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Old December 9, 2012, 03:14 PM   #46
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Join Date: December 11, 2004
Location: Redwood City, Ca.
Posts: 3,579
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We were discussing emergency preparedness, food storage, and of course stocking up of ammunition. We debated this question: As a last ditch effort, would a .36 caliber, 158 grain, semi-wadcutter, traveling at 830-850 FPS, hitting center-mass, be effective as a self-defense round?
For hunting small game, as you already know, this can be an effective choice. Depending on the blend of bullet you can have a softer lead that deforms more easily or something a bit harder that breaks denser bone. Depending on the size of game

You didn't mention the length of barrel. That is a factor. From a 2" barrel 850 fps with a 158 gr. pill is a stout load. You can get more from 4 or 6" if desired with the same 158 gr.

For self defense a 158 gr. +P swchp is a round I have some confidence in. I'll go as low as 140 gr. in the same configuration. The weight aids in penetration and if they open, or deform, good. If they do not open you have a bit more weight to help things along. From a 4 or 6" barrel the .38 Pl. can get to over 1000 fps and still be comfortable and accurate to shoot with a 158 gr. lswchp.

Lighter weight bullets like the 110 and 125 gr. jhp rounds, I have less confidence in. Though they can be a bit faster I've seen them deflect a bit easier. Their expansion, meaning at what point they expand, if they do, is a bit less reliable in my limited experience then lswchp. Their point of impact versus point of aim is also a tad lower in fixed sight guns.


Last edited by tipoc; December 9, 2012 at 03:21 PM.
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