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Kaptin 04-24-2010 12:13 PM

carry ammo for the 380
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I had always used hollow point ammo in my pistols until recently. For use in my Kel-Tec P3AT, I decided to carry these: 380 Auto +P Ammo - 100 gr. Hardcast F.N. (1150fps/ M.E. 294 ft. lbs.) from Buffalo Bore.

I actually have one magazine loaded with 6 rounds of the hard cast, and one magazine loaded with every other round being a hollow point. I sometimes switch it out because Iím not sure what is best for personal defense when using a 380.
I know that using the 380 is not the best choice to begin with, but because of its size, it is the gun that is carried the most. It is mostly carried for personal defense against robbery and such, I am not a LEO or expect to get into a fire fight with it.
What is the choice for you guys and galls?

this is from the web site:
Item 27A/20 is a 100gr. HARD cast bullet with a flat nose. It is traveling over 1,150 fps out of my 3.75 inch BDA (Browning Double Action). We've used a flash suppressed powder for all three of our 380 auto loads so that you wont be blinded by your own gunfire if you have to shoot in the dark and since around 95% of all civilian shootings in America occur in low light, the chances that your own gunfire will blind you while you are trying to save your life, are good - we've eliminated this variable by using flash suppressed powder. We've also chosen a flat nosed solid bullet. The flat on the nose ensures that the bullet will cut/smash its way through flesh and bone and do much more destruction than typical round nose FMJ bullets. Round nosed bullets tend to slip and slide through matter, doing little damage as opposed to a flat nosed bullet. The flat nose not only wounds much more than a round nosed bullet, but it actually keeps the penetration straight and thus deeper. Notice the below velocities recorded from my personal 380 auto pistols. These are real world guns and thus the speeds are realistic and not exaggerated speeds produced from laboratory test barrels. What you see with Buffalo Bore Ammo, is truly what you get in the "real world", where it matters. You can expect 20+ inches of straight-line penetration in flesh and bone with this load. If you are worried about over penetration with this load, DON'T! You chose to carry a tiny under-powered 380 auto pistol and the trade-off is that you are now going to have to stay alive with that pistol and over penetration will be the least of your worries if you end up needing this gun to save yourself or your family.

1. BDA-3.75 inch barrel--- 1160 fps
2. Walther PPK-3.5 inch barrel-----1149 fps
3. Colt Mustang Pocket Lite-2.75 inch barrel---1072 fps
4. Keltec---1061 fps

stalkingbear 04-24-2010 02:06 PM

I keep my .380 back up gun loaded with Hornady Critical Defense loads. It seems to me that you would be handicapping yourself with hardcast bullet loads. Personally I'd want expansion, especially since we're talking about .380 that don't have an over abundance of "power" to begin with.

opaww 04-24-2010 03:01 PM

I use 95gr winchester FMJ ball ammo, I rely on penatration and shot placement

gorknoids 04-24-2010 07:16 PM

90 gr ball, mainly because of penetration concerns, but also because it feeds the best. I don't know that I'd run +P in this particular BUG.

jackg 04-24-2010 07:42 PM

During the summer most of the time I carry my Walther PPK/S in .380.
My target ammo is the flat nosed type and it leaves a very clean cut hole in targets, but, for PP I first load six Hornady Critical Defense rounds then on top I've got a PowRBall plus another in the chamber.

That Hornady ammo is really nasty looking and I believe it will solve any problems I might have.

NGIB 04-24-2010 08:40 PM

My PPK (both of them actually) is always loaded with good old fashioned Gold Dots - as I've always liked them...

Kaptin 04-25-2010 07:02 AM

This is the reasoning behind the hardcast flat nose
The 380 auto inhabits a valuable and useful place in our society, mostly because of the easily concealable, tiny pistols chambered for it. HOWEVER, because of the very limited size of the cartridge, it is plagued with limited power and therefore most of the existing ammo in 380 auto suffers from not being reliable as a man-stopper. We've studied and played with nearly all of the existing available 380 ammo and find it wanting as a reliable means of self defense, especially against a large, insane, drugged up/pain free, determined attacker.

Here's the problem. The current 380 auto frangible ammo delivers a large amount of surface trauma, but lacks serious penetration. For example, if you shot me or another sane man in the face with modern frangible 380 ammo, it would blow off a big portion of my cheek and send a few teeth down my throat, I would undoubtedly fall to the ground in shock and pain, but I would be very much alive and functional if I could get past the shock and pain as that frangible bullet would have stopped some where inside my face, never making it to my brain. However, if you shot a drugged up maniac in the face with that same frangible 380 ammo and blew half his cheek off, he would keep right on coming because he is insane and is not thinking like you or I. Plus, he is likely pain free and fear free and wont know that half his cheek is missing and if he did know, he would not care. So whatever 380 ammo you shoot him in the face with, had better go through his face and blow his brain stem out the back of his head, because only a CNS (central nervous system) hit with a 380 is going to stop him. Likewise, a torso hit to the sternum needs to penetrate deep enough to blow all the way through his spine in order to shut him down spontaneously. If you fail to shut him down instantly, you and your loved ones are going to have to find a way to survive while you wait for him to bleed out and pass out. The best chance of survival for you and your family is to shut down the attacker instantly. So, we've designed a few 380 auto +P loads to keep you and your loved ones alive under the worst of scenarios.

UnderFire 04-25-2010 08:23 AM


Originally Posted by stalkingbear (Post 275310)
I keep my .380 back up gun loaded with Hornady Critical Defense loads. It seems to me that you would be handicapping yourself with hardcast bullet loads. Personally I'd want expansion, especially since we're talking about .380 that don't have an over abundance of "power" to begin with.

I agree!!
Hornady Critical Defense is what I keep in my P380, for the same reasons. Recently, Hornady has expanded the Critical Defense loads to other calibers.
I'm getting a few boxes of it in .40S&W and .357MAG when I find it.

NavArch 04-25-2010 12:47 PM

I understand the logic of the +P hardcast round. Now - what to do about (seemingly) every manufacturer's prohibition against +P .380 auto ammo?

I do not ask that question to start a war, but rather to clarify the question of carry ammo.

Kaptin 04-26-2010 01:29 AM

Kel-Tec and +p ammo
I tested the P3AT with this load and it did fine, but I would not give it a steady diet of this hot/heavy load. The specs for this pistol say a max muzzle energy of 250 ft-lbs energy, and this loading is right at the 250 mark.

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