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Need .38 Special personal defense ammo recommendations.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by pgmrdan, Sep 27, 2011.

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  1. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

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    Should a post about ammo go in the Firearm Accessories forum? :D

    I've read in one of Massad Ayoob's books about the FBI load and the NYPD load. I can't find them in the stores.

    I've also seen reference to a CCI Blazer cartridge that is ballistically very similar to the FBI load so one can use it for practice and save a few bucks. I can't find it in the stores.

    What's the deal?

    One of the ammo 'experts' at a store said a lot of better stuff has come out since the FBI load was selected by the FBI. Ayoob's book just came out about 3 years ago.

    Bottom line is: What should I use for a personal defense round in my .38 Special revolver? Is there a ballistically similar round that would be cheap for practice?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  2. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Where you hit is much more important than what you hit them with. Ammo type should be at the bottom of your list of what's important. Also whatever ammo LE uses is not necessarily the best thing out there. I used to believe that also but it's absolute hype.
     
  3. gunsablazin

    gunsablazin Member

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    I use 135gr. Speer Gold Dots in my .38s it's designed for short barrel revolvers, and is supposed to be one of the best on the market. With that said, any of the premium HPs should do just fine, if you put them where they need to go.
     
  4. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    What barrel length?

    Out of a 4 in barrel, nothing is better that the 158gr LSWCHP+P FBI load, IMHO. Made by Remington, Winchester, and Buffalo Bore. Most 4-inch revolvers with fixed sights are regulated to this load.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  5. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Agreed, your ability to put rounds on target is the real key. For selecting ammo, most shooters seem to agree that barrel length and whether you can or want to chamber +Ps matter. I don't like +Ps and carry a snubbie, so I choose Federal Nyclad 125gr JHPs. My second choice is any other 110-125gr JHP, followed by 158gr SWCs.
     
  6. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

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    gunsablazin recommended the NYPD load I've been looking for and Loosedhorse mentioned the FBI load I've been looking for. I guess I've just been looking in the wrong places. No body near me (and not so near me) carry them.

    Sorry, I should have stated 4" barrel.

    If you guys order these on the internet, who carries them?
     
  7. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

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    I went back to MidwayUSA and looked for the NYPD round. I had been looking under CCI but when I looked under Speer there they are...sort of. They're out of stock until 10/31. :(
     
  8. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Midway has the Remington FBI load; for Buffalo Bore you can order from them or from Midway.

    I don't prefer the NY load, and I think it'll shoot low for most 4 inch revolvers.
     
  9. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    I use one brand of ammo for every caliber...CorBon DPX. While there are no magic bullets the DPX excels in one area that gives it an advantage over the other fine defensive ammos available, it gives the same performance after barrier penetration.
     
  10. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    Speer Gold Dot is the best IMHO. They have one load for revolvers with barrels 4" and longer and one load for short barreled revolvers. The short barreled load is designed to expand at the slower velocities projectiles will experience when fired from a short barrel.
     
  11. Pyro

    Pyro Member

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    A mix of Magsafe and Buffalo Bore wadcutter.
     
  12. camar

    camar Member

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    I reload my own for defense. It is 173gr. LSWC +P out of a 4" bbl.
     
  13. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    While these are still proven performers in short barreled revolvers, there are certainly other good loads nowadays, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  14. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    FBI load I like best (and it is my favorite .38 SD load for two-legged critters): Remington R38S12 .38 spl +P 158gr. LSWCHP:

    Midway Product # 548921
    Cheaper Than Dirt Product # 66333
    Sportsman's Guide Product # WX2-13913

    I find this to shoot very accurately out of 2-1/2 and 3" bbl Smiths. With a 4"bbl, it shoots a little high, in my experience, all at 50 feet.
     
  15. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    I must be the cheap one of the bunch. I use Winchester white box .38 Special +P 125 grain jacketed hollow point (personal defense) in all of my snubbies. I use their .45 ACP and .357 Magnum ammo also.

    Accurate, powerful, inexpensive and reasily avialable.

    Dan
     
  16. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Member

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  17. shaolink9

    shaolink9 Member

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    hornady critical defense.
     
  18. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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  19. LawofThirds

    LawofThirds Member

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    Buffalo bore's 158g swchp +p load is a modern version of the FBI load. It does 1000fps out of a 1 7/8" and over 1100fps in a 2 1/5 S&W 19. It gives near .357mag performance at +p pressures.

    Nobody else even comes close when measured in a real gun over a chrono (Double Tap is usually VERY optimistic about their loads, same with the others).

    If it's too agressive, try their standard .38 loads, they're still a solid 100fps above the competition.
     
  20. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    Do you use that Buffalo Bore +P in a non-357 frame? I would be scared firing it out of my S&W 637 Airweight. 158 grains @ over 1000 fps is strong performance for a .38spc.
     
  21. 45Fan

    45Fan Member

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    Ive only recently gotten into the 38 special arena, and so far, I have had good luck with the remington UMC brand 38 special +P 125gr SJHP load. It shoots to point of aim, and at 10 yards I can hit a quarter almost every time. Im confident that they will do the job if ever the time comes.
     
  22. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Member

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    Have you tried www.ammunitiontogo.com ? I purchased 4 boxes of the Winchester 158 +p lswchp a few months ago. Be warned though - at least in both of my revolvers a Ruger 4" GP 100 & 2" S&W 640-3 this load leads pretty bad as they use swaged lead bullets. Some care during cleanup is required before you can shoot jacketed or plated ammunition.

    I built practice loads to +p velocity with Speer 158 lswc hp bullets but they too were soft swaged lead and leaded up the bore quickly. I have since switched my practice ammo to Missouri Bullet Company .357 action bullets (the brinnell number is higher than their 38 bullets) loaded to +p velocity with much less leading in the Ruger. I havent noticed much of a difference in the Smith.

     
  23. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Member

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    The Buffalo Bore ammo is gas checked so you won't have that problem. BB is the best hands down.
     
  24. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    any 158gr LSWCHP that is soft, bonus points for +p
     
  25. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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