After looking back at my ballistics testing, I find myself very troubled by the results of the .38 Spl ammo tests.
In addition to testing more 9mm in the short-barrel Kahr, and more .40S&W in the Glock and the carbine, I procured a batch of different .38 ammo to test. Oddly, not a single retailer stocked the old standby “FBI Load” (.38SPL +P with a 158gr lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint)
I will be re-testing the Speer Gold Dot short-barrel .38 ammo. I will be using two .38 snubnose revolvers to verify my findings, and a 4″ gun to give some perspective from a “typical” .38 revolver.
In addition, I blackened the slugs of the Winchester Silvertip and SXT ammo with a Sharpie, and will be re-testing them as well:
I wanted to make something more clear as well. I do not believe that velocity or muzzle energy by themselves are the sole determinant of an ammunition’s effectiveness. Expanding bullets are designed to expand properly within a range of velocities, with intervening materials like wallboard, glass or clothing negatively affecting their performance. If they are moving too slow, they don’t expand. If they are moving too fast, they fragment and reduce the depth of penetration (this latter problem isn’t going to affect the .38 ammo). The best bullet design in the world won’t perform as promised if it isn’t within its performance envelope.
I am trying to see how ammunition performs in my own guns, both from an average velocity perspective, and from a consistency perspective. If the results I get show that a type of ammo performs close to the manufacturer’s stated velocity, then I feel confident that the bullet will perform as promised. But if I see a large standard deviation, then some of the rounds will fall considerably short of the average, which could effect performance.
After I find the ammo types with the highest and most consistent velocities, I will make my choice based upon the performance of the bullet designs.