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Revolver SD loading of the chambers

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by marcodo, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. marcodo

    marcodo New Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    I am reasonably new to handguns and ccw. For about a year I have carried my XD 4" 9 mm with +P rounds. It does seem to be a touch bulky and heavy especially during the hot summer months. Recently I started carrying my .38/.357 Ruger SP101 2 1/4". I am not completely comfortable with the regular .38 rounds for self defense. I would like to carry all .357 but I worry about follow-up shots using the .357. I just started using Speer GD short barrel HP .38 +P in the first 4 chambers and a .357 for the final shot. Does this make sense or is it a mistake to load different rounds? Is there any other way you guys alternate load a revolver?

    Without starting the caliber war how does the SD +P 9mm compare to the +P .38...and for that matter how do they compare to the .357? I know shot placement is everything.

    Just out of curiosity, If you had to choose a ccw would you take the 10 + 1 (NYS Maxium) +P 9 mm or the 5 shot (4 .38 +P + 1 .357)?:)
  2. fletcher

    fletcher Senior Member

    May 19, 2004
    I believe your 9mm +P will have a bit more energy/power than a .38 +P. I also wouldn't recommend carrying different rounds in the chambers - keep it all the same so that you can consistently shoot.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  3. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Participating Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    If you load with a 158 grain lead semiwadcutter hollowpoint, I think you can nearly match the 9mm in terms of power with the lowly .38 special +P. The 9mm is a high pressure, small case, that works best with relatively light bullets and can push them very fast. The .38 is a low pressure, large case - it can hold much heavier bullets, and push them not-much-if-any slower than it can push the lighter bullets. Why use a 135 grain bullet at 900 fps when you can have a 158 grain bullet going almost the same speed?

    Penetration data from brassfetcher, velocities from elsewhere (measured from 1 7/8" snub) - both are .38 special +P:

    Speer short barrel GD +P, 135 grain: 920 fps, about 10" penetration, .60 expanded

    Remington LHP +P, 158 grain: 850 fps, about 12" penetration, .60 expanded

    Even compared to a 9mm, that second load isn't too bad at all. It's what I carry.
  4. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Active Member

    Aug 8, 2004
    Wabash IN

    +1 to TNP's post. I currently carry S&W 158gr +P and it performs well through milk jugs - moreso than some other loads. The softer the lead the better.

    The S&W stuff is old - don't expect to find it. I only carry it because I know how it's been stored, and have run a test on it. The dreaded 4-layer denim test is still coming up though.

    Josh <><
  5. Neophyte1

    Neophyte1 Member

    Jul 16, 2007

    Find a load that works for you;
    load all cylinders with same
    Bad Guy Stop-pers.
    Nothing wrong with shooting different [ie cheaper] to keep the edge
    You've been recommended .158: Nuff said
    You can be entertained with ballistic comparators, with fragnitiles, and a whole bunch more.
    Find BG bullit and stay with it
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I carry Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 gr .38 special +P rounds in my M638. I think they are good SD rounds but so are the old FBI load too. If you like the Speer ammo and you can shoot well with it, stick with it. Speer also makes a 135 gr Short Barrel .357 Margnum load. It is lighter than most SD Magnum rounds available on the market. You might want to shoot a box or 2 to see if you like them.

    If you decide you don't like the Gold Dot ammo try some Winchester Silver Tip +P or one of the several offerings from Buffalo Bore in both +P and standard velocity.
  7. Trebor

    Trebor Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    Don't mix loads in the same cylinder. There's no real advantage to it and it's just silly.
  8. nitestocker

    nitestocker New Member

    Nov 23, 2006
    washougal washington
    buffalo bore makes a 158 gr, semi wad cutter hollow point that i use in my 651 Taurus its right up there with the old fbi load its a +p load i hope this helps
  9. Elm Creek Smith

    Elm Creek Smith Active Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    I carry a 3" S&W M13 RB with Bianchi Lightning grips. It's loaded with Winchester .357 Magnum 145 grain Silvertips. Good stuff.

  10. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Participating Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    I can think of only 2 practical and sensible reasons to carry different loads in the same gun at the same time...BTW...this applies mostly to revolvers, but those who decide to hike or camp with an autoloading handgun might have other ideas for ya...

    while working around the hunting camp or hiking, I am concerned by snakes, 4 legged critters and 2 legged critters, so I load my 6 shot .357 revolver with the first 2 cylinders with snake shot and the remainder loaded with either a shallow jacketed hollowpoint or jacketed softpoint magnum load...

    the new Taurus Judge series that chambers both .410 shotshells and .45Colt; some recommendations I've read say to load 2 or 3 shotshells and the remainder with .45 Colt cast lead loads for woods or a good hollowpoint for home

    there ya have it...decide and practice...practice well and get confident...get confident but not cocky...later
  11. miko

    miko Member

    Aug 10, 2005
    I would consider mixed loadings for home-defense bedside gun - more for blinding flash and deafening bang considerations than anything else.

  12. HammerBite

    HammerBite Member

    Jan 14, 2006
    Northern VA
    If a 4- or 2-legged critter is a threat it needs to be stopped now with a bullet. If a snake is close enough to be a threat I can shoot him with a bullet too. Loading the first chambers with snake shot just wastes time I might not have if I really need a bullet.
    If I confront an intruder in my home, he just might attempt to kill me, in which case it would be prudent to stop the threat right now. Bright flashes and loud noises aren't something I want to bet my life on.

    The primary purpose of a self-defense gun is to keep you alive. Load it to deal with the worst possible situation as quickly as possible. When I want to plink around with shot loads or mouse-rounds I use a second gun.
  13. jad0110

    jad0110 Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Somewhere between the Eastern Block states and Flo
    You answered your own question. Pick a cartridge that you shoot well and gets sufficient penetration. That goes for any handgun round, regardless of caliber IMO.
  14. critrxdoc

    critrxdoc New Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    I am glad that you started by saying placement is supreme. Someone would have said and may still say it. I think the advantages of the 9mm are perhaps slightly better ballistics and certainly a lot more rounds. In a catecholamine haze, you may need as many rounds as you can get.
  15. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    North Texas
    Unneeded complications.

    These remarks apply to MY situation, in MY home, in MY locality. I would not argue that someone else MUST agree with them.

    The mind is a wonderful and very adaptable thing. As an enthusiast and liking to shoot handguns, I can get along with any of several for home defense. With a VERY simple plan for dealing with a danger in my home, a basic understanding of the tool system allows me to utilize what is at hand. Spraying bullets into the darkness is not part of my programming, so the basic load will need to serve. For simplicity, I prefer either a K-frame S&W revolver or a large Browning-design pistol for a bedside handgun. A smooth (NOT necessarily light) trigger and good pointability are preferable over light, compact, highly concealable -- characteristics so desirable "out on the street."

    Ammunition? Any decent 230 gr. HP in .45, Speer 125 Gold Dot HP in a Browning Hi-Power, or .38 LSWCHP+P in a revolver. Certainly, placement is always primary. No use in getting all wound up over the minute aspects of what is basically a rather simple matter. ;)

  16. Deanimator

    Deanimator Elder

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    +1. I have the Federal 158gr. LSWC-HPs in all of my .38/.357 SD guns. The "FBI" load is accurate and has a reputation for good stopping power. There are several other versions, including Remington and Buffalo Bore.
  17. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Participating Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Are you loading the last round with a magnum due to lack of confidence in the .38 special? If so, I think you'd be better off loading the whole cylinder with the .357 you have confidence in and not worry about followup speed. I think a confident first shot may be better than any multiple that are fired in doubt.

    For what little its worth, I have confidence in the .38 special and agree with those that say keep the loading with the specials.
  18. L-Frame

    L-Frame Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    I use the Buffalo Bore 158 LSWCHP +P in all of my revolvers. It does a legit 1100 fps. out of my 3 inch barrel guns. It has a very soft lead bullet with a gas check, which simply means that it won't leave lead in your barrel. They use low flash powder so you won't be blinded by the flash at night. It's quite a thumper for a .38 load. It's also fairly expensive, but well worth it.
  19. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Unneeded complications.

    Reference Johnny Guest Post #15

    Post is worth bookmarking and reading again.

    Nice thing about being born in 1955, and choosing the platforms that fit me in Early 1960's , and the ammunition, there was no Internet, No Gun of the Week Club, and no Ammunition of the week club.

    K frames, Gov't Model of 1911, BHP were chosen and the loadings were what the guns were designed to shoot.
    Pretty simple, this Gun Fit to shooter, learn correct basic fundamentals, use the ammo the gun was designed to run the gun with mags and shoot POA/POI.
    All shooting is , is repeating the correct basic fundamentals over and over again.

    Instilled back in the day, is one needed to hit what needed hitting, and the projectile really need to exit the muzzle in order to do that, and so this meant for a semi, the ammo needed to run the gun with mags, and go where pointed.

    WE shot dirt/mud. Mentors did this before I was born to see how the reloading was doing in comparison to factory loads.
    Scary part was comparing those bullets removed from critters shot and the ones removed from dirt/mud with all the notes attached to that bullet; being that scary close in fired results.

    Standard Pressure rounds always worked in BHPs for me, as they did in S&W semi-autos firing 9mm.
    I am partial to 124 gr, if I recall correctly the original grain loading for 9mm.
    230 gr for 1911, 158 gr loads for K frames.

    MY needs include hardball/LSWC- Security measures, one way mirror, the decorative glass door that is also a security measure and all the testing I have done with all the security measures of home, business, and other serious situation needs.

    Lanes of fire, cover, that I know will stop a 12 ga slug, or '06...

    No disrespect, still nobody from THR was present when I have had serious situations, guns being pointed at me and triggers pulled.
    Nobody around when BGs were doing BG stuff of all sorts of things.

    I think I will just stick with what I have always done for ME.

    Then again I am just dumb southern boy, and even after personally putting over 300,000 rds through a 1974 Win SX1, I still do not know all there is to that shotgun, its loads and "being one with the gun".

    My handguns for Serious Situations are the same way, and I picked them out in the 1960s

  20. glockman19

    glockman19 Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    I carry both the Speer Gold Dot & Federal Hydra Shoks.

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