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Discussion Starter #1
I am sure someone has posted something similar at some point, but here goes again. As y'all might have noticed in the "other handguns" section, I am looking at buying a mini .380. The question I have is about ammo. Which is best to use in these little .380s? I want something that is effective, but also has reasonable functioning for the loading.

It seems to me that someone has said to avoid hollow points because they won't expand properly with such shorts barrels. So do I shoot hardball, use something like Corbon's Powerball, or would my favorite Federal Hydra-shoks still work well enough?
 

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Go to YouTube and watch the videos posted by tnoutdoors9. He covers the .380 options pretty good, and then you can make your own decision on what ammo to test for function in your gun based on your observations.

What I like about his testing is the variables are the same, in my opinion this gives a more accurate example of each bullet. You don’t have to say well brand “X” was from a 5” barrel with 2 layers of denim and brand “Y” was from a 2” barrel with 4 layers of denim.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Go to YouTube and watch the videos posted by tnoutdoors9. He covers the .380 options pretty good, and then you can make your own decision on what ammo to test for function in your gun based on your observations.

What I like about his testing is the variables are the same, in my opinion this gives a more accurate example of each bullet. You don’t have to say well brand “X” was from a 5” barrel with 2 layers of denim and brand “Y” was from a 2” barrel with 4 layers of denim.
Thanks for the video info! This is just the kind of info that I need!
 

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Go to YouTube and watch the videos posted by tnoutdoors9. He covers the .380 options pretty good, and then you can make your own decision on what ammo to test for function in your gun based on your observations.

What I like about his testing is the variables are the same, in my opinion this gives a more accurate example of each bullet. You don’t have to say well brand “X” was from a 5” barrel with 2 layers of denim and brand “Y” was from a 2” barrel with 4 layers of denim.
Thanks for that YouTube link, that was interesting to see the differences in .380 ammo. I have a Sig P230 (super pistol BTW) and I will have to rethink my ammo selection.
 

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Go to YouTube and watch the videos posted by tnoutdoors9. He covers the .380 options pretty good, and then you can make your own decision on what ammo to test for function in your gun based on your observations.

What I like about his testing is the variables are the same, in my opinion this gives a more accurate example of each bullet. You don’t have to say well brand “X” was from a 5” barrel with 2 layers of denim and brand “Y” was from a 2” barrel with 4 layers of denim.
That's what I did^ plus watched a few of the other not so good .380 ballistic videos and was going to go with the PDX1 but they are sold out so I have gold dot for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It was great to watch the videos, because it looks like me favorite Federal Hydra-shok will still be a good choice.
 

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well video to video with the same projectile will / can/ does change.
there is an ever changing evolution of these videos.
there are a lot of variables, especially outside the lab that affects performance, even the temperature of the ballistic gelatin, water or other target, angles, outside temperatures,altitude, individual guns etc.
the main thing that concerns me with a self defense round is perfect reliability of function.
I honestly don't worry to much between one modern self defense round and another as long as its standard velocity.
as for not expanding in short barrels, well thats really the difference in the old hollow point and the new generation of self defense rounds, the older hollow points generally had to push near 900-1000 FPS to work, the new ones usually begin expansion at about 700 FPS, and maintain better penetration than the older ones as well.
the Hydra-shok is still working well because its not the same old hydra -shok, its been updated all along the way.
 

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olfarhors is quite correct. Media, especially ballistic gelatin, must be calibrated, and kept in a specific temperature range. Other things such as distance, angle of shots, temperature, and even barometric pressure, affect such things, as well.

Different media cannot be compared. Water, for instance, generally allows for more expansion than gelatin. However, the type of container the water is housed in comes into play. Firing into a standing, open, body of water will yield different results than shooting into bags, or bottles, of water. Even the wall-thickness of the bags, or bottles, can alter results somewhat.

Firing into a media with different guns can also modify the results. Depending upon the design, the same round will have different velocities dependent upon type of action, barrel length, and even a "fast" or "slow" barrel. Most manufacturers use a pressure barrel for load development and certification, as do labs such as H.P. White. The pressure barrel is fixture mounted, and removes many variables, allowing for repeatable testing.

Current ammunition, especially that developed for short barrels, like the offerings by Speer, have JHPs designed to expand efficiently at velocities achieved in barrels usually associated with concealable handguns. These bullets, used in longer barrels, may over-expand slightly at the higher velocities achieved.

Amusingly, Tom Burczynski, the originator of the Hydra-Shok, Star Fire, and Quik-Shok bullet designs, once commented in the 1980s that he could tweak his designs to begin opening at velocities as low as 500 fps. That was almost 30 years ago.

There is a lot of Internet Commando lore out there. Some of it is made up on the spot, other relies upon out-dated ideas, and some occurs simply because the Commando NEEDS it to agree with his/her opinion. Unfortunately, the how's and why's of a manufacturers development of a load is rarely available, for proprietary purposes. Things like SAAMI adherence, actual chamber pressures, and the like are rarely published by a maker. All you may get is that they "adhere to SAAMI specs". Unless a particular ammunition's specifications are accompanied by factual data, like a link to the manufacturers site, anyone quoting load pressures of factory ammo is perpetrating the myth.

While it's rare to see calibers below the 9mm subjected to the FBI protocols, There have been a few. Beware of those who shoot a few bullets into water, or uncalibrated and controlled ballistics gelatin, and declare that they have "answered the question". If it were that simple, manufacturers wouldn't spend millions developing new loads.

However, yes, the Hydra-Shok, as maintained over the years by Federal, is a fine self-defense round. It has been refined over the years, to take advantage of new technology.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that tnoutdoors9 uses a Bersa in his .380 testing which has a longer barrel than the 738 TCP. In my own testing using four layers of denim and water jugs, I've found that Ranger T and Fiocchi HP's will not expand from my TCP. I'm going to try Speer GDHP when I can find some. I've had the same problen with rounds that worked fine in my XD9 with a 4" barrel not consistantly expanding in my Kel Tec P-11 with a 3.1" barrel. Cor Bon 115 gr. +P (self defense, not DPX) and Speer 124 gr. +P Short Barrel seemed to work best in the KT. The best thing to do IMO is to test ammo in your own gun to find out. Ballistics gel is best but water jugs are a pretty good test also. I had some correspondance with Speer and the rep told me that she spoke with a bullet engineer who said he thought denim and water jugs was "a fair test."
 

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I agree with the testing for yourself. However, I'd again caution on comparing this data to anyone elses. As mentioned in prior posts, water seems to be the best when it comes to expansion. Rounds that won't expand in Ballistics Gelatin seem to find water a more positive medium.

You may also want to try water filled bags.
 

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I don't know if you guys saw the video where he used pork ribs and denim followed by water jugs, I believe he tested 4 munnitions, one was buffao bore,pdx1 and not sure of the others. Though id like to see more shots in the video and i think he was using the BG .380, so the tcp would have been nice but over all, a set of ribs is what you are shooting at, right? If you got the land and money to do your own test, make a video for us :angel: lol bet u could go to the local meat market and pick up some "leftover" type meat. Products like the skull,legs(possibly taped together) or whatever else for pennies on the dollar, wish I lived on land, or the state had public land to target shoot on nearby. Just throwin some ideas around for someone with, you know some extra time on their hands ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW, does anyone have any real world info on the Aguilla 90gr HP ammo? SGAmmo has a good price on it, and if the performance is good, I would be willing to temporarily forgo my usual Federal Hydra-shoks for the sake of price....
 

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has anyone used the taurus all copper rounds and if so how did they work
Greenwolf uses them and swears by them, I haven't ever used them and didn't think they were available any longer?
 

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BTW, does anyone have any real world info on the Aguilla 90gr HP ammo? SGAmmo has a good price on it, and if the performance is good, I would be willing to temporarily forgo my usual Federal Hydra-shoks for the sake of price....
I personally have never seen any factory ballistic info on Aquila, that includes the web site?
I have shot a bit of it and it seems to be in the upper end of the power band to me, but then again I drink a lot!-LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the video info! This is just the kind of info that I need!
Another video addition:

This fellow's tests are not as scientific as tnoutdoors9's, but of all the .380s he tested using his method, the Hydra-shok came out just about the best. I just love this round! Long live the Hyrda-shok!
 

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BTW, does anyone have any real world info on the Aguilla 90gr HP ammo? SGAmmo has a good price on it, and if the performance is good, I would be willing to temporarily forgo my usual Federal Hydra-shoks for the sake of price....
This is from Ammo For Sale : Cheap Ammo : Find Ammunition at AmmoSeek.com.


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It seems that they can still be found.
 

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In a short barrel 380, Silver Sabres have good penetration (about 11-12") and great expansion; better than most all other self defense loads used in SHORT BARREL 380s (3" or less).
 

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so, if I read all this info right, what most of you guys are saying is that on any given day, most any bullet will be a bit different on performance from one minute to the next due to difference in temp, humidity, distance to target and other factors? this could give one a major headache!
 

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Let's make this easy. It's where you hit them more than what you hit them with.

Today's newer generation bullets stick together,expand more and better. Add to that they go deeper and retain their weight in doing so. At lower velocities for most of them as far as expansion goes.
 
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