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Old December 21, 2012, 04:16 AM   #1
anzafrank
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38 snub ammo question

Kind of cornfusing when you see ads saying 38+p's in the 120's weight are best for sd, but I would think 158 would be better with deeper penetration because most won't reach 1000 fps, although I would think the kick would not be too nice using my 442. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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Old December 21, 2012, 07:50 AM   #2
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Frank
Recoil is the price you pay for any effective load. At the higher velocities attained by +P lighter bullets, I can't see any difference in recoil between them and standard velocity 158. However, when you get into +P loads for both, the heavier bullet kicks harder.
However, should a SD situation arise (God forbid) recoil will be the last thing on your mind.
Pick a carry load based upon it's reputation, (FBI load, 135 gr SB, etc). I carry the 135 +P Short barrel load in my 642. Buy enough of the stuff to practice with, get used to the recoil, and problem is solved.
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Old December 21, 2012, 04:58 PM   #3
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+p loads in a .38

Make sure your revolver is rated for +p loads my 642-2 is and I carry Federal Hydroshok @129 grains daily
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Old December 22, 2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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I hve carried Federal 125 Nyclads in my LW Colt snubbies for some time and it's a good load but I have recently started experimenting with the Hornady 158 grain XTP in non +p. The recoil is no more than the Nyclad, it has better penetration, and shoots to POA in my guns. I like it.
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Old December 22, 2012, 02:04 PM   #5
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Frank,

You are correct the +P 38 Special is a very good SD load. I have said before that recoil and muzzle blast are range issues. If you ever are thrust into a SD situation you not feel the recoil nor consciously hear the blast due to a massive dump of adrenaline. With that in mind use the most effective ammo you shoot well with.

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Old December 26, 2012, 07:31 PM   #6
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Snub loads, Buffalo Bore/Speer Gold Dot....

To me, the best carry/protection .38spl snub(J frame) loads are; the Speer Gold Dot 135gr JHP +P, the Corbon DPX, the Ranger T .38spl load, the MagSafe SWAT .38spl, & the proven 158gr lead SWC-HP +P.
The 158gr lead SWC-HP +P is sometimes called the Chicago load or the FBI load because of it's regular use by working cops.
I got a box of 158gr lead SWC-HP +P from Buffalo Bore. The Speer Gold Dot 135gr JHP +P was good also. It was designed for J frame snubs & the sworn LE officers in the NYPD.

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Old December 26, 2012, 08:49 PM   #7
KenW.
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I saw a letter on the web somewhere, from SW stating that a limited number of +P rounds may be fired through their steel revolvers whether it's stamped +P or not.
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Old December 27, 2012, 04:20 PM   #8
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I carry 158 grain Speer GDHP .38 +P in my S&W M&P 340 (1-7/8" J-Frame).

I tried several:

PMC .38 +P 125 grain SFHP 815 fps

Speer .38 +P 135 grain GDHP 850 fps

I load a 158 grain SJSP bullet using 6.2 grains of Unique. I get about 860 fps, and the felt recoil is less than with the Speer GDHPs.

I practice with the 158 grain reloads and carry the Speer GDHPs in the 1st 4 chambers and a .357 magnum in the 5th chamber.
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Old December 27, 2012, 05:03 PM   #9
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I was able to get 911fps 230ft/lbs with a 125 Speer Gold Dot and 8.0gr of HS6 out of my 642.

The most energy I was able to get was a +P load. I used a 158 LSWC and 6.0gr of Power Pistol. It made 876fps or 269ft/lbs.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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For range shooting I generally shoot the 158Gr +P "F.B.I." load by Federal, for S/D I load the Federal 147Gr. +P+ load. Either should work well in a 2" 38 special revolver.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:05 PM   #11
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How about some wad cutters? Studies have shown they ar excellent SD/HD rounds.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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^ Yes many threads on this issue. The Buffalo Bore standard pressure, low flash, short-barrel 150 grain hard cast wadcutter will blow through two feet of ballistic gelatin. Will work real good. Even regular wadcutters will work real good. I recently added the following to my wadcutter stash, Grizzly Cartridge
38 Special 158gr WFN. Standard pressure, they do make a +p version, should work real good. The large meplat looks to be very effective. Penetration should be fantastic and straight-line.

Caliber: 38 Special
Bullet Wt: 158gr WFN
Velocity: 900fps

http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/stor...ow&ref=GC38SP8
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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In my opinion, the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P for Short Barrels is probably the best load from a .38 spl snubby. Speer designs the Gold Dot to expand reliably at relatively low velocities -- 800 to 850 fps
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:54 PM   #14
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+1 on what KyJim said.
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:45 AM   #15
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-1 to what KyJim said. 8.5" of penetration in 10% ballistic gelatin. That is out of a J Frame at 866 fps. It do expand but it don't penetrate. To each his own, but with that anemic and impotent penetration, I'd go somewhere else. Here is Brassfetcher video for same:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=1RcbrUjcPAQ
The Corbon 110 grain DPX is clearly better choice.
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:01 AM   #16
Newton24b
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heres something interesting, http://www.mattsbullets.com/index.ph...roducts_id=225

125 grain spire point gas check bullet. 38 caliber. that would give you the penetration with less bullet weight.. interesting idea. and hey it looks like it would be easy to load from a speed loader of any kind.
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Old December 28, 2012, 09:50 AM   #17
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People certainly are hung up on +P JHP ammo these days. It almost seems incomprehensible that we were able to kill millions of people with non expanding bullets for the last hundred years or so. Think of all the people shot during the Civil War with lead balls. They must have been wimps.
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Think of all the people shot during the Civil War with lead balls. They must have been wimps.
No, most of those people died from infection.

jmortimer,

How many people have you actually seen shot with 38 wadcutters?
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Old December 28, 2012, 04:42 PM   #19
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Lethality vs incapation....

Some of the forum members seem to confuse lethality with incapation(stopping power). A bullet may cause a lethal wound if the damage is severe but that injury may take TIME. A well engineered load(+P, frangible, JHP, etc) may increase the incapation or speed up the reaction(stopping power).
The short barrel(2-3") & smaller caliber(.38) create harder requirements for a duty/self defense round.
In order to assess a .38spl round's value, you should go by how well it performs with test media(FBI protocol/gel-milk jugs-wood-auto glass-etc) & real, documented use of force incidents.

Clyde
PS: Author & sworn LE officer; Massad Ayoob wrote that he uses the Buffalo Bore 158gr lead SWC-HP +P over other brands. He also said the Speer Gold Dot 135gr JHP +P was a solid choice.
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Old December 28, 2012, 05:35 PM   #20
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Something else to consider when testing defense ammo is bullet pulling. This is when bullets are pulled out of their cases while the gun is firing. If they come out far enough, they can lock up the action. I experienced this with 158gr +P ammunition in an 11oz. J-frame (not bad enough to lock up, but very visable).

You can test this by loading all chambers with defense ammo, and firing 3 rounds. Now open the cylinder and examine the remaining rounds. Compare them to additional rounds that were not in the gun. Close it and fire the 4th round, and examine the 5th (assuming 5 chambers total). If it has pulled out at all I would probably select a different round, but if it only pulls out a tiny bit you might consider that acceptable.

Besides causing malfunctions, bullet pulling can also change the pressures the cartridge will achieve, which may be dangerous for the gun and/or cause the hollowpoint to not achieve the needed velocity to expand.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:06 PM   #21
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a Glazer is the first shot, followed by the FBI 158 gr +p SWCHP... then another Glazer... then two more of the FBI loads.

I've seen the video of what those Glazers do... unreal. But if penetration is needed... I just pull the trigger a second time.

That's how I have my snub .38 loaded anyway....

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Old December 29, 2012, 12:01 AM   #22
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"How many people have you actually seen shot with 38 wadcutters?"

I will defer to the late Jim Cirillos' wrtings on that point. What "logic" is there to say, for example, "how many cases have you tried in court?" to prevent you from commenting or having any opinion on any trial or any legal issue. My experience in witnessing wadcutter shootings is irrelevant. Let me put it another way, I'll trust the owner of Buffalo Bore over you, with all due respect:

"Item 20D utilizes a very hard cast 150gr. WAD CUTTER bullet. The bullet is made hard, so it won't deform or mushroom. It cuts/crushes a "cookie cutter", full diameter hole in human flesh just like it does on a paper target. It penetrates deeply (roughly 14 to 16 inches in human tissue) and its full diameter profile maximizes blood loss as it cuts and crushes (not slips or slides) its way through tissue. Although I've never been shot with a full profile wad cutter bullet, I must assume that the initial impact of that wide flat nosed bullet, is crushingly formidable. As a teenager, I took to the woods on a regular basis and killed many a critter with heavily loaded 38SPL wad cutters'. The effect of a full profile wad cutter on small game was obvious and amazing, compared to regular round nosed bullets. That flat nose, literally hammers living things. These bullets are hard and properly lubed and will NOT lead your barrel. Note my velocities from real world "over the counter" revolver s- NOT TEST BARRELS!"
a. S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel - 868 fps (251 ft. lbs.)
b. S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel - 890 fps (264 ft. lbs.)
c. Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel - 961 fps (308 ft. lbs.)
d. S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel - 1005 fps (336 ft. lbs.)

We know out of a J Frame it will go two feet in ballistic gelatin. Again I ask, what bullet does anyone think is best out of a .38 Special? For expanding bullets I believe it is the Corbon 110 DPX. For me, the 150 grain hard cast wadcutter from Buffalo Bore.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:45 AM   #23
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Quote:
I will defer to the late Jim Cirillos' wrtings on that point.
Nuff said. I HAVE seen people shot with it, and I actually spoke with Jim Cirillo when he taught at FLETC about the issue. I have NEVER seen a low velocity WC 'Punch through" anything on the street. The load @1000 FPS with a hard cast bullet..... Now we are talking!

I hate to tell you but using a simulation with nothing to gauge what you are looking at is not good science.

The NYPD stakeout squad had 2 loads available at the time LRN and 148 Gr wadcutter. I agree with you and the late Mr Cirillo, a WC is much better than a LRN, but they are both scraping the bottom of the barrel.
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Old December 29, 2012, 01:33 AM   #24
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Who are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes? Just kidding. I agree, enough talk. And, at least we agree that a hard cast wadcutter at a decent velocity is better than nothing.
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Old December 29, 2012, 03:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
People certainly are hung up on +P JHP ammo these days. It almost seems incomprehensible that we were able to kill millions of people with non expanding bullets for the last hundred years or so. Think of all the people shot during the Civil War with lead balls. They must have been wimps.
Tattoo this to your forehead backwards. "WAR OF ATRITION" Then look in the mirror everyday and you'll get it. LOL Just kidding I'm being a snart buttt.

To the OP, I think recoil is one of your issue's, don't ask me why, I'm really smart. LOL

Quote:
Post #18

Nanuk

How many people have you actually seen shot with 38 wadcutters?


Quote:
Post #24

And, at least we agree that a hard cast wadcutter at a decent velocity is better than nothing.

I carry 135g GDHPs +Ps in my S&W .38 air weight, the recoil is pretty snappy for a fallow up shot, but if only had just 147g wadcutters to load my CCW, I'd sleep like a baby with faith in my loads. Of course the good stuff.

Food for thought.

TBS, a .38spl is not known (61.125488544%) as a first shot take down round, unlike a 44mag. So,...fallow up low recoil shots on target could be the ya or na of the take down.
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