Note: Phase One and Phase Two are combined below on this same web page.
This is Phase One (of two tests) of a Comprehensive .380acp WetPack test with the Sig P232 pistol. The results apply equally well to the Bersa Thunder 380, CZ types, and the Walther PPK, if those are the pistols you have. But not to pistols with barrels less than about 3.5".
First picture shown is a typical wetpack that I use. Note picture 4. with bullets showing 8" deep into the wetpack, CorBon 90gr, Rem GS 102gr, and Speer GD 90gr. Holes remaining are for bullets that went deeper. See the WetPack picture for details. Not being tested is Win SilverTip which is unsatisfactory, poor penetration. This was shown in the previous .380acp wetpack test.
Phase Two (see below) will be done as soon as I receive the rest of the ammo I ordered, Win SXT, MagTech FD. I'll also include Fed HydraShok, there wasn't room in Phase One for it. I'll also shoot a few CorBon 90gr into it for a sort of "calibration" to compare with Phase One. Maybe in a week or two.
In the meantime, there is enough wetpack data now on the longer barrel now to do some recommendations: (Phase One)
BEST: Rem GoldenSaber 102gr 9 data points, .610"exp.avg, SD .020", 8.05"pen.avg, SD .37"
1. Hornady XTP 90gr 6 datas, .514"exp.avg, SD .007", 8.83"pen.avg, SD .23"
2. CorBon 90gr+p 3 data points, .593"exp.avg, SD .002", 7.83"pen.avg. SD .23"
3. Speer GoldDot 90gr 3 data points, .537"exp.avg, SD .023", 7.83"pen.avg. SD .23"
Winchester SilverTip....over expands with poor penetration (long barrel)
CorBon PowrBall....jacket and bullet fragment with very poor penetration**
**Note: in the short barrel P3AT, CorBon PowrBall does not expand at all, see sig line links.
TOO EARLY TO TELL: The Federal Hi-Shok 90gr (LEO ammo) did very well, fair expansion and excellent penetration with only 2 rounds tested.
Granted, wetpacks are not exactly the same each time, but after enough of them a rough estimate of performance can be calculated. Some may argue the Hornady is best due to penetration always over 8" (equivalent to 12" gelatin). But GoldenSaber looks close enough.
Wetpack Details for 380acp tests with Sig P232 -- O.G. 3/10/2006
Here are the final results for my Comprehensive P232 .380acp wetpack tests with the picture for Phase Two below. Phase Two required 2 wetpacks (5 Win SXT and 5 MagTech in second pack). My ratings for the cartridges tested look like this:
Remington GoldenSaber 102gr JHP still the best expansion and penetration combination.
1. Federal Hi-Shok 90gr JHP with 4 data points, .506"avg exp, SD .010 and 8.25"avg pen, SD .25 Note this is a different design than HydraShok and is shown on Fed's lawenforcement site.
2. Hornady XTP 90gr JHP, with 8 data points, .516"avg exp, SD .010 and 8.5"avg pen, SD .45 This is a close second to the Fed Hi-Shok and only second place because it gets a strange looking expansion. Maybe that is actually better. You decide. Just my opinion.
3. CorBon 90gr+p JHP
4. Speer GoldDot 90gr JHP
1. Winchester SXT 95gr JHP, 8 data points, .589"avg exp, SD .014, 7.6"avg pen, SD .48
2. Federal HydraShok "PD" 90gr, 6 datas, .584"avg exp, SD .011, 6.9"avg pen, SD .34 (barely acceptable)
MagTech FirstDefense 77gr copper bullet, zero/partial expansion, 10+" penetration with 3 bullets exiting the pack and assumed zero expansion. (Actually unacceptable, in my opinion; FMJ would do as good and a lot cheaper)
Unacceptable: See Phase One report above
A few comments....If you feel expansion is more important than 12" equivalent gelatin penetration (8" wetpack), then the Winchester SXT and Federal HydraShok offerings might be good choices. Both are readily available on the civilian market.
The SXT is reported to use the same 95gr "T" bullet as Ranger T ammo, but as you can see it apparently is not as "powerful". However, the SXT is a big improvement over the old Silvertip ammo. Federal's Personal Defense stuff comes in a new package labelled "Reduced Recoil". See picture below.
As far as I could tell there was no difference at all with the old package PD. Wetpack tests seem to confirm that as well. The PD bullet has more cuts around the tip than the old original "Premium" HydraShok (no longer available) that appear to give it more expansion but sacrifce penetration. In my opinion, they should have left it alone, penetration is more important.
I don't recommend you waste money on the MagTech stuff. Lots of muzzle flash with the First Defense copper bullet type.