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BEST .380 SD Load

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by galena, Dec 4, 2013.

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  1. galena

    galena Member

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    I am a S&W revolver guy. My EDC is a M-13 3" with the old FBI load. My Better-half just finished her CCW class. She shoots my Smiths well but is not the gun nut that I am. We went CCW shopping earlier this week and she decided on a Ruger LCP .380 with the Crimson Trace lazer sight. (She shoots my Kahr MK9 and PM9 well but finds the slide springs hard to manipulate.) At any rate, it is her money and her choice and she wants the LCP .380. Now my question: What is the best SD round, the 90 gr or heavier? I am not interested in a discussion of the limited effect of the .380........for what she wants it for it will do. Just want suggestions on the best .380 round. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks for your input.
     
  2. GyMac

    GyMac Member

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    I carry the Buffalo Bore 95 grain JHP. It duplicates the ballistics of the 9mm Mak load that I prefer.
     
  3. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

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    I carry Buffalo Bore 100gr Hardcast (standard pressure). IMO, penetration trumps a hollow point that may or may not open and provides marginal penetration if it does.

    Just placed an order for Underwoods version of the 100gr HC earlier today. Supposed to have the same velocity and energy as the BB version.
     
  4. whatever

    whatever Member

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    Ive been carrying the hydra shocks for years in my 380. It was reccomended to my by a former secret service agent. Recently i have been looking at switching to the critical defense by hornady. Im interested to see the suggestions here as well.
     
  5. DanTheFarmer

    DanTheFarmer Member

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    I believe the most common HD loads for 380 are 90 grain. I like the Hydra-Shok's. There are other good choices as well. Remington makes a 102 grain Golden Saber and many will advocate fmj's (these are usually 95 grain).

    I recommend viewing the gell test results at www.brassfetcher.com or watch the zillions of videos posted on YouTube and make up your own mind. I believe the terminal effects are likely to be quite similar among the popular choices. Once you've made a choice (or have several candidates) be sure to function test. The terminal effects differences for Hydra-Shok vs. Buffalo Bore are very small compared to those of BANG vs. misfeed!

    Dan
     
  6. gym

    gym member

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    I had a Walther for 22 years I carried in NYC. I carried Ball ammo in it, mainly because of heavy clothing . The last few years I carried Hydro shock, and finally Hornadey, 90-95 grain, "for the feeding properties". I no longer carry a 380, but would stick to Corbon powerball or Honadey for the plastic tip that helps feeding and spreading.
     
  7. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    Also, a guy on YouTube just did a whole series of 380 tests looking for one that would pass the FBI requirements on gel penetration from a short barrel gun.

    The whole series is interesting, but the finale is here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNtPHYwcDts
     
  8. rockhopper46038

    rockhopper46038 Member

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    I've seen a lot of information that leads me to believe that the best round in a .380 may well be plain old FMJ ball. But because I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy, my current S&W Bodyguard BUG magazine is loaded with alternating 95 gr FMJ and 102 gr Remington Ultimate HD "Golden Saber" rounds.

    ETA: Apparently the video guy isn't a fan of either. Ah well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  9. Hunter2011

    Hunter2011 Member

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    Of everything I've ever shot in my 9mm short, Winchester Ranger clearly felt the most powerful. Penetration tests in wood, not scientific I know, it was the best. You can feel how much harder it kicks than for example Hydra Shocks.
     
  10. decoy562

    decoy562 Member

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    I use Remington 102 grain loads.
     
  11. HammsBeer

    HammsBeer Member

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    Wife and I both carry LCP's loaded with 90 grain Speer Gold Dots for carry, 95 grain winchester white box fmj for practice.
    100 HP and 600 FMJ rounds and no malfunctions from either gun.

    Many videos of cronograph tests show the Gold Dots often have the highest velocities.
     
  12. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    The videos I watched showed the Critical Defense having the best penetration. My wife carries the LCP as well. I would rather she carry a gun that is easier to shoot, but she likes the size.
     
  13. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    these threads always generate posts where people list the round they carry but don't list the reason why.

    I think to go about selecting a cartridge. you have to gain an understanding or at least form a belief about what causes incapacitation. After that it is a matter of what part of the bell curve you want to cover. On one end of the spectrum is a frontal shot on the skinny guy wearing a T-shirt. The skinny guy is 11" from front to back - obviously not much muscle, a frontal shot with the 380 ACP hollow points that penetrate 8" to 9" is going to reach vital tissue. On the other end of the bell curve is having to take a cross shot on a barrel-chested, muscle-bound thug wearing a jean jacket over a shirt, and a T-shirt underneath that. Can that same 380 round go through a jean jacket, a shirt, a T-shirt, a bicep, another layer of T-shirt, another layer of shirt, another layer of jean jacket, another layer of jean jacket, another layer of shirt, another layer of T-shirt and still reach vital organs?

    Probably not. But maybe you think your odds of facing a barrel-chested muscle bound thug are too slim to go through all the trouble of preparing for such an encounter. Or maybe you think that once a barrel-chested muscle bound thug sees that you have a gun he's gonna high-tail it out of there.

    But there has to be some logic behind the selection process.
     
  14. Tomac

    Tomac Member

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    All handguns are relatively poor "stoppers" regardless of caliber or bullet used. Shot placement and sufficient penetration are paramount, all else is secondary.
    Problem w/the .380 is that it's very difficult to achieve both sufficient penetration and expansion.
    While justly maligned in other calibers, Hornady's Critical Defense in .380 appears to achieve the minimum 12" w/modest expansion so that's what the wife carries in her .380's. Barring that, my choice would be FMJ (better a non-expanding bullet that reaches the vitals than an expanding bullet that doesn't).
    Tomac
     
  15. chrisTx

    chrisTx Member

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    My wife and I carry our 380s with FMJ. With the lower powered caliber, I'd rather have the penetration. I know a few guys who've been in gunfights, and unlike paper targets, real targets usually try and hide behind things.
     
  16. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Ball ammo from genetic brand of Federal called American Eagle. Used that in LCP I used to own with acceptable accuracy and zero functional failures.
     
  17. OldMac

    OldMac Member

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    Hornady with either the red tip or now available with green tips for zombies seems to expand reliably for me at these low velocities. Golden sabres are great in 357 but my lcp will not make them expand at all. Hydroshoks performed good sometimes not reliable enough for me. My highly scientific method uses a water jug in front of a paper box stacked end to end with soaked phone books. They are easy to peal back pages to recover the bullets, cheap, and recycleable when done.
     
  18. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    Not to be smart, but these days I am happy to find what I can. Saw one box of Buffalo Bore, and some generic hollow points. Maybe later when the supply thickens up I can be more selective.
     
  19. gunsablazin

    gunsablazin Member

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    I use Sellior & Bellot FMJ in my P3AT, it feeds reliably, and will penetrate. I doubt that there is a load out there that will turn the .380 into a good manstopper.
     
  20. Jim NE

    Jim NE Member

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    I really like my LCP too. Make sure the optimum defense load doesn't degrade accuracy for the shooter. In my hands, that little gun, although neat, is really only a 20 footer.
     
  21. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Use a FMJ load that is reliable in your gun.
     
  22. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    GRIZ22, I'd like to hear why you prefer FMJ. Not arguing, just asking. Thanks...
     
  23. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Apparently (from magazines/YouTupe - not first hand experience), after expanding the petals on Critical Defense continue folding back or shear altogether, allowing additional penetration.

    If I carried .380 for SD, it would be my choice.
     
  24. SeanSw

    SeanSw Member

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    For now I have settled on 100gr standard pressure flat nose lead from Buffalo Bore. It was the ammo of compromise to be used in a pistol with it's own compromises. I don't have a link on hand but apparently Remington UMC 95gr flat nose FMJ is loaded pretty to a decent standard and would service well if you're comfortable with that type of load.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  25. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    I carry WWB 95gr FMJ flat nose in my Ruger LCP. It shoot POA in my LCP, feeds reliably and will penetrate well. I save the 380 JHP's for my Beretta 84B.
     
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