Monday, April 9, 2012

380 Ballistics Testing - A Mid Test Recap

Earlier tonight I was cataloging the recovered bullets from my last testing session and came to the stark realization that I'm probably not going to be wrapping up my 380 testing anytime soon.  I'm very comfortable with the results from my previous 11 tests, but also realize how much time it required to get this far.  With the potential of two new gun reviews looming and my son starting his traveling baseball team this weekend, I'm pretty much destined to prioritizing stuff.  I've also sensed that 9mm is becoming the new 380 so that's also making me think about moving up the 9mm testing ahead of the 380.  I just won't have the time available to do everything.

I do have 5 SIM-TEST blocks ready to go so if I do have some unexpected free time, I may be able to squeeze in a test or two.

Let's recap the testing so far.  Of my 11 tests, only two were pretty dismal.  The Golden Saber 102 grain and 88 grain JHP loads from Remington/UMC pictured below were nice data points, but I've stricken them from future consideration and put any extra ammo from both into my practice pile.  So you guys asking me about the Golden Saber, here's your results.   

The other 9 tested loads are recapped below.  My initial goal was to hold off on publishing a recap until I had at least 15 to 20 different loads tested and could put them all on one sheet.  It could be Fall before that happens so for now here are 9 tests laid out side by side for your consideration.  With the potential for another run on ammo and components in the run up to the elections, you may want to pick your poison and grab a few boxes while it's available. 

Switching Topics:

In my last post, I told you about the Ruger Rimfire Challenge event I attended on Saturday.  I was out on Youtube earlier today and found a video of the guy who finished in the spot ahead of me by about 7 seconds.  I didn't run into him at the shoot, but it looks like one of his family members was documenting his participation.  He's literally 1/4 my age, and quite a shooter by the looks of it.  He's also sponsored by STI so it made me feel a little better about finishing behind him.  The only thing better than getting beat by this up and coming Jr. shooter would be losing out to my own son.  Great shooting Greyson! 


  1. Thanks Bruce for all your work and posts! So, with the current data you have, how would you rank the ammo, say 1st, 2nd, 3rd, for personal protection? Personal opinion, of course. :)

    1. Hey Steve. For obvious liability concerns, I try to steer very clear of making recommendations. I find it a bit humorous that some ammo makers will claim their ammo is "best". I'd really love to know how they came up with the selection criteria for "best". I just report what I observe and document in my testing.

      Now with that said, I can make some sweeping generalizations on what I have learned so far. I learned that it's not realistic to expect the best expanding loads to penetrate the deepest. I've changed my ammo choice to one of the 9 tested loads that has a nice balance of expansion and penetration. I see three loads that fall in this category so I ordered up some extra of one of them earlier this week just in case we get short again.

      Others may want minimal risk of over-penetration and opt for one of the bigger expanders that doesn't penetrate was well. The penetration pundits will continue to use FMJ.