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Best S.D. ammo for a .38 special 2"

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MR.G, Jan 11, 2003.

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  1. MR.G

    MR.G Member

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    What is the best self defense ammo for a .38 special 2" ?
     
  2. Swamp Yankee

    Swamp Yankee Member

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    Don't know if it's the best, but I carry 158 grain LSWCHP in a +P loading in my 38 Special Colt Cobra.
    Take Care
     
  3. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    I, too, prefer 158gr LSWC-HP +Ps.
     
  4. BLiTzNicK

    BLiTzNicK Member

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    Anyone know how many rounds of that stuff a S&W 637 can handle before breaking down?
     
  5. Mark IV Series 80

    Mark IV Series 80 Member

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    My 638 has '38 Special +P' stamped on the barrel, indicating that it is rated to handle +P ammo. Earlier models weren't rated for +P.

    If in doubt, call Smith & Wesson.

    I load the 638 with the 158 grain, +P, LSWCHP's.

    These loads are fired enough so that I'm familiar with the recoil. Most shooting is done with non-plus-P loads.
     
  6. sm

    sm member

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    quote:
    I, too, prefer 158gr LSWC-HP +Ps.
    ________
    I agree.
    On some older snubs NOT rated for +P
    I have used the target WC, Nyclads, or 110 gr Win STHP
     
  7. Kentucky Rifle

    Kentucky Rifle Member In Memoriam

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    .38 Special RBCD's are what I just stoked my 638 with.

    I noticed that the box was a little different and the weight of the bullet had changed slightly too. So, I called Roscoe Stoker, the owner of RBCD Ammunition. He told me that these are the "latest version of his .38 Special ammunition with more expansion, more velocity and more energy". I don't have the stats on the new stuff yet, but the "old" was not too shabby:
    Muzzle energy 385 Ft Lbs
    Muzzle velocity 1705 FPS

    And ALL rounds are "non +P"!

    KR
     
  8. BLiTzNicK

    BLiTzNicK Member

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    My 637 doesn't have +P stamped on the barrel, and came with a generic manual which doesn't even list .38 SPL ammo in the section regarding types of ammo. On S&W's web site it lists the 637 as +P, but makes no mention of it on the gun or in the manual. I'll give them a call Monday morning and find out.
     
  9. COHIBA

    COHIBA member

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    what about the ultralite guns. heck 5 rd.s of 158 gr weighs about as much as "the heater" itself.
    isnt ammo labs finishing up a test on some new 38's that are going to " change the industry"?
     
  10. Dave Williams

    Dave Williams Member

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    I use Remington LSWCHP 158gr +P.

    Dave
     
  11. tbeb

    tbeb Member

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    Winchester or Federal 158 gr. lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint +P. If you want a lighter bullet then Remington 125 gr. semi-jacketed hollowpoint +P which works just about as good. If you want a standard pressure round then Federal Nyclad 125 gr. lead hollowpoint. (Nyclad is getting hard to find but ammoman.com may have them.)
     
  12. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    If your gun shoots it well and local dealers stock it, I'd agree with the guys who carry the lead SWC-HP Plus P. If I can't get it, I use Speer's Gold Dot 125 grain Plus P or Federal's Hydra-Shok 129 grain.

    Winchester's SXT looks good; see the tests in recent issues of, "Handguns" and referred to in this forum by the lab guy who did the tests. Not sure which forum it's in. If not here, try the general handguns threads.

    Lone Star
     
  13. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Check this out:

    http://www.handgunsmag.com/dynamic.asp?intSectionID=343&intArticleID=3310

    Carbon 15 posted this over on General Discussion forum under the thread "My handguns magazine article updated".

    Long story short: out of a 2" barrel, the +p 158-gr. SWCLHP avgs. 821 fps; 16.2" penetration, and expands to .44".

    The Speer Gold Dot 125-gr. +p GDHP avgs. 825 fps, 13.4" penetration, .60" expansion.

    The Winchester 130-gr. +P SXT personal protection avgs. 825 fps, 14.6" penetration. .56" expansion.

    I have always loaded the 158 grs. in my snubbies and my 4" .357 magnum for home defense. I'll continue that load for the big Smith, but I will try out some 125- or 130-grs.
     
  14. 4thHorseman

    4thHorseman Member

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    ACP, thanks for thearticle. Great reading.
     
  15. Catbird

    Catbird Member

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    Although I have no personal experience with this ammo, I noticed that it received very favorable comments on the ammolab forum:

    http://www.villagemetalworks.com/

    I was thinking about trying some in my new S&W 340PD.
     
  16. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    The Winchester 130grain +P Supremes have a VERY large JHP cavity, so their performance in a 2" snub isn't terribly surprising. Good to have it confirmed though.

    The only thing "wrong" with this test is that the reporter failed to include a 158+P lead hollowpoint other than the Federal Nyclad version. The nylon coating may have delayed expansion, and Federal in my opinion has a bad habit of "wimping out on the powder charges" in too many loads. I would suspect the Winchester flavor is better, and the Remington possibly a bit better yet.

    Or if you have a strong steel gun, have Weshoot2 at Gray Area brew you up something wild :).
     
  17. NEon

    NEon Member

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    110 grain jhp controlled expansion +p+. Works every time. Hold on to your hat!
     
  18. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I've been using Federal 125-gr. +P Nyclad, but that's been harder and harder to find, so a few months ago I switched to Speer 125-gr. +P Gold Dots.
     
  19. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I've been using Federal 125-gr. +P Nyclad, but that's been harder and harder to find, so a few months ago I switched to Speer 125-gr. +P Gold Dots.
     
  20. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I've been using Federal 125-gr. +P Nyclad, but that's been harder and harder to find, so a few months ago I switched to Speer 125-gr. +P Gold Dots.
     
  21. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Jim March, you are absolutely correct. That is a good point.

    Here is some old info. I have on other 158-gr. tests, FWIW:


    *Handguns, July 1996, "Best loads for self-defense" by Ed Sanow. Win. 158-gr. +P LSWCHP: 890 fps; 278 ft. lbs. energy; penetrates 14.8" gelatin; .62 caliber recovered diameter (NOTE: 4" barrel length! )

    *Combat Handguns, date? "Ammo vs. clothing" by Mike Boyle.
    Cor Bon 158-gr. +p+ LSWCHP: 867 fps out of a Colt Det. Spec.; penetrated 19" of light clothing (cotton t-shirt) (2 of 3 rounds not recovered); expanded to .358" (no expansion); penetrated 18.5" in heavy clothing (t-shirt, heavy sweathsirt, down vest with a nylon shell); expanded to .356" (no expansion). Boyle also tested the Winchester SXT 130-gr. JHP+P : 886 fps; 11.25" penetration/.551 cal. in light clothing; 11" penetration/.559 caliber in heavy clothing.

    *American Handgunner, Jan./Feb. 1998, "The Minus of +P" by Charles E. Petty. Petty concluded that only the .38 Special caliber benefits from the use of +P ammo, because manufacturers have devoted more time to bullet design with +P velocities than they have with standard pressure rounds.

    Maybe someday someone will test various 158-gr. +P loads from an honest-to-goodness snubby and let us know the results???
     
  22. Dave Williams

    Dave Williams Member

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    ACP you wrote:

    "Maybe someday someone will test various 158-gr. +P loads from an honest-to-goodness snubby and let us know the results???"

    Cops across the country tested the 158gr LSWCHP on the street for a long time, and didn't find it lacking, according to writers/police historians Lovette and Ayoob. They only wanted more "firepower" in the switch to autos. FWIW

    Dave
     
  23. ACP

    ACP Member

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    I agree with you Dave, as far as 4" guns go. But I'm thinking pocket guns, and whether that 158-gr. +P slug is the best bet all-around or whether a slightly lighter but faster JHP could do just as well, with slightly less recoil. I carry an alloy S&W 642, so that's a consideration.
     
  24. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    I like to use the 158 gr+P LSWCHP for steel guns and the 110 WW STHP for the lighter ones.
     
  25. Tom B

    Tom B Member

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    I use Fed Nyclads 125 gr non +P or Win STHP 125gr +P in my 637 S&W.
     
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