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Defensive Ammo for Snub

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by .., Mar 28, 2004.

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  1. ..

    .. Member

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    My favorite HP are Gold Dots but looking at the pics on ammolab.com they don't expand out of short barreled .38's What's a good choice?
     
  2. Josey

    Josey member

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    Remington Golden Saber
     
  3. tbeb

    tbeb Member

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    My feeling has always been that just because a bullet doesn't expand when fired thru denim into gelatin doesn't mean it won't expand or deform in a human being.

    Speer has a new +P load that uses a 135 gr. Gold Dot hollowpoint. It was designed for snub nose revolvers. Expansion and penetration is good in denim/gelatin test.

    I personally use +P 158 gr. lead hollowpoints, but I would be perfectly okay with using a +p 125 gr. Gold Dot or Golden Saber.
     
  4. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    There are two new rounds out that I highly recommend as being probably the best snubby ammo available right now. First, Speer has this new load (described on their Web site):
    Then, Buffalo Bore is developing a new 158gr. LSWCHP load giving a genuine 1,000 fps from a snubby - without excessive pressure! They also load the 125gr. Speer Gold Dot to higher velocities. Their Web site has this to say about them:
    I suspect the BB 158gr. load may be a bit much for an alloy/lightweight snubby, so I've ordered some of the 135gr. Speer loads (should be here next week) for those guns. I think the BB load will be the ne plus ultra for full-weight (i.e. steel-frame) snubs and conventional 4"-barrel .38's (perhaps even for those who want a lighter load for their .357 Magnum snubbies).
     
  5. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Preacherman is right. Two points of clarification:

    * The Buffalo Bore load will be shipping sometime this summer.

    * Being slick, heavy and loaded hot, those 158s may get yanked out of the cases in the ultralight snubbies in Aluminum, TI and Scandium. I don't think they're going to be a good idea for any gun under the 20/21oz weight range of a steel-frame S&W snubbie...and even then not without testing - I'd load five, fire four, check to see if that last one is starting to yank out of the shell. By the time you hit the 26oz weight range of the Ruger SP101, short-barrel S&W 66 or heavier, this should be a non-issue

    Speer's documentation on the new 135 says that they've researched this "ultralight bullet puller effect" and made sure it's a non-issue. In a 10.5oz/12.5oz late-model S&W I'd still check with the "shoot four, measure the fifth" trick a couple times but they should be fine - Speer is a pretty competent bunch.
     
  6. MikeB

    MikeB Member

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    Not to try and argue but, I keep reading this type of thing, and I don't believe it's true. My Scandium Smith says on the barrel "no less than 120 gr bullet" and the manual says that separation can happen with less than 120 gr bullet. The manual makes no statement at all about heavier bullets.

    BTW I've been shooting .357 mag and .38spcl +p 158 grain bullets out of mine and have never had any separations occur.
     
  7. wally

    wally Member

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    Yes, trust but verify.

    .357 Winchester 145 gr Silvertips jumped out of their cases after only one or two shots locking up the gun. I ran the rest thru a Lee Factory Crimp die and gave them a heavy crimp. These shot fine.

    158 gr Hydrashocks have been fine in my 11.5oz SC360 "scandium".

    --wally.
     
  8. ..

    .. Member

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    Thanks guys. I'm gonna order the new 135 gold dot.
     
  9. Ultraman

    Ultraman Member

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  10. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Mike: this is one of those things where I *really* hope my concerns are groundless. The 12.5oz Scandium 357s are certainly *strong* enough to deal with the new BuffBore 158+Ps.

    I would do the "load five, shoot four, measure the fifth" trick at least three times before carrying that load in any of the 15oz-or-under critters. Heck, I intend to do so in my 17oz mixed aluminum/steel construction Charter Arms Undercover if I score some (may stick with GD135s pending a look at some credible gelatin photos and test data).
     
  11. Grump

    Grump Member

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    Should you choose any load/handload using Hornady 125-gr XTPs (one of my favorites for accuracy and good design), make sure you actually get a velocity at or above 850 fps. It's designed for terminal velocities from 800 fps all the way up to .357 MAXIMUM levels, and has been tested in both water (hard medium) and paraffin (soft medium) before being turned loose on Jello(r). Fackler says straight water results in penetration something like 1.6 times the penetration in ballistic gelatin, but is much easier to test with as long as you aren't taking photos.
     
  12. MikeB

    MikeB Member

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    Jim, no offense either taken nor intended, I just noticed a lot of don't shoot "heavy" bullets advice; while my firearm, manual, and experience said don't shoot "lightweight" bullets. Although that isn't always accurate either as explained by wally.

    Anyways I usually shoot "heavy" semi-jacketed .38spcl +p or .357mag hollow points out of my snubbies. I'm not positive these are ideal, but I'd sure hate to get hit by one.
     
  13. ..

    .. Member

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    How about CorBon PowRball? They make a 100gr+P loading in .38
     
  14. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    I don't know what to make of the 100grain Pow'R'Ball. Seems a bit light but if it's going fast enough...

    We need good test data :).
     
  15. Ridge Counter

    Ridge Counter Member

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    I'll second the Golden Saber High Performance Cartridges, 38 Special+P, 125 Grains, Brass Jacketed Hollow Point, 25 Rounds per Box, 20 Boxes per Case.

    Personally, I prefer the .357 Magnum Golden Saber in 125 grains; just a little more oooomph!!

    RichM
     
  16. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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    For what it's worth I'm shooting the following out of M60 .357 snub:


    Speer .357 125gr Gold Dots

    Win. .357 145gr Silvertips

    Win. .38+P 130gr SXT's

    Rem. .38+P 125gr Golden Sabers

    and

    UMC .38 130gr MC for blasting


    The gun seems to like them all and is most accurate with the Gold Dots, not by much though. The M60 handles all these very well, glad the guns no lighter when shooting the .357's!
     
  17. atlctyslkr

    atlctyslkr Member

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    Federal 129gr 38 Special +p has a good feel to it (to me). I've tried it in a 38 Special and 357 snub. Doesn't have as sharp of a bite as Corbon and I haven't heard of Federals jumping out of cases.
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Every thing that I have read, as well as conversations with medical examiners, indicates that if a handgun round aint going supersonic on impact (1100 fps or more) you can't depend on a mushrooming of a factory slug no matter what the slug design. (soft all-lead from a handload is a different story) You won't get speed like that from a snubby. You should also have at least a 125 grain projectile, and the heavier the better as you may have to go through some stuff before getting to the necessary areas of the target.
     
  19. sm

    sm member

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  20. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Hello. If interested, here are some water expansion tests with some .38 Special rounds mentioned.

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38 Special Expansion Tests.htm

    In the J-frame S&W, I've cast my lot with Remington's 158-gr. LSWCHP+P. For me it has expanded when shot into water, super-saturated newsprint, and results were very similar to what I've seen when they've been removed from animals when a snub was used to finish them off. When bone was hit, the bullets were less uniform and more "jagged", for lack of a better description. This was before I had a digital camera so I have no pictures of them.

    I've not yet had (or taken) the time to try Speer's 135-gr. Snub Load, but folks testing it indicate that it works nicely. I will get around to shooting this load as I'm very curious/interested in it.

    [​IMG]
    Here are three expanded bullets fired from an S&W Model 642 into water. From left to right: Corbon 110-gr. DPX, Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, and Federal 125-gr. Nyclad hollow point standard pressure.

    [​IMG]
    A firearms examiner sent me this picture. It is of a Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP+P fired into ballistic gelatin.

    It is my understanding that few hollow points fired from the snub .38 will expand reliably after passing through 4-layers of denim, which is described as a "worst case scenario." The DPX does so, but I'm not sure on the newest Speer snub 135-gr. Gold Dot. It very well may.

    For those considering the Remington load mentioned, I've had no problems with it in several Airweight S&W snubs (aluminum frame), but S&W warns against using non-jacketed bullets in their super light revolvers, so the Gold Dot or DPX would be the better choices there for sure. I have tried this out just to see and lead bullets do unseat themselves in the ultra lightweight snubs. For me, it repeatedly happened on the 4th or 5th shots of the cylinder.

    I have not tried Hornady's XTP in .38 Special and while I like it quite a lot in other calibers, I have no information whatsover on it from a 38 snub.

    My own informal "tests" have led me to believe that unless the revolver is being carried in the pocket or absolute total concealment is a primary consideration, the 3" bbl has much more to offer than might initially be expected with but a slightly longer barrel and over the chronograph, some loads show essentially equivalent performance to the 4" service barrels; not all but some. If the revolver is to be a "car gun", holstered belt gun, or used for home defense, I'd go with the 3" over the 1 7/8" snubs.

    The .38 snub with Remington's LSWCHP+P is what my snubs are loaded with at present. This may very well not be the choice for other folks, but something that remains constant in my opinion is getting the vital hit(s) as quickly as possible. Whatever one's choice in ammo winds up being, I still believe that we have got to put it in the right place (or places) to make a felon stop because he has to rather than just wants to.

    Best.
     
  21. Byron

    Byron Member

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  22. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I fired some golden sabers from my 442 into water a few years ago. The bullets expanded well and I was pretty happy with the performance. I was carryin the gold dots but from what I've read about the powrball rounds they seem to penetrate pretty well for a light bullet and the claimed velocity means they are really moving out compared to most 38 loads. They also make reloads a lot easier too with the rounded profile. The jury is probably still out on this round but I'm thinking they will be pretty effective.
     
  23. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I forgot to mention, when I fired the Gold Dots on the range, one of the rounds 'Keyholed". It tumbled and hit the target sideways. That is why I chose the Powrball rounds over the Gold Dots.
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Marshall,
    Why are you carrying the 125 gr Gold dot .357's when they make a 135 gr Short Barrel .357 round?
     
  25. Crosstimbers Okie

    Crosstimbers Okie Member

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