Cor-Bon "Pow'R Ball" High Performance Ammunition
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn


Cor-Bon Bullet Company in Sturgis, South Dakota has just added a whole new  meaning to playing Pow'R Ball. It has nothing to do with playing the lottery, but deals with the ammunition upon which you may someday bet your life.

Pow'R Ball is a new line of high performance defensive / offensive  ammunition. It will be first available in .45 ACP Plus P with a 165 grain bullet leaving the muzzle at around 1225 feet per second. The speed of the projectile from a .45 ACP is impressive enough, but the design of the bullet is what separates Pow'R Ball from the other high performance ammo on the market. 

The new bullet design is different from anything else available, but seems so simple that it is amazing that it hasn't been done before in handgun ammunition. The bullet has a large cavity in front into which is inserted a polymer ball. The ball basically serves two functions. The first is to promote smooth feeding in autoloading pistols. The ball gives the bullet the shape and nose profile of hardball ( full metal jacketed )  ammunition, assuring that this ammo will feed in any handgun which will feed hardball. The smooth plastic nose slides right up the feed ramp with nary a hang-up.

The second function of that polymer ball, is to drive into the hollow cavity upon impact, initiating expansion of the bullet. A problem that plagues many hollowpoint designs is that upon shooting through heavy clothing, the hollow cavity becomes clogged with fibers and performs as a solid instead of a  hollowpoint. Realizing that while some  violent crimes are perpetrated in the nude, most are still committed by people who are at least partially clothed, making the problem of shooting through heavy clothing a real one. The cavity in the Pow'R Ball design cannot become clogged as can other hollowpoints, because it is clogged already. However, the difference is that the polymer ball promotes bullet expansion, instead of inhibiting it.

After seeing the prototype of this new ammo at the 2001 NRA Convention in  Kansas City (see article at NRA Annual Meetings 2001), I initiated a carefully planned strategy of crying and begging the good folks at the Cor-Bon booth into sending some of the ammo to me for testing. They eventually took pity upon me and promised a supply as soon as they could run off a batch.

For testing purposes, I gathered five different .45 ACP handguns along with my Pact chronograph and headed to the shooting bench. The guns used for testing the ammo were a new Glock Model 36, a Custom built 1911 by gunsmith Richard Binkley, a Norinco 1911A1, and a pair of Smith & Wesson autos; the Model 4505 and Model 457. This group of auto pistols was used to test the functioning of the ammo as to feeding, extraction, ejection, and bullet velocity. The following are the results of the velocity testing with all values given in feet per second:

Binkley 1911 - 1208 fps
Norinco 1911A1
- 1230.2 fps
Glock 36
- 1095.7 fps
S&W 4505
- 1201 fps
S&W 457
- 1125.6 fps

The range conditions were 92 degrees and sunny. Velocity readings were taken at 10 feet from the muzzle.

As can be seen from the chronograph results, the velocity listed by Cor-Bon is right on for the five-inch barreled guns, as my velocities were instrumental at ten feet from the muzzle. The short barreled Glock lost a little over 100 feet per second, but still produced a good 1095 fps. That is excellent speed from such a short barreled .45 ACP.

Functioning in all five guns was flawless. There were no failures of any kind. All ammo fed, fired, and ejected from each gun.

To check the penetration and expansion of the Pow'R Ball bullets, I fired a few into an aged Tennessee country ham. For those not familiar with this type of ham, it is a whole rear leg and rump from a mature hog that has been salt-cured and aged to the point that it contains very little moisture and has a thick, tough skin and dry meat. Much like your typical hardened criminal. The ham was wrapped in a cloth sack similar to burlap. The destruction to the wound channel in the meat was awesome. The bullet that I fired into the heavy bone section penetrated seven inches of meat before hitting the bone, pulverized the bone and traveled another three inches before stopping on another bone. This type of performance is just about ideal. The bullet retained 85 percent of it's weight, at 140.1 grains, including the polymer ball. The bullets which did not hit the main bones were not recovered, completely penetrating the meat and tough hide.

After confirming that the ammo would indeed function through the various  auto pistols, I proceeded to fire groups for accuracy. From the Binkley 1911, I fired two five-shot groups at twenty-one yards, each measuring one and five-eighths inches. The S&W 4505 did almost as well at just over two inches. The other guns were not fired for accuracy.

With this new Pow'R Ball ammo, I think that Cor-Bon has a useful improvement over most conventional hollowpoint ammo. Many guns just will not reliably feed the wide hollowpoint ammo, but the Pow'R Ball feeds very well indeed. While firing the ammo in five different guns is by no means conclusive, it is a very good indication that this stuff will feed.

Pow'R Ball ammo gives shooters another choice in premium ammo to carry for  personal protection. I believe that it is a  good choice. When you holster your weapon to carry armed, you are betting    your life on your hardware, your ability, and your ammunition. With this new ammo from Cor-Bon, you are hedging the bet in your favor against ammo failure.

For now, the Pow'R Ball will be available in .45 ACP 165 grain, followed by a 200 grain loading. It will soon be available in all popular cartridges for defensive handguns. 

In a gunfight, as in the lottery, somebody's gonna win......might as well be you!

Jeff Quinn

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Author used these guns in testing the Cor-Bon Pow'R Ball .45 ACP (top to bottom): Custom 1911 by gunsmith Richard Binkley (with custom hand-scrimshawed polymer ivory grips by's own Boge Quinn), Smith & Wesson Model 4505, Glock Model 36, Smith & Wesson Model 457, Norinco 1911A1



Entrance wound into the tough hide of a Tennessee Country Ham.



Wound channel in ham shows the awesome tissue destruction wrought by the Cor-Bon Pow'R Ball .45 ACP. Excellent terminal performance such as this was consistent throughout author's testing.



Bullet and plastic ball recovered from ham are representative of the consistently excellent expansion qualities of the Pow'R Ball ammunition, with 85% weight retention through tough bone, muscle and hide and well over 50% diameter expansion. A perfect "mushroom" every time!



Exemplary accuracy was achieved from the Cor-Bon Pow'R Ball .45 ACP and Binkley 1911, with 1-5/8" groups at 21 yards. The S&W 4505 was not far behind in accuracy using the Pow'R Ball ammo.



The Cor-Bon Pow'R Ball .45 ACP +P ammunition is a potent loading, with great terminal performance and accuracy in a round that feeds like hardball. This lends proof to the lottery slogan, "Pow' R Ball, somebody's gonna win......might as well be you!"