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Round up of favorite ammo for .38 Plus P snubbies

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jonsidneyb, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    I have been examining this.


    I am interested in hearing peoples opinions on ammo in a .38 +p snubby. What you carry, and why.

    I know there will likely be some disagreement. The only place I will be using this is in 2 inch guns and I want an eduction on what to feed it.

    TOADMAN Well-Known Member

    Speer Gold Dot 135grn+P short barrel ammo. Rated at 860fps.
    Remington 158grn+P Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point.
    Georgia Arms 125grn+P Gold Dot. Rated at 1000fps..
    Winchester 158grn+P Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point.

    I currently carry the above Speer ammo in my S&W 642 cause all the high speed testing from a two inch barrel indicates it should work well on varmits with two legs.

    The Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point is already proven to be a good self defense round.

    125grn Gold Dots at 1000fps have got to be effective...
  3. Jkwas

    Jkwas Well-Known Member

    125gn gold dots
    125gn starfires (discontinued)
    125gn umc JHP

    They all shoot real nice to point of aim.

    Check out the boxotruth.com

    Really good practical info there.
  4. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    I shoot factory +P when I want soft target loads. For defensive use I load my own with 125 JHPs at 1,100-1,200 FPS (measured from a 4" barrel, the 2" guns lose about 80-100 FPS). All of my steel-framed revolvers. including some 1950s era J frames and 1940s K frames, seem to handle this ammo just fine.

    Here's a photo of a 1942 M&P posed with some of the factory +P and warm hand loads I have been shooting through it. No detectable wear or damage to date. IMO all S&W and Colts are "+P rated" since +P is not loaded to pressures higher than what is considered standard for the caliber.
  5. earplug

    earplug Well-Known Member

    158 grains

    I have two J frames and one fixed sight K frame. All shoot low with 125 grain bullets. About four inches low at 12 yards.
    For my J frames I only use 158 grain now. I alternate between a Rem/Win 158 HPWC or a SWC handload.
  6. coach22

    coach22 Well-Known Member

    Corbon DPX 110 +P because of how easily I can control them for repeat shots.
    For me, much less recoil than Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel. They are lighter and faster than the Speer and the all copper bullet is supposed to penetrate better. They are in a 640 (pre 357) and a 442 (pre lock) and once in a while as the first 2 up in a 340 PD, followed by 3 Corbon DPX 357's.
  7. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    Since 158gr loads shoot several inches high in my M37, I use Speer's 135gr Short Barrel load. It shoots to POA in at 10yds and has done well in tests.

  8. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Winchester's 158+P lead hollowpoint doesn't work in snubbies. Neither do old-stock Federal in that weight, either plain lead or plastic-coated ("Nyclad") - the 125gr Nyclad does seem to do OK if you spot any.

    The Remington 158+P is the mildest lead hollowpoint that works in snubs, and it works very well. Old-stock Cor-Bon of the same design is significantly hotter as is the Buffalo Bore variant. BuffBore added a "gas check" - a copper baseplate that acts as a heat shield: at these pressures the burning gasses could burn off the back of the bullet and plate the inside of the barrel with it, which is possibly why the Cor-Bon was discontinued. But the gas check raises the price on the BuffBores...worth it though in my opinion.

    The Hornady XTP in 38spl or 38+P should be avoided at all costs.

    The chart of water-jug tests isn't all that useful as they didn't do a denim-wrap over something soft first. Those tests will tend to show the bullets at their very best, when street results won't be that good. And the designs with really big hollowpoints will be at a comparative disadvantage because their clog-resistance won't be on display.

    The Speer 135 is the current king of the big-hollowpoint 38+P loads. Highly recommended if your gun shoots it well, but if you need heavier to adjust elevation on fixed-sight guns consider the Remmie 158+P lead hollowpoint or the BuffBore if you can control them. I think the Remmie 158 might be a tie with the Speer 135 and the BuffBore a contender for "absolute best 38+P round sold today".
  9. cslinger

    cslinger Well-Known Member

    The Speer 125 and 135 grain +P GDHP loadings for me.
  10. 357wheelgunner

    357wheelgunner Well-Known Member

    Remington 158grn+P Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point.
  11. bpisler

    bpisler Well-Known Member

    I have the Black hills loading of the 125gr
    gold dot in my 642-2.It shoots to POA at
    10-15 yards,recoil/muzzle blast is not
    harsh.It's loaded a little warmer than
    most mainstream 38+P's at 1050 fps in
    a 4" test gun.At $22.50 for a box of 50
    they don't break the bank.
  12. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member

    Corbon 38spl. 125g. +p
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Now that I'm back into .38 special snubs, I'm going to work up a heavy wadcutter "bulldog" load for my Model 36. Ideally a flat face bullet in the 180 grain range of soft lead.
  14. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Well-Known Member

    Smith & Wesson 642 w/ occasional other older Smith snubbies & Rossi snubbies

    Hornady XTP 125 grain JHP (non +p)...(since the original Nyclad 125 grain lswchp (non +p) is out of production and rare to find)

    I'm not a big fan of +p out of light revolvers due to recoil, lack of ease of followup shots, and too much muzzleflash to deal with in the dark
  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I was shooting Speer Gold Dot 125 grain +P rounds until I found out Speer had a 135 grain +P load made for Short barrel .38's. Before that I was shooting Federal Hydra Shok rounds but I didn't like the way they shot out of my J frame. I even carry Speer's Gold dot 158 grain .357 Mag rounds in my 4" S&W M-619 now. Remington Golden Saber HPJ rounds are good in the 4" gun but reports say they don't expand well in a snubbie, they shoot well out of the snubbie though.
  16. Ops Officer

    Ops Officer Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread. Appreciate the opinions. Oh, the boxotruth website is actually www.theboxotruth.com. Good info there.
  17. dispatch

    dispatch Well-Known Member

    Old School

    Mine are loaded with 158 grains- not +P. I feel comfortable with them at any range I would use a snubbie.
  18. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    If you're not going to go for an expanding load, the 158gr "Keith profile" semi wadcutter makes sense. I would FAR rather have those than a 125gr load of a type that won't expand...such as the Hornady XTP 38 standard pressure or the Winchester 125gr "silvertip" in either +P or standard pressure.

    However: the Winchester and Remington "+P" 158gr lead semi wadcutter hollowpoints aren't that much hotter, and don't seem to kick much more than standard pressure 158s. They start with exactly the same profile as a "Keith type" slug. Even when expansion isn't that good (fairly common in snubs with the Winchester's harder lead formula) they form a big wide nose back out to about caliber width with pretty nasty effects on tissue.

    There's no reason not to use the Remmie or even Winchester versions of the 158+P lead hollowpoint thinking "they won't expand".

    What the world really needs is a 148gr full wadcutter flatnose loaded fairly heavy, at least out to the outer edge of "standard pressure" which should be...well, I'd guess around 825fps in a snub with modern powder. That would be as good as it gets in a known non-expanding round. Most of these currently run about 700fps from a snub, sometimes less...just a small step past worthless.
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Jim March,
    I agree with you about the current loads being too slow out of a short barrel that's why I'm using Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel loads. Their Short Barrel 135 gr .38 +P load is rated @ 860 fps w/222 ft. lbs. That is very close to their non-short barrel 125 gr .38 +P load out of a 4" barrel which is 945 fps w/248 ft. lbs. of energy. I am very impressed with their numbers.
  20. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys.

    I probably will never know what is the very very best to use as I know how ammo conversations go, this one was actually quite civil, but this forum seems very civil as well.

    I think I will give the speer 135 grainers a try. The gun they will go in is what I carry as my weak hand gun.

    One other question. Is the 135 grain short barrel ammo marked "short barrel" on the package anyplace???

    Thanks again.

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