What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P?

This is a discussion on What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi, I have acquired a very early S&W Centennial (most folks call them the Model 40) which is obviously pre +P (very pre, made in ...

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Thread: What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P?

  1. #1
    Member Array DukeShooter's Avatar
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    What .38 would you carry if you can't carry +P?

    Hi,

    I have acquired a very early S&W Centennial (most folks call them the Model 40) which is obviously pre +P (very pre, made in year one of manfacture) and would like some carry ammo suggestions. I know I can take a chance on +P but why blow my hand off trying to shoot the BG. So how about a good and correct choice? I handload, so I could roll them up with Hornady Critical Defense bullets. But I prefer to carry factory ammo and reserve my handloads for the range.

    So weigh in guys (and gals) this is something we all need to have discussed.

    Your Old Uncle Duke
    "It's time to nut up or shut up" - Woody Harrelson, "Tallahassee" in "Zombieland"

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    Federal Nyclad - 125 grain hollow point. Good track record in snubs long before the +P flavors became available, and after a hiatus it is once again available.
    jem102 likes this.
    Smitty
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    Member Array crabbys44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Federal Nyclad - 125 grain hollow point. Good track record in snubs long before the +P flavors became available, and after a hiatus it is once again available.
    + 1The Nyclad is the only standard pressure hollowpoint I know of in .38. If you are rolling your own, I have always had excellent results from 158gr lead SWC. Maybe there is a standard pressure 158gr LSWHP.

    I've only read good things about Buffalo Bore. Here are the low pressure short barrel rounds.

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    SKU: 20C/20

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo - 158 gr. Soft Lead SWC-HC (850fps/M.E. 253 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box
    $26.66


    Manufacturer: Buffalo Bore
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    SKU: 20D/20

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo - 150 gr. Hard Cast Wad Cutter (850fps/M.E. 241 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box
    $26.66


    Manufacturer: Buffalo Bore
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    SKU: 20E/20

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo - 125gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (900fps/M.E. 225 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box
    $26.66


    Manufacturer: Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Hvy .38 Spl (Non + P) Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

    Don't forget speedloaders! I like the Safariland.
    Courage is endurance for one moment more…

    Hollowpoints might expand, but bullets won't shrink.

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    158g LSWCHP.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    Several non +P choices

    Here is another plug for the Federal Nyclad 125, my choice for this application.

    Also available is Winchester 110 grain Silvertip and Remington 110 grain semi jacket HP.

    Some folks use 148 grain full wad cutters.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    158 grain or heavier swc style bullet. Never sacrifice penetration. The above listed are also good suggestions. Everyone has their own ideas in what they want a defensive bullet to do. You really don't get any big gain from +p. In a short barrel.

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    158 grain LSWCHP.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

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    Hi Uncle Duke;

    I'm a fan of heavier lead in my .38 Specials so would choose a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter load for use in a .38 Special snub and feel confident in the load whether it is +P rated or not. Don't know what is out there in the market in 158 grain SWC ammunition that isn't rated +P. Most standard velocity ammunition loaded with 158 grain bullets features round nosed designs.

    You absolutely shouldn't rely on +P ammunition if you're concerned with the safety of shooting it in your revolver. Having confidence in the gun and load is so important and a niggling concern that the gun might fail is counterproductive to a self-defense mindset. Glockman10mm is right that there is no huge performance gain in +P. About 75/125 fps velocity increase may be gained by shooting +P ammunition over standard velocity ammunition in 2-inch barrels, depending on the brands tested. Not enough to matter as long as good hits are made and +P performance can't make up for bad hits.


    I will mention that I have a Chief's Special that shipped in early 1952 that I do carry with factory +P 158 grain SWCs. I've shot just enough in it to verify point of impact, and to check performance through chronograph testing. The gun handles these loads with perfect satisfaction. In fact it handles +P ammunition better than I do as it recoils quite smartly when used with +P ammunition. While I do like the notion of even the slight increase in velocity gained by 158 grain +P ammunition, I use it as much for the shape of the semi-wadcutter bullet as anything. The hollow point is just gravy. If it assists in expansion then great. If not then the sharp shoulder of the bullet still cuts a hole.

    +P is not the over-pressure revolver destroyer it's internet reputation suggests. +P ammunition is still loaded within SAAMI guidelines for allowable pressures for the .38 Special cartridge. In our foolishly litigious society you can be sure that the ammunition manufacturers aren't going to produce ammunition that really harms guns. A heavy diet (as in thousands) of +P ammunition might contribute to wear over time but that's all. I don't intend to spend the kind of money on expensive +P ammunition in quantities large enough to accelerate wear.

    In my view our American made standard velocity ammunition is pretty watered down but some of the foreign imports ... not so much. If you've used any imported ammunition it is possible that you've already subjected the revolver to pressures as high or higher than is produced by U.S. produced +P even though the import ammunition is not labeled "+P".
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    I carry Federal Hydrashok rounds in 110 grain in my J-frame.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

    NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Tennessee Certified Instructor

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I also carry the 158 grain, low flash, standard pressure from Buffalo Bore. It's still a handful to shoot in my 442.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    When I carry my snubbie it's charged with this:

    Manufacturer: Buffalo Bore
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    SKU: 20E/20

    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
    Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo - 125gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (900fps/M.E. 225 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box
    $26.66

    Switching between target loads and this you can feel the difference in recoil. Since Newtons first law says the reaction is Equal and opposite I figure the BG's going to feel it too.

  13. #12
    Member Array Ivan's Avatar
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    +1 for the Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure load. I just tried some 158 gr. BB this past wekend and it seems plenty powerful, but was also very accurate. If you don't want go with that, the Nyclad is a good option and would be a bit less recoil than the BB.

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    Member Array DukeShooter's Avatar
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    Great food for thought guys, I have very poor knowledge of revolver shooting, I've been shooting and thinking auto pistols so the snubbie and what makes +P ammo is not an area of knowledge for me.

    Thanks The Duke
    "It's time to nut up or shut up" - Woody Harrelson, "Tallahassee" in "Zombieland"

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Nyclads work great in the guns I own that I don't use +P in, but if you carry them in speedloaders or Tuff Strips they get beat up and the nylon can peel. The 110 Silvertips or Hydra Shoks are much more durable for carry as spares.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

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    Member Array musicman's Avatar
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    My question is if you reload ,why not work up a good load using your reloaders manual near maximum load.I reload also and have done this for two reasons.one is I can find the load that works best for that firearm and second I trust the reliablity.

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