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Thread: .380 ammo

  1. #1
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    Default .380 ammo

    I just got my first .380... where is the best place to get ammo for it? What sort of prices are reasonable?

    So far I've looked at Palmetto State Armory and Sportsman's Guide. Seems I can get boxes of Magtech for 12.99. As for defense ammo, I see Fiocchi JHP 50 round boxes for 20, or the Fiocchi XTP Extrema for 24. Also see some 20/25 round boxes of various things, ranging from Magtech for 11.99 to Z-Max Hornady for 18.99.

    Are these good prices? I'm going to check out Wal-Mart and Dunhams today, before I order, since online orders always have to figure in shipping.

    How is Magtech defense ammo? I thought Magtech was a cheaper name but I see +P (I didn't know .380 had +P?) Guardian Gold for around 11.99 for 25 rounds... not sure if it's any good.

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    Well, there's a cop over in Chalfont that's not going to be needing any of his stock-pile...

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    There are two main 'philosophies' when it comes to .380 ammo.

    1) Get good JHP's, and make sure they feed well in your particular gun.

    2) Get good FMJs. The theory behind this is that .380, which is a low-powered round to begin with, needs all the penetrative power it can get. FMJ will get most penetration.

    Right now I have mine loaded with Fiocchi FMJ; they seem to be a 'hot' round compared to others.

    I also have Hornady Critical Defense. Count on paying around 20 bucks for a box of 25, or perhaps even more for these sorts of round.

    Most FMJ rounds around where I live run 18 bucks for a box of 50.

    Centerfire ammo is just plain expensive, period. 9mm is probably the least expensive centerfire ammo, and that seems to be going up as well.

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    The problem with .380 is that rounds that expand rarely penetrate deeply enough to satisfy most defensive minded people. As in often not even 10".

    The one .380 round that really seems to perform extremely well in both penetration and expansion is Buffalo Barnes .380+P solid copper hollowpoint ammo. You don't say what kind of gun you have, so i don't know what the barrel length is, but even in short barreled Ruger LCP type guns the Buffalo Barnes load hits over 1100fps velocity, and should get 11+" penetration to go with .60-65 caliber expansion.

    This round actually exceeds the gel performance of the legendary Illinois State Police Federal 9BP 9mm+P+ 115gr JHP loading, which usually gets about 10" penetration and .55" caliber expansion in gel. A round which is in the 1300fps/450fpe range.

    From all the tests i've seen, magtech rounds perform very poorly in expansion. So do the winchester PDX .380 rounds that seem to be very popular. Hornady Critical Defense rounds seem to expand, but they are unbonded and low powered, so they will perform very poorly in barriers in comparison to the Buffalo Barnes round.

    Underwood ammo also makes some very hot .380+P ammo with the Speer Gold Dot bullet, that is a lot cheaper than the Buffalo Bore ammo i just recommended. Also, because it's bonded core and has much higher energy, it should perform much better in barriers than any standard pressure .380 ammo.

    If you want to stay with standard pressure ammo, the one round that always seems to do well in tests in that it gets both good penetration and decent expansion is the Federal Hydrashok.
    Last edited by Valorius; August 29th, 2012 at 09:54 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorius View Post
    The problem with .380 is that rounds that expand rarely penetrate deeply enough to satisfy most defensive minded people. As in often not even 10".

    The one .380 round that really seems to perform extremely well in both penetration and expansion is Buffalo Barnes .380+P solid copper hollowpoint ammo. You don't say what kind of gun you have, so i don't know what the barrel length is, but even in short barreled Ruger LCP type guns the Buffalo Barnes load hits over 1100fps velocity, and should get 11+" penetration to go with .60-65 caliber expansion.

    This round actually exceeds the gel performance of the legendary Illinois State Police Federal 9BP 9mm+P+ 115gr JHP loading, which usually gets about 10" penetration and .55" caliber expansion in gel. A round which is in the 1300fps/450fpe range.

    From all the tests i've seen, magtech rounds perform very poorly in expansion. So do the winchester PDX .380 rounds that seem to be very popular. Hornady Critical Defense rounds seem to expand, but they are unbonded and low powered, so they will perform very poorly in barriers in comparison to the Buffalo Barnes round.

    Underwood ammo also makes some very hot .380+P ammo with the Speer Gold Dot bullet, that is a lot cheaper than the Buffalo Bore ammo i just recommended. Also, because it's bonded core and has much higher energy, it should perform much better in barriers than any standard pressure .380 ammo.

    If you want to stay with standard pressure ammo, the one round that always seems to do well in tests in that it gets both good penetration and decent expansion is the Federal Hydrashok.
    Thanks for the recommendations. I have a Bersa Thunder .380 CC.

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by ifman View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations. I have a Bersa Thunder .380 CC.
    A bersa has a significantly longer barrel than a small pocket pistol, so it will generate even more velocity and power.

    Either the Buffalo Barnes .380+P SCHP (which should hit about 1200fps from your Bersa) or the Underwood .380+P Gold Dot JHP will serve your defensive needs very well, and will give 9mm Parabellum type performance in gel. I personally use the Buffalo Barnes load in my own Ruger LCP.

    The Underwood Gold Dot+P is heavier and more powerful, but the Barnes Solid Copper Hollowpoint is IMO the best bullet money can buy at this time. Recoil favors the Buffalo Barnes round due to it's lighter bullet.

    If you want to go all in, the Buffalo Bore 100gr+P hard cast flat nose lead round is said to get about 30" of penetration in gel. In case you want to shoot a bear or something! I have some, and when fired from my LCP, wow, hand stingers!
    Last edited by Valorius; August 29th, 2012 at 10:59 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    I have four .380s, a Bodyguard, two Walthers, and a Browning BDA, which is bigger than your Bersa. I think the challenge you have is finding the 'heaviest' round you can stand to fire in that gun and maintain control and accuracy. I decided to use Speer for CC because it seems to have the best compromise of features for my small guns, I don't carry the BDA. On the range, I'm using S&B, WWB, Magtech, whatever I can find cheap that isn't +P.

    Good luck.
    -gonzo, SoCenPA. "Before all else, be armed." --Niccolo Machiavelli
    http://forum.pafoa.org/feedback-109/...nzogeezer.html

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    The cheapest plinking ammo i found was magtech FMJ. I bought a bunch at once, and haven't looked online since. All the brands the previous poster mentioned should be competitively priced. Shop around.

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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    Last edited by priell3; August 29th, 2012 at 12:08 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: .380 ammo

    I own a Bersa CC and usually run Remington Golden Saber in it. It's not a top of the line round but it's a good HP. I only fire HP through it since the CC's aren't really target pistols anyway, so I want to be good with the round I may have to defend myself with.

    PS- The Golden Saber does seem to be an especially dirty round to fire. After I run a couple of boxes through I always need to scrub the hell out of my front sight and my barrel has tons of crud all over the inside. Doesn't effect the operation but it's worth noting.

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