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What 38 Special load to use in Ariweight?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by LTR shooter, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. LTR shooter

    LTR shooter Member

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    Picking up my first J-Frame Smith this weekend - a 642 Airweight. Curious as to what kind of 38 defensive factory loads others are using. The 642 is rated for +P ammo.
     
  2. Scott Free

    Scott Free Member

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    Most people are going to recommend +P Speer Gold Dots Short Barrel. It's practically impossible to find. About $20/20. Corbon DPX is probably as effective, easier to find, but about $30/20. To me, DPX has a bit less recoil. For a non +P round, I'd feel confident with wadcutters.
     
  3. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    In order of my preference for +P:

    1. Speer 135 Short Barrel +P
    2. Cor-Bon 110 DPX +P
    3. Remington 158 LHP +P

    As to what I am using: handloads using Speer 135 Gold Dot Short Barrel or Speer 158 LHP bullets and Accurate #5 powder; both at +P velocity.
     
  4. whalerman

    whalerman member

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    I'm not really sure what it is that you guys are looking for in this thread. What are you wanting to see in this ammo? Accuracy, expansion, value? I'm a fan of the lightweight J-Frames as well. One problem I've had is with some ammo the initial recoil of the gun causes the round to "back out" a bit, stopping the cylinder from rotating and freezing the gun. I'd be interested in learning which factory ammo you guys have found stays crimped around the bullet, thus keeping the revolver going. I have an aluminum J-Frame with a titanium cylinder and this ammo separation has been a problem. Remington Golden Sabers were the worst.
     
  5. Mango88

    Mango88 Member

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    I'm using Federal Nyclad 125 gr hollow points in my small frame .38s. They are standard pressure rounds that don't recoil excessively and will still probably expand as they are dead soft lead with a nylon cladding.
     
  6. engineer88

    engineer88 Member

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    I have never had problems with the short barrel Speer in eith of my aluminum jframes (637 & 638). They are in my opinion the best all around load in 38 special. I recommend them highly.
     
  7. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I practice with handloads loaded at 38 velocity - a 158 LSWC. I carry +P, but besides too expensive, they aren't as accurate with ME shooting the gun. The recoil and trigger pull make it somewhat difficult to use with a LOT of accuracy
     
  8. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Like Mango88, I use Nyclads, which are also practically impossible to find.

    You may get recommendations for pretty much any JHP that's sold in boxes of 20 and priced like boxes of 50. That's the current indication that the ammo is built and marketed for SD.
     
  9. bangaway

    bangaway Member

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    If you handload I load a 148 grain hollow base wadcutter backwards. (the hollow base fronted). Years ago 3-D offered this in a factory load unknown if they still do. Nasty hit when used on bunnies, badger, jacks, and big watermelons. Not much recoil in light guns. Cheap to shoot. Have fun and bangaway.
     
  10. LTR shooter

    LTR shooter Member

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    Thanks for the replies! When I pick up the gun I'll see if he has any of the above mentioned ammo in stock. He runs quite a small shop so not a big selection.

    Luckily I reload too. I'll start with some Hornady 125XTP , probably some 158 LSWC and the 148 HBWC.

    This Airweight will be a new shooting experience for me. I've never shot a 15 oz gun and never owned a DAO revolver.
     
  11. Remllez

    Remllez Member

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    Nyclads are good stuff, but as others have said hard to find. I've used 158 grain standard pressure LSWC for years, extremely accurate in both my J-frames. I do on occasion load 158 grain semi jacketed hollow point at standard pressure. Both these loads are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

    The short barrel +P Gold Dots seem to get great reviews but are a bit spendy for my taste. You like many of us will likely end up with more than one brand of test ammo just to satisfy your curiosity. The +P will get your attention in that Airweight for sure....:)
     
  12. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I shoot 158 grain Semi-Wadcutter reloads as a practice round in my daily carry S&W 638.
    Right now, the gun is loaded with 135 grain Speer Gold Dots.
    Don't know about the Gold Dots but in extensive practice with reloads, I haven't seen the "backing out" thing occuring.
     
  13. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    Mine is loaded with Buffalo Bore.....wad cutters....or semi wadcutter +p.
     
  14. Mango88

    Mango88 Member

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    If anyone is interested in Nyclads, Northwest Shooter Supply is the only web site that I can find that doesn't list them as out of stock. I've never ordered from them so I don't know if they keep their inventory up to date on line or if they are decent to deal with. However, it might be worth a try if you really want to try them out.
     
  15. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Federal used to package Nyclads in 50s at a good price. Now they're in 20s and quite high.

    And still nobody can keep them in stock.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    My Airweights shot high with 158's. I called S&W and they told me the things are regulated to shoot to point of aim with 125's.

    Pick any brand.
     
  17. philly3458

    philly3458 Member

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    I like the critical defense 38 plus p load. Designed to penetrate and open sufficiently for this load.
     
  18. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Mine seems to be closer to POA with 125s also. 158s go high, I overcompensate, and they go low. Result is the dread vertical string. That's why I use 125gr for SD carry.
     
  19. black_powder_Rob

    black_powder_Rob Member

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    i use the Federal Nyclads also, they seem to work pretty good for me.
     
  20. forty5

    forty5 Member

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    I also use Speer 135 gr Gold Dot SB in my Scandium J frames. For some of my older J frames that wont take +P I use 125 gr Nyclads. I am lucky in that I have a good stock of both.:)
     
  21. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Personally, I find shooting +P in my 642 very objectionable. Kicks like a mule and all those wonderful adjectives. But that is me.

    I practice with standard 38 Special loads but I do have 125 grain Hornady hollow points in the gun for self defense.
     
  22. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I load my 442 with +P ammo. I use 125 gr HP. I personally don't think it matters much which +P HP ammo you choose as long as it is reliable. The Speer is a good choice or pretty much any of it in the 20 ct boxes.
     
  23. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    148 grain DEWC with 3.5 grains of Unique.
     
  24. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    My 642-2, with OEM boots, shoots coincident POI/POA at 7-12yd with both Remington R38S12 +P 158gr LHPSWC and Georgia Arms ballistically equivalent similar reloads, which are much less expensive. The Remingtons are made with softer lead - which is impressive against 2L pop bottles full of water when shot from the 642. Either load is a little stout. I also have 'plinked' the SPC targets with my Montana Gold 125gr JHP homebrews (over 4-4.2 gr Titegroup) - easier shooting, of course. Also tried - Zero Ammo's 148gr LWC 'target' load - milder shooting load suggested as protective round for the recoil sensitive.

    I've shot >2,200 rounds through my 642 over the 5+ years I've had owned it. It is not a 'fun' shooter - my 4" 64-8 is far more fun to plink with.

    Stainz
     
  25. PcolaDawg

    PcolaDawg Member

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    Right now, I've got Remington 38 Special+P 158 Grain Lead Hollow Points loaded in mine.
     
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