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Old January 7, 2013, 04:11 PM   #1
Consort
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158 Gr. Lead Round Nose

Will 158 gr. lead round nose (Federal) cartridges be o.k. for range use in a S & W 642? I have never used this type of cartidge before, but they're the only ones that I can find on the shelves right now. Don't want to inflict any damage on the weapon. Any other suitable load(s) that I should keep my eyes peeled for?? I was previously using a Remington 130 gr. fmj.
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Old January 7, 2013, 04:22 PM   #2
hardworker
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If you're worried about damaging the gun, don't. It'll shoot any factory 38 or 38 +p you can fit in it just fine.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:02 PM   #3
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It will be fine to shoot the 158 gr in the 642. The 158 gr is my favorite 38 spl bullet weight. I've shot thousands of them and like the lead semi-waddcutter the best. They're great for paper target loads.

If that's all you can find buy and shoot them as they will be fine for you're S&W. The 158 gr round nose was the main round for the 38 spl for years and years.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:18 PM   #4
Hal
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Quote:
Will 158 gr. lead round nose (Federal) cartridges be o.k. for range use in a S & W 642?
That's all they're good for...so..have a ball.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:07 PM   #5
rep1954
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The Federal 158gr. LRN has proven to be a very accurate round in all my 38spl's.
In my S&W Model 14 it beats any of my handloads.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:10 PM   #6
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The 158 gr RNL was the "standard" 38 Special load for years, current thinking holds it inadequate for self defense while the WC is better for target shooting, punches nice clean holes in the paper.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
That's all they're good for...so..have a ball.
Oh I don't know. Detroit Police issued them to my grandfather in the 20s, 30s, 40s, according to him they worked pretty well. Granted we have better choices.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:23 PM   #8
Brian48
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I tend to avoid all 158gr lead RN in .38spl. All the factory loads I've seen tend to use buttersoft lead and it really is a pain cleaning the gun afterwards. For range use, meaning lots of rounds fired, I like a hard casted bullet or FMJ.

I reserve the buttersoft 158gr hollow points for SD/HD duty only.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:03 PM   #9
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Clean-up

Thanks for bringing that up. I was worried about how dirty lead round nose cartridges would leave my revolver. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cleaning my collection, I just don't want the job to be any more difficult than it has to be....
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:30 AM   #10
Shotgun693
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If you get a lead build up just push a wad of 0000 steel wool through the barrel before you do a regular cleaning.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:53 AM   #11
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Why would you think a lead round nose in use for over a hundred years would damage your gun?
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Old January 8, 2013, 04:46 AM   #12
Hal
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Oh I don't know. Detroit Police issued them to my grandfather in the 20s, 30s, 40s, according to him they worked pretty well.
When I got divorced in 1974, I kept telling people my ex was unstable.
In 1995, she put three rounds of .38spl RNL into husband #5 @ a range of about three feet.

She sat up all night w/him as he bled out - stabbing at his hand w/a kitchen knife whenever he reached for the phone to call 911..
Somewhere around sunup, when she sobered up some, she figured he didn't look so hot so she decided to take him to the hospital.

She loaded him in the van and headed for the hospital - course it being early morning and all - a girl needs her morning cup of coffee right? So she stops @ a convenience store to have a cup of coffee and flirt with the construction workers having their morning coffee.

By the time the hour drive to the hospital/coffee stop was over, her head was clear enough that she figured answering a lot of questions about what happened wasn't a good idea...
So instead of stopping at the emergency entrance, she just opened the door to the van and shoved him out as she drove through....

Guy lived - and was out of the hospital in a few days..
She served 13 years for it & is out now.

Needless to say - I don't have a lot of faith in the .38spl RNL...&...I keep the best hollow point ammo I can buy on hand.

W/all due respect for your granddaddy,,,I'll stick with what I got..
I duuno,,,maybe they build em tougher here in Ohio than they do in Detroit..
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Oh I don't know. Detroit Police issued them to my grandfather in the 20s, 30s, 40s, according to him they worked pretty well. Granted we have better choices.
Not this again........

Well my grandad was a cop in Milwaukee during the same time and gave them back the 38 and carried a 45 Colt.

The 38 LRN is and always was a dismal round for self defense. Just because cops use something does not make it effective-think politics.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:37 PM   #14
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The question was regarding range use, for which the 158 RNL is perfectly fine.
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Old January 8, 2013, 05:17 PM   #15
Jack19
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Hal, lol, hell of a story.

Don't get me wrong, I don't carry LRN either...grandfather also pointed out that while they worked okay, people think they're supposed to fall down so they do, it wasn't something to be relied on; they didn't work great all the time...so shooting people more was their solution.

We had a long talk about ammunition selection when I came on 50 years later. lol
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