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Which 38 Special non +P Carry Ammo To Use?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by 45shooter, Jul 31, 2007.

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  1. 45shooter

    45shooter Member

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    I'm looking for some recommendations for 38 Special non +P carry ammo to keep with my old Colt Cobra. It is not going to be my regular carry gun but I want to keep some carry ammo in case I want to. I don't want to use +P ammo in this old revolver so I'm only interested in non +P ammo. If this was 15 years ago I would just get Federal Chief Special ammo which was 125gr Nyclad at standard 38 special pressure but that ammo has been discontinued for a while.

    So, what is the best performing ammo out in the street these days?
     
  2. jfh

    jfh Member

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    I dunno about tests--

    but I am a bit partial to FC ammo, and FC has a 110-gr. 38SPL round that is 'Personal Defense' and 'Low Recoil' promoted.

    I bought it to put in my S&W 340 (scandium, 13.3 oz) while I acclimate to shooting this kind of pistol. I think the specs call for 1000 fps / 205 ft lbs from a 4" barrel--so obviously less from the 340's 1&7/8", but with a good Hydra-shock JHP.

    Jim H.
     
  3. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    buffalo bore has some std. pressure loads that approch/surpass most other co. +p that are safe in your Colt
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    110 gr Winchester Silvertip HP rounds will work very well.
    http://www.winchester.com/products/catalog/handgundetail.aspx?symbol=X38S9HP&cart=MzggU3BlY2lhbA==

    110 gr Federal Hydra-Shok rounds will work well too.
    Remington also has a standard pressure 110 gr round for SD.

    For some strange reason standard pressure .38 Special SD rounds are only 110 gr now!! Thst just doesn't seem right, why not 125 gr or 158 gr??

    At least Buffalo Bore has realized there is still a market for the non+P .38 Special SD market. http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#standard38

    I was lucky enough to find 3 boxes of 125 gr Federal Nyclad .38 Special ammo in Standard pressure a few weeks ago. I put it away for future SD use since there is very little of the good stuff left around anywhere which isn't +P.
     
  5. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    This topic has come up before. I use factory (WW, RP, Federal, etc) wadcutters in 2" revolvers. The wadcutter is already in an efficient shape. A hollowpoint needs to expand a little to get the same way. It will penetrate to 14" plus which some feel is a requirement for defensive ammo. Many lighweight bullets don't penetrate well. Wadutters pretty much shoot to the point of aim as the sights for 38 spl handguns are usually set up for 158 gr std pressure rounds. The low recoil makes for easy control and recovery. The fact that there is nothing easier on your gun is also a plus.
     
  6. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    I like the Speer 135gr "Short Barrel" load. It was designed to deliver good performance out of snubnose barrels. That's what I carry in my S&W 37.

    Chris
     
  7. glassman

    glassman Member

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    Federal Premium 110 gr, low recoil hydrashock JHP for the 642.
     
  8. Hobie

    Hobie Member

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    I'm carrying the Buffalo Bore 20C in my 1972 DS. Limited range work but it seems to be a fine load.
     
  9. Torghn

    Torghn Member

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    I use the Federal Premium 110 gr, low recoil hydrashock JHP as stated several time above.
     
  10. Headless

    Headless Member

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    Buff Bore 158gr non +P.
     
  11. 35Rem

    35Rem Member

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    Everyone says what THEY use in these threads.
    I think it would be more helpful to know WHY, and back it up with some test data, with source, of some kind.
    Just my 2 cents.
     
  12. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Speer worked with the NYCPD to develop this load for snubnose revolvers. I don't have links to the tests handy, but I've seen the gel tests for the load I recommended above. The load was designed to penetrate per the FBI requirements when fired out of the typical 2" snubnose barrel. It does that and expands to about .5". Another reason I selected it over other loads is because my m37 prints high with 158gr loads (both standard pressure and +P). The 135gr load prints just about perfectly at 7yds. There is little to no muzzleflash in low light as well. I also appreciate that it's available just about everywhere, which means I can keep it on hand without having to resort to mail order or gun shows.

    Good enough?

    Edit to add: I found the link: http://www.stoppingpower.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9333

    Chris
     
  13. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    that load is +p
     
  14. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Duh. You're correct. I completely zoned on the non +P requirement.

    Sorry.

    Chris
     
  15. 45shooter

    45shooter Member

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    For my 4" and 5" 38 Special revolvers (Colts and S&W) I keep Winchester 158gr SWC-HP +P ammo. I have a lot of this ammo from when it was the standard load for the local police dept. From everything I read, this ammo works when used from 4" or longer barrel.

    For my other steel snub nose revolvers (S&W and Ruger) I recently switched to CCI GoldDot 135gr +P ammo. Evidently this ammo was designed to expand and penetrate when fired from 2" barrel revolvers. I've fired some in each of my steel frame snub nose revolvers and I can definitely tell its a +P ammo.

    In my lightweight revolvers I've used Federal 125gr Nyclad a.k.a. Chief Special ammo for many years but this ammo has been out of production for about 10 years and I don't have any more. I like the idea of using full wadcutter ammo but I chronographed some from a box of Federal 148 hollow based wadcutter match ammo I had and from my 2" revolvers I was only getting about 620-640 fps. I'm thinking about pulling bullet on the rest of the box and load to about 750-800 fps. That should give pretty good performance but the tabboo of using handloads for self-defense has been holding me back. That Buffalo Bore ammo sound interesting but $28 for a box of 20 rounds:eek:

    So the search goes on... :rolleyes:
     
  16. 45shooter

    45shooter Member

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    Sorry.
    Double Post.
     
  17. Headless

    Headless Member

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    http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo...r standard pressure Hard Cast Wad Cutter.html
    900FPS from a snub, 150gr with massive penetration of 20-23inches. That's why :) Heck, my corbon +P 110gr is only superior in one statistic - average diameter, which i consider the least important when looking at non +P loads. You want something that will penetrate and get the job done. Shot placement is paramount.

    The 158gr soft semi wad cutter is nice too - a bit more expansion but it drops down to 15inches of penetration.
    http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo Bore 158gr (non +P) SWC-HC.html
     
  18. Hobie

    Hobie Member

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    I use the Buffalo Bore load because it is accurate enough at the ranges at which it likely to be used and the big ole hollow point opens up out of a satisfactorily heavy bullet and it is non +P. That's why. I said that but didn't have to type a bunch of words to say it.
     
  19. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    I prefer a hard cast LEE Tumble Lube Wadcutter weighing in at 152gr. While I have no test data to back it up, the writings of the late Jim Cirrillo (RIP) really brought me onboard to the idea. Also, Buff Bore's new releases have only reinforced my beliefs. The only thing Buff Bore can do that makes their load superior to mine is their use of flash surpressed powders.
     
  20. scubie02

    scubie02 Member

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    yep, it's not the new thing and popular anymore, but back in the day a large number of the oldtimers swore by the 148 gr wadcutters an above poster mentioned. You won't find a load that's more of a creampuff, they tend to shoot well/accurately, and they were said to cut a nice sharp round hole that resisted closing back up and leaked alot...

    alot of those old timers were smart folks

    I believe I saw a relatively recent test a year or two ago where they tested all the latest uber loads, and threw some of the wadcutters in for the heck of it, and were surprised/impressed by the performance...
     
  21. 45shooter

    45shooter Member

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    -Quote-

    I prefer a hard cast LEE Tumble Lube Wadcutter weighing in at 152gr. While I have no test data to back it up, the writings of the late Jim Cirrillo (RIP) really brought me onboard to the idea. Also, Buff Bore's new releases have only reinforced my beliefs. The only thing Buff Bore can do that makes their load superior to mine is their use of flash surpressed powders.

    -End Quote-

    I have been thinking about this very idea too.
    I was thinking of buying the mold and then giving it to someone who cast bullets for some cast bullets. I figured can load them to about 750-775 fps using Winchester 231 which will keep it within non +P pressure.

    The other idea was to pull the bullets from a box of Federal 148gr hollow base wadcutter cartridges and load them to about 750 fps.

    Only thing holding me back is the taboo of using handloads for self-defense.
     
  22. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    Well that is a choice only each individual can make. I've made my bed, and I'll lie in it too.

    Concerning velocities: I've had those wadcutters above 1000fps from a .357 snub barrel with no leading. I can't say the same about any swaged bullet I've ever come across.
     
  23. 35Rem

    35Rem Member

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    Much better posts. I asked a similar question on another site, so I was interested in this topic.

    Thanks!
     
  24. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Hollow based wadcutters are very soft -- expect moderate to severe leading.
     
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