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125gr SJSP for self defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MikeNice, Sep 22, 2010.

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  1. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

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    I had a chance to try out 130gr Winchester 38spl+P in a relative's S&W 438. The recoil was pretty stout and honestly my accuracy suffered. After about 24 rounds I was ready to just quit shooting. It wasn't hurting enough to quit. It was just frustrating the h*** out of me.

    I still want to carry a snub for defense when my CCH comes through. So, I'm wondering how a 124gr SJSP would do for self defense. It should still have some expansion, but be limited enough that it won't cause an energy dump. I am thinking that the limited expansion should lead to more penetration. In all honesty I'm hoping for a compromise round. I want close to +P penetration, but I don't want the kick. If that means giving up some expansion I'm willing to do it.

    Am I chasing windmills, or is my thinking taking me in the right direction?
     
  2. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    A SJSP wont expand or deform much at all at snub .38 velocities. You might as well go with a full power wadcutter or LSWC if you want penetration with some extra "crush" power. A non-expanding .38 round even at standard pressure velocity will get more then enough penetration to do the trick.
     
  3. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    How were you shooting after three to five shots? Unless your gunning for zombies that should be enough.

    You should also give the old 158gr LSWC+P a try. I haven't shot the ammo you mention above for comparison, but I don't find the FBI load to be unmanageable. The heavier bullet may change the recoil impulse in a kinder way. I don't know if it works for .38+P, but 158gr magnum loads in my .357 are more pleasant to shoot than 125gr magnum loads.
     
  4. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

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    Sport, the first five shots were between the outside line of the 8 section and inside line of the 9 section. They were all between the 11 and 7 o'clock position. Not really very tight.

    After all of the rounds were shot there was an upside down horse shoe from nipple to nipple. Most of the shots were between the outside line of the 8 section and inside line of the 9 section.

    We were using B-34 targets.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If you don't like the recoil that develops from +P ammo you will probably be happy with standard pressure 125gr Federal Nyclad ammo. They expand at low velocities and the originals were VERY accurate. I haven't shot the new ones but I'm sure Federal is making them just as good as before. The felt recoil is much less with a 125fe standard pressure Nyclad than any .38 Special +P on the market, even the old FBI load.
     
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Penetration is a function of the bullet and any standard velocity solid, be it lead round nose or WC will have more penetration than a JHP driven at +P velocity, Velocity is needed for expansion and you won't get it without sufficient speed to open up the hollow point.

    A hollow point is analogous to a parachute in that a parachute opens and spreads as air enters its opening and hollow points expand as soft tissue or other material enters the hollow forcing it open. Like the parachute as the JHP expands it slows the bullet and reduces the penetration but makes a larger hole.

    There is no free lunch. Hollow points that expand work better than solids because they make a larger hole and opens a larger wound. At .38 spl velocities all solids will work for self defense pretty much equally well regardless of the shape of the bullets nose be it flat like a SWC /WC or round nose but they're not as effective as a JHP. The short barrel of the snub minimizes velocity and makes the jhp's less likely to expand in the first place.

    If you can't tolerate the recoil of +P then load any standard velocity solid and see if that helps. Its better to be able to make good on target hits with a less effective bullet than miss with the best bullet.

    In the long run you need more trigger time so shoot standard loads for practice and as you become accustomed to ignoring recoil you will find the +P loads aren't that bad. The other option would be to shoot 6 rounds from a heavy magnum (.41 mag up to a .500 S&W) before shooting the 438. After being hammered from real recoil you won't notice the little .38's much.
     
  7. 167

    167 Member

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    Give the Hornady Critical Defense +p and standard pressure loads a try. They are pretty light shooters.
     
  8. 918v

    918v Member

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    A 38 wadcutter has a full caliber meplat and makes a larger permanent wound cavity than the hollow points, but you have to consider they penetrate more than 2 feet in ballistic gelatin.
     
  9. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

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    I've been thinking of going with the Buffalo Bore 158gr Soft Lead SWC-HC. It is a non+p load. But, minimum expansion in gel is 10% and it penetrates to about 14.5". The price is a bit stiff though.

    Here is a link to Brass Fetcher's test.
    http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20158gr%20(non%20+P)%20SWC-HC.html

    Is there any other non+p round out there with this type of performance?
     
  10. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Member

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    Practice with a light load. In a real fight you wont notice the recoil of a heavy load. If I had to carry a 2 inch 38 Special Id use the Buffalo Bore 158 GR SWC HP +P load.
     
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