Thursday, August 29, 2013

Magtech First Defense 380 Auto 77 Grain SCHP Denim and Clear Gel Test

Magtech ammunition is made in Brazil by the largest ammunition maker in Latin America.  Magtech ammunition sold in over 50 countries around the globe.  As a supplier of ammunition to both military and civilian markets, Magtech maintains a commitment to producing quality ammunition and innovative new ammunition products.

I've used Magtech ammunition for many years and have always appreciated their reasonable prices and consistent quality.  I was intrigued when I learned they were jumping into the all copper defense ammunition market with their First Defense line of ammunition.  I like the concept of solid copper hollow point bullets, but hate the high prices as compared with more traditional copper jacketed lead core hollow points.  Magtech's First Defense was notably cheaper per round than other solid copper 380 loads available in the market place so I grabbed a box when it was available last year.

Weighing in at 77 grains, this copper hollow point is marginally lighter than other similar 380 loads which all seem to be 80 grains.  Manufacturing quality was exactly what I have come to expect from Magtech.  The First Defense line has also been upgraded with nickel plated brass.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
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 10 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.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
I had built up some high expectations for this ammunition after completing the initial chronograph testing.  The velocity seemed to be "about right" to allow the bullets to fully expand and still achieve a reasonable penetration depth based on test results observed in other all copper hollow point terminal tests.  I had my fingers crossed that perhaps this would be the all copper hollow point load that I could afford to shoot for practice and carry for defense.  Unfortunately, expansion was incomplete with the petals expanding to a diameter that was smaller than bullet's starting diameter. 

The limited expansion and light starting weight did keep the bullets from penetrating too deeply and both test shots came to rest between 13.5" and 14". 

Pick or Pan:
The incomplete expansion of this round when tested in my 2.5" barrel has convinced me to consider other ammunition choices.  The additional velocity generated with a longer barrel may allow this round to perform as expected with full expansion.  Those using a full size 380 Auto may want to consider this load. 

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.

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