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Best SD ammo for 3" sp-101

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Dee, Oct 8, 2012.

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  1. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Hi everyone, I am looking to upgrade my ammo selection for my 3" SP-101 and looking for suggestions, I tried some Golden sabre ammo but it seems a little weak like 38 +P instead of .357. I want something that packs as much punch as possible given the shorter barrel limitation. I was looking at some Buffalo bore ammo and it looks like it has some pretty impressive velocity numbers even in a shorter barrel-
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=102

    a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard cast LFN = 1302 fps
    b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC (jacketed hollow cavity) = 1299 fps
    c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Jacketed Hollow Point = 1398 fps
    d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Jacketed Hollow Point = 1476 fps

    I also checked out the tacticle short barrel ammo but it looks like you sacrafice a couple hundred fps with this ammo https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=105

    I am also looking at suggestions on bullet wt between 125- 158 gr. for my gun as well thanks
     
  2. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    Velocity is one thing, crushed vital tissue is another entirely. Look at the new short barreled 135gr Gold Dot. It is designed to expand and penetrate out of a snub nosed revolver and comes in either 38spl +P and 357 magnum. There is only about 100fps difference between the two.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k890Rio2oBY

    Lots of 357 magnum ammo will push a bullet out of the barrel as fast as possible without exceeding 35k psi which is SAAMI max. There is nothing wrong with squeezing the most performance that can been safely achieved out of a cartridge, but... that has essentially nothing to do with SD.
     
  3. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Thanks for the reply, it is my understanding that the .357 cartridge is optimized at around 1350 fps which is why I was looking for something in that range from a 3" barrel.
     
  4. Kahr33556

    Kahr33556 Member

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    look at the speer short barrel loads hard to find but well worth it when you do.I use the 135 gr 38 load its awsome compared to other 38 +p loads.
     
  5. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    A lot of older ammo was designed around the concept that you need alot of speed to make it expand, or to make it blow up, which was sometimes designed as well. Newer bullet designs are getting smarter in that they are being optimized to perform in the guns people are using to defend themselves (A snubbie rather than a 6" Python). Lower recoil and muzzle flash lead to a quicker second shot too, which is a plus.
     
  6. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Speer 135-grain Short Barrel, whether .38 +P or .357 Mag, is street-proven. My (close family member) worked one such case (.357 Magnum version) as a forensic investigator. She was very impressed with the result; the guy hardly bled at all, because he died so quickly, and didn't go anywhere. Penetration was complete, but the bullet had very little energy after exiting. My wife saw he actual death scene; she does not work inside the morgue.

    New York City PD has shot quite a few bad guys with the .38 +P version.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  7. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Wow, sounds like speer gold dots are the real deal. I hope I can find a box or two somewhere, looks like midway has it back ordered. Thanks for all the good advice everyone.
     
  8. Stress_Test

    Stress_Test Member

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    Take a look at TNoutdoors9's Youtube channel where he tests Hornady Critical Defense .357 out of his 3" barrel GP100. Pretty impressive result, good expansion and deep penetration.

    The vid is in the list here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL858978D90283EA35

    I've shot that Hornady CD load out of my LCR, and it's not too terrible, at least not compared to other standard 357 loads!

    I still don't know if I'd carry that load for self defense (in the LCR), but out of the 3" Sp101 it may not be too bad.
     
  9. outerlimit

    outerlimit Member

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    The 135gr. Speer Gold Dots are nice, personally I'd go with 158gr. JHP's if you can handle the recoil, but that's just me. I always prefer extra penetration with a little expansion over gelatin figures that show good penetration + good expansion. You never know what you might have to shoot through.
     
  10. Stress_Test

    Stress_Test Member

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    I thought about trying the Hornady XTP in 158 grain .38 special, but I don't know if they'd expand at all out of a snub nose. In other gel tests I've seen, the XTP design seems to penetrate deeper than other popular JHPs.
     
  11. hardheart

    hardheart Member

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    I'm waiting for Underwood to get some 158s back in stock. Advertised velocity is 1475, and I asked the test barrel length - 4" (125s at 1600). They use Speer bonded bullets, but I don't know if the are Gold Dots. I have the BB 158s, nice boomer out of the 3" SP101. Also tried their 180, didn't seem any worse, but definitely also a recoil monster. Out of my 20" carbine, I actually got a little sore in the shoulder after getting used to taking a loose pull while shooting Tulas.

    Couldn't tell you what the 'best' is, such a tough question to get an answer on. Remington UMC 125s are supposed to be zippy rounds for the price, I just try to stick to 158 or heavier. I do have one box of 140 COP Rare ammo all copper HPs, only shot a couple. Cheapest all copper rounds I've seen ($16 for 25 at a gun show), but not looking too hard.
     
  12. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Thanks guys, that video of critical defense ammo was pretty impressive, will defiantly try that as well.
     
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Considering I feel the .38 Special is more than adequate for SD I really can't understand the infatuation with seeking more speed in ammo. Like said above, bullets are very well designed these days and sometimes more speed decreases their efficiency.

    IMO you should find the ammo that is most accurate in your revolver and go with it. The best and fastest ammo in the world will do you no good unless you hit what you aim at. I like 145gr Winchester Silvertip ammo in my S&W M640 because it's scary accurate in my gun.
     
  14. Drail

    Drail Member

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    It's the old "mine is faster than yours" thing. If people would spend as much time worrying about their skill level and mindset and environment as they do about their snubnose's velocity the bad guys wouldn't have a prayer. It would also help a great deal if people wouldn't place so much faith in every stupid gun magazine article they read. If you can place a round where it needs to go on demand bullet velocity doesn't matter at all. Worry about the important stuff. Not "how many FPS can I get from my snubbie."
     
  15. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Drail I don't think anyone is arguing that training and practice are not important; I certainly think it is. Typically I do dry fire excersizes such as drawing from concealment and working on my DA trigger pull several times a week. When I do live fire I shoot up to a box of 50 full power .357's usually Remington UMC brand, I don't even waste my time shooting .38's anymore, I just don't get much out of it. Hell I am even thinking of making an airsoft pistol range in my basement to further practice techniques, tactics, quick reloading ect.

    However with all that being said I do think there is some merit in choosing the most powerful and accurate round that you can handle and make follow up shots reasonable fast. For you that may be a .38 but for me I would much rather put my faith in the more powerful .357 as it has the best record- from what I understand of "one shot stops", than any other handgun round, according to FBI statistics. I'm not saying I would count on a "one shot Stop" but it is nice to know that it has that track record anyway.
     
  16. Drail

    Drail Member

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    I understand. I just think that trying and expecting to get some of the velocities advertised by some of these companies from a 3 in. barrel is just - silly. Why beat up the gun and your wrist? A 140 to 158 gr. at moderate velocity load will do everything needed and will be easier for most people to become fast and proficient with. Being able to quickly place a .38 Spl. load on a target is much more important than how many FPS the bullet is traveling.
     
  17. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I have fired Buffalo Bore rounds from an SP101. It was not as bad as I expected, even with the high velocity 125gr Barnes JHP.

    The 125gr JHP in .357 magnum has proven itself time and time again. Pick one you like and go with it.
     
  18. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

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    Since my SP101 3 1/16 is 38 SP, I use the Win white box 125 HP +P. Shot into wet newprint, this bullet does very well at both penetration and expansion. I carry this load if that is an indication of my view of this ammo.
     
  19. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Thanks guys, I was at Academy sports and picked up Hornady critical defense ammo, I look forward to trying it. I was impressed with the video posted about it and it seemed to preform pretty well even from a 3"er getting over 1300 fps, complete expansion and 16" penetration through 4 layers of denim and ballistic gel. It also claims to have surpressed flash as well which is a plus. I also looked for gold dot short barrel .357 but didn't find that one yet but hope to try that one as well at some point.
     
  20. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Mobuck I have shot that white box ammo in both .45 and .357, it is good ammo at a good price for sure, my local Wally world has it a lot of times in 100 round boxes.

    Drail, a lot of manufactures and other sources clearly state velocity and ft/ lbs from different length barrels for all to see. Check out my first and last post of what I am talking about, I don't get what is hard to understand about it:confused:
     
  21. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    Of the one's you listed, this would be my choice for a .357 SD round.
     
  22. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    Really out of a 3", just about any modern .357 defensive JHP would do the work. My preference would be for a 140-gr. DPX load.
     
  23. outerlimit

    outerlimit Member

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    That's what I currently use in .38 snubs and I honestly can't say I'm concerned much with expansion at all. If they expand a little great, if not, oh well. With that class of weapon again I'm mostly worried about penetration. IMO it appears to be the best defensive load out there right now for standard pressure .38spl, especially snubs. With a 4" barrel I might be more inclined to move toward the 135gr. +P if the weapon can take +P, though I'd probably still stick with the 158gr.
     
  24. Dee

    Dee Member

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    Well I did a little backyard testing with the Hornady CD ammo, I fired a total of 15 rounds from my 3 " sp-101 and found that:

    - it is easier to load with a speed loader than most other JHP ammo due to it's pointier bullet shape
    - recoil was moderate, maybe a little less than Remington UMC 125 JHP's but more than Golden Sabre ammo. I forgot to mention but I did but a Houge grip on the gun to help manage recoil.
    - it will "blow up" one gallon jugs of water, and it will completely penetrate a 5 gallon paIl of water and still go several inches into the dirt behind it.
    - I tried to recover some bullets but only found where a jacket split away in the 5 gal pail and did recover one bullet with the jacket still intact but was pretty smashed up where it hit a rock a few inches behind the target.

    In conclusion I think that it is probably some good HD ammo, but I couldn't quite determine how well these bullets expand at this point from this limited testing but it was fun to try at least
     
  25. camsdaddy

    camsdaddy Member

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    Want to follow this. I have decided that my 3" k frame is going to be my daily carry
     
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