.38 Hornady Critical Denfense

.38 Hornady Critical Denfense

This is a discussion on .38 Hornady Critical Denfense within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently ordered I box Of non +P 110 grain from cabelas and noticed that the primer were seated low. I decided to take a ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array anj4657's Avatar
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    .38 Hornady Critical Denfense

    I recently ordered I box Of non +P 110 grain from cabelas and noticed that the primer were seated low. I decided to take a few rounds to that range and test them out. I know I should have done it anyway....but now I always will. I shot 5 rounds. First 2 went off fine, I noticed only alittle more felt recoil than the winchester white box I was comparing them too. 3rd round, click no bang. 4th fired fine, and the 5 click no bang. I put rounds 3 and 5 back into the cylinder and round 3 fired the second time through. round 5 never fired after three atempts. the pistol used was a Smith 642 that I purchased new and so far only about 200-250 rounds through. I have had this problem before with the same pistol but with some cheaper reloads. When I compared my box of Critical Defense to a new box they had at the range I noticed that the primers went different. (my box was brass colored) I have to admit that Im upset, I was really hoping for good things from Hornady. any one else have this problem?


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    Member Array hihosilver's Avatar
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    I was just reading a thread last night about this. I thought I read that the nickel colored primers were the ones that had the problem, but I cant remember. It may have been Stoppingpower.com forum. I will see if I can find it again. The subject were 380's, so it may have been KTOG.ORG. Good Luck.
    Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it ......

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    Hi anj4657;

    I notice that you mention this:

    "I have had this problem before with the same pistol but with some cheaper reloads."

    I would wonder if the revolver is the problem rather than the ammunition. Perhaps a short firing pin or else some crud or burr impeding firing pin travel.

    The factory mainspring normally doesn't give trouble. Could the revolver have an altered or aftermarket mainspring? Have you had any work such as an "action job" done to the revolver?

    The fact that a second blow did fire at least one of the rounds indicates a possible weak strike. Did some of the "cheaper reloads" fire with a second strike?

    Some primers do appear to be lower in the primer pocket than others but the difference in height normally is insignificant with a quality revolver that is within specifications.

    It is not uncommon to see both brass colored primers and primers with a nickel flashing used in different lots of ammunition from the same manufacturer.

    Of course it is always possible that you have suffered the misfortune of acquiring faulty ammunition, both from Hornady and from the reloader. Since you've experienced failures with both though, it might be prudent to have the revolver checked out.

    A call to Hornady would not be amiss.
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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    My M38 and my M13-1 shoot them reliably and accurately.

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    Member Array cocojo's Avatar
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    The reason is that S&W is complying with california rules and regs. The firing pins on the newer guns are shorter than they use to be for drop testing purposes. I had the same problem with my 442. I sent it back to S&W, they put in a longer firing pin no more problems. Very common problem with new Smiths. I like the older gun with firing pins on their hammers. As for the ammo they may be seated a bit deeper but a good firing pin at the proper length would handle this problem, but not the newer guns. The pins are shorter and much less forgiving. Before I could trust a new Smith I would shoot a ton of ammo or send the gun in for a long pin. I did, no more issues. Don't be so quick to blame the ammo.

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    I carry Hornady's CDs in my Glock 17 (9mm), Ruger LCR (.38) and my Bersa 380CC (.380) and have had zero problems. If you truly believe it was the ammo and not the gun then I would call Hornady ASAP.
    Kholster/Glock 17/Rugar SR9c/Bersa 380CC/Ruger LCR/SW 624/ SW 629
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    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    I know the Critical Defense round has proven to be unreliable in terms of expansion (the bullet doesn't expand nearly as much as other modern bullets such as the HST, Ranger-T, Gold Dot, etc., and it failed denim testing miserably) but I haven't heard of anyone having any "regular" FTF's with it.
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    Member Array cocojo's Avatar
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    AZ where did you get that information that the Critical defense ammo is unreliable and doesn't expand? From everything I have seen it works just fine. Check out "Best Choices for Self defense ammo" They did two tests and the second one was fine.The 135 +P Gold dots failed in that test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cocojo View Post
    AZ where did you get that information that the Critical defense ammo is unreliable and doesn't expand? From everything I have seen it works just fine. Check out "Best Choices for Self defense ammo" They did two tests and the second one was fine.The 135 +P Gold dots failed in that test.
    ^^^Huh???^^^^^^^^^^^

    The test report I have seen, shows otherwise


    excerpt here, and link to article after


    All of these loads are designed to penetrate at least the FBI-recommended 12" of 10% ballistic gelatin. From what I've read by those using 10% ballistic gelatin, the LSWCHP may or may not expand when fired through 4-layers of denim from a snub barrel. When fired into plain gelatin, it expands and penetrates between about 14 and 16". Corbon's 110-gr. DPX does about 13 to 14" after passing through 4-layers of denim and the Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot gets 13 to 14".



    Here you can see two of each recovered bullet after being fired into the super-saturated newsprint. None failed to expand and results were very similar for each and every one. Left to right: Corbon 110-gr. DPX+P, Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot +P, and Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. Weight loss was non-existent with any of them.

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/3...mmo%20test.htm
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    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocojo View Post
    AZ where did you get that information that the Critical defense ammo is unreliable and doesn't expand? From everything I have seen it works just fine. Check out "Best Choices for Self defense ammo" They did two tests and the second one was fine.The 135 +P Gold dots failed in that test.
    First, the 135gr +P Gold Dots are one of only two consistent performers in .38. Read the below excerpt from the article you mentioned:

    From the "Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo" article: "More information from Doctor Roberts: "With few exceptions, such as the Speer 135 gr +P JHP and Barnes XPB, the vast majority of .38 Sp JHP's fail to expand when fired from 2" barrels in the 4 layer denim test."

    Second, I've read through that article more than a few times, and I don't remember ever reading about Critical Defense rounds.

    Third, I'm still searching for the source that I got that from (the fact that the CD rounds are poor performers), and I will post back as soon as I "refind" it. However, I get most if not all my info from Dr. Roberts, so I'd start there.
    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

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  11. #11
    Member Array Ronny's Avatar
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    The best 38 spl load is the tried and true FBI load. 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point +P. See the data at .38 Special to see how it outperforms all modern choices in penetration/expansion even from the 1 7/8 inch barrel snubbie like the one I pocket carry.

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    I think that the criticial defence ammo is just another sales pitch selling point, stick with already reliable ammo for SD like Gold Dot's, HST & RANGER AMMO they are all proven ammo already.

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    CMR
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    Quote Originally Posted by REDTAIL View Post
    I think that the criticial defence ammo is just another sales pitch selling point, stick with already reliable ammo for SD like Gold Dot's, HST & RANGER AMMO they are all proven ammo already.
    Problem is, is that HST and Ranger ammo doesn't come in .38spl.

    .38spl SD factory loads are very limited. Gold Dots. Critical Defense, and Winchester PDX are pretty much it.
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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR View Post
    Problem is, is that HST and Ranger ammo doesn't come in .38spl.

    .38spl SD factory loads are very limited. Gold Dots. Critical Defense, and Winchester PDX are pretty much it.
    Buy the Buffalo Bore 38 special 125 grain gold dots.
    Maximum power in standard pressure 38 special but reliable expansion.

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

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    CMR
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by TedBeau View Post
    Buy the Buffalo Bore 38 special 125 grain gold dots.
    Maximum power in standard pressure 38 special but reliable expansion.

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
    Excuse my ignorance but how does that Buffalo Bore ammo differ from the Gold Dot Short Barrel? (Besides being non +P and weighing 10gr less)
    For a lot of people, being a victim is a way of Life. That's a Life I choose NOT to live.

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