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Ballistic gelatin test results : Various .38 Special from a 4" barrel

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Brass Fetcher, May 5, 2007.

  1. Brass Fetcher

    Brass Fetcher Participating Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Eastern border of the United States
    Special thanks to 351 WINCHESTER for sponsoring this test in full.

    Cartridges - Various .38 Special from a 4" revolver

    Firearm - Smith and Wesson revolver with 4" barrel length

    Block calibration - All depths corrected (From 10.3cm @ 605 ft/sec)

    Shot 1 - Buffalo Bore 125gr +P (Part # 20B). Impacted the block at 1287 ft/sec, penetrated to 15.8" and was recovered at 0.593" average diameter and 116.9gr weight. Severe fragmentation was encountered through the entire wound track. Penetration is outlined in red.

    Shot 2 - Federal 147gr +P+ Hydra-Shok (Part #P38HS2G). Impacted the block at 1005 ft/sec, penetrated to 15.8" and was recovered at 0.571" average diameter and 102.5gr weight. Severe fragmentation was encountered through the entire wound track. Penetration is outlined in green.

    Shot 3 - Buffalo Bore 158 +P (Part #20A). Impacted the block at 1190 ft/sec, penetrated to 15.0" and was recovered at 0.444" average diameter and 125.0gr weight. Severe fragmentation was encountered through the entire wound track. Penetration is outlined in blue.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 5, 2007
  2. Sundles

    Sundles Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Pretty darn vicious when fired from a four inch barrel, no?

    The 125gr. Buffalo Bore load couldnt have framented too badly as it went 16 inches deep and only lost 7 grs. of wieght. This bullet is the Gold Dot LV. (low velocity)

    Thanks JE223.

    351 WINCHESTER Senior Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    That ain't bad for a .38. The Buffalo Bore is bordering or .357 performance, with less recoil and muzzle blast. How do they do it? "Secret's in the sauce."
  4. Jim March

    Jim March Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    Among other issues, the fact that the Gold Dot is holding together when this severely "overdriven" is pretty cool. Like Tim says, 7 grains loss ain't a big deal when you consider what's being asked of the slug.

    The Federal in comparison to both looks to be junk. Sure, it'll "work", but there's no standard for +P+ pressure so unless your gun is really a 357 that's got to be a concern. It's losing mass like crazy, if it hits a barrier first God only knows what'll happen and it has nowhere near the energy of either Buffbore load...and the 158 is kicking it's butt in that department and sending it running home to mama.
  5. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    The BB's are pushing some nice velocities. They are leaving the +P+ in the dust. I like what I see. Knocking on .357 velocities, 9mm easily. Once agiain, great work JE.
  6. Gordon

    Gordon Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    central Kali.
    .38spl from 4" barrel = great killer! Thanks for the confirmation!
  7. Ultima-Ratio

    Ultima-Ratio Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    anchorage alaska
    Please pardon my pessimism but-

    I'm sensing an affiliation between Buffalo Bore and 351? :rolleyes:

    Not that it really matters because everyone likes to see gel test results!

    I'm wondering if using the four layers of denim as sort of standarized by DiFabio at Ammo Lab (back when) would effect the results?

    The Gold Dots are an excellent choice and likely wouldn't be "plugged" by the denim....SWAG?

    Including DT brand into this equation would have been interesting IMHO.

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