.38 Special +P 158 gr semi-jacketed soft point performance


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Southern Shooter
November 29, 2007, 09:54 AM
.38 Special +P 158 gr semi-jacketed soft flat point...velocity 890 fps with 278 fpe from a 4" inch barrel.

Does anybody have an idea of how this load performs in 10% gel? In animal flesh? How much penetration? How much expansion? Any pictures of the bullet after impact?

Would this load show any expansion at all in soft tissue at that velocity?

This would NOT be for personal defense against humans...just something to carry when out on day hikes or back on the lease making rounds. I was thinking that less expansion and more penetration would be the focus when in such situations.

Thanks

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SeanSw
November 29, 2007, 12:33 PM
This load has a good reputation and is still the carry choice of many. I believe people have posted anecdotes relating how effective this load is against putting down animals, perhaps they will chime in with some real world answers for you.

For multi-purpose carry I would use the same bullet weight with a semi-wadcutter bullet minus the hollow point. 158gr SWC is the load of choice for my 4" S&W revolver. As you can see in the following test the 158gr +p swchp load is adequate even when fired from a 1 7/8" barrel. The extra velocity achieved with a 4" barrel makes would make this an excellent carry choice for general duty.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/158%20grain%20+P%20lead%20HP%20(test%202).html

ChristopherG
November 29, 2007, 02:07 PM
This load has a good reputation and is still the carry choice of many.

A 158 gr. JSP in a .38? I don't think such a load is the choice of many. Mainly because you are unlikely to see ANY significant expansion at .38 velocities (that's a bullet for a .357, and a potent one at that). And, if you're not going to get expansion, then why not just use a lead semiwadcutter with a big flat nose? The lower friction of a lead bullet will give you greater velocity than the jacketed bullet will, and you're still not going fast enough for leading to be a real problem and it's a cheaper bullet to boot. For critter defense, the 158 gr. SWC is probly the best all-round choice in a .38. Which is to say, I agree with Sean where it matters ;-)

SeanSw
November 29, 2007, 02:48 PM
My mistake, I was too stupid to re-read the bold print! :o I found the link that I had in mind and immediately assumed it was the swchp being referred to.

In this case I absolutely agree with ChristopherG. Semi-jacketed soft points are a waste of time at this velocity. There's no advantage to them over a plain lead flat point. Unless you're hunting large game where controlled expansion is important I cannot think of any reason where a semi-jacketed soft point would be recommended. Does anyone know how well these perform at .357mag velocities? It would seem that these would blow through a 2-legged critter without slowing down or expanding.

Southern Shooter
November 29, 2007, 02:56 PM
I was thinking that with such a low velocity that trying to reach the vitals would be more important than large expansion...less expansion so the bullet does not slow down as quickly.

So, a +P 158 gr. semi-wad cutter at 890 fps and 278 fpe would be the better choice?

I did not realize that the copper jacket on a semi-jacketed round slowed it down some. So, plain lead would be faster?

Thanks

Jim March
November 29, 2007, 03:25 PM
Exactly - plain lead is much "slicker" than copper so unless you need copper in order to:

a) "hold it together" during high speed expansion OR

b) keep softer lead that's going to expand from "smearing" down the barrel at speeds over 1,000fps OR

c) both

...you don't want to run jacketed non-expanding rounds down below 1,000fps. And above 1,000fps, if you're going to do non-expanding for penetration reasons, you're still better off with hardcast.

There are a number of sources of semi-wadcutter "classic Keith profile" 158gr 38+P. These will go faster than a jacketed 158 for the same pressure. OR you can always take a good high-performance 38+P lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint and deliberately clog the hollow with a non-toxic glue of some sort (Elmers should do) if you want a "deep punch woods round" in 38+P.

Winchester's 158gr lead hollowpoint in 38+P has a harder lead alloy than the Buffalo Bore or Remington variants. This Winchester load is known to fail to expand from snubbies but does expand from 4" tubes...unless of course you pre-clog it...

The hottest round of this type (at least in 38+P) is by Buffalo Bore and again, could be pre-clogged as a "critter penetrator". But even this thing doing about 1,100ish from a 4" tube is WAY marginal for even smallish-size deer and would be a desperation-move-only on cougar defense. Black bear defense, ye Gods...NOT recommended unless you've got no choice, can't afford a 357 gun minimum...

Southern Shooter
November 30, 2007, 12:15 AM
I see what ya'll are talking about. However, it seems to me, that for the purpose held in mind...to take care of woods problems out to 10-15 yards...a hard cast Keith style bullet moving @ 1150 fps is not that bad. Sure, it is not a .357 magnum but if someone only has a .38 special in the 4" service size this style of bullet with Buffalo Bores powder mixture could breathe new life and purpose into the .38 special

Any thoughts or opinions??

Thanks

Jim March
November 30, 2007, 12:59 AM
Yeah, but where are you going to GET a hardcast 158gr solid in 38Spl? I know of no commercial sources. You can roll one yourself of course...

The alternative is to take one of the soft-cast 158s in 38+P with a hole in the nose and plug the hole. It'll work about the same...

ChristopherG
November 30, 2007, 10:47 AM
but where are you going to GET a hardcast 158gr solid in 38Spl

Here's one:

http://www.georgia-arms.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2419

Actually, I can't guarantee that's a hardcast as opposed to a swaged SWC--but I don't think it'd make much difference. A swaged SWC isn't going to significantly deform or expand at velocities achievable in a .38, even a +P .38. As far as finding someone to load it over a thousand fps, I don't think it's gonna happen unless it's from a boutique loader like Buffalo bore, and they're not doing it, so that's a handloader's proposition. (oh, handloading; is there any problem you can't solve?)

Jim March
November 30, 2007, 12:19 PM
T'ain't hardcast, but you're right, it won't matter much.

Then again, take the BuffBore 158+P, use a toothpick to mix a drop of Elmer's into the nose, you have a hotter version of that GA load...also non-expanding.

WildeKurt
November 30, 2007, 12:22 PM
When I first began reloading I tried a 38 Special +P with 158 JHP. About all I can say for it is that they went bang and the bullet came out of the barrel. Accuracy was terrible.

336A
November 30, 2007, 12:53 PM
I was thinking that less expansion and more penetration would be the focus when in such situations.


Then maybe you should take a look at the Buffalo Bore WC, see the link below.


http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20Ammunition%20150gr%20standard%20pressure%20Hard%20Cast%20Wad%20Cutter.html

Z_Infidel
November 30, 2007, 02:18 PM
Just a note: that Georgia Arms ammo linked to above is actually 158gr LSWCHP+P, though they don't list it that way. It's pretty much all I use (plus the Federal load) in my .38Spl revolvers.

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