Is .38 Special Sufficient for SD ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Gun Master, Mar 23, 2017.

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  1. khegglie

    khegglie Member

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    Does anybody have/use +p+ .38 special anymore?
    I still have a box of I think Remington ammo so marked.
     
  2. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I think at some point you just use a 357 with a light load. Guns only capable of shooting 38, other than pocket guns, are not very common anymore, and the little ones are beasts with hot ammo.
     
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  3. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have not seen any so marked in many many years. There is ammo on the market that claims to be within SAAMI limits I have my doubts about though.
     
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  4. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    Well, since the .38 Sp. is not as hot as it used to be, could anybody recommend an exception in OTC ammo ?

    Please be as specific as possible .
     
  5. Edcnh
    • Contributing Member

    Edcnh Contributing Member

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    I typically carry a 9mm but would not hesitate to use my model 65 K-frame with a 4" barrel. I use the K-frame as my "woods" gun and have plenty of confidence in a 38 special.
     
  6. red rick

    red rick Member

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    Buffalo Bore loads some pretty hot ammo .
    .38 158gr. LSWCHP +P , 2" barrel , 1000 fps. 351 ft. lbs. , low flash powder , gas check
    .38 125gr. FMJHP +P , 2" barrel , 1050 fps. 306 ft. lbs. , designed to expand at 800 fps. , low flash powder

    This is up there with low end .357 mag. numbers .
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
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  7. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    What pressure were the old 38s loaded to? I think current +P pressure is 20k psi. Or was pressure not really measured back then as it is today?
     
  8. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I bought Remington +p lead hollow point 158 gr.
     
  9. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I have posted this great info from the late RCModel before but do not mind posting it again:
    May he rest in peace.
     
  10. boatdoc173

    boatdoc173 Member

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    even a 22lr can be used for SD if the need arises.

    it is a matter of shot placement and penetration period and luck

    heck one guy in NYC was shot by the police with 9mm autos. he was wearing a carhartt coat and the bullets did nothing to him
     
  11. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    Even .32 ACP is "sufficient," providing you use the right ammo, as in it will penetrate the required distance through flesh and bone in a relatively straight line. The same can be said of .38 Special, that if you put the shot on target it will penetrate far enough to get the job done. The only thing you're really gaining by going to a more powerful cartridge, like 9mm, is a little extra juice to power through barriers or get to vital organs at weird angles, like through the shoulder, or through the person's arms. That is, now that we have those magic bullets that will penetrate through glass and whatnot and still expand in tissue, thereby limiting their penetration.

    Another thing to take into account is barrel length. A .38 coming from a service revolver is much different than one coming from a snubnose, so you have to select a cartridge that works for your barrel length. There are so many people doing gel tests on youtube now I don't think finding one will be much of a challenge. If it consistently gets 12-18'' in gel, out of a barrel length similar to your own, then yes I would deem it sufficient.
     
  12. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I would want to take energy transfer into account...bigger and faster is better.
     
  13. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    Bigger bullets don't necessarily make bigger holes, and velocity doesn't become meaningful until you hit about 2000 fps where hydraulic tearing of tissue takes place, so it's kind of a moot point in pistol calibers where you're looking at roughly 1k fps, give or take 200. The only real reason a .22lr can't be used for self defense, or at least shouldn't be, is that it lacks penetration, especially out of short barrels, and tends to be easily knocked off course by bone and whatnot.
     
  14. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    If you can shoot, it will do fine. If you can't shoot, I doubt anything short of a belt fed 12 gauge will do.

    It's in between, when one can shoot passably, that a higher capacity easier to shoot weapon might help one.

    Deaf
     
  15. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    That's not so.

    The initial story was they found the bullets in his coat. This is true. The rest of the story is the Speer Gold Dots went through this guy and some of the bullets came to rest inside his coat. He was stopped. Dead.

    He was waving around a knife. NYPD did a good job.
     
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  16. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Nah! You are ignoring considerations used in hunting with hand guns, and why there is some risk in selecting too small and tame a gun/ammo choice for self defense. E=MV².
     
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  17. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    It's actually E=1/2MV^2, and that little 2 above the V is what pays the bills. And even then, kinetic energy alone doesn't even begin to tell the whole story. Most of a handgun round's energy is expended in the temporary stretch cavity, with very little going into actual tissue damage.
     
  18. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    That seems to say that a bullet's destruction of a target occurs after the energy is expended. That doesn't sound right. There is lot going on after a "stretch cavity" and it seems like it would take energy to do it.
     
  19. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I don't understand what you mean. Are you talking about the rebound? Basically what I'm saying is that the tissue just absorbs the energy and moves out of the way, like the wake behind a boat, leaving a very small hole. There's very little cavitation like you see with rifle calibers at close range, which are doing about three times the velocity. All you can really accomplish with pistol cartridges is to poke small holes in someone, so they all do about the same thing, providing they penetrate deep and straight enough to get through the vitals.
     
  20. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    "No one with any intelligence uses a .38 Special any more!" Or at least that was what I was told some years ago. The "intelligent" choice? The .454 Casull.

    Jim
     
  21. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    If I was going to hunt squirrels, I would rather use a high velocity 22 than a 357 magnum. Should be more meat left and where I can still find it.
     
  22. Shed

    Shed Member

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    Grant Cunningham says contemporary .38 Special HPs are greatly improved over those from a decade ago. If he says they're good then they're good for me!
     
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  23. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    I refuse to shoot that puny cartridge in my 460XVR!
     
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  24. Az-quailhunter

    Az-quailhunter Member

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    I trusted a Chiefs Special for many years for EDC. Was I fearful of being undergunned?......not at all. A great old cartridge that is accurate and easy to load for....very forgiving.
     
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  25. Az-quailhunter

    Az-quailhunter Member

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    This ^ Exactly
     
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