View Full Version : What is the best type of .38 Special ammo?

January 13, 2006, 02:33 PM
What the best type of .38 special ammunition and why? Please consider all needs in a gun battle, penetration, barrier penetration, overpenetration, stopping power, etc. This can apply to either the snub nose or the full size service revolver.

Edit: I went ahead and voted for what I typically carry in my full sized revolver: .38+P LSWHP. I feel like I get good reviews from others on them than any other round. My only reservation about them is "Will they penetrate barriers like windshields and maybe even car doors?" They are a heavier round than average and I'm told weight means better penetration. But I'll shut up and see what you fellas have to say

January 13, 2006, 04:13 PM
Of the choices given, I voted 158gr LSWCHP +P, since it has had a long history of being an effective round, and I used to carry it until recently (and still have some in case), but I now have some of the 135gr Speer Gold Dot 'Short Barrel' +p's since I carry a snubby, it it was specifically designed for them and has a good reputation.

January 13, 2006, 04:51 PM
In a 3-4 inch barrel i like the rem,win or fed
158gr LSWCHP +P's.When the barrel is 2"
i prefer the black hills loading of the 125
grain gold dot HP +P.O f course this all will
depend on accuracy on point of impact.

January 13, 2006, 04:54 PM
I was using the PMC 125gn38+p starfire, but now I use the 125gn38+p gold dot. They have about the same recoil, but I think I have more faith in the quality control of the speer.

January 13, 2006, 05:00 PM
Ive been keeping Speer 135 grain +P Gold Dots in my .38 snubbies.

January 13, 2006, 06:50 PM
well, you left out what I consider to be the best .38 defense ammo. Federal Nyclad +P 125grain HP.

January 13, 2006, 06:55 PM
sorry fellas. Poll only allows for 10 choices. I left out Corbon too.

January 13, 2006, 07:07 PM
remington golden saber `125gr

January 13, 2006, 07:20 PM
gold dots or corbon


January 13, 2006, 11:04 PM
I'll add this one, since it's not in the list, but what I carry in my snubbie:

Hornady XTP 125-gr. JHP (not +P)

January 14, 2006, 12:03 AM
Well, I have .38 Spl +p 125 gr Gold Dots from Georgia Arms loaded up in my 4" .357 Mag for a bedside gun, and I have confidence in the load. Too bad you didn't list Gold Dots at all. As it is, I am voting for the generic +p 125 gr JHP, but it would be better to be able to be more specific.

But, considering that what you are asking about is for opinions on a more general purpose combat load that takes into account barrier penetration, for the service sized revolver above I would load up some of those 158 gr .357 Mag Gold Dots that I have, also from Georgia Arms. But, of course, that moves us away from the realm of .38 Spl, so that choice is beside the point as far as this discussion is concerned. I don't have them loaded bedside because in part, I am concerned that they are too good at barrier penetration -- like, all the way through my house and into a neighbor's house. That, and I want to avoid the extra flash, blast and recoil.

January 14, 2006, 12:03 PM
Doug, . . . I just wanted to drop in and say that I am really trying to be a good guy today, . . . not cause any uprisings.:eek:

Therefore, . . . I am going to refrain from answering your question with a smartaleck answer like: "The best .38 round is the 230 grain type that fits in a .45 ACP 1911":D

Have a great weekend.

May God bless,

Blackwater OPS
January 14, 2006, 09:19 PM
Federal +P+:D

January 16, 2006, 07:26 AM
i still say the glasers do more damage.

January 16, 2006, 12:58 PM

A comparison of a lot of ammo for 38 snubs.

The 'Zine explains rationale near the end.:cool:

I use Speer 135 gr OR 125gr +P Gold Dot Hollow Points -- mostly the 135's.

Basically 12 in+ penetration w and wo denim AND expansion to about .6 in from a reliable manufacturer.

My SD plans do not include windshields so No Comment on that stuff.

January 16, 2006, 01:14 PM
Too many good rounds left out--examples are Speer's new load and CarBon's new DPX.

January 16, 2006, 01:52 PM
i passed on the poll too.. my best .38 spl round that fits all the criteria discribed would be my home cast hard lead 150 gr. swcs reloaded over 3.4 grs. of bullseye..... and they are accurate from my 6" model 27......

LIFE IS SHORT...............

January 16, 2006, 02:23 PM
I like the ones with working primers :p

January 16, 2006, 03:46 PM
None of the above - at least not for a snub .38

Here's the right stuff: Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel - or what I call the flying coffee cup:



January 16, 2006, 03:51 PM

well, you left out what I consider to be the best .38 defense ammo. Federal Nyclad +P 125grain HP.

The problem is that it is no longer made. It also never will be made as Federal got rid of all the equipment they needed to make the Nyclads.

I still have a cache of 158 gr SWCHP +P Nyclads for my 2" model 60.

January 16, 2006, 04:17 PM
I voted for the HPSWC. SWC bullets do a good job of destroying tissue even if they do not expand.

January 16, 2006, 05:42 PM
well I voted for the +p 158gr swchp that's close to what I keep in my .38 just lose the hp. correct me if I'm wrong but was'nt the hp developed to controll over penetration of magnums and to transfer more energy to the target ? the .38 spl. snubby is said to not have anough penetration would'nt hp's make the matter worse :confused:

January 16, 2006, 09:54 PM
well that's interesting, the last two options of the poll would be my 2nd and third choice. :confused: