Short barrel Ammo?

This is a discussion on Short barrel Ammo? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I did a quick search and found some info but not the answer I am looking for. I have read thru all of the super ...

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Thread: Short barrel Ammo?

  1. #1
    Member Array CCRIDER's Avatar
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    Short barrel Ammo?

    I did a quick search and found some info but not the answer I am looking for. I have read thru all of the super snubby thread, and several times there is a reference to "short Barrel Ammo". Is there a specific load, designed especially for the specifically 38sp. ? Self Defense round? thanks in advance.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCRIDER View Post
    I did a quick search and found some info but not the answer I am looking for. I have read thru all of the super snubby thread, and several times there is a reference to "short Barrel Ammo". Is there a specific load, designed especially for the specifically 38sp. ? Self Defense round? thanks in advance.
    Due to the low velocities allowed by the shorter tube, ammo companies have tried to create a load bullet combo that will provide the perscribed penetration and expansion of the bullet. Speer has introduced a round with a 135 grain bullet specifically designed to work in snubbies.
    For a hollowpoint to expand it has to hit material at a certain velocity to start this process. My personal opinion is this is just more gimics to get the publics money. Even with the new crop of short tube ammo, its an iffy proposition in real life.
    No companies really even carried about snubbies until CCW laws swept the landscape, and the popularity of the snubby among people looking for the perfect CC piece became obvious.
    I carry a 158 grain SWC in my snubbie, and goe for penetration as a priority. The FBI load was a 158 grain SWCHP. Hope this answers your question.

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    IMHO, the need to protect one's self in a Wally World parking lot at 3-7'...short barrel ammo has nothing over any other load...I wouldn't worry about it.
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    Senior Member Array DIABLO9489's Avatar
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    I carry Speer Short Barrel GDHP in my .38 and .357 snub....but that's mainly because I carry Speer GDHP in all of my handguns.
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  6. #5
    Member Array 147 Grain's Avatar
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    Here's a range report featuring 2 snubnose weapons from 2 different manufactures shooting 3 types of ammo - 2 of which are short barrel loads.

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...mo-test-Report
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    That was nice of you to do, but it really doesnt tell us much other than percieved recoil and accuratcy capabilities of the 3, which is good to know, but I think the OP is looking for terminal performance differences of the so called short barreled ammo vs traditional fodder. Im sure you are right in that at close range, they will all 3 work well.
    The thing is, everyone will have a different opinion based on what they read or experience. My experience will not convince anyone to my way of thinking. Also, for many people, the only thing they have to go on is what they read, or are told by manafacturers. Anytime you charge a consumer 30-50 dollars for a box of ammo, they have to believe it is equivalent to the hammer of Thor, or they wont buy it. Im not sayin its not good stuff, but they are in the business to turn a dollar. I will hold my advice here as it wasnt asked, but yes, there is ammo specifically marketed to short barrels. It probably works perfectly under the conditions they test it under, and yes you will pay more for this.

  8. #7
    Member Array 147 Grain's Avatar
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    Short barrel ammo manufactures typically state that they use faster burning propellants than in their standard loads. Some manufactures also modify their bullet a little (i.e. larger HP opening) so the projectile will sufficiently expand at lower snubnose velocities. Hornady does both (faster burning powder & deep HP cavity). Buffalo Bore uses a larger / deeper HP cavity than normal on their 158-gr. SWC-HP that almost looks machined compared to Remington, Federal, or Winchester's rougher-looking 158-gr. LSWCHP with a smaller HP opening.

    Moreover: All ammo manufactures are using the recent ammo shortage to market their PREMIUM ammo (with higher quality components in smaller 20-round boxes) to civilians who don't have access to LE Only ammo in 50-round boxes. This increases their profit margin and helps offset their Research and Development Costs of bringing superior / better performing bullets to market.

    At the range, shoot what you want; .... For self defense when your life is on the line, suggest you only use top tier ammo that has proven worthy of paying a few dollars more because your life is worth it.

    Federal HST, Winchester Ranger T, and Speer Gold Dot lead the pack. Use heavy for caliber bullets in the HST and Ranger T line-up (i.e. 9mm = 147-gr. / 40 S&W = 180-gr. / 45 ACP = 230-gr.) and only use a midweight round if it's bonded like the Gold Dot or a Bonded Ranger T.
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

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    Strange about this short-barrel ammo business. In chronographing a bunch of handloaded ammunition over the years in all kinds of handguns of different chamberings, I've found that the powders that produce the higher velocity in longer barrels also produces higher velocities in short barrels. Fast burning powders like Bullseye or similar, up to Unique don't beat out slower burning powders in my experience. I'll bet I'm not alone in discovering this.

    I'll get a round "tuit" one of these days and check out some of this so-called short barreled stuff in barrels of different lengths to see if it is all it is "cracked up" to be.
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    Study up on Hornady Critical Defense ammo. It appears to address short barrel issues as well as cures the failure to expand issue caused by plugged hollowpoints. I had some issues with Critical Defense but I'm now back and re-evaulating the best defense bullett. I think Hornady has the best answer to date. If you can find them at the store!
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    I have SB Gold Dot 230s and Win PDX1 230s for my .45 ACP SD rounds. I'd use either without a second thought as to effectiveness. I have the SBGDs only because that's all the store had during the Great Ammo Crisis of 2009. If there's any noticeable difference between the two, I haven't noticed it at the range.
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  12. #11
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    Check out Speer's website. SB ammo is just the same round at slower velocities and less energy.......noooo thanks
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  13. #12
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    Here are the top 38 Special Short Barrel 2" snubnose loads I can find after extensive research:

    1. Buffalo Bore's Short Barrel Standard Pressure 158-gr. Lead Wadcutter HP (Item #20C) at 850 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=110
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_images&p=110

    2. Buffalo Bore's Short Barrel Standard Pressure 150-gr. Hardcast Wadcutter (Item #20D) at 868 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=111
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_images&p=111

    3. Speer Short Barrel 135-gr. +P Gold Dot (Item #23921) at 860 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/bullet_tests.htm
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics...x?loadNo=23921

    4. Winchester Supreme Elite 130-gr. Bonded (Item #S38PDB) at about 850 fps in 2" snubnose. http://www.winchester.com/Products/h...es/S38PDB.aspx

    5. Corbon 110-gr. +P Solid Copper DPX (Item #DPX38110-20) at about 925 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.shopcorbon.com/Self-Defen...20/200/Product

    ***************

    The FBI says that 62% of police shootings, a bullet travels through an arm, hand, or leg before even touching the chest area and PD's frequently state that 50% of time the bullet has to travel at a odd angle before reaching the vitals.

    This is why PENETRATION is King !

    The average self defense HP loses 4" - 6" of penetrating power in flesh when it goes through a leather glove (both sides).

    PENETRATION is critical - especially in 38 Special. Buffalo Bore's short barrel 158-gr. Lead Semi-Wadcutter HP and their 150-gr. Hardcast Wadcutter both shoot to Point of Aim in my S&W 637-CT and Ruger LCR snubnose revolvers. These are the top 2 snubnose loads in my book.
    marcclarke likes this.
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

  14. #13
    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Due to the low velocities allowed by the shorter tube, ammo companies have tried to create a load bullet combo that will provide the perscribed penetration and expansion of the bullet. Speer has introduced a round with a 135 grain bullet specifically designed to work in snubbies.
    For a hollowpoint to expand it has to hit material at a certain velocity to start this process. My personal opinion is this is just more gimics to get the publics money. Even with the new crop of short tube ammo, its an iffy proposition in real life.
    No companies really even carried about snubbies until CCW laws swept the landscape, and the popularity of the snubby among people looking for the perfect CC piece became obvious.
    I carry a 158 grain SWC in my snubbie, and goe for penetration as a priority. The FBI load was a 158 grain SWCHP. Hope this answers your question.
    Now see that makes sense to me!

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    The Speer load, 38 Special 135 Grain JHP, is the original "short barrel" loading, and it seems to work very well.

    IIRC, it was designed in conjunction with the NYPD to address the needs of those officers still packing a revolver on duty, or carrying one as a BUG or off duty gun. I have heard, but cannot confirm, that the short barrel load is the same as the non-short barrel load, just different packaging to get more of the public's money. Yes, the product numbers are different, but it's still the same bullet and loading from what I've been told, but have no way to confirm.

    Nowadays you can have a "short barrel load" in just about any popular caliber, but I'm not so sure that it's needed. I do know that my 38 Special gets one load, and one load only, for carry. Yup, you guessed it, the Speer Gold Dot 135 Grain Jacketed Hollowpoint. It seems to work well on badguys, and minimizes a lot of the negatives of that caliber in a short tube.

    Biker

  16. #15
    Member Array 147 Grain's Avatar
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    The Speer Short Barrel 135-gr. load is still one of my favorite even though recoil is bit snappy in my laser equipped 17-oz. S&W 637-CT that the wife uses. My other 2" snubnose revolvers carries Buffalo Bore's short barrel 158-gr. FBI load (standard pressure); recoil is slightly less - more of a push. It's interesting that the heavier 158-gr. bullet achieves almost the same velocity (850 fps) as the lighter 135-gr. at 860 fps. Both HP's have larger than normal cavities for increased expansion and should achieve about 11" - 12" of penetration.

    Speer Short Barrel 135-gr. +P Gold Dot (Item #23921) at 860 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/bullet_tests.htm
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics...x?loadNo=23921
    http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx

    Buffalo Bore's Short Barrel Standard Pressure 158-gr. Lead Wadcutter HP (Item #20C) at 850 fps in 2" snubnose.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_images&p=110
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=110
    marcclarke likes this.
    Aim for the Thoracic Triangle Area between the armpits and the base of throat.

    1. Shot Placement: Center Mass Between the Armpits & Base of Throat
    2. Heavy for Caliber Bullet Weight / Construction
    3. Choice of Caliber

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