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Cor-Bon’s Pow’rball Loads

by Phil W. Johnston   |  September 24th, 2010 2


The 9mm penetrated the ballistic gelatin 103⁄4 inches deep and expanded to .58 inch.

Started almost 20 years ago by Peter Pi, Cor-Bon got off the ground by providing high-velocity handgun loads. Today, whether the need is hunting ammo or ammunition that will save your life when things go bad, Cor-Bon has a load for the job at hand. The company concentrates on high velocity, +P loads that generate maximum energy downrange. In that light, while peter pi says that everything takes place within the SAAMI envelope, be advised that you’ll quickly note that you’re shooting something “different” when you touch off a rig stuffed with these loads. They are designed for use in quality firearms in good condition.

It comes as no shock that the most effective load on the street relies on a well-designed, expanding bullet delivered at the highest velocity possible. While no results can be guaranteed with any ammunition, velocity is indeed one of the most important ingredients in the mix. Throw in a bullet that expands reliably, transferring energy in the process, and you’re off to a good start.

Getting a high performance bullet to feed in every semiauto on the street, 100 percent of the time, is another matter. That’s the major impetus behind “hardball” round-nose ammo choices these days. While hardball will feed in just about any semiauto, these loads get little respect where stopping power is concerned. An expanding bullet is necessary to transfer maximum energy and a softpoint or hollowpoint bullet does this best.


The 135-grain .40 S&W bullet penetrated 11.5 inches in ballistic gelatin and exhibited classic expansion. Note the polymer ball that starts the expansion process.

When a soft lead point or gaping hollowpoint leads the way into the chamber, the violent chambering process often results in some amount of bullet deformation. While accuracy might suffer to some degree, at seven to 10 yards this is of little concern; of greater concern is the possibility that function may be adversely affected by a deformed bullet.

Cor-Bon’s answer to the dilemma hinges on a new round dubbed quite appropriately, Pow’rball. This load features a huge hollowpoint that is filled with a polymer ball during the final swaging process. Plastic or polymer has a natural lubricity that tends to aid feeding while it also resists deformation. This fresh design also tends to ensure reliable expansion over a wide array of circumstances. Since this hollowpoint is already filled with plastic, there’s less chance that the point will be distorted by something else on the way to the target.

Cor-Bon currently catalogs half a dozen Pow’rball loads, all of them aimed at the semiautomatic world. Cor-Bon’s 9mm and .357 SIG load is stuffed with a 100-grain bullet driven to 1,300 and 1,400 fps respectively. The list also includes 10mm, .40 S&W, and .400 Cor-Bon loads that rely on a 135-grain Pow’rball bullet driven at roughly the same velocity. Cor-Bon’s .45 ACP load launches a 165-grain slug at just more than 1,200 fps. Recently I got the chance to take a look at two of these new Cor-Bon loads, the 100-grain +P 9mm load and the 135-grain +P .40 S&W.


The recovered .40-caliber bullet expanded to .753 inch and retained virtually all of its weight.

The test rig for the 9mm portion of this test hinged on a proven S&W 5906 TSW. The target and bullet trap were set up 25 yards downrange. Advertised to do 1,300 fps at the muzzle, this lot of 9mm Pow’rball ammunition left the 4-inch 5906 averaging 1,445 fps, 15 feet from the muzzle–about 11 percent above the advertised number. There were no malfunctions of any kind during the limited range session.

The load was impressive in ballistic gelatin, as well. From 10 feet, the 100-grain bullet penetrated 10 3/4 inches, generating an impressive permanent cavity along the way. Carrying a suggested retail price of $13.40 per 20 round box, this appears to be a load to depend on, if a 9mm is the chosen arm.

I ran the .40 S&W Pow’rball load through an IMI SP21 with a 3.9-inch barrel. In ballistic gelatin this load exhibited stellar performance as well. The 135-grain bullet penetrated 11 1/2 inches in the test medium, leaving a large permanent cavity in its wake. Unlike the 9mm, this .40 projectile exhibited a curved wake in the gelatin, but the recovered bullet otherwise exhibited classic performance, weighing 134 grains, having expanded to .753 inch in the process. This Cor-Bon .40 S&W load carries a suggested retail price of $17.75 per 20 round box.


Shooting Results: Cor-bon Pow’rball
9mm S&W 5906 4-inch barrel
Velocity
(fps)
Energy
(ft-lbs)
Group Size (inches)
Smallest Largest Average
1,445 464 2.99 5.89 4.51
Penetration in 10% ballistic gelatin: 10 3/4 inches
Recovered bullet weight: 99.2 grains
Recovered bullet diameter: .753 in./188%
.40 S&W IMI SP-21 3.9-inch barrel
Velocity
(fps)
Energy
(ft-lbs)
Group Size (inches)
Smallest Largest Average
1,326 527 2.17 6.11 4.38
Penetration in 10% ballistic gelatin: 11 1/2 inches
Recovered bullet weight: 133.7 grains
Recovered bullet diameter: .753 in./188%
Velocity/energy measurements on Oehler 35P chronograph at 15 feet. Five-Shot groups fired at 25 yards

  • doyle kling

    i have a glock 23. i am 70 years old and have arthritis in my shooting hand, i can shoot 10-15 rounds
    without a problem before i have to quit. what weight bullet for self defense can i use to be able to shoot
    multiple (if necessary) rounds with a quick follow up for multiple shots. could you recommend a
    jhp round for self defense and a round for training purposes. respectfully, doyle

    • Jesse Mathewson

      Get a glock 19 and shoot 124 grn speer gold dot NOT plus p

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