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What do you carry in your old revolvers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by wamj2008, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. wamj2008

    wamj2008 Well-Known Member

    I've got an old model Colt DS on the way. I want to carry sufficient defense ammo in it, but don't want to put +P's through the old girl. I have some standard pressure Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP's in the mail. Any experience with those? What do you carry in your older revolvers? Thanks.
  2. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    The latest, greatest, super duper, highest priced, rhino stopping ammo I can find.
    Isn't that all the rage on the forums and in the gun magazines?

    You'd think no other kind of ammo would even penetrate skin.
  3. kanook

    kanook Well-Known Member

    Doesn't matter what it is as long as it's accurate. A 158 grain SWC is what works perfect in my wifes DS and the POA to the POI is perfect.
  4. snooperman

    snooperman Well-Known Member

    Your choice of 158 gr LSWCHPs is an excellent choice.

    That is what I have been carrying for the past 35 years in my Colt Detective that is about 45 years old. It has a proven record of doing the job well. Another modern design that is also excellent according to some tests that will go right through fabric worn and still mushroom out, is the new Hornady critical defense 38 special non +P ammo. Both are very good and I am sure there are a host of others as well including the new winchester DPX , I believe it is called. I like my Colt detective and have tried to replace it for a new and different handgun, but just can not find another 6 shot that I like better. Good shooting with yours too.
  5. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Well-Known Member

    Here is a test/review on those...
    Keep in mind that these are loaded as hot as some factory +P loadings. Well over 825 fps in a 2" barrel. Of course, not all +P's are created equally.
    I like this BB load a lot. No need for the +P in my opinion since the standard BB load packs plenty of juice, yet won't destroy your older guns.
  6. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    I think the advice to carry a typical factory 158LSWC-HP round is good. Barring the -HP bullet, just some factory 158 LSWCs should be good. If you are anxious about the plus-p type, then get standard pressure.

    Jim H.
  7. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    158's usually shoot to point-of-aim in fixed-sight .38's.
    At eight feet, you won't be able to tell the difference in point of impact, no matter what bullet you choose.

    Hollow-point 158's tend to not expand when fired through fabric.
    Latest-and-greatest 125's expand reliably whether fired through fabric or not.

    Just for curiosity, I would like to see comparative tests on how different .38 bullets penetrate obstacles like sheetrock, auto-glass and sheet metal. In reality, anybody who has to take one of those sorts of shots probably should plan ahead, and pick something besides a .38 snub.

    I think whatever .38 you can land six-inches-deep, and between the shirt pockets, is going to get the job done with adequate dispatch. The 158 and the 125 are each capable of that.

    Here is a very good article that compares gelatin-tests of different types of .38 ammo.
    from: http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammunition/pocket_dynomite/
  8. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    Detective Special barrels were regulated to shoot point of aim/point of impact with 158 grain bullets. Lighter rounds will hit low.


    These were 158 gr bulk Win JHP handloads at 7 yards. Any standard pressure 158 grain, lead or jacketed, should give you the best results with POA/POI. You'll just have to find out which brand, or which load if you reload, gives you the best results.
  9. Think of your older .38 Special revolver as a .380. Then, use ANY standard pressure .38 Special load, and you have something like a .380+P!
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    How old is old???

    My pet Detective Special was made during the middle 1950's, and right now it's loaded with 148-grain mid-range wadcutters.

    Out of a two-inch barrel the 158-grain hollow points don't expand much unless they are driven at velocities that require higher pressures then I care to fire. Not because the recoil bothers me, but rather that it slows down accurate additional shots. They also shoot to the point of aim at around 20 feet, the distance I'd likely use it

    I don't 'spose I'll ever make it as an Internet Tactical Commando... :(
  11. wamj2008

    wamj2008 Well-Known Member

    Fuff, I just bought an old model (unshrouded ejector rod) Detective Special. I'm not looking for tactical. ;)
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    When you get it (I presume you haven't yet) swing out the cylinder and you'll find the serial number stamped on the frame behind the crane (the hinge part the cylinder swings out on).

    Then go to www.proofhouse.com and you can check that number against a list to see when your particular revolver was made. You may be surprised.

    As far as the gun's strength is concerned, before World War Two Colt advertised that is was O.K. to shoot .38-44 Hi-Speed loads in a Detective Special. These were rated at around 1175 FPS with an 158 grain bullet out of a 5 inch barrel. Now this is something I wouldn't care to do, but I've never heard of a gun blowing up. Colt revolvers have had high carbon steel/heat treated cylinders since the mid-1920's, and the frames were machined from forgings.

    Oh, and my remark about "internet tactical commandos" wasn't aimed at you. ;)
  13. wamj2008

    wamj2008 Well-Known Member

    I intend to do just that. The finish on the gun is excellent so I'm expecting it to be... new old vs. old old. I just don't want to throw the timing off sooner than usual, especially if the standard pressure LSWCHP's prove sufficient.
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Back in 1908 Colt introduced a series of updated hand ejector revolvers. These included the Police Positive, Police Positive Special (of which the Detective Special is a variant) and the Army Special (which became the Offical Police and the grandparent of the Python).

    In one form or another they remained in production until the 1990's, and it should be obvious that if they were prone to go out of time or were fragile they would have been discontinued in short order, or after World War Two at least. As it was they became a mainstay of U.S. law enforcement and were purchased in considerable numbers by our military establishment. Eventually they were discontinued because they required expert hand fitting during final assembly, and this method of manufacture could not continue in an era of much higher labor costs.

    Shooting these guns does not cause them to go out of time. What does is abuse - especially flipping the cylinder in and out - which shouldn't be done with any make of hand ejector revolver. Also they're are some late production guns that were never fitted correctly because the company's management decided to fire the more experienced assemblers to save money and replace them with less experienced (and less expensive) new ones. Union strikes allso took a toll.

    However those that are good are very, very good - and offer both reliability and exceptional accuracy. If the one you get is slightly out of time send it in to the factory for a tune-up, and thereafter if it isn't abused it will last for a long, long time. I expect that when I'm long gone my 50's Detective Special will still be in perfect time, and lock up like a bank vault door.

    In closing I must say that it doesn't have any polymer parts, but I'll try to live with that... :D
  15. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    Old Ammo of course :D





  16. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

  17. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    For a 2" bbl Lawman Mk III of '70s vintage I like the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 gr +P, if you don't mind a little POA adjustment.
  18. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    Old Fuff,

    What's your position on +P for your Dick Special?
  19. doc540

    doc540 Well-Known Member

    CorBon DPX Barnes Bullets 110grn +P

    I don't shoot them regularly at the range, but my carry piece is loaded with whatever I think can best protect us from those with bad intentions.

    I can always buy another Colt if this one gets loose.
  20. wamj2008

    wamj2008 Well-Known Member

    Excellent collection, C&L. Thanks for sharing.

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