Tuesday, December 8, 2009

.38 Special vs. .44 Special vs. .327 Magnum: Look at the numbers

Decided to see what .44 Special , .38 Special, .45 ACP, .327 Magnum and .357 Magnum numbers compare in terms of ballistics. From the Federal and Speer ammo pages, here's a comparison.
Caliber Grains Type Mfg. FPS Muzzle Ft.Lbs. Muzzle
.44 Special 200 SWCHP Federal Champion 870 336
.38 Special 110 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok
980 235
.38 Special +P 129 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 950 258
.327 Magnum
100 JSP American Eagle 1500 500
.327 Magnum 85 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 1400 370
.327 Magnum 115 JHP Speer Gold Dot 1380 486
.357 Magnum
125 JHP Speer Gold Dot 1450 584
.45 ACP 230 JHP Federal Hydra-Shok 900 414

Any questions? After testing all three of the available .327 Magnum loads I settled on Speer Gold Dot for my carry load in the Charter Patriot revolver, which is very close to Speer .357 Magnum in both fps and ft./lbs. of energy delivered on target.

And comparing Federal Hydra-Shok .45 ACP to Federal Champion .44 Special Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Points also shows speed and energy delivered in the same ballpark ballistically.

And of course, neither .38 Special or +P is anywhere near any of the others in energy on target.

When it comes to carrying a revolver, for backup or sole carry, I feel a lot more comfortable with my .327 Magnum or .44 Special Charter pair than with any .38 Special or +P. With the Bulldog .44, it's like having a .45 and with the Patriot .327 Magnum, it's like having a .357 Magnum.

I've always been a strong believer in more is better. And .44 is definitely more better than .38.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, here's a couple of graphs on ballistics of pistol ammo.

The first is a comparison by Winchester of their Ranger JHP ammo, which is IMHO the class of the industry. I carry Winchester Ranger or their new PDX Bonded, the replacement for Ranger, in 9mm, .45 ACP and .357 Sig with total confidence that it's quite simply the best.

But the interesting thing about their graph is how similar all the loads are, with the exception of .380 ACP, which just ain't got enough zip to get the job done. That's why I don't carry .380.

And last is a handgun gel penetration and expansion chart, which shows that as long as you pick a serious caliber, you'll get serious results, assuming you can hit what you shoot at. And that's a very big assumption. In pistol shooting, the most important three things are the same three things that any realtor will tell you is the key to success in real estate: Location, location, location.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent article sir. Very informative, thanks for your knowledge!