.380 Ammo Tested

This is a discussion on .380 Ammo Tested within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Tested three .380 loads today: Speer Gold Dot, Federal Hydra Shok, and Hornady Critical Defense. I also threw a few random .38 and .357's at ...

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Thread: .380 Ammo tested

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    .380 Ammo tested

    tested three .380 loads today: Speer Gold Dot, Federal Hydra Shok, and Hornady Critical Defense. I also threw a few random .38 and .357's at the block too.
    Setup: From 10 feet away I shot through 4 layers of denim and then into a 10% gelatin block that measured 6"tall, 10"wide, and 16" long. The gelatin was Knox brand, which is basically what every store carries. I made it very specifically 1 part gelatin, and 9 parts water, and should be a good general approximation of ballistic gelatin. The guns were a Ruger LCP (2.75" barrel), and a Ruger SP-101 (2.25" barrel).
    Notes: I wish I could have had a longer block, but due to cost and the tupperware containers I had available it didn't work out. Only the non expanded .380 rounds (and the .38 and .357's of course) went all the way through. Penetration was hard to measure with "extreme" precision because it was cloudy out and homemade blocks just ain't crystal clear.

    Results:
    Speer 90gr JHP,
    Shot 1-.625" expansion, 13.8" penetration
    Shot 2-NO expansion, 16+" penetration
    Shot 3 -.375 expansion, 16+" penetration
    Shot 4-NO expansion-clogged,16+"penetration

    Federal 90gr JHP,
    Shot 1-.468" expansion, 12.3" penetration
    Shot 2-.484" expansion, 13.5" penetration
    Shot 3 -NO expansion, 16+" penetration

    Hornady 90gr JHP,
    Shot 1-.609" expansion, 14.1" penetration
    Shot 2-.531" expansion, 13.9" penetration
    Shot 3-.5" expansion, 13.8" penetration
    Shot 4-.494" expansion, 14.3" penetration
    Shot 5-.547" expansion, 13.6" penetration

    Corbon .38spl+p 110 gr DPX - .719" expansion, 16+" penetration
    Corbon .357 125gr JHP - .616" expansion, 16+" penetration
    Buffalo Bore .357 125 gr JHP "Heavy" - .597" expansion, 16+" + halfway through the freakin phone books
    Wolf .357 158gr SJHP - .618 expansion, 16+" penetration




    IMG_0647.jpgIMG_0653.jpg
    IMG_0669.jpgIMG_0671.jpgIMG_0672.jpgIMG_0674.jpg

    Hope this was helpful, everything was done as accurately as possible, but I would very much appreciate suggestions or ideas for future tests.
    "Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    Nice work.
    Since there are some variables in you gelatin, I would have liked to see 9mm. tested also, since that's the choice for most if they don't use .380.
    I did notice that there is more penetration without expansion, and that makes sense.
    16" of penetration is impressive though.

    I notice you used a LCP, and that muzzle velocity would be at the low end of .380.
    I feel better about .380, although you can't really compare your results to other people's.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Kinda cool, but...in real ordinance gelatin that's at the correct temp and properly calibrated, none of your .380 loads regularly get past 10".

    I think your mix may be close, but not quite identical.

    Cool stuff, though...homegrown expansion tests are always fun.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    Senior Member Array VBVAGUY's Avatar
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    Excellent work and great information !!! God Bless

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    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    Ya I did realize that rounds were penetrating a little deep, but it was mainly the expansion I wanted to see. I would really like to get my own chrony and a decent BB gun so i can calibrate it correctly, but that will be a while and a few hundred bucks down the road.
    "Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker

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    Member Array Macantic's Avatar
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    I liked the results of the Hornady Critical Defense because thats what i keep in my .380.
    Retired (traveling and loving it!)
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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Nice test, eye opener for sure. Be nice if we had the muzzle velocity. Seems I remember reading the Hornady was over 1000fps which would lend itself better to consistent expansion.

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    Member Array ConcealedG30's Avatar
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    Definitely cool!!! I am in the stages of attempting something like this myself and its largely due to the fact that I want to know how my specific gun will perform with various ammo. I carry a 380 for back up and I want to know what I use will have a lethal dose of whatever I decide to dish out.

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    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    It was a ton of fun. You can buy Knox gelatin at Walmart for around a $1.25 an oz. For the dimensions I cited I needed 34oz's, and obviously a block less wide would take less gelatin. As mentioned above my block allowed .380 ammo to penetrate an inch or two too deep when expansion occurred, so it has been speculated that if the block was at the proper temp of 40ish degrees (instead of an AZ afternoon) that would have been a bit firmer and been a deciding factor. But it's still fun and gives you a great idea of general performance and expansion, especially comparatively to the rounds your testing.

    If anyone has a round in particular they would like tested I will be doing another test soon, it can be .380, .38, or .357. Thanks for the replies.
    "Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker

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    VIP Member Array tokerblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAm_Not_Lost View Post
    If anyone has a round in particular they would like tested I will be doing another test soon, it can be .380, .38, or .357. Thanks for the replies.
    - I'd love to send you some Buffalo Bore .380ACP+P in Flat Nose and JHP, but the it isn't recommended with the LCP.

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    Member Array TTPower's Avatar
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    hey if its not too much hasssle maybe you can do a test for the Golden Saber

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAm_Not_Lost View Post
    It was a ton of fun. You can buy Knox gelatin at Walmart for around a $1.25 an oz. For the dimensions I cited I needed 34oz's, and obviously a block less wide would take less gelatin. As mentioned above my block allowed .380 ammo to penetrate an inch or two too deep when expansion occurred, so it has been speculated that if the block was at the proper temp of 40ish degrees (instead of an AZ afternoon) that would have been a bit firmer and been a deciding factor. But it's still fun and gives you a great idea of general performance and expansion, especially comparatively to the rounds your testing.

    If anyone has a round in particular they would like tested I will be doing another test soon, it can be .380, .38, or .357. Thanks for the replies.

    Would love to see how this round does in your test, BuffaloBore 95gr JHP.... When I carry my PPK I keep it loaded with these as well as the 100gr Hard Cast Flat nose stuff from BuffaloBore.

    I load two of the +p 100gr HardCast FN rounds followed by the +p 95gr JHP then repeat. IMO, One of these hot BB JHP followed by a couple of the +p 100gr stuff will easily do the job of defense, and these rounds perform 100% through my IA PPK. Nice test BTW. I never get tired of reading about the test regarding the .380 round. I've been around and carried the .380 long enough to really see the difference in the older ammo verses the newer stuff. Quite a bit of difference IMO. Regardless, the .380 will always be looked at as a diminutive round by folks that are of the mindset that bigger is always better. MO, if you can get just about any JHP round to meet, or surpass the 1000 fps mark, you have a viable defense round if placed properly. I just wish the .380 round came in a heavier grain bullet configuration, maybe like 115gr +p, or 120gr +p; IMO either of those would be awesome and perfect for defense.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

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  14. #13
    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    I can definitely do Golden Saber, and I'll throw in a few other types not before tested, can't guarantee the Buffalo Bore though. Will try and get done by Monday.
    "Brilliant. So now we got a huge guy theory, and a serial crusher theory. Top notch. What's your name?" - Paul Smecker

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    Member Array TTPower's Avatar
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    thanks! that would be really great

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    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    Nice tests, like others say the mix seems dang close, but still needs work. Try keeping the test block at 45F on temp, that might help get it closer.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

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