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Hello. I recently tested some of this standard pressure ammunition using three thirty-eight's so that velocities, accuracy, and expansion characteristics could be seen from a 1 7/8" J-frame as well as from 3" and 4" K-frame revolvers.

The bullet used is from Barnes and is called an "X bullet". I've seen good results with it from some rifles and Thompson-Center pistols in the past.

This was my first exposure to the pistol caliber X bullet. It is homogeneous and has no jacket to separate or fragment away from the lead core. As it is less dense than lead, an X bullet of the same weight as one of lead will be longer.


Here is the profile of the Corbon DPX. It is loaded in Remington cases and the bullets are firmly crimped. In none of the guns used did any bullets unseat in the least. "DPX" stands for "Deep Penetrating X (Bullet)".

Shooting was done no farther than 15 yards today and average velocities listed are based on 10 shots fired approximately 10' from the chronograph screeens. Not so scientific as tests performed by others, I simply fired the .38 DPX rounds into water and recovered the bullets.


The revolvers used were a 1 7/8" S&W Model 638, a 3" Model 64, and a 4" Model 10.

Corbon advertises this load at 1200 ft/sec. I didn't quite get that in my guns, but the 3 and 4" barrels provided average speeds in that general area.

S&W M638:
Average Velocity: 1017 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 40
Std. Deviation: 16

S&W M64:
Average Velocity: 1118 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 84
Std. Deviation: 27

S&W M10:
Average Velocity: 1122 ft/sec
Extreme Spread: 72
Std. Deviation: 25


Here are some recovered bullets fired through the barrel lengths written next to them. The "worst" case is the bullet at the bottom right that was fired from the J-frame. The rest were surprisingly similar from all barrel lengths. Recovered bullets appeared not to have lost but one or two grains after expansion, but I cannot say exactly as I did not weigh them before shooting. Essentially, no bullet weight was lost. The "worst" case bullet measured 0.48 x 0.44". The rest hovered right around 0.67" diameters.


At 15 yards, six shots were fired in slow-fire and single-action. The ammunition grouped better than most of us could in a fight; better than I could, anyway. Groups fired from the Model 10 were equivalent.


From the smaller gun, I fired a slow-fire double-action group of 10 shots.
There were 2 key holing hits, one each at 7 and 9 O' clock. These shots were fired at 10 yards.


I do not know if the key holing was due to the longer bullet in the ammunition or peculiar to my particular revolver. I fired 5 shots from a Model 642 I had with me and no such problems occured.

Recoil felt considerably less than that of my usual snub "carry load," Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P.

Corbon advises that this DPX load will penetrate into 12" or more and others testing it in 10% gelatin report that it both penetrates and expands whether striking bare or clothed gelatin.

If interested, there is a more detailed report here:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Corbon%2038%20Special%20Ammo.htm

Best.
 
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Thanks the the awesome report, as always!

How many inches of penitration were these giving? It seems like a light .38 caliber bullet that expands that much wouldnt penitrate 12-14 inches like advirtised.

Thanks!
 

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Hello. In 10% ballistic gelatin, Corbon advises it to penetrate at least 12". Independent researchers are getting right at the 12" penetration level whether shooting bare or "clothed" gelatin. I think the round penetrates a bit more than its light-for-caliber weight initially suggests for two reasons:

1. Penetration is limited such that it maintains its longer shape rather than flatening out like a nickel, and

2. The petals must damage tissue, but unlike the conventional JHP, there is a noticeable gap between them. Thus, the "parachute effect" doesn't seem to be as prevalent.

Best.
 
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Out of curiosity, do you plan to try some more of these in other 2" guns? Perhaps even your Agent? The fact that they keyholed in your M638 is troubling to say the least.
 

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Thanks for the test. I just picked up three boxes to use in my S&W mod. 042 ( not rated for +p). I'm giving this gun to my fiancee as soon as her CCW permit is approved and needed a good non +p defense round for her. I had previously used Fed. Nyclads but they are no longer available and I prefer not to rely on old stocks of ammo. I have not had a chance to shoot any of it yet so I don't know how it performs out of the 042. I'm a little concerned about the keyholing that you experienced. I hope that is not a common occurrence as non +p defense loads are not easy to find.

shawn
 

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Hello. I tried 10 more shots from another Model 642 and 10 from a Colt Agent. None of the shots fired from the Agent key holed. There was 1 key hole from the other 642.

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I was finally able to get out to the range to try the DPX. I fired a box through my S&W 042 and thankfully experienced no keyholing.

Shawn
 

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Mr. Camp:
I'd appreciate your take on how CorBon is able to achieve this 1,000 fps velocity in a 2" barrel in a standard pressure load. I admit that I don't keep up with latest data; however, I was under the impression that a 110 or 125 gr. standard pressure .38 Sp that reaches 900 fps out of a snubby was doing well.
 

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Hello. Man, I do not know. That might very well be a company secret, but I suspect that it is related to newer powders and possibly that the copper bullet is softer than the guilding metal/lead traditional bullets.

Best.

PS: I suspect it is just as hot as it can be w/o the +P designation.
 

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Corky;

Like Steve, I am not sure. You are certainly correct, it is the exceptional +P load that breaks 900 with a 110 or 125. The old Win. "Treasury" load did break 1,000 but it was a +P+ and 110gr. (never had much luck with it myself).

Onward,
Jim
 
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