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Old May 10, 2011, 12:32 AM   #1
FiveFeezy
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Remington UMC .38 +P 125 Grain SJHP

Will this ammo be good enough for home defense out of a 4 inch barrel? I just bought the gun and don't want to spend too much on ammo right now; this stuff is on sale at Midway. What are the drawbacks of this cheaper ammo? Thanks everyone.

It seems to perform pretty well in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=errNDvwyiAk

Last edited by FiveFeezy; May 10, 2011 at 12:42 AM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 02:32 AM   #2
Andy Taylor
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I have a 100 round box of it that I keep meaning to test expansion and penetration, but don't seem to get around to it.

That said, my first concern with any defensive ammo is, does it reliably go "BANG!" in my gun. My second concern is can I hit my target with it. Third is penetration. Will it go deep enough to do any damage. These are all fairly easy to test.
Modern super wizzbang bullets are nice, but not really necessary. Lots of people in graves who were killed by LRN, FMJ, wadcutters, and even lead balls.
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Old May 10, 2011, 09:32 AM   #3
HighValleyRanch
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Winchester white box has roughly the same stuff.

+P .38 special in 125 gr. JHP.
(19.95 at my local wally world)

Advertised on the box for hunting thin skin deer and boar,
target and self defense.
Looked it up and it is rated around ME 258 ft. pounds out of a 4".

Slightly higher out of my 6" Official Police, so yeah, I think it is good enough for SD. Will do more testing, but I agree with AndyTaylor, that reliability is the most important factor.
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Old May 10, 2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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I have used that ammo for years and its cousin the remington "yellow box" which is the exact same but with a nickel case and a little more money. I have never ever had an issue with reliability and I find it accurate out of my ruger da's. I have since changed to buying remington and umc 158 grain lead hollow-pointes and find them equally great. I feel no need to buy expensive "hype" bullets with these cheap but good remington offerings. Check out remingtons ammo site and you can get the ballistics on these rounds.
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Old May 10, 2011, 02:05 PM   #5
Jim March
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This class of load often tests OK from a 4", but it's borderline...stuff is "total fail" from a snub.

Personally...I think the 38+P can work out well but I want the best ammo in it I can score. Speer's 135gr+P, anything from Buffalo Bore (+P if the gun is solid), the Remington 158+P lead hollowpoint are, in my opinion, the top tier, with BuffBore's 158+P the absolute king of the hill if you can cope with 'em.

A small step below that: Winchester's 130+P is pretty good. Cor-Bon's 110 DPX is surprisingly good for a lightweight...expensive though. Cor-Bon's conventional 110 and 125+P JHP loads are good, but the pressures are sometimes high - not for a weak gun. Better-than-average ballistics but the projectiles are kinda old-school...still works though.

From a 4" tube, these "second teir but acceptable" loads will probably outperform most of the first-teir loads from 2" barrels, with the obvious exception of that steroid-ripped BuffBore 158+P monstrosity .

Now...are there other loads that'll work? Yup. Absolutely. Those are the loads I've seen solid test data on and consistent performance out of snubs.

I personally believe that *knowing* I've got good ammo in the gun is part of the whole "confidence package" that will read on my face if I ever have to draw. I believe predators (man or beast) can and do read that confidence and usually back down before you get a chance to crank a round off.

That's one of the main reasons I'm extremely picky about ammo. And I can make a good case that such "pickiness" is particularly crucial with the 38+P as it's on the marginal end of current defensive choices.
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Old May 11, 2011, 08:15 AM   #6
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I won't venture a guess on whether they are good or not-so-good for self defense, I'll just mention that I did my own wet phone book penetration/expansion comparison that included these rounds out of a snubbie. (see here: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=416070) Expansion was just fine. Penetration was by far the lowest of the bunch tested (~4.5"), but that's not surprising since all of the others were more powerful and in many cases heavier. Draw your own conclusions.

Cheers.
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Old May 11, 2011, 11:01 AM   #7
8shot357
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I carry Rem 125g SJHPs in my Ruger SP101 (3") for SD, and I don't lose no sleep.

That's just me, but soft lead is soft lead, it will rip there gut's out.
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Old May 11, 2011, 11:45 AM   #8
Jim March
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Quote:
I carry Rem 125g SJHPs in my Ruger SP101 (3") for SD, and I don't lose no sleep.
Are those 357s or 38+Ps? The 357 flavor is a damned good load...very "old school" but it just happens to work great.
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Old May 11, 2011, 12:02 PM   #9
Andy Taylor
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I presumed he was talking about the .38's since that is what this thread has been discussing. I will agree on the .357 version. My Trooper and SP101 are both currently loaded with them. No better defensive ammo buy than the 100 round box @ WallyWorld.
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Old May 11, 2011, 01:02 PM   #10
Dave T
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I suspect my opinion qualifies me for "old phart" status but I would not choose that load, no matter the barrel length.

If forced by circumstances to carry a 38 Special, I would revert back to the 38/44 loads of the 1930s. This propelled a 158g bullet at ~1150 fps from a 4-5 inch barreled revolver. Buffalo Bore's 158g LSWCHP-GC duplicates this performance. I can duplicate this by handloading 12g of 2400 under a 158g plated FP.

If I was restricted to a 2" barrel (can't envision how that would happen) I'd probably carry Buffalo Bore's 150g standard pressure full wad cutter.

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Old May 11, 2011, 04:01 PM   #11
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SG ammo currently has the Federal version of the 158grn LSWCHP +P "FBI Load" in stock for $16.95 per box. While the Federal version isn't loaded quite as warm as the Remington one (Federal, Winchester, Remington, and Buffalo Bore all make a version of the "FBI Load") it would probably still go plenty fast enough to expand from a 4" barrel and $17/box is about what FMJ or LRN range ammo is going for at Wally World these days.

http://www.sgammo.com
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Old May 11, 2011, 05:03 PM   #12
Jim March
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Quote:
SG ammo currently has the Federal version of the 158grn LSWCHP +P "FBI Load"
Hmmm...from a 4", yeah, "maybe". But they loaded that stuff really mild. I dunno. 6" maybe. 2", fuggeduboudit. 4" and I still wouldn't trust the crap.

The Remmie version is great. The Winchester version is just as hot but harder lead, works OK out of a 4", fails in a 2".

With Federal, unless it's a round marketed to law enforcement (like the HST today in 9/40/45) I don't trust it at all.
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Old May 11, 2011, 05:44 PM   #13
Webleymkv
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The stuff from SG ammo is LEO ammo (Federal doesn't make the FBI load in their commercial line anymore). As far as velocities go, the tests I've seen on it were from snubs and it seems to run in the 750-800fps range from a 2" barrel. The way I figure it, a 4" gun is going to give you at least another 50fps over a snub which would put the Federal from a 4" barrel at about the same velocity as the Remington from a 2" snub. Personally, I'd equate the Federal "FBI Load" to the Winchester one in terms of performance because, as I understand it, the Federal does give lower velocities but it also uses softer lead more like the Remington version which is the best of the three.

The Remingtons, I agree, would be only second to Buffalo Bore as far as the best choice. However, the Remingtons are also getting rather difficult to find and most people are charging nearly $40/box for them now. If I hadn't lucked into a NOS box of the Remington's for $20, I'd probably be carrying either the Federals or Speer SBGD myself.
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Old May 11, 2011, 06:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Will this ammo be good enough for home defense out of a 4 inch barrel? I just bought the gun and don't want to spend too much on ammo right now; this stuff is on sale at Midway. What are the drawbacks of this cheaper ammo? Thanks everyone.
OK, lecture time:

If you bought the gun that may be called upon to save your life, then buy the best ammo possible. One box of CorBon DPX +P, for example.

You won't be using it for practice and one box will give you three extra speed loaders (for a 5 shot). Buy two boxes and shoot some rounds to see how it handles in your gun--recoil wise.

Some prefer Speer 135 gr. +P that was developed for short barreled pistols, and Hornady has jumped into the CCW market with their Critical Defense.

Stay away from generic 125 gr JHP's (like you bought) that incorporate older technology not condusive to reliable expansion. The .38 Special isn't a power house round to begin with---use the best ammo that uses the best technology, such as that listed above. I carry DPX, personally.

There's also Buffalo Bore 158 gr. LSWCHP +P. This is hot stuff they developed for reliable extraction in short bbl.357's that have short ejector rods.

For .38 snubbies, you can use Buffalo Bore Non Plus P.

Federal's Nyclad (which has been revived) and the older 158 gr. LSWC HP +P's always did work, but they're exceptions.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 11, 2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old May 11, 2011, 08:09 PM   #15
Crazy88Fingers
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Short answer: Yes, it will work.
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Old May 12, 2011, 12:42 AM   #16
8shot357
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Are those 357s or 38+Ps? The 357 flavor is a damned good load...very "old school" but it just happens to work great.

I have both .38s and .357s. My .357s are Rems, and the .38s are Winchester's. Most of the time I carry .357s in it, but I usually carry a S&W Airweight snub loaded with .38 +P 135g GDs. If I didn't get such a good deal on the GDs, I'd load it with the SJHPs, but I think the GDs are a little better for SD.
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Old May 12, 2011, 01:06 AM   #17
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When I carry it, or at home, I have my .38 loaded with the Buffalo Bore 158gr. They are not "that" expensive. The 158 grain is quite a load though.

For the range I have a bunch of old federal and some handloads. I got the federals really cheap years ago, basically for the cost of the brass, and the brass is good. Never had any of the above fail to fire.

1926 6" Officers Model Colt .38.
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Old May 12, 2011, 07:27 AM   #18
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I've never done any "official" type testing with the UMC 125 SJHP, but I've shot a couple of javalinas with it from a 4" .357 mag. Seems to kill them just fine, with total penetration through both front shoulders on one of them. The other penetrated completely as well, but missed the shoulders.

Now, keep in mind that a javalina isn't as big as an adult human, but the terminal ballistics were there.

I still have most of a 100 cnt box of the stuff, and while I usually carry 135 gr Gold Dots for SD, carrying the UMC stuff wouldn't bother me at all.

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Old May 12, 2011, 10:27 AM   #19
Jim March
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Daryl, did you recover the slugs from those funkypork (Javalinas)? Or did they blow through likely without expanding?

Were you shooting 38 or 357? You're not saying which.
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