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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