new respect for .38 spec.


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Samari Jack
January 23, 2012, 07:11 PM
One interesting thing about reloading is how useful and interesting it is comparing different loads and different calibers. I put a new 55 gal burn barrel out back. I would use more gas to carry paper and boxes to a re-cycle center than it would save so in the burn barrel stuff goes. I live in the "sticks" (country folks). Anyway, I'm obligated to put ventilation holes in the thing and what better way than using it for target practice. I was kind of surprised my .38s with 3.7 gr HP 38 powder and 158 gr RNFP lead bullets went through on side with ease and almost went through the other. This isn't a +P load. I now have new respect for the lowly .38 as a competent self-defense round.

Should add, this was a standard 55 gal steel barrel.

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Hanshi
January 23, 2012, 07:46 PM
For decades it has been the "in" thing to disparage the .38spl. This is ridiculous. The .38spl and the .45apc are my two favorite cartridges. The .38 is an excellent small game round with wadcutters and Bullseye. Get into hollow points and semi-wadcutters using slower powders and you have a fine self-defense package. When I carry a revolver it is usually a .38spl.

W.E.G.
January 23, 2012, 08:08 PM
.38 Special - sending bad guys to their maker since 1899.

The ONLY disadvantage of a .38 Special is "magazine capacity."
If you practice with speedloaders, and you don't mind the added bulk, its not much of a disadvantage.

gamestalker
January 23, 2012, 08:52 PM
I'm a huge fan of the 38 spcl., and I have my pet powder's that get the job done as well. I particularly like Longshot and 125 gr. JHP's, 1200-1250 fps. is nothing to be taken lightly. And if I drop down to the 110 gr. JHP's, I can easily push +P's to nearly 1400 fps with little effort. But strangly enough, the 38 spcl. is horribly under rated by many new age handgunner's?

My carry weapon is one of two snubby S&W 66's. Since I practice with both full house H110 .357 mag. loads, and +P 38's, I'll often fill the cylinder with the 38's as my primary S.D. rounds, and then 2 speed loader's with full house .357 mag. loads in the event things go really bad.

Joatmon
January 23, 2012, 10:04 PM
I probably shoot more .38 special than any other pistol round. It's a great versatile round, good for punching paper or handling all shapes and sizes of varmits. A lot of bullet styles and weights add to the flexibility. The cases last about forever, economical to shoot, very good accuracy. I might add it gives me the opportunity to use my old Colt officers model target revolver (like that part a lot).

Waywatcher
January 23, 2012, 10:49 PM
I must admit, I have been a little harsh on the .38 Special in the past.

However, when a 158 lead hollow point is cranked up to 900+ fps or so, it has some appreciable authority! Lead bullets give it better velocity than jacketed within pressure constraints, and the swaged lead opens up more readily than copper jackets. Very respectable penetration and expansion. It is also incredibly economical to load this classic, "FBI load." (Easily cheaper than even the cheapest store bought .38 SPL plinking ammo.)

ReloaderFred
January 23, 2012, 11:01 PM
The .38 Special can be loaded as light as you want, or as powerful as is practical. It's one of the most versatile rounds in existance for handguns.

My wife and I shoot between 8,000 and 10,000 rounds of .38's per year. It's an economical round to load, accurate and easy to load. What more could one ask for?

Hope this helps.

Fred

JRH6856
January 23, 2012, 11:08 PM
But strangly enough, the 38 spcl. is horribly under rated by many new age handgunner's?

It doesn't come in "Glock"

Metal Tiger
January 24, 2012, 12:16 AM
Just picked up a classic 1982 S&W 586 just to shoot the 38 special. Reloading for it now I have to say, What a pleasure to be shooting this wonderful cartridge again.

snakeman
January 24, 2012, 12:41 AM
I love 38's. That said I love 357 too! That's why I shoot both through my rossi. Of course I keep the cylinders clean

ArchAngelCD
January 24, 2012, 12:51 AM
My standard .38 Special load is 4.0gr W231/HP-38 with a 158gr LSWC and that load would have gone through both sides of the barrel. It's not a +P load either.

It's funny how the wrong bullet can taint the reputation of a caliber for so long. The LRN bullet nicknamed the "Widow Maker" was at fault, not the .38 Special.

greenlion
January 24, 2012, 10:41 PM
I still shoot my 38/357 occasionally, and still like it, but 9mm can do anything a .38 can do, and keep doing it twice again before you need to reload.

Samari Jack
January 24, 2012, 11:06 PM
I still shoot my 38/357 occasionally, and still like it, but 9mm can do anything a .38 can do, and keep doing it twice again before you need to reload.
I'm strictly a self-defense CCW guy. If I can't hit 'em in the legal without being sued self defense range of 12 ft and closing with 6 shots, I deserve to be squashed. When I can wear a coat, I carry my Glock 19. But am comfortable now with my .38 too. If I were LE or service, might be a different story. My first choices would be anything but gunfire for CCW.

chhodge69
January 25, 2012, 12:44 AM
The last time I browsed the ammo isle at my LGS I didn't see one single cartridge I'd enjoy getting shot with. I learned to like 38 spl when I started loading it. It's a lot more versatile and forgiving than an auto-pistol cartridge.

Ralph G. Briscoe
January 26, 2012, 03:53 AM
I'm a revolver guy and have a couple of dozen .38's and .357's. The .38 is a dream to reload, and can do a lot of things well. My normal carry is a 642 with the Speer LSWCHP over 4.7 gr. Unique for 815 fps. Not a barn-burner, but controllable and not too hot to practice comfortably with, or to endanger my old Cobra and Agent. I recently became a fan of the .32's as well...same ease of loading...a little more economical...a delight to shoot. My light handloads are no louder than a .22 lr and my heavy loads in .32 mag cases are serious medicine for SD in my 632.

beatledog7
January 26, 2012, 07:44 AM
I too carry a .38SPL, and I do not ever feel, as they say, under gunned.

For me, most .38SPL loads are more accurate than most semi-auto loads.

There is probably not a more versatile caliber in production today; perhaps that goes for all time.

Kingcreek
January 26, 2012, 12:16 PM
Of all the center fire handguns in the stable, it's the old model 66 and a colt diamondback that get the most bang time and all of it is .38 special.

TonyT
January 26, 2012, 12:55 PM
At one time an very early S&W ad made a reference to the fact that more people good and bad were shot with the 32 cal S&W's than any other gun. The 32 S&WL is puny by comparison to the 38 Special.

Olderbutwiser
January 27, 2012, 01:36 AM
I always carry my .38+P Taurus 85 snubby with Remington Golden Saber 125 gr JHP. It should terminate any problem. I also carry a speed loader.
I also have my .38 Mdl 10-6 S&W for home defense and fun plinking. I trust those revolvers over my semi-auto, anyday, any time.

ranger335v
January 27, 2012, 12:07 PM
ALL the highly touted 9mm amounts to is a .38+P loaded with a light for caliber bullet. for defence or carry, I much prefer a standard .38 Spec with a 150 SWC to any 9mm made. (Of course I can hit with either one and that's likely to mean more in a fire fight than the opportunity to frighten my target with a massive spray of misses.)

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