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View Full Version : No magic bullets for the .380acp


Gregchico
05-05-2010, 11:38 AM
I recently came into a Ruger LCP and frankly I have never been big on the .380acp as a self-defense, but the size of the pistol makes it so easy to carry when you otherwise would not be able to carry due to weather or clothing.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj310/gregchico/LCP1.jpg

I have read a lot of marketing hype about how manufactures are making bullets especially made for short barrel mouse guns and how they are guaranteed to work. Well I found out that is not always true.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj310/gregchico/380acptest.jpg

The top row is the Hornady Critical Defense 90gr (average velocity 898fps out of my LCP, 6 rounds fired) and the bottom row is Gold Dot 90gr (average velocity 906fps out of my LCP, 6 rounds fired). Recoil was very manageable and accuracy was very good for such a small gun.

This equals approximately 164ft-lbs for the Gold Dot and 160ft-lbs for the Hornady rounds.

The Hornady feed much smoother than the Gold Dots. The Gold Dots did hang up a little, but never jammed. I’m looking forward to testing the DPX rounds as they are my favorite self defense round.

In a nutshell, if you choose to carry a mouse gun for self-defense, make sure you practice the failure drill/Mozambique drill.

Edit:
How I tested. I fired two rounds (one of each type) into a 18 inch deep cardboard box filled with bags of water and a ballistic panel at the end to stop any bullets if they had any velocity left. After the first 2 rounds I fired 6 more rounds (3 of each) into 4 layers of denim into what was left of the water bags.
After the first two were fired I removed the “control” rounds and they fully expanded and looked picture perfect, but upon packing everything back into the car, I threw them into the collected “pile” and lost track of which ones were the control.

rgs1975
05-05-2010, 12:08 PM
I use Buffalo Bore 380 ACP +P 100 Grain Lead Flat Nose in my .380 CCW weapon. It's 1125 muzzle velocity and 280 ft. lbs.

Gregchico
05-05-2010, 12:14 PM
I use Buffalo Bore 380 ACP +P 100 Grain Lead Flat Nose in my .380 CCW weapon. It's 1125 muzzle velocity and 280 ft. lbs.

What gun and how long is its barrel? Have you chronographed the rounds to verify that they preform as advertised?

I have not tried Buffalo Bore yet, but I have heard good things.

robert101
05-05-2010, 12:14 PM
nice test. I realize that the 380 doesn't have the expansion potential of my 10MM but I do have and treasure my Browing DBA. It is only recently that ammo manufacturers are producing 45 HP's that expand at low velocities (under 1,000 fps). I expect that in time they will get around to the 380 and provide even better bullets for this caliber. I'm content to wait.

rgs1975
05-05-2010, 12:18 PM
What gun and how long is its barrel? Have you chronographed the rounds to verify that they preform as advertised?

I have not tried Buffalo Bore yet, but I have heard good things.

It's a Sig P230 with a barrel just over 3.5". My chrono is still on it's way to me from Midway so I haven't tested the rounds personally yet.

liketoshoot
05-05-2010, 12:39 PM
Edit:
How I tested. I fired two rounds (one of each type) into a 18 inch deep cardboard box filled with bags of water and a ballistic panel at the end to stop any bullets if they had any velocity left. After the first 2 rounds I fired 6 more rounds (3 of each) into 4 layers of denim into what was left of the water bags.
After the first two were fired I removed the “control” rounds and they fully expanded and looked picture perfect, but upon packing everything back into the car, I threw them into the collected “pile” and lost track of which ones were the control.


OK since you mixed them up at the end, you need to go back and do it over :)
Thanks I have a sig P232 and love it just need a piece of paper to carry it.

JTROKS
05-05-2010, 1:28 PM
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but if I was to use a 380 for self defense I would just use TMJs or a 100 grain cast bullet with a SWC profile. The JHP looks good and all, but I'll consider them if all my opponents are the size of Herve Villechaize.

BigDogatPlay
05-05-2010, 1:31 PM
Expanding consistently to .50 caliber or a bit more and expending 100% of it's energy within a human analog target is very good performance for any caliber under .40. Thanks to the OP for posting results.

Mouse guns can be very effective, when properly stoked and with the shooter doing their part well.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but if I was to use a 380 for self defense I would just use TMJs or a 100 grain cast bullet with a SWC profile. The JHP looks good and all, but I'll consider them if all my opponents are the size of Herve Villechaize.

What real world data is that opinion based on? Just curious, because using a non-expanding round that makes a clean .355 hole through and through doesn't seem like a fair comparison, or trade off. I know of a lot of LEOs (myself included when I was still on the job) who bet their lives on .380 guns, and have had good results.

I also wouldn't use SWC profile in a blowback .380. Just my opinion but I can't believe that would be a reliable feed.

JTROKS
05-05-2010, 4:40 PM
I'm basing it on penetration. You can have a .50 cal expansion and 110% energy transfer on target, but if it doesn't penetrate deep enough to hit vitals then you be the judge. I have a couple of 380s and yes I have used them as standby guns in the house. I just seen too many bad boys that are thick and muscled up to rely on the 380's performance.

B Strong
05-05-2010, 5:35 PM
I don't mean to throw rocks at anybody's choice of back up gun, but even in owning different Browning pistols in .25, .32 and .380, the smallest firearm I trust my life to is a J frame Smith in .38 Special.

!@#$
05-05-2010, 6:48 PM
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but if I was to use a 380 for self defense I would just use TMJs or a 100 grain cast bullet with a SWC profile. The JHP looks good and all, but I'll consider them if all my opponents are the size of Herve Villechaize.

:yes:

d plane boss d plane

Gregchico
05-05-2010, 7:09 PM
I don't mean to throw rocks at anybody's choice of back up gun, but even in owning different Browning pistols in .25, .32 and .380, the smallest firearm I trust my life to is a J frame Smith in .38 Special.

My primary carry choice is my H&K USPc 45, but sometimes it is too big to conceal properly.

One of my points to this thread is how we see numbers/performance data on a box, commercial or what ever and just believe it with out doing any testing for ourselves. Sure we may put a box of two through our guns to make sure it functions, but do you know how well it works in your gun (meaning velocity, the weight of the bullet is known).

My question is have you looked at what kind of muzzle energy a .38spl has out of a 2 inch barrel? According to Speer, their Gold Dot short barrel 38spl+p is 222ft-lbs out of a j-frame. Their .357mag is under 300ft-lb out of a j-frame
http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx


On a separate note, I found some testing with the Buffalo Bore rounds that have an average velocity of 1077fps out of an LCP. With a 90 gr HP bullet that is 231ft-lb of energy on target. I have ordered two boxes to do some testing with, thanks for the recommendation.

Again, this is for a gun that you carry when you can not carry your favorite/primary gun.

shotcaller6
05-05-2010, 8:00 PM
The CorBon .380ACP DPX surpasses the FBI penetration requirements and expands to .50 consistently and retains bullet weight after penetrating barriers such as car doors and windshields. This is the round I use in my Colt government 380 should the need arise.
I'm pretty sure that SAMMI has no specification for a +P in .380ACP