.38 special roundnose for defense


April 4, 2008, 02:55 PM
I am temporarily using 38 special non p+ round nose in my S&W pre model 10 as
defense rounds because in my area I cant find non p+ hollow points because my revolver is not rated for p+ ammunition.
The ammo is Mag tech 158 grain lead round nose I also have Sellier and Belliot FMJ 158 grain both are 38 special.
Any input on this?

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April 4, 2008, 03:02 PM
Nothing wrong with the 38 special.

I would take a look at the buffalo bore standard pressure loads. I haven't used them, but have read some favorable reviews.

I know that Smith says it is not rated +P, but todays +P loads really aren't all that hot and it is a K-frame. I have a 1948 6" M&P that has digested thousands of rounds of 5 gr of Unique under 158 gr LSWC with no problems. It's my plinking load, but it falls under +P category these days.

Best of luck,


April 4, 2008, 03:05 PM
I will definetly research it some more when it comes down to that.
Thank you for your help

April 4, 2008, 03:06 PM
Federal made some non +p .38 rounds a few years back. They were called Nyclads. Had a nylon coated lead bullet to cut down on barrel fouling. They also made some non +p hydrashocks. Worst case scenario is you'll have to order something.


There are some of natchez's offerings. There are a handfull of non +p JHP rounds there.

April 4, 2008, 03:17 PM
You might also want to take a look at some of Stephen Camp's articles. He posts here and is a wealth of information. I always enjoy reading his range reports and evaluations.


April 4, 2008, 03:31 PM
Federal makes a 110-gr. 38 NOT-Plus-P PD round; I carried it while I was acclimating to my 340.

The comments about SAAMI dropping the 38 Special / +P specs are very true. I don't think I would hesitiate to carry the Speer 38+P 135-gr. PD round at all, but I would not routinely shoot thousands of them in your guh.

Jim H.

April 4, 2008, 03:36 PM
Roundnose is never a good choice for self defense.Over penetrates and almost never expands.

Steve C
April 4, 2008, 04:34 PM
+P ammo isn't going to blow up your gun, it wasn't rated for +P because there was no such ammo designation when it was made but they had hot rounds called "police loads" that was the equivalent of current +P and officers who carried pistols like yours used them without worry.

Buy yourself a box of good +P ammo from one of the major manufacturers like Remington, Winchester or Federal in the 20 or 25 round box. Take 6 out and shoot them at a target and see if you can hit with them at a usual self defense range like 10 to 15 yds. Load 6 for self defense and carry and the rest in in a speed loader or two and you are set to go. Practice with your round nose standard velocity. If you never shoot another +P round out of your pistol in your life its a blessing not a problem. Maybe in 10 to 15 years or so you may have to shoot up those SD +p rounds and buy another box of them.

April 4, 2008, 04:41 PM
When you open the crane, does it show a 10-X number?

Jim March
April 4, 2008, 04:49 PM
Round-nose is the worst possible choice.

At least find some standard-pressure "Keith type" nose ammo. Or target wadcutters - yes, they're low on raw power but that blunt nose can put some hurt out even down around 700fps as they're typically loaded.

Much better yet, go get some Buffalo Bore standard pressure - I recommend the 158, although their high-speed full wadcutter has a lot of merit too. ("Everything you like about target wadcutters, with 200fps more heat on 'em...")

April 4, 2008, 05:08 PM
RN has a pretty poor track record. The shape actually makes it slip past tissue rather than destroying it, and reduces the size of the hole. There is some deformation given that it's soft lead, but not nearly enough A wadcutter would be better, and a SWCHP would be the best.

What is your revolver? If it's an all-steel classic like a Det. Special or Model 36 you should be fine with +P. It's not dangerous, though a sustained use of hundreds of rounds will loosen the revolver faster than standard loads.

April 4, 2008, 06:48 PM

April 4, 2008, 07:44 PM
You convinced me not to rely on those rounds for defense and thank you for taking the time to make that picture/experiment.
I thought the 158 grain weight and 4 inch barrel was enough of a set-up for minimum defense but if it cant even break a golf ball it wont do much on a attacker.Are they loud by the way?I have not shot them yet

dbarale When you open the crane, does it show a 10-X number?
Its like this K

What about the Sellier and Belliot 158 grain FMJ shouldn't they pack more of a punch then the lead round nose?

April 4, 2008, 08:13 PM
I think that was a pretty freak shot (2-1/8″ Model 60), but I wouldn't recommend the load for self defense. However, as you state it's what you have now, just recognize that it has limitations and shot placement is that much more critical. The load is loud enough; use hearing protection when practicing. I used to hunt jackrabbits with an old model 10 and used Federal 129 grain Hydra-Shok and 158 gr +P LSWCHP to good effect.

BTW- It's been my experience/preception that Seller & Bellot loads are hotter than the Magtech equivalent.

April 4, 2008, 09:10 PM
That's an amusing picture. I came to the same conclusion after firing a a few cases of 158gr RNL ammunition when I first purchased my revolver. They are slow. I could see mine going down range if the sunlight was to my back and their effect on targets was unimpressive. They're okay for practice but I wouldn't recommend them for anything, although they're certainly better than nothing.

It isn't really the velocity that makes them such a poor choice. 158gr is a fairly heavy bullet for a handgun but mine were factory spec'd at 750fps which, IMO, means they were probably even slower. It is the slippery lead bullet with a long nose that is prone to ricochet and sliding through targets without crushing or tearing damage. The S&B 158gr FMJ is more of the same but with extra velocity.

In standard velocity ammunition I would use a flatter nosed semi-wadcutter or keith style bullet, and a heavyweight hollow point in +P. A standard pressure .38 hollowpoint just doesn't have the juice to expand reliably, so you might as well hedge your bets on a bullet with a large meplat to penetrate and make a nice hole. The FBI load 158gr +p SWCHP (semi wadcutter hollow point) is a classic and effective round with the newer Speer 135gr +P gold dot hollow point becoming quite popular.

I think it may be worth noting that most of the new .38 special loads are being optimized for use in short barrels, so if you're using a full size model 10 you can expect a useful increase in velocity.

April 4, 2008, 10:25 PM
I have a box or two of non plus p Winchester 110gr silvertip hollow point ammo for guns I feel I don't want to shoot much plus P in like a S&W mod 442.

Jim March
April 4, 2008, 10:30 PM
FMJ is no better than lead round nose, except that sometimes you can find 130gr FMJ that is moving faster than 158LRN...by a bit.

Guys...nose shape matters, m'kay? The flatter the frontal profile the better. Makes a better "squish".

April 5, 2008, 01:28 AM
1) As stated above, your .38 Model 10 is a steel K-frame. It should handle standard +P rounds just fine.

2) Standard round-nose ammo a) does not expand; b) overpenetrates in places where it shouldn't overpenetrate; and c) deflects off of bone and ricochets off of buildings, bone and other hard surfaces.

Round-nosed bullets look impressively large, but they're bad news for defense. The +P 148-gr SWC should be just fine.

April 5, 2008, 02:04 AM
Like said above, I would use a LRN bullet for SD but I would use a 148gr LWC or a 158gr LSWC. Until you can find the ammo you want to use I would suggest using a Wadcutter or Semi-Wadcutter in your revolver. It punches a nice big round hole in everything except for bone.

April 5, 2008, 08:37 AM
I load my Model 10 with +p's for defense and shoot inexpensive FMJ for practice. I carry wadcutters in my Model 442 Aireight.

April 5, 2008, 08:59 AM
gb6491, that is a great picture. I've seen .38 spl and 9mm and even .45 acp bounce off of bowling pins just like that. Sometimes they'll come right back to the firing line. Saw a guy get hit in the forehead once from a .44 spl. bouncing back off of a pin. Needs more cowbell.

April 5, 2008, 09:50 AM
Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department used +P Remington R38S12 (or equivalent) in Smith and Wesson Model 10's for years.



April 5, 2008, 11:19 AM
I used to routinely bounce 148 gr .38 lead wadcutters off of junked appliance targets (washing machines, water heaters, etc.) and auto bodies. The bullets would mushroom impressively, but litter the ground in front of the targets after dimpling the sheet metal (like the depicted golf ball).

On the other hand...

I've seen a 200 gr LRN penetrate two interior walls of a restaraunt and continue thru several stacked boxes of dry goods in a storage room.

I've also seen 5 people shot with the same load (200 gr LRN) from a 2.5 inch snub RG .38 revolver. All five immediately fell down. One DRT. Four victims hit with a single shot. One fellow hit twice. Range varied from about arms length to about 2 meters. IIRC, no exit wounds except for one through and through to a leg.

A good hit with a lead round nosed bullet will kill (like any other round).

April 5, 2008, 11:29 AM
Just buy yourself some decent hollow point ammunition, whether they are jacketed or not, +P or not, up to you, but don't leave your defense gun loaded with the worst possible choice of bullet styles. Like someone said earlier FMJ is no better than LRN, except it might be a little faster, I think it might even be worse because where a LRN hitting a bone might deform, an fmj probably won't. Deformation really helps handgun bullets out, perfromance wise.

If you have a little bit of disposable cash right now, you could sign up on gunbroker and look for a seller named sellforless. she has some items, Speer .38 special +P 135 grain gold dots, five boxes of fifty for 65.00, +12.00 shipping and handling. I bought some last week.

That's really cheap for a great defense load, that price after shipping puts it at the exact same price as range ammo in my area. And with 250 rounds, you can practice a little with it.

Apple a Day
April 5, 2008, 12:48 PM
I'll make sure I don't use LRN the next time I'm attacked by a golf ball. :rolleyes:

April 5, 2008, 01:07 PM
I'll make sure I don't use LRN the next time I'm attacked by a golf ball. That's a wise decision; most of the time, people just club them to death;)

April 5, 2008, 08:16 PM
I have a late 1970s .38 CHIEFS Special Model 36, and I quote from my org. specification page: Some .38 special ammunition is being manufactured to specifically meet U.S. Treasury Department specifications for a more powerful cartridge. This so called Plus-P-Puls or Plus-Plus-P ammunition generates pressures significantly in excess of industry standards and in excess of the pressures associated with commercially-available ammunition. Such pressures may exceed the margin of safety built into many handguns and could therefore be dangerous.

We understand that this ammunition is not being offered for sale commercially, that it is packaged in different boxes, that is marked for law-enforcement use, and that it carries the stamping used by Winchester-Western Division of Olin, and FC-LE identifies such cartridges manufactured by the Federal Cartridge Company.

In the case of Smith & Western handguns chambered for .38 special ammunition, this warning applies to all 5-shot, small frame (Model J) revolvers and to those 6-shot, medium frame (Model K) revolvers manufactured prior to 1958. "

With that said my S&W Model 36 was made after 1958 and I shoot +P ammo anytime I wish.

April 5, 2008, 08:43 PM
The main difference between the +P and +P+ is that +P has a SAAMI top end. The +P+ has no top end so depending on the manufacturer it could be just over the +P level all the way up to dangerous pressure levels. As I said before, +P ammo is a far cry from hot 38 specials of years gone past and I would not hesitate to shoot in my steel k-frames. I do have some Corbon +P+ 158 gr LSWC at approximately 1000fps that shoots nicely in my model 66, but is definitely too much for a J-frame.

YMMV, but I still have a hard time understanding the ferocity and fear associated with shooting a 158 gr LSWC +P moving about 900 fps out of a steel k-frame gun. It's just not that hot.

April 5, 2008, 09:48 PM
When I turned in my issue Model Ten last year, I had managed to put a recorded 68,800 rounds through it in a shade over five years, and ALL of them were either full-charge 38 standard-pressure, or +P, most in the latter category. (Almost 30,000 of those rounds went downrange in a single year, I was a bowling pin-shooting JUNKIE!) The gun was well-used when I got it, didn't have much finish left, and the serial number dated it to 1961.

It also had a DA trigger that told me it had been shot a lot through the years, so I wasn't worried about breaking it, hell, it wasn't my gun anyway. So I shot loads that duplicated what I carried on duty, which was a 158-grain +P load. The gun was as tight and accurate when I turned it in as the day I got it, the only difference was that the trigger was a little slicker. Don't sweat +P's in your M-10, at least now and then. Shoot the LRN's for practice, and carry the hot stuff with you, if it makes you feel better. The older Smiths, especially the M-10's, are GREAT guns. If you can wear it out in less than three generations, you're doing a LOT of shooting.


April 5, 2008, 10:41 PM
Hornady has some non +P JHP...that's what I usually have in my older Taurus 85, or some SJHP by Fiocci or somebody like that.

Jim March
April 6, 2008, 04:54 PM
Stay AWAY from +P+ unless you know exactly what you've got and what your gun can cope with.

+P+ was a fraud by law enforcement, a way to avoid saying "we use 357Magnums" on a witness stand. The term "magnum" came under fire from the Dirty Harry movies. Most of the police-only +P+ was just a tiny step down from 357...

April 6, 2008, 05:03 PM
I wonder how the Police got the ammo makers to join in on this fraud?:banghead:

April 6, 2008, 05:08 PM
I've also seen 5 people shot with the same load (200 gr LRN) from a 2.5 inch snub RG .38 revolver.

?? Are you talking about .38 Specials or .38 S&W. I don't believe anyone has been shot by a 200 grain .38 SPECIAL, because that load is extremely exotic. OTOH the .38-200 load of the S&W was used all over the world.

At any rate, a 148 or 158 grain SPECIAL will NOT bounce off an appliance unless it's seriously downloaded. The S&W might.

April 6, 2008, 07:52 PM
I agree that seeking out quality hollowpoint loads is the ideal thing; Buffalo Bore, Winchester (Silvertip 110gr), Federal (HydraShok 110gr), and Hornady (XTP 125gr & 158gr) are the standard pressure ones that I am aware of;

if you feel that a solid 158gr leadhead is better, get a semiwadcutter design; if you really want a 158gr lrn, then get CCI Blazer (aluminum cased) 158gr lrn...the lead is hardened and shaped more like a 9mm fmj bullet; this should offer you better penetration, but be aware of overpenetration; be sure you don't have any precious things in front of or behind the walls in your house (especially loved ones) since a hardened lead round nose makes for deep penetration

April 6, 2008, 09:17 PM
I carried a S&W Mdl 10, well actually two different ones about 6 out of my 13 years of law enforcement. Practised monthly, no where near 68.000 rounds, with +P and never had any problems. Dump the RNL downrange and never use them for pesonal defense again. As previously stated, if you are still uncomfortable with +P at least use a semi-wadcutter or wadcutter.

April 6, 2008, 10:27 PM
I don't think the +P+ is magnum ammo. I used them in my 38 Special Charter Arms Undercover for years. I did not like them because they just did not have the killing power I needed. That is why I purchased a 44 Special last year. My next revolver is going to be a 454. When I shoot something I want to kill it.

Jim March
April 7, 2008, 12:04 AM
I wonder how the Police got the ammo makers to join in on this fraud?

Yes, that's what actually happened. Police agencies wanted magnum-class power without having to admit they were using magnums. Federal, Winchester and others went along.

I've seen velocity data for some early Winchester 110gr JHP 38+P+ from the late '70s that clocked over 1,300fps from a 2.5" 357 snubbie. That's enough pressure to destroy many 38Spl small-frame revolvers in just a handful of shots.

Somewhere on the forums somebody wrote in on their experiences as a cop in that era. They wanted to use their personal snubbie as a backup. The police rangemaster/armorer made them use the standard 38+P+ duty ammo in it and snickered as it shot the gun loose across a single qualification session.

On the stand: "Oh no Mr. opposition lawyer, we don't use evil baby-killing MAGNUM ammo...we use nice normal 38Spl like cops have used for 100 years"...yeah RIGHT.

This really happened, folks. Be REAL careful with 38+P+.

April 7, 2008, 12:39 AM
I just picked up a box of Rem 125 gr .38 spl + P SJHPs.

I'm hoping they are accurate and controllable.

April 7, 2008, 09:53 AM
Warren, I'm sure they'll be a good choice. Remington makes good, quality ammo, and that bullet weight is a good choice for a smallish gun. Accuracy is mostly a function of the shooter, but controllability in rapid fire is better with bullets UNDER 158 grains. I think you made a good choice.


April 7, 2008, 11:17 AM
I normaly just read but was compelled to post about magtech ammo. I just moved and don't have my reloading gear set up so I went out and purchased about $150 worth a magtech 158grn lrn 38s and also tried 40 rnds of there gold line of sd ammo. I am very disapointed I end up with a ftf about every 10 rnds in the lrn and had 1 ftf in 20rnds of golden stuff. This is from 2 revolvers and eventually a contender. I ended up putting the missfired rounds from the first two boxes and all the rounds from the remaining in the contender they all eventually went off but some took as many a 9 tries (most took 2).

April 7, 2008, 11:18 AM
Welcome to THR!

That's rough, I've never heard of centerfire ammo so bad.

Elm Creek Smith
April 8, 2008, 12:56 AM
Back in the '50's and early '60's, Winchester-Western loaded the .38 Special Super Police with a 200 grain RNL bullet at about 700-600 fps. This was in the days before hollow-points and +P pressure loads. They had a reputation as good stoppers from a 4 inch or longer barrel. Interestingly, they were just barely stabilized due to their heavy weight and almost always tumbled after impact. That might be where they got their "stopping power."


April 8, 2008, 10:01 AM
1. "?? Are you talking about .38 Specials or .38 S&W. I don't believe anyone has been shot by a 200 grain .38 SPECIAL, because that load is extremely exotic. OTOH the .38-200 load of the S&W was used all over the world."

2. "At any rate, a 148 or 158 grain SPECIAL will NOT bounce off an appliance unless it's seriously downloaded. The S&W might."

1) The shooting I mentioned was with factory .38 Special 200 gr. LRN. This used to be a very common factory loading back in the day. Hardly exotic and carried by many U.S. police agencies for decades. They were NOT the British-based .38-200 load. I shot thousands of both through various K-Frames back in the 70's.

I examined weapon, ammo, and ammo box at the scene. Definitely not .38 S&W nor .38-200.

2) Re: 148 gr .38 Special WADCUTTERS (flat face target loads with bullet flush to case mouth). I wouldn't expect a 158 gr bullet to bounce off either (nor did I say it would). Bounced hundreds of 148 LWCs off of described targets many times. They would dent the sheet metal pretty good, but wouldn't penetrate. The lead rounds would generally mushroom to a huge diameter. Yes, I guess you could say downloaded (compared to duty ammo). I never came across any LWC rounds that weren't downloaded. Their only purpose was to provide low cost, low recoil target practice and cut perfect little circles through bullseye targets. Not so good against VWs or Kenmores. :)

April 8, 2008, 11:11 AM
using a snubbie instead of clubs? Now that I can relate to. After all, there are bowling pin matches as well.

How far did the ball go? Instead of lugging a heavy golf bag, we just need a holster and a 100-round case-guard. Do you have to use reduced loads for putting, primer-only perhaps?

April 8, 2008, 11:18 AM
The old lead round nose gave .38 special a bad name. Fortunately, there are better loads that have giving it a good reputation.

BattleChimp Potemkin
April 8, 2008, 11:21 AM
Not to be divergent, but I love the old 200 gr. loads. Im an old revolver nut, like the idea of revolver fighting, not just revolver defense or revolver shooting. Where can I find just 200gr. LRN for .38? All I can find is gas checked expensive stuff for .357.

This is for handloading of course ;)

April 8, 2008, 12:57 PM
Battle Chimp, they don't make the 200 grain any more. I liked them also but now you would have to reload to get them. I have two rounds of Remington 200. You won't find them anywhere, fractories stopped making them was back in the seventies. There is a company that has cast 200 or 195 but for the life of me I can't remember who.

April 8, 2008, 02:02 PM
Hornady has some non +P JHP...that's what I usually have in my older Taurus 85
+1, if you can find them in your area. They're what I carry.

Link (https://www.hornady.com/shop/?ps_session=c1927da023be952bfe4c1c86d06d90fe&page=shop%2Fbrowse&category_id=3e2f45242ea2a7efdd8e971b8d14b335)

April 8, 2008, 03:44 PM
I heard that 158 grain flat nosed semi-wadcutters have taken down a lot of bad guys.

April 8, 2008, 04:12 PM
I think the best option for non-+P loads is still the FBI load, aka the Metro load, aka the Chicago PD load. A 158-grain hollow-point at about 850 fps, not the cleanest shooting load but if you point it right, you only need a couple of them. The Federal Nyclads were made to duplicate it, without all the airborne lead. Why they ever discontinued that ammo is beyond me, maybe they'll bring it back in a limited run for all those who carry 38's!


April 8, 2008, 04:41 PM
In the 1970s, gun guru Jeff Cooper wrote a book on handguns which evaluated different cartridges. Not surprisingly, he spent quite a bit of space on the .38 Special since that was a popular police round at the time. Cooper recommended a semi-wadcutter design also. While a "hot" loaded semi-wadcutter design improves the performance of this cartridge, shot place is still the paramount feature.

This is a good thread since we get to hear from some of our mature members who were active in firearms at that time. It is nice to know how things have changed. Thanks for the good stories.


April 8, 2008, 05:14 PM
I bought a box of Winchester 110 grain +p+ a few years ago. 1430 fps from a 6" Dan Wesson 709. That's pretty hot in my book! I've only got a single speedloader full of those loads left. I figure the DW is a stout peice, and can handle those loads OK. The Chicago PD, or metro load, shoots well from the same gun for about 2 cylinders full, and then accuracy goes down the tubes. Then it's time for the Lewis lead remover. Nowadays I use the Federal 129 grain +p+ hydrashocks. They shoot great and don't lead the gun up.

April 8, 2008, 05:29 PM
if thinking defensively..probably wise to think
a worst case scenario...BIG..drugged up...determined..
and armed...
now, what you want to shoot the guy with?
I carry a 32 often...but I load it with the best I can find...
same with my 9mm and 38 and 45...
if we all wanted the best it would be a 357 mag 4 inch
shooting 125 JHP...the 357 sig is catching up..the 45acp is close in a
right gun...and the 40S&W is not that far behind..but
best is the 357 in a 4 inch...BUT..too big for my pocket...
if you want your 38 to do it's best...no, not round nose...
but, if you want to know if round nose will work..yes it will...
in my law enforcemernt carrer I have seen 2 men dropped in about 2 seconds
with lead round nose from a SNUBBY 38...one was dead when he hit the floor
and the other died 3 days later in a hospital....would it work on another 2 guys?...maybe...maybe not. I'd suggest load the best and hope for the best outcome. instead of load the least and hope for the best.

April 8, 2008, 05:54 PM
I still have most of a box of 158gr. Nyclads. And to think I shot them like reloads, I had well over 1500 rounds at one time.

Now let me throw a kink in the equation, will a Model 12 S&W handle +P loads?


Elm Creek Smith
April 8, 2008, 09:33 PM
One of the ammo dealers at the Wanenmacher Arms Show in Tulsa last weekend had eight or ten boxes of Federal NyClad ammo. I didn't know they weren't making it anymore!


April 10, 2008, 11:50 PM

Those old S&W Model 10s, as well as the J-frame snubbies generally had their sights regulated to shoot to Point Of Aim (POA) with 158 grain bullets.

With handgun bullets, choosing the right bullet weight DOES affect whether the gun shoots high or low. The LIGHTER the bullet, generally the LOWER it hits on the target, and visa versa.


Well . . . the one that shoots to the bullseye point of aim, of course, at your chosen practice distance! Bullet PLACEMENT is everything!!!!!


You'll probably find that this will end up being a 158 grain load that shoots the centers out of a target at ten yards away.

You can't really beat the good old FBI load (158 grain LSWC-HP +P). Remington still makes it and that's what works best in my Model 36 snubbie too.

The other wonderful round in my wheelgun is the 148 grain target load. Yeah, it SHOULD shoot a little lower, BUT the slower velocity means it exits the barrel slightly later, as the barrel begins its rise . . . so both rounds impact just about the same point at ten yards.

Here's a perfect "Point Of Impact" at a target that's only an inch black square . . . shot standing and unsupported at a DISTANCE of TEN YARDS. This is the POA criteria I mentioned is so important . . . much more important than which hollow point load one is carrying.

Your POA results may vary but I'll bet the results will be similar.

+P loads in 158 grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollowpoints will NOT wear out your Model 10 wheelgun for self defense purposes. For practice? Use the light kicking 148 grain Wadcutters.

Heck, for self defense purposes, those obscenely light-kicking 148gn. Wadcutter bullets cut a wicked and large hole as they tear through muscle, bone AND blood vessels. It is actually a pretty decent SD round on its own merit!!!

Ditto on shooting up your roundnose bullets and going for hollowpoints. Although I wouldn't want to be shot by one, I wouldn't want to stake my life on their effectiveness either!

Hope this helps,


April 11, 2008, 12:17 AM
Round nosed 158 grn .38 SPECIALS absolutely WILL bounce off of appliance sheetmetal! Many years ago I did a non-scientific comparison between a Taurus revolver (I forget the model #)with a 4'' barrel loaded with Remington .158grn lead round nose and a Universal .30 cal. carbine with Remington 110 grn hollow points. While the carbine round easily passed through both sides of an old washing machine the .38 specials never penetrated,not even once. Every one balled up and fell to the ground! This was at about 15-20 feet.:what::eek:

April 11, 2008, 07:36 PM
Round nose 38's have a crummy reputation for a lot of reasons.......they overpenetrate, don't do much damage to tissue, make a tiny permanent wound channel, yada yada yada. Wadcutters, especially the dead-soft lead type, are not much better. They might tear through blood vessels, but dense muscle and bone? Kinda doubt it. A buddy of mine interrupted an armed robbery years ago, the bad guy in the passenger seat opened up on him, then his pistol jammed. My buddy had just resigned from his PD, and was carrying wadcutters instead of JHP duty ammo. He fired six shots DA from his Colt.....and all six flattened out on the windshield right in front of the bad guy before careening off in all directions. A SEMI-wadcutter cast hard will penetrate lots of stuff, and will still cut a full-caliber hole.

As for Point of Aim, my duty gun (M-64 4-inch) is dead on with 158-grain loads at about 850 fps, but it also shoots the Speer 135-grain Short Barrel load to the same spot. So I practice with one, carry the other, and don't have to worry about varying POI.


April 12, 2008, 10:19 AM
My mother-in-law had LRN in her nightstand revolver. I like my mother-in-law so I spent $25 on some decent ammo for her.

April 12, 2008, 01:06 PM
Have you seen any Aguila Ammo? they have a SJHP in 158gr standard pressure, seem ok.
What happens if you drill a hollow on LRN nose?, will it work???

April 12, 2008, 01:14 PM
I use federal hydra shok low recoil 110 gr hollow points.
Try mail order cheaper than dirt or the sportsmans guide.

April 12, 2008, 01:25 PM
"...What happens if you drill a hollow on LRN nose?, will it work???"

It will work, all right--to ruin the ammo for accuracy, not to mention changing the weight and generally ruining the bullet.

If you want 158-gr. LSWC-HP ammo, you can buy the Rem #38S12 at Sportsman's guide for about $.55 per round / 27.50 box of 50, or you can buy the Georgia Arms 38E for about 10.00/50--min. order of 5 boxes, I believe--only they're not boxes, but poly bags.

Or, if you're a reloader, you can buy either Hornady or Speer 158-gr. LSWC-HP bullets for about 10 cents each--boxes of 300 or 500, respectively. See Midway.

Jim H.

Jim March
April 12, 2008, 07:32 PM
On wadcutters...what's usually wrong with 'em isn't the shape, it's the fact that most are labeled "target" and are seriously wimpy in terms of speed.

Buffalo Bore's variant doing about 900+ even in a snub is a whole 'nuther story entirely. Right now, that's the only source of a combat-grade full wadcutter in a factory load.

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