the same day, because BB wants to get some sleep tonight!

To keep things reasonably similar I shot RWS Superdomes instead of Superpoints. Domes are round like BBs. I’ll assume they also average 460-470 f.p.s. because I really don’t have any test data for them after the last tune on that rifle. But both pellets weigh the same and both are made by RWS, so one should be pretty close to the other.

When we get to that point in today’s test I’ll make a call as to where we go from there.

Uniform target

To test relative penetration depths we need all projectiles to impact the target in a place where they will encounter a uniform depth of ballistic gel. Take a look at Mr. Jelly Chuck. The only thing uniform about him is his lack of uniformity! Whadda we do? Well, I have a thought.

Build a Custom Airgun

Start testing

To test today I’m selecting a small portion of the relatively flat bottom of the target and I plan to shoot just for penetration, without caring about caliber, though within each caliber I will shoot the same pellet to maintain a sense of normalcy. Let’s just start and see what happens.

Daisy 499

First to be tested was the Daisy 499 with Precision Ground Shot. According to the US Army tests in World War II, the velocity of the BB from this gun is too slow to even break the skin. It takes at least 300 f.p.s to do that. Since ballistics gel is supposed to be like flesh I’m betting it won’t even leave a mark, or if it does it will be a very small dent. To see that, I positioned the camera so it would take a downward angle shot on the base of the target. That way maybe we can see a dent if there is one.

gel target base
This is the target base before I shot it with the 499. I know it’s hard to tell what you’re looking at but here goes. This is a glancing shot, looking down on the base of the target. The top edge (highest that’s closest to the camera) is the curved line in the top half of the picture. You can see the table the target sits on at the bottom right of the image. That’s about 10 inches from the camera lens.

gel target base 499 1
This is nearly the same view after I shot the gel target with the 499. See the blue arrow that points at a small hair on the target? The 499 hit just to the left of that arrow point. I don’t see a mark.

gel target base 499 2
In this view I have enlarged the target base even more. See how the small hair has grown? But still no sign of a BB dent in the gel material.

I must conclude that the BB shot from a Daisy 499 with the muzzle held about one-half-inch from the target base did not leave a mark. The Army data is correct.

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine

Moving up to the M1 BB Carbine from Springfield Armory, I know that this CO2-powered BB gun shoots Daisy BBs at an average 413 f.p.s. What does that do to the target?

Well, going that fast the BB does penetrate the gel. It is next to impossible to photograph the BB inside the gel, but I did try.

gel target base Carbine 1
The BB shot from the M1 Carbine BB gun went into the gel target. The blue arrow points to the entrance hole. The yellow arrow points to the BB inside the target.

I tried to photograph the BB inside the target, but no matter how I positioned the camera it didn’t work. So I took a 2mm Allen wrench and pressed it into the hole until it touched the BB. I can see through the gel very easily. The back of the BB was just under one inch inside the target.

gel target base Carbine 2
I inserted the Allen wrench until it stopped on the BB. Then I pinched it where it entered and took this picture. That’s just under an inch of penetration.

What we now know

We know that 250 f.p.s. is too slow to penetrate a gel target. And it’s also too slow to kill any living thing bigger than a large insect. And we know that a steel BB going 400 f.p.s. goes into the gel about an inch. What we don’t know is what a heavier and larger pellet will do when it goes in about 50 f.p.s. faster. That comes next.

The Diana 27

Next to be tested is the .22-caliber Diana pellet rifle. I’m shooting RWS Superdomes that weigh 14.5 grains. That’s close to three times the weight of the 5.1-grain steel BBs. This time the pellet that left the muzzle at about 460 f.p.s. went into the target about two inches. Not only was there penetration, the pellet also opened up a small shock wave in front of its nose.

gel target base Diana 1
You are now looking at the right side of the target — not the base. The pellet went in and stopped at two inches (blue arrow). The entrance hole is at the yellow arrow. The red arrow on the right points to the shock wave.

gel target base Diana 27 2
That’s how deep the Diana 27 pellet went in. It’s almost exactly two inches.

Walther LGV Challenger

The .22-caliber Walther LGV Challenger is the last rifle I tested today. I will explain why as we go.

I never chronographed the Challenger with Superdomes, but .22 Premiers that are made from hardened lead and weigh 14.3 grains go out at an average 587 f.p.s., while soft lead Hobbys that weigh just 11.9 grains average 664 f.p.s. Let’s be conservative and guess that soft lead Superdomes go out at 600 f.p.s. Keep in mind that the Diana 27 put them out at around 460 f.p.s., so this is the same pellet going 140 f.p.s. faster.

This time the pellet penetrated the target almost 4 inches! Yep, 140 f.p.s. more speed resulted in almost twice the penetration. That tells me something more about the gel target. It can’t take a lot of energy, if you want the pellet to remain inside. In fact, that could even be another test by itself! What happens when…

gel target base LGV Challenger 1
Diana 27 pellet (blue arrow) and Walther LGV Challenger pellet (yellow arrow). 

gel target base LGV Challenger 2
The pellet from the Walther LGV Challenger went into the target the full depth of the Allen wrench plus about a quarter-inch more.

The reason I stopped

That, my friends, is why I stopped this test. I had no idea that such a small increase in velocity would have such a dramatic affect on the pellet’s penetration. I need to stop at this point and listen to your comments, plus I need to ponder this some more.


Well, given how I tested today I think I’m going to get all hundred shots in this target before reaching the end and perhaps more. Thank you for your comments. I’m so glad we took the time to think this through!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

68 thoughts on “Shooting Mr. Jelly Chuck: Part One”

  1. Wow, the uneven surface of the target does make the photography of the projectile difficult.

    Since ballistic gel is “supposed” to be an analog for human tissue, I am surprised at how deep the pellets are penetrating at those velocities.

    We know hollow point pellets don’t really expand in soft tissue until a certain velocity is reached, but maybe a test of other pellets like Polymags, or other “exotic” pellets to compare penetration depth with similar weight diabolo pellets at median velocities.

    But you might have to shoot the gel target from top to bottom, to give enough time in the gel to stop, as the width of the animal will quickly be insufficient.

    Just a thunk…


    • BB
      Like Ian says some exotic pellets but coming out of a really fast .177 rifle. It’s time to see what a Gamo combo can do. I mean a magnum with those rocket fast going pellets that everyone admires, and buys, at PA or the large stores. Shooting from top to bottom should be necessary or maybe broadside with a piece of plywood after the target. That could teach something useful to all.

        • BB
          As I suggested a classic first buy for most new to airguns; A Gamo,.177, Magnum with the branded high speed penetration pellets. I hope you understand my sense of humor but it’s the reality, as you have pointed out many times.

          • Bill,

            What good is +500 FPE if you cannot hit what you are shooting at?

            That is the problem with those “first buys” and why so many dabble with those types of airguns and leave them in the closet.

            I was one of the fortunate ones and bought for my first air rifle a .177 Gamo CFX after reading BB’s opinion of that particular air rifle. After some modifications, much shooting and several different pellets, I was able to put ten shots in a group at 25 yards that you could completely cover with a dime. It was VERY hold sensitive and took a LOT of concentration to accomplish that.

            I was happy to see her go to a new home, but there are times I do miss her.

            • RR
              Your comments were exactly my point. The blog subject I proposed would prove some truth to all those “first buy” airgunners, even the inaccuracy of supermagnums, among other things.

              • Bill,

                It is most unfortunate that the vast majority of them will not seek out and / or listen to those who have more experience with airguns. They first need to learn that they do not know what they are doing. Then, if they continue with airgunning, they will start researching and asking questions. That is when they show up here.

  2. So how much lead would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck lead.
    Sorry just had to do it….
    100 hours, phewy. 1/2 in plywood box, insert greased wood chuck, pour Plaster of Paris over, let cure, cut in half.
    2 halfs make a whole mold for future woodchucks.


  3. Dear Readers,
    A Crosman 5.1gr copper coated steel BB traveling at 107m/s, or 349fps, or at 1.4ft# of energy will just penetrate the skin of my palm, but not remain lodged in the flesh.
    At some point I thought it important to test this. What we do for science.

    • Mike,

      Or how about the airgunner who held his palm over the muzzle when he discharged a lower-powered pellet rifle at an airgun show. Safety first, was his battle cry, followed by a long, “Owwww!” 😉


        • RR,

          It happened at a Roanoke airgun show, so you may have been and just didn’t know it. He had to go to a hospital emergency room to get the pellet out.


            • Mike, Tom and RR,

              He’s lucky he didn’t break a bone. Carpals are pretty tough, but a pellet, especially a .22, could have quite an impact at an inch or less, even from a low-powered air rifle. I once shot a .177 felt cleaning pellet from a tiny Slavia Minuteman. I pointed the muzzle into an empty steel coffee can, and the felt pellet put a rather deep dent in the bottom of the can.


          • Tom,

            I probably shouldn’t bring this up, but was that the same year a certain someone shot a ceiling tile? :^) (Don’t answer that with a name in the answer, please.)


  4. Tom,

    Would the surface of the gel become smoother if exposed to a heat gun or hair dryer? Just a thought that might make a regular surface out of an irregular surface.

    What kind of mold did Denny end up making? A simple square mold?


      • Tom,

        You mentioned about Denny talking you through the process. I was just thinking that once this Gelatinous Woodchuck gets shot up you can melt him down and recast him into a simple mold so you can continue your experiments. Hmm maybe you can use a Saran wrap lined baking tin for that? Of course I don’t expect the gelatin to remain clear after recasting.


  5. B.B., we can print a sand mold where I work. I don’t know if the tooling companies we work with would have a treatment that could withstand the heat of the gelatin, though. Our cores are either for metal and destroyed, or treated and use for polymer injection.
    But you can get a mold for less than 100 man-hours.

  6. BB,

    The future use of a rectangular mold for recasting is a good idea. Calculating the volume should be interesting.

    At some point, possibly after Mr. Jelly Chuck is recast, the penetration test of the slingshot versus the small Steambow AR-6 crossbow (or the Sen-X) should be performed.


  7. BB, I can understand this may be considered a legitimate blog item considering the company that sent it to you, and I’m sure it will be a nice diversion from your normal blog topics, but I’m having a hard time believing this was not intended to be an April Fool’s Day blog delayed. And from what you mentioned, I’m not alone.
    Why the unusual shape, and somewhat opaque design if it is truly a ballistic jell penetration test. And one that is not truly representative of a small furry pest with bones all over the place.
    What will we learn from this that we don’t already know? Unless we plan to shoot someone in the belly with an airgun after we ask them to lift their clothing up first.

    If it is considered an airgun / ammo comparison test, I don’t think it’s a practical way to go about it.
    But I will be interested to see where you take this. A highly unusual item for Airgunners. If it really was intended for us in the first place. More power to you!

    • Bob

      It would appear that a buyer at PA, thought to corner the part of the market that likes shooting at animals that don’t bleed (and have a lot of discretional income,,, the people not the animals)

      I doubt that he is correct, tho. I suppose there are a few rich shooters looking for a novelty to show their friends,, but I am not one of them,, and from reading, here, I don’t think many are.

      Still, I hope that it sells well enough to help keep PA in business,, since they are the ones hosting this blog. I will admit that if it were the only way to keep BB writing, I might consider one.


  8. BB

    PA has Professor Chuckwood (yet another name) and several other clear ballistic gel offerings listed in their catalog I received yesterday. At $3.50 per pound the turkey is $.50 per pound less than the professor. Ballistic gel is expensive so there may be a real market somewhere. I just don’t see commenters on this blog paying for it unless it can be recasted over and over. It appears to me PA is trying to locate a market they should have done do-diligence on before carrying inventory.

    Just my 2 cents. Whadda I know?


  9. 3 possibilities:
    1) Re-gift it. It’s impractical for photographing any results. And results won’t be as “scientific” or repeatable as using block gel
    2) Deep freeze it then video record blowing it up with the most powerful airgun you can get
    3) If you insist on using it for experimentation but keeping it in recognizable form, maybe use it to test BB, pellet, dart, slingshot ball, etc. penetration through various coverings, e.g., polyester fabric, ballistic nylon, kevlar, etc.

  10. If you go with the rectangular shape, try to make the cast surface as smooth / clear as possible. FYI according to Google (however accurate that is) the melt point of ballistic gel is somewhere between 200F and 270F. Too hot and you risk breaking down the polymer chains and creating a mess.

  11. This is nothing if not interesting…..
    I have to confess I have a real urge
    To shoot it with a DAQ .308 pistol or rifle
    Using a patched gummy bear.
    I don’t know I guess maybe it’s my cooking background.
    Given the extreme heat in Texas, I am more than a little impressed that it is not a puddle at this point. Frank B

  12. The manufacturer of Jelly Chuck make two “hardnesses” of ballistics gel, 10% and 20%. 10% is the FBI standard, while 20% is the NATO standard. I presume the woodchuck is 20% as shootski has reported it has a shelf life of 5 years. To me your tests suggests that the potential penetration of BBs and pellets in lower powered air rifles is significantly greater than many of us have long thought. Of course, penetration and expansion are two different things. I suspect even a soft lead pellet at sub-500 fps will have little or no expansion. Of course BBs, even at 600 fps, will have no expansion.

    None of these should be shot at a living thing as the results would be inhumane, to put it mildly. Feral pop cans and even feral soup cans, however, are fair game! :^)


    • Michael,

      A few corrections to your Reply:
      Mr. Jelly Chuck is listed as 10% and since he is SYNTHETIC and not ORGANIC he has a rated Shelf Life of 5 years but no environmental conditions of storage are given which is problematic.
      Additional information: The the product is shipped direct from the manufacturer and not from the PA warehouse saving PA additional overhead and direct expenses.

      Aside: Has anyone told you about the benefits for eye health by supplementing with the amino acid TAURINE?
      Taurine is found in greatest concentrations in the human body in the eyeball. Worth a look/search and asking your Opthalmologist about.


      • shootski,

        The Clear Ballistics website says of the woodchuck and other animal targets that “Clear Ballistics gel requires no special storage.”

        Thank you for the tip regarding Taurine. For the past month I’ve been taking 1000mg of Taurine supplement every other night before bedtime. It is found naturally in the dark meat of turkey and chicken, just like L-Tryptophan and darker meat oily fish. Like L-Triptophan it also helps folks fall asleep and tends to give sleepers especially vivid and fantastic dreams. I can report it does that to/for me.

        The other night I had a vivid dream I was hiking in a beautiful natural area. Suddenly I realized I was in the middle of a herd of buffalo! I got very frightened, especially as one brushed its side up against my face. I woke with a start to find my cat Jerry had just walked across my chest and rubbed his fur across my face! That is absolutely true, I swear. (And you might remember I’m the guy who long ago dreamt a spider was walking across the palm of his hand and reflexively clenched his fist, only to wake up and find a spider squished between his fingertips.)


        • Michael,

          I didn’t bother to tell you about the DREAMS…LOL!
          “…tends to give sleepers especially vivid and fantastic dreams. I can report it does that to/for me.”
          They will only get better!
          I have supplemented with Taurine for a long time at the 3,000 milligram dose (3 Grams) and it is very interesting how much quality research is being done about the amino acid’s effects on humans; especially how beneficial (after age 30) it is as we age and our natural production and uptake wanes.
          There are a few countries and organizations that ban Taurine for various reasons, mostly faulty conceptions, about sport enhancement cheating.

          For those others reading this far DO CHECK WITH YOUR HEALTH CRE PROVIDER this is not medical advice to start your personal supplementing with Taurine.


        • Sometimes, FM is convinced, dreams are messages. The morning of the day when his dad passed away, woke up to a disturbing dream where father had insisted in getting into an elevator at a building which was not recognizable, yet seemed familiar. He went in, despite entreaties for him to get off because “he had no business being there.” As the lift started going up, FM started trying to stop it by hanging on to the elevator floor edge from outside but, as it was being lifted up, saw a huge, black rectangular void underneath, so jumped off and barely made it without falling in.

          Saw some men dressed in brown work overalls and asked them to help find dad. “Don’t worry,” said the one who seemed to be in charge, “we’ll find your dad.” After a while they returned, looking dejected; the boss said, “I’m sorry, we could not find your father.” “What do you mean you could not find my dad?” said a depressed-feeling FM who at that point woke up. Something nudged him to say a prayer – “Lord, I’m not ready for my father to leave us but if that is Your will, Your will be done.” Did not say a word to Mrs. or anyone else about the dream, just knew it was ominous.

          About 10 hours later, around 5:30 PM, FM’s “little” sister, who lived with dad, calls to say “paramedics are on the way because dad has apparently suffered cardiac arrest.” They tried reviving him to no avail, and he was taken to Mercy Hospital in Miami FL not far from the house, where he was declared deceased around 6:00 PM. A few days later drove by the hospital with Mrs. and it hit FM the building was the same one seen in the dream. Told the wife and the siblings about the dream after the fact; never would have thought the events seemingly foretold would have come to pass on the very same day.

          Note: not on medication, do not drink much, don’t do drugs, smoke pot or engage in other questionable recreational behaviors; also not taking Taurine or any other sleep-aiding substances. In fact, FM sleeps pretty well – well, most of the time.

          • FM,

            When my grandfather died, and I mean at the same moment he died, of a heart attack 100 miles away, my father had a very simple dream of him laughing in the kitchen, and even though at that age he would have been unable to manage it, he then playfully jumped over a kitchen chair, laughing the whole time. Perhaps twenty minutes later the call came that he had died of a massive heart attack.

            Have to go, tornado warning just now.


  13. Here’s a potential money-making opportunity for PA or anyone else who might want to try entrepeneurship – why not make ballistic gel targets in the shape of nefarious characters from history, both present and past? Just another mindless, disturbing idea erupting from FM’s hollow-head; never mind.

    • FM

      Your idea just gave me a thought that might make what you imagined very profitable. Rather than the nefarious character from the past,, use present day figures.

      Consider how well a Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden cast in Ballistic gel would sell. Or even one resembling Trump for the gun loving liberals. Even the non shooters could have the fun of heating up the figures to watch them melt.

      As you see, you are not the only one who has strange random thoughts.


      • Ed,

        I think the seller might be subject to having his sales records subpoenaed by the DOJ followed by a visit from the Secret Service!

        For nefarious historical figures, Pol Pot, Pinochet and Ceaușescu might be uncontroversial, but for the most part . . .


      • Oh, here’s another deceased, infamous person: John Wayne Gacy. He is especially reviled here in the Chicago area. But many are controversial. Take Al Capone. My wife’s grandpa knew him personally and liked him. My dad used to work with a fellow whose father worked as a groundskeeper at Capone’s Lake Geneva estate. He said Capone was a good boss who paid well. Who knew?


  14. Apologies for being totally off topic, but I need help identifying this Mendoza. Marked “Magnum” on right rear of tube and “Mendoza” on left side. .177.Hole in trigger guard suggesting that the single trigger might be adjustable. Rear peep seems unusual , since I haven’t found pictures of another one. Thanks for any information.

    • fishoot,

      Nobody cares about staying on topic on this blog. Just keep the conversation civil as we have parents reading the blog to their children around the world.

      As for that Mendoza, I haven’t see one like it before. Does it have a gas or steel spring?


  15. BB
    I don’t know about the spring, it’s at a LGS. I’ll go back and
    find out more. My blue book mentions a “Model Magnum”
    ,but the description doesn’t match. It does mention a barrel
    mounted pellet holder that might be the gadget on the
    barrel in the picture. They also mention a “Model
    Competition”. I wondered if this might be the same series
    of rifles. I’ll report back what I find out at the LGS. fishoot

  16. B.B.
    very cool report. I always see firearms projectiles fired into this stuff, but not really air guns.
    One bb gun that could have been used for a common “high power” bb gun is the Umarex Cowboy Lever Action. At 600+ fps it’s screaming along for a bb shooter.

    Thanks again,

    • Doc,

      Do you mean the Umarex/Legends Cowboy Lever Action? I have an Umarex/Walther Lever Action, and it is pellets only. The Daisy 880 is pellets or BBs, and shooting BBs, it has a muzzle velocity of 750 fps.


      • Michael,
        yes the Cowboy Lever Action (BB only). I didn’t really consider the Daisy 880 because it’s a rifled barrel. I’ve shot many and these types do good for me with pellets, not so good with bbs.
        Oh and I love those Walther Lever pellet shooters. Wish they were still around and they weren’t so high. One thing I like about them is they don’t take the “shells”. Those are cool for revolvers, but in the rifle they eject out where ever. A lot slower loading too then yours.


  17. B.B. and Readership,

    “The reason I stopped
    That, my friends, is why I stopped this test. I had no idea that such a small increase in velocity would have such a dramatic affect on the pellet’s penetration. I need to stop at this point and listen to your comments, plus I need to ponder this some more.”

    Is where you will find the answer to your conundrum. Any time multiplication is involved things don’t evolve in a linear fashion.


    PS: the A is where the velocity comes into play. And MASS the M is the real way to express the “weight” of the moving pellet. The F is for FORCE which is QED…
    (quod erat demonstrandum) which sometimes is translated as Obvious to the Most Casual Observer.

  18. Well I am not a writer so you will have to excuse the grammar in this answer as it going to be a little long! Ahhh I have a writer living next door, I will make him my editor.
    First you have to make a follow board that follows the parting line around the woodchuck. This requires that the woodchuck parting line is held in a level position. Then cut plywood to follow around the shape, with (3) 1/2pin locating holes. No you can’t then make a simple box and pour plaster. Why because all the plaster would end up on the floor. Next using wood putty or something similar seal all the gaps between the plywood and the wood chuck. Yes you could use tape but its going to have all kinds of creases and wrinkles. Build a box for both halves of the woodchuck and seal with a wood sealer. Grease (2) ½ pins, insert into the holes in the parting board. Clamp the box to your parting board. Hope you made the parting board big enough. Mix thick plaster and paint a coat on the well waxed wood chuck. Then mix a batch of plaster with straw or some kind of strengthing material, pack the box. Remove the parting board and repeat the plaster process. Note plaster shrinks at the rate of 1/8 per foot.
    Tom I am coming over!

    • Yay! That will make a great blog.
      DIY gelatin molds.
      Bulk gelatin looks to be about $15.00 per pound (0.5kg) online.
      12% is that pound in a gallon of water (4l). All I need is a mold!

  19. B.B., sawdust1, others, and Decksniper,

    This commenter will probably order a ballistic gel powder from Clear Ballistics.
    I did find some more information about their product:
    “…shelf stable from -10F / -23.3C thru 95 F / 35C, completely odorless & colorless, it is colorable from transparent to solid color, contains no organic materials, and can be exported to any country. Our synthetic gelatin originally intent was for terminal ballistic applications…”
    They also have a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) as well as remelting and remolding instructions to download.
    I have seen a number of comments about bones, skin, and fur having effects on performance. Those concerns play a role but the ability to baseline new projectiles, Power Tune and Loading data is what i would look for. Yes you can imbed bones, cover with skin, cover with cloth, or even armor which would be of very narrow interest as well as applicability due to all of the variables.


  20. B.B.,

    Sorry wrong formula provided earlier for penetration conundrum.

    KE = 0.5 • m • v2

    where m = mass of object

    v = speed of object

    Is the correct formula for you to PONDER.

    For some really DEEP PONDERING:
    This equation reveals that the kinetic energy of an object is directly proportional to the square of its speed. That means that for a twofold increase in speed, the kinetic energy will increase by a factor of four. For a threefold increase in speed, the kinetic energy will increase by a factor of nine. And for a fourfold increase in speed, the kinetic energy will increase by a factor of sixteen. The kinetic energy is dependent upon the square of the speed. As it is often said, an equation is not merely a recipe for algebraic problem solving, but also a guide to thinking about the relationship between quantities.


    • Shootski,

      The kinetic energy formula makes sense for a lot of reasons, but I suspect that it might not be the best to evaluate penetration. Slow and heavy projectiles (i.e. heavy caliber black powder) outperform faster and more energetic ones in that department. I think that sectional density (mass/cross sectional area) and speed are better predictors.

      Recently I made a few tests using clear soap – easy to melt and mold and cheaper than BG – and was surprised at the results. I don’t have enough data points yet to make educated comments but I found that the effect of pellet shape is more significant than what I was expecting, both in terms of cavity and penetration. These were 0.177 pellets and hollow-point slugs of similar weight and driven to similar velocities.

      More to come. Unfortunately, with 105°F in my garage, it will be a while before I continue.


      • Henry,

        I see where you are headed…but will the Sectional Density or Form Factor effect be Exponential?

        Sounds like the HEAT in your garage is….

        Need to get AC and an air curtain out there!


        • “Need to get AC and an air curtain out there!”
          LOL! Yes I do! My other hobby is woodworking and it is suspended too.
          Maybe it is time to get some quotes.

  21. A good mold for making these type of targets are the two piece aluminum cake molds of animals for baking novelty cakes. I have a rabbit one somewhere. I’m sure some enterprising soul could make ones of zombies and other animals and sell the whole works as a kit complete with gel mix.

    Still, I think that shooting gel is a waste of time to judge pellet effectiveness , in this case a woodchuck. As you say no hide bones or organs. So, all you still have is a expensive target that will test pellets penetration in ballistic gel. To me this is like the marketing of “tactical” BB guns .

  22. You can also use melt an pour soap, to make ballistic test samples.
    Seems to make very good test samples…….and is reusable and cheaper.

    Here is the info,


    Numerous photo’s on this post,


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