.38spl SD ammo choices (or tell me about the nyclad)


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Jenrick
February 16, 2011, 01:25 AM
I was browsing the .38spl SD options, and saw Federal Nyclad being offered. I never really knew much about it, but do remember that it was supposed to be a pretty decent round. Can anyone provide any more info on it? I'm primarily looking for a medium to low recoil round with good expansion out of a 4" barrel. My wife much prefers my M15 to anything else I own, and is pretty recoil sensitive. I normally keep my M15 loaded with 125 grp gold dot JHP's, and she finds them a bit too hot for her taste.

-Jenrick

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W.E.G.
February 16, 2011, 01:47 AM
I bought a box of Nyclad ammo to shoot out of an alloy-frame S&W snub.

Accuracy (group size) was worse than any other ammo I fired, and it shot way low.

Soft lead 158-grain semi-wadcutters are as good as it gets in .38 Special.
No home invader was ever killed with muzzle-flash.

158's shoot to point of aim.
Stick with what has long been known to work.

DBR
February 16, 2011, 02:35 AM
If you don't want to step up to relatively heavy recoiling, very loud, ammo like Speer Gold Dot 135gr +P or very expensive ammo like 110gr DPX, it is hard to beat standard target 148gr wadcutters.

Forget all the ammo company hype. Wadcutters penetrate about 16" and leave a wound channel similar to 45 ACP 230gr ball. They penetrate straight and don't depend on expansion. They are what I use.

See here: http://www.brassfetcher.com/38wadcutter.html

As a side benefit they won't rupture your ear drums if you have to fire them in your bedroom.

NG VI
February 16, 2011, 04:25 AM
Listen to WEG. He's got some good knowledge.

Dave T
February 16, 2011, 11:27 AM
My experience with Nyclad rounds was uniformly poor accuracy in a variety of handguns. I too recommend factory wad-cutters for 2" 5-shot revolvers, particularly the light weights.

Dave

artee
February 16, 2011, 11:49 AM
My understanding is Nyclads were descontinuted by Federal. I haven't seen them in some time--not even the shops with a 3/4 in dust layer on everything. Since a box or two would do you, maybe cruising gun shows or pawn shops will pay off.

Bush Pilot
February 16, 2011, 12:45 PM
I must be the only person on this planet that isn't overly concerned about the accuracy of SD ammo out of a snubbie. My thought is any of my shots probably won't be more than 10 feet and I can put 2 shots in the vitals with virtually any ammo at that range. I would worry more about bullet performance than accuracy. In a SD situation your heart is going to be pounding a million miles an hour and you'll be lucky to get off a couple of shots.

Manco
February 16, 2011, 02:38 PM
I agree with regard to the wadcutters--although somewhat limited in momentum, relatively speaking they'll spend more of it tearing and crushing tissue rather than pushing it aside like other types of rounds tend to do. They're easy and pleasant to shoot, too, not to mention accurate (not that personal defense ammo needs to be super-accurate).

For those who favor expansion and/or wish to limit penetration, the old FBI load (158 grain LSWCHP +P) also works well; Remington uses the softest lead while Winchester uses the hardest.

Fancy JHPs are great for hotter calibers that are used in autoloaders (for reliable feeding), but I'm not convinced that they're a superior choice for .38 Special in revolvers.

ironhead7544
February 16, 2011, 02:41 PM
The original Nyclad 38 Special worked quite well but was not popular. The bullet is dead soft lead with a plastic coating. In the tests Ive seen it always expanded even through the denim tests. It would be fine for someone with a problem with 38 Special recoil. I wouldnt use the factory full wadcutters. Too soft and too slow. If you must have wadcutters then get the Buffalo Bore hard cast loads. Or better yet the standard pressure SWCHPGCs from the same maker. Just my .02.

doc540
February 16, 2011, 04:41 PM
MidwayUSA got some in a couple of weeks ago.

I'll never carry them in my snubs, but I bought three boxes just for old time's sake.:p

Currently I'm carrying Barnes Bullets (total copper) by CorBon in the DPX series, but I'm looking to test some of the Ron Reed standard pressure ash cans.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v334/doc540/Guns/DSCN4013-1-1.jpg

David E
February 16, 2011, 04:44 PM
Soft lead 158-grain semi-wadcutters are as good as it gets in .38 Special.

No, the Soft lead 158 grain semi-wadcutter HOLLOW POINTS is as good as it gets in .38 Special.

Lacking that, for the recoil sensitive, I echo the suggestion of 148 grain full wadcutter ammo.

Paladin38-40
February 16, 2011, 06:09 PM
The Nyclad 125 standard velocity was originally dubbed the Chief Special round . It was developed to expand from snubbies without undue recoil. It was discontinued due to the development of newer wonder bullets. Everyone wants the latest and greatest. After hibernating several years it is back and '"new" to younger shooters.

My wife favors the S&W #15 and it is loaded with Nyclads. While I would not try to shoot a PPC match with it, Nyclads are certainly accurate enough for any reasonable personal defense distance.

The only living creatures I have shot with Nyclads are Diamondbacks and Cottonmouths - soft light resistance. The exit wounds of the Nyclads are noticeably larger than WW 158 grain +P SWCHP in similar snakes.

Massad Ayoob says "the best of the standard pressure mild kicking loads seems to be the Federal Nyclad Chief Special" - Combat Handgunnery
6th edition,page 97.

Marshall/Sanow state for .38 Special non +P "The most significant load in this caliber is the Federal Nyclad SWC-HP, the so- called Chief"s Special load."
Handgun Stopping Power, p. 109. They go on to devote an entire chapter to this round - see chapter 12.

No one is saying the 125 grain Nyclad non +P is equal to a 158 grain +P SWCHP all other things being equal. But all other things are not equal, to wit:
some people are more recoil sensitive than others.

Life is full of compromises. So, if someone can't or won't shoot the 158 grain +P rounds but can and will shoot the Nyclads, then go with the Nyclads and rest easy.

Tortuga12
February 16, 2011, 06:20 PM
I keep my 15 stoked with 125 gr. Golden Sabers, they seem to shoot pretty soft. I've also got a box of 110 gr. Federal JHP, haven't tried any of that yet.

gvf
February 16, 2011, 07:14 PM
I was browsing the .38spl SD options, and saw Federal Nyclad being offered. I never really knew much about it, but do remember that it was supposed to be a pretty decent round. Can anyone provide any more info on it? I'm primarily looking for a medium to low recoil round with good expansion out of a 4" barrel. My wife much prefers my M15 to anything else I own, and is pretty recoil sensitive. I normally keep my M15 loaded with 125 grp gold dot JHP's, and she finds them a bit too hot for her taste.

-Jenrick
If for Self-Defense: I use Buffalo Bore - they have some wicked 38 Spl. One is HP that is really a Speer, think 125gr or 135gr. Next is very soft lead - hollow core but not HP. When it impacts it becomes a larger wad of metal.

Last is hardened wad-cutter that has 16" penetration. It stays hard and the full diameter of the bullet hits, supposed to cause very bad damage.

The Buffalo Bore, the last 2 were designed to have a very devastating effect without concern that the .38, a slower round, would not open if an HP.

They also use powder that brings the speed of all 3 up to near +P levels in speed. They all test very well in snubs - let alone 4" guns.



http://www.buffalobore.com/

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=23

MagnumDweeb
February 16, 2011, 07:47 PM
This is something that has been bothering me to some degree in regards to my girlfriend. She loves my Rossi 462 and wants herself a snub nose .38 but she really can't handle anything hotter than Federal LRN 158 grains for recoil when trying to keep multiple rounds on target at 15 feet in rapid succession. I'm secretly planning to get her a S&W Bodyguard revolver, the latest production with the built in laser but am stuck on what to get.

Is there a real difference between the 148 grain WC or the 158 grain WC in .38 special. My girlfriend knows she needs to start lifting weights and that she ought, if she can handle it, to at least be shooting 158 JHP +P in .38 special out of a snub nose to really stand a chance of realizing the calibers self-defense capability. For the time being and developing good fundamentals I'd like to see her shooting LRN and WC.

Paladin38-40
February 16, 2011, 08:28 PM
1- 14 ounce gun
+ 158 gr. +P loads
+ 1 recoil sensitive shooter
________________________
= 2 disappointed valentines

The mildest felt recoil in .38 Special that I have shot is 110 grain non +P HP. It is a little milder than the Federal Nyclad. Look for Remington and Winchester. If you can find it, and she will shoot it, be happy!

Dave T
February 17, 2011, 03:42 PM
They also use powder that brings the speed of all 3 up to near +P levels in speed.

Actually, Buffalo Bore's +P 38 Special loads exceed most all the other factory +P loads in velocity.

Is there a real difference between the 148 grain WC or the 158 grain WC in .38 special.

MD, there is a difference. First of all the 158g projectiles a usually SWCs (Semi Wad Cutters) while the 148g are true WC (Wad Cutters). At the same time, the full WCs are generally loaded from 725-750 fps while the standard load for the 158g SWC is closer to 850 fps.

Let your girl friend learn to shoot with the 148g full wad cutters. They are low in recoil and muzzle blast and she will have more fun and shoot better in the long run.

Dave

MikeNice
February 18, 2011, 11:01 AM
Dave, Buffalo Bore makes a non +p 158gr SWC-HC. It is about the stiffest standard pressure .38spl round out there. However, it does average 14.5" penetration in gel and .4" dia. It also sheds some fragments that can act as secondary wound channels.

I would carry it confidently in a snub nose. I can only assume that it would work even better in a 4" gun.


Buffalo Bore At Brass Fetcher (http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20158gr%20(non%20+P)%20SWC-HC.html)

Edit to address OP.

I have shot the 125gr Nyclad. It is a soft shooting round compared to +P loads. It isn't as soft as a WC though. WCs are designed to shoot soft for accuracy and punch pretty holes in paper.

The down side to the Nyclad is that the low velocity means low penetration. The bullet expands to 0.63" in many tests. However, it has penetration roughly equal to a .380. Usually it only achieves 7.4" in bare ballistic gel. In "heavy clothing" tests it often fails to expand.

golden
February 19, 2011, 03:59 AM
JENRICK,

The NYCLAD has made a comeback because it always did one thing right. It expanded well, even from 2 inch barreled revolvers.

I does this by using a soft lead bullet that would lead up a barrel quickly except for the nylon coating. You can press against the bullet and it will deform slightly.

Being that soft, it expands even at low velocities. Since it can expand, then you can use soft shooting (read low recoil) loads in alloy framed guns that weigh just 1 pound without excessive recoil spoiling your accuracy.

I have used it for about 20 years and am happy to see it back on the market.

If you wonder why I emphasize the soft recoil, just pop off a cylinder full of 158 grain +P loads in a SMITH and WESSON model 38 and see how well they group and how your hand feels afterwards.
The 158 grain loads are very effective in the .38 Special, but kick worse than the 110 grain .357 magnum loads in the same weight gun.

That has been my experience.

Jim

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