Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hornady TAP 380 Auto 90 Grain XTP FPD Denim and Clear Gel Test

At the height of the ammo shortage that took place prior to the current ammunition shortage, I noticed that Cabela's started cataloging an exclusive item from Hornady.  Cabela's is the only retailer that sells the 380 Auto version of Hornady TAP.  After watching product availability for several months, it finally came back in stock last year so I purchased a box for testing purposes.

The TAP line of ammunition from Hornady was created to fill the needs of law enforcement.  TAP FPD came along some time later.  Depending on who you ask, you will get various answers on what FPD stands for.  Some will say it's For Police Departments and others will claim it's For Personal Defense.  Regardless, the TAP line is loaded with XTP bullets, low flash powders, and nickel plated brass cases.  The line typically costs a bit more than the Hornady Custom line. 

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 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.

Test Results:

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 much lower since our barrel was almost 1" shorter than the 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.

The XTP bullet has always displayed the characteristics of modest expansion and deep penetration.  The bare gel test shot performed exactly the way I expected it would.  It expanded a little and penetrated deeply, coming to rest just short of 12" into the block.  Depending on how you interpret the gel block, a visible wound channel continued beyond the bullet for an additional inch beyond the bullet.

The denim and gel shot registered a much higher velocity that the bare gel shot so I thought I might see some expansion from the bullet.  I do see some signs that the bullet was trying to open, but I have to believe the hollow point cavity clogged with denim and inhibited this bullet from expanding.

Pick or Pan:
Due to the mixed expansion results and exclusive distribution of this load through one specific retailer, I won't be seeking out additional boxes of this loading. 

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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