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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just ordered a Bulgarian Makarov to replace my Bersa Thunder which (surprisingly enough) self destructed at the range. Decided to replace it with something in the same price range, power and size for summer carry.

So my main question is....what would be a suitable round for self defense? The 115 gr Silver Bear load seems to have gotton some good reviews on other boards, but am interested in hearing alternatives.
 

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I'm very happy with the reliability and accuracy or Barnaul's 95gr JHPs. Stephen Camp has a nice report on them, here or on his site.
 

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Georgia-Arms, Gold Dots

http://www.georgia-arms.com/shear.htm

95 gr. Gold Dot hollowpoint, 1000 fps, 210 ft./lbs energy

I personally do not have any, but would have if they had been in stock, they were waiting on bullets. That's been a couple months ago when I last checked with them. Prices are slightly higher than what the webpage shows also.

I'm still on the fence as to hollowpoints or FMJ's with the Mak, I'm waiting on my order of Fiocchi FMJ's from Makarov.com. Fiocchi's website shows ballistics of 1100 fps for a 95 gr. FMJ, 265 ft./lbs. energy. Mr. Stephen A. Camp has chrony'd Fiocchi's at about 1018-1020 fps (about 219 ft./lbs. energy) from 2 different Mak's, you can find it in the Fiocchi Ammo thread in this forum.

[EDIT] Makarov.com does show the Fiocchi to be a 95 gr. FMJ @ 1050 fps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys.

Tomorrow I'll run about 150 rds thru it for the first time - God willing I'll have no problems (dunno if God would be on the side of an ex-Soviet bloc pistol tho
so I hope I cleaned it well enough.

About 100 rounds to start plinking with is the Wolf brand ammo which I can get around here at a cheaper price than .380 and almost comparable 9mm price.

From I have seen, Hornady seems to be the way to go for SD. I can get some for a reasonable price easily enough from Cheaperthandirt. Although when I get ambitious will likley order some Silver Bear ammo - it seems to give some good expansion for the 'net photos I've seen.
 
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dunno if God would be on the side of an ex-Soviet bloc pistol tho
so I hope I cleaned it well enough.
Why not ... even if he WERE partial, it's a convert now!


Let me preface my next comment with the caveat that it is NOT first hand info:
I have read that at least one Mak owner (on TFL I think) has had trouble with the Hornady factory ammo feeding in his Mak. He seemed to think that the rounds that didn't feed were seated too deeply, but my thought is that they were probably fine BEFORE they didn't feed and that the trauma of not feeding when the slide really wanted them to feed caused them to end up too short. I load exclusively 95 gr XTP-HP's in my reloads and have never had a problem, but my loads run a little hotter than Hornady's so I can't really comment on them.

Whatever round you pick, make sure that it feeds and fires 100% reliably before you adopt it for critical uses - the qualifying number of 200 seems to be accepted, unfortunately buying the Hornady rounds by the box of 25 makes that exercise a little pricy. I have also had really good luck with the Silver Bear and the Barnaul JHP's, but the 115grainers, while fine in my Mak, don't fit in the mag of my PA-63.

Saands
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nod - Silver Bear 115 gr JHP rounds seem to get good press as well. At less than $ 6 per 50 (on the Web) I figure those will be test fired in the near future :>
 
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I recommend a lot of caution with the Russian ammo. I have a PA-63 in 9mm Mak for which I purchased a pile of Barnaul JHP and ball ammo. I discovered that, at least with the ammo batches I bought, quality control was poor. About 2/3 of the cases were oversized so they did not feed. The remainder functioned adequately until I fired off a round which sounded "funny" and felt weird. Had the presence of mind to stop and field strip the weapon, at which point I discovered the bullet lodged solidly in the barrel...squib load. Good thing I didn't pull the trigger after that weird feeling round, or I'm sure the gun would have self-destructed.

Lesson to me is that I don't believe that Russian commercial ammunition has sufficient quality control in place to convince me that it's safe to shoot. I'll stick with brass-cased, name brand ammo like Hornady, PMC, S&B, Fiocchi, etc.

Just personal observations....

Bob
 
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