View Full Version : Bullet Identifcation

03-05-2009, 15:27
Had a case last night that operatively had devastating injuries due to the attached bullet....anyone know the type/manufacturer of this one...
not one I have dealt with before.
It is not a HST, SXT or PMC Star. Any assistance would be appreciated.


03-05-2009, 16:43
The fully enclosed base should narrow it down, check some of these out (click on the photograph to enlarge):


Item Number 9 looks close, note the groove in the center of each wedge of expansion. And a gold dot in the center.

Do you have a weight?

03-05-2009, 16:46
I would guess Black Talon. I thought it had been banned.

Ambush Master
03-05-2009, 17:02
It looks like the 9mm +P 124 Speer Gold Dot. #53617 in CSB's link. In the upper photo's it is #10, not 9, but in the individuals, it is #9.


Did it have a Lead Core or was it a Solid Alloy??


03-05-2009, 18:04
It looks like the 9mm +P 124 Speer Gold Dot. #53617 in CSB's link. In the upper photo's it is #10, not 9, but in the individuals, it is #9.


Did it have a Lead Core or was it a Solid Alloy??


That is what I am thinking, I have some of those.

03-05-2009, 19:22
I finally found the detective today that worked the case. Speer ammo and judging by pictures as well as one from my collection of 6 recovered from bodies (patients), I guess it is a gold dot.
None of my previously recovered ones openned like this one...the leaves/petals usually bend back around the bullet and haven't remained on a horizontal plane. The detective said he'd call me back after he gets the bullets out of the gun...his info was based on the case recovered at the scene that said 9mm speer.
Typical of wound ballistics, bullets react differently in different tissues NOT as gel demonstrates they'll do in tissue simulant.

03-05-2009, 19:24
I would guess Black Talon. I thought it had been banned.

the talons and sxt's have a separation plane between jacket and core...this round did not

03-05-2009, 19:32
I'm wondering if it didn't pass thru a winter jacket with a lot of polyester fill.
Slowed it down so it didn't get a chance to wrap the star "wings" back to the back.

Must have been a spectacular hole... :eek:

03-05-2009, 19:33

In CSB's link there is also a view of the bases, your cupped base projectile tracks to the Speer #53617/#10:


Team Sergeant
03-05-2009, 19:49
It looks like the 9mm +P 124 Speer Gold Dot. #53617 in CSB's link. In the upper photo's it is #10, not 9, but in the individuals, it is #9.


Did it have a Lead Core or was it a Solid Alloy??


It sure would be easier to identify if all that red stuff were not on there.....:D

Also, it might or might not be one of the same rounds that will be found in the remaining mag, tell the det. to make sure he checks the head stamp on the spent casing to compare.

Ambush Master
03-05-2009, 20:19
I'm wondering if it didn't pass thru a winter jacket with a lot of polyester fill.
Slowed it down so it didn't get a chance to wrap the star "wings" back to the back.

Must have been a spectacular hole... :eek:

If not through a jacket, any other obstacle or at what range was the engagement?? On the Speer site, one of the things that they say can be found here:


The pro-jo is designed to maintain it's performance even when fired through a variety of barriers!! I agree, it looks like it was slowed down.

The Reaper
03-05-2009, 20:23
I agree, it is a Gold Dot.

Hollow points are designed to function and expand within a limited velocity range. Too slow, and it may not open fully, and strangely enough, may penetrate further than the same projo at a faster velocity. The designers want the bullet to operate across the broadest range possible, but there is not too much need for a pistol JHP to function at more than 100 meters, or a high velocity hunting or varmint round to function at 10 meters, so they compromise. The pistol rounds are the most sensitive, due to their generally slower velocity and more limited range. A specific defensive JHP pistol bullet is intended to launch from a certain barrel length (say 5") at 1000 fps. It can be produced with the ability to function properly across a 300 fps velocity range. If it launches at 1000 fps MV, and slows down to 700 fps by 75 meters, then assuming acceptable accuracy, that becomes the effective range of that round, in that weapon. A hit by that bullet at the center of its intended velocity range should be the most reliable and most destructive, with optimum expansion and penetration. There is no need for the bullet to function and expand properly at 1100 fps, so it starts working (expanding) at 700 fps, reaches its optimum expansion and penetration at 850 fps, and begins to fragment, lose integrity, and underpenetrate at velocities above 1000 fps. Below 700 fps, it functions as a ball round, with little or no expansion. This means that the round will have a more limited effective range from a shorter barreled weapon, like a 3" barrel rather than a 5". Conversely, if someone makes a 16" barreled carbine for our round, the range of maximum effectiveness may actually not start till 75 meters and end at 150 meters. The results of impacts outside that optimum range will be less effective and more prone to over (or under) penetration and irregular performance with regards to expansion.

Obviously, shot placement remains the key to the above issues. Not too many people walking off headshots, regardless of the performance parameters and design of the bullet. Environmental factors like temperature, clothing or intermediate barriers, location of impact into various tissues and structures of the body etc. affect performance as well.

I would say that in the case above, the round was at its sweet point on impact and functioned exactly (and nearly perfectly) as the designer intended.

Just my .02, YMMV.


03-05-2009, 20:42
Just reinforces the decision I made years ago (after the BS about the Black Talons exploded) to use Gold Dots exclusively for my "social" rounds. Hopefully this came out of a "goblin"?

Ken Brock
03-05-2009, 21:52
I would say it's a Gold Dot but not a +P

The +P versions I've seen fold back onto themselves like a ball

03-06-2009, 09:11
Expanded as perfectly as it is, I can't imagine it hit much bone. That must have seriously tore up some gut.

03-06-2009, 16:17
no jacket, no shirt.......
No bone. Entrance wound mid-upper abdomen and pointing to the right. Hot stomach, large and small intestine, inferior vena cava and came to rest just under the psoas muscle on the right. dead in the operating room but not for lack of trying......

This round penetrated ~11 inches and opened as was designed, not as indicated by gel shot I've seen where the leaves bend back around.
I have always found gold dots to expand reliably in human tissue...having seen on x-ray or recovered about 60-70 of them, all have opened as designed, some more than others but no failures to date unlike alot of other ammo I've dealt with


Odd Job
03-07-2009, 09:54
As others have said it is a Gold Dot with characteristic bonded core and jacket.
However there have been several Gold-Dots over the years. Have a look at these two, fired in a water tank out of my Vektor CP1 (same distance):


The projectile on the left is a 115gn Gold Dot, old design. The one on the right is a newer 124gn Gold Dot.

Here are X-rays of the two projectiles, I suspect that SS is more used to the appearances of the projectiles labelled '2' than labelled '1.'


The reason for the difference in expansion behaviour between the two projectiles above is entirely due to the difference in projectile design. Here are the projectiles, unfired:


Both projectiles have a fully jacketed concave base.
A word of caution about headstamps: these projectiles aren't always discharged from a SPEER case. The 124gn above was indeed in a SPEER +P cartridge, but the 115gn was loaded in an IMI case!

There is also the possibility in some cases that the projectile has been handloaded.

I exchanged some emails with an ATK representative a few years ago, asking about the history of projectile number one and the fact that it was loaded in an IMI case.
I will see if I still have those.

Ambush Master
03-07-2009, 10:06
A word of caution about headstamps: these projectiles aren't always discharged from a SPEER case. The 124gn above was indeed in a SPEER +P cartridge, but the 115gn was loaded in an IMI case! There is also the possibility that the projectile was handloaded.

Black Hills also uses the Speer Gold Dot!!

Odd Job
03-07-2009, 10:30
And Double Tap...
I'm not sure when Speer licensed the loading of their projectiles by the other companies, but I suspect it was some time after the 'old design' pictured in 1 above.
I'm still looking for those emails from about five years back.

03-08-2009, 14:09
odd job,
thank you....education noted and it is appreciated. Newer design, but do you happen to know when. I've retrieved gold dots from people for a long time and this is the first one of the "old design" that I have seen.


Odd Job
03-08-2009, 16:39
SS it is my pleasure, but I don't think I have solved your case entirely: your projectile there has a larger base cavity than mine. So unless it isn't a 9mm it might be a different 'old' version.

I have found some emails between myself and Coy Getman, dated February 2004. It is easier if I just paste them here. I'll put my stuff in yellow italics and the responses in blue...

Dear Speer

I am a radiographer doing research into ballistics and I recently got a bag of loose cartridges from a guy in JHB and fired them in a water tank. I also bought the latest Gold Dot cartridges in 9mm +P and fired those too.

My question is this: in the bag of loose cartridges there were two Gold Dots with a different nose configuration from the new ones I bought. They were loaded in brass cases stamped IMI 9mm Luger +P. I have pictures of both samples, unfired and fired. I want to know whether you still make both types of bullets in 9mm, and what the difference is between the two. I could send the pics if I knew where to email them to. Can you help me with this please?

Brandon: we have from time to time enhanced or "tuned" the bullet profile to enhance its performance. Without a Lot number, it would be difficult for me to tell from the nose cuts on when the ammuntion was produced.

Shoot Straight!
Coy Getman
CCI/SPEER Tech. Service Coordinator
800-627-3640 ext. #5351
Fax: (208) 799-3589

There is a lost email, titled 'For Mr Getman, Part 1' in which I sent him pictures of the two cartridges I had.
But I have found the pictures, these are them:



Dear Mr Getman


This is sample 2, a Gold Dot that I got loose in a bag
of assorted cartridges. Note the brass IMI case. I
don't know if it is a reload or if it is genuinely not
a +P load. I only had two and I needed to fire one of
them in a water tank, which I did in South Africa.
Anyway, I am London now and I don't have access to the
tools and scales I had in South Africa, so I am having
difficulty in establishing what kind of Gold Dot
sample 2 is. I also had to leave the other cartridge
in SA because I couldn't bring it to London. Could you
please answer at least these questions:

1) What weights were these bullets manufactured in?
2) Are they still produced?
3) Does IMI have a license to produce cartridges
loaded with those Gold Dots, or is my sample likely to
be a reload?

I really appreciate your help in this regard. I am
building an X-ray database of retained bullets in live
gunshot cases and I need to establish what I should
include in the database as current ammunition, and
what I should disregard.



Brandon: This answer is a bit tougher. We have in the past sourced cases from IMI, but with a Speer headstamp. What I suspect is that IMI sold someone, most likely a "custom loader" their cases and the Gold Dot bullets were loaded in those cases.

We did on occasion find an IMI case with our Speer headstamped cases, a guess on the frequency of that is about 1 per million, for you to find 2, is highly unlikely. A look at the primer appears as if it "could" be ours and we did sell primers to IMI, so this could have been primed cases that IMI sold to the custom loader.

Now to answer your specific questions: We make 9mm Gold Dot bullets in 115 gr. 124 gr. and 147 gr. All but the 147 gr could be in +P or +P+ in the case of the 115 gr.

We currently make all of the above listed bullets and sell them loaded, as well as component bullets.

To my knowledge IMI has not had a license to load Gold Dot bullets. We have sold component bullets to a number of "custom loaders" but have restricted the use of the Gold Dot name. I would say the sample (if it does not show resizing die marks on the case) is loaded by a custom loader with our bullet and IMI cases.

I hope that answers your questions. Coy

Dear Coy

Thanks for solving the problem of the IMI case in
sample 2. I just want to know one thing: is the bullet
in sample 2 (which is diffeent from the bullet in
sample 1) still produced by Speer? If so, what is its
weight? I'm trying to ascertain whether I can expect
to see these type 2 bullets in circulation or maybe I
just got two old samples.

Thanks, I appreciate your help


Brandon: The bullets changed as far as the nose cuts in mid-August 1998, the new iteration has been out since then. You should only see the new variety since that time. As I say that, I have had calls for reloading data on bullets we haven't produced since 1978 and they were purchased from the store shelf in the last 2 weeks. As you can see these items will surface from time to time.

I did speak with an old friend who was the Product Line Manager for Speer bullets until 1993, he did not know of sales of Gold Dot bullets to IMI prior to that. in another conversation, the bullet engineer said we had not sold bullets to IMI as far back as he could remember... about 1990.


So it looks like the old one in my samples is a 1998 vintage at the latest.
I would be hesitant to guess what yours is though, but it appears from the emails that these Gold Dots have a long and varied history which makes radiological and physical examination in these cases a bit confusing at times!

And that all assumes one calibre. If you go to other calibres, they are different again. Have a look at a .25ACP Gold Dot. It's the cutest thing you'll ever see but looks nothing like its bigger brothers.

Odd Job
03-08-2009, 17:29
Hmmm, I am not so certain anymore that yours is an old version.

The reason why I doubt myself, is because of the attachment of the petals to the base.
If you compare the retrieved projectile from surgery to the new Gold Dot in my pictures, it has the same V shaped spacing between the petals.
When I look at the old version (on radiograph and in the photo) I see a U shaped spacing.

So I'm not so sure anymore.