Hypothetical: .38 snub non-expanding only


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gordonagain
October 23, 2011, 08:35 PM
There have been a lot of threads around gun forums about defensive rounds for the .38 snub. I think it's fairly established that there are some reliable expanding rounds available in today's market. But what if... (due to bans, the hp had never been invented, whatever)... you only had non-expanding rounds to choose from for your .38 snub, what would your choice be? Would you go with a wadcutter, semi-wadcutter, or do you think lead ball would be just as good? Or do you think it really wouldn't matter? Interested to hear bullet weights you might prefer as well.

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Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 23, 2011, 08:47 PM
158g LSWCFP
(lead semi-wadcutter flat point)

Ratshooter
October 23, 2011, 08:57 PM
All bullet designs have worked. And failed. If I couldn't get hollow points I would use flat nosed slugs, and if all I could get were round nose I would use those too. Making hits to vital areas is the name of the game. The hollow point was intended to minimize penetration. If it provides more stopping(killing) power thats just a bonus. There are no magic bullets.

Cougar
October 23, 2011, 08:59 PM
The round I carry in my .38 defensive gun has been out of production for years - over twenty.. Remington Multi-ball.

That's two 000Buck balls inside a .38 case (crimped on outer ball) at around 825fps. Each 000Buck ball weighs in at 70gr, so the total load is 140gr -- about the same as a target wadcutter. Each 000Buck ball is made of dead-soft lead so it'll splatter instead of ricochet and is less likely to pass through walls inside the house (or more importantly exterior walls of your house). From my 3" barrel, the two balls will print about an inch apart at 50', AND, you get two separate wound channels!

The book Handloading for Handgunners has load data to load your own.

Why do I carry this instead of more modern loadings? I really don't want to have to rely on bullet expansion at .38 velocities from a snubbie.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
October 23, 2011, 09:18 PM
Full Wadcutter at 900 fps

suemarkp
October 23, 2011, 09:19 PM
I would have a similar answer if the definition of "non-expanding" bullet allowed soft lead. Pick a soft wadcutter or WFN of whatever weight you want, and load one or two. Lead round ball was effective in the old days because it was so soft that it easily expanded and flattened.

If you have to use "hard cast", then I'd want something with a flat nose (wadcutter), and since even light ones penetrate well I'd probably look for a heavy and a light one (light loaded below the heavier one) and load a duplex round.

wep45
October 23, 2011, 09:24 PM
hard cast 148gr DEWC @ 825fps.

pete950
October 23, 2011, 11:11 PM
What I always carry 38 full double end wadcutters at 800+ fps with SWC for relaods.

9mmepiphany
October 23, 2011, 11:40 PM
Another vote for a full wadcutter at 850-900 fps

That would be already loaded in the gun, the reload in a speedloader would be SWC, because they help reload speed

sidheshooter
October 24, 2011, 01:55 AM
^^^once again, this guy has the formula. For the first cylinder, IMHO:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=111

Wargarden
October 24, 2011, 11:27 AM
The round I carry in my .38 defensive gun has been out of production for years - over twenty.. Remington Multi-ball.

That's two 000Buck balls inside a .38 case (crimped on outer ball) at around 825fps. Each 000Buck ball weighs in at 70gr, so the total load is 140gr -- about the same as a target wadcutter. Each 000Buck ball is made of dead-soft lead so it'll splatter instead of ricochet and is less likely to pass through walls inside the house (or more importantly exterior walls of your house). From my 3" barrel, the two balls will print about an inch apart at 50', AND, you get two separate wound channels!

The book Handloading for Handgunners has load data to load your own.

Why do I carry this instead of more modern loadings? I really don't want to have to rely on bullet expansion at .38 velocities from a snubbie.
__________________

I thought loads like this were banned federally? Not the same, but isn't that alot like ( I think they atre called) Hoxie bullets? Kind of like a hollowpoint with a ball loaded into it?

NG VI
October 24, 2011, 11:34 AM
I am almost 100% positive they are not banned, and I've never heard of Hoxie before.

And Winchester still makes a hollowpoint bullet with a BB in it, for the .25 Auto and maybe others.

rcmodel
October 24, 2011, 11:37 AM
158 grain LSWC or LSWC-HP.
135 grain Speer Short-Barrel Gold-Dot.

Anything else, except LRN, or those "magic" two ball loads.

rc

Super Sneaky Steve
October 24, 2011, 07:15 PM
How accurate are the balls?

Pyro
October 24, 2011, 08:13 PM
I really wish Remington still made the multi-ball load.
I've seen handloaded rounds similar, I really want to find a box in 38 Special.

CSA 357
October 24, 2011, 08:22 PM
i carry my j frame smith with 158home cast swc loaded over 3.5 gr of bullseye

Hondo 60
October 24, 2011, 08:34 PM
LRNFP lead round nose flat point
AKA Cowboy 11 from MBC

earplug
October 24, 2011, 08:57 PM
I use a stout load of WW 231 and it shoots to the point of aim at ten yards.
I will gladly trade expansion for penetration.

Ratshooter
October 24, 2011, 09:00 PM
158 grain LSWC or LSWC-HP.
135 grain Speer Short-Barrel Gold-Dot

The OP asked for non expanding bullets. Those are good choices they just don't answer the question.

W.E.G.
October 24, 2011, 09:06 PM
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/pistol%20pics/SW%20Terrier/DSCN6067smaller.jpg

.
.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/targets/2010-02-16/2010-02-16-38-SW-20ft-SA.jpg

Frank V
October 24, 2011, 09:32 PM
With only non expanding ammo to choose from it'd be an easy choice for me. I'd go with the Buffalo Bore full wadcutter. Their velocities are taken from real guns. I've chronographed their 9mm & .38 Special ammo & in both instances my chronograph reccorded higher velocities than Buffalo Bore claimed. It's good ammo.
Frank

Tallinar
October 24, 2011, 11:27 PM
I saw ".38" and "non-expanding", and immediately decided FWC. Another vote for the FWC...

MedWheeler
October 26, 2011, 10:17 PM
My two snubs are loaded with 148-grain flat-nosed FMJ rounds. Probably not the "best" or "hottest" non-ex rounds, but I'm happy with them. They shoot pretty much to POA, and are easy to come by.

Jim K
October 26, 2011, 10:37 PM
Hi, W.E.G.,

"J frame, pre Chiefs Special". Sure it is not a Terrier in .38 S&W, on an I frame?

No matter what it is, it is a beautiful little gun.

(People who can shoot like that don't need to worry about what kind of bullets they use; one through the eyeball does it every time.)

Jim

Deaf Smith
October 26, 2011, 11:05 PM
Keith shaped LSW is what id use.

But... I'd want a snub in .45 ACP (actually .45 Autorim.) That way the snub with have the biggest SW shaped slug made!

Love to see a L frame 2 1/2 fix sighed .45.

Deaf

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
October 27, 2011, 01:01 PM
Wadcutter makes a bigger hole than a SW. My 44spl wadcutter makes a
bigger hole than my 45 Colt SW. Go figure.

Deaf Smith
October 27, 2011, 08:19 PM
kwhi43,

That depends on the shape of the SWC. Not all SWC shapes are the same.

Go look at a Keith SWC and compare to others.

Deaf

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
October 28, 2011, 12:39 PM
I was talking about the Keith.

c1ogden
October 29, 2011, 12:30 AM
First choice - WC
Second choice - SWC

jmstevens2
October 29, 2011, 12:37 AM
Back in the day before we convinced them to allow us to carry .357 magnum, we carried flat nosed semi wadcutters in .38+p. Not saying cops know best, but that is what we were allowed to carry and we did.

DWFan
October 29, 2011, 06:20 AM
Another vote for the Elmer Keith #358429 173gr SWC. 5.5gr of Unique for a +P load, 4.5gr for a standard load.

Cougar
October 31, 2011, 08:52 PM
How accurate are the balls?

Well, I've only used them out of the 3" barrel gun for five shots at the range at 7yds, and they ripped the center out of the target.

Just for fun, I tried them out at 50yds at a 55gal burn barrel in the back yard. With the 3" barrel, they both hit and were about 5-6" apart. Then I tried one out my 8" barreled DW and they printed about 3" apart.

capn26
October 31, 2011, 09:31 PM
This is my first post so don't rip me up too badly if I step on my feet. Hollow points achieve most of their shock killing or stopping power by hydrostatic shock. that being the case, im fairly sure the full wad would case the more spectacular wound channel and would be my first choice. That being said, i've seen deer shot broadside with #1 unplated buck at 30+ yards and those little pellets will completely penetrate on occasion. I'd still take the wad at around 800fps, and then you'd be able to follow up quickly with the second one.

Hondo 60
October 31, 2011, 10:28 PM
148 gr DEWC (double ended wad cutters)

http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=118&category=5&secondary=9&keywords=

woad_yurt
November 1, 2011, 12:22 AM
I like 4 gr of W231 behind a 148 gr Speer HBWC.

Owen Sparks
November 1, 2011, 12:35 AM
The most effective possible shape for a non expanding bullet would be the full wadcutter. That being said, the only factory wadcutter loads avalable now are very mild and intended for target practice. If you could load them to +P levels they would be formidable.

NG VI
November 1, 2011, 01:11 AM
Hollow points achieve most of their shock killing or stopping power by hydrostatic shock

Not unless they're going very fast they don't. Higher velocity seems to have some impact on wound severity in typical handgun weight+velocities, but it doesn't induce significant hydrostatic shock like a high-powered rifle will. They still pretty much only cause damage by crushing tissue directly in the path of the bullet, hollowpoints sacrifice some of the soft tissue penetrating ability of the non-expanding bullets for a wider, more severe wound over most of the course of their penetration.

StrawHat
November 1, 2011, 05:56 AM
In 38 Special and for defense, I would use a hard cast double ended wadcutter at 900 fps. Same as I use for small game and varmint.

If I could use a larger cartridge, I would load the SAECO 453 (45 caliber, 230 grian wadcutter) to 900 fps and call it good.

pete950
November 1, 2011, 10:26 AM
Just orderd these from Matts bullets for my 44 Charter Bulldog
215 HBWC and a 250 Full Wadcutter

saltydog452
November 1, 2011, 12:50 PM
On Post #1, hp and softies like Nyclad/Rem were ruled out.

That only left GI Ball, 158 LRN, hard SWCs, and full WC to chose from. Since possible expansion isn't a factor, that'd leave penetration as the only choice. How much penetration would you want? I'd want a lot. Given those three or 4, I'd pick the tough 158s first and GI 130 Ball second.

salty

edit: Doubtful that it'd ever make any difference. Cookie cutters might make a difference tho'. I forgot about those.

sd.

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