Thursday, October 3, 2013

HPR 380 Auto 90 Grain XTP Denim and Clear Gel Test

I don't know much about this ammunition brand other than it started showing up at Cabela's and Midway one day and I thought I should add a box to the 380 Auto test stash.  The ammunition is made in Payson, AZ and is constructed with 100% US made components.  I'd say this might be a boutique brand, but they have their own HPR head-stamped brass cases so perhaps this was a regional brand that now has national distribution through various large retailers.  What hooked me into trying a box was the XTP bullet used for this loading.

I'm a fan of the Hornady XTP and FTX bullets, in 380 Auto specifically, as I have found them to deliver modest expansion and reasonable penetration if loaded to a velocity approaching 900 feet per second as fired from our 2.5" test barrel.  Heavy clothing barrier performance has been unpredictable with expansion in some tests and other tests resulting in expansion with tumbling.  I was really interested in seeing the velocity numbers from this HPR load to see how it would perform versus other loads using this XTP bullet.  

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:
I wasn't surprised by the terminal performance results of this test.  When I saw high 700 feet per second velocity numbers during the initial testing, I almost considered skipping the terminal testing.  Hornady loads their own Custom ammunition line, with the same XTP bullet, to a level that achieves a velocity in the low 800's from the same test pistol.  I really didn't think I would find anyone loading milder than Hornady, but HPR did with this box that I tested.

I'm not a huge fan of using calculated energy values as an indicator of terminal performance simply because I do not understand how energy translates into a predictor of ammunition effectiveness.  On the other hand, it does provide a consistent comparison metric vs. other similar loads.  With such low initial velocity, the calculated energy for this round was very low as compared to other defensive ammunition choices.    

Pick or Pan:
I think this load will appeal to folks that are fans of the Hornady Custom 90 Grain XTP loading.  The significantly cheaper per round price, 50 rounds per box convenience, and similar ballistic performance with Hornady Custom may make it the ideal choice as a practice load or substitute load when Hornady Custom is not available.

If you are a speed freak that values velocity and energy over other terminal performance metrics, you'll want to pass on 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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