View Poll Results: Was this field Test useful?

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  1. #1
    cclaxton's Avatar
    cclaxton is offline Member
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    380 Hollow Point Field Tests and Comparison: Results

    So, I went to Cove Campground in Gore, VA today to a range where I could shoot what I wanted. I didn't want to lug a bunch of water up to the top of the mountain where the range was at, so I used phone books. I taped together four 2" phone books and sat about 15 feet away, taped a target to the front and shot 2-4 rounds of 380 HP rounds into the phone books. I compared five brands and the results are listed below. First, I know this is not the same as a large mammal's body like a human, so I am not trying to compare what the round would do in a human. However, I was fed up with the varied opinions and wanted to prove it to myself. I apologize in advance if I didn't test your favorite HP round for the 380...only so many I can afford to buy at these crazy prices. I used a Bersa Thunder380CC as the test firearm.

    The phone books didn't provide a good medium for expansion tests, but I think they do provide a good test for penetration data and a comparison of bullets. From the results, I think you can deduct that some brands are likely better at expansion, but I am not going to say it is conclusive. Once I figure out how to post pictures here, I will post some cool pics. In the meantime, seee the Picasa link at the bottom of the thread for the pictures. I really expected the MagTech to bet the best overall with an aggressive HP design and less weight and +P rating. For those who may be asking why I didn't compare higher-end products like the Hornady Critical Defense or Winchester PDX-1 Bonded or Buffalo Bore? 1)Can only afford so much ammo; 2) I was trying to compare reasonably priced 380 ammo and those rounds go 85 cents to over a dollar a round...just too expensive to practice with.

    I compared the following 380 brands/types:

    Winchester 95gr T-Series (Black Talon)- Comes in boxes of 50 for $30+shipping. 50rd - 380 Auto / ACP Winchester Ranger T-series Hollow Point RA380T | SGAmmo.com
    Federal Premium 90gr Hydra-Shok- Comes in boxes of 20 or 50 for $18/20 retail or $32+shipping for 50 at 50rds - 380 Federal Hydra shok LE 90gr Hollow point ammo | SGAmmo.com
    Hornady XTP 90gr- Comes in boxes of 20 and retails for about $15.50+shipping or $18-20 Retail 25 rds 380 Hollow point Hornady 90 grain XTP .380 ammo | SGAmmo.com
    USAammo 90gr generic(looks like Speer design)- $13.45+shipping for a box of 50 380 Auto 90 gr Jacketed Hollow Point New Note the bullet actually looks like this bullet: Images of 10mm 180 gr. XTP N
    Magtech 85gr +P- Runs about $12.50+shipping for 20 rounds. This is a rare +P type of ammo for the 380. Buffalo Bore is the other but it was not tested. 43057 - Ammo .380 ACP +P Magtech Guardian Gold Jacketed Hollow Point 85 Grain 1082 fps 20 Round Box

    DISCLOSURE: I am not an expert so this is an amateur opinion and I make no guarantees or warrantees to these tests and to make personal defense decisions on this posting is at your own risk.

    First Conclusion: All these rounds will penetrate the clothing and into the human body easily. If a round can go all the way through a 2" phone book, it can get through a winter coat. Every round penetrated through a 2" phone book. Most rounds landed in the 2nd phone book between 2.5" and 4". Also, the shock pattern generated ripped seams at the impact point at least 4 inches in diameter. That will create serious shock in the body cavity as well. I will carry a 380 with complete confidence that it will penetrate clothing and seriously damage human tissue. I figure that if a round can get through a 2" phone book, it can easily penetrate 4-6" into a human. Also, the overall shock of a HP round will shock surrounding tissue...I could see the shock effects in the phone book pages.

    2nd Tentative Conclusion: Expansion of the round is not certain. Only about 3 rounds expanded or separated and expanded. Most other rounds had partial expansion. Note this could be different with human tissue, but I would expect the phone book to show better expansion. Instead, the centers of the hollowpoints got packed with paper and didn't cause it to expand.

    RESCINDED: I had no way to measure speed. I withdraw this conclusion. [3rd Conclusion: Slower rounds will expand more than powerful rounds. The more powerful the bullet, the more it will slice through material rather than expand.]

    4th Conclusion: The grains of the round didn't seem to matter with regards to penetration or expansion.

    RESULTS:

    Deepest overall Penetration: Winchester T-Series 95gr, but without expanding. Average was 3.125" with deepest at 4".
    2nd Place: Magtech +P 85gr, but without expanding. Average ws 2.83" with two at 3".
    3rd Place: USAammo 90gr at 2.42" with deepesst at 2.75"
    4th Place: Hornady XTP at 2.33", with deepest at 2.5"
    5th Place: Federal Hydra-Shok at 2.25" with deepest at 2.5"

    Most Expansion: Hornady XTP with one round where the jacket separated and another that totally flattened.
    2nd Place: USAammo with one round flattened and the others showing partial expansion.
    3rd Place: Federal Hydra-Shok with all rounds partially expanded
    4th Place: Magtech with one round partially expanded
    5th Place: Winchesster T-Series with one round partially expanded and two rounds looked like FMJ.

    Overall Rankings based on multiplying Expansion times penetration:
    1st Place: Hornady XTP 90gr. Cost Per Round about 65 cents each.
    2nd Place: USAammo 90gr. Cost Per Round about 30 cents each.
    3rd Place: Federal Hyrdra-Shok 90gr. Cost Per Round about 68 cents each.
    4th Place: MagTech +P 85gr. Cost Per Round about 65 cents each.
    5th Place: Winchester T-Series 95gr. Cost Per Round about 62 cents each.

    I think I will stick with the USAammo rounds based on overall value. But, if I can get the price on Hornady XTP down to 30-45 cents a round, I will buy them. Or, if somebody like Georgia Arms or another "XTP clone" comes out at a better price, I will be looking to buy a bunch.

    For those of you who think penetration is more important than any factor, then I would go for the Winchester T-Series. Maybe it will expand better with water...if that were true, then it would be the best round. Same for the MagTech. Next time I will see if I can get water up there to test.

    Even without perfect placement, these HP rounds will penetrate clothing and easily go 4" into the body with some expansion. Plus, the surrounding tissues will be severely shocked if not badly damaged. Put 3-4 rounds into the torso of a person with this ammo and I think they are going down even without perfect shots to the head or heart. With good shot placement, these rounds are lethal in my opinion.

    I am not an expert so this is an amateur opinion and I make no guarantees or warrantees to these tests and to make personal defense decisions on this posting is at your own risk.

    COMING SOON!-I shot a bunch of 9mm Hollow Points and will post another thread with my 9mm findings and then a total summary comparing 380 and 9mm in both threads.

    Good Luck and Be Safe.
    Pictures show target, phone books opening from the back pages first (bottom of stack was point of impact). Bullets are deepest penetration start on the left, and progress to the right with least penetration. Each bullet has its original behind it: Winchester T-Seriies on the left, MagTech, etc. I will try to edit the pics to show which are which.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/115171063246096811918
    I spent two hours trying to embed Picasa pictures.....Can someone please help?....very frustrating...tried every combination.
    Thanks,

  2. #2
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
    TedDeBearFrmHell is offline Senior Member
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    regardless of your conclusions, i applaud your efforts to find out for yourself what works in your gun. what other shooters think may be the best can now be measured with your results..... awesome writeup

  3. #3
    cclaxton's Avatar
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    Pictures!!

    Pictures show target, phone books opening from the back pages first (bottom of stack was point of impact). Bullets are deepest penetration start on the left, and progress to the right with least penetration. Each bullet has its original behind it: Winchester T-Seriies on the left, MagTech, etc. I will try to edit the pics to show which are which.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/115171063246096811918

  4. #4
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    My understanding of expansion is that hydraulic pressure is what causes expansion. Fluid (body fluids) compressed in the hollow cavity cause the bullet to expand.

    The exception is the Hornady Critical Defense rounds which have the cavity pre-filled with very flexible plastic that mimics the hydraulic medium. The theory there being that if bits of clothing get into the cavity it would prevent the hydraulic effect and no expansion would occur.

    I read, back in the 1970s of exploding bulled (rifle) that had a cavity that was half-filled with liquid mercury. When the bullet was fired the mercury (which is heavier than lead) is forced back in the thicker walled section of the cavity, but upon impact the mercury is forced into the thinner walled sections causing the bullet to explode. Hydraulic pressure.

    So a bullet would not likely expand on hitting the telephone books.

    A cheap version of ballistic medium that I've seen used are plastic 1 gallon milk jugs filled with shredded newspapers and allowed to soak in water over night.

    Google ballistic tests, (video) and you will see some examples of this medium being used.

    To immitate the FBI protocol you would have to place some denim fabric in front of the first jug.

  5. #5
    cclaxton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.
    Yeah, I figured it was something like that.

    Do you think the phone books allow me to compare the penetration and effectiveness of different rounds, though?

    In my 9mm tests, I got more expansion and interestingly....the 380 rounds had an average penetration of 2.6 inches and the 9mm an average of 2.7 inches....not a significant difference.

    One thing I would also like to test is the shock factor....I noticed the impact to the area around the area where the bullets landed...many inches. I would assume the human body would have areas of shock around the bullet's path and resting place.

    Any way to measure that?

    Thanks,

  6. #6
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cclaxton View Post
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yeah, I figured it was something like that.

    Do you think the phone books allow me to compare the penetration and effectiveness of different rounds, though?

    In my 9mm tests, I got more expansion and interestingly....the 380 rounds had an average penetration of 2.6 inches and the 9mm an average of 2.7 inches....not a significant difference.

    One thing I would also like to test is the shock factor....I noticed the impact to the area around the area where the bullets landed...many inches. I would assume the human body would have areas of shock around the bullet's path and resting place.

    Any way to measure that?

    Thanks,
    I think you can derive some relative information regarding the various rounds that you've shot. It does not, however, relate to the human body.

    I've read that the ballistic gel is penetration equal to the average penetration in humans. But the average penetration in humans varies +/- 3 inches. So a penetration of 8 inches in ballistic gel would equal 5 to 11 inches in humans with an average of 8 inches.

    Unlike the phone books and soaked newspaper the ballistic gel can be related directly to human wounds. The other media only give you relative penetration of the various ammo tested, and does not relate directly to human wounds.

    Here is a description of the FBI gel test procedure: http://www.gelatininnovations.com/pa...istic_fbi.html

    They also sell the gel. It costs $100.00 for a kit to make up 3 get blocks. So you won't see too many hobbyists using the real Mccoy.

  7. #7
    recoilguy's Avatar
    recoilguy is offline Senior Member
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    It was a lot of work I imagine and some good recording and a good picture. The phone book is a good bullet stop but presents no real significant value in anyway that I would base my bullet usage decision on. It looks like you had a blast doing it and shooting a bunch of bullets is always fun.

    RCG

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