Sunday, April 1, 2012

Testing Winchester Super-X 380 AUTO 85 Grain Silver Tip HP

First off, let me start by saying that there are two versions of the Super-X Silver Tip floating around out there.  The older version comes in the white box shown in the picture.  The newer version ships in a box that's primarily silver in color.  I would have used a new packaging silver box for my picture, but it came from Cabela's and had a huge sortation label on it that blocked out most of the front of the package.  In the photo below I've taken a picture to show the difference between the old style and the new style.  Since the old style Silver Tips are now pretty much gone, I tested the new style Silver Tip in this test.

I was really interested in conducting this test for several reasons.  One was to see how the new style Silver Tip bullet would perform.  The second was that the Super X Silver Tip is one of the recommended ammunition choices for the Seecamp LWS380.  The last reason was to see how this elder statesman of pocket pistols compared to the new breed of 380 ammo that has come out in the last decade.  Not to date myself, but Silver Tips and Federal Hydrashoks were THE 380 auto rounds of choice for personal protection duty in the 1990's.  The Silver Tips shot accurately and flawlessly in my Colt Mustang Pocketlite so it's the only 380 ammo I purchased aside from a few boxes of UMC or Federal 95 grain FMJ from Walmart for practice.

Since this was my 3rd Winchester load tested, I wanted to see if the Silver Tip would break the trend I've noticed with Winchester 380 self defense ammo.  Winchester rounds have been dramatic expanders, but not very good penetrators.  You can get caught up with my previous Winchester 380 testing HERE

Weighing in at 85 grains, the Silver Tip is 5 grains lighter than the current "standard" 90 grain JHP round.  With a lighter weight, I expected to see velocities in the mid 900's from this load.  You can see my test results in the chart below and also in the accompanying video which includes the range work and pulling the captured bullets from the SIM-TEST media.

My Comments:  I really wanted to see deeper penetration from the Silver Tip, but it appears that the engineers at Winchester have again created a bullet with massive expansion at the cost of deep penetration.  This is very similar to what we have seen with other tested Winchester loads.  I believe the lighter weight also has an impact on how deeply the round penetrates with less mass behind it.  Having now test 3 different Winchester Personal Protection loadings for the 380, they all share a similar terminal ballistics profile and may be a very good choice for someone that is mostly concerned about the possibility of over penetration. 

The lighter weight and shorter shank on the Silver Tips is really evident when you look at the fully expanded bullets from the side.  The bullet petals are pulled back completely and actually wrap under the bullet base.  This was another new condition I have not seen in previous tests with any other bullets.

I was really surprised by the expansion of this old standard.  It's still a viable choice if you are looking for a round that will penetrate two layers of denim and still expand at short barrel velocities.

1 comment:

  1. My test of this round mirrored the results here. While the FBI/barrier tests call for more penetration, the true way to maximize stopping power is to make sure every foot pound of energy is dumped in the adversaries body while opening as large a wound channel as possible; the .380 Silvertip HP appears to have potential to do both Few people are over 12 inches from front to back. Skinny people may only be seven to eight inches thick in the chest. The .380 ACP should never be the primary weapon carried when going to a likely "shootout." However, when using this or similarly performing rounds, it will make a better backup or "get off of me" gun than any snub fired .38 spl. round.