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  #51  
Old 09-01-2009, 10:26 PM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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Originally Posted by m41 View Post
I got a email back from Buffalo Bore and he said that he carried a Kel Tec most of the time and he used the 100 gr hard cast flat nose at 1061 fps out of his Tel Kel. He said they hadn't had any problem with any of the 3 loads. I thought I would get a box and fire a clip and see how it does and what kind of recoil it has and if everhthing is ok, I may use them to carry.
Well I can tell you that the fifth or sixth round of the first full magazine of +P Gold Dots popped my takedown pin halfway out and that ammo peened the **** out of my gun's aluminum chassis. Do what you want, but you're wasting your time IMO. I'm not interested in selling you ammo. Buffalo Bore is. I am trying to save you guys some grief.
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  #52  
Old 09-01-2009, 11:13 PM
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25 years in LE has caused me to rethink my position on the 380ACP. Personally, I feel the 380 is at its best in the KelTec or Ruger sized guns and should only be carried when it is impossible to carry something bigger, or as a 2nd or 3rd gun. It beats having nothing, but that's about it IMO.

BTW, if I carried one I would go with standard factory ammo from the larger companies and not mess with the "+P" stuff. Extra recoil, reduced reliability, and increased wear on the weapon are all I can see coming from the use of those.

Last edited by SWAT Lt.; 09-01-2009 at 11:33 PM.
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  #53  
Old 09-02-2009, 10:30 AM
m41 m41 is offline
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Default Erich

I spoke to Kel Tec this morning concerning +P ammunition in the 380. My owners manual says it will accept +P ammunition, however not with continuous use. The gentleman I spoke to says that really means the gun can shoot 6 rounds of +P and that is all, and then it would probably become a single shot pistol, so I am still looking for a good round for pentration and expansion.

Last edited by m41; 09-02-2009 at 10:36 AM.
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  #54  
Old 09-02-2009, 10:46 AM
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Hmmph. I'd be inclined to stay away from the hot stuff, myself, based on what I'm hearing. Thanks for the follow-up info!
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  #55  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:17 AM
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Default My 380 Load

Ok, Im going to wade into this one and you can take it for what its worth.

I own a Colt 380 Government Model, the full sized one with 3.25 inch barrel. This being a shrunken 1911 I thought I might be able to improve its performance. What I have settled on is this load:

Lee 120 grain Truncated Cone bullet cast of wheel weights sized to .355 and lubed in a Lyman 45 luber/sizer.

4.6 grains of Alliant Power Pistol.

This load is chronographed at 951 fps 10 feet from the muzzle. The math says this is 241 foot pounds of energy.

Compare that to what Winchester shows on their website for a 38 Special +P 125 grain JHP at 948 fps and 248 foot pounds.

I have not tested for penetration but plan to in the near future.
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  #56  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:38 PM
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That's a carry combo I'd love to have, though I'd want to know about the penetration results first. Sounds really interesting.

Loading for the .380 was why I first bought Power Pistol (I've come to really like it in a number of other calibers as well) - it does seem to give the best velocity numbers in the .380.
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:48 PM
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Erich,

I'm going to take it to the farm this weekend and test in gallon water jugs. Along with a 44 Special self defense load that I want to test the same way (but that will be addressed in a separate thread.
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  #58  
Old 09-02-2009, 03:15 PM
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Just for kicks, you might run the same test with 9x19 ball.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SWAT Lt. View Post
BTW, if I carried one I would go with standard factory ammo from the larger companies and not mess with the "+P" stuff. Extra recoil, reduced reliability, and increased wear on the weapon are all I can see coming from the use of those.
Lt. sir, I agree that +P is a waste of time, but the increase in velocity does turn the excellent .380 Gold Dot (the best I've tested, but still a marginal expander) into an almost guaranteed expander. There was a difference and it was impressive. Too bad the P3AT isn't up to them, and yes, they are slower on follow up shots and control.

Guys it's a long weekend. I'll get all my .380 results posted in the Perma-Gel thread.

M41, I had the best results with Speer Gold Dot. That's what I carried until I cooked up a clone.

Erich, I use Power Pistol to fuel that clone. It burns much cleaner than Herco or Unique and meters much better.

KS, I'm looking forward to reading what you learn.
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  #60  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:12 PM
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flop, I'm glad to see more love out there for Power Pistol!
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  #61  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:01 PM
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I've been digging around on the web looking for info on the Hornady Critical Defense and so far I can't find anything negative. They seem to always expand and they penetrate to 10 or 11 inches in gel. Granted, some rounds expand more then the CD and 11 inches isn't up to FBI standards but any carry piece is a compromise and we aren't using this on the street as a LE round. It's standard pressure so the little guns can handle it. I'm starting to think it may not be such a bad choice for everyday carry.
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  #62  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:07 PM
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Ya think Power Pistol is impressive in the .380, you ought to see it in the .38super.

It is my go to powder for full power, and +P loads in all my bottom feeders!!!
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  #63  
Old 09-03-2009, 07:20 AM
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Florida J, I have a test of Hornady Critical Defense .380 in the thread Perma-Gel Test Results (post #12 on page 2). It's decent ammo, but nothing earth-shattering either. I prefer Speer Gold Dot, but there's certainly nothing wrong with the stuff.
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  #64  
Old 09-03-2009, 08:14 AM
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Thanks Flop-shank, that's some interesting testing. Did you ever run the Golden Sabre test?
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:03 AM
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Every once in a while you run across a thread and marvel at the things you can learn on a public forum. This is one of those threads. Thanks for all of the info Erich. Truly a unique knowledge base you've shared with us.

For the record I'd been carrying 95 gr. Hornady XTP JHP's in my 9x18 Mak with a velocity of around 1000 fps @ 15'. I may reconsider and go to a FMJ after reading this thread.
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  #66  
Old 09-03-2009, 10:46 AM
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Thanks, Andy - I know that the number of shootings I've studied with this caliber is really too small to draw any scientific conclusions, but I was certainly struck by how often the JHPs failed to adequately penetrate in .380.

I used to carry those very same Mak JHPs when they were first released in the early '90s, in my EG Mak. I've got a Soviet military Mak (more rare on these shores) now, but I miss that EG still.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:26 PM
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Thanks Flop-shank, that's some interesting testing. Did you ever run the Golden Sabre test?
No I didn't due to availability issues, but I believe a test can be found (along with DPX and Powerball), IIRC, at www.stoppingpower.net . Just do a search in the test bed forum. Also, I would think a look at www.brassfetcher.com might be worthwhile.

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Old 09-03-2009, 06:00 PM
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For those of us who don't "roll our own", Magtech sells a 95 gr. ball in 380, you can also order 95 gr. ball in 380 from Double Tap: DoubleTap Ammunition

Double Tap will even show you the chronos out of the very guns we've been discussing when you click on one of the individual pix to go to that round. (They have great service too; not a paid endorsement, I've just had good experience with them.)
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:05 PM
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Hi Brad,

I bought 100 rounds of the DT .380 ball when it first came out with great hopes, but just couldn't get it to be reliable in my P232. I gave the remainder to a friend with a P3AT, and he had similar problems.

It was a solid 100 fps faster than any other 95-gr ball I'd chrono'd.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:04 PM
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Hi Brad,

I bought 100 rounds of the DT .380 ball when it first came out with great hopes, but just couldn't get it to be reliable in my P232. I gave the remainder to a friend with a P3AT, and he had similar problems.

It was a solid 100 fps faster than any other 95-gr ball I'd chrono'd.
Hey Erich, what mean "reliable"? I haven't had any trouble with the P3AT, and have never heard of anyone else having issues. Perhaps you got a bum box? Too bad. I also run their 200 gr. Hornady XTPs through my G27 without a hitch.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:06 AM
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That would be two bum boxes, then. No, there did not appear to be anything wrong with the ammo or the guns - it just appeared that the DT .380 ammo was performing outside the guns' envelope of function. (I honestly don't recall the nature of the malfs - I have pretty good notes on it at home.)

I was profoundly disappointed (and out a decent chunk of cash), as I happily used DT stuff in my .40 and my 10mm as well, and had eagerly purchased the .380 immediately upon release.

I'm not saying it's no good in all guns, just that this is a concern of which to be aware - believe me, I really wish that it had worked out differently in the guns I tried.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:04 AM
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Well this is a very interesting subject for me since I just bought this



Shoots very well and just LOVES FMJ ammo,frankly I dislike threads with people who say what they think they know,guys like Erich make me comfortable since they've seen what actually happens.

Great thread.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:20 PM
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Fun gun, Krull - and thanks for the pic. Let us know how you like it as time goes by!

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Old 09-04-2009, 05:45 PM
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A local dealer mentioned today that he is expecting 40 boxes of Win Ranger .380s (Talons). Any info on this round would be appreciated. I did a quick search and didn't come up with much info.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:43 PM
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A local dealer mentioned today that he is expecting 40 boxes of Win Ranger .380s (Talons). Any info on this round would be appreciated. I did a quick search and didn't come up with much info.
Road trip to Florida anyone?
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  #76  
Old 09-04-2009, 08:37 PM
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Road trip to Florida anyone?
Guess it depends on how far away you are to begin with. From Utah - round trip - that would be pretty pricey ammo!

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Old 09-04-2009, 08:57 PM
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Brad, just checked my notes on the DT .380 malfs that I experienced back in July '07 - several hard primers that required multiple strikes to ignite and a couple of jams on feeding in both the P232 and P3AT. Might have been a bad batch, but the jams on feeding were power-related.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:37 PM
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BigRich315: I am always up fpr a road trip to Florida, but I'll pass on the ammo!

Florida J-Frame: As much as I like the Ranger T's in 9, 40, & 45, I'll pass on them in .380. Winchester's own data shows them penetrating 7in. in bare gel, 8in. in 4ply denim, and 7.8in. in heavy cloth. Their data shows approximately .64-.68 expansion, which is pretty good, but that's not nearly enough penetration to suit me.

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Old 09-04-2009, 10:14 PM
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.60"+ expansion really isn't what you want in a .380 and the above data shows exactly why. While I do like expansion, I don't if it limits adequate penetration. Speer and Hornady's engineers got it right as their JHPs only expand to ~.43" and are designed to stop expanding at that point. They put on the brakes, but only enough to stop the bullet from going into overpenetration. It really looks as if the cats at both companies tweeked expansion just right so that the bullet wouldn't penetrate less than 12" in gelatin. That's impressive in a cheezy, light bullet, low case capacity, low velocity caliber like .380.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:46 PM
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No big deal since it was only employed as practice ammo but, in firing a box of 50 rounds of Sellier & Bellot .380, I had a couple that required a second strike in my P3AT when I practiced with it last week.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:07 AM
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I just found some useful .380/P3AT test results at www.goldenloki.com . Too bad they didn't include heavy cloth in their testing.

I think the Fiocchi Extrema is worthy of note. My hunch is that the bullet expanded, but the petals were folded back to the front when it tumbled backwards. I've seen that happen before. Had it not expanded, my hunch is that it would have penetrated deeper.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:01 AM
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Very interesting, thanks for the link. I was interested to see the Gold Dot and Critical Defense rounds' performance. The performance from their GD differs from what I have previously seen, having decent penetration and deformation. Maybe it's due to their test protocol. IMO bare gelatin tests are not worth the time it takes to conduct them. The link states their test protocol includes 2 layers of denim, if they would have used 4 layers I believe the results would have been much different, and more comparable to others I've seen. With time and money limited, the last few times we tested duty ammo we cut to the chase and only used the auto glass (windshield) and the 4 layer denim protocols.

Ball is about the only .380 I have seen have acceptable penetration in the denim testing. No hollowpoint, one that actually expands anyway, makes 12 inches in my experience. Like Erich and others have said the .380, while very popular, has poor terminal performance; it either expands and has insufficent penetration , or has sufficient penetration (unless it strikes significant structures in the body) and pokes a very small hole. It's best to carry a larger caliber if at all possible.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:55 PM
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Lt., I agree about the larger caliber, and thank you for pointing out what I'd missed regarding the test protocol being two layer denim. I hadn't scrolled down far enough and assumed that they shot bare gel.

Myself, I'm generally more interested in four layer test results since I really like to try to make the bullet fail. Bare gel is cool because it exposes the bullet to the other end of the spectrum where expansion should be the most violent and shows how consistent it's behavior is. Two layer is fish nor fowl IMO, but it was interesting to see that their results were consistent with mine when I used four layers of denim. I'm not a cop so I don't test with auto glass. I do, however, take comfort in the fact that Gold Dots are bonded.

In my tests, Golden Loki's and, IIRC, www.stoppingpower.net 's, Speer Gold Dot was good for 12"+ every time, four layer, or bare.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:45 AM
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Default 380 Penetration Testing

Well I got out to the farm and here are the results of the testing I did. I had a couple other things in 38 Special and 44 Special that I wanted to test but ran out of water jugs.

Attached is a picture of the box I built to hold the water jugs, it holds a total of 16 jugs. I shot from 10 feet away, the same distance that I chronograph from. Temperature was 70 degrees.

.380 handload of 4.6 grains Alliant Power Pistol with a Lee 120 grain Truncated Cone at 951 fps. Penetrated 10 jugs and stuck into #11. The bullet was holding #10 & #11 together.

.380 factory load, PMC 90 grain FMJ at 855 fps. The bullet passed through 4 jugs and penetrated the 5th, was lying inside the 5th jug.

9mm factory load, Winchester 115 FMJ at 1149 fps. I didnt have any factory FMJ 9mm on hand and found this load at Bass Pro Shops. I selected it as the bullet was almost identical to my cast Lee 120 grain TC. Bullet penetrated 9 jugs and exited the bottom rear corner of the 9th jug and was found laying in the box next to the rear corner of the 10th jug.

The pictures left to right show the cast Lee 120 grain TC, PMC 90 grain FMJ, and the Winchester 115 grain TC.

My conclusion is that the handload has too much penetration. What do you all think?
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  #85  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:04 AM
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Ho-ly smokes! I'd say that .380 handload is a bit more penetrative than I'd like to use for defensive use. As you certainly know, the 9x19 FMJ loading is essentially certain to overpenetrate a human aggressor. And your .380 handload equalled (or bettered!) its penetration. Wow.

Man, that really is a hell-on-wheels load! Great googly moogly! Tell you what, I know what I'm going to answer the next time someone asks me "What .380 load should I use for defense against black bear in the wilderness?" Holy smokes!

Thanks so much for following-up with your results - absolutely fascinating.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:44 AM
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Maybe this will become my wild pig load! No, just kidding.

I have another load that I'm going to try next. It is the same 4.6 grains of Power Pistol behind a 124 grain Rainier Plated HP. It chronographs at 870 fps.

I'm going to try it on bare jugs like I did here and then with a layer of T-shirt and Denim.

I better get to drinking water this week if I want to test it out next weekend!
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:50 AM
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I'd be very curious to see how that would work. Do you have OAL problems using the 124-gr hp?
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:55 AM
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I haven't had an OAL issue with the Raniers.

I don't have any 124 gr Gold Dots. I have some 115 grain Gold Dots and some 115 grain Silvertips.

What do you think about those? The reason I loaded the Raniers originally was that I thought they would be softer and might expand at 380 velocity as opposed to the Gold Dots and Silvertips. Also that the pressure would be lower with the Raniers as they are plated lead bullets rather than jacketed. Although I wonder if Gold Dots are sort of the same as the Raniers.

I guess only testing will tell.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:31 PM
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Your logic makes perfect sense to me. You just stated everything that occurred to me after I thought about your 124-gr HP proposition. As you state, the proof will be in the pudding . . . I'm really interested in hearing the results of this next experiment.

Keep drinking that water!
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:49 PM
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KSCowboy, I agree with Erich, I think your thinking is on the right track using plated lead Rainiers.

Where did you get your load data? My Modern Reloading manual lists 4.8 gr. as a max load for a 90 gr. XTP. Even though you're running a plated lead bullet, not jacketed, 4.6 gr. seems like a lot for a bullet that heavy. I could just as easily be wrong (and hope I am, this is cool). Are you getting signs of high pressure?

Also, what kind of gun did you use?
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:06 PM
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Wow. I would have never though a .380 could out-penetrate 9mm ball. And, yes, it's a bit too much for SD. Thanks, very interesting!
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:02 PM
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I know I'm but I just received some Double Tap .380 and am enthused by Flop-Shank's results with XTP bullets along with the advertised velocity of these rounds (I though I saw previously that they chrono slightly slower). I plan to test them and about 8 different .40 rounds tomorrow for function and accuracy.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:25 PM
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Hi Rich (Newport, eh - I remember seeing Black Flag there in '84!),

I think that the DT would be very interesting with the hollowpoints - I'd be curious to see your results. I might even be tempted to buy some more (for my new LCP) if they looked good. Their .40, BTW, was really wonderful.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:42 PM
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Rich, my Kel-tec hates cone shaped bullets such as the XTP, but loves the rounded ogive of Gold Dots. I'm looking forward to seeing what you post after you've tested.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:23 PM
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You know, I think I've managed to forget to post this here - I chrono'd some .380 from a Ruger LCP this weekend at the Albuquerque City Range, 5950 feet above sea level, 78 F:

Winchester white box 95-gr flat-point ball
Mean 900.2 fps/extreme spread 31.47 fps/standard deviation 11.87 feet per second

Federal 95-gr ball
M 851.0/ES 28.05/SD 9.94

Remington 95-gr ball
M 890.6/ES 39.06/SD 15.19

Fiocchi 95-gr ball
M 808.7/ES 63.96/SD 26.15
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:33 PM
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Default Double Tap range results

I just got back from the range and am VERY happy with the Double Tap .380. It shot consistent 3" groups out of my Kel-Tec without a hiccup (impressive given the almost lack of sights). I'll try to get a pic as soon as I can.

With the penetration and expansion of the XTP bullet (IIRC DT uses Hornady's XTP, but it doesn't state it on their site. I could be wrong here), higher velocity than Hornady, and the accuracy it has just shown I feel pretty confident with my mouse gun.

I would still like to see a penetration test of the DT though, to see the effects of that extra speed..

(I have a test thread on .40 that I started some time ago, I should finally have results there soon as well)
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:42 PM
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I do not want to question anyone's authority, believe me, you all seem to know more about this than I do. But, after reading this, I was questioning my choice of carrying Federal HS in my LCP. I went back to look at the ballistics that are posted on Brassfetcher, and this is what they have:

Cartridge : Federal 90 grain Hydra-Shok Personal Defense (Load # PD380HS1H)

Firearm : Kel-Tec P3AT with 2.75" barrel length.

Calibration : 8.1 0.05cm and 582 0.500 ft/sec impact velocity.

Shot 1 - Penetrated 12.5 0.031"

Shot 2 - Exited block at 11.9 0.031"

Shot 3 - Penetrated 12.4 0.031"

Shot 4 - Penetrated 11.9 0.031"

Shot 5 - Penetrated 12.1 0.031"

Average impact velocity = 843 0.500 ft/sec

Average recovered diameter = 0.469 0.0005"

I live in AZ, so worrying about heavy clothing is not a real concern for me. Anyone that I would ever have to shoot will probably be shirtless. Isn't 12" of penetration sufficient for a SD round? Notice is only expanded to a little over .45... Am I missing something? I am possibly more confused than ever... Guess I will be carrying my 45 until this all gets straightened out.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:03 AM
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You might want to consider carrying the .45 anyway. If you ever actually need a gun you'll be glad you brought something full size (I wouldn't be giving you that recommendation if I didn't practice what I preach). Carry the LCP as a BUG available to your weak hand. I carry my BUG in a front pocket so that I can put my hands in my pockets and begin my draw while looking totally casual. When doing so the big gun then becomes the BUG. Two guns will give you options, including the fastest reload, the New York reload, that one gun will never give you.

As far as those Hydra-Shoks go, those test results look impressive to me. Only you can decide how much penetration is enough. I stick to 12"-14" (FBI protocol, IIRC), but will live with a little more or less. 10" generally is enough for civilian self defense, since shots are more likely to be frontal and less likely to involve barriers (excepting arms) than law enforcement scenarios. 12" gives you a little fudge factor. Those expansion numbers look ideal for a .380. IMO, a .380 JHP shouldn't expand more than that because a larger diameter will have a greater parachute effect and cause less penetration, and like I said earlier 12" is about ideal. You have to choose a balance between deep penetration, and the risk to bystanders. None of us really know what we will need ahead of time, so the best any of us are doing is making a SWAG (scientific wild *** guess).

The most important factor in selectin carry ammo is that it's 100% reliable in your gun. Second is accuracy and hitting POA. After that, gelatin gymnastics is the thing to consider last.

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Old 09-27-2009, 10:45 AM
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I can only report what I've seen in the cases I've worked. I wouldn't use HSs based on that (as described supra in detail), but I fully acknowledge that anything can fail - we're talking handguns here. There was a definite failure to adequately penetrate in this case, but - hey - I've seen cases where .45 FMJ went around the outside of a skull instead of busting through (and I wouldn't by any means say that they were inadequately penetrative).

Still, ball for me in anything under .38 Spl/9x19.
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:58 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I was also taught that 12" of penetration was ideal. I am starting to think that while it may have the energy to get the ideal penetration in gel (and soft tissue) the round may lack the mass to bust through bones and such that it encounters along the way, something that I do not know if FMJ vs. JHP will change. I like the idea of using the LCP as a BUG, but sometimes due to the circumstances, it is all I can carry. I know this is off-topic, but how does the M&P 9 matchup against say an XDM? or other similar polymer framed double-stack?
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