9mm Ammo Quest: Buffalo Bore 115 gr. +P JHP

One of the companies whose products everyone (seemingly) wants to see tested is Buffalo Bore. I think that I get more requests for tests of various Buffalo Bore rounds than for just about any other company’s offerings. One viewer took it to the next level though, sending me a money order with instructions to buy three specific loads he was interested in. Well, heck, I’m curious about the Buffalo Bore loadings too, and so yes, I gladly took him up on the offer and ordered the requested rounds . . .

First one to be tested here is the 9mm 115-grain +P hollowpoint, part #24D. Buffalo Bore advertises this round at 1300 fps, which would be over 431 ft/lbs of energy. Presumably that rating is from a longer barrel; from the 3″ barrel that I test from, it delivered an average of 1203 fps. That’s still quite potent, it’s still over 369 ft-lbs of energy.

Normally I conduct tests by firing five rounds through bare gel and five rounds through denim-covered gel. For whatever reason, with this round, I did it the opposite way, firing the first rounds through the denim-covered gel. After firing three rounds, I checked and saw that all three bullets had failed to expand, and over penetrated. One was just barely in the “overpenetration” category (19″ depth), but the other two were serious overpenetrators (23.25″ and 26.00″).

Since the standards I test to call for a maximum of 18″ of penetration through gel, I knew right there that this ammo would not be one of my recommended loads. Accordingly, instead of wasting two more bullets through the denim, I used the rest of the block to shoot two bare-gel bullets.

The bare gel performance was really very good, in terms of expansion size and penetration depth. The bullets made a nice large temporary cavity and penetrated to an average of 13.75″, well exceeding the minimum 12″ requirement. They did however shed some of their weight, which is never a good sign. Even so, they still made big holes deep in the gel, which is exactly what you want a self-defense bullet to do.

In the end, I thought this round wasn’t a standout performer overall, because of its subpar performance on the denim test. However, I do acknowledge that at least it didn’t underpenetrate — all the bullets (bare & denim) exceeded the minimum penetration requirements, so they all would have poked sufficiently-deep holes in whatever bad guy you were forced to shoot them at. It’s just that the denim-covered bullets wouldn’t have made nearly as big or nearly as devastating a hole as they would have if they’d performed properly. I’ve tested enough other rounds that do perform properly through both the bare and the denim to say that I really don’t see any reason to settle for self-defense ammo that can’t pass both tests.

comments

  1. avatar John P says:

    So, BB makes better hunting rounds than SD rounds?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Well, what are you planning to hunt with 9mm?

      Seeing they over-penetrate in the denim (and presumably leather jacket) realm, perhaps car-jackers wearing t-shirts in Florida would be appropriate game…

      1. avatar John P says:

        I meant in general. If this is the kind of performance we get from the 9mm, we should expect similar performance from the rest of their ammunition, yes? So BB rounds in 10mm Auto and .45 ACP won’t have good expansion against denim-wearers either.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Sounds like a valid hypothesis.

          10mm tends to haul ass.

        2. avatar int19h says:

          I think we can assume that the performance of their jacketed ammo will be similar. But I would still be curious to see what their soft lead revolver hollowpoints do.

  2. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …clear and concise – as usual! *8)

  3. avatar Charles5 says:

    I pretty much only go to Buffalo Bore for Hard Cast LFN for my revolvers.

  4. avatar Mark N. says:

    How much of this result is due to the bullet used? Obviously BB loads to higher pressure/velocity, but the clogging of the HP probably had a lot more to do with the shape of the bullet itself and the size of the opening.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      It looked to me that was a big part of it.

      The BB rounds had no serrations to open up as they penetrate. Once plugged, they went on their merry high-velocity way…

  5. avatar John M. says:

    Wait, we can fund you for tests? Can I fund some 10mm testing?

    1. avatar dlj95118 says:

      …go here, scroll down a bit and find the Donate button:
      http://shootingthebull.net/blog/

      It works and he’s quite appreciative.

  6. avatar Accur81 says:

    Thanks for the test.

    I have a love / hate relationship with BB ammo. The 168 grain TTSX .30-06 load seems to be genius. This 9mm load looks like an overpriced / underperformer. For the price all of their ammo should perform like Ranger and HST, but they certainly don’t.

  7. avatar S.CROCK says:

    As always, another great test by STB410. Can you please do some tests on .38 from a snubby

  8. avatar Panzer says:

    What gun did he use in this test?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      He says it is a 9mm with a 3″ barrel. It shouldn’t matter what gun he used–but by the looks of it, it is a Sig P938 (and I want one).

  9. avatar Jim March says:

    My suspicion is that Speer has dried up the supply of real Gold Dot projectiles for the smaller ammo houses like Buffalo Bore, DoupleTap and others. DoubleTap started using Montana Gold which are utter crap. This lack of supply from Speer has hurt all the small ammo houses when it comes to personal defense loads.

    The best Buffalo Bore defense loads are probably the ones using Barnes all-copper HPs. Expensive but very good stuff and Tim is probably loading them hotter than CorBon our others.

    1. avatar LS/HD says:

      I’m not sure what is being produced at this moment, but DT loaded with Nosler in various weights is on the shelf right now. I just picked up some 147 over the weekend, $5 off per box at Scheels.

      If the DT box does not list a branded bullet, I pass.

      FWIW

  10. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Personally I hate the fact that BB uses such big boxes that only hold 20 rounds. I like to keep around at least a couple hundred rounds of self defense ammo and I just don’t have the safe space for BB.

    That and a 9mm 115gr bullet that fragments at 1200fps in bare gel and won’t expand at 1200fps through denim is just not acceptable. Looks like they got the powder charge pretty consistent though.

  11. avatar J. Zoss says:

    Thanks for another informative test. Looking forward to the STB .45 ACP short barrel testing.

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