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Battle of the 110 gr. JHPs (Non+P .38 Special)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by .455_Hunter, Jun 2, 2006.

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  1. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

    May 25, 2005
    Colorado Front Range
    I have a 60’s vintage Colt Police Positive Special (4”) in .38 Special that currently serves as our bedside gun. From what I understand, +P use is discourage in these older D-frame Colts, so I stick to standard pressure loads. When it is being use for “inside” home defense, I have it loaded with some older production Winchester 110 gr. Silvertips (w/ the aluminum jacket, not the nickel plated copper current production). When it is being used for “outside” defense (hiking or jeeping), it is loaded with Winchester 158 gr. Lead SWCs. My question is whether I should look at getting some new “inside” loads, either the current style 110 gr. Silvertips JHPs, Federal’s 110 gr. Hydra-Shok Premium Personal Defense JHPs, or Remington’s 110 gr. JHPs. I saw some of the Federal loads at Sportsman’s Warehouse today and they look very good, with a large tip opening and a short center post that should alleviate some of the expansion problems of older Hydra-Shok designs. I know that there has been much discussion about non + P loads for older 2” snubs, but not a lot for 4” duty guns. What do you folks think?
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Central WA
    You should be loading it with LSWCHP +P's or Speer Gold Dot 135 +P's, whichever shoots closer to Point of Aim in your gun (probly the 158 gr. LSWCHP's). Not using the best available ammunition in a crisis because a constant diet of them might wear out a 300 dollar gun--or a 3,000 dollar gun--is a confusion of priorities. You don't have to shoot a lot of them to know they work; but your best available load is the one you should have in an emergency, and no 110 gr. standard-pressure JHP is it. They will not work reliably at .38 speeds or deliver as much force/damage as your gun is safely capable of delivering.
  3. bpisler

    bpisler Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    If you really want to stay with non P loads take
    a look at Hornady's 125gr XTP.It should get
    around 875fps from a 4"' barrel and get in
    deep enough to do some good.Hornady also
    makes a 158gr XTP for the 38 thats non +P,
    according to the package it runs 800fps from
    a 4' barrel.One of those should shot to POA
    from your colt.

    If you want to try some +P's contact colt and
    find out what they say about using +P's in
    your revolver.
  4. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Ultimately, it is your decision what you load your guns with, so don't be pressured into choosing +p vs non +p; just because +p gets you a bit more velocity and deliverable energy, there is the trade off of more flashbang and audible noise to contend with, especially in the dark when you awaken groggy and not fully alert; with all that said, here is what I have and a brief "why"

    guns: S&W 642 snubby .38 +p lightweight; Ruger Security Six 4" .357 steel

    ammo: primary~ Hornady XTP 125 grain non +p .38
    secondary~Federal "Personal Defense" Hydrashok 110grain non +p .38

    Hornady: in PA, there is more cooler and colder weather where heavier clothing will be worn; the Hornady 125 grain load has a shallower hollowpoint that will penetrate deeper than expansion occurs so it reaches vitals; this load was also recommended by 3-4 former LEO's working part-time in a loacal shop that is the closest available to the now DOA Nyclad LSWCHP 125 grain Chief's Special non +p load

    Federal: still a work in progress for me, but they have improved the design as you observed and hopefully it will actually allow expansion; I have this loaded for the warmer weather times due to less clothing being worn by people

    Just because the latest and greatest in flavors and fads is +p, many people forget that until the Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +p's were developed for short barreled revolvers, the original intent and design of +p's were to be used in regular 4" duty weapons to increase capability over the 158grain LRN loads that were once thought to be good; if you feel good about your ability with normal pressure loads, go for it!
  5. DBR

    DBR Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Non +P loads that have a good reputation:
    125gr Federal Nyclad (discontinued but still available from Ammoman.com)
    110gr Winchester Silver Tip
    Winchester 148gr full wadcutter (don't listen to the nay sayers - penetrates 14-18")
    Magtech 148gr full wadcutter (may be the best buy)
  6. Puncha

    Puncha Member

    May 14, 2003
    South East Asia
    Can anyone here refer me to any website which shows ballistics gel testing for the:

    1)Winchester 110gr Silvertip HP,
    2) Standard 148gr Full Wadcutters and
    3) Non +P 158gr LRNs?
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