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Old 11-20-2009, 12:46 AM   #1
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Default Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Hello,

Recently, I came to the conclusion that light bullets of 60 grains and lighter are a dead end in a 32 ACP/7.65 Browning. It just does not have the energy or the sectional density in a light pocket pistol like the Kel-Tec P-32 to reliably penetrate. *It's one of the reasons that I use 65 Grain Federal Hydra Shocks, I have always felt a heavier bullet can do the job better in this caliber.


My P-32 pistol blued and OD with rubber grip, P-32 Magazine loaded with Hydra-Shocks, P-32 Magazine loaded with 0.308 90 gr. Hornady XTP's with OAL of 0.975, 32 ACP 65 gr. Hydra Shok JHP, 7.65 Browning/32ACP S&B 73 gr. FMJ, 32 ACP, 0.308 90 gr. Hornady XTP JHP Round

Bullets in the 71 to 90 grain seem to offer the best promise and I thought I'd do a test. *The Hornady 0.308, *90 Grain XTP was chosen over the lighter 0.312, 85 grain XTP because SAAMI and CIP specifications allow a 0.308 bullet to be used in this caliber, and going several thousandths smaller would greatly reduce peak pressures. *The goal is to drive the 90 grain bullet fast enough for it to reliably expand. *The rounds OAL of 0.975" also reduced pressures and eliminated rim lock.

My selection of powders was limited after not reloading for awhile, but I did settle on Nitro 100 a powder that I've had really good luck with in 45 ACP, 38 Special, 9MM Luger, and 9MM Makarov. *Nitro 100 is a very fast powder up there with Bullseye, but much less dense so it fills up the case. *I felt that I needed a fast powder with a high loading density to get the best performance out of 32 ACP in the Kel Tec P-32. *My testing started out at 2.0 grains of Nitro 100 and right now is at 2.5 grains.

These loads push the "envelope", there were no excess pressure signs with the load (bulged case, primer *cratering), and the recoil was comparable to the 32 ACP Prvi Partisan ammo. *The loads are functioning fine, but I would not care to reload these cases several times with it due to the generous throat/ramp cut into the chamber which could eventually weaken the case, and cause a Kaboom. *

The loads used in this test were:

Hornady 0.308" 90 grain XTP bullet
Prvi Partizan once fired 32 ACP/&.65 Browning case
Winchester Pistol Primer/Small Rifle is also usable
2.5 Grains Nitro 100
OAL 0.975"

Federal 65 Grain Hydra Shock 32 ACP
Prvi Partizan 71 Grain 7.65x17MM/32ACP
Remington 125 Grain Gold Saber 9MM Luger
Hornady Critical Defense 115 Grain 9MM Luger


Test Pistols *P-32 & PF-7

I tested the bullets in a 5 gallon bucket with wet pack on the bottom and 6-8" of water sitting on top of that. *a weighted cardboard lid with a target on it was placed over the mouth to prevent splashing. I know that some will argue this isn't a valid test, but the human body isn't uniform density anyway and the test will show a defect in a bullet and give a valid comparison. *The test *results are a little surprising. *

The factory loads were a *mixed bag.

Kel-Tec P-32 Test Pistol
*
Type * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Expansion * * * * * Penetration

Factory

32 ACP Federal Hydra-Shock 65 grain JHP * 0.42 * * * * * * * * *6" water, 4.0" wet-pack *10.5" Est Gelatin
32 ACP Prvi Partizan 71 grain FMJ * * * * * * *0.309 * * * * * * * *6" water, 5.75" wet-pack *13.7" Est Gelatin

Handload

32 ACP Hornady XTP 90 grain JHP * * * * * * *0.42 * * * * * * * 6" water, 4.5" *wet-pack *11.9" Est Gelatin
32 ACP Hornady XTP 90 grain JHP * * * * * * *0.38 * * * * * * * 6" water, *5.5" wet-pack *13.2" Est Gelatin


Kel-Tec PF-7 Test Pistol

9MM Hornady Critical Defense 115 gr. JHP * * * * * *0.53 * * * * * * * *6" water, 5" wet-pack *12.3" Est Gelatin
9MM Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Jacket 0.65-76 * * * * * * * 6" water, 5" wet-pack *12.3" Est Gelatin*
9MM Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Core * * * 0.42 * * * * * * * *6" water, 5.75" wet-pack *13.7" Est Gelatin*
9MM Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Core * * * 0.42 * * * * * * * *6" water, 6.75" wet-pack *15.5" Est Gelatin*

* Bullets separated with core and jacket at different depths


L-R 32 ACP Federal Hydra-Shock 65 grain JHP, 32 ACP Hornady XTP 90 grain JHP's, * 9MM Luger Hornady Critical Defense 115 gr. JHP , * 9MM Luger Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Jackets, * * *32 ACP Hornady XTP 90 grain JHP, * *32 ACP Prvi Partizan 71 grain FMJ , * *9MM Luger Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Core, * 32 ACP Prvi Partizan 71 grain FMJ , * 9MM Luger Remington Gold Saber 125 gr. JHP *Core *

Based on the test I think it is possible *to get near FMJ penetrations by JHP bullets in 32 ACP.. *The 32 ACP loads using 90 gr. XTP's are about or doing better penetration wise than the 9MM Luger test rounds. *I think with the right bullets that the 32 ACP's performance definitely can grow.

Best Regards

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Old 11-20-2009, 01:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

sounds familiar :-/

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Nice study. You really did your home work on this and took great notes and showed all your work. Extra credit.

I'm a relative newbie to the 32, but have come to love the easy carry of Kel-Tec and Seecamp chambered for this round. If you could concoct a round that provided 9mm penetration and consistent expansion from the 32, you would have a world beater on your hands.

Was your Nitro 100 load published or did you just start from scratch? I've used most of the fast burning powders out there when I was loading shotshells and some 45, 380, and 9mm. I'm curious if the flattened ball powders like WAALite, and WST would allow you to get a heavier charge in the same volume. I remember Nitro 100 being a disk powder like Red Dot and Bullseye. Lots of wasted space in each charge.

Thanks for posting this. You're sparked my interest in reloading again.

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Old 11-20-2009, 03:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Quote:
Was your Nitro 100 load published or did you just start from scratch? *I've used most of the fast burning powders out there when I was loading shotshells and some 45, 380, and 9mm. *I'm curious if the flattened ball powders like WAALite, and WST would allow you to get a heavier charge in the same volume. *I remember Nitro 100 being a disk powder like Red Dot and Bullseye. *Lots of wasted space in each charge.
Hello,

I started using Nitro 100 back in the 90's when Accurate Arms powder was publishing reloading data for it. *I used it in 9mm Luger, 38 Special, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. *There was no published data for the 90 grain XTP though there was some loading data with AA2 which has a similar burn rate, but is denser. *I started out with 1.8 grains and worked up in .2 grain increments in the P-32, FN M-1910, and FEG AP-MBP which is a Walther PP clone up to 2.2 grains and then started working up in .1 grain increments. *

The 2.5 grain load is warm as I went to a heavier duty recoil spring in both the Kel-Tec P-32 (13 lbs) and FEG (13 lbs) to help make sure the frames didn't get beat up. * The heavier springs do help with the recoil, and help keep the ejected empties close. *The advantage of the FEG as a test pistol is that the chamber is more supported. *The disadvantage is that its not as tolerant as the Kel-Tec of different ammunition types, and the Kel-Tec is the the pistol this load is being developed for.

You are right that Nitro 100 is a double base disk powder. *It's a very fast burning powder, but its saving grace is that it has a very low density so that it always fills up the case more and is somewhat cleaner burning than Bulleseye or AA-2. *Nitro 100 is very efficient in the 9MM Makarov and so I thought that it might have applications with the 32 ACP which is close in length. A ball powder like WST would allow a heavier charge, but given the light load I would rather have the extra volume and see a potential overload. *I am considering the idea of trying WSF though with the 90 grain bullet.

I hope the info is helpful *
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

The sad part of this is that even if you do find the ultimate load, you really shouldn't carry it for personal defense. *Lawyers would have a field day if they found out that you were hand rolling killer self defense ammo. *At least with factory produced ammo, they could chase the mfg. instead of you. *An old time buddy of mine let his wife carry a 38 with HBWCers loaded backwards with the hollow base out. *He carried factory ammo. *I guess he didn't really like her that much. * ;D

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Old 11-20-2009, 04:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Quote:
The sad part of this is that even if you do find the ultimate load, you really shouldn't carry it for personal defense. *Lawyers would have a field day if they found out that you were hand rolling killer self defense ammo. *At least with factory produced ammo, they could chase the mfg. instead of you.
Hello,

I carry the P-32 as my CCW because of its concealability, and the fact many people who notice you are carrying assume you are up to no good. *The P-32 save me a lot of explaining, I do carry other pistols, buthe bigger they are the less my options are for carry. The P-32 because of its small size uses a smaller round the 32 ACP which is sufficent, but could be better. *I don't want to make a "killer" round, just one that reliably stops and incapacitates

I think the fact that a P-32 round is hand loaded is secondary to circumstances at worst in a self-defense scenario. *I carry Hydra-Shocks in my P-32 because they do expand, have decent penetration, and I trust Federal's quality controls. *I agree with you about handloads , but for a different set of reasons. *I would have to test my new handloads in the P-32 a bit more over the next few months before I would even consider carrying it (Reliability.) *Civil lawsuit lawyers also typically go for the deep pockets which is your insurance company (if this happens at home) and corporations involved which would be the component/gun manufacturers. *

It is my observation having said that most law enforcement officers, and ME's are not Gil Grissom's or Quincy's. *Having been involved in a shooting and the report taken afterwards they looked for the casing and matched it to the ammo in the gun, marking down the manufacturer, no questions on if it was a reload or factory ammo. *The statement and the officer's observations were the primary determiner of if charges were going to be filed (they were not.) *

I would suggest though if you are in a self defense scenrio with your P-32 and there is serious bodily harm involved and your state doesn't have a "Castle" law that applies or other law that covers you that you have an attorney present when you give your statement. *I had a friend who had to shot a robber on drugs in a home invasion in California. He had to shoot several of 9MM 115 gr. FMJ's out of a Beretta to stop the guy (a head shot finally did it), and having an attorney saved him some grief from a possible civil lawsuit.

The ammo your P-32 carries is just one part of a bigger picture, the important part is that you and your family come out ok from the situation if you do use it for self defense

Best Wishes:
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Heavy JHP 32 ACP P-32 Tests Update

Hello All,

Recently did some more tests with the 0.308 90 grain JHP rounds in the P-32 and found out some interesting facts. *

First - The 90 gr. JHP reloads tended to nose dive in the 10 round magazines lighter 73 gr. *& 71 Gr. factory control rounds had no such problem. :-?*The heavier bullets require use of the 7 round magazine for best reliability.

Second - Felt recoil went up to 380 levels with the top loads. *The P-32 had less felt recoil than the FEG AP-MBP which is a blowback pistol. So the lock breech is a big benefit with this heavy bullet.

Three- Slower burning powders such as Blue Dot can be used with the 90 gr. XTP bullets for greater velocities. *Loads with Blue Dot also burn much cleaner once the loads are headier than 4.2 grains, 4.8 gr's was the max I tested with Blue Dot as any heavier load would be compressed. * I would not use more than 4.7 grs. of Blue Dot on a regular basis.

Four - The 90 Gr. JHP in the high performance *rounds penetration in water then wet newsprint is identical to the 71/73 gr. FMJ Prvi Partizan & S&B factory rounds used as controls in the test. *The typical maximum expansion of the XTP bullets was 43-45 caliber with some tumbling. * These bullets were noticeably more destructive on the wet pack, than the 71/73 gr. FMJ's. *

Five - The splash from these rounds was enough to knock the splashguard off of the bucket.

I hope to have some photos of the test and bullets posted later with more of a write up.

Best Regards

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljutic
*If you could concoct a round that provided 9mm penetration and consistent expansion from the 32, you would have a world beater on your hands. *
*
It's probably important to remember that .32ACP 'expansion' is probably going to barely crack .40 caliber, whereas top 9mm loads will surpass .65 cal in gel tests while still achieving 12" or more of penetration. So the 9mm is still going to have a huge advantage even if we could get 13" penetration coupled with .40 cal expansion.

Such a load as you describe would be a welcome option though.

It's interesting that Cor Bon's new Powrball (probably the most modern .32 load on the market?) went in the exact opposite direction, they went lighter. The .32 powrball is a mere 55gr slug. Speer Gold dots, which is a very well respected bullet, are only 60 grains as well.

If there is a "holy grail" to be found with the heavier 90 gr designs, you'd think that companies would be exploiting it. Does anyone at all sell a 90gr JHP in .32 acp, at any pressure level? I don't recall ever seeing one.

Though i am skeptical about the validity of wetpack testing, it is still very interesting research nonetheless, thanks for sharing it Pete.

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Old 12-30-2009, 03:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

Quote:
It's probably important to remember that .32ACP 'expansion' is probably going to barely crack .40 caliber, whereas top 9mm loads will surpass .65 cal in gel tests while still achieving 12" or more of penetration. So the 9mm is still going to have a huge advantage even if we could get 13" penetration coupled with .40 cal expansion.
Hi,

The 32 ACP was never meant to compete against the 9 MM Luger since they were designed for two different purposes. One for military use (9MM Luger) the the 32 ACP for vest pocket pistols. *Your argument supposes that the 9 mm is going to use hollow points and work perfectly every time. *the truth is that they don't and that is why people carry P-32's for back-up in an imperfect world. *The advantage of a heavy bullet load in 32 ACP is that can offer the needed penetration with additional permanent crush cavity by doing two things, tumbling, and expanding. *The below picture is of two 32 ACP 90 grain test rounds from a P-32 and two test rounds from a Kel-Tec PF-9. * The 124 Grain Gold Saber lost its jacket and sent the 90 grain 40 cal core on past the jacket. *The 32 ACP sent a 90 grain bullet expanded to 42-45 caliber roughly the same depth. *The 115 grain 9mm Hornady Critical Defense bullet put both bullets to shame with expansion out to 55 caliber with equal or better penetration. *The idea for me though is to get consistent performance. *The question is which bullets were a success, I think three of the four met their intended purpose, and the 90 gr. bullets can help increase the effectiveness of the P-32.

L-R *0.308 Hornady 90 gr. XTP expanded to 42 caliber 4.2 grs of Blue Dot, 0.308 Hornady 90 gr. XTP expanded to 45 caliber AA-7 test load, 124 Gr. Remington Gold Saber core (42 cal.)& jacket (75 cal.) 90 *& 34 Grains, 115 Grain Hornady Critical Defense expanded to 55 caliber.

As for the wetpack tests, I think mine are a valid measure. *I always use a known control round that has been gelatin tested in the past that is non-expanding in the wetpack tests. *Comparing the test round to the control give me an idea of what the performance of the test round actually is. *Gelatin uses a BB to calibrate, I use a 71 grain 32 ACP round as a control. *My test are showing that 90 gr. bullets in the 32 ACP are penetrating slightly less than the 71 grain FMJ bullets. *

I don't think that heavy bullets have been an option in the US because ammo makers load 0.311 to 0.314 bullets in the 32 ACP which generate higher pressure. * Lighter bullets can be shot faster, but do not penetrate as well at faster speeds. *The SAAMI spec allows 0.308 bullets to be used which reduces pressures and allows for *higher velocities which is the route CIP companies like S&B and Fiocchi took. *Loading to a longer OAL and the reduction in diameter are allowing the 90 gr. 32 ACP XTP test rounds to get enough velocity to reliably expand. *My next few goals are to get the loads clocked, and do actual gelatin testing.

Best Regards
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Heavy Bullet Hollow Point 32 ACP P-32 Tests

The poster previous to me had made a fairly direct comparison to .32 acp and 9mm para, it was his comments that i was addressing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljutic
*If you could concoct a round that provided 9mm penetration and consistent expansion from the 32, you would have a world beater on your hands. *
*
The figures i quoted are those of the 9mm Powrball 100gr JHP fired into calibrated 10% gelatin. IIRC in the tests i saw it achieved approx .65 cal expansion and 12" of penetration. This despite losing it's jacket. Quite impressive IMO. I'm not a fan of the critical defense load or the Golden Saber. (i like +P+ in 9mm). Until Double Tap starts selling 500+ fpe Gold Dot 115gr JHP's again, i'm using Powrball.

Some people swear by wet pack, i do not. It is impossible to scientifically control it from batch to batch, and no reputable agency uses it at all, even as a "control" or alternate comparative medium.

It sure is fun to shoot though!

If you feel it offers valid data, by all means, go for it- we enjoy reading it!

I've pretty much been sticking with the 75 gr Buffalo Bore elmer Kieth style flat nose hard cast lead bullet driven up near max SAAMI pressure (BB's 9mm loads are so hot i cannot even fire them out of my P7, because the cases fire-form into the flutes in my P7's chamber). They're going to penetrate deep as hell, and at least i'll get a nice wadcutter type hole with them. These are not very 'sexy' bullets, but an awful lot of dangerous/big game hunters have taken an awful lot of animals cleanly with Kieth type bullets.

I personally feel this round gives the .32acp "killing power" (what a tasteless phrase) out of proportion with it's energy level.

What would be awesome would be a barnes-x type solid copper hollowpoint at max SAAMI pressure. Something in the 70 grain/1000fps (out of a P32) range would be fantastic.

Again, thanks for sharing your results, the information was interesting. Until someone offers a commercially loaded 90gr JHP i'll stick with the 75gr hard cast lead flat nose buffalo bore rounds. I think that at this time, they offer the best performance out of our little babies. (This is just my opinion, i am sure others have their own)

PS: The .32acp was originally designed for the FN M1900 pistol (a favorite of Teddy Roosevelts), not the Colt pocket pistol. The FN M1900 was in fact a military pistol, adopted by the Belgians in 1900. The cartridge was also used by many other nation's military and police forces well into the modern times.

So it appears that the .32 acp (aka 7.62x17mm SR) was originally a military (and police) cartridge after all.



http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg117-e.htm

In FMJ form the .32acp is a very deeply penetrating round, and a very accurate one as well. It's actually not too bad for a military round as long as it's in a suitable weapon. A modern high capacity 25 or 30 shot 5" barreled .32 military pistol would actually be really wicked. >:}
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