Hornady Critical Defense 38 Speical +P 110 Grain Terminal Tests

This is a discussion on Hornady Critical Defense 38 Speical +P 110 Grain Terminal Tests within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Not what I expected from this load. I really expected better. Review Article: Pocket Guns and Gear: Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special +P 110 Grain ...

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Thread: Hornady Critical Defense 38 Speical +P 110 Grain Terminal tests

  1. #1
    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    Hornady Critical Defense 38 Speical +P 110 Grain Terminal tests

    Not what I expected from this load. I really expected better.

    Review Article:
    Pocket Guns and Gear: Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special +P 110 Grain - Clothing and Clear Gel tests

    Just the video:
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    And I have seen a few that show it performing very well. I have also seen it beat out Speer Gold Dot. If you look enough, you can find all brands of ammo not doing as well as expected. One bullet is hardly an indicator of how the ammo will behave all the time. As I said, I have seen all the top brands not do well on YouTube. I used to go crazy buying different brands of ammo every time my favorite had a bad gel test. Then I realized that none of them expand all the time. I would have liked to see another shot or another brand shot. The way these tests go, you rarely have something to compare it to under the same test conditions.
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    I really like hornady products one of the main reasons is their profile. They feed reliably in every weapon
    I have tried them in. In MHO this is ninety per cent of the reason to carry them. In my SP or 642 I like Buffalo Bore for short Barrels low flash low smoke. For .357 I use their 125 JHP in .38 the 158gr standard pressure low flash low smoke works well.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I have the standard pressure version of this for my LCR. I'm encouraged by the results of your light clothing test - I would expect the standard pressure version to expand less, yet perhaps penetrate farther. The 4 layers of denim test seems like a bridge too far for the snub nose.

    One of the reasons that I got this load is that the pointy tips make reloading the revolver from either a speed strip or speed loader faster and more sure.
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    Of course feeding isn't an issue with .38, but there are automatics that don't like to feed CD.

    I think it's most impressive test was auto glass. Other JHP penetrated, but did not expand. Speer and other bonded bullets did similarly well against steel, plywood, and dry wall. CD did not expand nearly as we'll as typical JHP (Speer, Federal HDT) against soft targets.

    Expansion after barrier penetration isn't high on my list of priorities. Expansion against soft targets seems more useful.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Dog View Post
    And I have seen a few that show it performing very well. I have also seen it beat out Speer Gold Dot. If you look enough, you can find all brands of ammo not doing as well as expected. One bullet is hardly an indicator of how the ammo will behave all the time. As I said, I have seen all the top brands not do well on YouTube. I used to go crazy buying different brands of ammo every time my favorite had a bad gel test. Then I realized that none of them expand all the time. I would have liked to see another shot or another brand shot. The way these tests go, you rarely have something to compare it to under the same test conditions.

    Amen. I looked for MONTHS before switching my 2" S&W's to Hornaday. I have read more good than bad so I put my neck out for it.

  8. #7
    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Dog View Post
    And I have seen a few that show it performing very well. I have also seen it beat out Speer Gold Dot. If you look enough, you can find all brands of ammo not doing as well as expected. One bullet is hardly an indicator of how the ammo will behave all the time. As I said, I have seen all the top brands not do well on YouTube. I used to go crazy buying different brands of ammo every time my favorite had a bad gel test. Then I realized that none of them expand all the time. I would have liked to see another shot or another brand shot. The way these tests go, you rarely have something to compare it to under the same test conditions.
    I think we can agree that all hollow points expand, except when they don't. Conversely, all bullets will behave like a full metal jacket except sometimes they expand.

    I trust my own tests over those of anyone else except STB410. I don't post negative comments on the tests other people post because the more testing results published the better for all of us. I do see some problems, like clear gel blocks that have so many air bubbles in them that they look like a glass of Sprite, but I still watch and compare with my own results. Also, I have no emotional attachment to anything I test. I genuinely want everything I test to do exceptionally well because that makes video viewers and blog readers happy. Unfortunately, the tests don't always work out that way.

    I also feel that 1 or 2 test shots is enough to pass or fail a load. What if the two tested rounds were the two used in a self defense situation? That's as equally credible as assuming the two test rounds don't represent the load tested. My interpretation of these test results was a double failure. The light clothing test was a failure with sub 10" of penetration. Heavy clothing was also a failure due to lack of expansion. Penetration was good on that shot, but not better than the very light recoiling 148 grain standard pressure wad cutter.

    You will see more multi-shot tests in the future. Unfortunately, thus far the additional shots have not done anything other than confirm the initial failure with another failure.
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    An excellent attitude displayed about the whole thing is seen in the above post. Well thought out and reasonable observations too.

    Humor as well: "...clear gel blocks that have so many air bubbles in them that they look like a glass of Sprite,"

    I once shot a downed-but-not-out deer with a Super Vel 110 grain .38 Special +P load from out of a 4-inch barrel at point blank range. These were hot, had the required hollow point and a jacket too, along with a reputation. This bullet penetrated about a mile of deer, through his heart and down into a front leg to stop at the knee joint. It appeared as if it could have been handloaded back into a case and used again. The hit to the heart did the trick but the bullet didn't do any tricks at all.

    This was 30-something years ago and it appears that not much has changed.
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    I'd like to see the jello test on a 158 gr SWC at 900-ish ft/sec... kinda wonder how much the sharp shoulder would cut,
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    I never had problems with Hornady, but I prefer Speer Lawman 158 gr +P JHP for my S&W 64 and 640 ( the 640 is a great gun for concealed carry ). I never really shot any 110 gr +P. I use American Eagle 158 gr FMJ for practice. We used the Speer or Winchester 158 gr +P JHP while on patrol, but I haven't seen them for sale in a long time.---Sturgis
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    I'd like to see the jello test on a 158 gr SWC at 900-ish ft/sec... kinda wonder how much the sharp shoulder would cut,
    Me too. I have this exact load from Double Tap...claimed 900 fps out of a snub, and I believe it! Stopped carrying it, because I feared that it might actually over penetrate to a severe degree. Out of the light LCR, it sure does sting the hand that fires it!

    Target 158 gr SWCs are moving at a leisurely 750ish fps out of a snub...somehow that just seems too slow. Maybe something in the 800 fps range would be just right...dunno?
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    This is concerning as I've been loading my bedside 38 with these for a couple of years and recently started carrying them in my EDC. I've been actively looking for the gold dot 135s, but they're all but impossible to find! I used Buffalo Bore when I was shooting a .380 and it was great stuff, so I'm considering switching to their wad cutters?
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    Hey, Ljutic,

    Too bad your LCR isn't a .357 model. I'd like to see a test with Hornady 125 gr .357 CD out of the LCR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    I have the standard pressure version of this for my LCR. I'm encouraged by the results of your light clothing test - I would expect the standard pressure version to expand less, yet perhaps penetrate farther. The 4 layers of denim test seems like a bridge too far for the snub nose.

    One of the reasons that I got this load is that the pointy tips make reloading the revolver from either a speed strip or speed loader faster and more sure.
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    Looks like the standard pressure CD load is the way to go, for a snubbie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Dog View Post
    And I have seen a few that show it performing very well. I have also seen it beat out Speer Gold Dot. If you look enough, you can find all brands of ammo not doing as well as expected. One bullet is hardly an indicator of how the ammo will behave all the time. As I said, I have seen all the top brands not do well on YouTube. I used to go crazy buying different brands of ammo every time my favorite had a bad gel test. Then I realized that none of them expand all the time. I would have liked to see another shot or another brand shot. The way these tests go, you rarely have something to compare it to under the same test conditions.
    I too have driven myself crazy trying to find the "perfect" bullet, but what I have to remind myself is that there are simply to many variables. I think accuracy with fast follow up shots is most important.


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