. 38Spl Semi-wadcutter or Hollowpoints


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Choclabman
April 12, 2010, 07:40 AM
I have always preferred pistols, and need help on the subject of revolver ammunition.


I am curious as to which one is better out of small revolvers. The revolvers is question are

1. Colt Detective Special
2. S&W Model 36


My wife carries both, and has stated she prefers the recoil of a 158gr semi-wadcutter. That is fine for paper shooting, but I prefer a JHP for self defense.

I have loaded them with Gold Dot 135gr+P Short Barrel. They only see a few of these loads fired. She will shoot many 158gr semi-wadcutters and only a few of the JHP at the range.

As stated she prefers the semi-wadcutter, and would like to use them all the time. I think a JHP would be better.

When dealing with short barrel revolvers like these two, am I wrong in this thinking?

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madcratebuilder
April 12, 2010, 07:45 AM
As stated she prefers the semi-wadcutter, and would like to use them all the time. I think a JHP would be better.

Let her shoot the SWC's, it's placement that counts.

Sam1911
April 12, 2010, 09:12 AM
Shot placement is far more critical than bullet composition -- at least in this application and between the two choices given.

A 158 gr. semi-wadcutter will do JUST fine, if she hits what she's aiming at.

If she misses I can't imagine how the JHP will be better! ;)

Old Shooter
April 12, 2010, 09:38 AM
As stated she prefers the semi-wadcutter, and would like to use them all the time. I think a JHP would be better.

If the day comes when she needs to use one of those weapons SHE needs to feel comfortable and confident in the load SHE is using.

Both loads should perform equally well assuming similiar shot placement therefor I would let her use whichever load SHE prefers.

It's going to be her finger on the trigger, not yours.

I carry semi-wadcutter hollow points in my revolvers and feel secure with my choice but there is nothing wrong with a JHP either.

jfh
April 12, 2010, 09:41 AM
She could carry the Rem 38S12s--which is a 158-gr. LSWC-HP round, at (current) plus-p pressures; runs about 800+ fps from either of the two guns specified. Seems to me that round would make you both happy...

Jim H.

Manco
April 12, 2010, 02:38 PM
My wife carries both, and has stated she prefers the recoil of a 158gr semi-wadcutter. That is fine for paper shooting, but I prefer a JHP for self defense.

Don't believe the hype regarding expansion--JHPs are better suited for more powerful calibers that would otherwise grossly overpenetrate and waste much of their energy. On the other hand, 158 grain SWC rounds have a proven track record in .38 Special and will give you all the penetration (more important than expansion) you need.

I have loaded them with Gold Dot 135gr+P Short Barrel. They only see a few of these loads fired. She will shoot many 158gr semi-wadcutters and only a few of the JHP at the range.

These "short barrel" rounds are apparently designed to get the same expansion that the regular Gold Dots would get from the higher velocity of longer-barreled guns, which is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing since penetration, already marginal at best in the regular 135 grain Gold Dot, will suffer even more.

As stated she prefers the semi-wadcutter, and would like to use them all the time. I think a JHP would be better.

I think that the SWC would be a better performer in addition to being more comfortable for most people to shoot. So far I don't see any points in favor of the Gold Dot in this caliber, except for the wider wound channel, but that comes with tradeoffs in more important areas.

When dealing with short barrel revolvers like these two, am I wrong in this thinking?

In my opinion, short barrels generally benefit from heavier bullets, so that's another win for the 158 grain SWC. The old "FBI load"--158 grain LSWCHP--is also worthy of consideration if you want some expansion, but avoid the often-favored Remington version because it uses rather soft lead and will deform excessively; many people favor it because it expands so much, but expansion is useless without adequate penetration, much like penetration is useless if you can't hit the target reliably and repeatedly. I'm not saying that the JHP in question isn't effective, but I'd take these other rounds over it, given a choice.

Assuming that I'm not just plain nuts and there is a decent consensus here, tell your wife that she was right all along, and hopefully it will win you some points before it's too late. ;)

JMusic
April 12, 2010, 02:41 PM
My 638 and 36 hit at point of aim at158

ScratchnDent
April 12, 2010, 04:21 PM
My snubby is loaded with 158 LSWC right now. I figure a .358 hole through an upraised arm and into the vitals is better than a .500 hole that stops in the arm.

Husker_Fan
April 12, 2010, 05:03 PM
I have a refinished Victory that is my favorite gun to shoot. It is much more accurate with my 158 SWC loads than any commercial HP's I've tried. It also has such a good trigger that it screams to be carried, at least around the house. When it is, I use the same 158 SWCs over 4.1 grains of W231 that I shoot at the range. It just works too well for me and that gun.

Cosmoline
April 12, 2010, 05:18 PM
Between the gold dots and a soft lead SWC, I'd go with the second. It will penetrate better and be easier to shoot. But I'd take the 158 grain LSWCHP over either.

LawofThirds
April 12, 2010, 07:20 PM
Yes, bear in mind that both of those guns were sighted in to use 158g bullets which will cause the lighter ones to hit low. I'm with cosmoline on this: 158g SWCHP in lead is my choice at 158g. The normal pressure ones will be just as or more effective than a SWC and the +P stuff will expand reliably.

Choclabman
April 12, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the replies/help.

My wife prefer the 158gr semi-wadcutters. She likes the light recoil, and is dead accurate with them.

From what I have read here, I will stop pushing the JHP's.

I do appreciate the help.

W.E.G.
April 12, 2010, 10:00 PM
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/ammunition/BuffaloBoreFBIload.jpg

LawofThirds
April 12, 2010, 11:15 PM
I love the buffalo bore +p stuff but yeah, it's a little more agressive. The standard pressure 158's should be nice to her hands while still giving her an effective terminal result.

Choclabman
April 13, 2010, 07:35 AM
One last question. She has been using Winchester 158gr lead SWC(X38WCPSV) and Remington's version at the range.

Are these good for self defense, or should we look elsewhere?


I(we) are open to suggestions. I can buy a box of several different kinds, and let her choose the one she prefers.

jfh
April 13, 2010, 07:55 AM
Well, you've got two good leads here--the Rem 38S12s, and the BB20Cs W.E.G. pictured above. Why don't you get a box of each and see which she likes?

I don't think you need to look elsewhere, although my opinions are like all other poster's and worth what you are paying for them.

Jim H.

ArchAngelCD
April 14, 2010, 04:46 AM
My wife prefer the 158gr semi-wadcutters. She likes the light recoil, and is dead accurate with them.
That's all you really need to say. Did you ever wonder where the saying "Dead Accurate" came from? Think about it and you will know your wife should be shooting exactly what she likes to shoot because she's "Dead Accurate" with that load.

tasco 74
April 14, 2010, 05:30 AM
when my father in law was the town cop here he kept his little colt .38 det. spl. loaded with wadcutter reloads my brother in law
made for him..... i use the same old cast bair press to this day to reload on.... i always wondered how wadcutters were for sd work......................

LIFE IS SHORT.....

Choclabman
April 14, 2010, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the help. Ammo of the two suggested loads are one the way. Which ever one she prefers is the one she will carry. I'm out of it. It is up to her.


The reason I initially pushed JHP's, is that I was raised on pistols. HK's, Glocks, Sig's, Colt(Government, Commander), Wilson, etc. I use FMJ for practice, and JHP for self defense. I do have a couple of 4" and 6" .357 mags. I load them the same way as my pistols.

The semi-wadcutter thing is old hat to many. But is new to me. New to me, so I was leery of them.
But if they perform well for SD, and the wife prefers them, then so be it.


Thanks again to the help.

jmortimer
April 14, 2010, 11:25 AM
Don't get the Buffalo Bore "Soft" 158 SWC get the 150 grain Hard Cast DEWC - bigger meplat and better penetration. And there is the minor problem the the "soft" bullet blows apart in ballistic gelatin while the hard cast penetrates two feet. Easy decision - bigger meplat, bullet does not fragment, and better penetration.
http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20Ammunition%20150gr%20standard%20pressure%20Hard%20Cast%20Wad%20Cutter.html
http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20158gr%20(non%20+P)%20SWC-HC.html
http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20125gr%20Speer%20Low%20Velocity%20JHC.html
The Buffalo Bore 125 grain Speer JHC penetrated 12 inches and expanded to over .500 inches. Not bad -my second choice but two feet of penetrtion of blunt force works for me. I'll shoot through my target with a blunt nose/meplat.

blusteel7
April 14, 2010, 01:36 PM
My 36 is always loaded with 158-SWC

pete950
April 14, 2010, 01:58 PM
I have my back up 642 while on duty loaded with the Buffalo Boar 150 gr full wadcutter good penitration to those vitals.

Pete

joneb
April 14, 2010, 02:05 PM
she prefers the recoil of a 158gr semi-wadcutter.
and is dead accurate with them.
No arguments from me,
119557 :)

GRIZ22
April 14, 2010, 02:35 PM
As stated she prefers the semi-wadcutter, and would like to use them all the time. I think a JHP would be better.


Well...maybe. Yes, there are loads made for short barrels that will expand and all that but your wife may not the attendant muzzle blast. Muzzle blast usually bothers people more than recoil. If she shoots better with the 158 SWC loads let her use that. She won't be losing a lot. Have her try 148 wadcutters. This is what I use in short barrel 38s like those you describe. She might like those better.

You don't need to carry the highest pressure, super expanding bullet, hi tech, rhino roller load to be effective. You have to hit what you shoot at.

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