ZombieMax ammunition, from Hornady, is a bit hard to describe and explain if you have never seen it before. It appears to be first quality ammunition that looks quite similar to Critical Defense except for a zombie green polymer hollow point insert and standard brass cases. Things get strange when you read the package and website description of ammunition line. There are warnings that the ammunition is not a toy and that it should only be used when facing zombies. It's an interesting marketing angle, but it does put me off this line of ammunition.
Step 1) Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2) Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 8 feet.
Step 3) Run first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density. Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 4) Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim. Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 5) Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.
Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:
My Thoughts on This Load:
All of the Hornady 380 Auto loadings specify a muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second. A quick check of their website confirms that their velocity measurements are done with a 4" test barrel. It's understandable that our velocity was lower since our barrel was almost and inch shorter than the 4" Hornady test barrel. As a rule of thumb you can expect to lose about 100 feet per second for every 1" reduction in barrel length.
I was really surprised by the terminal performance of this load for both test shots. I don't believe I've ever seen petals pulled off a Hornady 90 Grain 380 bullet from over expansion. Driven at close to 950 feet per second we had fragmentation on both of our bare gel shots (shot 1 was lost when it flew out of the block). The heavy denim test shot suffered from incomplete expansion.
Pick or Pan:
The "gimmick" nature of this load, combined with poor terminal performance during this test is enough to put me off of this round. If I was faced with a choice between Critical Defense 380 Auto and ZombieMax 380, I would pick up the Critical Defense.
If I was facing down a zombie horde, I'd still take the Critical Defense.....but that's just me.
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.