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How To Make A Ballistic Gel Block

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How To Make A Ballistic Gel Block

April 9, 2018 - customcollagen

Because ballistic gelatin is similar in density to the body, it’s used by law enforcement, the military, forensics professionals, hunters, gun manufacturers, and others to help predict the effectiveness of ammunition and related products, such as bulletproof vests.

If you’re a firearm owner or a hunter, you may want to use ballistic gel to test your own ammunition for performance factors such as penetration, retained weight, and expansion. Testing with ballistic gel can give you confidence that your bullets will suffice for self-defense, or that they can be expected to kill large game and not just injure it.

Here’s how you can create your own ballistic gel blocks.

To Make One Standard Ballistic Gel Block, You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds of ballistic gelatin powder
  • 1 6”x6”x16” cardboard mold (can be reused up to 2 times)
  • 1 plastic mold liner
  • 3 gallons (25.8 lbs.) of distilled water
  • A few drops of defoamer
  • A scale
  • A five-gallon bucket
  • A plastic floor liner to protect your workspace (optional)
  • A power drill
  • A stir stick
  • A thermometer
  • A utility knife
  • A 30-quart pot
  • A stove
  • A funnel
  • A timer
  • Oven mitts
  • A refrigerator

Important tip: Make sure you have the right kind of gelatin. Many brands of “ballistic” gel on the market are actually food-grade gelatin, which is significantly less dense than flesh and could skew your results.

Custom Collagen ballistic gel, on the other hand, so closely resembles human organ density that it’s even used to by medical professionals to calibrate ultrasound equipment.

Custom Collagen also offers a complete ballistic gelatin block kit that includes the gelatin, molds, liners, and defoamer all in one set.

Steps For Making Ballistic Gel Blocks

  1. Add exactly 2 gallons (17.2 lbs.) of the distilled water to the pot


  1. Heat the water to 160° F


  1. Add 4 lbs. of room-temperature distilled water to your 5-gallon bucket


  1. Add 12 lbs. of the heated water into the bucket with the room-temperature water


  1. Use the utility knife to open a 2-lb. bag of ballistic gelatin powder


  1. Slowly add the ballistic gelatin powder to the water in the bucket, mixing as you go to avoid clumps


  1. Add 2 more lbs. of heated water to the bucket to get exactly 20 lbs. of mix


  1. Fold and tape your cardboard mold into the proper shape


  1. Place a plastic liner inside the mold, extending it all the way into the corners and making it as smooth as possible


TIP: Part of the plastic liner will extend past the top of the mold. For the smoothest fit, don’t fold it down over the edges of the mold until the mix is inside.


  1. Every 15 minutes for 1 hour, slowly stir the mix for about 30 seconds at a time


  1. Let the mix cool for a total of 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the top from setting


  1. Use a funnel to pour the mix into the mold


  1. Add a few drops of defoamer to get the bubbles to go away


  1. If bubbles don’t go away immediately, wait a few minutes or gently use the stir stick to spread the defoamer drops across the surface of the mix


TIP: Don’t stir deeply, or the defoamer won’t remove the bubbles at the top.


  1. Refrigerate your filled mold for 3 days at 35° F, making sure it’s standing upright for at least the first 24 hours


  1. Slide your ballistic gel block out of the mold and peel away the liner


TIP: Use a utility knife to start a tear in the liner for easy peeling.


  1. Use your ballistic gel block within 20 minutes of removing it from the fridge


Cleaning Your Ballistic Gel Block Supplies

To clean your supplies, simply let the mixture dry and then peel it off. If your ballistic gel mix won’t peel off easily, you can also use hot water to melt it off.

Ready to make your own ballistic gel blocks? Get the highest-quality gelatin from Custom Collagen.

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