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38/357 Bullet recommendations

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jesse Heywood, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    I have forgotten what little I knew about jacketed bullets for self defense. I looked at plated bullets and learned their hollow points are not designed to expand. And the bullet makers websites left me feeling queasy, not knowing which one to pick. I am looking for a bullet for self defense that I can use for 38 +P and 357 mag. loads.
     
  2. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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  3. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    for the 38 Id go with hornady 125 gr XTP's and the 158 gr xtp for the 357.
    the speer gold dots seem to be nice but I don't have much experience with them.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's leave the factory vs reloads argument out of this, it's the reloading area. For those who want to argue that please do it elsewhere. It's been done to death and will only derail the thread.
     
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  5. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    IMHO, any of the 'name brand' manufacturer's hollow point bullets should serve you well in your SD use reloads. My consistent caveat is that I don't believe the actual brand/bullet/caliber of center-fire ammo used has ANY measurable influence on the outcome of a SD shooting. Just like in real estate, it's all about location-location-location.
     
  6. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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    Some research shows that organic bullets are better...
     
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  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Hornady makes an XTP for .38 and one for .357. I wouldn't get real wound up about choosing between various premium bullets, as RandP pointed out, location, location, location.

    Plenty of good choices out there today. Speer Gold Dots, Remington Golden Sabers, Hornady XTPs......
     
  8. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    No GMOs involved? lol
     
  9. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    I like the 135 Gold Dot SB for midrange 357 loads with Unique.
     
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  10. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I really want to get some of those GD SB 135 gr. for tryout. Most of my 38/357 pistol loads vary from subsonic and up.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    At least we can get them again.
     
  12. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Which ones are for the 38 Special and which ones are for the 357?
     
  13. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    Could you consider a 158 grain LSWC-HP? I have reloaded the very soft Speer variety and it performs very well, and was what I carried in a 3" S&W M60. Reason I suggest this, is I was not all that impressed with the Hornady 125 grain XTP-HP bullets I tested.

    They were very accurate, but even with impact velocities of 1200 fps fired from a 9mm pistol, expansion was not what I was looking for, and would be much less at the velocities I drove them to in .38 Special. Aside from the first Solo data, the other velocities fell within the acceptable range window according to Hornady, for proper expansion. See attached photo at the bottom, bullet to the far left. Impact velocity was just over 1200 fps.

    If interested, here is some 125 gr Hornady XTP-HP data from my 3" model 60, which is +P rated.

    4.2 grains Solo 1000 CCI 500 Horn 125 XTP HP
    685, 693, 674, 696, 681 AV 685 ES 22 SD 8

    5.5 grains WW 231 WW SPP 125 Horn XTP HP
    921, 917, 920, 868, AV 906 ES 53 SD 25 Very Clean

    7.8 grains HS-6 CCI 500 125 Horn XTP HP
    850, 860, 838, 817, 867, AV 846 ES 50 SD 19 Absolutely filthy, lots-o-unburned propellant

    8.5 grains HS-6 125 Hornady XTP-HP WW SPP
    912, 920, 966, 954, 895, 929 AV ES 71 SD 29

    6.5 Power Pistol 125 gr .357” XTP WW SPP
    951, 962, 981, 975 976 av 969 es 30 sd 12

    Here is data for the 158 gr Speer LSWC-HP:


    7.3 grains HS-6 158 Speer LSWC HP CCI 500 *** 15 year old ammo when tested ***
    863, 847, 890, 891, 840, AV 866 ES 51 SD23

    6 grains Power Pistol 158 Speer LSWC-HP CCI 550 MAG Primer
    931, 925, 946, 918, 915, AV 927 ES 31 SD12

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I believe that Speer makes the Gold Dot. Remington makes the Golden Saber.

    One is a plated bullet, the other is cup and core.

    If you cast your own bullets there are several good designs out there.
     
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  15. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    Yep, you're right. At least I had the right link in the prior post. Half bad. :)
     
  16. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    Tried LSWC in 357 mag years ago and it leaded like crazy. Might be ok for 38spl with about 4.8g of bullseye.
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I am willing to bet a cold drink they used to sell two different ones, one for .38 Spl velocities and one for .357 Mag velocities.

    But danged if I can find it. :)
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I did extensive testing and work on replicating the 135gr short barrel Speer .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum loads. A few months I found the bullets available on sale and bought several hundred. I like that bullet a lot and I have very good replica loads for them. Of course you know what I recommend lol.
     
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  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I also remember them selling two different bullets but they probably cut back to 1 now.
     
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  20. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    I personally have never seen one box say for .38 Special, the other for .357 magnum. What I have seen, and mention is the chart they use to recommend a certain velocity range for proper expansion... Which IMO and experience is bunk - The 125 grain XTP-HP bullet I used and mention (PN 35710) says 800-1600 fps... Yeah sure. The 125 grain XTP-FP (flat point) has a much higher starting velocity (1200 fps) and a max of 1700 fps.

    Perhaps this in a defacto way, is implied to be used only in .357 Magnum, at typical true magnum velocities... But c'mon Hornady, put it on the box! This is why I specifically made sure to add HP next to my description, so there would be no confusion as to which 125 grain XTP bullet I was referring to.

    Here is a screen capture of this Hornady chart.

    XTP chart.JPG
     
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  21. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    I like the 158 grain xtp. The price is fair, theyre abundant and shoot same POA as the 158 swc load i use. Simplicity.
     
  22. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I would not try to use the same hollowpoint bullet for both. Even as the XTP literature claims, most bullets are designed to work with a single factory-specified velocity. I would say a single "minimum" velocity. They work quite well when you exceed the minimum provided you don't massively exceed it which can result in shallow penetration and fragmentation.

    There are some non-expanding options in self-defense bullets and those would include the "Xtreme Defender" things, SWC and HBWC.

    For .38 Special, I like the performance of the Rem. Golden Saber and the Federal HST.

    For .357, I like the 140 gr. Barnes XPB and the Rem. Golden Saber.

    Note that the 125 gr. .38 Special Golden Saber is not the same same as the 125 gr. .357 Magnum Golden Saber. The petals are scored deeper and longer on the .38 version so the hollow point opens up at a lower velocity. The .357 version won't expand at .38 velocities.
     
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  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    That is what I found on the website today.

    #35710

    #35730

    I too wonder if the FP took the place of an older bullet. Could be me remembering wrong though. I do agree though that no one 125 Gr XTP is going to work well at .38 Spl velocity as well as top .357 Mag velocity. No way. Too much FPS difference.
     
  24. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    If it were me, I'd try the 158gr XTP and after working up a load that you like for accuracy and velocity, shoot some water jugs and see what expansion looks like.

    My reasons are:

    1) 158gr is standard weight for both cartridges. So I think it's a good place to start.
    2) The velocity range of the 158gr XTP seems quite large. Perhaps one bullet could cover SD rounds for two cartridges.
    3) They're a widely available design.
    4) Expansion may not be the very best with XTPs, but expansion isn't everything. Penetration and momentum play their parts too. So even if they don't expand as much as some others, it should still easily be more effective than FMJ with regards to tissue damage, and over-penetration.

    I'm actually working up SD loads in .41 and .44 with XTPs and W231 right now.
     
  25. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    How about that 90 grain XTP-HP, .30 cal bullet 'optimized' *cough BS* for 800 - 2200 fps... Yeeeaaaah. As an aside, this is very much what you will find dealing with a lot of surf fishing rods.

    I was a field tester and development advisor for several fishing tackle companies surf fishing rods, and high performance casting reels. One of the biggest issues I had with American companies, was to get them to rate the rods more accurately as to 'real' casting weights they would throw well... When you see a range of 1-10 oz on a rod, you know it's not good at anything. UK made rods however, were much better at a realistic, narrow window that represented a rods true ability, serving the potential buyer much, much better.

    Same thing going on here with Hornady bullets in many ways, and I'd wish they would cut out the BS.
     
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