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Old July 5, 2012, 09:47 AM   #101
Deputy276
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"I dont care if it is by 10 fps or 100 fps. Better is better."

So how EXACTLY does more FPS = "better"???
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:50 AM   #102
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DEPUTY 276, it is quite clear you are a 44 Special fan as am I. I thought you might like to hear of an experence with the 44 Special and Speer Gold Dot ammo. A friend used a 4" 44 Special to shoot a mountain lion. At the shot the animal was facing him at a few yards. The cat took the 44 Special in the chest. While the cat didnt die right away, it did die. When skinned the bullet traveled deep into the cat. However the bullet did not expand. I examined it afterwards and it could have been reloaded and shot again. I expected more from the Gold Dots and this is just one trial but it was dissapointing.
----------------------------------
Wrong tool for the job is all that is. NO bullet expands 100% of the time anyway. If I shoot a HUMAN with a .38 special load and it doesn't expand, and a .44 Special load and it also doesn't expand, I would prefer the larger hole and deeper penetration of the .44 Special.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:59 AM   #103
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"One finds it difficult to imagine a LE officer delivering a solid torso hit with the much disparaged 158 gr LRN from a 4-inch barrel to a bad guy, only to have him continue fighting. Please provide examples."

So what do you want me to post?...the debunked Sanow and Marshall results. Nope...ain't gonna do it.
There are plenty of reports of MULTIPLE solid torso hits with a RIFLE not getting the job done. No need to imagine it...it's a fact. If you don't believe it, I suggest you pick up a copy of Blackhawk Down.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:07 AM   #104
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Bottom line is you use what you are comfortable with and what has worked for you. When it comes to handguns, I want to use a load that gives me the maximum advantage at protecting my life and my loved ones life. And .38 special just doesn't make it. My home defense load is a S&W 329 Nightguard loaded with Buffalo Bore .44 Magnum Ammo - 255 gr. Keith - Gas Check bullets.
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...ct_detail&p=55

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Old July 5, 2012, 11:14 AM   #105
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For the reasons I would consider obvious. Same projectile + faster velocity = more M.E. on target / better terminal performance.
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:18 PM   #106
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For the reasons I would consider obvious. Same projectile + faster velocity = more M.E. on target / better terminal performance.

Unfortunatley, the numbers don't match up with real world performance. Bullet design and diameter plays a more important part.
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Old July 5, 2012, 02:01 PM   #107
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Deputy, you brought the 357 magnum into the discussion...


Deputy276

"I'll tell you something a .38 Specail AND a .357 Magnum can't do...become as good as a.44 Special.

Why subject yourself to excessive recoil of +P and .357 Mag when you can get a .44 Special that is comfortable to shoot and more efffective? I remember when the popular thing to do was to take a Model 28 S&W and have it converted to .44 Special. "

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Old July 5, 2012, 02:04 PM   #108
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You use hard cast bullets in a 44 Magnum for home defense? Are you expecting grizzly bears to break into your house? Wow, just wow...
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Old July 5, 2012, 02:09 PM   #109
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But modern bullets like the Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX-1, And Hornady Critical Defense have made +P ammunition obsolete.
Of those bullets, only the Hornady Critical Defense is even available in a non-LEO loading in standard pressure. While Speer does make a 125gr standard pressure Gold Dot .38 Special loading, it's a LE-only loading that is rarely seen for sale to the general public even from vendors like SG Ammo and Ammunition to Go that regularly stock LE-only loadings. Also, Speer's 125gr Gold Dot .38 Special loading, in both +P and standard pressure form, is generally regarded as inferior to their 135gr Short Barrel Gold Dot loading which seems to expand much more reliably in four-layer denim tests particularly from short barrels. The 135gr loading is only available in +P.

The vast majority of standard pressure .38 Special hollowpoints available are of rather dated design such as Winchester Silvertip, Federal Hydra-Shok, Federal NyClad, or Remington Express SJHP. Most standard pressure .38 Special loadings use rather light bullets (110gr seems to be the most popular) in order to achieve high enough velocity to expand within the 17,000psi pressure limit of the cartridge. Unfortunately, a bullet this light that can expand reliably at what is still relatively low velocity usually penetrates rather poorly. The only non-boutique standard pressure .38 Special hollowpoint loadings with bullets heavier than 110gr that I am aware of are Federal 125gr NyClad and Hornady 125gr and 158gr XTP. The NyClad simply uses dead-soft lead which expands even at very low velocity (though penetration suffers just as with the 110gr loadings) while the XTP's don't expand reliably in the first place (the XTP is a rather tough bullet which really needs fairly high velocity to perform well).

The only non-boutique standard pressure .38 Special expanding-bullet loading that I consider adequate for self-defense is Hornady's 110gr Critical Defense. This loading, due to it's lesser, though consistent, expansion can usually manage 12" or at least reasonably close to it in 10% ballistic gelatin. That being said, unless the gun or shooter could not handle it, I think that a good +P loading such as Speer 135gr Short Barrel Gold Dot or Remington 158gr LSWCHP are better choices still.
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Old July 5, 2012, 03:50 PM   #110
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With target loads it can take small game. With more powerful loads and bullet designs it can take larger game and protect against two-legged varmints. Its easy to shoot and has MANY platforms that it can be launched from. It fell out of favor with Law Enforcement because more rounds were thought necessary to combat crime (my opinion). I didn't, nor do I now, feel "undergunned" when carrying a .38. It's all about shot placement...
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Old July 5, 2012, 04:18 PM   #111
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A number of points in response to some issues raised:

The 38 refers to the caliber and not to the dia. of the bullet which as folks have said is .357 as the nominal.

A wide array of bullet designs for 38 caliber revolvers, particularly the .38 Special, have been available going back to the 1920s and 30s and some before that. Ed McGivern, Elmer Keith, J.H. Young, F.L. Sanders and many others designed bullets for the 38 Special for target work, hunting and self defense. Many full wadcutter loads, SWC and swchp were available. Innovations in bullet design did not begin in the 20th century, but they did accelerate with the development of smokeless powder and the higher velocities that could be achieved with it.

Copper jacket bullets were considered semi auto rounds and were rarely seen for revolvers till the late 70s-1980s or so. Lead was considered best for wheelguns. Police Depts. generally used round nosed lead rounds because they were less expensive that other designs and could be had in large quantities. It was also believed that they would expand reliably if bone was struck. Some Depts and individuals did use LSWCHP though or full wadcutters or variations of the same. There was a lively debate about which worked best and when. Very often the round nosed lead did fail to expand and penetrated with little damage.

The general opinion today is that the standard 38 Special round of today is milder than the loads of 90 years ago. This is likely true. By how much is speculation. The +P loads of today are close to what the standard loads used to be with a 158 gr. pill.

In the pre-war period D.B. Wesson, Phil Sharpe and others worked on developing the 38. Special into a more effective hunting and defensive round. This led to the 38/44 Heavy Duty round and the guns to match it from S&W. The loads pushed a 158 gr. bullet downrange at between 1100 to 1200 fps from a 7 inch barrel. this led them to stretch the case and develop the .357 Magnum.

Velocity does make a difference. With the right bullet it can increase both penetration and wound effectiveness.

The .38 Special is a very good round for a whole lot of purposes.

Also a Model 10 S&W with a 4 inch pencil barrel loaded weighs less than a Glock 19 empty. Pick them up side by side some day in a gun store or a show and see for yourself. Of course round count also makes a difference.

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Old July 5, 2012, 04:33 PM   #112
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What .38 special will not do for me is:

1 It will not cast its own bullets on a hot day.
2 It will not prep cases for reloading on a day when I am tired.
3 It will not stay in a sustainable supply in my range bag. (They all seem to get shot up at the range before I leave for some reason.)

Ok seriously I shoot a lot of .38 spcl out of my Mod 67-1 prelock 4 inch. Every person that has shot it loves it. Especialy with my pet load. (158 grain home cast LSWC over 3.2 grains of Trail Boss, with any small pistol primer I can find.) Mrs M&P likes it so much she thinks I should buy another one just for me have. (Not joking on that.) I would not hesitate to use it for home defense in place of my shotgun, or carry gun if it hit my hand first. Nor would I worry abut its effectiveness.
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Old July 5, 2012, 04:40 PM   #113
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Sounds like were about back on track with the OP's question. All this talk on the Model 10 is making me itchy I think I just might give one of those Bud's trade in's a try, it ought to compliment my Model 14 nicely.
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Old July 5, 2012, 05:00 PM   #114
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Also a Model 10 S&W with a 4 inch pencil barrel loaded weighs less than a Glock 19 empty. Pick them up side by side some day in a gun store or a show and see for yourself. Of course round count also makes a difference.
Can someone confirm this with an actual Model 10?

I just weighed my pre-Model 10 (4" pencil barrel) with six rounds loaded, and it came in at 34.6 ounces. An unloaded Glock 19 weighs 21 ounces, so the S&W is nearly a pound *heavier* than the unloaded Glock.
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Old July 5, 2012, 05:53 PM   #115
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Thats strange because my 2 chosen loads for carry in .38 Special I have tested very extensively in both simulated media and live flesh finishing trapped feral hogs and both meet very close to the velocity manufacturer advertises with the penetration I expect so I would say those numbers meet the real world to a high level. Is a .44 Special better then .38 Special? That is purely subjective. I have owned both and I still have .38's. The .44 Special is not a popular round at all and was almost swept away from thought. I still meet people who havent even heard of a .44 Special. If it was the hammer of Thor some make it out to be it would be in alot more holsters. I like .44 Special but the .38 Special is a much better compromise cartridge. Some even felt the .44 Special needed more power hence the .44 Magnum. Like I say I like .44 Special and I wish that it had a wider fan base so more ammunition would be available, at a better cost, and available at more stores and gun shops. It just isnt.
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Old July 5, 2012, 06:01 PM   #116
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My home defense load is a S&W 329 Nightguard loaded with Buffalo Bore .44 Magnum Ammo - 255 gr. Keith - Gas Check bullets.
I missed that. Your HD load is a 255 grain hard cast Buffalo Bore load? Thank god I dont live within a block of you if you shoot and miss. If it makes you comfortable then so be it but IMO that is HIGHLY not suited for HD. Assuming you have neighbors or children or what have you. Not meaning to offend but I have seen this round and what it penetrates like and it is EXCESSIVE. There is penetration and there is over penetration and that round for 2 legged threats is in a category passed the other 2.
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Old July 5, 2012, 06:21 PM   #117
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What the .38 will do is bring smiles to the faces of little kids when they shoot cans and crab apples with it out of a 6" Colt Trooper.

What it won't do is knock over Pepper Poppers with the same authority as .357 out of the same gun.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:45 PM   #118
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When it comes to handguns, I want to use a load that gives me the maximum advantage at protecting my life and my loved ones life.
And you believe that 6 shots of .44magnum in a lightweight revolver fits that description?

I guess it does if you plan on only firing one shot. If additional shots are required, something a little more controllable will offer a huge benefit in terms of the speed and accuracy of any additional shots after the first one.

It's common for people to focus exclusively on terminal performance when choosing a defensive handgun. Terminal performance is important, but it's also important to have adequate capacity, good shootability and skill. Given that skill comes from practice, that last requirement implies that it's important to have a self-defense handgun/ammo combo that allows at least a reasonable amount of practice, both in terms of economics and ergonomics.
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Bullet design and diameter plays a more important part.
I've got to say that it's hard to take a statement like this coming from someone who clearly didn't even know the bullet diameters of the calibers under discussion until they were posted on this thread and who listed, as evidence that +P was obsolete, a number of bullet designs that are all available in factory +P ammunition.
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Muzzle energy doesn't kill people.
This is a meaningless statement. Bullets without muzzle energy don't move. Any bullet that moves has muzzle energy as a consequence of that motion. Since stationary bullets are harmless, muzzle energy is an absolute prerequisite for a bullet to be lethal.
Quote:
So how EXACTLY does more FPS = "better"???
Whether you favor energy or momentum, expansion or penetration, you need sufficient velocity to achieve it. Increasing velocity increases both energy and momentum. All else being equal and assuming a reasonable increase in velocity and proper bullet design, velocity will make expansion more reliable. All else being equal, and again assuming a reasonable increase in velocity and proper bullet design, more velocity will result in more penetration.

I guess what I'm saying is that you don't appear to have a handle on even the basics of this rather complicated topic and yet you're authoritatively making unqualified and unsupported statements about what's important and what's not important.

It's not a recipe for building credibility, but it is guaranteed to keep the discussion lively...
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My bullet and gun choice for home defense is MY business based on my own situation.
Sure, I agree. If you want to use a what is "basically a hunting caliber" (your definition from page 3) in your home defense handgun, it's your business. But it's definitely an unorthodox choice and you shouldn't be surprised to get responses indicating why it's not exactly mainstream.
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:23 PM   #119
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If its your business and you don't want to hear opinions about it, you are welcome to keep it to yourself.
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Old July 6, 2012, 09:50 AM   #120
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"And you believe that 6 shots of .44magnum in a lightweight revolver fits that description?

I guess it does if you plan on only firing one shot. If additional shots are required, something a little more controllable will offer a huge benefit in terms of the speed and accuracy of any additional shots after the first one."

Which Is why I chose the load I did. I already tried full power .44 mag loads and the recoil (not the comfort level) was excessive.

"I've got to say that it's hard to take a statement like this coming from someone who clearly didn't even know the bullet diameters of the calibers under discussion until they were posted on this thread and who listed, as evidence that +P was obsolete, a number of bullet designs that are all available in factory +P ammunition."

And I would bet money most people DON'T know the actual bullet diameters that were posted. That info is mainly known to reloaders. Most people just believe what it says on the side of the gun or the box of ammo. I really couldn't care less about bullet designs that are also available in +p. I DON'T USE +P EVER. So why would I know what is and isn't available?

"This is a meaningless statement. Bullets without muzzle energy don't move. Any bullet that moves has muzzle energy as a consequence of that motion. Since stationary bullets are harmless, muzzle energy is an absolute prerequisite for a bullet to be lethal."

Well Professor Einstein, people who use things like muzzle energy, FPS and other mathematical numbers to judge the effectiveness of a bullet are going to be extremely disappointed. Example: Would you consider a weapon that produces 1323 Ft Lbs of energy and zips along at 3100FPS as having impressive lethality?? Be careful before answering, it's a trick question.

"Whether you favor energy or momentum, expansion or penetration, you need sufficient velocity to achieve it. Increasing velocity increases both energy and momentum. All else being equal and assuming a reasonable increase in velocity and proper bullet design, velocity will make expansion more reliable. All else being equal, and again assuming a reasonable increase in velocity and proper bullet design, more velocity will result in more penetration.

I guess what I'm saying is that you don't appear to have a handle on even the basics of this rather complicated topic and yet you're authoritatively making unqualified and unsupported statements about what's important and what's not important.

It's not a recipe for building credibility, but it is guaranteed to keep the discussion lively..."

My my...you truly are impressed with your knowledge. But unfortunately, it's outdated. As has already been said and established, bullet design has superseded the need for high velocity to achieve reliable (to a pont) expansion. So your antiquated theories are rather useless. Your brilliance has dimmed considerably. It's not all that complicated. It can be narrowed down to an old saying...bigger holes make deader souls. That still holds today. With bullets, bigger is ALWAYS better. All those old theories from back in the 70s of Super Vel ammo are history. They no longer hold water. They have been disproven. If you actually did a little research or read some history books, you would realize that bullet design is of PARAMOUNT importance. Everything else takes a back seat. And the current crop of modern, advanced bullets has put the +P and +P+ out to pasture. All that high pressure ammo is doing is promoting excess and premature wear on your guns. That's WHY they include those warnings in the instruction manuals about using +P and +P+ ammo. If the manual has a warning, one should read and obey it.
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:05 AM   #121
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Example: Would you consider a weapon that produces 1323 Ft Lbs of energy and zips along at 3100FPS as having impressive lethality?? Be careful before answering, it's a trick question.
Taking the kinetic energy and velocity, and solving for mass, you're talking about a 62 grain projectile. I'd consider a hit at that speed from a projectile of that size to be "lethal", depending of course on where you hit the person.

What was the "trick" part of the question? Am I about to start a debate on the effectiveness of the 5.56mm NATO round, or was there something more blatant that I missed?
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:40 AM   #122
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I don't want to try to change the direction of this very interesting thread, but I would appreciate your thoughts on this question:

What is the REAL difference between the .38 spcl and the 9mm Luger in terms of effectiveness (I don't know what measure would be appropriate - muzzle energy maybe?)?

I see so much criticism of the 9mm being underpowered, yet the .38 special seldom earns such disrespect. I own both calibers and haven't lost a second's sleep about protecting myself, but maybe I'm missing something.
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:45 AM   #123
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The .38 Special is not underpwered. It has proved lethal over the last 113 years. The biggest difference between 9mm Luger and .38 Special is velocity and muzzle energy.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:15 AM   #124
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The .38 Special is not underpwered. It has proved lethal over the last 113 years. The biggest difference between 9mm Luger and .38 Special is velocity and muzzle energy.
Willmc - When I look at the Lyman Reloading 47 Ed. They show velocities of a 9mm 147 grain lead bullet around 950-960 fps.

Similarly they list a 146 grain .38 spcl lead bullet around 900-920 fps.

I know there are hundreds of combinations that one could compare between the two calibers, but when you average all scenarios the muzzle velocities look pretty close.

Maybe the biggest difference is that 9mm performs better with lighter bullets, and maybe .38 handles a broader range of weights better than the 9mm. I don't really know for sure - just thinking out loud.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:15 AM   #125
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9mm is for all intents and purpose the same size bullet as the 38 spcl, .355 vs .357. The 38 spcl started as a black powder round and the 9mm started as a pistol round using smokeless powder at twice the pressure. It is pushing basically the same bullet faster than the 38 spcl and that is a plus. The 38 spcl revolver has a wider weight range and can shoot a wider range in bullet configurations so points to the 38 spcl. In my guns my 38s are more accurate than my 9mm so points to the 38. On the other had shooting at 100 yards I only have half the hold over with the 9mm so award points to the 9. I get more penetration shooting my hardball 9's than I do with my hardball 38's so points to the 9. Fact is you don't want me shooting at you with either but I will be using the 38 because it is more accurate and in my guns more reliable. My P94 has a bad habit of failing to eject all the time but my revolvers never fail to keep shooting, In my house that is a big point to 38.



38 spcl the maximum pressure for standard loads is 17,000PSI. Standard +P loading commonly around 20,000PSI. Common weights for the .38 Special round will vary from about 110 to 158 Grains. Length of a loaded cartridge is 1.55 inches.

9mm the maximum pressure for a standard load is 35,000PSI. Standard +P loading runs close to 38,500PSI. Common weights for the round 115 to 147 Grains. Length of a loaded cartridge is 1.169 inches.

Buffalo Bore Ammunition Ballistics
Round Type Weight Muzzle Energy ft/lbs. Muzzle Velocity ft/sec.
9mm +p FMJFN 124 465 1300
.38 +p LV JHP 125 306 1050

If I made a mistake that is on me, see your reloading manuals for more up to date data, I'm only speaking generalities and from my personal experience.
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