Thanks, Corbon!


September 22, 2011, 03:59 PM
I'd like to express my appreciation for the folks behind Corbon ammo. My revolvers have slowly been transitioning to the DPX branded rounds for multiple reasons - no lead, good reputation, reliable expansion, high accuracy... and now I can add customer service to the list.

I was a bit offput when a box of "thunder-ranch" .357 arrived with evidence of corrosion. I contacted Mike at Corbon, and he advised me that the corrosion on these particular rounds would not effect their performance based on the pictures I provided, but that he would be happy to exchange them for new rounds if I wanted to. Apparently the origin of the corrosion was a packaging and/or storage issue from the retailer.

I took him up on his offer since I use them primarily for self defense and asked him where to send the box. He said not to worry about it, and personally flew down with several shining new boxes of DPX and handed them to me at my local range. I had bought one box that I was unhappy with and Mike gave me three and let me keep the others for target practice. Hats off to Corbon for a highly personalized, quick response to a customers mild complaint!

They've got my future business, and I hope they've got yours.

If you enjoyed reading about "Thanks, Corbon!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 23, 2011, 01:11 AM
Thats cool ! :)

September 23, 2011, 08:08 AM
It's nice to see a business realize that their customer service department is their PR department as well.

451 Detonics
September 23, 2011, 09:17 AM
Mike does love passing out That was always a bennie when shooting with Evan doing gel testing, Mike would show up with more ammo than we could possible use but he never took any home.

September 23, 2011, 11:46 AM
Nice one, 451 Detonics. I should note as a result I've switched out my .357 gold dots with .357 DPX. The Corbon loads are a little milder than the gold dots (DPX published at 1200 - 1300 ft/s and the gold dot at 1450 ft/s) but are also closer to point of aim and tend to go off with less flash/bang. The all copper, lead-free x bullet is also a big plus. I use the DPX rounds in .44 special as well, but stick with short barrel gold dots in .38 special + p.

Interestingly, I've noted buffalo bore now carries a Barnes x bullet with a published velocity of 1650 ft/s. If this is the same x bullet used in Corbon's DPX offerings, I wonder why each company chose to load it as they did, and how the bullets performance varies from 1300 ft/s to 1650 ft/s?

September 23, 2011, 12:19 PM
Its rare anymore to see personal customer service. In these days of emailing and most the time when a person tries to reach customer service, its hard to get a real person. I will note your experience next time I buy ammo.

September 23, 2011, 02:50 PM
Not to highjack the thread here:
Tony, do you really like the short barrel ammo, and why do you? I've got a new SP 101 3", was contemplating getting some of this ammo. Thanks for your help!


September 23, 2011, 06:09 PM
Hi 788Ham, although this thread was in appreciation of Corbon, I am also a CCI/Speer Gold dot fan.

I do like the short barrel .38 + p gold dots as a niche round that serves a very specific purpose for me. The firearms that this round really shines in are generally highly concealable and most suitable for pocket carry, ankle carry, light IWB carry, or similar use.

Speer's data indicates that the 135 grain .38 special + p gold dot (short barrel) has the following characteristics:

Weight: 135 grains
Velocity at muzzle (ft/s): 860 out of 2" barrel
Energy at muzzle (foot pounds): 222

This may be compared to the traditional gold dot in .38 special + p

Weight: 125 grains
Velocity at muzzle (ft/s): 945 out of a 4" barrel
Energy at muzzle (foot pounds): 248

One interesting difference to note is that the 125 grain round was tested with a 4" barrel yet the 135 grain round was tested with a 2" barrel. If the barrel length is taken into account, it appears the rounds have very similar ballistic properties. Anecdotal evidence corroborates this claim and some interested citizens have used a chronograph on the short barrel round from longer barrels and had it pushing 950+ ft/s with a 6" barrel. Yet, it should be noted that Speer themselves indicate that the short barrel round is ideal in the 2 - 4" barrel range.

Tnoutdoors did an informative review of the Speer 135 gr short barrel round which you can find here:

In the video, he notes that although the round is published at 860 ft/s velocity, his 5 round average in the S&W 438 (a little less than 2" barrel) was 835 ft/s velocity with a high of 845 ft/s velocity. I carry it in a S&W 442. Despite these differences , Speer claims to have engineered the round to expand well in the lower velocity ranges, and that claim is supported in the Tnoutdoors video portion on expansion. In your Sp101 with a 3" barrel, the round would likely marginally exceed the published velocity.

There have been heated debates on the adequacy of a .38 special round in general self defense situations. My take on it is that it's better than a sharp stick, but if I could carry something more powerful, I would. Therefore, 80% of the time I'll have a .44 special or a .357 magnum round on me and the .38 special will be acting as a secondary backup, or as a primary in such situations where concealment is of the utmost importance - when my clothing does not permit a belt holster.

If the Sp101 can only fire .38 special, if it is carried by someone with high recoil sensitivity, or if it is carried in very tight situations where loud noises may be overly amplified, then I would choose to carry the 135 grain gold dot short barrel over any other .38 special round. It is one of the only rounds in that caliber that is in widespread use in law enforcement agencies around the country, and its proven performance even at low velocities is to be commended. It is an easy choice over the other 125 grain gold dot due to its heavier weight and easy expansion. As mentioned, a great benefit of all "special" rounds is less ear-cracking boom to worry about - although some posit that ear cracking booms are the last thing to worry about in true self defense situations.

If, however, your Sp101 is of the variety that can handle .357 rounds, and if it is carried by someone not adverse to some recoil and in situations where ear-cracking booms may be tolerated, I would strongly advise you to check out some of the offerings in that caliber.

First, lets look at the other Gold dot offering for short barrels, the Speer 135 grain .357 magnum short barrel(some have taken to calling this .357 medium)

Weight: 135 grains
Velocity at muzzle (ft/s): 990 from a 2" barrel
Energy at muzzle (foot pounds): 294

This round seems promising, but is actually more in the ".38 special" league for performance rather than approaching magnum capabilities.

Two other "medium" power magnum loads in .357 are the Remington golden sabre, and the Corbon DPX mentioned in my original post. The golden sabre is old technology, but does have a positive history by some accounts (others have noted its tendency of core-jacket separation).

The Corbon DPX .357 round is intriguing:

Weight: 125 grains
Velocity at muzzle (ft/s): 1300
Energy at muzzle (foot pounds): 469

Although Stephen Camp (R.I.P) tested this round and found it to be approximately 100 - 150 ft/s less than the published velocity, other reports using chronographs have tracked it up to speed. Even at slightly lower velocity than published, this round offers approximately 1.5 to 2 times the energy as the .38 special rounds discussed previously.

This discussion has been limited in its review of certain ammo types and brands, it goes without saying a number of other top notch manufacturers make products that might suit your individual needs. The .357 125 grain gold dot full power (not short barrel) moves at approximately 1450 ft/s and has just under 600 foot pounds of energy, which is the traditional .357 loading. However, I believe that one might be a bit much for the Sp101 - additionally it is quite loud and can be a handful even in larger framed revolvers. And yet, it has very impressive ballistic performance in gel as shown by brass fetchers testing Others prefer a 158 grain round in .357, and I have some hardcast Corbon "hunter" rounds at 200 grains (no hollowpoint) in storage for woods carry.

One last point to consider is cost - short barrel gold dots in .38 special + p can be had from G&R tactical right now for $30 each box of 50. The DPX corbon rounds are more expensive, but the trade off you get is an all copper x bullet and the beautiful expansion of a DPX round.

In summary, if you are intent on carrying .38 special +P in your Sp101, I don't think you can go wrong with the 135 grain gold dot. However, I would encourage you to try out the .357 Corbon DPX round and see how it shoots. Everything with handguns is a tradeoff between concealability, noise, power, penetration, expansion, weight retention, accuracy, recoil, amount of lead, and a number of other factors. The target you shoot and the aggressor in a self-defense situation ultimately may not be able to tell the difference when faced with getting shot by your premium ammunition choice out of your premium firearm. Therefore, I advise you to shoot both and see which you can hit point of aim with. As mentioned, I personally carry both, but given your choice I would likely be putting the .357 DPX rounds in an Sp101 with a 3" barrel if it was not a .38 special only firearm. Jeff Quinn from gunblast also spoke positively of the "thunder ranch" branded Corbon rounds, although he spoke generally of a variety of calibers under the brand name. That review can be found here:



September 24, 2011, 12:05 AM
WHEW! Thanks for the write up, I appreciate your time and knowledge. My SP 101 is of the .357 flavor, however, having it in the night stand, my thoughts were of the 38 +P variety, not blowing holes through all the walls of the house if I'd miss. I know the 38's will poke holes too, but possibly have a chance at another shot or two, being able to get back on target after each shot, vs the .357's notable recoil with full house ammo. I'll look at the vid's you provided, then make a decision before I go to gun show this wknd. I do have an 6" 629, but I didn't want to deafen both my wife and myself by prying one of those loose! Seriously, I truly do appreciate your knowledge and time, mod's, I didn't mean to run away with this thread, understand please. I'll copy this info also Tony.

September 24, 2011, 02:15 AM
Throw some .44 specials in that 629 and some .38+p's in your wife's nightstand and you have some serious firepower with a greatly reduced chance of permanent hearing loss ;) I can dig it. Check this review out of an excellent self defense load for your 629 That is the round I carry 90% of the time, although it can be cost prohibitive to practice with.

Weight: 200 grains
Velocity at muzzle (ft/s): 950
Energy at muzzle (foot pounds): 401

Any round at magnum pressures like the .357 will be exponentially louder than any round at "special pressures", even at .44 caliber.

However, even "special" rounds will easily pierce through drywall like warm butter, yet are unlikely to leave the block/brick exterior walls of a sturdy house. If you're in an apartment, townhome, or trailer, all bets are off. Although the chances of a round exiting a perpetrator and harming someone else seem pretty low, it is good to be careful!

September 24, 2011, 11:37 AM
Thanks very much for the detailed information, Tony.

September 24, 2011, 03:10 PM
Now I have something else to look for at the GS this wknd, thanks Tony. From the report you posted, it looks like the Corbons will get a serious look. I've seen this bullet/cartridge, but until your post, never gave them much more than a glance. They look like they'd hold up very well, leave some "Ginsu" looking petals for sure! We live in a single family home, not worried about neighbors on other side of walls, etc
I've got funds to procure a couple of boxes of these .44 Spl's, not sure about pricing, but what's money! :eek:

I again appreciate your time and effort in answering my question, this THR site is amazing, you make it worthwhile to come back Tony.


September 24, 2011, 09:02 PM
I'm glad I could be of help.

The Corbon DPX do tend to be a bit pricey, but make for an excellent carry round. The gold dots "personal protection" labeled boxes of 20 are also pricey, which is why I look for the "law enforcement" branded box of 50 when I buy Speer.

If you enjoyed reading about "Thanks, Corbon!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!