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.38 cal vs .380 ACP

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by BP Hunter, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    I have a Taurus Model 85 snubbie that holds 5 shots of .38 cal. I am thinking I "should" get a pistol that holds maybe 7 of the same caliber for my other carry. I rotate between a Kel Tech PF9, Taurus PT 145 or the Model 85 snubbie. I am not willing to pay more than $400 for it. The Bersa Thunder .380 looks promising.

    My question is, with the same type of ammo in grains, will either .380 vs the .38 caliber be equal in stopping power perfromance.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    For what it's worth... if you are going to buy a pistol, the KT P3AT is great!

    That being said, lately I have been carrying my .357 too though and the KT has been in the "safe"....
     
  3. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Member

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    Someone else will answer this better than I, but the .380, for the most part, is loaded with 80-100 grain bullets. The .38 spl. will be loaded with 124-154 grain bullets. Both are low-pressure and they'll be roughly the same speed out of similar barrels. Due to bullet weight, the 38 spl. wins the power contest.
     
  4. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    I believe the .38 is loaded more powerfully as it is a revolver cartage and the 380 is weaker as it is used mostly in blowback pistols, witch severely limits the top end.

    Check wiki for CIP or sammi standards would tell you, esp when you compare ft. pounds
     
  5. wadcutter45

    wadcutter45 Member

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    On the average, the .380 is about 2/3 the power of a .38 spl. However on the average, most .380 pistols carry !/3 more shots than a .38 spl

    It's a tough one. Buy the gun that you think you will carry most.
     
  6. wilder

    wilder Member

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    From the same manufacturer's popular carry loads the .380 puts out 88% as much energy as the .38+P at the muzzle. Both are around 1/2 the energy of 124gr 9mm+P.

    Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection - 38 Special +P 135gr

    Velocity(in feet per second)
    Muzzle - 860
    50 yards - 818
    100 yards - 780

    Energy (in foot pounds)
    Muzzle - 222
    50 yards - 200
    100 yards - 182


    Gold Dot Personal Protection - 380 Auto 90gr

    Velocity(in feet per second)
    Muzzle - 990
    50 yards - 907
    100 yards - 842

    Energy (in foot pounds)
    Muzzle - 196
    50 yards - 164
    100 yards - 142
     
  7. SOUTHPAW

    SOUTHPAW Member

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    I rotate a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 w/ Winchester Silvertips and a Ruger SP101 .357 loaded with Hornady .38 +P Critical Defense. Sometimes both at the same time. Interested to hear the scoop on the comparo...
     
  8. TimeIsRunninOut

    TimeIsRunninOut Member

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    actual testing for the GD 380 ACP posted 909 fps 165 lbs via goldenloki.com corbon hit best with 181 (40 below their 220 claim)
     
  9. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    The ammunition you shoot is only one factor.

    I have both a Taurus 85 and Bersa .380 'thunder'. Both fine guns for the money.

    Now the .38, best ammo, IS more powerful that the .380. And the Bersa does hold more shots and is faster to reload. But .380 ammo isn't so cheap unless you reload like I do.

    But also keep in mind that when shooting fast a SA trigger, as in the Bersa after the first shot, makes it easier to hit well. And good hits, in either .38 or .380, are a must if you intend on stopping the attacker.

    For me, I have a .22 Smith J frame to practice DA shooting. So I perfer the more powerful .38 Spl. But Bersa makes a 'thunder' in .22 lr.

    What ever you get, if possible get a .22 version that allows you to practice a great deal.
     
  10. wilder

    wilder Member

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    The goldenloki.com .380 test data might be applicable to this discussion if the tester had included .38 special data as well. As it stands you're comparing real world .380 data to manufacturer's claims for .38 special.
     
  11. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    What does it cost you to reload 100 rounds of .380?
     
  12. golden

    golden Member

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    Not an exact trade off

    BP HUNTER

    The .38 Special is more powerful than the .380ACP when you use a 4 inch or longer barrel.

    If you are using standard pressure .38 Special ammo from a 2 inch barrel, they are very similar.
    I use 125 grain FEDERAL NYCLAD rounds in my J frame size guns. The recoil is ok and stopping power is top of the heap for a snubnose with stand pressure ammo.

    If you use +P ammo, the story is different. You can get enough of a velocity boost and maybe a more effective bullet. I think the improvement will be small for a big increase in recoil.

    I have a BERETTA 84 which can carry 13+1 rounds of hollow point .380ACP. It is a much better defence pistol than a .38 snub, but is much harder to conceal as it is nearly a full size pistol.

    I really rank them pretty much the same when you compare an alloy framed 5 shot revolver against a plastic framed mini 380. The .380ACP just has more ammo capacity and a faster reload.

    Jim
     
  13. LawofThirds

    LawofThirds Member

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    I've got to go with .38 being significantly stronger than .380 once you factor in that almost every modern .38 is rated for +p pressures. In addition, while there are .380's that expand, the need for the round to feed well and the shorter overall length limits the amount of expansion compared to the .38 special.

    I'm getting 890 fps out of a 1 7/8 j-frame with 125 grain golden sabers and they're showing expansion in the .55-.60 range in water.

    Still, it's what you're comfortable with.
     
  14. Shadan7

    Shadan7 Member

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  15. makarovnik

    makarovnik Member

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    the .38 is heavier and has the edge in power. Now, if the .380 has more capacity then...
     
  16. Al LaVodka

    Al LaVodka member

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  17. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Less than it cost to reload 9mm!

    The primers are the same, the powder the same but a bit less of it (3.6 gr of Unique does fine with a 95gr FMJ.)

    95gr FMJ slugs are less expensive than 115s.

    I use a Lee turrent press, with switchable heads, for 9mm, M1 Carbine, 40 S&W, and .380 ACP. A Dillion SQB for .38, and Dillion 550 for .45 ACP.

    You can get all the reloading equipment from Midsouth.

    It will run about 8 dollars per 100 to reload. Now considering what it cost to buy .380s today..... can't beat that.
     
  18. gearhead

    gearhead Member

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    Or you can split the difference and get a Makarov or one of the little Polish P-64 pistols that fires 9mm Mak. Slightly more oomph (as measured on my oomphometer...) than the .380, 6+1 in the P-64 in a very reliable, accurate, compact package with safety/decocker.
     
  19. LoneCoon

    LoneCoon Member

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    Skip the P-64 and get a real Mak. The P-64 will beat your hands and make you miserable. The Bulgarian and Ruskie Maks are where it's at.
     
  20. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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  21. PAULREVERE

    PAULREVERE Member

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    Check out Buffalo Bore 38 Special +P loads. Smokin Hot. 158 lead hollowpoint wadcutters at 1000 fps. Out of a 2 inch barrel. :eek:
     
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