Lightning Review: Lehigh Defense Multiple Projectile Ammunition

Lehigh Defense has put out some legitimately awesome ammunition so far in their short tenure.  When building a recent order from them however, I noticed a new product number.  This was their Multiple Projectile Ammunition.  Lehigh Defense advertises their MP (Multiple Projectile) ammunition as having the following traits and benefits:

  • Lead Free
  • Low Recoil
  • Reduced Muzzle Flash and Noise
  • 5 Projectiles totaling 280 grains
  • Velocity = 800 fps

Intrigued by it’s novelty, I decided to order one pack of MP ammunition to try out.  I chose the 280 gr, 5 projectile .44 magnum load.  Upon receiving the ammunition, the first thing I noticed was the copy on the front of the package saying: “Now Take That X6″.  I remain somewhat perplexed by this.  Were they referring to the fact that their MP ammunition would most likely be used in a 6-shot revolver, or was this a typo referring to how many projectiles are in each round, 5 in this particular load.

Wait, what?

Ballistic Breakdown:

The MP rounds are advertised as 280 grains total traveling at 800 fps from the muzzle.  Being that it’s difficult to divine the BC of duplex rounds, the BC of a complex round such as this is not advertised.  Taken altogether however, it translates to less than half the muzzle energy of a standard defensive load from a .44 magnum.  Ballistically speaking, this round already does not make much sense vs. a standard .44 magnum 240gr HP load.

Range Results:

The multiple projectile rounds chambered and cycled easily through my test platform, a Marlin 1894 chambered in .44 Magnum.  The low velocity of the round certainly translated into low recoil and noise.  One of my fellow range denizens commented “Sure is quiet for a .44 Magnum!”  Lehigh Defense claims the spread of the projectiles at various distances to be:

  • 15 ft: “Five wounds in a 2×3 inch grouping”
  • 25ft: “Five wounds in a 4×4 inch grouping”
  • 35ft: “Five shots in a 5×7 inch grouping”

My results were as follows:

  • 5 yards:  1.4″ group, 4 projectiles within .73 with one outlier.
  • 10 Yards:  6″ group (one round off target top left), 4 projectiles within 1.8″ with one outlier.
  • 15 Yards: 10″ group, pretty even spread between projectiles.

    5 Yards, note that most rounds impacted together

    10 yards, note the impact in the black to the top left

    15 yards, the three impacts in the black to the right of the target are from this round.

Shooting the rounds at steel plates at a distance of 10 yards also yielded some interesting results.   I fired a round at a 8″ steel plate on a Texas Star array .  To drive home how slow and soft-hitting these rounds are, I watched the main round softly blip off the plate and land directly in front of it, on the wooden railroad tie that was weighing down the target.  The impact did not even knock the plate off the star.  Examination of the main projectile and two recovered segments yielded some interesting observations as well.  Though the main projectile had rifling marks, the two recovered segments showed minimal engagement of the rifling, and almost zero deformation from striking the steel plate.  This leads one to conclude that minimal energy transfer took place, apart from the main projectile.  I also came away with serious doubts as to the ability of the segments to penetrate heavy clothing or tissue.

Conclusions:

While Lehigh Defense makes many impressive and useful rounds such as their Extreme Penetrator, the Multiple Projectile ammunition lacks utility.  Underpowered, inaccurate, expensive, and ineffectual, I cannot recommend anyone use this ammunition for serious defensive purposes of any sort.  Though multiple projectile ammunition is an interesting idea, it has rather limited utility in this incarnation.  This round reduces the lethality, accuracy and range of a perfectly viable .44 Magnum firearm.  Save your money for Lehigh’s excellent Extreme Penetrator ammunition instead.

 

Thanks to Tamarack Sports for logistical assistance





Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


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  • Sianmink

    Wow you’d think they could at least load this to 1300-1400fps, I have no idea why they’d make it 800! I have a feeling gel tests on this would be quite telling.

    • Jared Vynn

      Pressure concerns probably, it takes up much more of the case space reducing the case capacity.

    • Grendel Medlord

      280 gr. projectile is heavier than common for .44 Mag which would crowd room for powder. Then they made the bullet(s) out of some copper alloy, which is almost certainly less dense than led core, taking up even more case capacity. There’s probably not much space left for powder.

      Seems like they could have made it only 4 projectiles, which would reduce weight and increase room for powder, allowing for much higher velocities.

      It would still be a stupid product, just less stupid.

      • Publius

        Seems like a single 250 gr. bullet at 1100 fps would be more effective.

    • Leonardo Padrino

      800 is almost high Airsoft speeds ?

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    Every time you see ammo in pricy blister packs, run away…
    I’ve lost my respect for Lehigh Defense handgun ammo long ago.

    • Bucho4Prez

      Unless they are gun-show 12ga bird bombs, then buy all of them…

    • Hoplopfheil

      Packaging your ammo like Extreme Shock isn’t going to inspire confidence.

    • Anonymoose

      Even ye olde Safety Slug?

      • Hoplopfheil

        ESPECIALLY the Safety Slug!

        Manhunter was lying to us, it doesn’t guarantee a one shot stop.

    • tsubaka

      what about ammo in AA battery package that you could buy out of an IKEA or gas station a Sunday night?
      (okay terrible idea in term of safety)

  • Ark

    Ha, I’m pretty sure possession of ammunition that comes in a blister pack and says “Now Take That X6!” on the front automatically qualifies as malicious intent and/or premeditation.

  • yodamiles

    I personally like some of Lehigh products, but gun jesus that package is terrible.

    • Rusty S.

      Yeah it reminded me of the old flame-throwing shotgun shells.

      • iksnilol

        Those were cool at least.

  • JASON B

    The entire concept, the packaging, the horrific accuracy, even this review, makes little to no sense to me. I simply don’t get. I read it twice. Whatever.

  • gunsandrockets

    Dumb gimmick round. Which is a shame because the basic principle of a multi-ball handgun cartridge I think is a sound one.

    It’s not too hard to find youtube videos of handload experiments which produce good results. But those experiments use two lead pistol balls loaded into a revolver case, not five projectiles!

    With a magnum revolver, three projectiles is probably the upper limit of practical terminal effects, but even a .38 Special will work pretty well with two lead .36 caliber pistol balls.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    I think the X6 refers to the number of people who will carry you following the conclusion of any gunfight in which you choose to employ this ammo.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    280 grains? Decent weight I guess, but it takes up way too much case volume (Im 300gr XTP guy so 280 still is only “normal” to me).
    800fps? Extremely slow for a .44 load of any weight.
    $3/round? Very expensive even compared to quality .44 defense ammo.

    They probably could have significantly increased performance by removing one of the projectiles and replacing it with powder. But then again they could increase effectiveness even more by removing 3 more after that.

    All of a sudden the RIP isnt seeming like such a terrible choice…

  • No one

    Lehigh Defense made yet another stupid gimmick round that doesn’t work at all like described.

    Is anyone really surprised at this point?

  • derfelcadarn

    If you are in the market for multishot defense loads get ba shotgun.

  • Marcus D.

    Two things (individually or in combination), it seems to me, result in penetration: mass and velocity. When you take 280 grains and divide that into five separate projectiles, you end up with five 56 grain projectiles. Small mass. And with 800 fps, you do not have enough velocity to make up for the loss of mass. Just the spec tells me that the round is a useless self-defense projectile, and this test unsurprisingly proved it. Much better off with a single solid projectile,

  • Ben Warren

    By the time I am done opening that stuff, I’d be sorely tempted to use the contents on whoever thought that selling ammunition in clamshell packaging was a good idea.

    Bet it’s mandated ammunition packaging in California.

  • Rimfire

    Does make one wonder the effects from a short barreled handgun compared to the rifle? Just not impressive rounds, the proverbial solution in search of a problem…

  • raz-0

    It’s just like the quadramaxim (sp?) from way back in the late 80s. That was IIRC a .357 wadcutter profiled round with four disk shaped projectiles stacked on each other.

    It too performed like ass.

  • Threethreeight

    At this rate, Lehigh will be out of business in no time!

  • Colonel K

    Lehigh Defense MP ammunition, when you absolutely, positively want to piss off your attacker.

  • Most self defense encounters are less then six feet. Guess what even a projectile at 300 fps can kill someone at that range. A steel plate is a bad idea as to how to judge the effectiveness of a range. You need a freshly killed pig that is less then an hour old to determine the effectiveness of rounds fired into it at close range.

  • Matt Collins

    A “new” product number? The Lehigh multi-projectile ammo has been around since 2011. It was one of the first few offerings, along with the max expansion and controlled fracturing rds. They originally had a .45acp load as well, but dropped it after the first several months due to under-performance apparently. The 44mag, .44spl, and .45 Colt were there from the start for the multi loads.