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.38 LC - less wear on snubs?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by shadow9, Jul 4, 2013.

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  1. shadow9

    shadow9 Member

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    Currently wanting to get a 638 or 442, but I don't like the idea of "Carry alot shoot a little" - I'd like to practice with it frequently. However, the local firing range has lost both of their new J-frames to "barrel-breaking", as well as their 686. (Funny - the SP101 hasn't been out to service yet, as with the steel 40-2). Supposedly it had to do with the frames stretching or the barrel breaking after too many shots...

    This makes me leery of lightweight J-frame wear when range shooting for practice. Round count of 50-150/weekend. I have a full .38/357 reloading kit, and can acquire Starline .38LC brass...

    So, would the reduced charge/weight of a .38 LC produce less bolt thrust on the frame, and less wear on the forcing cone/barrel sleeve, prolonging the life of the gun? >130gr loads.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No.

    If you reload?
    You can load the same light charge in a .38 Spl case and not have to deal with cleaning out the hard carbon rings in the chambers from the shorter cases.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  3. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    If you're that worried about it just buy a 22 version of the same revolver and let it carry the bulk of the shooting.
     
  4. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Have you tried buying .22LR ammo lately? :rolleyes:

    The answer is .38 Special wadcutters. And they are a not-bad defensive round too -- they cut a large hole and they penetrate deep.

    Were the allegedly-stretched frames from shooting lots of jacketed bullets, or lead?
     
  5. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    If wont stay that way. (22ammo)

    Besides its not like spp primers are exactly overflowing off shelves either right now
     
  6. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    A nice idea, but sort of backward.
    .38 Long Colt brass is expensive and hard to get, .38 Special and .357 Magnum brass is going to be much easier and cheaper to get, and there's a huge amount of loading data and powders for them. Not so much for the .38 Long Colt.

    Just load light Mid-Range target level loads in standard .38 Special or Magnum brass. The brass will last a long time with light loads.
    In short, .38 Long Colt brass isn't going to get you anything at all over .38 or .357 brass loads.
     
  7. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Yeah, can't see any reason to handload .38 LC instead of doing the same low-powered loads in cheaper & easier .38 Special brass.
    You've got the dies, just go the easy route. :)
    Denis
     
  8. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I would dry fire practice with it about 10 mins. a day, 4 or 5 days a week until I got use to the trigger pull.
     
  9. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I totally agree with the others about you simply need to load your own to a lower power level to get what you're after. It's not about the casing at all. It's all about how much you put into the casings that the gun is intended to accept.

    For example there's no reason at all why you can't load the soft shooting 148gn HBWC bullets into .357Mag casings and get the correct muzzle velocity that is generally used. The resulting powder charge would be just a hair bigger than the classic .38Spl loads to make up for the slight extra case volume. Such a load would be very soft in recoil just like it is in the .38Spl version.

    Such is the joy of the complete control over your loads you have when you reload.

    What IS going to be a problem for you is if you're using a fixed sight gun. But there's good news too. If these guns are sighted in for full power .38Spl loads that use 158gn bullets then you can work up a 125gn bullet load which hits at the fixed POA with a bit of testing. The power in this lighter bullet load will be quite a bit reduced from the kick of the 158 and should be pretty easy for the gun to withstand for many thousands of rounds.
     
  10. 336A

    336A Member

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    Not to cause a thread drift here, but this is a perfect example of why I prefer all steel J frames. I've never heard of the steel J frames having the issues that the new current crop of aluminium frame revolvers have. This whole business of shoot little carry a lot is counter productive. We all know that it takes much more practice to become and stay proficient with these diminutive revolvers.

    At one time I was thinking about putting my S&W M60 No Dash into retirement. So I started looking at and researching the current crop of J frames. I couldn't believe some of the issues that folks were having with these new revolvers. Things such as barrels being launched down range, and more than a few owners found cracked frames on their new guns once they got home:what: After hearing about and seeing these things over at the S&W forum it was decided that the M60 would't get retired after all. It was a sad day when S&W stopped production of the steel J framed .38 SPL only revolvers.

    To the OP see if you can't track down some wadcutter ammunition. Good luck though as I've never encountered it near my local, that don't mean it can't be found though.
     
  11. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    I would practice and carry standard target wadcutters. They are as accurate a 38 Special as you can find, they cut a full caliber (.358") hole in what ever they hit, they are soft in recoil so follow-up shots are a breeze and they won't beat up your alloy framed 5-shooter any more than the 38 LC you're thinking about.

    Oh, and people have been duplicating that load with 148g WC bullets and 2.7g Bullseye for 50+ years that I know of, maybe longer. (smile)

    Dave
     
  12. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    Interesting idea to shoot 38 Long Colt in a modern revolver to keep the pressures down. The idea would work, but it is unnecessary. When I shoot my 38 Long Colt, I use 38 special brass that I know is loaded to a very light level.

    As an aside, an original 38 Long Colt revolver will chamber a .357 magnum cartridge--a chilling thought. Don't do it. The old 38 Long Colts won't safely handle full power 38 Specials. Ordinary 38 wadcutters loaded to normal target shooting levels will solve your problem.
     
  13. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    It's not really necessary. After all, it's not the length of the case that matters, but how much powder you put in it.

    My cowboy .38 load is 3.0 grains of Clays and a Federal magnum primer under a dead soft 125 grain RNFP. That gives bang on 700 FPS from a 4 5/8" barrel. I doubt a load like that would damage any .38 Spl. Of course, plenty of cowboys think I shoot heavy loads, so there are bound to be lighter ones around. :neener:
     
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Remember what you're talking about here, rental guns. Those guns get about the same respect as rental cars, none at all!!! You might be able to worry about Airlight J frames but the fact a M686 had to be sent for repairs tells you something. The L frame revolver is just about "bulletproof" so I would lean towards abuse. Also, just because the SP101 (or any other revolver) hasn't broken doesn't prove anything. Maybe it doesn't get used much.

    I own a handful of J frames including a M638 and M442 and I shoot all of them often. All are as tight as the day I bought them. The M638 is 8 years old and the M442 is about 6.5 years old. Plenty of +P ammo sent through both.
     
  15. MartinS

    MartinS Member

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    Wow..thread got me worried. Just checked my 442. Not made of balsa-wood after all. Whew...
     
  16. PRM

    PRM Member

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    +1 "The answer is .38 Special wadcutters."

    Fun to shoot, cheap and fairly easy to find.
     
  17. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Another ++1 for the .38 Spl. wadcutter rounds if this is a concern.
     
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    On the guns, a matter of "design for intended use". S&W made those light guns for easy carry and occasional range use, not for rental guns that could well fire thousands of rounds a week and get little, if any, care.

    FWIW, at one time, big users of .38 LC were female police officers, who had to carry revolvers in .38 Special, but liked the lighter recoil of the .38 LC. Of course, now everyone has gone to 9mm, so that market no longer exists.

    Jim
     
  19. s4s4u

    s4s4u Member

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    Seriously? Buy a Ruger.
     
  20. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    If you're really worried about wearing a J frame out, get some hollowbase wadcutters & load them hollowbase forward as a hollowpoint over 3.5-4.0 grains of Winchester 231 pistol powder.
    Mild load and lead bullets won't wear the gun, the load is fairly accurate and they hit HARD.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  21. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    Or you might try loading those wadcutters over the powder.
     
  22. Manny

    Manny Member

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    My solutuion to shooting a lightweight snubby alot was threefold;

    -Selection of gun, went with a .357 rated Ruger KLCR, a couple oz heavier but uses a stainless steel frame rather than aluminum.

    -I got the CT laser grip with it as I find it an enormous aide in dryfire practice. That red dot will show you visually when you're not shooting properly.

    -I got an understudy gun in .22lr, the LCR-22, also with the CT grip

    J-frames are good guns, but I've not had good luck with them. I'm far happier with the LCR and consider my KLCR w/ CT's to be the penultimate CCW snubby. The only change I'm making to it is installing a tritium front sight. Other than that I think it's as good as a snubby can get.
     
  23. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    Bet he has it figured out by now guys.
     
  24. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I have been shooting a Taurus ultralight M85 for 17 years. As with all my .38s, I mostly shoot 2.7 grains bullseye powering a 148 grain cast wad cutter. Works fine for me and very accurate. :D I don't know the round count in that gun, but it's as new and shoots as well as ever. It's rated for +P so I really don't worry about the WC load wearing it out in my lifetime.
     
  25. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Yeah I fixed that,,,thanks
     
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