Need help with choosing carry ammo for 38 special

Need help with choosing carry ammo for 38 special

This is a discussion on Need help with choosing carry ammo for 38 special within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi, I just purchased a Smith & Wesson model 642 in 38 caliber and am looking for advice on the best ammo to carry for ...

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    Member Array ccm's Avatar
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    Need help with choosing carry ammo for 38 special

    Hi,
    I just purchased a Smith & Wesson model 642 in 38 caliber and am looking for advice on the best ammo to carry for defensive purposes. It seems the general thought is the 158 grain is the better weight but I can't find a lot of agreement on which brand or style of bullet is best. You guys are a lot more experienced with this sort of thing than I am so I hope that you will take time to offer your advice.

    Thanks in advance for the help.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I like the Speer Gold Dot short barrel load with a 135gr bullet.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I like the Speer Gold Dot short barrel load with a 135gr bullet.
    What Tubby said.

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    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    have to ask--how proficient are you with the 642. and where do you live?
    if you have a winter-- than round nose for penetration through heavy clothing. lswc or silver tips the other 3 seasons.

    carry what you practice with can get expensive if you do not re-load. and though your little gun may be rated for +P's, being accurate with them for most requires more practice than with standard loads.
    there are forums dedicated to the 642. it is a very popular gun. you made a great choice.
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    Senior Member Array dripster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I like the Speer Gold Dot short barrel load with a 135gr bullet.
    I second this ammo choice.
    One more step and it's on!

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    sgb
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    VIP Member Array sgb's Avatar
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    The Speer Gold Dot 135gr short barrel and the Corbon all copper DPX loads are the top two self defense loads in .38 special snubs.

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

    "There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I only carry 158 grain SWC bullets in my 38s. I prefer to error on the side of maximum straight line penetration. I also only carry revolver cartridges that I reload myself. If that's not an option for you, there are many good heavy bullet choices available. +p loadings are good but not necassary with this loading, unless you go to a lighter bullet.
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    VIP Member Array dawei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccm View Post
    Hi,
    I just purchased a Smith & Wesson model 642 in 38 caliber and am looking for advice on the best ammo to carry for defensive purposes. It seems the general thought is the 158 grain is the better weight but I can't find a lot of agreement on which brand or style of bullet is best. You guys are a lot more experienced with this sort of thing than I am so I hope that you will take time to offer your advice.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
    The best 38 Special defensive load I've ever used is............
    Click it

    This standard pressure load out performs just about any current 38 Special+P. It is specifically designed for Airweight®/Ultra-Lite® guns like yours. It is the carry load in my Taurus® Mdl 85SS2UL. POA/POI are identical.

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    Similar to glockman, my standard carry load in the snubs is 158 grain lead, but in the semi-wadcutter hollow point (SWCHP) +P flavor. This was the standard FBI load for a long time and it has a good track history. If it expands, great; if the hollow nose loads up with stuff and doesn't expand, you've still got the relatively sharp edges of the SWC shape and 158 grains for decent penetration. My spare ammo is usually a jacketed HP (also +P) because the noses of the head HPs gets deformed in my pockets.
    Superhouse 15 likes this.
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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I like the low flash, short barrel, standard pressure stuff from Buffalo Bore

    I've also been experimenting with some 125 grain, +P stuff from Federal. It's a lot softer on recoil. I'm sure that whatever you use, if it's from a reputable manufacturer and you put it where it needs to go, will work just fine.
    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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    I carry the Federal Hydra-shok 129gr +p loading. I have a Ruger SP101 however and recoil is extremely mild.

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    Distinguished Member Array Knightrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I like the Speer Gold Dot short barrel load with a 135gr bullet.
    x2.
    Glock: G22 .40 S&W and G23 .40 S&W Sig Sauer: P938 9mm Smith and Wesson: Model 437 .38 Spl, Model 65 357 Mag, and Sigma SW9VE 9mm

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    Member Array Ivan's Avatar
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    I'll add another vote for the Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure Low Flash load. PLENTY of power for it's intended purpose.

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    I like +P 158 grain lead SWC loads in all my serious .38 Special revolvers. After recent chronograph testing, Remington or handloaded equivalent is my current choice over other brands. I'm out of Buffalo Bore which is a bit rough in light weight snubs from what I hear.

    Hits very close to point of aim in fixed sight revolvers.

    Always correct. Always appropriate. Works in the most .38 Special applications one could conceive off. Dress in cut-off blue jeans. Dress in a tux. No matter, it always applies.

    It's the "don't worry, be happy" .38 Special ammunition that gets the user past all the dithering over the boutique "load of the week" that ammo makers market and gun rags and forums tout. I've used it for many years on everything from rattlesnakes to deer and it really works great.
    CaptSmith likes this.
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    I like standard pressure best


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