PD Ammo in .380


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trombosis
August 30, 2010, 12:49 PM
What PD ammo would you recommend in a Bersa Thunder .380? I am about to get my CHL and will be carrying the Bersa as my sidearm.

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Ben86
August 30, 2010, 12:56 PM
I assume by PD you mean personal defense. My favorite .380 load is the speer gold dot 90 grain hollow point. It is accurate, functions in most autos and gives impressive expansion AND penetration which is something not always present in .380 hollow points. The recoil is also not bad. This is compared to my previous load the remington 102 grain golden saber. That was a handful in my ruger lcp, although it also performed very well even from the tiny 2.75 inch barrel. Although in your bersa the recoil probably wouldn't be so bad. Either of these two loads are great.

Some guys are going to tell you to only use fmj in .380. Most of those guys fail to realize or accept the advancements in .380 ammo that have happened in the last 10 years.

MikeNice
August 30, 2010, 12:56 PM
Most people I have talked to that carry .380s tend to carry Corbon, Corbon DPX, Hornady Critical Defense, and Speer Gold Dot.

rcmodel
August 30, 2010, 12:58 PM
Any name brand JHP.
Speer Gold Dot, Federal Premium Hydra-Shock, etc.

Just not FMJ.
The only reason to use FMJ is if your Bersa won't feed JHP ammo reliably, which is unlikely.

If I were you, I would scout around your area and see what brands are available.
Pick something, then try them in your gun to make sure they feed 100%.

You really can't go too far wrong with JHP ammo from any of the major manufactures.

rc

wow6599
August 30, 2010, 01:08 PM
I have heard nothing but the best about 102 gr Remington Golden Saber.
It's all I use in .380.

gwnorth
August 30, 2010, 01:10 PM
I load my SIG P232 with Rem 102gr golden sabers (or their newer packaging which calls them premium home defense ammo or some such). My SIG is all stainless steel and those shoot fine out if it - snappy recoil but very manageable in a larger all steel .380 like that.

DasFriek
August 30, 2010, 02:29 PM
When i carried my Sig P238 i did alot of research on carry ammo.
My results ended up with me buying the Hornady Critical Defense due to its higher percentage of fully expanding and still maintaining good penetration.
As a second choice the Corbon DPX was a close second and mainly due to price, Almost 50% more usually.

TexasBill
August 30, 2010, 02:45 PM
Our Browning BDA .380, Beretta 84FS Cheetah and Walther PK380 all are happy on a diet of the 102-grain Remington Golden Sabers.

ccsniper
August 30, 2010, 02:51 PM
critical defense. Although I think your bersa should eat anything thrown down it, mine does.

trombosis
August 30, 2010, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the responses guys. I'll be sure and scout the stores around here for the brands mentioned.

Manco
August 30, 2010, 07:27 PM
Some guys are going to tell you to only use fmj in .380. Most of those guys fail to realize or accept the advancements in .380 ammo that have happened in the last 10 years.

The advancements are that modern .380 ammo expands reliably and well, which in my view is the problem. I'd recommend non-expanding rounds because I prefer about 20" of penetration to the 10" or so you'd normally get with expanding rounds in this caliber. .355" bullets are already wide enough to do some damage, and 20" of penetration is just about right for maximum overall effectiveness against human targets, in my opinion. Use a load with flat-nosed bullets if you can find one--Winchester, for one, makes a truncated cone load that should work fine, as does Buffalo Bore (if you're into hot loads).

BlindJustice
August 30, 2010, 08:49 PM
Although I don't have a .380 ACP I've found this Ammo maker to
put out a good product in .45 ACP, .45 AR, 9mm & .38 Special in termss
of good value/price, performance and reliability.

Reeds Amunnition & Research - Okla City OK
offers the

Rem 102 gr. GS @ 1050 FPS $22.88 per 50
&
Hornady 90 gr. XTP @ 1150 FPS $ 24.68 per 50

Makes me go hmmm, maybe a CZ 83

but that's just me .

Hey rcmodel how yah doing I've been gone for a while
hardrive cooked a fan back in decemeber lost everything
got the backup now....

Randall

BlindJustice
August 30, 2010, 08:52 PM
oops sorry here's a link to R.A.R - Reeds ammo

I'm just a happy customer is all it's where I go to
for oddball SD .45 Auto RIm and .400 CorBon

http://shop.reedsammo.com/category.sc;jsessionid=AD5B1F79EDFE34DBFBE7CBDD03CF424B.qscstrfrnt04?categoryId=2

Randall

trombosis
August 30, 2010, 10:38 PM
The advancements are that modern .380 ammo expands reliably and well, which in my view is the problem. I'd recommend non-expanding rounds because I prefer about 20" of penetration to the 10" or so you'd normally get with expanding rounds in this caliber. .355" bullets are already wide enough to do some damage, and 20" of penetration is just about right for maximum overall effectiveness against human targets, in my opinion. Use a load with flat-nosed bullets if you can find one--Winchester, for one, makes a truncated cone load that should work fine, as does Buffalo Bore (if you're into hot loads).
Are you referring to the WWB target rounds?

trombosis
August 30, 2010, 10:41 PM
Although I don't have a .380 ACP I've found this Ammo maker to
put out a good product in .45 ACP, .45 AR, 9mm & .38 Special in termss
of good value/price, performance and reliability.

Reeds Amunnition & Research - Okla City OK
offers the

Rem 102 gr. GS @ 1050 FPS $22.88 per 50
&
Hornady 90 gr. XTP @ 1150 FPS $ 24.68 per 50

Makes me go hmmm, maybe a CZ 83

but that's just me .

Hey rcmodel how yah doing I've been gone for a while
hardrive cooked a fan back in decemeber lost everything
got the backup now....

Randall
Thanks for the site--though the $10.95 shipping is a bit steep. I'll keep it in mind if none of the stores around here have any ammo in stock.

BlindJustice
August 30, 2010, 11:47 PM
Shipping costs.... I ordered some ammo from Double Tap and the next time my shooting buddy and I orderd just enough to get the minimym in
terms of S&H something like $11 minimum so we got 5 boxes instead of
the first order of 3 boxes it's all by weight for the minimum charge then it goes to the next level

Heck the SD/PD ammo on the shelf around here 20 rounds a box is over a buck a bang

do the math


Randall

\

Byron
August 30, 2010, 11:49 PM
I am in agreement with Manco. I carry the Winchester 95 gr FP (target) in my PPK/s. I am after penetration.The FP has the possibility of breaking bone. Byron

usp9
August 31, 2010, 07:28 AM
Have you seen or used this great thread on .380 ammo? Follow the link to the Brassfetcher .380 tests.
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=529342

trombosis
August 31, 2010, 10:08 AM
Have you seen or used this great thread on .380 ammo? Follow the link to the Brassfetcher .380 tests.
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=529342
Thanks! It was a good read.

Water-Man
August 31, 2010, 10:51 AM
Take a look at the new Winchester PDX1 95gr. JHP

MikeNice
August 31, 2010, 11:04 AM
Manco, Bersa says that the end user should use only ammo loaded to the SAAMI standard rating. So do most other manufacturers.

So any use of Buffalo Bore ammo should be kept to the minimum necesary to ensure function and proper handling.

CCCP
August 31, 2010, 11:21 AM
May I suggest PMC Starfire ?

Ben86
August 31, 2010, 11:52 AM
I prefer about 20" of penetration to the 10" or so you'd normally get with expanding rounds in this caliber.

So you can shoot through multiple bad guys?

trombosis
August 31, 2010, 12:18 PM
Take a look at the new Winchester PDX1 95gr. JHP
I have some of that for the Rossi .38 that I have--those rounds look mean. The Wal-Mart here just got a shipment in, plus one of the sporting goods guys gives me a heads up when any .380 gets in. I put my 10% discount to work! But alas, no .380 PDX in sight here.

Water-Man
August 31, 2010, 01:46 PM
Cabelas had them for $15.99 a box but I haven't checked recently.

Nushif
August 31, 2010, 01:53 PM
Any brandname hollow-point is what I'd carry.

Manco
August 31, 2010, 09:25 PM
Are you referring to the WWB target rounds?

I would guess so--I've only seen them referenced in a ballistics test, as I don't own a .380 ACP pistol myself.

Manco, Bersa says that the end user should use only ammo loaded to the SAAMI standard rating. So do most other manufacturers.

That would be my recommendation, as well. Fortunately Buffalo Bore makes a line of hot yet standard-pressure .380 ACP ammunition:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=57

I don't usually recommend extra-hot loads or +P loads, but in a caliber that some would consider marginal, I thought that some people would be interested. The only +P loads that I ever actually recommend for defense against humans are in .38 Special because modern revolvers and .357 Magnums can easily handle them, and .22 LR because it can make a big difference in effectiveness in some guns. With .380 ACP (and most every other caliber), I'd stick with standard pressure only, myself.

So any use of Buffalo Bore ammo should be kept to the minimum necesary to ensure function and proper handling.

That would be prudent, as well as more affordable. ;)

So you can shoot through multiple bad guys?

That is not my intention. Although I use and make reference to ballistics gelatin tests all the time, I never take the test results completely at face value. They give you an idea of the relative penetration capabilities of different loads in soft media that supposedly simulates living flesh, but real human beings are more elastic and not so homogeneous. For example, penetrating an arm before penetrating the torso--which is a big deal because arms are often in the way of the COM--involves penetrating multiple layers of skin, which tends to reduce actual penetration by several inches. This is because skin is more difficult to penetrate than muscle or calibrated gelatin. And bone and sinew, of course, can reduce penetration rather significantly.

If we add the large size of certain individuals to the equation, as well as bullets sometimes striking at odd angles in real shootings, then 10" of penetration seems rather marginal at best to me. Sure, it's enough to kill, but then again so is a .22 Short, and I wouldn't recommend either. Penetration is second in importance only to shot placement, and actually enables shot placement, so I would prefer to have a greater margin in that aspect of terminal ballistics over a wider bullet. It doesn't have to be as much as 20"--I only used that figure because that's what .380 ACP FMJ gives you, and I'll take it over 10" and an expanding bullet. Some loads, namely Federal Hydra-Shok, get about 12" with less expansion, and are also worthy of consideration, but I still like 20" better, personally.

Take a look at the new Winchester PDX1 95gr. JHP

Does anybody have terminal ballistics test results for this load? I'm not fond of the Winchester Ranger-T .380 ACP load because of its poor penetration (less than 8" :barf: ), but the bonded versions (i.e. PDX1) sometimes perform very differently, so the jury is still out, in my opinion. My .40 S&W defensive load happens to be PDX1, but I don't consider myself biased in any way because effectiveness relative to caliber for all product lines depends on the individual load and sometimes on the gun they're used in.

Water-Man
September 1, 2010, 11:21 AM
I read a favorable artical in Tactical Response Magazine-March 2010.

Ben86
September 1, 2010, 12:06 PM
I've read so so many favorable articles in magazines I have stopped trusting them.

WRGADog
September 1, 2010, 08:51 PM
Hornaday Critical Defense, Corbon, Federal Hydra Shok.

Zerodefect
September 1, 2010, 11:27 PM
Corbon Powerball.

jon_in_wv
September 2, 2010, 05:37 AM
I prefer the Federal Hydrashoks or the Gold Dots in 380. Both have decent velocity numbers and both with penetrate 10-12 inches in gelatin IF they expand. If they don't they will behave like ball and penetrate deeper. I don't like the WWB some people are suggesting as they are loaded pretty tame and the 380 isn't a powerhouse to start with. If you insist on FMJ pick a brand with more power than the WWB.

Byron
September 2, 2010, 08:32 AM
Jon, are you aware of any velocity testing on the WW FP ammo? I shoot them and can not discern any difference from other ammo. Byron

Ben86
September 2, 2010, 10:27 AM
I don't have a crony, but from what I have read WWB seems to have about the same velocity as UMC ammo, which has pretty standard .380 velocity. I prefer the UMC because it has a round ogive and therefore I trust it to feed more reliably. I don't by into the whole "flat point makes a better wound" theory. From what I can tell they both punch neat 9mm holes through things.

ET
September 2, 2010, 11:03 AM
Take a look at the new Winchester PDX1 95gr. JHP
Hornaday Critical Defense, Corbon, Federal Hydra Shok.

I bought some of the pdx1 at Wally World & shot off a box of them. I experienced no problems in my TCP with them. I am using Federal Hydra-Shok LE Tactical right now with great success also. The Hornady Critical Defense & Personal Defense are quite good in it as well. There are a lot of choices out there now if you can find the stock in your area or on the internet.

Manco
September 2, 2010, 12:55 PM
I don't like the WWB some people are suggesting as they are loaded pretty tame and the 380 isn't a powerhouse to start with. If you insist on FMJ pick a brand with more power than the WWB.

Be that as it may, even relatively low-velocity .380 ACP FMJ is going to penetrate plenty deep. If you demand even more, then I'm OK with that--just saying. ;)

jon_in_wv
September 2, 2010, 03:59 PM
Sure it may penetrate fine but the lower the velocity, especially in a relatively low powered round like the 380, is going to give you a pretty iffy margin of effectiveness if you hit bone, a wallet, something in his pocket, an arm before striking the body, etc...etc.....If you are going to carry FMJs, which I don't, why not pick one with more velocity? Is velocity somehow bad? What is the drawbacks to picking something going a little faster? It sure can't be recoil, 380s just don't recoil that bad even with the fastest ammo.

For those asking for velocity numbers for WWB vs. other fmjs, google is your friend. If your not interested enough to do your own leg work, I don't feel its my job to do it. Not to be rude, but come on.

Different sites seem to post different results but generally the WWB is 50-100fps slower than some of the other SD rounds.

Manco
September 2, 2010, 09:21 PM
Sure it may penetrate fine but the lower the velocity, especially in a relatively low powered round like the 380, is going to give you a pretty iffy margin of effectiveness if you hit bone, a wallet, something in his pocket, an arm before striking the body, etc...etc.....

If it can penetrate 21.8" as it did in one test (on average), then it's probably enough unless you're defending against bears. :) I guess a little more couldn't hurt, which is why I also gave the Buffalo Bore ammo as an example (both were targeted at those who prefer flat-nosed rounds).

If you are going to carry FMJs, which I don't, why not pick one with more velocity? Is velocity somehow bad? What is the drawbacks to picking something going a little faster? It sure can't be recoil, 380s just don't recoil that bad even with the fastest ammo.

With .380 ACP, additional velocity should not be a problem, that's true. However, in general one has to be cautious about these things because terminal ballistics are sometimes counterintuitive. For example, low-velocity, reduced-recoil (~1200 fps) shotgun slugs generally penetrate more deeply in gelatin (and presumably flesh) than standard-velocity (~1600 fps) slugs--sometimes by more than 60%. Similar effects can be found with pistol calibers as well, and it is not always obvious how things will unfold by the numbers alone.

For those asking for velocity numbers for WWB vs. other fmjs, google is your friend.

Although the topic is .380 ACP, it should be noted that how hot loads are in different calibers doesn't vary by the brand alone. For example, I like Speer Lawman for .40 S&W because the loads are relatively hot for practice ammo, but their loads in some other common calibers are surprisingly weak in comparison to those of other brands. :scrutiny: The same is true of all of the manufacturers that I've looked at, including European manufacturers that famously make such hot 9mm loads but also some wimpy .40 S&W loads, for example.

jon_in_wv
September 2, 2010, 09:30 PM
What does "as it did in ONE test (on average) mean? Is that an average of ONE test? Several shots in one test? What length barrel was that and in what media?

Regardless, even if it penetrates that deeply in gelatin it retains very little energy and I guarantee that any barrier would decrease that dramatically. A 90gr JHP may penetrate deeper in bare gelatin than a 90 gr JHP 100-150fps faster but I would wager the latter would do much better after barriers than the slower round. The extra speed and energy do help the little round. You may not think so but hey, everyone has their opinion.

searcher451
September 3, 2010, 12:21 PM
What works beautifully in your pistol might not work in my pistol -- same brand -- at all. Conversely, what works just fine in my pistol might not work worth a hoot in yours. The only way to determine what ammo to carry is to get a variety of brands, head to a range, and give them all a decent trial. Then determine which works the best in your individual pistol. If they all work, good for you -- head to any dozen or more links on this forum that deal with ratings on one brand of ammo vs. another and make your pick.

Fastcast
September 3, 2010, 02:09 PM
There's no one answer for all scenarios and anyone claiming so is full of themselves. :cool:

Both JHP and FMJ have their merits. In a perfect scenario with an unobstructed frontal shot JHP can't be beat but when utopia doesn't exist FMJ is hard to beat.

From all my readings, flat nosed FMJ has proven medically to do more ripping and tearing and less slipping and sliding around things that you want to damage so I'm calling BS on the "flat nose doesn't perform any better".

Personally, I carry JHP Golden Sabers in the Beretta 84 because of the 4" barrel and I carry RWS - FMJ (980fps) in the LCP with the baby barrel.

That's my game plan and I'm sticking to it. ;)

jon_in_wv
September 3, 2010, 04:38 PM
Sounds like a good one to me Fastcast. The Federal Hydrashoks are my choice in 380. They are loaded to a pretty good velocity and seem to penetrate pretty well for a 380. When they do expand they don't expand much and they seem to get plugged easily and act more like TMJs. So hopefully in an unobstructed frontal shot I might get some benefit from the HP design while still doing alright in the obstructed shot. One reason I also like the JHP, even if it fails to expand, is the sharper edge of the shoulder of the HP. I think it is slightly more likely to dig into bone, harder surfaces, glass, etc.... instead of being diverted off course. The 380 doesn't carry a whole lot of momentum to keep it on a straight course so a little help is a good thing to me. Flat point FMJs or flat point lead bullets would be my personal second choice. I think something like the Buffalo Bore load in either FP lead or JHP are really good loads for the 380 but my little LCP just doesn't look like a beefy weapon to be firing much of that type of ammo.

Really, in the end, I think most people spend a lot more time trying to figure out what ammo to carry then they do practicing with their weapon so they might actually hit something when the time comes.

Manco
September 3, 2010, 06:19 PM
What does "as it did in ONE test (on average) mean? Is that an average of ONE test? Several shots in one test? What length barrel was that and in what media?

I meant the average result of one episode or batch of testing. Here is all of the information on it:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP%20ammunition%20performance%20in%20ballistic%20gelatin.pdf

Note that while the WWB load in this caliber is indeed a bit light, the Federal FMJ load is even lighter. Perhaps this is generally true for FMJ versus purpose-designed defensive ammo. Be that as it may, they still get pretty good penetration.

Regardless, even if it penetrates that deeply in gelatin it retains very little energy and I guarantee that any barrier would decrease that dramatically. A 90gr JHP may penetrate deeper in bare gelatin than a 90 gr JHP 100-150fps faster but I would wager the latter would do much better after barriers than the slower round.

One can never quite tell without actually doing tests, but your supposition seems reasonable to me (it may or may not be true, but it's reasonable).

The extra speed and energy do help the little round. You may not think so but hey, everyone has their opinion.

I just can't know for sure without the appropriate test results, which may well indicate the opposite of what even informed intuition would suggest. What I do know is that even the 12" of penetration of the best JHPs that one gets in the common case is a bit marginal by the standards of some, including my own, and that those who prefer greater penetration should consider FMJ rounds, specifically flat-nosed ones for those who buy into that particular theory. I gave the only two examples that I knew of at the top of my head: WWB, and the hot but costly Buffalo Bore loads. Then you jumped on WWB as being light in comparison to typical defensive ammo, which is true, although that appears to be common among target loads, as Federal's is even lighter. I'm not one who automatically assumes that hotter is always better, so I'll leave it up to the readers to decide what's best for their own needs.

In the absence of comprehensive and compelling test results for FMJ ammo in this caliber, it seems reasonable to choose the hot Buffalo Bore load for defensive use. I just couldn't tell you for sure whether it's really better or not, that's all. One would think so, but one could be surprised at times, too, particularly when relatively high velocities (not applicable to .380 ACP, but in general) and/or lightweight, low sectional density bullets (applicable to .380 ACP) are involved.

jon_in_wv
September 4, 2010, 10:40 AM
Fair enough. The 380 is not my first pick for defense no matter how you slice it but a capable man with a 380 is a lot more dangerous than a boob with a .45.

BTW, the reason I singled out the WWB is the fact that so many seem to recommend it as a defensive load because of its flat bullet but they ignore the fact that it just lacks velocity compared to other defensive loads. I think if that is your cup of tea the Buffalo Bore round is a much better choice.

I just checked their site because I wanted to post the numbers for the round we are discussing and I saw this one. 1100fps out of a P3AT??? Holy Cripes.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=129

Here is the flap point load we were talking about.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=216


And they have a non +p load too. I'm going to order some of these.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=216

(Now before some smart alec pipes in saying, "there is no +p in 380 according to SAAMI blah blah", I KNOW that. But its called their +p load so thats what I'll refer to it as. If they called it their Laser Boolit Crook Stopper, I'd refer to it as that.)

Crimp
September 4, 2010, 08:59 PM
I'm using the new Winchester PDX-1 95gr JHP rounds for carry. They shoot well in the TCP.

Fastcast
September 4, 2010, 09:36 PM
a capable man with a 380 is a lot more dangerous than a boob with a .45.



No doubt.

Zerodefect
September 5, 2010, 07:53 AM
WWB deosn't even cycle the slide on my Kahr p380 properly. That stuff is way too weak.

Corbon, Federal make good defensive ammo. Winchester has good JHP ammo, but thier plinking/range ammo is strictly that.

greyeyezz
September 5, 2010, 10:20 AM
+1 on Gold Dots. My Bersa loves them.

trombosis
September 8, 2010, 11:06 AM
I didn't realize this simple question would spark so much debate!

Ben86
September 8, 2010, 12:34 PM
With a high volume forum such as this expect big results.

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