Snub Nose .38 Special...Critial Defense or Nyclad?

This is a discussion on Snub Nose .38 Special...Critial Defense or Nyclad? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have an ultra-lite Taurus M85 revolver with the 2" barrel that I like to carry concealed. This winter, I will be in an area ...

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Thread: Snub Nose .38 Special...Critial Defense or Nyclad?

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    New Member Array SouthernShooter's Avatar
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    Snub Nose .38 Special...Critial Defense or Nyclad?

    I have an ultra-lite Taurus M85 revolver with the 2" barrel that I like to carry concealed. This winter, I will be in an area of the country that tends to bundle up well once the snow starts to fall. The two .38 Special ammos that I will have easy access to are the Hornady Critical Defense 110 grain NON +P and the Federal Nyclad 125 grain NON +P.

    Which one would you choose to carry in the gun and why?

    Thank you

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  3. #2
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    The difference between those two is so slim, it really won't make a big difference. FWIW, the Nyclad has a pretty good rep on the street for performance.

    Stepping outside your boundaries, I'd suggest the 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point (LSWCHP, a/k/a "FBI load" and "Chicago load") for your snub. That's what's in my 851SSUL as a primary load year round, and I'm in the AZ desert. As for the "why", heavier rounds penetrate more deeply, and the SWC profile does more cutting than the rounder-profile bullets.
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    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    I use the Nyclad but have a hard time finding a supply. Could you post where you found them available.

    As to why, I go along with there promo info...
    "The .38 Special loading pushes the 125 grain hollow point at 830 fps for a muzzle energy of 191 ft-lbs. While this may not seem like a real “manstopper,” keep in mind that the Nyclad proved to be excellent in its class. For a firearm not designed to handle +P pressures, or for someone that is especially recoil sensitive (such as someone who is arthritic), this is a mild recoiling cartridge that will reliably expand. Because it’s nylon-coated, it eliminates bore leading and reduces airborne lead. This bullet has also been very popular for the country’s top police departments over the years."
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    Senior Member Array crue2009's Avatar
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    from all the testing and info i've read,Critical Defense Perform very well in snubs,but either would make a good choice..i carry either CD or Speer Gold Dots in my lcr..

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    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    In R38S12 we trust.

    Pocket Guns and Gear: Remington 38 Special +P 158 Grain LHP Denim and Gel test

    Love to test the Nyclad, but have not been able to locate any.
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    Member Array Ljutic's Avatar
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    GD 125 wasn't a slouch either. Shot into the same block as the R38S12.

    Pocket Guns and Gear: Speer Gold Dot 38 Special +P 125 Grain GDHP Terminal test

    GD 135 Short Barrel is on deck for testing at some point in the future.
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    What Gasmitty said.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    I have the same gun you mentioned and I personally prefer to use Remington Golden Saber, JHP, 125 Grain.

    AMM-328 - .38 Special +P Remington Golden Saber 125 Grain JHP 25 Round Box 975 fps Personal Defense Ammunition
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of the Nyclad. I email Federal often hoping to get the 125+p and 158gr +p back in production. I use the 125gr standard in all the guns I don't choose to use +p in.

    However I have to deal with cold weather about 2 weeks out of the year. I have been wanting to try the Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP non +p for a while. I suspect that it will penetrate well, but probably kick justthe same as a +p. Even if it won't hurt the gun, it will probably bite the shooter.
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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    Between the two it's a toss up. Personally I like the GD 135gr +P short barrel for my Snubbie.
    Last edited by SmokinFool; September 22nd, 2012 at 12:12 AM.

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    Neither.............always have Buffalo Bore in my S&W Model 36.

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    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Of the two choices you name, I personally prefer the Nyclad but not a lot more than the CD. I've chronographed some Hornady CD's and IIRC got something like 770- from a snub. The Nyclad was over 800 from a snub. Granted, any expanding bullet will penetrate relatively less if it's too fast, and will drill deeper if it doesn't expand enough. The Nyclad has a solid track-record, best I can tell, and it would seem that Hornady engineers are no slouches either, so I think both designs are probably roughly equal when they perform as designed.

    Although I suspect the two cartridges are roughly a toss-up, my default preference in such situations is heavier bullets made of soft lead. Should it fail to expand as designed, for whatever reason, it's still going to be rougher on bone & tissue than a pointy, jacketed CD that doesn't expand as designed.

    If you can shoot faster, straighter, or more comfortably with either one, however, that should be your choice IMO. At snub-nose distance, you'll most likely need to be able to shoot fast and hit where you're looking. Grips that give you the most accurate & instinctive pointing ability are more important than the inherent difference between the two cartridges you name.

    If you expect potential BG's to be heavily bundled up, however, I think I would prefer a standard-pressure 158g semi-wadcutter or Cowboy flatpoint bullet to either choice you mention. In Louisiana summers, I'd prefer the Nyclad, but you're talking about heavy clothes and snow. (Guess you live up near Shreveport :-)
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    Member Array thedogfather's Avatar
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    Tough choice. From what I have read, both have pretty good reps. I cannot get either of these locally, only via internet. I haven't shot either one. But I tend to go with the heavier bullet, Nyclad

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    Member Array GlennO87's Avatar
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    These i think are great in .38 of course...

    .357 Magnum Remington 158 gr SJHP Ammo test - YouTube

    But to be honest i would be carrying Hornady XTP. Or Federal HST or Hydrashock..

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    What you should expect..... everyone will mention every other ammo made as well.

    But, you've obviously narrowed it down to two you like..... and for what you describe, I think the Critical Defense would serve your purposes best. It will get thru the heavy coats in winter, etc. and then expand at the point you want it to.
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