Best Snub .38 Ammo in Current Times

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mr. Mosin, May 27, 2021.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    In these times of ammo availability becoming better but still finicky, and possible QC issues occuring in said ammunition, would something like a 148grn full HC wadcutter be better from a Smith 637 et al, or should one bank their luck on today's Uber hollow points ?
     
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  2. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    Unless you run one of the special "short barrel" loads, there is a good chance the hollow point won't expand anyways at snub velocities. I think a 148gr was cutter is a viable option
     
  3. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    Federal 130gr HST
    Is the best HP option I know of .. but if you can’t find it ... 148gr LWC or 158gr SWC .. will poke holes and cause tissue damage
     
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  4. webrx
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    webrx Contributing Member

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    for 38 special, I choose a 158-grain LSWCHP
    but I am fairly confident that a 148 LWC or 158 SWC would be better than a sharp stick.

    d
     
  5. jag1954

    jag1954 Member

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    I like the Federal 120gr Personal Defense 38spl +P for my 642.
     
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  6. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I like Hornady 110gr FTX standard pressure also
    especially in my 642 ...
     
  7. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    This article and their tests was a real eye opener for me. I had to make a decision, continue to use the most accurate ammunition from my models 442 and 36, Hornady American Gunner that doesn’t expand from snubbies or utilize an ammo that expands but is not so accurate from my guns. Check it out.

    https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/revolver-ballistics-test/
     
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  8. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    I shot some of the Federal 130gr HST, Plus P rounds through my 442. I was very surprised at the fairly mild recoil.
     
  9. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I use the +P .38 Spl. Critical Defense loads in my snubs. The HST load has had great performance reviews as well.

    I’d like to try the Win Ranger load, but they’re awfully scarce right now.

    Stay safe.
     
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  10. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    Hornady use the tough XTP bullet in American Gunner load
     
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  11. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Yep, it’s an accurate round, it just doesn’t expand much from a snubby per Lucky Gunner’s testing. I used American Gunner in my 9mm’s and in my other longer barreled revolvers for home protection.
     
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  12. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I have a few boxes of Underwoods 125gr +P that uses the XTP bullet .. I keep them loaded in my Charter Target 357mag ..4 inch barrel
     
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  13. Haywood

    Haywood Member

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    I’m sure there are many brands that will do the job. After I read Massad Ayoob’s article on how Speer designed the 135g. Gold Dot +P for the NYPD and they were pleased with its performance, I went with it. It shoots good for me.
     
  14. velocette

    velocette Member

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    My 640 uses Buffalo Bore standard pressure 158 grain lead semi wadcutter hollow point bullets. They actually do run the velocity that BB claims from a snubbies barrel. 850 FPS
    and they DO expand reliably. I use the standard pressure because BB's +P 158s have more recoil than I can manage in a snubby. They're expensive - - - - - - and worth it.
    The bullets are soft lead with a gas check.
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110
     
  15. defjon

    defjon Member

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    I like critical defense standard pressure for the airweights, 110 gr. Accurate and fast follow up shots, carry well in speed strips.

    If hiking or camping the buffalo bore standard pressure hardcast wadcutter is a good choice.

    In these times it kind of depends on what you can actually get. Ive got a stock of Remington 125 gr +p from the Walmart days when it was 15/50, but it doesn't do well from a snub (it'll penetrate but not expand usually).
     
  16. bernie

    bernie Member

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    I personally use a 148 gr. wadcutter in my 642. It will not expand but it will cut a .38 caliber hole. It is also fairly mild on the recoil and as a result I shoot them better than the rip-snorting stuff.
     
  17. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Thanks for the link. Provided additional confidence in my 38 Special case 148 DEWC load at 925 fps from my 3" barrel.
     
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  18. jstert

    jstert Member

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    i need softer shooting ammo from an airweight snubbie 38sp so i can make consistent hits. my default choice is wadcutter or magtech cbc short. both are uncommon so i stocked up.
     
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  19. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I am working on Wadcutter loads now. I bought some Federal Gold Medal wadcutter rounds completely by accident last summer. I could have swore I saw LHPSWC on the label and when I got home I had found I grabbed a 500 case of Wadcutters. I was really ticked as the store had a strict “no returns” policy.
    Anyway, I found that I really liked that load and over time I shot them up. Now I am trying to find a wadcutter load only with a little more speed along with accuracy that works well in my 442, 36 and model 10. It’s fun experimenting.
     
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  20. Sarge7402

    Sarge7402 Member

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    If you can find them standard pressure or +P 158 Grain LSWCHP have as good a real world track record as one could expect
     
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  21. hannstv

    hannstv Member

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    I am a believer in the FBI loading of 158 grain +P LSWCHP. It was used by a number of police depts. with good real world results. It really doesn't seem to recoil that bad in lightweight snubs.
     
  22. Chevelle SS

    Chevelle SS Member

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    I carry regular pressure 125gr Hornady HPs in my 642.
     
  23. Alte Schule

    Alte Schule Member

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    Although scarce try the 90 gr FTX Hornady Critical Defense Lite. Use them in both my Model 36 Chief Specials. Very manageable recoil.
     
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  24. 38riverrat

    38riverrat Member

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    From post #19

    "Anyway, I found that I really liked that load and over time I shot them up. Now I am trying to find a wadcutter load only with a little more speed along with accuracy that works well in my 442, 36 and model 10. It’s fun experimenting."

    Check out both Buffalo Bore 150 gr HC WC's and Double Taps HC WC's.
    The BB is especially hot, but still standard pressure rated.

    Best,
    Rick
     
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  25. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

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    I use the 148gr WC or 158gr SP in my 642/637/442. Accurate and will penetrate.
     
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