"Cheap" SD rounds v. "Expensive" Deisgner rounds?

This is a discussion on "Cheap" SD rounds v. "Expensive" Deisgner rounds? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I use Remington Golden Sabers for my .38 SD carry rounds. Not having won the lottery, it's not a round that I practice with frequently ...

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Thread: "Cheap" SD rounds v. "Expensive" Deisgner rounds?

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    "Cheap" SD rounds v. "Expensive" Deisgner rounds?

    I use Remington Golden Sabers for my .38 SD carry rounds. Not having won the lottery, it's not a round that I practice with frequently for my range time. Ideally I would practice all the time with my same carry round.

    Now, I can buy 38 Special +P UMC Jacketed Hollow Point 125 Grain 945 fps for about 15 bucks for a box of 50. The Golden Sabers run about 24 bucks for a box of 25. That's about 3X cost. The Golden Sabers are about 975 fps. Yes, different bullet design, and different terminal ballistics, but for practice the rounds are pretty much the same for point of impact from what I have seen at the range.

    My question is are the terminal ballistics of the "designer" rounds that much better than the old fashioned stuff? The old FBI loads are about as low tech as you can get but they have a proven track record. And I've probably shot 1500+ of these UMC's and not one has failed to go bang. So, I have to ask - are the "designer" rounds really worth the 3X in price?

    Seriously, I'm feeling a bit ignorant, because the conventional wisdom is to carry with the fancy and practice with the cheap. But does the performance of these bullets really warrant 3x cost, or are we just buying these because if our life depends on it, we want something with the best terminal ballistics? The only reasons I can think of:

    1) better terminal ballistics;
    2) lower "flash" (maybe) to decrease blindness in dark settings.

    Is that it? I'm not taking issue with the conventional wisdom, I just want to make sure I understand all factors.

    TX, PEF

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    It's not so much about velocity as it is about what the bullet does after impact,Cheaper HP will shed the copper jacket and fragment in a lot of situations,where rounds like Gold Dot, Golden Sabre,Federal HST,Winchester Ranger T-series and bonded retain most of their weight and expand as they are suppose to
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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    Firearms Comparison - Shotguns Comparison - Rifles Comparison - Remington Guns Comparison

    Federal Premium - Handgun Details

    Informal 38 Special Snub Tests w/Std. Pressure Ammunition...

    Personally, I carry a .357mag with Hydra-Shoks. Or a .45 with PMC Starfires.
    Starfire PMC Ammo's Gold Line Ammunition | PMC Ammunition: Precision Made Cartridges

    I believe the old 'you get what you pay for'. With cars and car parts as well as guns and ammo. I'll spend the extra on ammo in case the price difference will make the kill/get killed difference.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

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    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Woudn't it be a shame to be laying in the street bleeding out with your last thought being "I should have gotten the good stuff."?

    Nuff said.
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    Distinguished Member Array ArkhmAsylm's Avatar
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    PEF - Do you use the bonded version of the Remington?

    25 rds - 38 Special +P Remington Golden Saber 125gr BJHP Ammo | SGAmmo.com


    For practice:

    100rd - Remington UMC 38 Special +P 125 Hollow Point | SGAmmo.com


    These guys get new stuff in all the time. It's reasonably fresh, always priced right, & they usually ship the same day you order.

    SGAmmo.com | Family Owned and Operated, Stillwater Oklahoma


    I'm a Winchester Ranger guy. I like my SD rounds to be well tested, so name-brand is the way for me.
    "Historical examination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof that the right to bear arms has consistently been, and should still be, construed as an individual right." -- U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, Re: U.S. vs Emerson (1999)

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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    One thing that you have to look at also is the quality of the entire manufacturing process. I bought some JHP rounds at an excellent price. When I started loading my magazines, some slipped right in while others were a tight fit. At the range, I had so many failures to feed that I finally switched to another gun and another brand of ammo.

    When I got home and checked the bargain ammo, the nose of the bullets with the hollow point serrations felt rough compared to the Speer Gold Dots that I normally use. The tolerances on the bargain stuff were off just enough to cause some of the rounds to bind against the front of the magazine and fail to feed into the gun. That's not something that I want if rock ever meets hard place and I'm in the middle. So, it was back to the Gold Dots for me.
    "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius

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    The inexpensive Winchester White Box 147gr JHP is the only thing I've found that I can hand rack a round every single time in my Kahr PM9 without it nose diving. That could be the difference between life and death. Granted, if better ammo did the same thing I'd use that... but I haven't read anything that says my $20/100 box of this is bad either.

    The rest of my guns are loaded with Federal HST, 147gr.
    Last edited by Thunder71; August 9th, 2011 at 09:44 AM.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder71 View Post
    The inexpensive Winchester White Box 147gr JHP is the only thing I've found that I can hand rack a round every single time in my Kahr PM9 without it nose diving. That could be the difference between life and death. Granted, if better ammo did the same thing I'd use that... but I haven't read anything that says my $20/100 box of this is bad either.

    The rest of my guns are loaded with Federal HST, 147gr.
    The question is: how does your Kahr shoot the HST's?

    IIRC, Kahr's are only supposed to be released into battery one way--by the slide stop release, not slingshotting, etc...so it's quite possible that your slowly hand cycling the rounds is what's the actual issue, and if done at full speed, iit'd feed them just fine...
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

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    Remember: They're cheaper for a reason i.e. bullet design,sealed case and primer,and charge accuracy,so,how much is your life worth?!

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    Heh heh heh...

    My Glocks eat everything I've ever fed them. The only finicky gun I'll tolerate is my .22 rifle which jams about every tenth hollow point I feed it. It does just fine with decent FMJ. I do, however, spend the coin on the premium self defense ammo I carry EDC. Even if it was $5 a round vs $0.75 a round (which it's not), I'm worth every advantage I can get in the event of an unfortunate situation. I do have a major league stockpile of Winchester White box JHP's in 9mm and .40 and Remington UMC in .223. Hard to ignore the awesome value and quality of these rounds not to keep a few thousand of each on hand. I'm always good for a couple of hundred every visit to Wally world. I figure I can always trade it for food when this game goes south.

  12. #11
    Member Array CountShotula's Avatar
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    Cheap...expensive...a bullet is a bullet.
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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    Yes, it eats whatever I've fed it.
    The manual states to use the slide release to cycle the first round, but what if round one doesn't go bang? Are you telling me to eject the round, lock the slide back, and hit the release in a defense situation?

    I don't think so.

    I'll stick to a round that I can chamber by sling-shotting if need be. It's not me, it's the gun - short, steep feed ramp is a compromise for a great concealed carry piece. The ONLY time this would even be an issue is if for some reason the first round doesn't fire or some other malfunction (haven't experienced a single one in ~600 rounds).

    Granted I've never had a problem sling-shotting any round but the first of a full magazine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    The question is: how does your Kahr shoot the HST's?

    IIRC, Kahr's are only supposed to be released into battery one way--by the slide stop release, not slingshotting, etc...so it's quite possible that your slowly hand cycling the rounds is what's the actual issue, and if done at full speed, iit'd feed them just fine...

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    Distinguished Member Array Stubborn's Avatar
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    I guess from what I'm reading, I kinda split the difference between the "el-cheapo" stuff and the "designer" ammo. I carry Speer LE 135gr .38+ P Gold Dot HP
    in my snubby and Winchester Ranger T 124gr 9mm + P in my M&P...both sell for about $30.00 box for 50 rounds. I buy all my SD ammo from G&R Tactical. They're great folks, outstanding customer service, and Grant is a Veteran as well as a Christian.
    SPEER LE 135gr + P 38 Special GDHP at G&R Tactical
    Winchester Ranger T 124gr 9mm + P (OUT OF STOCK) at G&R Tactical
    Just my $.02
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    Member Array ConcealedG30's Avatar
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    I have Hornady Critcal Defense in all my carry and home defense weapons.

    My SHTF stash is not as price. At this time I will not as concerned about bullets going through bad people.

  16. #15
    Member Array ConcealedG30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    It's not so much about velocity as it is about what the bullet does after impact,Cheaper HP will shed the copper jacket and fragment in a lot of situations,where rounds like Gold Dot, Golden Sabre,Federal HST,Winchester Ranger T-series and bonded retain most of their weight and expand as they are suppose to
    I also agree with this guy.

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