Hornady 38 Special Critical Defense Lite Terminal tests

This is a discussion on Hornady 38 Special Critical Defense Lite Terminal tests within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I think this one has come up on the board before. I finally had the chance to test it last month. Blog Article: Pocket Guns ...

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Thread: Hornady 38 Special Critical Defense Lite Terminal tests

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    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    Hornady 38 Special Critical Defense Lite Terminal tests

    I think this one has come up on the board before. I finally had the chance to test it last month.

    Blog Article:
    Pocket Guns and Gear: Hornady Critical Defense Lite 38 Special 90 Grain FTX Denim and Clear Gel test

    Just the Video:
    Author of the Pocket Guns and Gear blog. Stop by for a peek at http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com

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    ALL my .38/.357's are loaded with the Hornaday C.D. loads. It EXCELS IN everything: flesh, denim, glass, metal, down, dry wall. Others do well in one or 2 BUT the C.D. tops them all down the line.
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    Member Array agalindo's Avatar
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    I've seen several tests of CD where it hasn't expanded. Don't believe the media hype it doesn't always expand just like other HPs.
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    Distinguished Member Array Doghandler's Avatar
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    Maybe OK for someone who can't deal with hotter loads out of a light weight gun but moving to a heavier gun would probably be a better choice.

    I dig your vids, Ljutic.
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    Distinguished Member Array onacoma's Avatar
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    A reduced powder charge aka reduced recoil! So would anyone here really want to trust their life to a short loaded cartridge? JMHO but I'm sticking with my Gold Dot +P or my Winchester T-Series +P


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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Did you test the 110 gr standard pressure CD load? I got some because the pointy bullets are faster to load from a speed strip.
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    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Did you test the 110 gr standard pressure CD load? I got some because the pointy bullets are faster to load from a speed strip.
    I tested all 3 on the same day in the same blocks with the same pistol. 110 standard and +P CD tests will be coming to the blog soon.
    Author of the Pocket Guns and Gear blog. Stop by for a peek at http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ljutic View Post
    I tested all 3 on the same day in the same blocks with the same pistol. 110 standard and +P CD tests will be coming to the blog soon.
    How about a spoiler?

    PS - Seems the four layer denim test is tough on .38 JHPs. Personally, I think the two layer test is sufficient for what we can expect in the real world.

    nice work!
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    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    I had a box of .38 Sp CD about 3 years ago....for my M36 snubby. Shot 5 when new, and they were fine. A year later....with 15 rounds left....I decided to shoot them up. 10 of the remaining 15 did NOT shoot! Primer strike.....click. No boom. I have a bad taste in my
    mouth about using any of these anymore in ANY caliber....YMMV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    How about a spoiler?

    PS - Seems the four layer denim test is tough on .38 JHPs. Personally, I think the two layer test is sufficient for what we can expect in the real world.

    nice work!
    How 'bout a real world Thinsulate or down parka > fleece > shirt > undershirt test. It's been so cold around here for so long I'm getting a Canadian accent, ehh?
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    Member Array ShootingTheBull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalindo View Post
    I've seen several tests of CD where it hasn't expanded. Don't believe the media hype it doesn't always expand just like other HPs.
    I've personally conducted a couple of tests where at least one of the CD's failed to expand, and now Ljutic's test makes three. Pre-plugging the hollowpoint cavity doesn't automatically mean that it will expand...
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    Member Array agalindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShootingTheBull View Post
    I've personally conducted a couple of tests where at least one of the CD's failed to expand, and now Ljutic's test makes three. Pre-plugging the hollowpoint cavity doesn't automatically mean that it will expand...
    My point exactly.

    quote from Hornady website: "Since their inception, conventional hollow point pistol bullets have performed well, but have never delivered 100% reliability especially in self-defense situations. The patented Flex Tip® technology used in Critical Defense® ammunition eliminates the clogging and inconsistency that often plagues hollow point bullets. "
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    Member Array ShootingTheBull's Avatar
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    I've shot dozens and dozens and dozens of Gold Dots and HSTs and PDX1s into gel, and can't recall a case of any of them failing to expand due to being clogged with denim. I've pulled plenty of blobs of denim out of the center of expanded bullets, but I haven't had any of them fail to open for clogging. Now, I have had that happen with Golden Sabers, for example, but not with the modern bullets.

    But yes, I've had some Critical Defense fail to open up, in .380 and in 9mm. I've probably shot three dozen of them into gel, between 380, 9mm, 45 ACP and 45 Colt, so only a couple failing to open isn't a huge percentage but it's definitely not what the marketing makes it out to be (which, as you quoted, says it "eliminates the clogging and inconsistency". Simply put, no it does not. Frankly, I have yet to see the point of the plug, or identify a situation where it works where a conventional bullet would not work. If someone can point out such a situation I'd be glad to test it.

    Oooh, just reminded me, I have had exactly one case of an HST failing to open up through a denim test, but that was when it had to penetrate 12 layers of denim, so that's a really extreme case...
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    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    If memory serves....I'm getting old so this might not be historically correct. The Hornady Polymer Tip first appeared on lever gun ammo LEVERevolution as a safeguard against primer detonation in the tubular magazine during recoil. A year or two later, Critical Defense was born with the same FTX flex tip technology.

    In my testing the FTX bullets fail to expand in similar proportion to other hollow point bullets. Shove the best bullet in the world in a short enough barrel and it will fail the denim test. Some extra speed is needed to defeat the denim barrier because the denim in the cavity must be compressed enough to allow the gel media into the cavity to cause upset. HST 124 grain +P failed from the little 2.7" Kimber Solo barrel. Gold Dot 124 +P also failed in the same barrel. They are both great bullets, but you can make them fail if you slow them down enough. The tests are my YouTube channel if you are interested.
    Author of the Pocket Guns and Gear blog. Stop by for a peek at http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com

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    Member Array ShootingTheBull's Avatar
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    In the LEVERevolution it makes perfect sense... the idea there is to keep the pointy end of the bullet from poking the primer of the round in front of it, so yeah, polymer there is ideal.

    And yes, all bullets have a window of velocity that they are designed to work within; if you drive them too slow they'll fail to expand, if you drive them too fast they may overexpand or even start to come apart. There is a minimum acceptable velocity for any ammo; that's one reason why I'm conducting a series of tests from short barrels, is to find out which rounds will work and which fail when faced with the common short barrels today. Haven't tried anything as short as the Kimber Solo but I would expect that it would be rather difficult to find hollowpoints that would reliably work from such a short barrel!

    I just did a test on Gold Dot 124+P and 124+P Short Barrel from a 3" 9mm, so I'll check out your tests to see what velocities you got and compare them to what I got and maybe we can figure out what the proper threshold for those rounds should be...
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