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.38 special roundnose for defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dmxx9900, Apr 4, 2008.

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  1. dmxx9900

    dmxx9900 Member

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    I am temporarily using 38 special non p+ round nose in my S&W pre model 10 as
    defense rounds because in my area I cant find non p+ hollow points because my revolver is not rated for p+ ammunition.
    The ammo is Mag tech 158 grain lead round nose I also have Sellier and Belliot FMJ 158 grain both are 38 special.
    Any input on this?
     
  2. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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    Nothing wrong with the 38 special.

    I would take a look at the buffalo bore standard pressure loads. I haven't used them, but have read some favorable reviews.

    I know that Smith says it is not rated +P, but todays +P loads really aren't all that hot and it is a K-frame. I have a 1948 6" M&P that has digested thousands of rounds of 5 gr of Unique under 158 gr LSWC with no problems. It's my plinking load, but it falls under +P category these days.

    Best of luck,

    Dale
     
  3. dmxx9900

    dmxx9900 Member

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    I will definetly research it some more when it comes down to that.
    Thank you for your help
     
  4. Crow1108

    Crow1108 Member

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  5. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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  6. jfh

    jfh Member

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    Federal makes a 110-gr. 38 NOT-Plus-P PD round; I carried it while I was acclimating to my 340.

    The comments about SAAMI dropping the 38 Special / +P specs are very true. I don't think I would hesitiate to carry the Speer 38+P 135-gr. PD round at all, but I would not routinely shoot thousands of them in your guh.

    Jim H.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  7. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

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    Roundnose is never a good choice for self defense.Over penetrates and almost never expands.
     
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    +P ammo isn't going to blow up your gun, it wasn't rated for +P because there was no such ammo designation when it was made but they had hot rounds called "police loads" that was the equivalent of current +P and officers who carried pistols like yours used them without worry.

    Buy yourself a box of good +P ammo from one of the major manufacturers like Remington, Winchester or Federal in the 20 or 25 round box. Take 6 out and shoot them at a target and see if you can hit with them at a usual self defense range like 10 to 15 yds. Load 6 for self defense and carry and the rest in in a speed loader or two and you are set to go. Practice with your round nose standard velocity. If you never shoot another +P round out of your pistol in your life its a blessing not a problem. Maybe in 10 to 15 years or so you may have to shoot up those SD +p rounds and buy another box of them.
     
  9. dbarale

    dbarale Member

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    When you open the crane, does it show a 10-X number?
     
  10. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Round-nose is the worst possible choice.

    At least find some standard-pressure "Keith type" nose ammo. Or target wadcutters - yes, they're low on raw power but that blunt nose can put some hurt out even down around 700fps as they're typically loaded.

    Much better yet, go get some Buffalo Bore standard pressure - I recommend the 158, although their high-speed full wadcutter has a lot of merit too. ("Everything you like about target wadcutters, with 200fps more heat on 'em...")
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    RN has a pretty poor track record. The shape actually makes it slip past tissue rather than destroying it, and reduces the size of the hole. There is some deformation given that it's soft lead, but not nearly enough A wadcutter would be better, and a SWCHP would be the best.

    What is your revolver? If it's an all-steel classic like a Det. Special or Model 36 you should be fine with +P. It's not dangerous, though a sustained use of hundreds of rounds will loosen the revolver faster than standard loads.
     
  12. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Greg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  13. dmxx9900

    dmxx9900 Member

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    gb6491,
    You convinced me not to rely on those rounds for defense and thank you for taking the time to make that picture/experiment.
    I thought the 158 grain weight and 4 inch barrel was enough of a set-up for minimum defense but if it cant even break a golf ball it wont do much on a attacker.Are they loud by the way?I have not shot them yet



    Its like this K
    38377
    8

    What about the Sellier and Belliot 158 grain FMJ shouldn't they pack more of a punch then the lead round nose?
     
  14. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    dmxx9900,
    I think that was a pretty freak shot (2-1/8″ Model 60), but I wouldn't recommend the load for self defense. However, as you state it's what you have now, just recognize that it has limitations and shot placement is that much more critical. The load is loud enough; use hearing protection when practicing. I used to hunt jackrabbits with an old model 10 and used Federal 129 grain Hydra-Shok and 158 gr +P LSWCHP to good effect.
    Regards,
    Greg

    BTW- It's been my experience/preception that Seller & Bellot loads are hotter than the Magtech equivalent.
     
  15. SeanSw

    SeanSw Member

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    That's an amusing picture. I came to the same conclusion after firing a a few cases of 158gr RNL ammunition when I first purchased my revolver. They are slow. I could see mine going down range if the sunlight was to my back and their effect on targets was unimpressive. They're okay for practice but I wouldn't recommend them for anything, although they're certainly better than nothing.

    It isn't really the velocity that makes them such a poor choice. 158gr is a fairly heavy bullet for a handgun but mine were factory spec'd at 750fps which, IMO, means they were probably even slower. It is the slippery lead bullet with a long nose that is prone to ricochet and sliding through targets without crushing or tearing damage. The S&B 158gr FMJ is more of the same but with extra velocity.

    In standard velocity ammunition I would use a flatter nosed semi-wadcutter or keith style bullet, and a heavyweight hollow point in +P. A standard pressure .38 hollowpoint just doesn't have the juice to expand reliably, so you might as well hedge your bets on a bullet with a large meplat to penetrate and make a nice hole. The FBI load 158gr +p SWCHP (semi wadcutter hollow point) is a classic and effective round with the newer Speer 135gr +P gold dot hollow point becoming quite popular.

    I think it may be worth noting that most of the new .38 special loads are being optimized for use in short barrels, so if you're using a full size model 10 you can expect a useful increase in velocity.
     
  16. Moonclip

    Moonclip Member

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    I have a box or two of non plus p Winchester 110gr silvertip hollow point ammo for guns I feel I don't want to shoot much plus P in like a S&W mod 442.
     
  17. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    FMJ is no better than lead round nose, except that sometimes you can find 130gr FMJ that is moving faster than 158LRN...by a bit.

    Guys...nose shape matters, m'kay? The flatter the frontal profile the better. Makes a better "squish".
     
  18. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    1) As stated above, your .38 Model 10 is a steel K-frame. It should handle standard +P rounds just fine.

    2) Standard round-nose ammo a) does not expand; b) overpenetrates in places where it shouldn't overpenetrate; and c) deflects off of bone and ricochets off of buildings, bone and other hard surfaces.

    Round-nosed bullets look impressively large, but they're bad news for defense. The +P 148-gr SWC should be just fine.
     
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Like said above, I would use a LRN bullet for SD but I would use a 148gr LWC or a 158gr LSWC. Until you can find the ammo you want to use I would suggest using a Wadcutter or Semi-Wadcutter in your revolver. It punches a nice big round hole in everything except for bone.
     
  20. Dismantler

    Dismantler Member

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    I load my Model 10 with +p's for defense and shoot inexpensive FMJ for practice. I carry wadcutters in my Model 442 Aireight.
     
  21. Drail

    Drail Member

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    gb6491, that is a great picture. I've seen .38 spl and 9mm and even .45 acp bounce off of bowling pins just like that. Sometimes they'll come right back to the firing line. Saw a guy get hit in the forehead once from a .44 spl. bouncing back off of a pin. Needs more cowbell.
     
  22. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department used +P Remington R38S12 (or equivalent) in Smith and Wesson Model 10's for years.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Member

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    I used to routinely bounce 148 gr .38 lead wadcutters off of junked appliance targets (washing machines, water heaters, etc.) and auto bodies. The bullets would mushroom impressively, but litter the ground in front of the targets after dimpling the sheet metal (like the depicted golf ball).

    On the other hand...

    I've seen a 200 gr LRN penetrate two interior walls of a restaraunt and continue thru several stacked boxes of dry goods in a storage room.

    I've also seen 5 people shot with the same load (200 gr LRN) from a 2.5 inch snub RG .38 revolver. All five immediately fell down. One DRT. Four victims hit with a single shot. One fellow hit twice. Range varied from about arms length to about 2 meters. IIRC, no exit wounds except for one through and through to a leg.

    A good hit with a lead round nosed bullet will kill (like any other round).
     
  24. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Just buy yourself some decent hollow point ammunition, whether they are jacketed or not, +P or not, up to you, but don't leave your defense gun loaded with the worst possible choice of bullet styles. Like someone said earlier FMJ is no better than LRN, except it might be a little faster, I think it might even be worse because where a LRN hitting a bone might deform, an fmj probably won't. Deformation really helps handgun bullets out, perfromance wise.

    If you have a little bit of disposable cash right now, you could sign up on gunbroker and look for a seller named sellforless. she has some items, Speer .38 special +P 135 grain gold dots, five boxes of fifty for 65.00, +12.00 shipping and handling. I bought some last week.

    That's really cheap for a great defense load, that price after shipping puts it at the exact same price as range ammo in my area. And with 250 rounds, you can practice a little with it.
     
  25. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    I'll make sure I don't use LRN the next time I'm attacked by a golf ball. :rolleyes:
     
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