38 special = defensive round?


PDA






aerod1
February 1, 2008, 11:53 AM
This may have already been discussed but....What is the opinion of the hive mind regarding the credibility of the 38 special as a defensive round. Is it a good round for a CCW? Is there sufficient stopping power for a person to have confidence in a crisis? Also, what about the 38 sp.+P and +P+?
Is the 9mm a better defensive round thab a 38 special and if so, why?
Thanks for the info.

If you enjoyed reading about "38 special = defensive round?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
RNB65
February 1, 2008, 12:00 PM
38 Special is an excellent defensive round. There once was a time when just about every LEO in the country was armed with a 38 Special revolver. Most probably didn't feel outgunned until the bad guys started carrying semi-autos that hold a gazillion rounds.

+P is even better if the gun can handle it. I carry 158gr +P ammo in my Mod 60.

I wouldn't touch +P+ with a 20ft pole. You push the pressure curve too much, you may wind up wearing a topstrap embedded in your forehead.

Lee Harvey Oswald can tell you all about the effectiveness of the .38 Special. :D
.

2TransAms
February 1, 2008, 12:03 PM
The semi-wadcutter hollowpoint,aka "FBI load",did the job for years. I keep the Federal Nyclad in my wife's revolver.

Here's a link (http://www.gunweek.com/2007/feture0410.html) to a good read about the .38 Special.

DougDubya
February 1, 2008, 12:06 PM
It's a fine cartridge for self defense. There are newer rounds designed around the airweight that combine peppy speed, soft jacketing and/or lead and lighter weight for good recoil to damage, but the 158 grain +P lead hollowpoint semiwadcutter is still the king of the hill.

foghornl
February 1, 2008, 12:17 PM
The .38Spl was THE choice of The Good Guys (and some Bad Guys) for many years. Some Military folks (WWII time frame) had them, too. Do sort of very vaguely remember my long-deceased dad telling of some PT Boat officers having snubby .38Spl revolvers.

I would much rather have a good .38Spl all-steel revolver than the .380 auto and smaller handguns. Don't care for the ultra-light-tanium alloy frame .38Spl guns out there.

The .38Spl is more than adequate when you do your part...a .500S&W round is no good for self-defense if it slams into the ceiling instead of the Bad Guy.

OregonJohnny
February 1, 2008, 12:53 PM
Are you thinking of this gun for concealed carry? If so, I think one of the main things to consider on this topic is the list of very small guns on the market that shoot 9mm versus the number that shoot .38. I just bought a S&W 642 Airweight (5-shot snub-nose .38 special +P) for pocket carry. I own a Springfield XD-40 Subcompact that is just too thick and heavy for me to comfortably conceal in all situations. The 642 feels like half the weight of the XD and easily slips in a pocket. It seems like the "micro" 9mms on the market are either VERY expensive (Rohrbaugh - $900) or have caught criticism for being slightly less than reliable (Kel-Tec, Kahr, etc.). Of course, I'm sure people who own these pocket autos will chime in to say that their's is always reliable. I digress...

As stated in some above posts, the .38 special has been around for a long time and I'll bet that in the overall history of the U.S., more police officers have been armed with .38 special revolvers than any other firearm. Many still carry one as a back-up, and when I took a trip to Washington D.C. last year, I noticed about 90% of the security gaurds at the museums carried .38 revolvers (some may have been .357, but they mostly looked like S&W .38s). My point is the .38 special has been proven. In most imaginable self-defense situations, a "hot" .38 special +P hollow point is an excellent round. So is the 9mm. They both have their strong points and their weak points, but if price, reliability, and concealment are issues, I would say the .38 special gives you some better options for firearms currently on the market than 9mm.

Fred Fuller
February 1, 2008, 12:58 PM
It's good enough for me- OPMMV (other peoples' mileage may vary). Five CorBon DPXs in the +P capable 642 and five more in a Safariland speedloader in my pocket is EDC for me. If my pants have a watch pocket I usually tuck a SpeedStrip with five 158 gr. Nyclads (still got a box and a half left) and one Speer shot cartridge in there.

lpl/nc

armoredman
February 1, 2008, 01:14 PM
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/PICT0257.jpg

Eagle103
February 1, 2008, 02:13 PM
I think you've gotten lots of good advice.
I saw some Dept. of Justice data a while back that showed the .38 Special was by far the most common cartridge involved in cop deaths. The data cutoff was somewhere in the early 90's if I recall correctly.
I really wouldn't want to shoot anything more powerful out of a gun like my 642 than the 135g +P Gold Dots anyway. They're painful enough thank you.:D

1966SW37
February 1, 2008, 02:22 PM
I carry a S&W model 37 loaded with Federal's low recoil 110 grain hollow points. It's a terrific defensive round! :)

ArmedBear
February 1, 2008, 02:42 PM
There are newer rounds designed around the airweight that combine peppy speed, soft jacketing and/or lead and lighter weight for good recoil to damage,

What are they? (Just picked up my new Airweight yesterday; haven't shot it yet.:) )

DMZ
February 1, 2008, 03:11 PM
Are you thinking of this gun for concealed carry? If so, I think one of the main things to consider on this topic is the list of very small guns on the market that shoot 9mm versus the number that shoot .38. I just bought a S&W 642 Airweight (5-shot snub-nose .38 special +P) for pocket carry. I own a Springfield XD-40 Subcompact that is just too thick and heavy for me to comfortably conceal in all situations. The 642 feels like half the weight of the XD and easily slips in a pocket. It seems like the "micro" 9mms on the market are either VERY expensive (Rohrbaugh - $900) or have caught criticism for being slightly less than reliable (Kel-Tec, Kahr, etc.). Of course, I'm sure people who own these pocket autos will chime in to say that their's is always reliable. I digress...

As stated in some above posts, the .38 special has been around for a long time and I'll bet that in the overall history of the U.S., more police officers have been armed with .38 special revolvers than any other firearm. Many still carry one as a back-up, and when I took a trip to Washington D.C. last year, I noticed about 90% of the security gaurds at the museums carried .38 revolvers (some may have been .357, but they mostly looked like S&W .38s). My point is the .38 special has been proven. In most imaginable self-defense situations, a "hot" .38 special +P hollow point is an excellent round. So is the 9mm. They both have their strong points and their weak points, but if price, reliability, and concealment are issues, I would say the .38 special gives you some better options for firearms currently on the market than 9mm.

Good post OJ!

I bought a Kel Tec PF-9 thinking the little 9mm would be a better comfort choice compared to my 605. Had some problems with it I think I have sorted out, but...I don't totally trust it. It is now relegated to the top drawer of my desk and my snub got promoted again.

jad0110
February 1, 2008, 03:12 PM
Don't get hung up on foot lbs of energy, energy dump/transfer and other such theories. A 38 load that penetrates deeply enough, can be placed on target, and is fired from a reliable platform will work just as well as any other medium or large bore handgun round can be expected to. Meaning that shotguns and rifles work a heck of a lot better.

For HD, I certainly prefer my shottie. But my favorite handgun rounds are 22 LR for practice and 38 Special for defense. 38 +P in an all steel revolver has mild recoil, making follow-up shots a snap. And with the right ammo, it will meet and exceed the FBI minimum 12" penetration requirement. I don't even mind the recoil of the airweight S&W 642.

Yeah, 38 will do the job. So will 9mm, 45 ACP, 380 Auto, and heck, even 32 ACP given good ammo.

But again, a long gun is preferred. ;)

Storm
February 1, 2008, 03:54 PM
While I've always been a semi-auto guy for self-defense I'm really beginning to see the light as to a revolver, and .38 special seems more than adequate to me. Just the thought of not having to worry about an FTF is very desirable, and if there is a bad round just squeeze the trigger again and you're good to go. With most gunfights over within five rounds a revolver fills the bill nicely, and with getting good with speed strips or a speedloader the round gap closes. To me round placement and quick follow-up are the most important and the .38 special seems more than adequate for the task.

mnw42
February 1, 2008, 04:07 PM
Here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=335714) is a thread with several links to brassfetcher's billistic tests.

6_gunner
February 1, 2008, 06:53 PM
The .38 special is perfectly adequate. I'm currently debating whether I should get another .38 special revolver or if I should get a .45 auto to go with my 1917 revolver. I feel perfectly confident carrying either caliber.

Timthinker
February 1, 2008, 07:18 PM
In the past, I stated that a handguns chambered for the .38 Special/.357 Magnum/9mm rounds are fine for self-defense. I see no reason to change that opinion. Now, shotguns and centerfire rifles provide more power than the average handgun can deliver. This is something all of us will agreed upon. But if you exclude longarms such as the 12 gauge shotgun and .223 rifles from consideration, then a revolver chambered for the .38 Special cartridge is more than adequate.

In the future, I hope to write a self-defense book that expresses my thoughts on armed and unarmed self-defense measures. In that work, I intend to mention handguns and discuss calibers such as the .38 Special. Trust me, the .38 will receive a "thumbs up".


Timthinker

woad_yurt
February 1, 2008, 07:49 PM
Once, back a loooong time ago, my friend cut his hand & needed stiches, so we went to Bellevue, the city hospital in NYC. As usual, it was crowded like crazy and in the hall was a guy on a gurney who had been shot by a cop. Cops used .38s back then. He had been shot in his wrist and in his calf. That kid was a mess. After seeing him and what that gun did to him, I confidently feel that a .38 SPL is plenty for self-defense. His calf was destroyed and the wound to the wrist would make most people hurl, too. The .38 SPL seemed like a decent manstopper to me.

jaydubya
February 1, 2008, 08:19 PM
My 637 Airweight is loaded with +p 158gr LSWCHPs -- the FBI load. Three manufacturers make them, Winchester, Federal and Remington. I use the Remington version because the bullet is softer than that of the other two manufacturers, and will therefore expand more reliably out of a snubby barrel. Check Stephen Camp's website on this. Also BrassFetcher, for gobs of jello tests.

Cordially, Jack

NGIB
February 1, 2008, 08:27 PM
I practice a lot with a lot of different calibers as I'm a fan of shot placement and putting multiple shots on target. I'm comfortable with quality SD ammo in anything .380 and up - including .38 special. My main carries will be a .380 Sig and a 9mm Kahr...

Dollar An Hour
February 1, 2008, 08:49 PM
Does shooting the 158gr LSWCHP Remington +P's cause leading in the barrel, or make cleaning the gun any more difficult?

DougDubya
February 1, 2008, 08:55 PM
There are newer rounds designed around the airweight that combine peppy speed, soft jacketing and/or lead and lighter weight for good recoil to damage,
What are they? (Just picked up my new Airweight yesterday; haven't shot it yet. )

Speer's Gold Dot 135-grain load, developed for the NYPD. Federal's 125-grain Nyclad load also does good service, I heard, as does Pro-Load's Tactical 125-grain load.

BlindJustice
February 1, 2008, 09:24 PM
S & W Model 60-15 3" Bbl. .357 Mag or .38 Spcl +P
Load for inside HD is going to be below the speed of sound
my ears will thank me....
.38 Spcl +P 125 gr. Speer Gold Dot JHP @ 950 fps ,
as well as
.38 Spcl 125 gr. Hornady XTP JHP @ 1,000 FPS
I think those velocities are 4" Bbl.

& There's the new 135 gr. Speer GD .38 +P for
short snubbies with minimal muzzle blast but the
Speer GD are spendy some sell for a $1 a round which
is why I got the hornadys for practice.

I also have 500 leahdead 168 gr. SWC I want to load
in .357 Magnum cases at 1,000 fps / 4" bbl. for my
model 60 and also use in my 686P - I have a bunch of full
house .357 Magnum but wouldn't want to be blinded by
the muzzle flash as well as deafeaned

.38 SPcl I feel comfy with the above loads for HD/SD carry
although for carry I'd probably have my 1911 but that's just me.

dagger dog
February 2, 2008, 10:30 AM
aerod1
the male members of my family were men of few words, when i asked my grand father (born 1874) a similar question about the efectiveness of the .38 special he replied "there's many a dead SOB laying in the grave with a .38 bullet in him"!

on the same thought, a western man of small stature was quoted, when being asked why he carried a large .45 cal side arm .

" 'cause they don't make Fiftys" was his reply!

have fun always dagger dog

MCgunner
February 2, 2008, 11:04 AM
It has superior penetration to the .380 I often feel compelled to carry. I've seen this penetration on hogs I've shot with it in a trap. That experience gave me a bit more confidence in the round as a "stopper", too. It puts down 100 lb hogs post haste with total penetration through a lot of meat, have no doubt it'd put the hurt on a BG with a proper bullet placement. That hog thing was anything, but scientific, but when you use a weapon to kill an animal, you gain confidence in it. No, it was not charging, it was in a trap. I had time to place the shot exactly at combat-like ranges, but still......

I really see no need to carry a HUGE gun when a .38 is such a good caliber IMHO. Lots of guys carry nothing, but a 40 ounce .45 1911. They don't feel like anything less is going to work and they think the .45 "blows 'em off their feet" just like the movies. Well, sorry, but t'ain't so. Yeah, if I were going into battle I'd want more gun, like maybe a 12 gauge. But, for civilian carry, the .38 is plenty of gun and very concealable. We're talking self defense here, not assaulting the beaches of Iwo Jima. And, after all, Wild Bill (to use the old west for the answer) carried a brace of Colt Navies in .36 caliber. He knew how to shoot, of course.

The 9mm +P is a good load, up over 400 ft lbs, considerably more energy than the .38. I love my Kel Tec P11 and carry it most. It's compact and powerful and offers a lot of firepower in the pocket. It's also quite accurate. That don't stop me from carrying the .38, though, when I feel like it.

JB696
February 2, 2008, 11:08 AM
If you do much shooting from inside your car, avoid the .357. Even with all the windows rolled down and foam plugs in, your ears will be ringing for two days. And don't think you can just hold it out the window when you shoot. If you hit a big bump or drift too close to a parked car you could drop the gun or receive a serious hand injury. Go with the .38 Special. ;)

doc540
February 2, 2008, 04:43 PM
Lee Harvey Oswald

dagger dog
February 2, 2008, 07:23 PM
com'on guys

this is the good old U.S.A. let's leave the 9mm's to the europeans, i guess the US ARMY had enough of it, heard the're going to scrap it soon.

wan't a good home defense .38 special carry load 148gr LHBWC reversed seated to the case mouth 3.5 grs Bullseye. not a sniper load but very effective at 21 ft.

Noxx
February 2, 2008, 08:17 PM
Just purchased a 642 for pocket carry, first thing I did was order up a couple of boxes of Speers new JHP-SB designed around the snubby. I don't have any doubts about its effectiveness and certainly prefer it over .380 or 9Mak which were the other options in the "pocket pistol" category for me.

jaydubya
February 2, 2008, 09:11 PM
"Does shooting the 158gr LSWCHP Remington +P's cause leading in the barrel, or make cleaning the gun any more difficult?"

I have had no leading problems whatever. I must admit, however, that I shoot just five rounds of that load per range session, after fifty standard pressure hardcast 158 gr SWCs. That is quite enough.
Cordially, Jack

jad0110
February 2, 2008, 09:54 PM
"Does shooting the 158gr LSWCHP Remington +P's cause leading in the barrel, or make cleaning the gun any more difficult?"

I shoot lead and copper jacketted - I've never really noticed a difference when cleaning.

fastbolt
February 2, 2008, 09:54 PM
When I choose not to carry a larger, heavier handgun off-duty ... which is a significant amount of the time ... I reach for one of my S&W J-frames.

I've got a nice Model 37 in which I'll only shoot (and carry) standard pressure ammunition, but I have some other models in which I can shoot +P and .357 Magnum. The .357 Magnum-rated J-frame only gets Magnum ammunition for occasional range training, being carried with one or another of my preferred +P loads.

I have confidence in my 5-shot guns, but then I've invested some considerable training & practice time in them over the years, and I used to carry an issued service revolver as a young cop.

Something to consider is that not everybody seems to be able to safely, accurately & effectively shoot a DA/DAO revolver nowadays, especially a small one. Lots of folks didn't start their handgun training with DA revolvers like often used to be the situation.

I wouldn't feel all that badly if I was limited to carrying a S&W Model 10/64 loaded with +P ammunition, even as a service weapon, let alone off-duty. I just prefer a smaller, easier to (lawfully) carry platform on my own time nowadays.

FWIW, I can think of a number of current & retired LE folks who have chosen one or another of the numerous and popular S&W J-frames as their personal defensive weapons. It's not exactly an uncommon choice to hear made by a firearms instructor when it comes to personal weapons ...

However, as mentioned previously, whether or not someone can safely, accurately & effectively shoot one ought to be carefully considered.

Some folks just seem to shoot semi auto pistols a bit 'better' ...

aerod1
February 5, 2008, 09:49 PM
Thanks for the comments. I normally carry a Smith & Wesson model 638 Airweight loaded with Federal Nyclad .38 +P. there has been some discussion about the effectiveness of the 38 special. I very comfortable with my Airweight and do not feel the need for more fire power. These comments have solidified my thoughts.

wheelgunslinger
February 5, 2008, 10:14 PM
and rightly so.
It's not like anything bigger, used as well, will make a would be assailant more dead than a 38 will.

ArchAngelCD
February 6, 2008, 01:03 AM
A J frame .38 Special revolver loaded with 135gr Speer Gold Dot (http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx) .38 Special +P SB ammo, 125gr DoubleTap .38 Special +P (http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_57&products_id=215) using a Gold Dot LV bullet or one of the FBI loads (http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/results/default.aspx?type=pistol&cal=10) available on the market will do the job very well. If you have an older revolver that can't handle +P pressures Buffalo Bore (http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#standard38) has a few short barrel standard pressure rounds available that act like a +P round.

Years ago many predicted the demise of the .38 Special revolver as a SD weapon but they were wrong. The fact it's reliable and time tested along with improvements in .38 Special SD ammo the .38 Special is here to stay and for a long time I'm sure...

shooter429
February 6, 2008, 02:14 AM
IMHO, it is a better choice for pocket guns w/< 2" BBL than the .22, .25, .32 auto or .380, because it provides good caliber (.357) Bullet weight/SD (158/.177) and energy 324 Ft. Lbs ( compared to 225, 175, and 100, respectively) while still being easily controllable in rapid fire. In short, the .38 snub is very nicely balanced, ans ballistically superior to all other calibers employed for like jobs and history bears this out.

Shooter429

nitestocker
February 6, 2008, 03:05 AM
here is a nother good 38+p load buffalo bore puts out a 38+p short barrel low flash 158gr. l.s.w.c.h.p.gc 1000fps/351ft lbs i use it in my 651 ti taurus

Jumpin4Joy
February 6, 2008, 06:20 AM
The .38 Spl has a higher percentage of one shot kills over any other pistol caliber in the US as reported by the FBI.

Joe Demko
February 6, 2008, 10:13 AM
I killed a couple deer with .38 +p's fired from a Ruger Speed Six. Both of them dropped where they stood, twitched a couple times, and expired. These were pretty good sized deer, so I am confident that a good .38 special load would drop a human with a minimum of fuss.

pbearperry
February 6, 2008, 10:40 AM
It's all about bullet placement. A solid hit with a 38 spl will always be better than a grazing shot of a 44 mag.

DawgFvr
February 6, 2008, 11:08 AM
642 loaded with Corbon 110 grain DPX...

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e61/DawgFvr/642/LG2.jpg

speedly little copper bullets give me a warm and fuzzy...

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e61/DawgFvr/GP100/image026.jpg

kmrcstintn
February 6, 2008, 11:19 AM
both dad & I rely on S&W 642's with Winchester WWB Personal Defense 125 gr sjhp .38 spl +p; while living in Tennessee, I attended the CCW permit training course and our instructor was a local training officer for a local PD; his personal CCW that day was his S&W 36 that had a shroud conversion done to it; the snubby revolver is still a great choice, especially when I am in a grab & go situation...gun, pocket holster, 1 or 2 Bianchi speed strips and out the door :evil:

don't get me wrong, I am as magnum happy as the next guy, but lugging around a duty sized .357 revolver or a large framed .44 mag hunting sidearm just isn't practical most of the time...can they be concealed with the right setup & clothing? yes; is it going to comfortable & practical for the majority of us? no; which one would be more likely to be on my person? .38 snubby while the others are in the safe or stashed at home :scrutiny:

MCgunner
February 6, 2008, 01:26 PM
The .38 special spent about 80 years commonly in the holsters of law enforcement. I don't think NYPD used 'em for squirrel hunting. :rolleyes:

DawgFvr
February 7, 2008, 11:01 AM
Grim reality. One .38 special round out of a snubby:

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e61/DawgFvr/642/JFKoswald3.jpg

DougDubya
February 7, 2008, 12:07 PM
om'on guys

this is the good old U.S.A. let's leave the 9mm's to the europeans, i guess the US ARMY had enough of it, heard the're going to scrap it soon.

wan't a good home defense .38 special carry load 148gr LHBWC reversed seated to the case mouth 3.5 grs Bullseye. not a sniper load but very effective at 21 ft.

Sorry. Samuel L. Colt's first serious caliber revolver, the gun that started making men equal, was a .36 (which is what the 9mm, .357 Magnum and .38 Special are anyway). Of course, I am skipping over the .28 caliber version.

The "mid-bore" is as American as you can get. How American? John Moses Browning's first caliber for what would become the 1911 platform was .38 ACP. Need I say more?

sm
February 7, 2008, 12:39 PM
Some great posts already made I wholeheartedly agree with.

Couple of points if I may:

One needs to consider environment and mode of dress.

.38spl is a lower pressure round, and for enclosed areas, such as vehicles, less deafening than .357.

158gr standard pressure was what .38spl guns were regulated to shoot POA/POI, shot placement is a huge key in round effectiveness.

FBI is a good load, and back in the day, we shot dirt, not for penetration, instead to see how reloaded bullets held up. Some bullets were factory, some made from wheel weights, etc.

Scientific Mud/Dirt Test and if one goes to Tom Given's site, www.rangemaster.com, and read the latest newsletter, Mr. Givens shares what Mentors did when I was coming up.
Bones and Skin and load testing.

Skin is elastic, and bones do things to bullets.
In our day, SM/D Test, shooting dirt, we also put a rain slicker, or poncho over the box (skin) and added bones, chicken, ham, game cleaned - whatever.
Amazing how bullets recovered from plain dirt, and those with "skin and bones" replicated those removed from critters felled.


People and critters do not know, they are supposed to act a certain way with makes, models , calibers and bullets.

Recently, we took a 1929 Colt Detective special, and old Model 36 snub nose with UMC 158 gr LRN, standard pressure ammunition, that old "Widow Maker" load and put down a cow each.
One shot from each gun, and each cow went down.

This is not uncommon and has been done forever.

.38spl is a proven round, it will do its part, if the user does theirs.

SparxSP
February 7, 2008, 07:12 PM
Out of all the responses, I'm pretty surprised that only 2 referenced the CorBon DPX round. My name may not be Ayoob (lol), but I truly think that this is the round of the future. Lead is just toxic stuff. All copper means near Zero weight loss, and did you LOOK at those expanded rounds pictured above?? Even though there are not a lot of tests out there (yet), the expansion seems consistent, even in the smaller calibers.
Wandering off topic, I know, but for me SP101 + DPX +P = :eek: for the BG.
JMHO, of course.....

DougDubya
February 7, 2008, 09:00 PM
Sparx - I thought it was Marshall and Farnham who were hot for the DPX round.

tblt
February 7, 2008, 10:03 PM
I use the federal hydra shok 110 gr = 1000 f.p.s. in a 4 inch barrel so probley 85 in my snuby

Black Knight
February 7, 2008, 10:07 PM
My last assignment as a private security officer was protecting a federal courthouse. We were required to carry 38 Specials. We carried 125 Gr. SJHP +P loads as required by contract. I never had a problem with them out of my Model 10. When I became a DOD police officer this was the load issued for our Model 64's. Wish we had been allowed to purchase the revolvers when we went to our 9MM Berettas.

hoptob
February 8, 2008, 05:09 AM
Doc540 wrote in 642 Club Part Deux thread:
I was shooting up a hodge podge of old .38 ammo, and that round was one of a group of Remington-Peters rounds.
[Ö]
They were factory loads and hotter'n shlt. I'd only fired about eight or nine rounds when that one split in the cylinder of the Model 36.
It is a very interesting testimony because .38 special caliber cartridge of Remington-Peters manufacture, with 158-grain lead round nose bullet is the round which killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

I donít have velocity data available for this round but here is a scan from contemporary reloading manual (Speer #5, 1961) showing what .38 special caliber loads USED TO BE like around the time Jack Ruby took his shot.

http://s247.photobucket.com/albums/gg160/hoptob/th_Speer5pp260261.jpg (http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg160/hoptob/Speer5pp260261.jpg?t=1202467082)
click on the thumbnail to enlarge

I think we still use some of these loads. We just call them... 357 magnum. ;)

Mike

Firepower!
February 8, 2008, 12:34 PM
What would be a good .38 Special in 2'' barrel that would handle +P ammo?

geekWithA.45
February 8, 2008, 12:42 PM
What would be a good .38 Special in 2'' barrel that would handle +P ammo?

Just about any smith snubby meets that call.

RandomMan
February 8, 2008, 12:57 PM
I don't mind .38 special, but I believe in +P loads, for sure. At minimum, you need to get a good standard pressure round (like the Buffalo Bore standard pressure rounds), otherwise I don't feel you'll get either adequate penetration or adequate expansion.

Excellent rounds to look at, the Remington FBI 158-Grain +P LHP, the Speer Gold Dot 135-grain +P Short Barrel Load, and the Corbon 110-grain +P DPX load.

-Rob

Soybomb
February 8, 2008, 01:36 PM
I think you could do a lot better, but you can also do a lot worse. I like a 2" jframe with Winchester's X38SMRP, the 148gr super-x wadcutter in the cylinder for low recoil and a speed strip of the speer 135gr +P short barrel loads for extras. In a gun with a longer barrel the 158gr lswchp becomes a decent choice too since it gains enough velocity to expand after clothing.

bayouboy
February 8, 2008, 11:05 PM
Two words on the 38- Jack Lord.

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p9/rpweimer/SteveMcGarrett.gif

If you enjoyed reading about "38 special = defensive round?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!