X-Ring rubber bullets come in 3 calibers which are 38/9mm, 44, and 45, and can be found at many online retailers. These bullets are an affordable way to practice drills and target shoot in the comfort of your own home. I believe that most shooters will want to get some reloading equipment to replace the primers more easily. I used an inexpensive Lee hand press (pictured below) for the review and it worked great.
The dies pictured are some that I bought separately but you can find dies for your caliber at the same retailers that sell the hand press kit and rubber bullets. This is not necessary to get started but it certainly makes it easier. The only tools that you really need are 1/16" punch, 3/16" punch, and a hammer to replace the spent primers. Primers and spent brass from your gun are the only materials that you really need for the bullets.
If you opt to use a die set for the reloading process then you should only need a single stage press or a classic style of die that doesn't use a press. The expander and seating die aren't necessary because the bullets are rubber and can easily be compressed. All that I do is run the case through the re-size die, then prime it, and finally push the bullet in.
Although not necessary, I recommend opening up the flash hole in all the cases that you intend to use like the lower case in the picture above. This will prevent primers from setting back when fired like the top case in the picture. Once you have opened up the flash hole on a case do not reload full powered ammo in it.
Accuracy was somewhat of a concern for me when I started testing these bullets. My concern was that a flyer may cause a dent in the drywall while aiming close to the edge of a bullet trap. So a friend and I shot some groups really slowly to ensure exact point of aim. The following targets represent the accuracy we both believe the rubber bullets are capable of.
The target above was shot at 8 feet from muzzle to paper. This target was shot 20 times with the 9mm size bullets out of my full-sized XDm-9. As you can see, the group has a few flyers that are concerning, but all bullets are on the target. This next target was shot at the same distance with the same gun. The groups have 5 shots each.
At first glance it may seem like the second target does not replicate the type of group seen in the first target, even with 25 shots. However, when comparing the distance and location of the point of aim to point of impact from all 5 groups they are very similar.
The 45 caliber bullets were also tested for accuracy with very similar results. The following target represents 30 shots from my full size 1911 at the same distance of 8 feet. Ten shots are in the center group and 5 shots for the other groups. Outlined in the photo is one shot that was quite far away from the point of aim which was the upper left dot. After inspecting the torn paper and the cardboard behind it, we came to the conclusion that it key-holed.
The 44 caliber bullets were not tested but similar results would most likely be obtained. The bullets seen in the picture below are reminiscent of an air rifle pellet. In the photo, the 9mm bullets are on the left and 45 bullets to the right. The 45 auto case in the photo is a steel Tula case. I have not had any problems with steel cases, but if you are going to use them make sure they are boxer primed.
The ability to manually cycle the firearm with a loaded magazine is severely limited because the bullets sit flush with the mouth of the case. I found that it was possible with my XDm if the mag is only half loaded. My 1911 will not cycle them at all.
The bullet trap that I used is one that I built. It consists of a thick cardboard box that I cut 2 thin slots in the top of and draped pillow cases through the slots. The box has been shot approximately 200 times at the writing of this review and has let only one shot go through that missed the cloth material.I would recommend these bullets to someone that would like to get some practice time in at home. I personally use them to practice home defense drills at actual home defense distance (literally in my home). They are great for firearm familiarity and pickup drills because you only get one shot and can easily see the shot placement.
With that said, these bullets are not to be considered a toy. If you got shot with one it would probably draw blood but not penetrate the skin. I did not get a chance to chronograph them but I would guess the velocity to be around 400 fps. They are also not a replacement for actual time spent at the range with live ammo.When considering these bullets you have to think about the other options you have. The biggest competitor to these bullets are wax bullets. I think that these bullets are superior in service life but what I really like about them is they aren't as messy as making wax bullets. I think that the X-Ring rubber bullets are a worthwhile investment to the serious shooter because: they are accurate enough to use for drills, they are easy to reuse as opposed to wax, and they are inexpensive to practice with.
I put some of the 45 cal bullets through a chronograph in 45 ACP cases, prepared as described above. A 20 shot string yielded the following data: Avg 545.55 fps, high 586 fps, low 506 fps, extreme spread 80, standard deviation 27.04 and average deviation 23.41. My guess of 400 fps was a little on the conservative side I guess.