FBI Load waning in popularity?


Cato the Younger
May 4, 2007, 12:15 AM
Dear All,

As the thread title suggests, it seems the 158 gr LSWCHC 38 Special +P is waning in popularity. I have heard good things about this round (Massad Ayoob rates it highly) but I was unable to find any in the small city where I go to school. I had to go to a Sportsman's warehouse to get some- and they only had 4 boxes of the Winchester version, which I snapped up. It seems the rage is now the new 125 and 135 grain loadings in the +P velocities. I am reluctant to trust something that has not been proven over decades. Are the new lighter loadings really that much more impressive- they seem to be newer, hi tech bullets, while the old loading with plain lead seems to work fine.

If you enjoyed reading about "FBI Load waning in popularity?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
May 4, 2007, 12:18 AM
Jacketed bullets are the big rage these days (and more expensive).

May 4, 2007, 01:00 AM
Pretty much always have to buy that round (I favour the Remington flavour) online. I usually buy mine from Miday. Its about the price (including shipping)
around, coupled with quick delivery.

I'm a little dubious of these 135 gr - they just aren't as accurate out of my SP101 as the FBI load.

May 4, 2007, 01:22 AM
too bad popularity doesnt stop bad guys....but the 158gr. LHP +P does!

if fired from a snubby the Remington version is the best choice, if out of a full sized gun the Winchester or Federal would sufice.

ive tried the lighter +ps from cor-bon, speer, et cetera, all the ones made for short barrel guns.....all kick more than the old "FBI" load.....the down fall many newer ammo makers will argue is the 4 layers of denum from a snubby deal....the Remington load will handle this test, the win. and fed. wont, from a snubby that is....

what i like most about the Remington 158gr. LHP +P is the controlablity, the prooven recond on the streets is just the icing on the cake....

once some of these newer loads proove themselves beyond the laboritory tests and rack a few hundred street uses for comparison, i will look at them more closely.....'til then i'll stick with the tried and true.

May 4, 2007, 01:46 AM
Not with me and like kind.
We also like standard pressure 158 gr LSWC , especially out of a snub nose , and for those persons a bit limited physically.

158 gr is what most of these guns were set up to shoot POA/POI.
Especially the OLDer guns we prefer.

1. I am a relic
2. Why re-invent the wheel?

Pick one. ;)

May 4, 2007, 08:55 AM
Not that I've seen. I've still got a bunch of the Federal, and it's in ALL of my .38 Special and .357 revolvers. It seems very popular over on the S&W forum.

May 4, 2007, 09:16 AM
I agree with Cato - I tried to locate any of it anywhere in my town, and couldn't come up with a single flippn' box! Sportsman's Warehouse didn't have anything, but lots of the 125/129/135gr stuff. Not interested - I load 125gr for fun, but I want the proven load for carry.

May 4, 2007, 10:04 AM
If anything I think that load (or the bullet rather) is seeing a resurgence. With CCW becoming more popular, snub .38's and .357's are gaining ground in popularity. The S&W 642 for example is the most prolific seller for that company. Recently Buffalo Bore even has developed new loads using the 158 grain LSWCHP bullet design.

The newer jacketed bullets, especially the bonded ones (I.e.: Speer Gold DOt, etc.) are also popular, but many younger but, well informed wheelgunners are seeking out the "old standby".

It's never been easy to find and has had somewhat of a mystique about it. ("wow, this is the stuff the G-Men use, etc.") However any "real" gun store -what few there are of those left - will have a supply; especially if they have any LEO clientele. There are also about 4 dozen web sites where you can order it . . . $25-$30 for a box of 50 remains a good value for the performance as well in these days of dollar-a-shot super cartridges.

May 4, 2007, 11:31 AM
Yup...a dinosauer. What with the new Barnes all-copper bullets and constant Bullet R&D, I suspect that round will be ancient history within 5 - 10 years. :neener:

May 4, 2007, 11:54 AM
Like the .38 special itself old classics will never die. I carry a 146gr version of the same bullet due to POA/POI issues. I also carry 148gr WCs. I like the classics, why else would I carry a wheelie in the first place.

May 4, 2007, 12:08 PM
I agree with Cato - I tried to locate any of it anywhere in my town, and couldn't come up with a single flippn' box! Sportsman's Warehouse didn't have anything, but lots of the 125/129/135gr stuff.
That doesn't really prove much. Unless you're lucky to have a really good gunstore in your area, you tend to only see the lowest common denominator, and or big-ticket items they think will sell.

I can't name a single store in the Cleveland area which sells 148gr. .38 Special wadcutter loads, so don't be surprised about much else you don't see.

May 4, 2007, 12:12 PM
The 158 gr. bullet shoots more accurately than any other in my snub, and it shoots to the (fixed sight) point of aim. Of all the 158 gr. bullets out there to choose from, the LSWCHP is the clear choice.

May 4, 2007, 12:35 PM
Sometimes loads that work well in older gun can be improved. I have changed to the Gold Dot 135 Plus P in my Colt Detective Special. Mainly more controllable at least for me. It seems to be more accurate to me on second and third shot. From what little reading I was able to do the bullet and powder was made for the short barrel guns.

I am far from any expert but I do know that most any well made hollow point that hits will do far better than a miss, so control is more of a factor to me so I go for consistent to me.

Just a few thoughts.

Best in your quest.

M2 Carbine
May 4, 2007, 04:01 PM
A few years ago I bought a case of Federal 158gr +P SWCHP.

I haven't found anything I like better in all my 38's.

Jim March
May 4, 2007, 04:30 PM
BuffBore just came out with a version of this load that gives as much energy as the Remington 158+P but in a standard pressure loading. Very cool.

They also have a +P version that borders on 357Mag horsepower levels.



Marko Kloos
May 4, 2007, 05:09 PM
The old FBI load will still get the job done as good as any and better than most. It's my carry load for all my K-frames.

May 4, 2007, 07:44 PM
JE223 and myself tested some .38 loads this afternoon in ballistic gelatin. The Buffalo Bore 158+P did very well from a 4" "real" gun. It was traveling at about 1200fps. From a 2" snubby it clocked a bit over 1000fps. We also tested the 125+P Buffalo Bore and it clocked about 1250fps from a 4" and from a 2" it was running 1050fps. All Buffalo Bore performed extremely well, especially from a snubby. We also tested the Federal 147 +P+ load and it was only doing about 1000fps. from a 4". Just for fun I had some glaser safety slugs (silver).
Their advertised velocity was 1700fps, but we could get no higher than 1500 from a 4"? This load was a complet flop and upon firing we heard some pellets hitting the tin roof behind the target? I have no clue as to how this happened, but maybe JE223 can shed some light into this matter. This guy really knows his stuff. Hopefully he will have some posts later in the day as we also shot the .351 winchester and the .303 British. Both did extremely well.

Thank you JE223.

Check out www.brassfetcher.com

May 5, 2007, 12:39 AM
it works, and it isnt fancy or in a big fancy wonder caliber like say 40 smith and wesson.

And from what ive read the old FBI load out of a 6 inch barrel can poke a nice hole through steel gymnasium doors, not sure on it but maybe they are afraid of over penetration?

May 7, 2007, 12:51 PM
Heck, it's all I shoot in my 4" Model 10. I have a supply of the Federal loading, but recently discovered that Georgia Arms makes a good version of the FBI load as well. I orderd a few hundred rounds and it shoots to the same POA as the Federal load. GA advertises it as LSWC+P on their web site but it is actually LSWCHP+P.

May 7, 2007, 09:32 PM
I use the Remington flavor of the FBI load. Very soft lead, I'm confident of it expanding. And the velocity is a bit better than Win or Fed.

The fad-ish hotshot 'superloads' seem to come and go... but the 158 LHP just keeps truckin. It's my choice. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "FBI Load waning in popularity?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!