Non +P .38 Special ammo?


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gadget_man39
November 24, 2010, 10:03 PM
Greetings fellow shooters! I would like to tap into the wealth of knowledge here on THR.

I'm seeking recommendations for good standard .38 Special loads for use in a 70's vintage Colt Agent revolver. Colt does not recommend the use of +P ammunition in this gun. Suggestions for practice and SD rounds would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Oyeboten
November 24, 2010, 10:26 PM
Standard Loadings of anyone's Factory 158 Grain Semi-Wad Cutters would be good for general Target Shooting, and, should hit to something close to if not right on, for Point of Aim.


Where's the images of the little Snubulator?

SergeantC
November 24, 2010, 10:28 PM
Buffalo Bore makes standard pressure 125 & 18 gr hollowpoints, and Federal recently put the NyClad back into production as a 125 gr standard pressure round.

wrs840
November 24, 2010, 10:35 PM
For a standard practice round I like PMC Bronze 132gr FMJ.

For a SD round in a non+P I suppose Buffalo Bore #20C 158gr Soft Lead SWC-HC Hollowpoints might be the ticket, assuming your Colt Agent is a 2-1/6" bbl.

Les

Guillermo
November 24, 2010, 11:31 PM
Of course it needs to be mentioned that current "+P" is about the same power as standard pressure ammo when your gun was made.

38 Specials have been emasculated

ArchAngelCD
November 25, 2010, 01:22 AM
IMO you're in luck because what I consider to be one of the best none +P .38 Special ammo is back on the market, the Federal Nyclad (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=828) ammo. It's extremely accurate in my 1975 vintage S&W M36 and my Colt Detective.

snooperman
November 25, 2010, 07:44 AM
What is now regarded as +P is really what we used 40-50 years ago as a "STANDARD" load for the 38 special. A few of the older alloy guns failed because of the inherent weakness of those metals and because of the fear of lawsuits it was down loaded. That said, there are several excellent loads that will work just as well with the newer ammo that was mentioned such as the Federal NYCLAD that I use. Also Hornady critical defense has been shown to go through fabric at lower velocities and open up very well. The new ammo today is by far superior to what we had back then.

Creature
November 25, 2010, 07:49 AM
Buffalo Bore makes standard pressure 125 & 18 gr hollowpoints, and Federal recently put the NyClad back into production as a 125 gr standard pressure round.

For self defense, I will ONLY carry Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP Standard Pressure loads in my old S&W Chief's Special. Heavy hitting and shoots POA for short barrel snubbies.

http://i63.servimg.com/u/f63/12/63/91/01/buffal10.jpg

dogsoldier0513
November 25, 2010, 08:35 AM
Are you SURE about the 'No +Ps' from Colt? Massad Ayoob has stated that even the aluminum-framed Colts, i.e. Agents, Cobras, etc, produced from 1968 on, can safely fire in excess of 5,000 +P loads w/o damage. When I carried a Colt Agent as a BUG (ca. 1989-1992), I qualified with and carried it Federal 129 gr. +P HSs.

If you reload, try 3.2 grs. W-W W231 and either a 148 gr. wadcutter or a 150-160 gr. semi-wadcutter.

snooperman
November 25, 2010, 01:13 PM
of the early aluminum frame guns. I have 2 of them made in the 1960-65 years and was told by them not to use +P ammo in them. I do not know what the cut off date is for that but if you call Colt at !-800-962-Colt they will give you the info. With all the "New" ammo that is being made for the snubby that will do the job at low velocity with good expansion and penetration , the extra recoil with +P ammo in these light weight guns might not be needed.

HOWARD J
November 25, 2010, 01:28 PM
I have used +P ammo in my old alum frame S & W 38 spl.
After about 6 rounds the frame moved about 1000 " & I sanded it down & never used
+P again. Now I reload ammo for this gun//////////////////

snooperman
November 25, 2010, 01:35 PM
"The snubby revolver". In his first book he recommended +P in steel frame guns . And in his 2nd edition he recommends Magsafe defender loads now for alloy guns and +P magsafe for steel guns. I have a Colt Agent that was made in 1984 anfd have shot +P in it but do not like that much recoil at age 70 now so I use the Federal NYCLAD. I also carry the Colt magnum carry sometimes with 125gr 357 magnum but it is not fun to shoot.

Guillermo
November 25, 2010, 01:47 PM
I also carry the Colt magnum carry sometimes with 125gr 357 magnum but it is not fun to shoot.

Wish I could find a Magnum Carry that I was willing to buy.

That is a great gun that is largely overlooked in the sea of revolvers, probably because they made so few.

Matt018
November 25, 2010, 01:53 PM
I would say Speer Lawman, They are fmj and they shoot great out of my swith and wesson snubbie.

RSVP2RIP
November 25, 2010, 02:59 PM
I have a Colt Cobra (same thing only different grips/fiinish) and shooting a couple of +P is not going to be detrimental...however, I am told that after 1000 rounds you need to send the gunback to Colt so they can measure the frame opening to see if it is streched. Even on the steel framed detectives and such, you need to do it every 5000 rounds. I'm not sure where I read it but I want to say in a letter from Colt. I'd like to err on the side of caution so you don't wear somthing out first and just use the Buffalo Bore #20C load. It's also what I use.

Guillermo
November 25, 2010, 04:08 PM
The misinformation concerning +P is truly amazing.

First off +P ammo will not "stretch" the frame of any Colt. Not alloy and CERTAINLY not steel. That is urban legend.

Here are the facts
Prior to 1974 standard pressure 158 LRN grain factory load was rated at 855 FPS.
"Hi-Speed" loads were rated at 1,090 FPS.

todays 158 grain load is rated at 755 FPS.
The +P is rated at 890 FPS

Look at the numbers.
Today's +P ammo is barely (4%) more powerful than the standard ammo that Colt said that you could shoot with aplomb.

Shoot what you want...but do NOT buy into the marketing hyperbole about +P ammo.

Do not shoot +P+ without knowing the pressure of that particular cartridge. There is NO industry standard for +P+.

marsofold
November 25, 2010, 09:56 PM
I have the same gun with the same pressure concerns. I use Federal 125 grain HP Nyclads obtained at GB to feed it. Standard pressure, low recoil, and known performance. The Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP Standard Pressure loads do look interesting, though. Wouldn't mind seeing some gelatin expansion data on it. For targets I use Remington 130 grain MC (full metal jacket) because the bullet weight is close enough to my nyclads to keep the POI the same and I can get them cheap at Walmart.

Guillermo
November 25, 2010, 10:08 PM
facts are no match for the power of the urban legend

FCDeputy1911
November 25, 2010, 10:25 PM
I have used Winchester 125 grain silver tips and Hornaday Critical Defense Ammo 110 grain flex tip. Both do well for me .

duns
November 25, 2010, 10:41 PM
Here are the facts
Prior to 1974 standard pressure 158 LRN grain factory load was rated at 855 FPS.
"Hi-Speed" loads were rated at 1,090 FPS.

todays 158 grain load is rated at 755 FPS.
The +P is rated at 890 FPS

Look at the numbers.
Today's +P ammo is barely (4%) more powerful than the standard ammo that Colt said that you could shoot with aplomb.
Guillermo, the muzzle velocity is 4% higher but energy is proportional to velocity squared so 8% higher. Stress could be supposed proportional to energy and fatigue damage to stress to the power 3 or 4. which means fatigue damage might be 27%-38% faster. Maybe the recommendation to use non P+ is to prolong the life of the gun not to prevent it being stretched beyond use at the first shot?

Old Fuff
November 25, 2010, 10:53 PM
While the little Colt D-frame snubbies are excellent revolvers in many ways, they have one weakness in that the cylinder is latched only at the back, and not at the crane (best) or end of the ejector rod (next best). The excessive use of Plus-P loads can result in a sprung crane that no longer fits tightly against the frame. This is not a hard condition to fix, but finding someone who knows how to do it can be. One of my personal Detective Special's dates from the middle 1950's and is still as tight and well timed as the day it came out of the factory, but I have made a point of being careful what I feed it because I consider some of the stuff on the market today to be too hot for the platform on one side, and unnecessary if the shooter does his/her part on the other. On those rare occasions when I feel that a snubby won't do what needs to be done I switch to a heavier/larger gun. A snubby can give you only so much, and after that what you have is muzzle blast and flash.

Guillermo
November 25, 2010, 10:56 PM
the recommendation to not use +P is because of lawyers

If it were up to the manufacturers and their shysters they would recommend that you not shoot 38 +P out of Model 27s.

GRIZ22
November 25, 2010, 11:04 PM
The misinformation concerning +P is truly amazing.


But don't confuse pressure and velocity. You can have a higher pressure load that gives you less velocity than a lower pressure load. Also consider that prior to the 70s, velocities were measured in non vented test barrels. This would give you a higher velocity than you'll ever get in a revolver. Today they are measured in vented barrels (duplicates cylinder gap loss) or in actual handguns.

Back to the OP's question. I like the Remington 158 SWC standard pressure load. It is also one of the most accurate factory loads I have ever used. I also like 148 wadcutters in short barrel revolvers for a multitude of reasons that have been discussed countless times.

gadget_man39
November 25, 2010, 11:51 PM
Thanks guys for some great suggestions! You've given me several options to explore. I'm thinking about learning how to roll my own too! This Colt Agent has been in the family for a considerable length of time and was handed down to me, so I really don't want to do something that would damage it or cause premature wear and tear.

Thanks for all your replies!

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 12:05 AM
SaxonPig is a really smart guy and has looked into this issue ALOT.

In addition he has shot thousands of +P out of old revolvers with no ill effects.

Here is a piece that he wrote and it is worthy of your time.

http://www.smithandwessonforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=194

Gary A
November 26, 2010, 12:42 AM
I think GRIZ22 adds a caveat that is well worth taking into consideration.

Whatever the merits of these "discussions", I'm always tickled that when someone asks for a good non plus P load for an older .38 that is a memento or is difficult or impossible to replace and that they don't wish to unduly stress, they are told to go ahead and shoot plus P because it won't hurt a thing. Of course, being it's someone else's treasured or irreplaceable gun, why not tell them that?

Why in the world is it so difficult to simply answer the question?

kmrcstintn
November 26, 2010, 12:49 AM
here's the ones I know of:

Federal Nyclad 125gr lead hollowpoint
Federal Hydroshok 110gr jacketed hollowpoint
Winchester Silvertip 110gr jacketed hollowpoint
Hornady FTX 110gr jacketed hollowpoint w/ polymer tip
Hornady XTP 125gr jacketed hollowpoint
Hornady XTP 158gr jacketed hollowpoint
Remington 110gr semijacketed hollowpoint (yellow & green box)

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 01:17 AM
You are right Gary A, we shouldn't try to quell disinformation. Just answer the question.

With this newfound attitude I say that this is what everyone should shoot out of their treasured and/or irreplaceable guns.

http://www.speer-bullets.com/products/components/plastic_training_bullets.aspx

While any use will cause the gun to wear out eventually this is the best answer.

Gary A
November 26, 2010, 10:07 AM
Guillermo, I apologize for taking a shot at you even indirectly, and certainly am not trying to argue the issue because I'm simply not smart enough to do so. However, after reading innumerable threads on this subject, it is still not absolutely clear to me which information is the "disinformation" since there is a range of opinion on the matter, not just yours and that of others who make similar arguments. That's why it seems the simplest course of action is to answer the question that was asked and perhaps suggest the OP continue to research the question while shooting the good non-plus P rounds that he asked about. It's his gun and his decision and no one has suggested only shooting plastic training bullets...except you.

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 10:35 AM
Gary,

Certainly I understand your point concerning answering the fellows question, and my attempt at humor was not intended to be a "shot" (no pun intended).

His question was answered but there was a lot of misinformation, disinformation and some plain silliness concerning "+P" ammo. It does not seem responsible to allow such to hang out there unchallenged.

Gary A
November 26, 2010, 10:40 AM
Guillermo - you make a good point, certainly. I probably should keep my "mouth" shut much more than I do. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a great day.

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 10:50 AM
no worries

it's all good

Old Fuff
November 26, 2010, 11:35 AM
SaxonPig is a really smart guy and has looked into this issue ALOT.
In addition he has shot thousands of +P out of old revolvers with no ill effects.

Yup, apparently he has. And of course most everybody would like to be able to shoot today's hottest loads in whatever handgun they own. But anybody who thinks there isn't a risk should go read the link posted below.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=556239

And this isn't the only instance I know of. The problem is that while a lot of Plus-P ammunition is on the wimppy side, some of it isn't. :uhoh:

The main problem with D-frame Colt's (Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Police Positive, etc.) is not a streatched fame, or expanded chamber (although in rare extreme cases those conditions have been known to happen), but simply trying to find someone who is qualified to put an out-of-time revolver back into good condition.

In my view, the best .38 Special/Plus-P revolvers of any make say ".357 Magnum" on the side of the barrel. Then there isn't anything to worry about, and the difference in performance at the top end is really meaningful. :scrutiny:

YMMV.

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 01:51 PM
Old Fuff,

With all due respect, the thread which you posted has to do with an overcharged round, not +P ammo.

And to clarify, the "rare extreme cases" of frame bulging and stretching have never been documented with "+P" ammo.

Old Fuff
November 26, 2010, 05:13 PM
With all due respect, the thread which you posted has to do with an overcharged round, not +P ammo.

The exact nature of what the ammunition was has not been determined, but I hope further information will be forthcoming. Still it is food for thought.

And to clarify, the "rare extreme cases" of frame bulging and stretching have never been documented with "+P" ammo.

Addressing the OP who has a Colt Agent, I said:

The main problem with D-frame Colt's (Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Police Positive, etc.) is not a stretched fame, or expanded chamber (although in rare extreme cases those conditions have been known to happen), but simply trying to find someone who is qualified to put an out-of-time revolver back into good condition.

And I have put enough old Colt's back "into good condition," to know what I'm talking about.

Concerning Plus-P ammunition, I said:

The problem is that while a lot of Plus-P ammunition is on the wimpy side, some of it isn't.

Which is the main reason all of the larger manufacturers advise not to extensively use Plus-P in older guns. When someone does loosen up a gun the company often gets it back from the owner who expects to get it repaired for free under warrantee.

And last but not least I said:

YMMV (Your Milage May Vary). In other words I'm not overly concerned about what others decide to do. Without question, my observations and opinions often run against what is popular and generally accepted. ;)

Oyeboten
November 26, 2010, 05:25 PM
I myself would agree with Old Fuff, that to respect older ( say, 1960 and back ) Revolvers, one should stay with Lead Bullets, and, Standard Loadings ( and of course, keep the Revolver clean and well lubed for all moving parts) ...thus enjoying one's Shooting and one's older Revolver, with no worries of strain or wear worth mentioning.

The old S & W .38-44s or COLT New Service in .38 Special, those were heavy duty Guns and very robust, and +Ps would not bother them.


The mid frame and small Frame offerings of decades past, are a different matter.Even though some people have gotten away with firing a lot of +Ps in sixty or seventy year old mid size or smaller Revolvers, they may well have settled on a friendly enough Brand, and some other brand of Ammunition might not have allowed them the result of seeming impunity.

I would not do it.

1911Tuner
November 26, 2010, 05:59 PM
First off +P ammo will not "stretch" the frame of any Colt. Not alloy and CERTAINLY not steel. That is urban legend.

Apparently, Grant Cunningham would beg to differ. (Though he doesn't quite seem to understand how and why frame stretch happens.)


http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/articles/handguns/care-and-maintenance-of-lightweight-revolvers/

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 07:49 PM
one should stay with Lead Bullets, and, Standard Loadings
standard then or standard now?


I have put enough old Colt's back "into good condition," to know what I'm talking about
of that I have no doubt

The problem is that while a lot of Plus-P ammunition is on the wimpy side, some of it isn't.

there is an industry standard

So is it your position that the standard ammo of the 50's and 60's damaged guns or that the 4% increase from the "former standard" to +P is the straw that broke the camel's back?

It also seems that SaxonPig is a very lucky fellow that all of his 38 special revolvers were manufactured on Wednesdays. :neener:

Guillermo
November 26, 2010, 08:05 PM
Actually, after re-reading your post I find that we may agree. You MIGHT be saying that the industry standard 890 ft/sec 158 grain is a wimpy load.

If that is the case, we are on the same page.

Gary A
November 26, 2010, 08:08 PM
As I stated earlier, I simply don't have the "chops" to engage in a learned debate on this subject, however, do think it worth noting a couple of things. My memory is that most of what I have read from Saxon Pig refers to medium frame revolvers, mostly Model 10s. Checking the link that Guillermo provided confirms that, at least in that article. He certainly does not seem to ever refer, at least in my memory, to small frame snubbies, especially small frame snubbies with alloy frames. Apples and organges as far as I can tell.

Additionally (and here I am in deeper water regarding my own smarts on this), he says in the article that was linked that the SAAMI upper limit for .38 Special is 21,500 psi. It is my understanding that for years the upper limit for .38 Special was 17,000 psi and plus P was 18,500 psi. More recently some list the upper limit for plus P as 20,000 psi, not 21,500. Speer lists their 135 grain load as 21,500 psi Maximum Average Pressure in the technical bulletin but an email from Speer told me that the Speer 38 +P 135gr. Gold Dot HP ammo does not exceed 20,000 MAP (Maximum average pressure), according to the Engineering drawing for this product. 21,500 psi is the "Maximum Probable Lot Mean", (meaning 97.72% of individual pressures in a test will be below this level).
My concern here is that older snubbies, esp alloy ones, were rated for standard pressure ammo (or limited plus P) in the days of lead 158 grain LSWCHP+P ammo which would have been spec'd at 18,500 psi. At least some of the current plus P is spec'd to at least 20,000 psi. If the guns were marginal for 18,500 psi, it seems logical to me they would be, uh, even more marginal for 20,000 psi. Personally, I agree with Old Fuff in that it is not my concern what other people shoot in their guns. It is, however, of concern to me what I shoot in my guns.

I am completely willing to be convinced otherwise but the usual argument seems to be merely that old loads were strong and new loads are wimpy, so there. So until I can unearth actual data, I'll probably err on the side of caution. That's what my lawyer seems to suggest. ;)

RON in PA
November 27, 2010, 05:22 AM
If folks would read a Colt manual issued with their revolvers you will note that they recommend limited use of +P.

I am well aware that Saxon Pig and his followers have been claiming that due to a vast conspiracy of lawyers the chamber pressure of +P 38 special ammo and standard 38 special has been reduced to anemic levels. I suggest that they are wrong and do not take into account changes in testing procedures. They claim that the proof is the change in published velocities not taking into account the changes in testing since the 1970s. Recent testing of old (1940s and 1950s) standard velocity 38 special ammo (If memory serves on the Smith and Wesson Forum) demonstrated that it was just as wimpy as the current ammo.

To answer the OP, consider using 148 grain target wadcutters.

1911Tuner
November 27, 2010, 07:33 AM
If memory serves on the Smith and Wesson Forum) demonstrated that it was just as wimpy as the current ammo.

Published velocities for 158 grain LRN in an early 60s vintage Shooter's Bible was 770 fps...most likely from a 6-inch test barrel...which is strong indication that your statement is accurate. Chronographing some of that old ammo bears it out.

If folks would read a Colt manual issued with their revolvers you will note that they recommend limited use of +P.

And consider the possibility that maybe the people who engineered, designed, and proof-tested the gun may know a few things about their own products.

Many years ago, when I felt like I was wasting my time unless I shot full-powered .357 ammunition in .357 revolvers...I bulged two chambers in an early M19 with handloads that were more than a grain below maximum. The load was a 158-grain cast bullet and 14 grains of Hercules 2400. The published maxumim was 15.3 grains, which duplicated the original .357 pressures and velocities...which was developed in an N-frame gun. A steady diet of that ammunition over the course of a single summer proved ruinous to a fine K-frame revolver.

I sent it back to Smith & Wesson. A couple of phone conversations later, they started work on the gun. I was also advised that...because the frame had stretched...that it would be more expedient to face an unfinished cylinder to length than to remove the barrel and set it back a thread in order to obtain the proper .005 inch barrel to cylinder gap. The armorer that I spoke with also advised me to stick with .38 Special ammunition, or reduce the intensity of my handloads for the bulk of my shooting.

snooperman
November 27, 2010, 08:00 AM
I used the standard load for 38 specials for years in my agent and Cobra that I bought more than 45 years ago with no problems at all. As Guillermo stated, it is about what we have today with our +P loads in pressure and ft/lbs energy. When I heard that some people had timing problems , as "Old Fuff "has suggested, I started using my own weaker reloads for practice and now carry the Fedreral Nyclad ammo in them. I called Colt , on more than one occasion about this and they did not say anything about "STRETCHED FRAMES" . They mentioned timing problems.

RSVP2RIP
November 27, 2010, 12:21 PM
I don't know where I got the frame streching part, but it states right here in the manual that aluminum frames should be checked at 1000 round intervals, and steel frames at 2000-3000 round intervals. You can do what you want, but for me the argument is as pointless as saying it is safe to load ammo 4% over maximum because lawyers wrote reloading manuals. Steady diets of +P in a lightweight gun, with rear locking only, can only cause problems, IMO of course.

See Page 1:

http://www.coltsmfg.com/MediaDownloads/Manuals.aspx

Gary A
November 27, 2010, 05:20 PM
In years past, before the introduction of newer and plus P rated aluminum framed snubbies, there were many, many articles written which discussed or referred to frame stretching with hotter loads in older airweights. Now, it is possible and even likely that someone might reply with a sneer that such references are merely the rambling of "gunrag writers" and that could be true. It seems likely though that the credibility of a gunrag scribe is certainly at least as good as some person on the internet whose credentials are completely unknown if they exist at all. It seems to me after some years of reading and trying to find a definitive answer to such questions, that all one can do is research the best they can, judge the sources, and make a reasonably informed decision on what do in regard to one's own personal firearms. To flatly tell other folks that "I am right and everyone else is wrong" is, to me, somewhat irresponsible and, for me at least, actually makes me more wary of what someone like that has to say than less so. Being conservative is a way of thinking and a way of life, not just a political position. When someone is cavalier regarding my equipment, little red lights go off in my head. Like Reagan said, "trust, but verify".

Guillermo
November 27, 2010, 09:29 PM
And consider the possibility that maybe the people who engineered, designed, and proof-tested the gun may know a few things about their own products

were it up to them you would not shoot them at all

Gary A
November 27, 2010, 11:51 PM
were it up to them you would not shoot them at all
Guillermo - If your desire is to "quell minsinformation" as you earlier stated, perhaps it would help if you didn't make absurd statements without foundation and made a reasonable reply to the criticisms of your arguments instead of repeating the mantra that the manufacturers are all shills, charlatans and boobs held hostage by their attorneys.

Why not counter the arguments people have made explaining the velocity discrepancies by referencing difference in test barrels, pressure-testing methods and the like? Tell us why those arguments are flawed and why your arguments are valid. Simply repeating things like the manufacturers don't want you to shoot the guns they sell and they have "emascualted" real ammunition does not dispel the legitimate counter-statements that others have made and, in my mind at least, does not enhance your arguments but, in fact, detracts from them.

I am absolutely willing to be swayed to your point of view, but not by reading statements like the manufacturers don't want their products to be used. Such a statement doesn't pass the test of "reasonableness" and is useless in making any kind of determination.

ironhead7544
November 28, 2010, 06:52 AM
I think the main reason for the apparent loss of velocity in many of the "new" loads and the "old" loads is that many people now have chronographs. The standard 38 Special 158 gr LRN ammo runs about 700 fps in a 4 inch barrel. The 158 gr +P runs about 790 fps to 810 fps in a 4 inch.
I had an Agent 2 inch many years ago and used it as a BUG. Carries nice but is a bear to shoot, nasty recoil. I used a 148 gr wadcutter load for practice. These are about 1/2 the pressure of the standard 158 gr load. Saved my hand. Carry load was the 158 gr+P LHP that was new at the time.
If I had that Colt now I would still use the wadcutter load for practice and carry the Buffalo Bore standard load in 158 gr for carry.
A lot of people recommend the wadcutter load for carry but I dont think they are powerful enough. One exception is again the hard cast wadcutter load from Buffalo Bore.
On a very limited basis you could use any +P load for carry only. A few rounds will not hurt the revolver. Dont use any marked +P+ as these are low end 357 mag loads for use in steel guns.
One thing to keep in mind when buying ammo is that there are a number of 38 Special loadings out there from overseas. They have different standards and the pressure/velocity is higher. I noticed this with jacketed and lead ammo. The European 38 Special seems to be +P power but is not marked +P.
Just my .02.

Rexster
November 28, 2010, 05:43 PM
When I could no longer get Nyclads, and had run out of my meager back-stock, I bought the Buffalo Bore standard-pressure full wadcutters. Actually, though, I so rarely carry my old J-frames anymore, it was not an earth-changing event for me. I mostly tote .357 Mag in SP101 snubbies, so my J-frames would only be nasal-spray-range secondary weapons.

I have not seen the new Nyclads available anywhere, yet. Actually, I have come to like the idea of the BB full wadcutters.

GRIZ22
November 28, 2010, 06:23 PM
Quote:
First off +P ammo will not "stretch" the frame of any Colt. Not alloy and CERTAINLY not steel. That is urban legend.

Apparently, Grant Cunningham would beg to differ. (Though he doesn't quite seem to understand how and why frame stretch happens.)


Jim Cirillo who knew more about combat handguns and combat shooting than most people on this forum used to carry hot loads in alloy frame Colts. He said they were only good for about 500 rds before the frame would stretch and the gun was junk.

It seems other people noticed that hot loads would stretch the frame.

wcwhitey
November 28, 2010, 07:43 PM
I have done a bit of research into the subject for a First Generation Colt Agent. I came up with three rounds that look decent.

Standard Pressure 158 SWC
125 Grain Federal Nyclads
110 Grain HydraShoks

All seem to look good on paper. I settled on the 110 HydraShoks. The Nyclads were just not available at the time, they have since been showing up in abundance. I might have gone that direction if they were available. Bill

Gary A
November 28, 2010, 09:27 PM
I'm with you, wcwhitey. I can't say those are the best three rounds, but they are ones I have chosen also.

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