Traditional vs Modern 38 spl SD ammo


April 6, 2013, 11:04 AM
Edit: I put in the topic 38spl ammo, i guess it is the same for any SD ammo.

To start, i have done some research on this, but i want some practical input.

I typically don't micro ananlyze self defense ammo when selecting it. I do read diffferent SD ammo reviews from time to time. I like 140-150 gr ammo in either my 9mm or 38spl. I have always went with a good manufacturer JHP made specifically for self defense. I shoot my SD ammo occasionaly to make sure that the gun, the ammo and i are all doing what we are supposed to do. Once i start getting close to halfway thru my inventory, i buy more. Many times it is different thant the last ammo. As i said, it is always a SD ammo manufactured by a respected company, Hornady, Winchester, Remington, Corbon, etc. I always take the new ammo to the range and give it a good function test.

Since the latest AWB scare even pistol SD ammo is difficult to find locally. It is time to get SD ammo for my 38spl. I had a choice between a traditional jacketed hollow point (Win PDX1 130gr +p, 950fps at muzzle) and a modern SD round (Hornady 38 Special +P 110 gr FTX, 1090fps at muzzle). I have not shot any of the hollow points with a filled cannular. The way i understand the modern filled cannular SD rounds is they are better for penetrating heavy clothing. Maybe for a winter environment where everyone has heavy clothing.

I chose the Win PDX because that is the style of bullet i am accustomed to. Is there a huge difference for a non tier 1 casual shooter between the 2 styles of SD ammo?

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boom boom
April 6, 2013, 11:47 AM
Personally, my guess is that either bullet is fine as most of today's bullets like the FTX or the PDX have been extensively tested using FBI criteria. One issue is that weight and velocity of bullet affects the point of impact which matters if you don't have adjustable sights or if your adjustable sights are adjusted for another weight/velocity combo. A lot of revolvers with fixed sights are optimized for 158 gr. bullets. Of course, the shorter the distance, the less it matters.

Other variables to consider--summer v. winter, tried and true versus new, length of barrel, recoil tolerance, and bullet construction and weight and whether you want to reload similar bullets for practice to save money.

That said, shot placement trumps any differences using modern self defense bullets from reputable manufacturers. Use what you shoot well.

April 6, 2013, 12:01 PM
I like the modern JHP's in most calibers, but to me, the "traditional" SD 38spl load is the SWCHP +P. It is also my favorite 38spl load for most uses, particularly the Remington version, which is softer lead.
It is the load in my snub right now.

April 6, 2013, 12:25 PM
I like the Remington 158gr +P SWCHP loading as it will hit close to the sights and unlike some other brands will expand from a snubby. It also tends to be a little warmer than the Fed and Win versions as well. I think that this thread will be of some help to you

This same fella wrote a nice little piece about his 30 year experiences with his much beloved S&W M10, the same used in the link above. While I'm not saying it's a good idea he used 158gr +P SWCHP to take a deer with that M10 at a about 30yd. The bullet exited the off side and the doe ran in a semi circle and fell over.

You may experience som difficulty in finding this ammo, and when you do find it tends to be a bit pricey as it comes in 50 rnd boxes. This really is a shame as it is very good ammo. It dosen't help either when the ammo companies seem to think that we all want light for caliber bullets in the .38 SPL anymore.

April 6, 2013, 12:31 PM
boom boom: I agree with you. Everytime i change ammo, i always take it out, shoot a couple of groups and run drills to see POI, recoil, reliability, etc. I never take out ammo i haven't run.

I am not an operator of any kind. When i carry it, is for SD only. God forbid i ever need to use it, but i don't want to instigate any long distance engagements. I will if i have to, but stats show 3 shots, 3 yards, 3 seconds are a majority of SD engagements. That is how i train with my carry. I shoot 3 gun, USPSA and a few other matches regularly. I feel i am pretty good with a gun, i don't believe shooting matches prepares me for the worst. So i train differently for SD.

amd6547: after a little googling of SWCHP +P, i like the numbers. My next SD purchase might be a few boxes of that style.

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