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.38 Special +P vs 9mm non-+P

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Alan Fud, Mar 8, 2005.

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  1. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Member

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    Are these two rounds about equal or is one more effective than the other one?

    PS: P95Carry, can you guess why I'm asking this question? ;)
     
  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    In the most popular carry format, the 2" revolver, a .38 Special is close enough to a 9mm that you can't tell the difference.

    On the other hand, if you're thinking of buying a gun, consider a .357 Magnum. You can shoot .38 Special ammo in a .357, if that's what you want, or shoot full charge .357s. I particularly like the 3" barrel Ruger SP 101 -- I bought one for my oldest daughter for her carry piece.

    Here are some figures (adjusted for a 4" barrel in 9mm and an equivallent barrel and chamber in a revolver, approximating a 2-2 1/2" snubbie.)

    Caliber Bullet weight velocity energy
    9mm 125 grains 1169 379 ft lbs
    .38 Special +P 125 grains 1150 367 ft lbs
    .357 125 grains 1600 710 ft lbs
     
  3. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Member

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    I recently acquired a Rohrbaugh R9S (combination birthday / Christmas gift from the Mrs) -- it's the gun that I carry when I'm not carrying (if you know what I mean) replacing my S&W342 which was previously used for that purpose ...

    [​IMG]

    ... The 342 is +P rated while the R9S is not. Just trying to determine if I'm equally well armed with the smaller gun and two extra rounds.
     
  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    ''Equally armed'' - I'll take my R9 Alan over my SP-101 ... altho that can take mag loads I don't carry them when that gun is with me - solely because of quicker follow-ups. So 6+1 is for me an ''edge'' ... plus the easier concealment deal, when pockets are the order of day anyways!

    I do myself equate the 9mm std pressure pretty much with 38 spl - in fact the GD 124's IIRC from my tests equate to around 275 or so ft lbs (if close to 1,000 fps) ... whereas the .38 spl 158 if going approx 800 fps is down around 235 ft lbs.

    (Nice pic of revo and 'pup' :) )
     
  5. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Vern,

    Your figures for 125gr .38+P out of a 2.5" revolver seem way high...

    A typical 125gr .38+P load will do about 950fps out of a 4" revolver.
     
  6. munk

    munk Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, slash my tires and besmirch my name,but a properly loaded .38 Special should be SUPERIOR to any Nine. IN Speer number 11, I see a 38 160 gr soft point bullet at 1028 fps. I see a 124 gr 9 mill at 1224 fps. And that is the fastest NIne heavy weight I saw in 5 or 6 reloading manuals.
    Now, I'm not even going to do the math here- even when their energy is about the same the 38 makes it with a far heavier slug. And the Hornady shows a Nine with a 147 gr bullet at only 1000fps, well behind the plus P 38.
    Now, I could flip around and find pet loads for each cartridge, but I think in general the 38 Plus P edges out the Nine.

    But let's look at something else: 38 Special pressure was established for older weaker guns. 22,400 CUP for plus P. The Nine is at 35,700 CUP

    There is no earthly reason one could not properly load a plus P 38 Special in excess of what is book VERY safely in a modern gun like a Ruger SPO1. You could leave the Nine whining in the dust.

    But even if you do not, and stick to most books, at Best for the Nine, they are almost the same in energy, and the 38 delivers a heavier slug.

    The nine offers larger mag capacity. I think the 38 a more significant hit.


    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


    munk
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    munk,

    I think your definition of "properly loaded .38" is sold by most gun stores labelled .357 Magnum. ;)

    If you go buy a typical box of .38+P off the shelf and a typical box of standard pressure off the shelf in comparable bullet weights, the odds are that 9mm will edge the .38 by 100fps or so.

    Like you say, if you go hunting for pet loads, you can find some pretty hot loads in both calibers, but I think on average the 9mm is going to keep the edge unless you want to shoot bullets heavier than 147gr.
     
  8. Mayo

    Mayo Member

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    .38 Special +P vs 9mm non-+P
    Are these two rounds about equal or is one more effective than the other one?


    Just a silly thought, but if you're willing to buy .38 in +P then why wouldn't you do the same in 9mm-----now it's a different story. :evil:
     
  9. munk

    munk Member

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    JohnKsa-
    Wrong- off the shelf a 158 gr plus p load in 38 is going to be at least 100fps faster than a 147 gr Nine.

    Mayo is correct- pick a plus P Nine and end this. End this debate until munk loads his plus P's in equal pressure to the nine, and wins handily.

    I've got 8 or 9 reloading manuals and can find only a couple Nine loads equal to most plus P 38's. I guess if we're talking about Factory loads we'd need some reviewer to have shot 5 or 6 major brands and loads in at least 5 or 6 handgun specimen's for each calibre. Assuming equal adherence to pressure stats, though, the 38 should still win. I think the prejudice against the 38 is based upon a 2" barrel in a revolver vs a 5 " closed breech Nine semi auto, and that many reloading manuals don't even list Plus P 38's.

    To the poster who called the quoted Speer loads for a 38 a 357 Mag-
    There are two loads shown that exceed 1000fps for a 38 Special plus P 158 and 160 gr bullet. The 357 mag, on the other hand, had numerous loads in excess of 1350 for the 158 gr bullet. No comparison.



    munk
     
  10. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Fortunately many people have done this kind of work and posted their results on the internet... ;)
    Twas I and the comment was somewhat tongue in cheek. It may not be .357mag performance, but it's still a good 100fps above a typical .38 special +P loading for a 125 grain bullet.

    Ok, I'm going to rant a tiny bit.

    Somehow when someone asks for a basic comparison of two very common rounds it doesn't imply to me that they're preparing to embark on a reloading career. So instead of fishing out the reloading manuals and quoting them the hottest loads I can find for my favorite cartridge, I try to answer with information that is actually applicable to a person who seems to be asking what kind of gun and ammo to buy. Maybe that's not as reasonable as it seems to me...
     
  11. MrTuffPaws

    MrTuffPaws Member

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    Here are some numbers from CCI. It does not state how long of barrel, but I am assuming 4"

    38 Special +P 125gr JHP

    velocity
    Muzzle = 940ft/s
    50 yards = 883ft/s
    100 yards = 834

    Energy
    Muzzle = 245ftlbs
    50 yards = 216ftlbs
    100 yards = 193ftlbs

    9mm Luger 115 JHP

    velocity
    Muzzle = 1145ft/s
    50 yards = 1029ft/s
    100 yards = 951ft/s

    Energy
    Muzzle = 335ftlbs
    50 yards = 271ftlbs
    100 yards = 231ftlbs


    The 9mm is faster and has more energy.
     
  12. GSMD Fan

    GSMD Fan Member

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    Just a thought here, not being a reloader, when I read the orginal question I think you are examining the wrong data. :scrutiny:

    What round is the most effective?

    Cerainly all those tests/surveys/studies on one shot stops and ballestic gel smashing answers this question. :rolleyes: It is not only pure math, although the math does play into it.

    I guess I will be the one to say it,
    The most effective round is the one you can shoot and get good COM hits with. :neener:
     
  13. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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  14. MoNsTeR

    MoNsTeR Member

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    Most reloading manuals test .38 Special from a 6" or longer barrel. You will not get those velocities from a snubbie.

    There's no way .38 Special can match 9mm Luger from the same length barrel, e.g. Kahr PM9 or Glock 26 vs. S&W 642 or Colt DS.
     
  15. munk

    munk Member

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    Somehow when someone asks for a basic comparison of two very common rounds it doesn't imply to me that they're preparing to embark on a reloading career. So instead of fishing out the reloading manuals and quoting them the hottest loads I can find for my favorite cartridge, I try to answer with information that is actually applicable to a person who seems to be asking what kind of gun and ammo to buy. Maybe that's not as reasonable as it seems to me...>>>>>>>>>>>>> JohnKSa

    I have no wish to personalize this, and take the insulting/mocking tone you've chosen. I found a thread which asked a question and I answered it to the best of my ability.
    I was not trying to cherry-pick the loads- I quoted the hottest nine load I could find- and had as much trouble seeing it duplicated in another manual as I did the 38 loads quoted.


    ..it's still a good 100fps above a typical .38 special +P loading for a 125 grain bullet.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I don't know what typical is, and neither do you. But I do see your point here; the Speer for instance, lists most 125 gr plus p load for the 38 at about 1000 fps, and lists only three , 1074, 1085, and 1005 faster. The 158 gr bullet is listed in the mid 900's,about 950, except for the load with Blue dot at 1061.
    That the 158 is not that much slower is a question for engineers. That's only about a 50fps difference between a 'typical' 125 gr speed of 1000 and the 'typical' speed of the 158, which is 950. NOT A 100 fps as you state.

    If I've misread the opening post to this thread I am sorry.
    I'm pretty much a reloading and ballistic nut who really did not want to pick lint off paper with you, JohnKSa, but was suprised it was a given in this thread the 38special plus p is weaker than the Nine Mill.

    munk
     
  16. munk

    munk Member

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    Stephen Camp;

    I followed your link. Thanks. It showed, unfortunately, only three plus p loads for the 38 special, all lower than the quotes I saw today in various reloading manuals. In fact, they appeared to be within the same range as normal 38 Special cartridges. These three loads are then compared to many plus p Nine loads.

    Are there simply not many Commercial Plus P loads for the 38 Special? Are they truly plus P? Have they been left anemic because of liability concerns with older revolvers?

    If those are what are available in the market, then I would have to agree with the idea that Commerical plus P 38 special is not really the equal of the Nine.

    Reloading data for plus P 22,400 cup suggests otherwise.



    munk
     
  17. munk

    munk Member

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    JohnKSa,

    If the link I saw today represents Commerical Plus P 38 loadings, you are correct. The Nine 147 will be more powerful than the 158 38. The commercial loadings are not close to what the reloading manuals record.


    munk

    edit- and here is why: The Speer lists plus p pressure at 22400 cup.
    I just checked the Lyman; their plus p pressures are recorded at 18,200 cup for the 158, and show similar mild pressures for all plus P loads in all bullet weights.

    So I'm not (entirely) insane- I doubt Commerical Plus P is much above standand 38 Special pressures.
     
  18. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Well, I didn't mean to imply that you were trying to mislead anyone--in fact, all of the data you quoted was correct. It's just that there's a significant disparity between factory loadings and what can be loaded for a modern revolver. (And probably also that I've been chewed on before on this topic and was getting pre-emptively snippy.) :(

    Defining exactly what is meant by "typical loadings" is kind of tricky for some of the veteran cartridges, I guess.
    Unfortunately, my insulting/mocking tone is a chronic and incurable condition. I'm able to partially control it but not to most folks' satisfaction. Some (but not too many) like me anyway. At any rate, a good bit of the time I don't really mean anything by it, and this may very well have been one of those times as far as you know. ;)
     
  19. munk

    munk Member

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    Yeah, see, I walked right into this one- I have a nice 38, but don't shoot it anymore. I just ASSUMED the ammo companies would load to SAMMI specs. And to think I used to buy Federal plus p's for carry in a 38 snubbie.

    When I realized how few 38 plus p loads were being used for comparison in the Camp 38 special link, I knew something was wrong.

    We all know you don't get the velocities advertised, either by ammo companies or reloading manuals. But you can kinda figure out where it's going to be. The Factory 38 plus p isn't even close. They don't want warm 38 specials. Too much liability. The Nine arrived at higher pressure and the guns will take it.

    I was just geniunely perplexed- I couldn't figure out how a plus p 38 could not be equal to a normal Nine.

    You told the thread writer correctly.
    And I learned something today.



    munk
     
  20. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Member

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    Because, as I originally said, the R9S is NOT rated for +P ammo (even has a warning on the magazine not to use +P ammo) while the 342 IS rated for +P ammo (says so right on the barrel).

    I was under the impression that I would be better armed with seven rounds of non-+P 9mm than five rounds of +P .38 Special and juust wanted to see if others felt the same way.

    Thanks ;)
     
  21. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Hello, Munk. There's quite a selection of .38 Special +P commercial ammunition available but as has been mentioned, the accepted pressure level for .38 Special is quite a bit lower than for 9x19mm. It seems that this works for the 9mm in the lighter weights up to probably 125 grains. When we get to the heavier bullets that occupy more space in the case and with the ability of revolver ammo to be loaded with slower powders than are normal for auto cartridges, the gap narrows between the two calibers but in +P, the pressure levels are probably toward the top of the acceptable range for the .38. I cannot prove this but I also think that most ammunition makers don't load right up to the edge of +P ranges but leave a bit of "margin" for liability reasons. Again, I could sure be wrong on that but when chronographing some .357's a while back I noted that some older loads were considerably faster than newer, even if marketed as the same make and load! IF this assumption is true, I suspect it also applies to other calibers including .38 Special and perhaps more so than 9mm. Most loads I've tried in that caliber over the years are pretty much in the same velocity ranges.

    In general and from similar barrel lengths I believe that 9mm will best .38 Special with regard to higher velocity for about the same weight bullets. How much more "powerful" this makes it in real world effect on the receiving end I wouldn't know. The nice thing about either caliber in service size guns is that
    both are easy to shoot well.

    Best.
     
  22. munk

    munk Member

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    Stephen,
    Lyman shows Plus P loads one or even two tenths of a grain of powder heavier, from 'normal' working pressures of 16000 cup range: plus P is 17,600, or 18,200. This is far short of the 22,400 set by SAAMI. After looking at your link, I have to wonder if any manufacturer is making real plus P.

    Hornday ammo has a adverstised 38 special load of 850 fps with the 158. If I recall from your link, (and I may not correctly) Plus P was something like 866 fps. Well, bowl me over! We should drop the Plus P designation, and call it 38 Luke, for lukewarm, or maybe just Plus pp, for paritally plus (and something else)

    Alan Fud- Despite the whimpy loadings of plus P, the 38 Special does not have a bad reputation, particularly with the heavier bullets.





    munk
     
  23. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    .38 Special used to be loaded much, much hotter in decades past.

    Factory .38 standard pressure is now comparable to .380 ACP.

    7 rounds of 9mm standard vs. 5 rounds of .38+P? Too close to call. If you ever need more than five rounds in a gunfight, you probably need more than 7, too. :)
     
  24. munk

    munk Member

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    I don't think either in the ribs would do a body any good.



    munk
     
  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Quote:
    -------------------------
    I don't think either in the ribs would do a body any good.
    ------------------------

    A .22 short in the ribs would be more than I'd want to take. The question is, which is best to serve an instant cease-and-desist that can't be ignored?

    My velocities for .38 Special +P are handloads, from a Ruger SP 101 .357. These are warm loads, but do not exceed published data. Velocity is from my Shooting Chrony.
     
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