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Old May 2, 2021, 06:50 PM   #26
Obambulate
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Buffalo Bore 150gr hard cast full wadcutter.
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Old May 19, 2021, 03:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by wild cat mccane
New HST is the most expansive by .1" from others. But next are new PDX1 and Golden Saber, neither of which are large cavity.
The OP specifically asked about standard pressure .38 Special ammunition. The Federal HST, Remington Golden Saber, and Winchester PDX1 offerings in .38 Special are all +P loadings.

Quote:
Originally posted by wild cat mccane
No.

Hollow points do better. Let's not perpetuate myths
Hollow points don't always perform better in standard pressure .38 Special loadings, particularly when fired from short barrels. The problem is that, outside of a few exceptions, most standard pressure .38 Special loadings simply can't push a heavy enough bullet fast enough to get both reliable expansion and adequate penetration. You generally wind up with either a 125-158 gr bullet that acts like a FMJ because it's going too slow, or a 110 gr or lighter bullet that underpenetrates because it's too light (not enough momentum). A standard pressure .38 Special is, to my mind, in much the same boat as "pocket pistol" calibers like .380 Auto or .32 Auto in that outside of boutique ammo makers like Buffalo Bore or Underwood and/or specialty bullets like Hornady's FTX or Lehigh's XTreme penetrator/defender, you're probably better off with a non-expanding bullet like FMJ, SWC, or WC particularly from a short barrel.

A target wadcutter, on the other hand, offers adequate penetration, very mild recoil (possibly important in a lightweight gun) and sometimes even some mild expansion due to their soft lead construction. Given the current ammo situation, If I were limited to standard pressure .38 Special, I think I'd rather take a good target wadcutter that will at least perform predictably than roll the dice with whatever hollowpoint happens to be available. Of course given the current ammo situation, you might be stuck with FMJ, SWC, LRN or whatever else you can find if you didn't have a stock of your preferred ammo prior to the late unpleasantness.
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Old May 19, 2021, 07:41 PM   #28
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I am a fan of the Speer Gold Dots, they are my go to defense round for my 38s and 9mm's.
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Old May 19, 2021, 09:21 PM   #29
wild cat mccane
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HST isn't +P. PDX1 isn't +P. HST expands .1" larger than any other. Crazy.

FPS isn't everything...or anything at this point.
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Old May 19, 2021, 09:49 PM   #30
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Quote:
HST isn't +P. PDX1 isn't +P. HST expands .1" larger than any other. Crazy.
Hmm, mine is marked +P?
The only one I'm familiar with.
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Old May 19, 2021, 10:48 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by wild cat mccane
HST isn't +P. PDX1 isn't +P. HST expands .1" larger than any other. Crazy.
According to Federal's website, .38 Special HST is indeed a +P loading

https://www.federalpremium.com/handg...-P38HST1S.html

In fact, the only two standard pressure .38 Special hollowpoints listed on Federal's website are the 158 gr Train + Protect LSWCHP and the 110 gr Hydra-Shok.

https://www.federalpremium.com/handg...-TP38VHP1.html

https://www.federalpremium.com/handg...PD38HS3+H.html

Likewise, Winchester's website list the .38 Special Defender PDX1 as a +P loading.

https://winchester.com/Products/Ammu...efender/S38PDB

Winchester also lists only two standard pressure .38 Special hollowpoint loadings, the 110 gr Silvertip and the 130 gr Train & Defend.

https://winchester.com/Products/Ammu...ilvertip/W38ST

https://winchester.com/Products/Ammu...Defend/W38SPLD

Quote:
Originally posted by wild cat mccane
FPS isn't everything...or anything at this point.
Velocity certainly isn't everything, but it most definitely is something. All expanding bullets are, to one degree or another, velocity dependent. Propel a given bullet too fast and it will, at some point, fragment and retard penetration. Conversely, if you propel a given bullet too slowly, it will fail to expand. Granted many of the newer bullets are less velocity dependent than they used to be, but velocity is still part of the puzzle.

The reason that modern bullets in calibers like 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP seem not to be dependent upon velocity is because the bullet technology has advanced to the point that they can be tailored to the velocity window of the cartridge for which they are designed. That being said, .38 Special is a very low-pressure cartridge and thus cannot achieve the velocities of 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP with bullets of comparable weight and cross-sectional density. Even .38 Special +P has a maximum peak chamber pressure of only 18,500 psi, substantially lower than the relatively low-pressure .45 ACP at 21,000 psi. Standard pressure .38 Special has a max pressure of only 17,000 psi, less than half that of 9mm and .40 S&W which both have maximum peak chamber pressures of 35,000 psi. Bullet technology may have improved a lot, but it isn't magic and hasn't improved enough to make a cartridge that operates at black powder pressures perform like one that was designed for smokeless powder from its inception.

For example, the Winchester .38 Special 110 gr Silvertip has an advertised muzzle velocity of 945 fps while the 9mm 115 gr Silvertip has an advertised muzzle velocity of 1225 fps. That's a 180 fps advantage for the 9mm and its doing it with a 5 gr heavier bullet to boot. The 147 gr 9mm Silvertip has an advertised muzzle velocity of 1010 fps, slightly higher than the .38 Special and with a substantially heavier bullet. Pressure may not translate directly to velocity, but a cartridge with over double the max peak pressure is going to be able to produce substantially higher velocities given similar bullet weight and barrel length.
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Old May 19, 2021, 11:42 PM   #32
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Quote:
The 147 gr 9mm Silvertip has an advertised muzzle velocity of 1010 fps, slightly higher than the .38 Special and with a substantially heavier bullet. Pressure may not translate directly to velocity, but a cartridge with over double the max peak pressure is going to be able to produce substantially higher velocities given similar bullet weight and barrel length.
Buffalo Bore 158 grain .38 +P Outdoorsman.........1024, 1027 fps=370 chronographed from my 1 7/8 LCR,(1157 fps from 4" model 15 .38 special BB's data)

9MM +P OUTDOORSMAN 147 gr. Hard Cast FN 1,100 fps from 4" HK
1024 fps from 3" LC9 (data out of actual guns used by BB)

.38 special +P compared to 9mm using the same manufacturer (one know to produce some of the hottest loads) with comparable barrel lengths, both +P
In this case, the .38 special +P beats the 9mm and with a heavier bullet.
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Old May 19, 2021, 11:54 PM   #33
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I use the Hydra-Shoks in both my Charter Arms Off Duty Special and Southpaw. It shoots very well.
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Old May 20, 2021, 12:22 AM   #34
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.38 special short barrel ammo?

But let’s get real here. Has anyone EVER seen a 38 revolver shot loose or blown up by +P loads? I haven’t. And I’ve owned and shot hundreds of 38 revolvers and none of them got loose with 38+P ammo. My opinion is go ahead and shoot +P in whatever 38 you have. It’s safe.
Those who disagree, please provide empirical evidence of +P ammo hurting a 38 revolver.

So, to the topic, I believe that the best short barrel 38 ammo is also the heaviest hottest 38 load you can find (as long as the shooter is okay with the recoil). I carry Buffalo Bore 158 gr +P LSWC-HP or the Gold Dot 135 gr +P. Both great and hot loads. And High Valley Ranch is absolutely correct that the hottest 38+P loads do indeed exceed the hottest 9mm loads. But the average 9mm load well exceeds the average 38 load.


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Old May 20, 2021, 01:18 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by HighValleyRanch
Buffalo Bore 158 grain .38 +P Outdoorsman.........1024, 1027 fps=370 chronographed from my 1 7/8 LCR,(1157 fps from 4" model 15 .38 special BB's data)

9MM +P OUTDOORSMAN 147 gr. Hard Cast FN 1,100 fps from 4" HK
1024 fps from 3" LC9 (data out of actual guns used by BB)

.38 special +P compared to 9mm using the same manufacturer (one know to produce some of the hottest loads) with comparable barrel lengths, both +P
In this case, the .38 special +P beats the 9mm and with a heavier bullet.
You make a valid point, which is why I included the caveat for boutique ammo makers in my previous posts

Bear with me here as this will be getting a bit into the weeds. 9mm and .38 Special usually use similar fast-to-medium burning powders like Bullseye or Unique but for different reasons. In the case of the 9mm, it's because it doesn't have the case capacity to get useful velocity with slow-burning powders like 2400 or H110. In .38 Special's case, there's plenty of case capacity as it was originally designed for black powder but the pressure limit is too low to take full advantage of slow-burning powders. The best way to illustrate this is to compare both cartridges to .357 Magnum.

The case capacity of .38 Special is 23.4 gr H2O while .357 Magnum is 26.2 gr H2O, not a huge difference but a .38 Special's max pressure is much lower at 17,000 psi vs 35,000 psi. Because the .357 Magnum can be loaded to much higher pressure it can both achieve higher velocity with the same powders and make use of slower powders that wouldn't work well in .38 Special. For example, my copy of the Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook lists a maximum load with Unique for .38 Special with a 158 gr JHP at 5.0 gr for a velocity of 710 fps from a 4" barrel. The maximum load of Unique for .357 Magnum with the same bullet is 8.3 gr for 1185 fps also from a 4" barrel.

The 9mm, on the other hand, has the same 35,000 psi max as .357 Magnum but has a much smaller case capacity at 13.3 gr H20. Because of this, the .357 can use slower powders which require heavier charges and thus achieve higher velocities with similar bullet weights. For example, in the same Lyman reloading manual, the highest velocity load listed for 9mm with a 125 gr JHP is 7.1 gr of Blue Dot for 1163 fps from a 4" barrel while the fastest .357 Magnum load listed with a 125 gr JHP is 22.0 gr of H110 for 1506 fps also from a 4" barrel.

What I suspect that Buffalo Bore and other boutique manufacturers are doing is blending powders (and also possibly using powders not available to home reloaders) to reach peak pressure quickly (using a small amount of very fast powder) and maintain that peak pressure longer (using a larger charge of slow powder) in order to wring the highest possible velocities out of a given cartridge. This would explain why they're able to make the .38 Special perform similarly to the 9mm: the blended powder allows them to take advantage of the .38 Special's extra case capacity in order to overcome is low pressure limit. 9mm probably doesn't benefit as much from blending powders because its smaller case capacity limits how much slower burning powder can be used. This also explains why their .357 Magnum ammo achieves much higher velocities than either their .38 Special or 9mm: its higher pressure limit and larger case capacity allows it to take even more advantage of blended powders.

The downside to blending powders is that it requires pressure testing and exacting quality control to do it safely. It's considered an unsafe practice for home reloaders because most of us don't have pressure testing equipment. Larger ammo makers don't do it because the amount of QC to do it safely isn't cost effective for them (that's part of why Buffalo Bore is so expensive). There's really no magic to the velocities attained by boutique ammo makers: they're just willing to use equipment you and I can't afford and spend the time and money to load their ammo in ways that the bigger ammo maker's won't.
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Old May 20, 2021, 01:34 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Radny97
But let’s get real here. Has anyone EVER seen a 38 revolver shot loose or blown up by +P loads? I haven’t. And I’ve owned and shot hundreds of 38 revolvers and none of them got loose with 38+P ammo. My opinion is go ahead and shoot +P in whatever 38 you have. It’s safe.
Those who disagree, please provide empirical evidence of +P ammo hurting a 38 revolver.
While I agree that it's unlikely that shooting +P in a .38 Special revolver that isn't rated for it will cause a catastrophic failure, the OP did not say why he was more interested in standard pressure ammo and I'm not inclined to second-guess his preferences.

A revolver in good condition and of reputable make like S&W or Colt probably won't be hurt by firing limited amounts of +P ammo even if not rated for it, I've done this myself with no ill effect. That being said, we do not know what kind of revolver the OP has or what condition it is in. While I'm comfortable shooting a cylinder or two of +P ammo through my older Colt or S&W revolver, I would not feel comfortable doing so in an RG or one of the various Spanish S&W-clones that were fairly common in the early 20th century. Also, even in a gun of reputable make and in good condition, continuous use of +P ammo will accelerate wear as opposed to standard pressure ammo.

Also, you assume that the OP would prefer standard pressure ammo because he's worried that +P will hurt the gun, but there are other reasons that someone might prefer to stay away from +P ammo. For example, I once loaned a S&W M10-5 to someone who needed a gun for home defense. According to S&W, an all-steel K-Frame like my 10-5 is rated for +P ammo and I would shoot and carry it in this revolver without hesitation. However, the person to whom I was loaning the gun was not a particularly experienced shooter and was fairly recoil sensitive. Because of this, I gave them standard pressure ammunition due to it's milder recoil and report. Perhaps the OP is recoil sensitive and/or has a lightweight revolver and doesn't want to deal with the flash, bang, and kick of .38 +P ammo.
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Old May 20, 2021, 08:19 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv View Post
While I agree that it's unlikely that shooting +P in a .38 Special revolver that isn't rated for it will cause a catastrophic failure, the OP did not say why he was more interested in standard pressure ammo and I'm not inclined to second-guess his preferences.

A revolver in good condition and of reputable make like S&W or Colt probably won't be hurt by firing limited amounts of +P ammo even if not rated for it, I've done this myself with no ill effect. That being said, we do not know what kind of revolver the OP has or what condition it is in. While I'm comfortable shooting a cylinder or two of +P ammo through my older Colt or S&W revolver, I would not feel comfortable doing so in an RG or one of the various Spanish S&W-clones that were fairly common in the early 20th century. Also, even in a gun of reputable make and in good condition, continuous use of +P ammo will accelerate wear as opposed to standard pressure ammo.

Also, you assume that the OP would prefer standard pressure ammo because he's worried that +P will hurt the gun, but there are other reasons that someone might prefer to stay away from +P ammo. For example, I once loaned a S&W M10-5 to someone who needed a gun for home defense. According to S&W, an all-steel K-Frame like my 10-5 is rated for +P ammo and I would shoot and carry it in this revolver without hesitation. However, the person to whom I was loaning the gun was not a particularly experienced shooter and was fairly recoil sensitive. Because of this, I gave them standard pressure ammunition due to it's milder recoil and report. Perhaps the OP is recoil sensitive and/or has a lightweight revolver and doesn't want to deal with the flash, bang, and kick of .38 +P ammo.

All good points. I will say, though, that I’ve personally shot lots and lots of +P ammo through Spanish 38 revolvers (Astra) with no ill effect.


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Old May 20, 2021, 08:43 AM   #38
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Quote:
Sorry, it's going in a Charter Arms, I don't use +P in a Charter as it tends to rattle them to pieces.
In post #9 he states that it is a Charter Arms and he doesn't want to rattle it to death.
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Old May 20, 2021, 09:20 AM   #39
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I wouldn’t have any concerns feeding a charter a steady diet of +p. I’ve don’t it before with no I’ll effect.


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Old May 20, 2021, 10:40 AM   #40
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While the OP said he wanted a standard velocity load, IMHO a .38 Special snubbie needs all the help it can get velocity-wise, and I strongly recommend using a +P load. Below is what my +P FBI Load does coming out of a 2.5" Model 19. Bullet in the center is at 845fps, and bullet on the right at 940fps.

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Old May 20, 2021, 11:11 AM   #41
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I still carry the Speer "flying ashtray" in my short-barrelled 45.

But, in a 38 snubby I favor full wadcutters, usually 125grs because they shoot to point of aim in my pistol. No need for hot loads because they don't have to expand. About 800fps is plenty. They're going to penetrate.
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Old May 20, 2021, 03:40 PM   #42
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I’ve carried Gold Dots in my .38 revolvers for a long time but have always considered good expansion to be “iffy.” Every test I have seen on the micro-HST has shown good expansion and adequate penetration. I’ve just never actually seen any for sale, even before COVID.
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Old May 20, 2021, 09:33 PM   #43
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I still carry my SW M60 from time to time. My preferred load is the traditional 158gr LHP +p FBI loading. Buffalo Bore or Underwood only. All the other FBI loads are watered down these days.

As a lightweight alternative, I sometimes use Speer 130gr "Short Barrel" Gold Dots. The older, 125gr +p, Remington Golden Sabre is not bad either.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:56 PM   #44
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I have owned a S&W model 42 that was shot loose from lots of use with hot .38s.
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Old May 21, 2021, 04:16 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kymasabe
Sorry, it's going in a Charter Arms, I don't use +P in a Charter as it tends to rattle them to pieces.
I have a 16oz Charter Arms® Undercover® DAO 38 Special #13811...

https://charterfirearms.com/collecti...cover-blue-dao

I load it with and shoot this standard pressure ammunition which is quite accurate in my gun...

https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/h...cal-defense#!/

I am very pleased with this gun and ammo combination.
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Old May 21, 2021, 11:20 PM   #46
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Load your own.

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