Best STANDARD Pressure 38 Special Self Defense Ammo


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jaktime
June 24, 2012, 05:44 PM
I have a s&w 342 airlite Ti that I carry with corbon 110gr +P ammo.
This stuff is BRUTAL to say the least out of a 12oz revolver (I wouldn't expect any less from corbon) even if it is rated for the +P stuff. So my question is what brand of NON +P ammo would you use and the reason why. Which bullet weight is better?, with a 12oz gun I was hoping to stay as light as possible to keep the recoil down. I've also read a little about the solid copper rounds, would it be better to go with a copper solid than a conventional round the uses jacketed or bonded bullets since I want to stay as light as possible on the bullet weight? The only note on the gun is
" jacketed bullets only" no mention of bullet weights of any kind. Will I really loose that much performance from a
1 7/8" barrel between the standard pressure vs. the +P rated stuff ?
Thanks
J

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beag_nut
June 24, 2012, 06:18 PM
If I were you, I'd try the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, even though it is a +P load. Then, if it is still too hot, I would (and I do) handload the same bullet to standard pressure for the .38 Spl. (that's what I use in my Charter Mag Pug).
I would never have gotten such a ligthweight revolver in the first place, especially after seeing what my brother-in-law goes through with his Airweight. But handloading allows one to downsize the velocity, which is a good thing in this situation.

skt239
June 24, 2012, 09:47 PM
I had a 342PD and everything I shot out if it had a good amount of slap to it. I started out carrying Federal Hydra's but switched to Hornandy 125gr JHP standard pressure. While they are a bit stout, they will be much more manageable than the Corbons. Btw, you're not getting any bullet pulling with the 110 gr?

LeonCarr
June 24, 2012, 10:00 PM
Federal Gold Medal 148 Grain HBWC.

Sometimes hard for hollow points to open up with standard pressure velocities. The 148s are super accurate and shoot to point of aim in my Ruger LCR.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

beatledog7
June 24, 2012, 10:40 PM
125gr Federal Nyclad JHPs are my standard 642 carry load.

ArchAngelCD
June 25, 2012, 12:50 AM
I agree if you're looking for a good standard pressure .38 Special load give the 125gr Federal Nyclad round a try. It's street proven and time tested. It works! (and it's available again)

jaktime
June 25, 2012, 06:08 AM
Beag: I bought this gun for summertime carry, I can easily throw it in the pocket of my shorts and not even notice it there. When clothing allows I either go with my sp101 or even a full size 1911. I do agree the trade is increased recoil because of the light weight... but then I'm hoping I never have to use it.
Skt : Believe it or not no I do not get bullet pull with corbon, they have a pretty hard crimp on them.
The ammo is actually pretty accurate too.
Thanks for the replies!! I see that the nyclad is a lead bullet, is the lead coated with something, is it a hard coating or something soft like you would find on a 22 long rifle round? I'm guessing the reason it says " jacketed bullets only " is to reduce the bullet pull from the recoil of such a light revolver?
J

critter
June 25, 2012, 06:28 AM
Interesting discussion. I have a 337 Ti and have not yet 'settled' on a load. Working on it.
Wife also uses a Ruger LCR. Same deal.

Remllez
June 25, 2012, 07:54 AM
I use regular pressure 158 grain LSWC-HP or 158 grain SJSP or 148 grain full Wadcutter. Heavy for caliber and the momentum they carry works best for me.?....YMMV

Guillermo
June 25, 2012, 08:52 AM
Will I really loose that much performance from a
1 7/8" barrel between the standard pressure vs. the +P rated stuff ?

yes

I opine that one should carry a gun that does not require emasculating the already weak ammo.

Creature
June 25, 2012, 09:08 AM
I am very fond of this stuff:

http://www.buffalobore.com/images/products/large_110_20c-250-cb.jpg

pete950
June 25, 2012, 11:19 AM
Standard pressure WC or SWC is what I like.

jaktime
June 25, 2012, 12:46 PM
Does anyone have any experience with the standard pressure 110gr hydra-shock ammo?
They do have a pretty large hollow point opening, I was hoping to get some feed back on these also if possible too. I also want to pose this question, now that we are moving out of the era of light/fast and into the era of slow/deep, would Winchester 38spl +P 95gr STHP be considered to lite in order to penetrate deep enough to get to "vital" organs or do you think they would be good enough to get the job done? I'm guessing the recoil would be "easier" on the hand since the projectile is only 95gr, an old friend gave me a few boxes of these way back when & yes you are reading correctly they are Winchester 38spl +P 95gr Silver Tip Hollow Point 50 round box
I know I'm kind of veering off my topic with the mention of the 95gr STHP's, for that I'm sorry I just wanted to see if anyone knew anything about the performance wise
Thanks again
J

wlewisiii
June 25, 2012, 02:55 PM
Like Creature, I'd say the BB standard pressure.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110

GRIZ22
June 25, 2012, 04:35 PM
I carry factory wadcutters in a j frame size gun. Easy on you and gun and the bullet is already in a shape a hollowpoint has to expand a bit to get to.

Rampant_Colt
June 25, 2012, 05:01 PM
Federal 125gr Nyclad (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=828)
Federal110gr Hydra-Shok
W-W 125gr Silvertip
Hornady 125gr & 158gr XTP
Hornady 110gr Critical Defense
Black Hills 125gr JHP

Waywatcher
June 25, 2012, 10:41 PM
If I were you, I'd try the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, even though it is a +P load.

^^This.

135 grain at 860fps isn't that bad at all in the recoil, even though it's +P.

It is a proven load in actual shootings and in gelatin testing. There are are other choices, but none as proven, over and over again.

Purchased here in 50 round boxes (http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/product_info.php/cPath/23_66_113/products_id/3907), its downright affordable too.

roaddog28
June 25, 2012, 11:53 PM
Lots of good suggestions. I but I have a recommendation. Buffalo Bores 150 gr cast wadcutter. Works well at low velocities.
Howard

CDawg
June 26, 2012, 05:32 AM
Nyclad 125gr HP or Buffalo Bore 158gr SWC-HC, whichever the weapon and shooter shoots best. I'm sure there are other rounds that work well, but these are what I've used for a while now in non +P rated weapons and I don't see any reason to change. They are low flash, soft lead and large hollow points with very controlable recoil for quick follow up shots. Accuracy has been consistently good in everything I've launched them from.

Hapworth
June 26, 2012, 06:53 AM
Many good rounds suggested here, but sticking with your original concern that the CorBon's are nasty out of the 12oz. 342 and subsequent request for non +P rounds, I think your options become limited.

The Speer GD 135 grain SB is undoubtably a champ, and though +P, out of a 64 snubby I find it to be positively mild shooting, but my guess is you'll have a similar issue with it as the CorBon.

The Buffalo Bore 158 LSWHC, even in standard pressure, is a hot round -- look at the numbers it gets; BB standard is most other manufacturers' +P. Likely it'll make the CorBon preferable by comparison, recoil-wise.

I still think you should give both a try -- sometimes a particular gun in a particular hand just likes a round that on paper it shouldn't, and these are the three top rounds, in my opinion, for a .38 snubby; if you can make one of them work for you, I think you're well served.

But for a softer shooting, non +P .38 defensive round, I've added Hornady Critical Defense 110 grain to my short list of snubby defensive ammo options. It's comfortable out of a 15oz. 442, accurate, and so far reliable. I was hesitant over the lighter grain and not sure that a round so easy to shoot had enough thump to do the job, but after much research the reports are consistently good regarding its expansion out of short barrels, and the penetration is adequate for most self-defense situations.

It is not a perfect round, but it does appear to be a good enough, and for your purposes might be the best choice.

loadedround
June 26, 2012, 09:13 AM
I used to carry a S&W Model 60 and the best load I've found for it was the old FBI load that consisted of a hard cast 158 gr HP over a healthy dose of 231 or Unique to max out at standard pressure. I've never looked, but factory ammo should be available in this load.

Creature
June 26, 2012, 09:18 AM
...like the Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP standard pressure load?

zxcvbob
June 26, 2012, 09:39 AM
Lee 158 grain RF bullet with 4.5 grains of Universal Clays. This bullet has a wide flat nose like a wadcutter with a sharp leading edge, and they load from a speed loader a lot faster than wadcutters or SWC's. It should shoot to point of aim, or very close to it.

Bubba613
June 26, 2012, 01:39 PM
A standard pressure load out of a snub is not going to expand. I second the 148gr wadcutter suggestion.

Hapworth
June 26, 2012, 03:51 PM
A standard pressure load out of a snub is not going to expand. I second the 148gr wadcutter suggestion.
Often true, but there are exceptions (or I wouldn't have recommended one of them).

There's more reading on this round that reports the same, but for a start:

http://hipowers-handguns.blogspot.com/2008/12/informal-tests-hornady-critical-defense.html

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/DocGKRData/38spl_HorndayFTX_SpeerGDHP_CorbonDPX.htm

http://www.brassfetcher.com/38%20Special/38%20Special%20Bone%20Test.pdf

roaddog28
June 26, 2012, 08:44 PM
I would have to agree with you statement. Most ammo in short barrel snubbies will not produce enough velocity to reliabity expand some brands of ammo. The old Federal Nyclad round would expand because of its design. Sadly, its hard to find the round any more. I have a S&W model 36 no dash 1 7/8 inch barrel. Now a days I will use the Buffalo 150 gr hard cast wadcutter. I don't worry about expansion. I would rather have penetration.
Howard

Waywatcher
June 26, 2012, 09:59 PM
Something that hasn't been said, but needs saying:

Pressure has zero effect on recoil. Absolutely no effect.

A standard pressure Buffalo Bore 158 grain bullet at 850fps hits back with 11.1 ft/lbs of energy.

A Gold Dot +P 135 grain bullet at 860 fps hits back with only 8.8 ft/lbs.

(These figures are using 12oz as the weight of the pistol.)

Gold Dot 135 +P is the best choice.

Rob1109
June 26, 2012, 10:36 PM
Buffalo Bore 150gr. full wad cutter hard cast at 850fps. Check it out!

Waywatcher
June 26, 2012, 11:33 PM
^^^10.2ft/lbs of recoil.

135 Gold Dot +P has 15% less recoil.

Gordon
June 27, 2012, 01:01 AM
Don't think the old flat latch S&W Airweight at 13 oz is that much heavier and I shoot 25 a year Rem 158 gr. SWCHP lead +p loads out of it at qualification time. I did this many years and just suck it up on recoil, I won't be shooting many of those. Sissy on the recoil? Then the 148 WC target load is what you want and it makes a nasty bleeding wound BTW!

Water-Man
June 27, 2012, 01:29 AM
Lots of good choices mentioned. Another I like is the Cor-Bon DPX Barnes 110gr. +P.

W-M

7.62 Nato
June 27, 2012, 01:51 AM
Lots of good choices mentioned. Another I like is the Cor-Bon DPX Barnes 110gr. +P.

W-M
I love Cor-Bon ammo, but doesn't the +P make it NOT standard pressure?

Water-Man
June 27, 2012, 08:42 AM
I use it in an LCR and, to me, it feels like a standard pressure round.

It's not easy to trust +P designations anymore as compared to days gone by.

W-M

skt239
June 27, 2012, 11:08 PM
Jake,

I don't think I've ever shot the 110 Corbons out of the 342, thanks for the info.

Now, I know you're only looking for standard pressure, however, if you ever get the +P itch, Underwood makes a very nice 125gr JHP +P. I've been shooting it recently from an Airweight and I have to say its quite manageable for what it is. I found the recoil to be far less than I expected from a round clocking 1000 fps out of a 3 inch barrel and minimal muzzle flash. I've been raving about their stuff for weeks and even ordered a few boxes of their .357 in the same bullet weight. Just thought I'd pass that along.

s.forktraveler
June 28, 2012, 10:33 AM
i have tried other mfgs. in my airweight but ended up with the 110 corbon you are using -- it is uncomfortable to shoot -- i practice with a lighter load & end each session with 10 corbon 110s -- a police officer at the range told me in the event of an emergency requiring the firing of my weapon the recoil would likely go unnoticed

Deltaboy
June 28, 2012, 09:46 PM
The 110 Hordany Critical Defense loads are comfortable out of my Charter Undercover but it weights about a pound vs 12 oz.

DBR
June 28, 2012, 10:48 PM
Bullet pull should be a real concern with the SW 342 and other very light weight revolvers. I tested 125gr Nyclad, 158gr +P SWCHP (Rem, Win and Fed) and several other common 38SPL loads through my SW 342. They all showed some degree of pull by the fifth round. This seems to be less of an issue with the slightly heavier 442/642 models.

The rounds that did not show pull included the 135gr +P Speer HP, Corbon 110gr DPX +P, BB 148gr hard cast wadcutter, and target 148gr wadcutters (Rem, Win, Fed).

Personally, I believe penetration must come first. By this measure the BB hard cast wadcutter is my first choice. If recoil is prohibitive then a 148gr wadcutter is second choice. They actually have pretty good terminal effect and are recommended by some well regarded experts.

Another thing I have noticed is many modern expanding bullets do not track straight after they expand. They tend to turn sideways and can slew several inches off course. I like the idea that a full wadcutter usually goes straight through the target.

ADDED: The 135gr Speer +P HP is an excellent load but it is HOT. Recoil is significant in a light gun.

jdmb03
June 29, 2012, 08:05 AM
I know it's not standard pressure but the God Dot short barrel .38 +p works well in snubbies.
http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx

Gary A
June 29, 2012, 10:46 AM
DBR wrote "The 135gr Speer +P HP is an excellent load but it is HOT."

I love that round but agree with his assessment. Many older guns were advised to shoot either a limited diet of plus P or none at all in the day when plus P meant a 158 grain lead SWCHP at no more than 18,500 psi. Standards have changed and Speer's own technical manual states that the 135 grain .38+P has a maximum average pressure of 21,500 psi, though an email I received from Speer claims it is actually 20,000. So, instead of a lead HP at 18,500, the Speer load is a fully jacketed HP at at least 20,000 psi. I don't use it in my older non plus P rated snubbies for that reason, though I would if my bacon depended on it. Speer's test gun was a steel framed Model 640.

I won't use the Buffalo Bore at all in these guns because I don't believe it is reasonable to expect something for nothing and I believe it is the back thrust which stretches frames, not the pressure. YMMV.

sixgunner455
June 29, 2012, 04:05 PM
I usually have Speer Gold Dot 125gr Standard Pressure in my J frame. It is as mild as anything I've put through that revolver, low flash, shot-to-shot recovery is excellent, accuracy is as good as can be expected.

YMMV, but I read once that it doesn't really matter much what load you put through your J-frame/2" belly gun, because most of it isn't going to be going very fast or expand very much, so the important thing is to find a load that you can stand to shoot, and that is accurate.

With that in mind, I have often thought that the wadcutter option might be the best, except for reloading in a hurry. :D But that won't matter for the load that is actually in the gun while you pack it around.

Hapworth
June 29, 2012, 06:34 PM
I usually have Speer Gold Dot 125gr Standard Pressure in my J frame.Just curious -- why not Speer's GD Short Barrel version? Also, I think the Speer GD 125 is +P.

YMMV, but I read once that it doesn't really matter much what load you put through your J-frame/2" belly gun, because most of it isn't going to be going very fast or expand very much, so the important thing is to find a load that you can stand to shoot, and that is accurate.I think there's truth to that with some loads, but a few have proved themselves (like the FBI load, which is why it remains so popular), and others more modern loads specifically made for short barrels put up good numbers, too.

I'd say the trick is experimenting with the proven loads -- all discussed in this thread -- and find the one you and your gun "like" the most.

sixgunner455
June 29, 2012, 10:51 PM
Just curious -- why not Speer's GD Short Barrel version? Also, I think the Speer GD 125 is +P.

Speer makes a variety of Gold Dot loads in .38 Special, including a 125gr standard pressure. Why that load? Several reasons: it's standard pressure, and I don't like shooting +p in my j frame. The 135gr short barrel load is a +p load. A 125 gr standard pressure load recoils less than heavier, hotter loaded bullets. I load a 125 gr lead round nose bullet for practice, so I'm practicing with a load that feels the same as my business loads. And finally, I got a really good deal on 3 boxes of 50 rounds years ago, and like I said, I don't shoot the business loads all that often. I snapped those LE sized boxes up in a heartbeat, and have used them ever since. This was before the short barrel load even existed, see. I'm running out now, but I see no reason to switch. The stuff is accurate, and runs in my gun. In fact, most of the time, that's what I have loaded in my K frame as well. Just simpler to keep one load. Another reason I use it is, it really makes a mess out of melons. *shrug* It works.

I'll be making an order from here (http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/product_info.php/pName/50rds-38-special-speer-le-gold-dot-125gr-gdhp-ammo/cName/38-special-hollow-point), even though that's a LOT more per box than I paid for all three boxes I bought originally. But those guys stock it, which most places don't.

Finally, numbers on defense loads in a little gun like this aren't impressive, no matter what the load is, unless you like shooting .357 out of them. I won't do that, so I just stick with something that has proven to me to work, and drive on. I had to kill a deer once at close range with a pocket handgun, since it was the only thing I had with me. It was a standard velocity, 125 gr Speer Gold Dot. Shot placement and penetration = bang/flop. Any handgun, and any bullet, would have done basically the same thing, I realized. Ever since, I haven't stressed over this too much.

Dudemeister
June 29, 2012, 11:23 PM
I know the OP mentioned the gun was marked "Jacketed loads only", but assuming that is more of a warning against repeated use, for self defense I would consider a full wadcutter. That kind of bullet, will do and amazing amount of damage upon penetration resulting in instant trauma & shock.

35 Whelen
July 1, 2012, 10:01 AM
That "brutal" recoil is caused by recoil velocity, not recoil energy as is often stated. Remember: Newton's Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So when you launch a bullet at relatively high velocity (as in the case of the 110 gr. HP), the handgun thrusts back at relatively high velocity with a sudden jolt or snap. Lots of recoil velocity, not much recoil momentum.

On the other hand a heavier projectile, say a 158 gr bullet, is quite different. Recoil from the heavier bullet typically "feels" lower and the handgun is more apt to roll or tilt up in recoil rather than quickly jab back into your hand. This because even though the recoil energy may be similar to that with the lighter bullet, during recoil the handgun is moving rearward at a lower velocity. Lower recoil velocity, higher recoil momentum.

A couple of years ago I bought my wife a Charter Arms Pink Lady. She loves it, but also at 12 oz. reoil can be a handful. I don't trust jacketed hollow points because from tests I've seen if the cavity fills with fabric or causes the cavity to fold in, the bullet may not expand.

For my wifes pistol I handload a soft cast 150 gr. HPSWC or a standard 158 gr. SWC either to around 750-800 fps. Even at those relatively low velocities, it takes a pretty tight grip to keep muzzle flip to a minimum.

35W

Stormin.40
July 1, 2012, 06:50 PM
To answer one of the OP's question, what bullet weight for standard pressure loads. In my S&W 642 only 148 and 158 grain bullets hit POA, lighter bullet weights at standard pressure shot low. Speer's 135gr +P Gold Dots shoot POA for me and is my load of choice for personal protection.

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