Making your own Ballistics gel.
This recipe comes from Myth busters Adam Savage, he points out a necessary step when making it. It’s very cost effective to the newer no melt gels which seem to be very pricey indeed, I admit they are really nice and have a few more upside like not melting, but this is the most cost effective method if you shop smart- shop S-MART.
The ingredients you will need for this recipe are as follows.
Unflavored powdered Gelatin – this can be bought online or in stores, online would most likely be cheaper but shop around local none the less, local stores always need support.
cinnamon leaf oil
propionic acid – Caution,this is an acid and can be omitted if you choose, if you do use it please where chemical safe gloves when adding to mixture.
Items needed for mixing and making your gel mold
Drill, corded or cordless with a paint mixer, this will give you the best results for a mixture, and also save your arm from falling off from mixing.
Mixing buckets, assorted sizes.
Chemical proof or resistant gloves for the propionic acid.
Syringe, you can get this through most medical suppliers online or in a local pharmacy, it’s always good to support you local business’s.
A box lined with a plastic bag or any kind of mold as long as it doesn’t leak and will release the gel easily, you can make small batches to test release properties.
An old fridge in the garage if you have one, or a long drawn out argument with the miss’s about how she doesn’t want your shooting contraptions in the kitchen fridge. If you’re lucky like me and have A and understanding supportive wife that lets you do cool stuff like this or B a Spare fridge you decided to keep when she bought a new one because the old one just didn’t fit her sense of style any more, then you should be al set.
Mix ratio is 10 to 1, meaning 10 pounds of hot water to 1 pound of Gelatin powder. I’m not sure about volume measuring so I won’t use cup measurement.
Weight of 1 US Gallon of water = approx. 8.35 pounds, A pint of water is close to a pound so you can use 12 pints to 1 pound of powder etc. Mix as much or as little as you want as long as you figure out the proper ratio to the amount you desire.’
Heat the water but not to the boiling stage 160 to 170 ish will be fine. Pour the hot water into the bucket, at this point you will want to insert the paint stirring tool in the drill that you put I your drill earlier and start it slow to medium speed, then pour, do not dump the powder in while continuously stirring the whole time, continue stirring until the powder is well mixed and completely dissolved into the water. The drill with the paint stirrer is the step I mentioned above that is a necessary step, it thoroughly mixes the gel much better then hand stirring will.
Now pour the mixture slowly in your prepared mold, it will foam but don’t worry we’ll deal with that in a sec. After your pour is complete add a few drops of cinnamon leaf oil, a little works well and takes a few moments so no need to over do it, you’ll see the foam go away in a few minutes or less.
This part is optional, depending on how soon you will shoot your target I assume simply because the Propionic acid is a preservative for food, if you do add this wear chemical proof gloves and some type of syringe to add it and then gently mix it using a paint paddle.
Now your form is filled it’s time to refrigerate your ballistic target, place it in the fridge and let it set for at least 24 hours minimum.
Enjoy your shooting experience.
Important note, this ballistic gel needs to be kept cold until it’s ready to be used, it has a useable life span of 20 minutes before it’s properties begin to degrade or in other words it begins to melt. I would suggest transporting it in a cooler with ice to your firing range to maximize it’s life span.