S&W 38 Spl Water + Denim Test


Joshua M. Smith
August 10, 2007, 01:44 AM
Handgun: Rossi M68, 1-5/8" barrel
Ammo: S&W 158gr +P LSWCHP

A while back I did a bare water jug test on some old S&W "FBI load" rounds. I got back good penetration and good expansion.

Today I set out to see what would happen when it passed through four layers of denim before entering the water.

The usual setup, but with four layers of denim.

A front view...

Here I've been including a movie of the shot. Unfortunately I was shooting by myself today and didn't have someone to run the camera.

This is the front jug after the shot. Not much disruption compared to the bare jug I shot before. Hmmm...

The second and third jugs seem relatively unaffected. When shooting without denim, the second jug showed quite a bit of disruption - about as much as the first jug in this test.

As it turns out, the bullet did pass through all jugs, stopping in the fifth, making a small hole and creating a leak.

Here is my revolver, a dime, the fired bullet and an unfired round for reference.

A closer look at the bullets. Notice the fired bullet is missing quite a bit of its nose. Upon closer inspection it looks as if it was chewed away by "something."

And another view.

When I went into this test I wasn't sure what the outcome would be. Modern bullets are designed to prove themselves against accepted testing protocol, but though this is an "old technology" round, I kind of expected a bit more to happen since water tends to cause cause the most bullet upset when compared to 10% gelatin and wetpack.

While I'd like to test further, perhaps against another manufacturer of the same style bullet, I don't feel too handicapped. First, this was a short barrel. Second, I have penetration, which is a good thing. Lastly, this bullet did a bit better against four layer denim covered jugs than a 125gr +P round that I tested did against bare water jugs. Though that round expanded a bit, it didn't penetrate well.

Josh <><

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August 10, 2007, 02:36 AM
Somebody will certainly come along and correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the older rounds were designed to function optimally when shot out of a four inch barrel.
A snub has to short of a tube to develop the velocity for efficient expansion.

August 10, 2007, 02:56 AM
Joshua M. Smith,

Once again, Excellent Report , well written and great pics

Oh I am just eating this all up with the "old antiquated" cartridge and results.
Danged whippersnappers. Just won't listen. :D


I betcha these rounds chrono "hotter" than what a similar offering is today.

.38spl guns were designed to shoot 158 gr loads POA/POI.

Now, the "word is" due to liability and marketing, some loads are downloaded from yesteryear, and the "Old standard loads" got the "+P" added.

Put another way, the +p of today is the standard load of yesteryear.

Ain't marketing and hype great? :p

Joshua M. Smith
August 10, 2007, 02:57 AM
Hi Dennis,

It expanded fine without the denim.

This is going into my "to be further explored" box.


Josh <><

the naked prophet
August 10, 2007, 11:09 AM
You should try the Remington version of the same load. It should expand a bit better.

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