ARX Bullets Reloading Review and Ballistics Test

Bob Shell does some reloading and ballistics testing with the innovative ARX Bullets.
Editors Note : Caution, ammunition reloading can be very dangerous, read our “Reloading Disclaimer“ .

ARX Test Bullets
ARX Test Bullets

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A couple of years ago ARX introduced some high-performance ammo using some new technology and bullet materials. The bullets are lighter than standard off the shelf parts and are made from some sort of resin utilizing no lead.

ARX Preferred Defense Bullets
ARX Preferred Defense Bullets

They are made for self-defense and with the higher than normal velocities, and the preformed shape should work well in that venue. I received some 38, 357, 40, and 45-auto bullets for testing.

The bullets are known as Inceptors and come in boxes of 100. They have RN [round noes] bullets that are a less expensive option for target shooting and offer loaded ammo as well. For info you can go to www.inceptorammo.com

ARX Bullet

The ARX bullet is unique in a couple of ways. It has a design that twists in flight which is supposed to aid in its intended purpose. The lead-free bullet is injection molded made from copper and a high strength resin.

lineup of ARX 45s from L, 45 Gap, 45 auto, 45 win mag, 45 Colt, 454 Casull & 460 S & W
the lineup of ARX 45s from L, 45 Gap, 45 auto, 45 win mag, 45 Colt, 454 Casull & 460 S & W

It is a proprietary design, so we don’t know how the bullets are made nor the exact formula used. The 45 bullet weighs 114 grains at an advertised muzzle velocity of 1300 FPS, giving it over 400 FT LBS of muzzle energy. The target version weighs 138 grains as a comparison. One advantage of a lightweight bullet is reduced recoil which enables rapid follow up shots. They are frangible and gives about a foot of penetration in ballistic gel. Being frangible there should be no ricochet issues, making it safer for populated areas.

The bottom line is how well will it do against an antagonist? Time and actual incidents will tell the story.

As of now, they are available in 380, 9mm, 40-auto, and 45 ACP. Later on, I imagine they will be offered in other chamberings. They have a variation in the 458 Socom and the 50 Beewolf.

There are a couple of other variations available, and hopefully, the bullet will be offered to handloaders. The ammo and bullets are made in the U.S. which is unusual these days. Here are my findings.

I have found that in some instances the ARX Bullets are too tight to chamber easily. They seem to be a little on the large side. The 357’s measured .3575 to .358 and the 45 measures .4525 or a little above. That isn’t much but combined with thick brass and a tight chamber the fitting problem may occur.

Therefore, when I just resize the top part of the case with the bullet seated it resolves the problem. Based on that I would recommend checking the chamber prior to taking them anywhere especially if they are going to be carried for social defense purposes [not recomended]. As a note if I go hunting or using any ammo for a serious purpose I always run them through the magazine and chamber to be sure they cycle. It is easier to fix ammo at the shop as opposed to in the field. I do that with everything even factory ammo fodder.

I don’t have a Socom, but the 45-70 should do well with such a bullet. They recently came out with a 90 grain .311 diameter for the 7.62 X 39 though it should work in other .311 rifles such as the 303 British, 7.65 Mauser, 7.7 Jap, and the 7.62 X 54 Russian. They have a line of target bullets. They have the conventional RN type ensuring that they will feed in anything. The material is the same, but the target bullets weigh more because a different mold and matirial is used. For low-cost target shooting, they provide a good option. Another site to find them is www.inceptorammo.com/tag/quantum/

ARX Inceptor Ammunition comes in factory loads also
ARX Inceptor Ammunition comes in factory loads also
Bullets Cast vs ARX
Bullets Cast vs. ARX: Two 45-70 bullets same size but the cast @ 400 is twice as heavy as the 200 gr ARX.

In my line of work, I do a lot of testing on ammo and the various components required to make a round. I get to observe over a period of time how various items work such as the brass. There are several quality brass makers and a couple not so much. As a rule, if available in that caliber I usually get Starline. I have found over years that their brass is consistent and works well. Their pricing is very reasonable, and if you haven’t tried that brand, I suggest that you do so. For info, you can go to www.starlinebrass.com/articles/archive.cfm for info. They always bring out new offerings so you might watch the website for changes.

Llama & Ruger were my two test handguns used.
Llama & Ruger were my two test handguns used.
ARX Reloads in 9mm, 380, 45-70 & 7.62 X 39
ARX Reloads in 9mm, 380, 45-70 & 7.62 X 39

The 7.62 X 39 is one of the most common rifles available. With a 90-grain bullet, it should be good for close range hunting and personal defense. With the lightweight it has a low sectional density which will limit is effective range and penetration. The bullet is the same size as a conventional 150 grain. Like some of the others, more ammo can be carried, and recoil is reduced. I shot a few from the Ruger at a rock at 50 yards. I was close and hit it though not scientific it shows possibilities. One other thing I noticed is not much dirt was disturbed which would indicate that it lost a lot of its power again not scientific but casual observations can tell you a lot if you know what to look for.

LoadRifle used in TestBullet WeightVelocityComment
11 grains TargetAK90 gr2209.09Very Consistent
13 grains BlueAK90 gr2153.91OK
18 grains 2400AK90 gr2480.67Consistent
18 grains 2400Bolt90 gr2568.56 Nice
20 grains 2400AK90 gr2619.5Consistent
20 grains 2400Bolt90 gr2668.44Nice
22 grains 5744AK90 gr2568.56Very Consistent
22 grains 5744Bolt90 gr2358.2Fair

With the diameter of .311, it should work with a full-size rifle such as the 303 British. The 303 British has been around since 1889, and the original load was 70 grains of black powder and a 215 gr FMJ. But it has adapted well to modern loads making it a useful hunting rifle. These 90-grain bullets should perform at closer ranges given their velocity potential. With that thought, we have made a couple of loads.

Load BulletVelocityComment
35 grains 574490 gr3156Very High ES
48 grains 416690 gr3146OK
The 38 77grs and 357 86grs bullets are available in ARX
The 38 77grs and 357 86grs bullets are available in ARX

The 380 is usually considered the minimum round for serious self-defense. With the typical ball and old style hollow points it leaves a lot to be desired. However, with a light bullet of modern design, it does show improvements.

LoadBulletVelocityComment
4.5 grains 24456 gr1431.5Consistent
5 grains Red56 gr1584.25High ES
ARX Factory56 gr1258Consistent

The 9 MM I loaded with the shellshock case with the 56 gr ARX. The purpose is to have an effective round that has reduced weight and recoil. So any loads mentioned here will feature the Shellshock case unless otherwise noted. With the Shellshock cases loaded weight of a round averages 95 to 95.5 grains. Since a typical 9 mm bullet weighs 115 to 124 grains, it doesn’t take much thinking as to which round will allow you to carry more ammo. With the velocity lack of weight should be a problem for the way they work. The ARX molded blades spin which will displace more material causing a larger cavity in the target. That will translate to better stopping power which it is intended for. The Beretta won’t cycle loads even at 2000 FPS probably a stiff spring

LoadBulletVelocityComment
6.5 grains 24456 gr 1998.13Did Not Cycle
7 grains 24456 gr2038Nice
7 grains 24456 gr1958.64Consistent
7.5 grains 23156 gr1756.2Mild-High ES, Did not Extract

In the last few years, there have been some lightweight bullets at very high velocities. It is not anything new as Glasser Safety slugs have been out for some years, and I have been making these types of bullets for over 30 years. Liberty Ammo produces some light bullets at very high velocities. The idea of these bullets is to use for self-defense where it isn’t desirable for excess penetration. They work in different ways but generally produce the same results. The ARX brand produces both ammo and bullets, and they have blades which would enhance wound capability as they rotate at a high velocity much like a boat propeller. I first discovered them at the SHOT show. We shot some 45 autos and they were accurate and reliable. Another advantage of light bullets is recoil reduction allowing better control of your gun.

Some 357 loads. I am working on a project involving quite a few 38 and 357 loads with both the self-defense and target bullets and upon completion will publish data along with the 10 and the 45 win mag among others.

LoadBulletRifle/ HandgunVelocityComment
38 Special, 10 grains Red77gr Handgun1864.1Fair
38 Special, 10 grains Red77 grRifle2205.33Consistent
357 Magnum, 11 grains Target86 grRifle1844.87Consistent
The popular 40 S & W is available with the ARX bullet
The popular 40 S & W is available with the ARX bullet

With the 40 autos, the 88-grain bullet makes a nice carry load. It is a very popular police round and is carried by many concealed gun permit holders. In the future more 40 and 10 mm, loading data will be provided with both types of bullets.

LoadBulletVelocityComment
10 grains Red88 gr1664.14Nice

In the 45 ACP, the ARX offers a 114-grain bullet. I chronographed it in three 45 autos so to have a good idea as to what to expect. Velocities are high, but recoil is mild because of the lightweight bullet. The # 1 & 3 pistols are Rugers, one has the aluminum frame but same barrel length. One is a Colt 1911 model with a 5 ” barrel. There are definite differences with mine showing the most consistency.

LoadBulletVelocityComment
ARX Factory (pistol 1)118 gr1758.5Super Consistent
ARX Factory (pistol 2)118 gr1734.22Consistent
ARX Factory (pistol 3)118 gr1657.1OK
8.5 grains Red118 gr1346.09Nice Load
10.5 grains Green118 gr1553.63Consistent
10.5 grains Green Dot118 gr1701.89HOT!

The 45 Colt round has been around since 1873, and it is better than ever. With some modern guns, heavy loads can equal the 44 magnum but only in modern guns. With a modern gun and rifles, it should be a good close range hunting load. Will be working on more 45 loads plus some 454 Casull info.

LoadBulletVelocityComment
ARX Factory118 gr1343.5 (handgun)Consistent
12 grains Red118 gr1544.5 (handgun)Mild
12 grains Red118 gr1909.5 (rifle)Good Load
8 grains Red135 gr1095.25 (handgun)Fair
8 grains Red135 gr1480.18 (rifle)Consistent

The 45-70 has been around for 145 years, and it just gets better with the passing of time.

200 gr ARX was made for 458 Socom but works fine in the 45-70
200 gr ARX was made for 458 Socom but works fine in the 45-70

With modern loads and rifles, it is one of the most versatile rounds in existence. With that thought, it seems natural to try some of the ARX bullets. With the velocities obtainable it should be a very formidable hunting round at moderate ranges. Due to its weight, it wouldn’t be suitable at very long ranges.

LoadBulletVelocityComment
25 grains Blue200 gr1776Mild
38 grains 2400 200 gr2610Better

Hodgdon Powder Company has recently brought out some new flake powders. I have a couple of projects using these powders including cast bullet loads for rifles. Anyway, they work well in many handgun rounds and are well worth checking out. For info on their extensive line of powders go to www.hodgdon.com

Just as a note here are some sectional densities comparing standard against ARX slugs. Sectional density is a mathematical formula showing a bullet's weight compared to its weight. It is one factor in determining the ballistic coefficient of a bullet. It is also a factor in how much a bullet will penetrate. The higher the SD, the deeper it will penetrate if all other factors are equal.

CaliberBullet WeightBullet Type (ARX Resin v. Lead)Sectional Density
45-70200 grainARX.140
45-70300 grainStandard Lead.210
45-70400 grainStandard Lead.280
9mm56 grainARX.064
9mm65 grainARX.070
9mm90 grainStandard Lead.102
9mm115 grainStandard Lead.130
9mm124 grainStandard Lead.141
9mm147 grainStandard Lead.167
38 Special158 grainStandard Lead.177
38 Special180 grainStandard Lead.202
38 Special77 grain ARX.042
357 Magnum86 grainARX.047
7.62x3990 grainARX.060
7.62x39123 grainStandard Lead.183
7.62x39150 grainStandard Lead.220
10mm180 grainStandard Lead.161
10mm200 grain Standard Lead.179
10mm88 grainARX.044
10mm90 grainARX.045
45 Auto185 grainStandard Lead.130
45 Auto200 grainStandard Lead.140
45 Auto230 grainStandard Lead.162
45 Auto118 grainARX.084

About Bob ShellBob Shell

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo. Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting, and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com.

  • 21 thoughts on “ARX Bullets Reloading Review and Ballistics Test

    1. Thanks Bob for a great article on an innovative bullet on which there is little information, let alone reload info. Great stuff! Detractors need to get 2 or 3 lbs of varied powders, a few hundred cases of 4 or 5 calibers, primers for each, set aside several weekends, lube up your reloading press and get busy. Post it when/if you’re done, but I won’t hold my breath for you couch-bound critics. None of you can provide what Bob has here and you need to tip your hat. Ancient Chinese proverb: “better to remain silent and thought a fool, than open one’s mouth and prove the point.” Ooops, I’ve said too much…..

    2. Would it kill AmmoLand to proof read articles it posts??
      Felt like I was reading an article written by a child.

      1. I have to agree. The grammar and punctuation was awful. This lack of professionalism in writing calls into question the content; if you can’t punctuate correctly, why should we believe you are any more accurate in your technical assessment?

        1. We!l kiss my grits, all you English teachers need to quit bitching the man is a reloader not a school teacher.
          Get over it.
          Now if you don’t like what I just said, as an old southern saying: Well bless your heart

          1. No, he’s a tech writer, writing about ammunition loading, errors about which can be dangerous or life-threatening. If typos are his stock in trade, then why should anyone put their or another’s life on the line based on his recommended loads? You simply don’t get it – this isn’t about whether or not he is Shakespeare; it’s about whether or not you can trust his data. Distractions from poor grammar reflect sloppiness of habit and absence of cross-checking, which is a deadly combination when you are talking about something serious like providing data on loading ammunition. There’s no room for that in this business, and a professional web site should have more responsibility and quality control than to allow it to go unquestioned, bless YOUR little heart.

      2. Isn’t the modern internet definition of “child” a “marginally educated pseudo journalist blogger”?

    3. I’ve reloaded the 200gr ARX for 458 and it works well.

      That said, every place that I used to buy the reloading bullets from says they are ‘discontinued’ now. Is there a new skew? Anyone know where I can find the 200gr ARX for 458 Socom now?

    4. I too thought it was a very well researched and informative article. I reload and if I decide to give them a try, this article is worth saving and could come in handy as a reference. The negative response (in my opinion) was a unneeded knee jerk reaction.

    5. Curious as to the spin groves in bullet. Do they create a right or left hand spin?
      What if the rifling of your barrel in in the opposite direction?

    6. I shot a few from the Ruger at a rock at 50 yards. I was close and hit it though not scientific it shows possibilities
      —————————————————————————————————————————————————-
      There is most likely a good reason there are no groups shown.
      Not showing any groups tells me a lot about the ammo.
      I guess Bob can not afford targets.

      1. For your info I did shoot some targets probably should have included a couple but at 15 & 25 yards the Inceptors were as accurate as a typical load, In other words they shoot well enough for most work. Of course some guns are more accurate then others

        1. You seem to forget … on the internet, if you don’t have pictures, it didn’t happen. Now, update the article with the group targets.

    7. This article is the absolute best and most thorough test and review of ARX ammo and reloads that I have ever seen. Congratulations Bob, a truly superb and outstanding job. I will keep this one in my library for future reference.

      1. Bob is not pitching. I have known him for several years. He loves to shoot and test all kinds of load/bullet combinations… he was very honest in stating that: “The bottom line is how well will it (ARX loads) do against an antagonist? Time and actual incidents will tell the story”

        Consider this…. Bob is an independent writer… he is not employed or paid by any manufacturer… as such, his only agenda is reporting the facts and results of his tests. A lot of other writers in the field would do well if they followed his lead.

        1. Well, “Doctor”, you are either blind or incapable of comprehending that which you read. No “writer” is independent of his work. His future earnings are decided by those who think that his work will bring in revenue. That’s the way it works. I am not saying that he isn’t a fine person, just that he is looking out for his own monetary interest as he also describes a product line. I find it abrasive even though most might not.

          1. @Roy D, I believe that he meant independent of any corporate affiliations. That is he is not on anyone’s payroll, that might effect his opinion. I also happen to know Dr. Clary, a former U.S. Army major, a dedicated researcher, and learned man. And Mary, his lovely bride, is his research partner. They know a lot about research methodology. You may want to rethink your criticisms.

        2. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for “Thor’s Hammer” results on bad guys. I tested the 65gr. +P load in 9mm, advertised at 1,620 fps. The load actually averaged 1,657 fps. out of my 4″ Springfield Armory XD9 Mod 2. There was very little damage done to the first or second of several water-filled gallon milk jugs (where the MOST damage occurs). If it isn’t doing damage there, it is very unlikely to do much inside of a bad guy either. Fad bullet. NEVER use reloads for defense; legal pitfall of the highest magnitude (even of they are more mild)!

          Stick with the Gold Dots, HSTs (except in .380 – poor results), Hornady Critical Defense (again, NOT in .380), Silvertips and (very good – most damage on target of all tested) MagTech Guardian Gold. The Hydra-Shoks are more not up to their previous standards for the most part. The only two that I found in any caliber that were worth using for serious work were the 9mm 135gr. Low Recoil and the .40 S&W 135gr. Low Recoil. All others failed to lend me confidence and some I could not even get to expand (and recover) in many attempts. Hornady Critical Duty is also quite poor.

          If you would like to see my results on more than 50 loads in 4 calibers (.380, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) give me a shout at either [email protected] OR [email protected]. I will soon be doing other testing, as well as running the best performers against windshield glass. I might do a video of those.

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