Sunday, December 2, 2012

Clear Gel Testing Fiocchi 32 Auto 60 Grain JHP

As a follow up to the Sellier & Bellot .32 AUTO FMJ test I published last week, I decided to include a terminal test of what I believe to be one of the best performing .32 AUTO JHP rounds available.  Fiocchi makes this load in two varieties.  It's available in their Extrema line and also in their Shooting Dynamics line.  I've tested both lines, as well as different manufacturing lots within both lines, and I find them to be very similar.  The only difference I have ever noticed between the lines is that sometimes the Extrema has nickel plated brass while the Shooting Dynamics line always comes with standard brass cases.  Both lines appear to be loaded with similar bullets and generate similar velocities.  The Extrema line specifically calls out that it is loaded with Hornady XTP bullets and the Shooting Dynamics line does not.

I'll spare you the video documentation, but prior to performing my terminal gel test, I shot 2 different lots of Extrema and one lot of Shooting Dynamics over a chronograph.  The ammo used for this test is from the Shooting Dynamics line because it tested the fastest of the three tested boxes.

As I mentioned in the Sellier & Bellot test recap, some folks will only use FMJ ammunition in their .32 Auto.  Others prefer to use JHP ammunition even if it means trading off penetration.  I don't feel strongly in favor of one or the other so I felt it was best to give both sides of the debate some new data to consider.  I do want to point out that this JHP test and the previous S&B FMJ test were all done in the same gel block.  This eliminates any question of the tested rounds going into test blocks of varying density.

Just to dump a bit more fuel in the FMJ vs. JHP fire, I ran a long and short barrel test on this loading.

Short Barrel Pistol Specs:
Kel-Tec P-32 2.7" Barrel

Long Barrel Pistol Specs:
Bersa Thunder 32 3.5" Barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at the end of a Clear Ballistics Gel block.  I take the shot from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 2 inches away from the block.  Clear Ballistics Gel is calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the block at the range and then bring it home to analyze the block and recover the bullets.  Immediately prior to the terminal test, I shoot a five shot velocity test string from 8 feet over a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital chronograph.

Short Barrel Results

Long Barrel Results

The videos below document my entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.  The short barrel and long barrel tests each have their own video.

My Thoughts: 
I'll start off by saying that I'm not at all surprised by the results of these tests.  Earlier this year you may have seen THIS TEST with the Fiocchi Extrema 60 grain .32 AUTO XTP JHP.  From that earlier test we learned that the little 60 grain .32 slugs can expand and also penetrate to reasonable depths.  When reviewing the results from the previous tests, I think it's important to note that the bullets in this test demonstrated greater expansion with their petals folding back all the way to the bullet shank.  The recovered round from previous test had a larger expansion measure simply because the petals did not fold back as far as the bullets in this test.  This may indicate that the Shooting Dynamics line, used in this test, is not loaded with the Hornady XTP bullet.

The clear gel used in this test is an optimal test bed to demonstrate expansion and penetration.  It was very interesting to review the measurements and artifacts left in the clear gel from both test shots.  Terminal performance was very similar between the two rounds for everything except penetration depth and recovered weight.  The extra barrel length of the Bersa allowed the round to enter the test block approximately 100 feet per second faster than the short barrel Kel-Tec.  The extra velocity led to bullet fragmentation and also an extra 2 inches of penetration.

Short Barrel Recovered Round

Long Barrel Recovered Round

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.


  1. I'd like to see how the Fiocchi does against the old standby Winchester Silver Tip. I can;t find the Fiocchi hollow points anywhere but the Winchester Silver Tips and Hornady 60 grain XTP, and the Buffalo Barnes are easily found. Maybe use the data in this test in conjunction with the Winchester, Hornady and Buffalo Barnes? Last year I bought an NAA Guardian for hot summer carry so I'm still searching for the best defense round for it. It shouts very well and is reliable but I'd like to have a better idea of what I can expect from the defensive ammo. This is so much easier with my 380, 9mm, 40, 357 and 45acp where info is available everywhere. Thanks for all of your reviews. I really enjoy them.

  2. This is a heck of a good review, Bruce (particularly with the two barrel lengths) - as always, many thanks for this fantastic resource you provide.

  3. A short time back, I snagged two classic FN pistols in .32 ACP: a Mod. 1910 (3.5" bbl) and a Mod. 1922 (4.5" bbl). I've been loading FMJ, but after reviewing this test, I think I need to see how they do with these XTP's!

  4. How about a test of the new Lehigh and Underwood .32ACP ammo? Perhaps a good comparison to this would be Silver Tips and Gold Dots? Any chance it could be done from a Seecamp? BTW, Underwood is using Lehigh's new bullet in standard and +P loads.