(Note: On this page, as throughout this website, the term "38 Super" refers to the 38 Super +P cartridge.)

On occasion I test other bullets for expansion and penetration characteristics in water jugs. This includes factory and handloaded ammunition. The bullets are tested at a variety of velocities, some which push the 38 Super to its limits. The water jugs are 6” wide, the same as used on the Factory Ammunition page. The data from the factory ammunition page is included here for comparison.

Table from Factory Ammunition Page

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
Weight + Parts
# of Parts
Core Diameter (in.)
Atlanta Arms & Ammo
125
1409
X
X
S
73.0
88.0
3
0.585
Buffalo Bore
115
1510
X
S
73.3
73.3
1
0.553
Buffalo Bore
124**
1390
X
X
X
S
123.7
123.7
1
0.590
Buffalo Bore
147***
1216
X
X
X
S
111.2
130.0
4
0.536
CORBON DPX
125
1417
X
X
X
X
125.0
125.0
1
0.541
CORBON
115
1455
X
X
S
57.8
81.9
7
0.581
CORBON
125
1418
X
X
S
84.9
85.7
3
0.563
Federal
115
1141
X
S
114.1
114.1
1
0.660
Glaser Blue
80
1698
X
S
-
-
-
-
Glaser Silver
80
1790
X
X
-
-
-
-
PMC
115
1127
X
X
X
S
91.3
114.9
3
0.516
Pow'rBall
100
1582
X
X
S
73.5
94.7
2
0.670
Wilson Combat
115
1380
X
X
S
99.0
99.0
1
0.556
Wilson Combat
115 TAC-XP****
1375
X
X
X
S
115.0
115.0
1
0.540
Wilson Combat
124
1383
X
X
S
105.2
108.3
2
0.723
Winchester
125
1173
X
X
S
119.1
122.1
3
0.649

X = complete penetration. S = Stopped inside jug. * Weight in grains. ** The Georgia Arms offering uses the same bullet (Speer Gold Dot) at around the same velocity so the performance should be similar. *** The Double Tap 147 JHP offering uses the same bullet (Speer Gold Dot) at around the same velocity so the performance should be similar. **** The Double Tap 115 TAC-XP offering uses the same bullet at around the same velocity so the performance should be similar. Velocity in feet per second. Parts refers to the total number of bullet parts recovered. No weight, parts count or core diameter is listed for the Glaser Safety Slugs since they are designed to disintegrate.

Handloads 38 Super

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
# of Parts Recovered
Core Diameter (in.)
Barnes all copper HP
80
1600
X
X
S
80
3
0.609
Remington JHP
88
1850
S
disintegrated
Sierra JHP
90
1750
X
S
42.6
1
0.634
Fiocchi Expansion Mono-Block
92
? 1500 ?
X
X
X
?
4
0.617
Magtech all copper HP
92.6
1500
X
S
92.6
1
0.686
General Bullet all copper HP
95
1500
X
X
X
63
3
0.613
Winchester FMJ FP
95
1700
X
S
?
2
0.770
Sierra FMJ FP
95
1700
X
X
X
X
not found
Montana Gold JHP
95
1400
X
S
47.9
2
0.475
"
95
1700
X
S
42.0
1
0.569
Hornady FMJ RN
100
1400
X
X
X
X
not found
Remington Golden Saber
102
1700
X
S
58.5
2
0.662
Winchester JHP
115
1350
X
X
98.0
4
0.543
Winchester STHP
115
1400
X
S
94
6
0.591
Sierra JHP
115
1350
X
X
82
5
0.569
Barnes all copper HP
115
1400
X
X
X
115
1
0.595
Nosler JHP
115
1600
X
S
59
3
0.573
Speer GDHP
115
1600
X
X
S
92
3
0.651
Hornady Action Pistol
121
1500
X
X
S
73
2
0.646
Remington Golden Saber
124
1435
X
X
X
112
2
0.744
"
124
1500
X
X
X
S
108
3
0.605
Hornady XTP
124
1300
X
X
X
119
2
0.655
Speer GDHP
124
1300
X
X
S
126
1
0.631
"
124
1500
X
X
X
S
111
1
0.588
Expanding FMJ
124
1400
X
X
S
123
1
0.620
Winchester STHP
125
1425
X
X
S
79
1
0.540
Winchester Ranger T
127
1450
X
X
X
S
111
2
0.820
Hornady FXT
140
950
X
X
X
S
134
2
0.588
Remington Golden Saber
147
1200
X
X
X
X
137
3
0.650
Hornady XTP
147
1200
X
X
X
X
126
3
0.570
Winchester STHP
147
1200
X
X
X
146
1
0.652
"
147
1300
X
X
X
S
138
1
0.615
Speer GDHP
147
1200
X
X
X
S
146
1
0.717
Remington JHP
147
1200
X
X
X
X
143
9
0.793

X = complete penetration. S = Stopped inside jug. * Weight in grains. Velocity in feet per second.

The Remington 88 grain JHP bullet is designed for the 380 Automatic and intended for velocities around 1000 fps. It was pushed to nearly twice that velocity and completely disintegrated in the first water jug. Compare the Winchester and Sierra 95 FMJ FP bullets. They were also designed for the 380 Automatic. The Winchester bullet has a thinner copper jacket than the Sierra bullet. Both were run at 1700 fps. The thinner-jacketed Winchester bullet flattened and had shallow penetration while the thicker-jacketed Sierra bullet penetrated 4 jugs.  I was unable to locate the Sierra bullet so I don't know whether it was deformed or not. The results with these Remington and Winchester bullets demonstrate how bullets can react when pushed beyond their design envelope.

Other Factory Ammunition

380 Automatic

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
# of Parts Recovered
Core Diameter (in.)
Winchester Ranger T
95
?
X
X
?
1
0.618

9mm Luger

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
# of Parts Recovered
Core Diameter (in.)
Winchester Ranger T +P+
127
1205
X
X
S
117
2
0.712

40 S&W

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
# of Parts Recovered
Core Diameter (in.)
Federal HST
165
?
X
X
X
?
1
0.786

45 ACP

Manufacturer
Weight*
Velocity
Jug 1
Jug 2
Jug 3
Jug 4
Core Weight
# of Parts Recovered
Core Diameter (in.)
Winchester Ranger T +P
230
930
X
X
S
223
2
0.900

X = complete penetration. S = Stopped inside jug. * Weight in grains. Velocity in feet per second.

Questions, comments, suggestions, hate mail? Feel free to email me. However, the probability of getting a response is low simply because I have a day job and a life and don't have the time to respond to all emails. It's nothing personal, really. Nevertheless, I do appreciate your thoughts. If you see an obvious error then please put the word ERROR in the title of your email. Thanks, and happy shooting.
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