Look at Brassfetcher's new .380ammo summary!!!

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by oldgranpa, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Brassfetcher has done a remarkable amount of work with .380ammo using a KelTec P3AT pistol. His new summary is a large .pdf file using the link below. It may take awhile to download. And you might need the latest Adobe reader, version 9, to see it. Fantastic!

    http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP ammunition performance in ballistic gelatin.pdf

    I couldn't post this in the 380 ammo links section. Maybe it belongs there.

  2. GoldenLoki

    GoldenLoki New Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    Very nice work!

    Thanks for posting.


  3. Zip196

    Zip196 New Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks again for the info! I am going to try/test the Gold Dots (on order) and Golden Sabers (if I can find them) and maybe some more, m aybe not.

  4. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Looks like 380 is fast becoming the most popular caliber. With all the new pistols and outstanding gel tests by Brassfetcher and GoldenLoki, the .380 is sure here to stay.
    Thank you GoldenLoki for being the first, many years ago, to publish your .380 gel tests with the P3AT.

    og....who is just a humble wetpack tester.
  5. CJP32

    CJP32 Active Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Nice post OG.

    The thing I really don't understand is the Golden sabers, in some tests they look good and others they don't expand at all. The energy is still on the low side so I don't think I would carry them either way. I really like the way DPX expands in all the tests I've seen so that is my first choice for carry ammo.

  6. GoldenLoki

    GoldenLoki New Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    Gel testing has been a labor of love/hate OG  :)

    A significant difference between Brassfetcher's test and mine is bare vs. two layers of denim. The denim apparently plugs the cavity in the Golden Saber, impairing expansion. BTW there is nothing magical about two layers of denim, just an arbitrary standard I plucked out of the air.

  7. JB

    JB Guest

    I saw these the other day and meant to post a link.  Thanks, OG, for saving me the effort!

    Right now, the only 'premium' SD ammo I have are a few Federal Hydra-Shoks I have left from before the ammo craze.  In fact, I only have six of those.  I carry one in the pipe, five in the mag with the last round in my carry mag (and all rounds in my backup mag) being Remington UMC JHP.

    I liked the HydraShok and started carrying it because it fed reliably in my P3AT back when it had so many problems.  I first saw it suggested for the P3AT because it is a little shorter than some other rounds.  Looking at Brassfetcher's gel tests of this round, I am impressed enough that I might just stick with it (if I ever find any more.)  It didn't expand a huge amount in those tests but it did reliably expand and gave consistent expansion even when comparing bare gel to gel set up as 'wearing' light, summer clothing.  It is also the only JHP tested that penetrated to 12 inches (with the closest second being the Hornady XTP at 11.4 inches.)  I don't always worry about that 'magic number' of 12 inches of penetration but if there is a round that A. I'm already familiar with, B. Will reliably function, C. Gives consistent expansion and D. Are comparable in price with other premium SD ammo (if I can find any) then I don't see any reason to change.
  8. oldgranpa

    oldgranpa New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    What do you think? Agree or not, I'm interested in your opinion on this.....

    I used to think expansion was the most important factor with .380 JHP ammo. The Rem GoldenSabr was my first choice, best expansion. Most people I saw were just average, about 9" or so thru the COM. I thought 10" gelatin penetration (7"wetpack) was plenty good enough.

    However, nowadays I'm seeing more and more "giants" everywhere, a good 15" or more thru the COM.  This is even more than the old FBI protocol of 12"min. gelatin.

    So my thinking has changed and I now feel penetration is very important. Maybe more important than expansion. I want 12"min. gelatin. And more than 8" in my wetpack tests with JHP ammo I use. Some expansion is still desirable but without good penetration the effectiveness is doubtful.

    What's your thoughts?

    og...who is just average and those "giants" scare me!! :eek:
  9. JB

    JB Guest

    That is part of the reason I liked the results from the Hydra-Shoks (I was probably posting that while you were posting this.)  That said, I honestly don't generally worry about penetration having to be 12 inches - but it is a nice factor if that penetration can be combined with reliable function and consistent expansion.

    My reasoning is:

    1.  Unlike FBI agents - as in the Miami shootout - I am probably not going to be trying to shoot through car windshields or other barriers, especially not with a .380.

    2.  The need to shoot through an attacker's arm, through the attacker's side and still get enough penetraton to reach the vitals isn't a huge concern of mine.  IMO, in most SD situations, I'm not going to be shooting an assailant from the side as an assailant that is attacking me will most likely be facing me, not walking sideways towards me.  Yes, there are exceptions to this situation where the assailant may be turned sideways to me but attacking one of my loved ones - but do I really want to take a shot from any distance in such a situation using a pocket pistol and take a chance on shooting said loved one or an innocent bystander beyond my intended target?  I think I'd want to move closer to the assailant or do something to cause the assailant to turn to face me.

    3.  Most people are going to stop what they are doing if you shoot them with anything, period.  As I have seen it expressed, most people don't like to leak.  In such a case, I don't care if the bullet 'reaches the vitals', don't care if it does 'maximum damage' and don't care if it fails to drop him on the spot.  I only care that the attacker is no longer attacking me and mine.  Yes, I realize that there are exceptions to any rule.  Guy might be completely psycho or hopped up on drugs and not stop.  Of course, in such a situation, would anything short of a shotgun stop him before he can harm you?  Possibly not. Also, that's why I don't carry a single shot pistol for SD - if at first you don't succeed, pull the trigger until they stop.

    These are the reasons I feel comfortable carrying a .380 (for backup or even occasional primary), a .38 snub (often as primary) a small 9mm, the P11 (often as primary) and even a NAA mini in .22WMR as a BUG or backup BUG.  I figure that controlability under duress - meaning the ability to hit my target - is more important than either expansion or penetration and that, in most instances, hitting my target at all is apt to change an assailant's behavior.  Of course, in those situations when I don't feel comfortable that this theory is 'adequate', I carry a full-sized 9mm or a .357.
  10. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Great report, thanks.

    Take care...
  11. CJP32

    CJP32 Active Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for pointing out the important difference between the two tests, that I some how missed, GL.

    JB I tend to agree with you about the 380, I really don't think the 380 can have both 12" of penetration and good expansion. As you stated the P3 is a "bad breath" distance gun so there you are less likely to have an odd angle shot. I don't want to carry FMJ just to get the 12" so I go for ammo that has good penetration, expansion and energy, the DPX.

    I also have noticed that I spend much more time and energy on my "mouse gun" ammo than I do for my 9mm and 40. I guess I just feel better about the smaller caliber if I have what I think is the best ammo.

    JMO as always
  12. Emack76

    Emack76 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Good posts, and good thoughts! I think I'll stick with FMJ though. .380 needs all the help it can get as far as penetration goes. There isn't any bones in that gelatin either, which could stop the little .380 in it's tracks (channel). I firmly believe that center mass is the wrong placement for .380 JHP. Too much hard stuff there. Maybe a bit lower?

    Just my $.02. I appreciate the mild mannered banter here. [smiley=beer.gif]
  13. JB

    JB Guest

    Me, too.  Heck, I carry Remington UMC JHPs in my P11 because I believe it will have the velocity to expand and penetrate in even a compact 9mm.  I have UMC SJHPs in .357 for carry/HD ammo and feel fine about that.  The .38 snub has Critical Defense with some Hornady XTP as backup ammo, though (although I do have some UMC 38 +P JHPs that I would carry in it if I ran out of the other) and, as stated, I like HydraShoks for the P3AT.
  14. JB

    JB Guest

    I seem to remember someone having posted a 'pork rib' test on KTOG where they shot a slab of pork ribs (maybe covered in denim, I can't remember) with the P3AT to find out if it could penetrate bone. Unfortunately, I don't remember what ammo they used but the bones (pig bones being similar to human bone) posed no real obstacle to the little .380. Not arguing with your choice of shot placement, just tossing that out there.
  15. rosieK

    rosieK New Member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Found this thread to be very interesting; all the comments added to the very complete listing and results. Bottom line: From what I read I could not find a REAL concensus on bullet type and/or mfgr. Could responders just mention those 2 variables as to their top choices.
  16. CJP32

    CJP32 Active Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Here is the "pork rib" test done by Wheelguy.


    The BB with Gold dot preformed very well, however last time I checked they no longer use the GD. BB also did not tell the other companies that sell their ammo that they switched from the GD to a lower tec Sierra bullet. Questionable business practice IMO.

    The test shows that the 380 will penetrate some bone with the right ammo.

    [highlight]Rosie[/highlight], the ammo I prefer in order is DPX, Critical defense and BB hardcast. They all shoot well in my P3. I would like to try some Double tap jhp in the future, I think they make some high quality ammo.

  17. riverkeeper

    riverkeeper New Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    For defense I've used Gold Dots and Am Eagle FMJ for 4 years and Federal Hydra Shok for over a year and you've supported my decision to stay with this crowd.
  18. ArticleIVSection4

    ArticleIVSection4 New Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver Co.
  19. RC_Pilot

    RC_Pilot New Member

    Mar 9, 2010

    You asked about Golden Sabers, how in some tests they expand wonderfully and in others they act like a FMJ.

    Several years ago, I don't know exactly when, Remington changed the hollowpoint cavity on the Golden Saber in 380/9mm bullet, not sure about any other calibers but I would say they changed as well. The OLD style looked like the bullet originally started out as a flat nose bullet and someone pressed a BB into the front of it to make the cavity, it was a rounded cupped out design.

    The latest design looks (to me) very similar to the cavity on a Winchester Silvertip, it funnels down a significant amount then is a constant diameter channel that goes down 2 maybe 3 mm further. This is a LOT deeper cavity than the original design.

    The latest design is the bullet that expands when shot into gelatin/wetpacks/people. I shoot 99 percent reloads and just got a box of 2000 new design Golden Sabers, I have about 300 of the old design.

    If I can figure out how to insert a picture, I will shoot a pic of the old side to side with the new design and you will see what I'm talking about--the difference is night and day. Also got a box of 1000 Winchester 380/9mm (.355 diameter) Silvertips in. I will include it in the picture and you can see the similarity between the new design Golden Saber and the Winchester Silvertip cavities.
  20. joje

    joje New Member

    Nov 1, 2007

    I'm reloading with GS too. Do you have any reloading data to share? 4.5 grain of Power Pistol produces a load that clocks in @ about 910 fps - a little bit faster than the standard remington loadings - out of my p3at, but its a bit flashier than I'd like, so I'd be interested to hear what others use.