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reduced load 38 special?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by beachwalker, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. beachwalker

    beachwalker Member

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    With my Wife and my encouragement her Sister just bought her first handgun, she chose a Ruger LCR in 38 Special.

    She's about 100lbs, and although in good health otherwise, the recoil is more than she is comfortable with. She 59.

    Is there a reduced power 38 special load on the market? I know it defeats part of the purpose, but it would be better for her to have something than nothing.

    As a side, we tried to get her to consider the Glock 26, which we have and recoil seems much milder. She had trouble racking it and the auto made her nervous.

    Thanks very much, Steve
     
  2. hardworker

    hardworker Member

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    Find some wadcutters. They're pretty tame.
     
  3. griz

    griz Member

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    You can load target wadcutters or if you want even less recoil, find some of the 125 gr Cowboy action loads. They run only about 700 or 800 FPS so are very mild. To me that's an advantage of the revolver, she can practice with powder puff loads and stoke it with more healthy rounds for defence.
     
  4. beachwalker

    beachwalker Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks Griz. Will do.

    Guess I posted in wrong spot, will be more attentive next time.

    As a side her father wanted her to get a .22, so now I'm somewhat the bad guy if she doesn't like the .38 after all. Oh well!
     
  5. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    This always happens when people insist on picking guns for other people.

    Maybe she should sell the LCR and buy a Smith and Wesson 317. A .22 revolver that she's comfortable with, will be better than a .38 that she in not comfortable.
    8 rounds of mini mags on target is better than 5 rounds of .38's in the walls.
     
  6. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Make sure she holds high on the grip frame when shooting, and firmly. Try the target wadcutters or cowboy loads. Really, the light-weight small-framed snubby is NOT a good choice as a first handgun for most folks. I don't, however, recommend trading off the LCR. Try to borrow or rent a K-frame sixgun, with small grip panels on it, for the early learning process.

    Edited to add: I can't emphasize the need for a high hold too strongly. If a revolver recoils too much, the shooter is often holding too low, because it feels more "natural" to hold low. Forget natural, and hold HIGH. The web of the hand should rise as high as the rubber part of the LCR's grip. Hold FIRMLY; not so hard the hand trembles, but just short of that point.

    Edited again to add: I do not recommend the cowboy loads for defense; the target wadcutters would be superior for that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. Manco

    Manco Member

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    In this specific case, I would recommend wadcutters for both practice and defense. For the recoil-sensitive, I think it is less than ideal to use for actual defense a load that they would be less proficient with. A 148 grain wadcutter moving at about 700 fps would penetrate plenty deep, and tear things up pretty well along the way.

    .22s are great because most people will always be able to put them to good use long after they've moved up in caliber for defensive purposes. In the meantime, .22 LR as a caliber can penetrate enough to kill people, and while it's one of the least effective calibers for that purpose per round, it may be the best option if you currently shoot it significantly better (faster and more accurately) than larger calibers because that matters more.

    True, and 8 rounds of CCI Velocitors should be even better, especially out of short-barreled revolvers.
     
  8. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    Mastercast makes a 100gr wadcutter that lopes along at 800fps. It is VERY soft shooting out of a K frame. Out of a N frame if feels like a .22. I taught my wife and mother-in-law to shoot with these loads. With lots of practice over the years, my wife now shoots and carries a .357 (2.75" Ruger Security Six). Here is a link to the mastercast ammo http://mastercast.net/amo.htm
     
  9. gdesloge

    gdesloge Member

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    "her Sister just bought her first handgun"

    Does she have any shooting experience? If not, maybe professional instruction is in order.

    gd
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  10. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    Try some factory wadcutters. Most are match grade and spendy, but Selliet And Bellot makes some that aren't. Good shooters, too.

    If she can't handle a .38 and target wadcutters she probably won't be able to handle a .22 either.
     
  11. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Member

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    I have the same problem with my wife. Yes I bought the gun. {my bad} I got her a Sp 101 w\3"barrel to give it some wieght.
    I aquainted myself with one of the bullseye shooter at the clubb that competes in a revolver competition. He's loading some 38 wadcutters that only move at 700fps. I'm hoping this works, otherwise I think I'll try a professional instructor.
    I only mention this as another option for low recoil loads. She does ok with the 22s' I have. She loves the ruger, I hope I can get her comfy with the gun. I give her credit, she's trying. Next is a lighter hammer spring for that tank. I tried getting her to switch to my S&W 12, but she WANTS HER gun...lol.
     
  12. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    What's the intended use? If CC, then the LCR might be the right gun, as opposed to one that gets left at home because of size/weight. If she's wanting a plinker or a house gun, the LCR might not be the right gun.

    I ran into a friend at the range who had brought along his neighbor for her first shoot (and gun purchase). He only had a 642 -- sheesh! -- so I offered my Service Six for comparison. Minutes later, she bought a new 4" stainless SW .357 with .38spl ammo.
     
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    While the .38 Special can be downloaded to a level that wouldn't upset our great auntie Flo, Wadcutters at 600 fps don't really make for good defensive rounds.

    Several years ago, a rather burly aquaintence of mine was accidentally shot in the thigh with a target wadcutter while instructing his young son. We could see the base of the bullet, and "Big Jake" calmly walked to the house and literally popped the bullet out of his leg like a zit. He disinfected the wound...applied a dressing...and walked back to the group to resume the shooting session, a bit sore, but none the worse for being shot.

    If practice is the object of the exercise, the target wadcutter is fine. 2.7 grains of Bullseye and a 148 grain double end wadcutter will provide about 600 fps from a 4-inch barrel. The velocity from a 2-inch barrel will be a bit lower, of course, but the recoil impulse won't...and in a light, snub-nosed revolver...it will still be fairly sharp for someone who is recoil sensitive.
     
  14. Manco

    Manco Member

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    :scrutiny: It must have been some kind of fluke because according to the following test results 95 grain bullets at 741-794 fps, which have significantly less momentum than 148 grain bullets at 600 fps, can penetrate 16.0-21.8 inches into calibrated ballistic gelatin:

    http://www.brassfetcher.com/380ACP ammunition performance in ballistic gelatin.pdf

    That's more than most people want for defense even from more powerful calibers.

    Well, technically the actual impulse would be lower in proportion to the velocity of the bullet...

    ...but it doesn't matter as much as the light weight of such revolvers, which makes any recoil feel much sharper, as you're saying. And if lightly-loaded .38 Special wadcutters are still too much, then .22 LR is better than nothing (.32 is a possibility, but ammo is harder to find, it might be difficult to find one to try out, and shot capacity will be lower).
     
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't know. The report was no different from any of the others, and I don't think he was willing to do it again just to see.

    Actually...no, it wouldn't.
     
  16. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    (I have found)
    Ammo loaded for "Cowboy" shooting is about the lightest 38s available without loading something yourself.
     
  17. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    You could try slowly introducing her to .38 spl power by starting with .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt, the predecessors to the .38 spl. Transition to Mastercast's 100gr wadcutter, then to 148gr Wadcutters, then to std .38 spl.
     
  18. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    I never knew .38s to have that much recoil to begin with, sounds like she's anticipating recoil, and the little bit she gets, she amplifies in her brain. Kinda like when you yell "OW!" and whatever it was ends up being painless. Instead of suggesting a trade-in for a .22, have her shoot more and get used to it. Sounds like she's outright afraid of the gun.
     
  19. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    The problem with new shooters is they worry about the recoil. For the most part it doesn't hurt them but they worry about it anyway. Personally I think new shooters should be started with a .22. It teaches them trigger control, sight alignment and has minimal recoil for them to contend with. After shooting the .22 for a while you introduce them to the .38 spl pointing out that they shoot the same way to hit the target. The recoil is something that happens after the shot and needs to be accepted, not fought or anticipated. Let the gun jump, just bring it back on target.

    Too many times I've seen someone instructing a new shooter have that evil look as they hand them a .357 mag and tell them about the horrors of its recoil. Not a good way to put a NewB in the right frame of mind.

    Light weight pistols recoil significantly more than a heavier gun. Your better off training with a S&W model 10 with some heft than with any snub nose, esp a super light one.
     
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    It looks like it might be time to start reloading or find someone you know that will reload some Wadcutters for you. I make up some very light 148gr Wadcutters for plinking and target practice that are well under 700 fps but fun to shoot.

    If not the above suggestions for buying Cowboy ammo are probably best since factory Wadcutters are usually very expensive. (not that Cowboy ammo is much cheaper)
     
  21. Manco

    Manco Member

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    What is the impulse based on?
     
  22. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Without going too far off-topic...

    Rate of acceleration and the force required to achieve it. Recoil is nothing more than backward acceleration in response to the bullet's forward acceleration.

    Yes. The gun is in full recoil before the bullet exits the muzzle.

    With some fast powders fired in long barrels, it's entriely possible for the bullet to be moving faster before it exits the muzzle than at the time of exit...and it was proven some years back with a 26-inch .308 rifle by lopping off an inch at a time and firing different handloads with various powders at each increment.

    Typical handgun powders hit peak pressure/force and acceleration rapidly... within a half-inch of bullet movement. Some really fast powders...like Bullseye...will do it before the bullet base has even cleared the case mouth.

    Quick example, and using round numbers for simplicity.

    If we assume 30 fps per inch of barrel gained or lost, and using a 4-inch .357 magnum revolver for the example...158 grain bullet at 1250 fps...we're getting 120 fps from the barrel. That leaves 1130 fps unaccounted for.
     
  23. kludge

    kludge Member

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    I started my wife on 158gr LSWC w/ 3.4gr Bullseye. Good enough.
     
  24. SIGLBER

    SIGLBER Member

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    As others have said HBWC (hard base wadcutters) are the way to go. When the only rounds out their were 158gr. LRN alot of guys used wadcutters. And alot of the early JHP's didn't open anyways from a 2" barrel. The wadcutters were accurate, mild recoil, penetrate deep, and cut a full length channel through the body. Lots of folks still use them. Alot of people scoff at the idea but it's easy to hit with. A hit with a wadcutter is better than a miss with anything else.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Sorry but HBWC = Hollow Base Wadcutters.
     
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