Finnish Hydraulic Press Channel is a well-known YouTube channel that puts various objects under the intense stress and pressure of a 150-ton hydraulic press for no other reason than to see what happens. Just last weekend they decided to see what would happen if they tried to pierce an AR500 steel plate with a few different objects including tool steel which is often used as the penetrator portion of armor-piercing ammunition. Although a lot of their videos can be predictable in their results, this one took me by surprise for a number of reasons.
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Hydraulic Press Channel Tries to Pierce AR500 Steel
The biggest question of the entire video is what is most important in determining armor-piercing capability, material, or shape? To test this question out they used 4 different pressing objects in an attempt to pierce through the 1/2-inch thick AR500 steel plate. A plate like this is rated to take up to .338 Lapua Magnum ball ammo with no problem. The four test objects were a steel nut, a ball bearing, a piece of high-quality tool steel, and a giant hydraulic spike.
The Steel Nut
The steel nut went about as well as you’d expect it to. Using a flat press head, the steel nut was easily crushed and turned into a very thin piece of scrap metal, and left no dent in the AR500 steel (the press tool itself bowed the metal out quite a bit). The AR500 Steel (called Hardox 500 Armor in Finland) has a Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) rating of 477-534 meaning it extremely impact resistant against high-velocity projectiles. AR500 is typically a high carbon steel (0.32% max).
Steel Ball Bearings
The steel ball bearings tested threw me for a loop. Two weird things happened during this test. First, the ball bearings exploded after about 100 tons of pressure was applied to the whole setup. The hardened press tool also suffered some damage as well with the ball bearing sinking into the head of the tool rather than piercing through the steel plate, however, when compared to the other objects tested, the ball bearings dealt the most damage.
The piece of tool steel (likely a drill bit shank) was the one that I would have expected to have the best chance of piercing the plate if anything. However, due to a combination of the odd angle and probably a massive lack of velocity the tool steel simply made a minor dent in the AR500 steel plate and failed to go through. However, the tool steel did survive the pressing and was only minorly deformed when compared to the next test. If the tool steel was traveling 3000 feet per second it would have likely penetrated the plate.
The spike was the ultimate test in shape versus material. Although the spike was shaped like a steel penetrator, the softened metal gave nearly instantly the second it made contact with the AR500 steel plate. The final result was a completely wrecked tool that the Hydraulic Press Channel was only able to use to crush a pink clay bunny.
The Hydraulic Press Channel eventually concluded that the AR500 Steel might be “bulletproof” but it is also “press proof” and that perhaps they should start making their tools out of the AR500 steel. Although most of us in the gun world know AR500 steel for its durability against high-velocity impacts from bullets, AR500 steel is also used for mining equipment as well as truck plows. Check out the full video from The Hydraulic Press Channel below.