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Old February 12, 2007, 09:10 AM   #1
Narcoleptic Warrior
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Winchester Silvertip HP

Has anyone ever done any ballistic testing on this round before?

http://www.winchester.com/products/c...Y2lhbA==&use=3

Out of a revolver with 4" barrel, does it perform well penetration wise?
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Old February 12, 2007, 09:18 AM   #2
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I've never done any ballistics testing of that round, nor have I used a .357/.38 beyond shooting a friend's a few times. I do know that my brother-in-law's department issues 155 gr silvertips in .40SW. They independently tested several and arrived at the conclusion that those do the most damage with the least potential for overpenetration. I don't know what their testing methods were or anything more detailed than that, just thought I'd pass it along.
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Old February 12, 2007, 09:23 AM   #3
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They are the bullet of choice for my 9mm. They make a 9mm a real gun for personal protection. Expansion, if you can believe expansion with a 9mm, is reliable and impressive. Another good bullet is the Remington Golden Sabre for personal protection or hunting.
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Old February 12, 2007, 04:02 PM   #4
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Cor-Bon makes a much more potent 110grn .38 which would probably be my choice if I were to go with a bullet of that weight in that caliber.

https://dakotaammo.net/shop/product_...products_id=41

Personally, I prefer 158grn loads for .38 Spl.

http://www.winchester.com/products/c...bCArLVA=&use=3
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Old February 12, 2007, 06:31 PM   #5
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I have some of the 140 gr. STHP for my 357. Keep some in speed loaders. I find they are pretty accurate, use a low flash powder, and are not perhaps as punishing as the really hot 125's to the gun. And less recoil than 158's by some amount. I am sure any magnum at that weight would have sufficient penetration but I don't have numbers. My 66 has the sight adjusted for them. Not that I don't have other choices in factory ammo here, I just keep these in front of the line. Now in my Marlin carbine, I do like the heavier bullets as you get alot of wallop from the extra weight and long barrel. And recoil isn't an issue in that.
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Old February 14, 2007, 07:12 PM   #6
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I have always like the STHP. Never felt undergunned with them.

While it's true that they won't penetrate completely through 4 or 5 people, their penetration is more than adequate for any normal person.
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Old February 14, 2007, 07:35 PM   #7
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Here is a link to The Firearms Tactical Institute .38 Special Ammunition Performance Data which lists the 6/21/91 FBI Ammunition Tests Data performance for the 38 Special 110 grain Super-X Silvertip JHP :

Test Gun Barrel Length 4" : S&W M19

Velocity : 1089 fps

Penetration : Bare Gelatin- 10.70"
Clothed Gelatin- 10.55"

Expansion : Bare Gelatin- 0.56"
Clothed Gelatin- 0.58"

http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/38special.htm

- Regards
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Old February 15, 2007, 03:03 PM   #8
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Wasn't it Silvertip HP's that were blamed for insufficient penetration in the Miami Shootout? Those test results that were just posted are several inches less penetration than the revised FBI tests specify.

I don't use the Silvertips in 9mm because I know they _used_ to expand too much and too fast which led to shallow penetration. I know they "improved" them but I still never see them listed as a premium bullet that can pass the FBI penetration tests.

The other Silvertip I played around with was in .44 Special. Very accurate load but just too darn mild. I felt like I could have thrown the bullets as fast as they came out! It felt like the old .38 Special 158 grain round-nosed lead bullet. I moved on to something else.

So yes, they expand. Whether they are good enough to compete with Golden Sabers or Gold Dots or Rangers or Hydra Shok's is going to be up to you. I personally want to have the kind of performance the FBI tests were designed to create.

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Old February 15, 2007, 03:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Wasn't it Silvertip HP's that were blamed for insufficient penetration in the Miami Shootout?
That is correct. However, when the FBI was carrying the Silvertip they were all about rapid expansion/limited penetration. At that time they were pushing RII and the computer man model. We carried the 9mm 115 ST for a very brief time in 1980. Within a couple of months of carrying it a couple of our guys got in a shootout near Joliet IL with a DC Eagle biker. They hit the guy 13 time COM but none of the rds penetrated deep enough to reach vitals after going thru a leather vest and leather jacket. The guy died at the scene but it wasn't from any of the rds. His lifestyle caused him to have plugged arteries and he died of a heart attack most likely due to the stress of being shot at. When it was seen how limited the penetration was we immediately pulled the ST from the street and eventually went with Federal 115 BP and then BPLE. When the FBI decided they were going to 9mm and carry the ST our range guys took the results of the Joliet shooting and tried explaining to them that the ST results weren't all that impressive given the covered subject. The FBI said their tests and RII proved that the ST was the perfect street rd in that it expanded quickly and since it had limited penetration there was less worry about going thru someone. So our guys packed their bags and came home. Then a few years later they found out what we had seen with the ST. Unfortunately it cost them dearly to find that out.
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Old February 15, 2007, 06:37 PM   #10
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The Silvertips were the victim of the FBI mentality that the most imortant thing in life is to protect the reputation of the bureau.

Negligence in supervision, negligence in training, and poor policy caused the problem at Miami, not the ammo. But the bureau HAD TO HAVE A SCAPEGOAT. so they blamed the ammo.
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Old February 15, 2007, 09:06 PM   #11
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Silvertips are slightly underloaded and usually quite accurate. There are better choices, there are worse choices.
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Old February 15, 2007, 11:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
The Silvertips were the victim of the FBI mentality that the most imortant thing in life is to protect the reputation of the bureau.

Negligence in supervision, negligence in training, and poor policy caused the problem at Miami, not the ammo. But the bureau HAD TO HAVE A SCAPEGOAT. so they blamed the ammo.
No truer words have ever been said. The FBI test are based on several false premises. First and foremost, it is based on the assumption that the agents were capable of effectively dealing with the two men in the Miami shootout to begin with (they weren't). Secondly, it is based on the assumption that the few rounds that didn't penetrate sufficiently would have ended the fight if they had (that can't be proven). One of the men was shot in the head and was still not completely incapacitated, I call that an extreme case of bad luck. Thirdly, it's based on the assumption that those are the only rounds that could have made a difference. How many of the agent's rounds missed? Perhaps if they'd hit the offenders with all of those 9mm, .38Spl and 12ga rounds the outcome would have been different. The Winchester Silvertip did exactly what it was designed to do, which was conincidentaly what the FBI said they wanted at the time. I think the blame for what happened in Miami lies more with the FBI itself than the caliber or load of their handguns.
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:27 AM   #13
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I've never done any balistic tests, but I can tell you if I need something to feed the .38 or the .357, Silvertips would be the first things I'd grab for. Somewhat expensive, but in my experience, 100% reliable.
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Old February 16, 2007, 03:09 AM   #14
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Unless there is a reason for you to use the standard pressure 110gr .38 Special ammo (such as an older firearm not rated for +P), I'd be more likely to select the 125gr .38 Special +P version (X38S8HP).

You'll actually get 30 ft-lbs more energy from Winchester's 158gr +P LSWC-HP round (X38SPD).
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Old February 21, 2007, 07:45 PM   #15
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BillCA:

There is a reason why I am limited to the 110gr silvertips. It's because it's the only SD .38 revolver ammo that the local gun dealer stocks. I live in Asia and gun control here makes Cali look like texas. In addition to the silvertips, the only other SD ammo available are 125gr and 158gr +P SJSPs. As a matter of fact, the silvertips are rather expensive and some folks even use 148gr wadcutters or +P 158gr LRN for self preservation.
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Old February 21, 2007, 09:32 PM   #16
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In that case, yes, go with the Silvertips.
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Old February 21, 2007, 11:23 PM   #17
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ISP- Though I am not a huge 9mm fan, I know that your Agency is responsible for the 9mm of today.
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Old February 22, 2007, 03:23 AM   #18
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I have the ST for my .44. I shoot a few every time I go to the range. Yeah they are mild.......compared to a .44 magnum. However they are also a heavy bullets for a SD round, 200 grains. So even if they aren't flying down range with their hair on fire....I'm sure they will do their job.
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Old February 22, 2007, 08:16 AM   #19
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ISP- Though I am not a huge 9mm fan, I know that your Agency is responsible for the 9mm of today.
It served us well for us for 32+ yrs, even more so with development of better ammo the last 20 yrs starting with Fed 115 BP and then continuing.
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Old February 22, 2007, 09:34 AM   #20
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winchester 158gr.+p waddcutter HP for snubby

I posted feedback for the S&W 638.I probley will buy this for a ankle gun.I carry a 9mm compact on my side for cold clothing days.I used to carry 110gr.hydra shoc in my S&W model 36 snubby.I later found out this was wrong.So I'm gonna use the 158gr. +P.Speak up if you think this is not a good SD round for 38 spc. snub.
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Old February 23, 2007, 12:37 AM   #21
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N-Warrior,

In a 4" .38 Special, I'd prefer to use the 158gr +P SJSP or the 125gr +P SJSP, if you can't get JHP ammo besides 110gr Hydrashok.

The Hydrashok is a good round, but handicapping it with a lightweight bullet that may not penetrate sufficiently would lead me to use a heavier bullet. Don't plan on the softpoint ammo expanding very much, however.

Jaymag - Can't fault your choice of a 158gr +P if it's a JHP or semi-wadcutter hollow point (LSWC-HP). Me, I prefer either a 125gr +P or Speer's 135gr +P SB (short barrel) load only because the 158gr hurts my hand fired from the airweight.
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Old February 25, 2007, 04:22 PM   #22
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Winchester 9mm 115 gr STHP

http://www.stoppingpower.net/forum/t...earchTerms=9mm

10% Ballistic Gelatin Tests for:
Winchester 9mm 115 gr STHP

Testing Platform:
Glock 19

Barrier:
Four Layers of Denim


TEST RESULTS:

Round # 1:
Penetration: 13.25”
Recovered Weight: 114.0 gr.
Expansion*: .650 cal.

* Expansion measured at widest point.
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Old February 25, 2007, 06:04 PM   #23
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This is a question for which I've been wondering about the answer, too. Unfortunately, I just haven't had the time to get back in touch with the Win LE rep and request some newer, updated info since the STHP line was revised in recent years.

The original 110gr STHP .38 SPL bullet had an aluminum jacket and a different notching design of the nose cavity. The jacket finish was a dull, unpolished aluminum finish.

The current version seems to have a nickled case, so I'm wondering if it's no longer an aluminum case. I seem to recall a couple or three years ago that the Win rep at a hosted Gel Demo event mentioned something about how the aluminum jackets had been dropped on some of the loads, replaced with regular copper jacketed bullets with nickeled finishes (like some of the original loads, ala the 9 115gr & 147gr STHP and the .357 145gr STHP, for instance).

FWIW, the only factory data I have on hand is from July 2002, and was taken from some factory testing performed with a S&W M60 2" ...

The averaged results posted read:
X38S9HP 110gr STHP
Bare Gel - 11"/0.54/110gr ret wgt
4 Layers Denim - 13.9"/0.51/110gr
Heavy Cloth - 10.5"/0.53/110gr
Wallboard - 11.35"/0.36?110gr
Plywood - 9.2"/0.44/110gr
Steel - 0"/0.55/92.4gr
Autoglass - 4.75"/0.45/Can't read the smudge

Here are the results for a couple of other loads:
X38SPD 158gr LHP +P
Bare Gel - 14.8"/0.48
4 Layers Denim - 15.5"/0.36
Heavy Cloth - 19.6"/0.36
Wallboard - 13.4"/0.37
Plywood - 12.7"/0.42
Steel - 0"/0.68
Autoglass - 7.1"/0.63

X38S7PH 125gr JHP +P
Bare - 15.3"/0.4
Denim - 15.3"/0.36
Heavy Cloth - 15.4"/0.35

S38SP 130gr JHP +P
Bare - 13.2"/0.54
Denim - 14.8"/0.53
Heavy Cloth - 12.6"/0.53

USA38JHP 125gr JHP
Bare - 8.9"/0.51
Denim - 11.9"/0.52
Heavy Cloth - 9.7"/0.59

I guess I'll have to remember to ask for some updated results, and ask how the current 110gr STHP .38 bullet actually differs from the earlier one, if indeed it does (other than appearance, at any rate).

In the meantime, since my M37 isn't rated for +P I plan to only shoot standard pressure loads through it. If I want to shoot +P loads I use either my older M649 Bodyguard or my 642-1 Centennial. I can afford to avoid stressing the 37. The 110gr STHP loads seem to shoot well in my 37, and I picked up some Federal Low Recoil 110gr Hydra-Shok loads to stash away and test through the 37 sometime.

BTW, when it made me wonder if I was essentially reducing my off-duty weapon to a glorified .380 JHP (or less) because of the lightweight standard pressure STHP loads, I checked out the factory test data from their RA380T 95gr load, listed in the same 2002 data. The pistol used for the test isn't listed, though.

Denim - 7.95"/0.64
Heavy Cloth - 7.85"/0.54

Then, the newer LE catalog lists some different results for the same RA380T 95gr load:

Bare Gel - 7.7"/0.68
Denim - 8"/0.64
Heavy Cloth - 7.8"/0.64

I don't feel quite so bad about carrying the standard pressure .38 110gr STHP in one of my off-duty J-frames anymore ... but Gel test data isn't a guarantee of any kind. It's just observed results in specific circumstances.

Have you read through this forum thread elsewhere? Interesting reading. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=224327

It's still about accuracy and placement, though.

Practice, practice, practice. I've always thought that J-frame's, especially when fired in DA/DAO mode, require some refined and well-practiced revolver skills.
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Old February 25, 2007, 06:32 PM   #24
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Silvertips are great ammo.........hpg
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Old November 18, 2020, 04:48 PM   #25
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In the interests of accuracy, I'm replying to this old post, since it comes up in searches.

It's nice that this site allows differing opinions. However, like most of the internet, some of those opinions are the product of bias, misinformation and ignorance. This legendary thread is an example of posters using it as a means to grind their obvious axes.

Moreover, the OP asked about the .38 Special 110 grain STHP load. All of these axe-grinding replies referenced the different 9mm 115 grain STHP load

For close to 30 years I was an FBI agent, firearms instructor and rangemaster (now retired). I am very familiar with the history of ammunition testing and procurement there.

The SOLE criteria for selection of ammunition in the FBI is performance. The NIJ RII was produced by a separate agency within the US DOJ and was NEITHER sponsored nor adopted by the FBI. The Winchester 9mm 115 STHP was considered at the time to be an excellent load based on numerous criteria, and used by extensively in law enforcement. The type of law enforcement extensive testing which is done today, was pioneered by the FBI as a result of the the performance in that shooting, and a subsequent symposium of ballistic and forensic trauma experts.

Regarding the claimed superiority of the Federal 115 JHP +P+, the FBI reviews ammunition performance from many sources in addition to their own testing, but frankly what happens in a particular shooting, to a particular agency, is neither dispositive nor scientific. This Federal load was considered and rejected because of excessive pressure and wear on the firearms used, and inconsistent accuracy. In fact, in subsequent ballistic testing this load exhibited nearly IDENTICAL under-penetration as the Winchester 115 STHP load. Any argument about some magical superiority is simply not provable.

The remaining drivel about the 1986 Miami shooting is completely lacking in knowledge of the FACTS of that shooting, which have been well-documented by professionals. These kinds of attacks don't even deserve a reply.

The OP asked about the .38 Special Winchester 110 grain STHP load. Several useful replies have posted the actual test results of this load. The FBI never used this load, although it was tested. I have personally shot quite a bit of it out of airweight revolvers. While it is short on penetration through barriers for a law enforcement load, as a personal self-defense load it's useful. In lightweight revolvers the recoil is moderate, and 10-14" of penetration in tissue is certainly adequate to counter close range personal attacks. The expansion of the bullet and accuracy is good, although the POI will be low beyond 10 yards in fixed sight guns.

Be safe.
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