Penetration Testing DAG “Blue Tip” Training Ammo
With the ongoing pandemic, civil unrest, and the political situation causing a massive ammo shortage, I’ve found myself saving more bullets. In an effort to put more rounds downrange without putting myself into poverty, I decided to check out some surplus German blue tip training ammo. At 18 cents per round (in a case of 1000) these rounds were very affordable and I figured they’d take care of my plinking needs.
The DAG round is a 7.62×51 training round used by the German military. It’s made from a single piece plastic injection molded case with a steel head for extracting and housing the non-corrosive primer. It’s pushing a 10 grain plastic projectile about 3500 feet per second and is advertised to be accurate up to 100 yards. This cartridge is not a toy and should be treated with the same respect as a standard round.
Since this is training ammo, it has very light recoil. To me it feels like it recoils less than a 10/22. It won’t work in any automatic actions (with the exception of G3 rifles fitted with a modified bolt and carrier) so I’ll be using my Ishapore 2A1. It was sporterized by Navy Arms into a Jungle Carbine configuration.
To begin, I shot a 5 round group at 50 yards. It’s not a very good group and I’m willing to bet that’s myself and not the ammunition’s fault. The main thing I was looking for was keyholing, and there wasn’t anything of the sort. Just nice crisp circular holes.
I was interested in seeing how such a light and soft projectile performed in penetrating various objects. All shots were taken at 25 yards. I started with something easy, half inch pine board.
I put two rounds into the board and both went through. I was pleased with how cleanly these rounds were making holes. I next moved to a 2 inch thick board.
I put two rounds into this as well. The first shot clipped the side and made a pretty clean groove in the side of the board. The second shot hit closer to the center and the projectile got lodged in the board. This appears to be the limit of the DAG ammo’s penetration capabilities but I decided to shoot some other things to see what kind of damage it would do.
The next target was a sheet of 1/8 inch thick aluminum.
The first shot I took was high and to the right, after adjusting my aim I got a round right in the center of the panel. All things considered the 10 grain plastic bullet made a pretty impressive dent.
Next up was a sheet of .06 mild steel.
The first shot was right where I wanted it to be, this left a significantly smaller dent than the aluminum. Both sheets gave a very satisfying ring when they were hit.
To finish I took a few shots at a piece of 3/8ths inch mild steel plate. I had no expectations that the rounds would penetrate the plate but I did want to see if they would leave some sort of crater.
I put probably about 12 rounds onto the plate without getting it to ring. Frustrated I inspected the target and discovered that I was indeed making hits, the plate was just so heavy that the light bullet wasn’t able to make it ring anymore. The only thing the bullets really did was knock paint and dirt off. There was no cratering at all.
This is a projectile I recovered from the 3/8ths plate.
Through the course of fire I noticed a few problems specific to this ammo.
Hard Primers were the most glaring issue and were a problem throughout the day. I estimate I had one light primer strike every ten or so rounds. This wasn’t a huge deal but it would interrupt shooting strings.
Additionally a less annoying problem is that these rounds have a smaller diameter case head than standard 7.62×51, this means that they cannot be used in stripper clips. This was only a minor annoyance to me but I’ve heard that some people have had extraction problems due to this. I did not encounter any extraction issues.
Overall I’m pleased with how this ammo performed. Aside from the few downsides I pointed out this ammo was otherwise very enjoyable to shoot. It had light recoil and a low report so it’s easy to shoot all day long and for the price it’s financially possible to do it too. This makes it a good choice for teaching novice shooters as well.
As evidenced by the penetration testing, these rounds do very little damage to thicker steel targets. I was able to put rounds onto my rimfire targets without any damage to them, this is a huge plus to me as it gives me more plinking options.
If you have a hungry 7.62×51 bolt gun to feed this is a great option, I would however recommend buying a small quantity to test in your gun first to make sure that the primers are an acceptable hardness for your specific rifle and your expectations.
If you liked the penetration testing aspect of this article you might be interested in a similar article testing the penetration of M855 and M193 5.56 rounds.