This is a discussion on Ammo conversation. What am I not getting? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by bmcgilvray It's good fun to watch folks chasing their tails over ammunition choices. Sit back and enjoy the show which began nearly ...
The .38 Special ammunition then available was lead round nose or target wadcutter. 9mm was FMJ round nose (seems like there was a round nose jacketed soft point available), and .45 ACP could be had in 230 grain FMJ round nose or 185 grain lead SWC target stuff. By the late 1970s the .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and .44 Magnum did offer basic jacketed soft point or even hollow point ammunition along with the lead SWC ammunition that leaded like a fiend. The old .44 Special and .45 Colt got 246 grain lead round nose and 255 grain lead round nose respectively (.45 Colt generally had a flattened point) and that was it. The various lesser .38 and .32 revolver cartridges only featured lead bullets and the lesser semi-auto pistol cartridges such as .380 ACP, .32 ACP, and .25 ACP all featured FMJ round nose bullets.
Lee Jurras does deserve a lot of credit to tapping into a real need for improved ammunition. While handloaders could purchase a few decent bullets for their pistolas the factory ammunition shooter was hung out to dry before Jurras came along.
Later, everyone got into the act. Now there are so many choices along with so many product changes and "improvements" that folks get in a dither over selecting from it all.
I'm not certain how effective the early Super Vel really was. It is certain that it was red hot in velocity performance. I chronographed some in 1980 and it gave 1237 fps out of my 4-inch Smith & Wesson Model 10. This would yield 374 ft./lbs of energy.
Despite the velocity, the bullet didn't reliably expand in various non-tests I tried. Not too long after chronographing the load I spine shot a buck deer that ran past me after being jumped by a hunting bud. He was less than 10 feet from the muzzle of the .30-40 Krag I was using and moving fast as I swung the long-barreled rifle on him.
The 220 grain .30 caliber bullet flattened him on the spot but he was down and not out. I drew the Model 10 loaded up with ammunition from the same box of Super Vel I'd earlier chronographed and shot him through the heart at point blank range. This did settle his hash but upon field dressing him, I discovered only a .38 hole through the center of his heart and that the bullet had turned in its path and had traveled down his left front leg, ending up at the knee joint. The lead portion was roughed up but the jacket was still perfect, only displaying the rifling marks.
I'd expected a bit more dramatic performance from the load. I'm sure bullets are much improved since that time but I became skeptical of the hollow point offerings promoted then.
I later had opportunity to use the same revolver, both to take deer and finish some either hit by vehicles, caught in a fence, or disabled by a rifle. The 158 grain lead SWC +P factory load or else a handloaded equivalent gave better results in my view.
Had a good source for Super Vel in the mid/late '70s. Seems that it was $7.00 or $7.50 at time when most other .38 Special ammunition sold for $4.75 to $5.50.
I thought I'd long shot up all the boxes I had accumulated but I moved a couple of years ago and discovered two boxes amongst all my shooting junk. I'm tempted to run some over the chronograph again to see what it will clock.
Another long-winded ramble.
I wouldn't worry about it. Practice with what you can find and aford to shoot, which also works in your guns.
Carry any of the numerous proven SD rounds out on the market. Speer (mostly what I carry, simply because they were available when I was buying), Ranger, HydraShok, CorBon, Golden Sabers, whatever. There isn't a whole lot of difference between the proven rounds.
Someone can probalby look it up, but there was a very good picture heavy thread recently with lots of different rounds posted with pictures of expansion and numbers for penetration and diameter/weight retention. I think many were surprised at the results.
Happy shooting, just keep shooting, practice for the shooter is probably more important than the ammo in the gun.
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
I'm real technical about the whole process. I walk into my gun store and ask my buddy behind the counter for some good practice ammo and some good self-defense ammo. He picks it out and I pay for it. Everything works when I try it out, I'm happy. End of story.
Its the Ol'I agree with everything he says, isn't he smart
Thank you for the replies.
I just stepped on toes that I should not have with unintended indifference. Perhaps "I'm not at the same skill level so for me it is all about the same."
What I stated (and I'm guessing some face expression or exhale) came off as a judgement of the other person.
S&W 642 (no-lock) with .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP
Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger
So your saying they used to make a 38 special round that chrono'ed at over 1200 fps? And I missed the bullet weight, but I assume it was 148 or 158 grains. WOW.
This reminds me of the thread here that was closed about the 38 special loads being watered down over the years. I guess this data proves that point. Granted the super velocity was probably not recommended for guns unless they carried that rating, I assume.
I do not know about most people , but I shoot almost every week (sometimes just to make brass to reload) and my guns will still out shoot me. Perhaps if I was a world champion shot , I would only shoot with the premium ammo, however until that time I will practice with what is the cheapest... the gun might shoot a tad different with good SD ammo, but not enough to overcome my short comings. Like I tell my daughter, keep practicing bullet placement, the rest will fall into place. The best dang SD ammo in the world does no good if you can not afford to shoot enough to get good with a hand gun... shooting hand guns is an art form that is hard to master, well at leas for me and I have been shooting them for 35 years. I would much rather shoot a BG with a SWC that I know how to shoot with than some fancy SD ammo that I can not afford to shoot enough to get good/better.