Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ballistics Testing Cor-Bon Pow'Rball .380 Auto

This was another one of those tests that I really wouldn't have done if I didn't have multiple blog readers asking me to do the test.  Most of the pistols I own were made in the last 20 years so they have no issues feeding any of the current full metal jacket or jacketed hollow point loads.  As I understand it, Pow'Rball ammo was created to provide JHP like performance in older pistols that were originally intended to run with FMJ ammo.  It's also a last ditch effort for a modern pistol that just won't feed modern JHP ammo.  The "ball" part of the ammo name comes from a polymer ball that is an integral part of the bullet design.  The ball changes the bullet profile from a typical open ended JHP profile to a bullet that looks very much like a FMJ.  Cor-Bon's website publishes 1100 fps velocity for this round from a 3 inch barrel.

Test Pistol Specs:
Kahr P380 with a 2.53" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at alternate ends of a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 5 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  My SIM-TEST blocks are now closely calibrated to ballistics gel density.  I shoot the blocks at the range and then bring them home and recover the bullets.  For this test, my second shot at the block was a Cor-Bon DPX .380 Auto.

As stated previously, I had no previous experience with Pow'Rball ammunition.  My comments during the bullet recovery portion of the video should be generally ignored because I really didn't understand what I was seeing as I recovered the bullet.  I believe the load performed exactly as it was designed to perform.  It was different than anything I had previously seen, but this ammo is quite different than your typical JHP load.  The video below documents the entire recent test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts
In general, I tend to shy away from the specialty ammunition in the marketplace.  This is primarily because it's usually very expensive compared to more conventional loads.  This leads me to not want to shoot up the ammo in practice or in assuring it will function 100% reliably in my specific pistol.  I honestly didn't know what to expect from this test and as noted in the video, I was a bit surprised by the results when doing the bullet recovery.  It wasn't until later when I had all the data in front of me that I realized Pow'RBall had performed really well and exactly as advertised.  Velocity was right on target considering my barrel was only 2.5" and expansion and penetration are about as good as you could expect from the 50 grain bullet core.  Having core jacket separation with conventional ammo is a bad thing, but with Pow'RBall it is to be expected as that is how the bullet is designed to perform.

If you are wondering where the Pow'RBall polymer ball went, it was accidentally washed down the drain when cleaning up the recovered bullet.  I seriously thought about pulling the trap off the drain to find it, but then voice of reason took over and I stopped before running out for tools.  I did capture the ball on video.  

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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 should not be used in any firearm unless the firearm manufacturer specifically states you are permitted to do so. 

1 comment:

  1. I have a KAHR P380 that"s nothing but trouble. I loaded Corbon Pow'r Ball, pulled the trigger and heard: "CLICK". EVERY round of Pow'r Ball went "CLICK". I loaded the exact same rounds into my Ruger LCP and heard "BANG,BANG,BANG...."