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Old December 22, 2008, 07:18 PM   #1
barndog
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Best Ammo for self defense 38 cal snub

Is there a consensus as to what the best type of round a person should use for a .38 cal. SW snubby for self defnse stopping power
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Old December 22, 2008, 07:24 PM   #2
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Welcome to TFL!

It depends on who you listen too.

The internet armory had this to say:

Quote:
38 Special Caliber: 2-inch Barrel
One Shot Stopping Success: 49-67% (Actual)
Self Defense Rating: Good
Recommended Cartridges:

Winchester +P LHP 158 grains 67%
Federal +P LHP 158 grains 66%
Federal +P JHP 125 grains 65%
Remington +P LHP 158 grains 65%
CCI +P JHP 125 grains 64%


Ammunition labeled +P (for extra pressure) should be used only in steel, aluminum and aluminum/scandium alloy framed revolvers approved by the manufacturer for such use. Ultra high pressure loads, such as the Cor-Bon +P+, JHP, 115 grains, should be used only in extremely sturdy revolvers such as the Ruger SP101.

Standard pressure (non +P) rounds are suited for use in older aluminum frame snub nose revolvers such as the Smith & Wesson Model 38 Bodyguard, 642, 442, 37, or Colt Cobra. Firing a few (less than 100) rounds of +P ammunition probably won't ruin the gun, but extended use of +P cartridges will cause some damage.

Recent advances in metalurgy have allowed Smith & Wesson to introduce a new generation of snubbies that are perfectly capable of accommodating +P ammunition. These include the "Airlite" aluminum/scandium alloy framed models, which feature light weight titanium cylinders. The "Airweight" models utilize aluminum frames with steel cylinders and barrels. These also feature +P capability. Some newer model steel framed snub nose revolvers have been designed to feed the potent .357 Magnum cartridge (hence the .38 Special +P and the standard pressure .38 Special).

Accuracy with a light weight snubby is extremely susceptible to the unpleasant blast and kick produced by +P ammunition. The gun is much more controllable in rapid fire with standard pressure rounds. Acceptable ammunition includes the Federal "Nyclad", LHP, 125 grains, which was designed to expand at lower velocities, and the Winchester "Silvertip", JHP, 110 grains.

The ability to control a snub nose revolver is greatly improved by the addition of after market rubber grips to replace the wooden factory grips.
The entire list is available here:

http://www.internetarmory.com/handgunammo.htm
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Old December 22, 2008, 08:47 PM   #3
fourdegrees11
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This Buffalo Bore 158 gr LSWC-HP should do the trick

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=171388
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Old December 22, 2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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If it's rated for +P, then the Remington LSWCHP seems to be the way to go. If it's not, take your pick and focus on placement. My Colt Cobra isn't rated for +P and I load it with Winchester 148grn HBWC because penetration's good and recoil is light.
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Old December 22, 2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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I dont over think the issue... A JHP will in some fashion, xfer energy to the target better than a FMJ. That being said, I focus more on on buying a plain ole 38 special JPH from a reputable company rather than pondering over 30 different specific style,weights(flavors of the month). Its more about shot placement and less about a magic bullet.

My question to myself is do I want a FMJ or a JPH. I then pick up a box of Federal ammo in the style I need and forget about it.
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Old December 23, 2008, 12:59 AM   #6
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Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo looks really good and it's what I carry in my Taurus 85.
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Old December 23, 2008, 03:31 AM   #7
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A snappy cast wadcutter is not without merit.
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Old December 23, 2008, 03:31 AM   #8
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I go with the Speer SB Gold dot Stay away from JRN and LRN they have too much penetration and can be a liabilaty.
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Old December 23, 2008, 05:43 AM   #9
Gazpacho
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+1 Speer Gold Dot 135gr +P Short Barrel load

second choice would be the FBI load
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Old December 23, 2008, 10:41 AM   #10
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I think you would be best served by doing a search for your question on this and other gun forums. There has been an untold number of discussions and threads on this subject over quite a few years, although newer discussions naturally include newer information. (For example, the Corbon 115 grain +P+ noted in the quote has been discontinued for maybe 10 years or more.) There is so much out there, more than you'll get in this thread. One problem with postings of percentage of one shot stop ratings, no matter where you encounter them, is that they almost invariably stem from one source which is one controversial and often-disputed source. Just because something is repeated a 1000 times on a 1000 websites, doesn't make it true if the original information comes from one possibly flawed source. (I'm not saying the source is wrong just that if you search there is so much information that you can make up your own mind.)

Personally, I agree with those who say that once you find the ones you know you don't want to use, picking from the remainder becomes what you like, what's available, etc. etc. Not that important.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
If it's rated for +P, then the Remington LSWCHP
+1 on this suggestion.
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Old December 23, 2008, 12:46 PM   #12
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What ever ammo you can be accurate with well get the job done.
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Old December 23, 2008, 10:58 PM   #13
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Can't anybody read?

Everybody is talking about .38 specials. The OP said ".38 cal. SW snubby." This is an entirely different caliber.

BARNDOG -- The first thing you need to do is confirm the caliber. Is it .38 S&W Special (.38 special) or is it .38 S&W? If you don't know, please post what it says about the caliber on the barrel.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:04 PM   #14
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Agreed KyJim, bit IF it is 38 spl, then I would suggest the new gold dot 135 made for snubbies
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:06 PM   #15
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If it's .38 S&W, I'd reccomend 145grn LRN and a lot of practice.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:27 PM   #16
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Got to go with Salvadore, 148 gr wadcutter.
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Old December 24, 2008, 07:02 AM   #17
wnycollector
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my fav wadcutter for carry is http://www.mastercast.net/amo.htm copper plated DEWC...they push it ~100 fps faster than most manufacturers of the target DEWC flavor! I have it loaded in my airweight J frame.
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Old December 24, 2008, 08:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
What ever ammo you can be accurate with well get the job done.
I go along with this. There is no "one best" ammo, but there is one that will work for you. If you can't shoot the +p loads for instance, there's nothing wrong with a standard pressure 158gn SWC. Snubby's are funny. Sometimes a load that has great ballistics will be inaccurate out of your particular snub. (it will tumble, fly, whatever). So make sure the one you choose shoots well out of your gun and you are comfortable with it.
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Old December 24, 2008, 09:47 AM   #19
Coach
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Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 158's in my
49, 442 and the first 2 up in my 640 (38),
followed by 3 BB 158+P's.
Buffalo Bore 125 +P's in my 340 PD.
Prior to BB, all were loaded with
Corbon DPX +P's.
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Old December 24, 2008, 02:59 PM   #20
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For the last 15 years or so, I've been carrying the Corbon +P 158gr LHP in my SW M60 J-frame. At the time, this was about as potent of a load as you can get in this bullet weight for the .38 special. Excellent round to keep in the cylinder, but it's hard to carry spares because the lead bullet is very soft and tends to deform from being knocked around if carried in a speedloader or speedclip.
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Old December 24, 2008, 05:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
barndog

Is there a consensus as to what the best type of round a person should use for a .38 cal. SW snubby for self defnse stopping power
Yes, short barrel +P Hollow points.

Two that I have are Buffalo Bore SB 158g LSWC HP +P's, and Gold Dot HP 135g +P SB=(short barrel)

I use the GDHP my self, because I get a much better price on them, but the Buffalo Bores might be a little more powerful.
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Old December 24, 2008, 05:17 PM   #22
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Consider 148 grain wadcutters, or Silver Tips. I mostly carry Silver Tips in mine but wadcutters can be potent because of their entry shape. They are also low recoil rounds.
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Old December 24, 2008, 05:50 PM   #23
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There are probably the same number of PERFECT DEFENCE ROUNDS out there as there is the number of people who carry stubby 38s.
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Old December 24, 2008, 06:08 PM   #24
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158gr LSWCHP +P.

Look ar Buffalo Bore's stuff. Be advised that their standard pressure 158's are very stout shooting loads....excellent stuff though for an older snubby.
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Old December 24, 2008, 07:01 PM   #25
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If you are talking about the .38 S&W I dont have a clue, if you are talking about the 38 Special I agree with creature, 158 LSWCHP +P.
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Last edited by Deet; December 24, 2008 at 07:01 PM. Reason: missed +P
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