Lowest recoil 38spl cartridge?


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GVMan
May 1, 2007, 09:37 AM
I was hoping to ease my wife and possible teenagers into shooting a .38spl S&W 642 snubby. Anyone know of some especially low strength ammo? Seems to be a lot of info on the best +P defensive rounds which is great but what is at the opposite end of the spectrum? I'm not against ordering of the internet but some widely available suggestions would also be helpful.

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floridaboy
May 1, 2007, 09:40 AM
Any brand of mid range wadcutters. Typically 148 grs doing about 700-750 fps. Minimal recoil, and very accurate.

foghornl
May 1, 2007, 10:23 AM
Couple that I can think of...

Federal loads a 130-gr or so FMJ round nose. PMC had a similar load, both were nice easy on the hands shooters.

The 148-Gr or so plain lead wadcutters are also loaded lightly.

bp78
May 1, 2007, 10:30 AM
A forum member here loaded up a batch for my 642 that are downright anemic. They're very, very light and perfect for my wife to try out the 642. Factory wadcutters and LRN 158gr were too stout.

.38 special
2.5 gr of red dot, roughly 700fps.
115gr wadcutter projectile

Husker1911
May 1, 2007, 10:40 AM
Sellier & Bellot make target wadcutters in 148 grain lead. Mild and pleasant to shoot, and reasonable on the pocketbook. 700 FPS.

http://www.sb-usa.com/handgun_pages/handgun_sba03801_spec.htm

fiVe
May 1, 2007, 10:50 AM
Check out the following from Georgia Arms (http://www.georgia-arms.com)

Pistol Ammo
158gr LRN 775 fps
158gr LSWC 775 fps
148gr LWC 750 fps

Cowboy Ammo
158gr RNFP 750 fps
125gr RNFP 750 fps

DawgFvr
May 1, 2007, 11:02 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong guys, but the the Barnes Copper Bullet that Corbon DPX uses is larger than the norm...but very light, hence the 110 gr. +P configuration. It would seem to me that the physics of the powder moving this lighter all-copper bullet would make it faster and, since there would be less weight resistance, less recoil would be felt. Personally, I do not believe the Corbon DPX has as much felt recoil compared to any other bullet I've fired (not counting target load/wadcutters).

19-3Ben
May 1, 2007, 11:06 AM
I've been happy with the low recoil of Remington UMC 130gr. FMJ.
Also Blazer LRN 158gr.
Both have been very consistent, and low recoil in my experience.

Brassman
May 1, 2007, 11:07 AM
If you reload you can tailor-make some very light loads. You just have to be careful about shooting those same light loads in a 6" revolver. It's possible that you could stick a light round in the barrel, which isn't a terrible problem if you stick one and then remove it from the barrel. If you don't realize that you have stuck one and pull the trigger again, it could ruin your whole day. My choice for lightly loaded .38sp is 148gr BBWC over Win 231, extremely accurate and easily shot. I have loaded some 100gr BBWC, but I can't find any right now. It's not wise to give recipes over the internet, but I can mail them to you, if you desire.

Headless
May 1, 2007, 11:31 AM
I also find the DPX +P 110gr to be very mild but still performing excellently. UMC target ammo is considerably harsher.

HornsKeith
May 1, 2007, 11:44 AM
Check out the following from Georgia Arms

Pistol Ammo
158gr LRN 775 fps
158gr LSWC 775 fps
148gr LWC 750 fps

Cowboy Ammo
158gr RNFP 750 fps
125gr RNFP 750 fps

What's the difference between pistol ammo and cowboy ammo? It seems like a 125gr moving at 750 fps would be quite the ticket for easy 642 shooting. I shot an Atlanta Arms 125gr round that I bought at a local range, but I don't know the stats on it (and the Atlanta Arms page (http://www.atlantaarmsandammo.com/products.html) doesn't list it either).

Brassman
May 1, 2007, 11:47 AM
For SD rounds, the Federal 110gr JHP Low Recoil Hydra-shok is a good non +P carry round. That's what I have been carrying for the past couple of months. They're still pretty stout, but nowhere near as punishing as the Rem 158gr LSWHP that I normally carry. GVMAN - I don't carry my reloads, I just practice and train others with them. From a legal standpoint it's not wise to carry reloads.

fiVe
May 1, 2007, 12:33 PM
What's the difference between pistol ammo and cowboy ammo? It seems like a 125gr moving at 750 fps would be quite the ticket for easy 642 shooting.

Good question and good point. I was just listing the rounds offered by GA Arms that were in the 700 fps range.

Sniper X
May 1, 2007, 12:44 PM
I lucked into 3000 rounds of 148gr SWC match ammo from my ex cop freind who ran the APD range. I have a bunch of .357s and of all the TC has the most felt recoil with the relatively light octagonal barrel, kinda snappy. With all the different .38spl or .357 I have tried this 148gr SWC shoots more like 22mag than anything else as far as recoil goes. It is very accurate and pleasureable to shoot.

DawgFvr
May 1, 2007, 01:54 PM
Hornskeith/Five: 700 fps is just too slow out of such a short barrel. Now me...I want my hollow point bullets to mushroom not imitate FMJ.

Headless
May 1, 2007, 01:57 PM
I don't think the OP is planning on using these for self defense - it sounded from their post like they wanted to get new shooters into shooting easily.

GVMan
May 1, 2007, 02:41 PM
Yes, I am asking about target / introductory shooting only. I appreciate the advice on the lower SD rounds though; as she might want to try that some day. I didn't think I would ever consider reloading but with the prices of ammo lately - I have started to save my brass just in case.

Headless
May 1, 2007, 04:19 PM
I too have started saving .38spl brass though I'm not yet set up for reloading. Figure you can't start too early, and if I never use it for reloading...well...brass prices aren't going down :-P The DPX 110gr are probably the best performing 'low recoil' rounds around...amusing since they ARE +P rounds. Those light bullets just don't have the same kick/torque of the 150 grainers.

Starter52
May 1, 2007, 07:58 PM
Every summer I start new revolver shooters with Speer plastic bullets and plastic cases. You assemble them yourself with just a primer (no reloading tools/skill needed) and a plastic bullet.

The Speers are accurate enough for cans at 40 feet. After several cylinders of killing Pepsi cans with these plastic rounds I let the shooters try wadcutters and paper targets.

It works for me.

Headless
May 1, 2007, 09:55 PM
Where do you get those? Can you re-use the casings?

doc2rn
May 1, 2007, 11:09 PM
Federal makes a high energy low recoil 110gr hp hydra-shock for people who adore the 642. I believe they call it the personal defense round.

StrikeEagle
May 2, 2007, 12:06 AM
Any brand of mid range wadcutters. Typically 148 grs doing about 700-750 fps. Minimal recoil, and very accurate.

I agree. This is a great round for anyone who wants to enjoy a .38 Spl.

DBR
May 2, 2007, 12:46 AM
IMHO a 642 with any real load (not rubber bullets) is not a good gun for training newbs. It is hard to shoot well. The recoil is out of proportion to its ballistic power. The sights are lousy. The trigger is heavy. (I carry one always, but I have been shooting for 50yrs)

If you want to get new shooters enthusiastic about our sport start them with a 22lr with good sights at about 15 feet. They need to see positive results right away and not get beat up in the process. Then, transition them to revolvers with standard size guns so they can learn the basic revolver skills before they are challenged by lightweight snubbies

On another topic: The Corbon DPX is a light bullet but goes about 1100fps from a snubby. The power factor which is a good indicator of recoil is about 121. This is the same as most standard 38spl loads out of a 4" gun.

ArchAngelCD
May 2, 2007, 01:09 AM
Not to pull this thread OT but I have to say that a Snub Nose .38 Revolver probably is a bad idea to break in a new shooter to the round. If you have a 4" all Steel revolver available, something like a Model 10, you will get better results IMO. Once they become comfortable shooting a ,38 Special in the heavier revolver you can move them to the Snub Nose and they will be better off, again, IMO.

No matter what factory load you run through your M642 it will feel stout to a new shooter. A heavy 4" revolver will help that a lot. Also, Like someone said above, Remington 130 gr FMJ UMC ammo seems to feel light and might be a good place to start your tests. Blazer (Aluminum) also feels like a lighter load even though they claim it isn't, especially in .357 Magnum.

M38
May 2, 2007, 08:56 AM
I had my new 642 out to the range a week ago and tired Magtech and Black Hills blue box target wadcutters and the Black Hills POI was close to POA, the Magtech's where hitting high & to the left. Both were mild in the recoil department.

Sundles
May 2, 2007, 09:56 AM
ArchAngle is right.

Why not buy a 22 reovler and let her shoot all she wants for cheap? The recoil and cost of shooting will be so cheap that she will shoot 10 as much as she would with a small 38 SPL.

Not what you asked about, but its a thought.

HornsKeith
May 2, 2007, 10:05 AM
Even without using it to familiarize new shooters, I still personally have an interest in finding a moderately priced, low recoil .38 round for practice sessions with my 642. I'm new to the J-frame thing, and a lighter round will honestly let me practice more and hurt less. Right now, I'm about done after 40 rounds of 158gr standard pressure .38's.

Is anybody clear on the difference between a pistol round and a cowboy round that's mentioned above? I think a 125gr .38 going at 750 fps would be a great practice load.

Eagle103
May 2, 2007, 01:07 PM
Since you don't reload this may not help but I reload .38s for my 642 using 125g Rainier plated bullets over 4.6g of Bullseye powder. It is accurate, hits to POA and recoil is minimal.

Deanimator
May 2, 2007, 03:09 PM
Since you don't reload this may not help but I reload .38s for my 642 using 125g Rainier plated bullets over 4.6g of Bullseye powder. It is accurate, hits to POA and recoil is minimal.
Boy, that sure sounds like a LOT of Bullseye to be a "minimal" recoil load. I don't have a reloading manual handy, but is it possible you meant a different powder or charge?

I load 2.7-2.8gr. of Bullseye with a 148gr. DEWC or HBWC for my S&W Model 14 and my Giles .38 Special M1911. It's a very accurate load, and a standard for bullseye target shooting.

Brassman
May 2, 2007, 04:11 PM
The possible mistyped powder charges above is one of the main reasons that exchanging reloading recipes via the internet is not a good idea. It's too easy to enter the wrong data and cause someone to ruin a firearm and possibly injure or kill. This kind of information needs to be PM'd or written down in letter form and sent through snail-mail. Please don't be offended at my message, just trying to keep everyone safe.:)

Headless
May 2, 2007, 04:19 PM
I fail to see how writing something in letter form would be any safer that writing it in digital form. Heck, I type my letters, then print them.
I do think that anyone taking reloading recipes purely at the word of the provider via the net without checking to make sure they are safe is taking an unnecesarry risk (there are plenty of factory choices out there..if you don't know enough to know what's unsafe, don't reload... buy factory...) but i think that condemning the practice of exchanging ideas over the net such as reloading recipes is a bad idea...the entire reason we are all here today is to learn from eachother (i hope) :)

Brassman
May 2, 2007, 04:31 PM
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I did not mean to withhold information that could be helpful, just possible incorrect information that could get someone hurt. Just my opinion.

MrTuffPaws
May 2, 2007, 05:48 PM
If you don't mind lead round nosed, the CCI Blazer LRN fells like a 22lr recoilwise. Dirty as all get out though.

Brassman
May 2, 2007, 06:12 PM
These guys say what I have been trying to say better and with a lot more authority: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=27444&highlight=posting+reloading+data I meant no more or less than what is written here. Sorry if I was misunderstood.

Starter52
May 2, 2007, 07:28 PM
Headless, to answer your question: Speer plastic cases can be reused over and over. They get a bit dirty but still work OK. It is even possible to reuse the plastic bullets if you're a bit careful about the backstop.

You can buy both cases and bullets from mailorder or online catalogues. I get mine from Midway. You will need primers also. Buy them at your local gun shop.

Both .38 and .44 caliber are available.

Soybomb
May 2, 2007, 07:53 PM
Winchester's X38SMRP, the 148gr super-x wadcutter is pretty easy load that is decent for defense too.

Eagle103
May 2, 2007, 11:07 PM
Boy, that sure sounds like a LOT of Bullseye to be a "minimal" recoil load. I don't have a reloading manual handy, but is it possible you meant a different powder or charge?
I guess recoil, as in most things in life, is all relative.
My Speer 13 Manual recommends 4.5 grains and DNR (Do Not Reduce) for .38 Special with 125g bullets. +P loads go up to 4.8 I believe. I tend to believe the Speer manual concerning DNR after making a few rounds below minimum for Unique and getting some squibs out of them.
No offense taken Brassman. The internet is great for a free flow of ideas and what works and what doesn't but I'd never consider using someones load recipe without first verifying it with at least one load manual.:)

Brassman
May 2, 2007, 11:25 PM
I do the same Eagle. I have Speer 13, Lyman, Lee, and several IMR, Accurate, and other powder manufacturers' small manuals that I continually check. I must admit that I load light most of the time for expense sake, my wrists sake, and the weapons sake. Powder, hands and guns last longer that way. I have worked up light loads for all my weapons and try to stay close to the manuals for safety sake. Sticking one in the tube or going too high on pressure could ruin your whole day.

Deanimator
May 3, 2007, 11:03 AM
I must admit that I load light most of the time for expense sake, my wrists sake, and the weapons sake.
Virtually ALL of my reloading is for bullseye pistol practice and competition. As I'm fond of saying, the paper is dead. I don't need to kill it, just make a bunch of clean holes in it, as close to the center as possible.

The_Ferret
May 3, 2007, 12:04 PM
I've had good luck with Magtech 158gr 38 spl loads. They seemed really light to me, but I was shooting out of a heavy-barreled 357, and had been shooting Gold Dots. Your mileage may vary.

vta33
May 3, 2007, 12:05 PM
My youngest one likes wadcutters and Winchester 130gr FMJ. Since I don't much care for having to remove lead from my revolver, we fire the WWB, which has a bit more pop--not much--than the wadcutters. The low cost of the Winchesters is another plus.

Brassman
May 3, 2007, 12:26 PM
Roger that, Deanimator. Total paper penetration needed is about .004" and the target ceases to live.

HiWayMan
May 4, 2007, 12:25 PM
Wax bullets

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=2954316&highlight=wax+bullets#post2954316

Post#18

HornsKeith
May 5, 2007, 03:11 PM
My favorite so far: Atlanta Arms 125gr reloads from a local range. I shot 'em today with some other boxes I had, such as Remington 158gr FMJ's. The Atlanta Arms are noticeably lower in recoil, especially if shot mixed with others in the same cylinder. They're also $10 for a box of 50, so fairly economical as well.

It makes shooting ~100 rounds pretty easy when you're new to J-frames, IMO.

Gaucho Gringo
May 7, 2007, 01:50 AM
I have been buying Milwall .38 Spl 158gr SWC Cowboy reloads for about the last year at the Portland Expo gun show. Last I bought in Feb cost me around $70.00 for 500 rounds. Good for practice with mild recoil. Have also bought 148 LRN Cowboy reloads that were good too. Paid $5.95 for a box of 50. And some 357 158 SWC Cowboy for $6.95 a box of 50. By the time I shoot it all up I will have over 1500 empty cases to start reloading with.

Eric708
May 7, 2007, 11:10 AM
Augulia 130g FMJ seems to have the least amount of recoil of any factory load I've shot, and Sellior and Belliot 148g wadcutters don't have that much recoil. Those are the only two loads I shot that had less recoil then WWB.

HeedJSU
May 7, 2007, 01:40 PM
I disagree, just slightly. I'm in the process of teaching my wife to shoot a .38 spl. What I wish I could do, (and I may just do this) Is let her run a mag of .357 Sig through a friend's Glock 32, so when I throw the .38 back in her hands, I'll get a "Hey, this isn't so bad" no matter what loading it is. Just a thought. As for low recoil, my 158 LSWC over 4.2 gr of unique isn't very beefy at all (just smokes like a blackpowder, LOL) ZERO also offers a 148 gr LWC reloaded .38 that is very easy to shoot, and my local gunstore keeps them for about 7 bucks for a box of 50.

Justin

Jomax
May 7, 2007, 08:38 PM
I find CCI Blazer aluminum cased ammo fires more softly than many of the others. I generally shoot one box of it and one box of brass cased ammo in each range session. The aluminum cased ammo never "sticks" in the cylinder but the brass occasionally will. I believe it's because the aluminum case cools down much faster than the brass.

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