S&W 442 on the way. Ammo suggestions please.

S&W 442 on the way. Ammo suggestions please.

This is a discussion on S&W 442 on the way. Ammo suggestions please. within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Finally took the plunge and should have a 442 in hand in about a week. Ordered Crimson Trace LG405 that I will install myself. I'm ...

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Thread: S&W 442 on the way. Ammo suggestions please.

  1. #1
    Member Array sliponby's Avatar
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    S&W 442 on the way. Ammo suggestions please.

    Finally took the plunge and should have a 442 in hand in about a week. Ordered Crimson Trace LG405 that I will install myself. I'm excited! This is only the second revolver I've ever bought, the first being a Charter Arms Undercover snubbie that I bought in 1984 which started malfunctioning about 3 years ago (cylinder would slip and not rotate sometimes)

    Anyway, I'm hoping some of you fine gentlemen (or ladies) with knowledge and opinions of the best defensive ammo that can be handled in a lightweight revolver such as the 442 would share your wisdom and insights. I would like to run a +p, but I realize the diminutive size of this gun will dictate how hot a load I can handle effectively. I guess "handle effectively" is the key phrase.

    As always, thanks for your time and consideration!
    "We Dare Defend Our Rights", Alabama State Motto...


  2. #2
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    My J-frame snubs will never be real fun guns for me - I can handle about 50 practice rounds before I slip into something my hand finds more relaxing, like a full-size .45. But each practice session with the snub includes a cylinder or two of +P carry ammo, so I'm confident in point of impact. Shooting +Ps isn't outrageous, it's tolerable in a 16-ounce gun, just not a lot of fun.

    You'll get lots of opinions here, and here's mine. I have two 'standard' carry loads for the snubs. First is the 158 grain +P lead hollowpoint semi-wadcutter (a/k/a "FBI load"). This is usually what's in the gun(s). Even if the HP loads up with cloth or sheetrock or anything else, you've still got 158 grains of deformable lead working for you. I know for sure Federal still makes this round, and it has a good track record.

    My other standard snub load is the 125-135 grain +P JHPs - I'm not super fussy about whose. Currently I have the Gold Dot on board. I typically load these in my speed loaders and speed strips, since the bare lead noses of the LSWCHPs tend to deform when I carry the spare ammo in a pocket.

    You really need to try some different rounds to see what you can handle and what you can actually hit the target with. Don't be bamboozled or shamed into using +Ps if you can't shoot them well. Generations of American peace officers put down lots of bad hombres with standard-pressure .38s.
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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array orangevol's Avatar
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    I carry 129 gr Hydra Shock + P in my 642.
    Proud NRA member

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Agreed on the 125-135 grain bullets. I run Gold Dots, but would be just as happy with Ranger-T ammo. I have a 60-14, all stainless, and the extra weight of the gun helps. I do prefer +P ammo for it (a model 60-14 is a 357, but you will never catch me running 357 magnum ammo in it), but would not be afraid of a standard pressure load so long as the bullet is designed for defense. The only drawback of a J-frame that I see is that you have only five shots, but I carry a couple of speedloaders as well. Along with an Alessi Talon Plus holster, it is my favorite carry rig. Well done on your new firearm. :

  5. #5
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    I pass on the lighter bullets in .38 Special, preferring to leave them for cartridges like .380 ACP and 9mm.

    The +P 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter loading or so-called "FBI Load", either in factory guise or duplicated with a handload of similar performance is always appropriate for .38 Special, especially in snubs. All .38 Special revolvers I may carry are so loaded.

    I wouldn't feel ill-armed if I had a .38 Special snub loaded with standard velocity 158 grain semi-wadcutter ammunition. It might offer the shooter more control and less recoil.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array deadguy's Avatar
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    My opinion: hot and heavy. 158+p JHP. Use the full potential of the gun and the round it can fire. Practice light, then practice heavy. Learn how to shoot it with SD carry loads. Snubbies can be violent little ******** regardless of what you feed them. I carry a 360 with 158 grain XTP 357 Maggie numbs as a BUG and sometimes a primary. It hurt at first but with time and practice I learned how to handle her with accuracy and efficiency.

    Unless you have physical limitations I suggest using its full potential.
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Speer Gold Dot Short barrel. What I carry in mine. Specifically built for short barrel guns. Mine have been extremely accurate.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=238912393
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Agree with some of those above. Load heavy lead lswc or lswchp. Can't go wrong there.
    gottabkiddin likes this.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Agree with some of those above. Load heavy lead lswc or lswchp. Can't go wrong there.
    Same here. I use Buffalo Bore standard pressure 158 grain lswchp in my S&W 438.
    gottabkiddin and awoodpd13 like this.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    If you don't mind paying a little more for the baddest 38 special load then I would reccommend any of the Buffalo Bore loads. They have the infamous 158 grain lswchp, FBI load, they also carry a 125/135 grain hollowpoint that uses the Speer Gold Dot. The web site doesn't mention gold dots, but there's no mistaking the round when it mushrooms. It looks like every gold dot, ive ever seen, and they load the "Standard" pressure rounds as close to +p as you can get. If you want the +P they have that too.


    Buffalo Bore Ammunition | Strictly Big Bore - Strictly Business[search]=&s[title]=Y&s[short_desc]=Y&s[full_desc]=Y&s[sku]=Y&s[match]=all&s[cid]=23

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I like Winchester t-series bonded or the PDX1 series (essentially the same as the T-Series but marketed as the FBI choice of ammo).

    Nothing wrong with Speer Gold Dots, Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, Golden Sabers, Federal HydraShok (I have some 38+p+ and it kicks damn near like a 357) and the list goes on.
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  12. #12
    Member Array sliponby's Avatar
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    Taking notes fellas, taking notes. Thanks!
    "We Dare Defend Our Rights", Alabama State Motto...

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I found that the FBI load from Buffalo Bore was too much for me. So, I run either the standard pressure Buffalo 158 grains, or Federal 125 grain +P.
    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

  14. #14
    Member Array Ivan's Avatar
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    +1 more for BB! The Standard Pressure load is more than enough. There are good SD loads for snubbies from most every manufacturer these days, so it's hard to make a bad choice. Try a couple and see which ones work best for you in that gun.

  15. #15
    Member Array Jermedic's Avatar
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    I have been using the Golden Sabers in my snubbies and they work great. Not bad on the recoil either. I just ordered some of the Buffalo Bore standard pressure rounds and will be testing them when I get them. If they work out well for me, that will be my new carry round.

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