Best defensive ammo for .38 and .357


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Jake Benson
September 5, 2011, 12:13 AM
I asked this question once before but failed to write anything down. Now, I can't find the post anymore. So, I apologize for re-posting it.

I recently purchased a S&W 649 and 686. What would be the best defensive ammo in .38 and .357 for these two guns?

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bluetopper
September 5, 2011, 01:31 AM
The least expensive you can find will be very, very adequate.

ArchAngelCD
September 5, 2011, 01:51 AM
Here is your other thread.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=609887

evan price
September 5, 2011, 05:55 AM
I would recommend the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 38 Special 135-grain +P in those snubs. Wile not a Magnum load it is easier to shoot and full power Magnums in a snub are thunder and flash and not as much power as you'd imagine.

Hapworth
September 5, 2011, 09:14 AM
Been researching this subject for .38 Special quite a bit recently. I highly suggest you do some reading on:

-- Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, 135 gr. +P HP
-- Cor Bon DPX, 110 gr. +P HP
-- Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash, 158 gr. SWCHC

sm
September 5, 2011, 09:55 AM
I would see what the guns shoot best in regard to point of aim/ point of impact [POA/POI] .

My preference has always been 158 grain bullet weights in both .38spl and .357.

*relic*

lebowski
September 5, 2011, 10:03 AM
I carry the 135gr gold dot in my 642.

In my 686p, it's a .357 gold dot, I think 125gr but don't remember for sure.

Jake Benson
September 5, 2011, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the info. The Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, 135 gr. +P HP looks like the way to go. I have seen several other posts recommending it.

F-111 John
September 5, 2011, 11:29 AM
Here's a ballistics test of the Gold Dot 135 .38 +P Short Barrel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k890Rio2oBY

Jake Benson
September 5, 2011, 12:15 PM
Thanks for the video link. I ordered a box of these from G & R Tactical this morning. 30 dollars for a box of 50.

Ratshooter
September 5, 2011, 01:16 PM
I went shooting yesterday with to new guns. A S&W model 631 32 mag and a S&W model 36-6 38special with a 3" barrel and adjustable sights.

I took several boxes of different ammo for both. All we shot were empty 1 gallon cans. While all the bullets made bullet sized holes in the cans the 38 wadcutters slapped the cans around and made hole 3 or 4 times bigger than the bullet itself.

This was not a real test but sure made an impression on me. These were hollow based WC bullets with 3.2grs of Bullseye. I am going to load some solid WC bullets with the heavier charges and will use those for PD if I put this little 3" gun in my truck. Wadcutters have been recommended for years for a snubby load. I think I see why.

stevekozak
September 5, 2011, 01:55 PM
What is a good 158 grn hollowpoint in .357 to use? I am of your opinion as well, heavier bullet makes happier shooter.

wlewisiii
September 5, 2011, 02:52 PM
Buffalo Bore 158 gr. LSWCHP .38 Special +P. Use it in both .38 & .357 revolvers, it's about as good as it gets.

Gary A
September 5, 2011, 03:08 PM
What is a good 158 grn hollowpoint in .357 to use?

I like either Speer Gold Dot 158s or federal Hydrashok 158s, but pretty much any 158 HP is good in my book.

ColeK
September 5, 2011, 08:54 PM
Quote: sm postd Today, 08:55 AM #6

I would see what the guns shoot best in regard to point of aim/ point of impact [POA/POI] .

My preference has always been 158 grain bullet weights in both .38spl and .357.

*relic*


Sir, you are a man after my own heart.
The .38 Spl and the .357 Rem Mag were designed for 158 gr bullets.
But then I am also a relic.

Warp
September 6, 2011, 12:34 AM
For .38spl my first choice would be Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP +P. The Speer 135gr +P Short Barrel Gold Dot is very good as well.

You can probably find one of the FBI loads...that is the 158gr LSWCHP...just about anywhere.

You get more choices in .357. It's hard to go wrong with any quality load from what I read.

ACP
September 6, 2011, 10:18 PM
I agree with most of the posters here on the Speer +P 135-gr. for the snub .38

For my 686 and 65 I tend to use either 158-gr. LSWCHP+P in .38 special, or Buffalo Bore's "Tactical" low-recoil .357 Magnum load. They give actual chrono data for different guns and their different bullet weights here:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=21

The 158-gr. .357 in a 3" S&W Model 65 gets you 1,172 fps and 481 ft. lbs. energy at the muzzle.


I have fired both Buffalo Bore's 38+P and low-recoil .357 from my 3" S&W Model 65, and I prefer the .357 Magnum for its softer recoil impulse and reduced muzzle blast (believe it or not.)

Plus, first time shooting the BB .357 Magnum outside, I was able to hit a 100 yard gong with the Model 65's fixed sights. Again, hard to believe, but that stuff shot softly and was darned accurate.

snakyjake
September 7, 2011, 01:56 AM
Check out brassfetcher (http://www.brassfetcher.com/38%20Special.html).

I'm only concerned with denim ballistics...
I didn't like Speer 135gr Short Barrel Gold Dot (Load # 23921). Didn't meet the FBI penetration requirements.

Buffalo Bore 158gr Soft Lead SWC-HC and Cor-Bon seem to be the best.

Something to keep in mind about the tests...they weren't all from the same barrel, so probably can't do a comparison.

PabloJ
September 7, 2011, 02:12 AM
I would go with 125gr semi-jacketed HP aka 'King of the Street' for the .357. Although most in the know say it it the best I do not use the so called 'Speer NYPD load' relying on much less proven Hornady 110gr FTX 'Critical Defense' load instead.

camar
September 7, 2011, 04:57 AM
For .38 Spl, .38 Spl.+P, and .357 Mag. I use 173gr. LSWC(Keith bullet). Very accurate at long ranges; 25yds. out to 200yds.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
September 7, 2011, 08:53 AM
I just bought a box of both Buffalo Bore heavy 125 gr 357 and the classic
Federal 357B which is a 125 gr also. In water testing video I seen on u-tube
the Federal looks like it hits the water a lot harder, or does more damage.
But the Buffalo Bore is going about 150-200 fps faster. More water is displaced with the Federal. I think the bullet breaks up more. Anyway I have
both and will be testing them in a couple weeks in my 2.75 Ruger Service Six.
The Federal has the track record. I will keep my pistol loaded with that until
proven otherwise.

22-rimfire
September 7, 2011, 09:10 AM
Whatever you can hit with consistantly. Considering that 99 out of 100 of us will never in our lifetimes use a firearm outside law enforcement or the military for self protection where a round is fired in need; just about anything will do. However, I would choose 125 gr HP's versus solids.

But stuff like this sells expensive ammo, so go for the best!

ColtPythonElite
September 7, 2011, 09:10 AM
I have shot thousands and thousands of .357 ammo, but only bought 1 box of factory ammo in my life. I bought a box of the Classic .357B like mentioned above in 1990. It was used mainly for deer and groundhogs. I basically doled it out over a 20 year period for when I wanted the shot "to count". It certainly does a job on deer. I have 5 left out of the box. They have been riding in my SP101 since 1995 or so.........Yeah, I know some of you guys rotate your ammo every other day.:D

USSR
September 7, 2011, 09:40 AM
What is a good 158 grn hollowpoint in .357 to use? I am of your opinion as well, heavier bullet makes happier shooter.

This one works just fine, cast 25-1.

Don

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTtCcjsnzon68KSTsGw8-9cJNWWWHn0rC_VvASPmPmF8Nchrfsn

Jonah71
September 7, 2011, 09:42 AM
Last spring I took 2 old Rugers (Security Six and BH 3 screw) out for some range time at a friends place and lots of different targets. Milk jugs full of ice, some old freezer burnt beef, fruit, old bricks, and a few other things he had laying around. It had been a lot of years since I'd seen what a 158 gr.357 mag. FN could do. I have a box of Rem. Golden HP's, as well as Mag Techs and a few others, but in all honesty, I think the plain old Federals I shot that day would pretty much work on any 2 legged target. It was a very fun day.

Paris
September 7, 2011, 02:28 PM
I feed my 686 Winchester whitebox .38 Special for plinking. I have some 158 grain Double Tap ammo I keep, about 100 rounds or so. I shoot it every so often in small amounts. I mostly keep it around "just in case".

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