HP Ammo for S&W 60


January 6, 2013, 12:52 PM
Looking at getting a S&W 60 with the 2 inch barrel for my wife as a self defense handgun she'll keep in the bedside drawer. I carry Winchester Ranger hollow points in my Glock 19 and DW 1911, I think the T series or the bonded HP works fine for their intended purpose. So, I'm looking at the Winchester Ranger 38 special offerings for my wife to use in the S&W 60. I planned on going with the 130 gr +P, then ran across the 110 gr +P+ and I'm intrigued. Thoughts on these two offerings in 38 special?

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January 6, 2013, 01:21 PM
There is no industry standard for +P+ .38 Special.
So buying it is like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you are going to get.

Personally, I use either a 158 grain LHP, the old "FBI load".

Or Speer 135 grain Short-Barrel Gold Dots.

You lose a lot of velocity in a 2" barrel.
And velocity is what makes hollow-points open up.

SO, some folks, myself included, think a heavy bullet going slow is better then a light bullet going slow!
Something to think about.


January 6, 2013, 02:12 PM
Assuming it is chambered in .357, any of the loads you listed would work. I really like the Remington 125gr Golden Saber load in .357 out of a 3" M60. The Remington load is actually a midrange .357 load that sort of splits the difference between a .38 and a .357. It is easier to shoot well than a full power load.

I believe the 3" barrel is sufficiently long extract the added velocity out of the .357 round over the .38. In other words, 3" is enough to make the magnum worthwhile. I am not sure how much you would get out of a 2" barrel.

If/when I carry .38's, I like 125's or heavier. Assuming your gun is an older one chambered in .38 (or you just prefer to carry .38's) I would go with a 125gr +P loading. I have never been a fan of really light bullets. I consider the 125's to be fairly light for caliber.

January 6, 2013, 02:25 PM
I'd avoid the 110gr +P+ load if it is the old Treasury load. It was originally intended to give .357 Magnum velocity without issuing a .357 Magnum duty load. Our CHP used to shoot it out of the issued S&W M-68. This was a 6" stainless K-frame marked .38 spl, but really built on the M-66 architecture.

I lean in the opposite direction from rcmodel. I'm partial to the Speer 135gr Gold Dots. It was developed by CCI for a department contract specifically to expand out of the 1.875" barrel of J-frames. I carried the 158gr FBI load for years in my M-642 and found the Gold Dot load easier to make repeated shots on target.

I finally replaced my 642 with a Kahr CW9 as an EDC and load it with Ranger 127gr +p

January 6, 2013, 02:35 PM
Better a bullet placed on target than one going through a couple of walls in your house. I prefer a round that was designed for the snubbie. 38 sp.135 gr. Gold Dots. If recoil is an issue try 148 gr. wadcutter target loads. Both will do the job just fine. Great gun BTW.

January 6, 2013, 02:40 PM
I appreciate the comments folks, I'll focus on looking at 125 gr and heavier bullets.

January 7, 2013, 08:12 AM
Try the Wadcutter as suggested or the 158 grain LSWC-HP standard velocity. Neither one really needs heavy powder charges to cause deformation, that said, they do need to HIT COM to be effective as any slug does.....she'll like the recoil end compared to most jacketed rounds I bet.

January 7, 2013, 10:56 AM
Lots of guys offering lots of advice here. And good advice at that.
But only you and your wife will know how that particular gun shoots.

I bought a Taurus M85 (pretty similar to the S&W, except blued, and not as nice) a few months back. I expected to load it with 158gr loads of some kind, likely the FBI load because most fixed sight .38's are regulated for heavier bullets. NOPE! This one likes lighter bullets. 158gr loads shoot a few inches high at 15 feet. 125-135 gr loads shoot just right so that POA=POI.
I settled on the 130gr. Winchester PDX1. It's the same thing as the Ranger Bonded. Very accurate, minimal recoil, and based on tests I've seen, it seems to perform as well as any of the new bonded premium JHPs.

Moral of the story. Find out which weight bullet your wheelgun likes and then come back and ask for suggestions of loading in that weight range.

January 7, 2013, 11:05 AM
The 130-gr. Winchester Ranger B / PDX1 looks pretty good. I think it was designed to compete with the 135-gr. Speer Gold Dot SB load, so performance is probably pretty similar. I carry the Winchester load when I can't find the Speer load, but I have three 50-round boxes of the Gold Dots now, so that's what my LCR has.

F-111 John
January 7, 2013, 11:42 AM
Speer Gold Dot .38 spl +P Short Barrel 135 gr JHP.

Ballistics test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k890Rio2oBY

January 7, 2013, 11:46 AM
Like above I like the Speer short barrel 135gr .38 Special +P ammo for use in my M442. Even though the M60 is a little heavier than the Airweights put out by S&W they are still a small revolver. I find that round acceptable in a small light revolver and it has been proven to perform in real life shootings.

If this revolver is just for HD why not see if your wife would like a larger revolver instead? (like a M10 w/4" barrel) It's easier to shoot and more pleasant to practice with.

January 7, 2013, 01:39 PM
Arch, my wife is 5'2 and 100 lbs with small hands, so I'm thinking the Model 60 will fit her very well. But, I'm open to suggestions as I'm still looking at options.

January 7, 2013, 01:57 PM
:uhoh:2" barrel & +P+ cartridge = "bucket of flame"

January 7, 2013, 02:49 PM
I carried, in an ankle holster, a model 60 (stainless version of the model 36 - 'J' frame, 5 shot .38 Special) for many years after I upgraded from the blue 36. The department issue was RP 125 Grain JHPs and they did nothing out of the 1 7/8 inch bbl. As I could carry anything I liked in my second weapon (before I switched to a .45 ACP) I ran 148 grain hollow based wad cutters, loaded backwards. Not good for over a few yards but they did open up and splat well up close.
I'm NOT a fan of .38s for personnel protection, but these would do in a pinch. When at the County, we were stuck with hard ball 9MM, that was worse.

January 7, 2013, 03:33 PM
Looking at getting a S&W 60 with the 2 inch barrel for my wife as a self defense handgun she'll keep in the bedside drawer.

Given that the J frames tend to be more difficult to shoot accurately and have a heavier trigger than the K or L frames I'm wondering why you are looking at a J frame for a bedside gun? And why a 2" barrel?

The J frame is designed for concealed carry piece. The sacrifice on shootability and round count is made to enhance the carribility of the gun.

For a bedside/home gun a piece that is easier to shoot well and that encourages practice with and thus confidence, might be worth a look.

Keep in mind that what she wants has to take first place over what you think she might like.


January 7, 2013, 03:56 PM
Arch, my wife is 5'2 and 100 lbs with small hands, so I'm thinking the Model 60 will fit her very well. But, I'm open to suggestions as I'm still looking at options.
Ah, so there is still hope to get her into a better platform.

Staying with revolvers; Both of you will likely be happier if you went with a S&W K-frame. The grip frame isn't much bigger and there are a lot of grip options to fit her hand. We had female officers who were about her size who didn't have any problem shooting our M-15s (adjustable sighted M-10). The K-frame is also available in a snubby 2" barrel, although I'd recommend a 4".

The K-frame's biggest advantage is the longer leaf spring powered action, which is both smoother and more linear, making learning to handle it much easier. This is why a lot of officers who carried the K-frame as a duty weapon carried a Colt D-frame as a BUG...longer action.

After that I'd recommend the Ruger LCR over the S&W J-frame...again better trigger making it easier to control

January 7, 2013, 11:47 PM
I load my Model 60, Model 640, and LCR with Buffalo Bore standard pressure hard cast wad cutters designed for short barrel revolvers.

January 8, 2013, 05:44 AM
As you see there are several others also suggesting a slightly larger revolver with a longer barrel. A K frame revolver like the M10 is a much better choice for HD than a J frame. Just because you wife is small doesn't mean she has to fire a small revolver. The current 2" M60 weighs 22.6 oz. and the current 4" M10 weighs 36 oz. That's less than 12oz more than the small revolver but that little additional weight will aid in controlling the recoil and aiding in a quicker aimed followup shot if necessary. The M10 is a very well balanced revolver and feels good in your hand. Like I said, I carry a M442 daily but there's a 4" M10 next to my bed at night.

This is just a suggestion based on many years of shooting both. Practice is important and the M10 is much more pleasant to shoot than a M60 when shooting more than a few cylinders full of ammo...

Hoppes Love Potion
January 8, 2013, 02:50 PM
Or get her the 3" Model 60 Pro Series. It's only a bit more expensive than the standard M60 but much nicer:


January 8, 2013, 05:39 PM
I've had very good results with 135 gr. Gold Dots. They have consistently performed as intended when tested on 16" of tightly rolled up water soaked denim in a cardboard box filled with water. Certainly not an official method of testing, but it has sufficed well with my SD bullet tests, to the extent I have been able to determine some base line factors associated with SD performance such as penetration, expansion, and retention.

I've also tested my SD loads with water soaked denim ( approx. 12") in between two shoulder blades of a deer for a more realistic idea, and the Gold Dots maintained consistent penetration and expansion properties with 10 of 12 rounds going through and through.


January 9, 2013, 08:40 AM
The 686 with a 3 inch barrel I ordered for myself arrived yesterday, and I had my wife do some dry firing with it. She said it felt too heavy at first, but she has virtually no experience firing handguns, so no real basis for comparison. After she held it for a few minutes she said she would shoot some with it and see how it feels. I'll take a look at the model 10 as some of you have suggested as well.

January 9, 2013, 11:33 AM
I reamed my S&W 60 out from 38sp to 357 mag ~~10 years ago.
I took off the wooden grips and put on rubber grips.
I have shot handloads with Bullseye that stick the cases and handloads with H110 that top hat the primer. That revolver is hard to blow up.

I cannot remember if I used a .380" straight fluted reamer or a W sized drill.
From the looks of it, I used a drill.

I think it is ironic that I only shoot 357 mag in my S&W 60 reamed longer 357 mag, but I can only shoot 38 special in my Taurus 640 357 mag.
The Taurus is rough as a cob, and cases will stick. I think the Taurus was already over sized from a boring bar before they put the reamer in there. The tech that sold it to me says it is under warranty where HE bought it, but it is not worth my time to take it back to the store.

January 9, 2013, 03:43 PM
If the gun will be staying in the home I do like the 3" barrel, Model 60, Ruger SP 101 or similar. My usual choice is 125-135 grn bullets at the +p level in the lighter guns, 38 or 357 chamber.

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