4" Barreled .38 Special & Non +P Loads for Self-Defense

This is a discussion on 4" Barreled .38 Special & Non +P Loads for Self-Defense within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I get that some people don't care to use +p, but in this case it depends on why. Do you not want the possible wear ...

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Thread: 4" Barreled .38 Special & Non +P Loads for Self-Defense

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I get that some people don't care to use +p, but in this case it depends on why. Do you not want the possible wear and tear of higher pressures, or is the recoil of a full power load objectionable? If pressure is the issue I'd use the Buffalo Bore LSWCHP non +p. It has all the performance at standard pressures. If recoil is a problem I'd go with one of the lighter loads. The Federal Nyclad 125gr and the Hydra Shok 110gr are readily available around my area and have a long track record. I've used both for years. Less available is the 110gr FTX from Hornady. I like it on paper but haven't used it myself. Winchester loads a 110gr Silvertip and Remington a 110gr SJHP but both are rarely in stock. I carried the Silvertip before and tested it in wet newspaper a bunch and found it to deform and tumble a lot, I'd use it again if I couldn't get Nyclads. I have never been a fan of the XTP bullet, I found it rarely expands at full speed when loaded warm. I wouldn't care to use it in a mild Fiocchi load (not a fan of their QC either). Wadcutters and LSWC would be my last choice, there are good HP defensive loads available that I'd rather use.
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  3. #17
    Member Array Miamieddie's Avatar
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    I dont use +p onmy gun u see on my avatar, I believe that it may put alot of strain on my gun, but I do use hollow point but if I want more power I will use +p without a problem, your choice eitherway its fine.... Eddie.

  4. #18
    Member Array Showman's Avatar
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    I carry Remington 110 grain SJHP. This load has been around since the early 1970s. I like the coating Remington uses on the brass, too: it looks to be some kind of smooth silvery steel (stainless? Nickel?)...anyway, it ejects nice and smooth.

  5. #19
    Member Array Ivan's Avatar
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    This is what I carry..........
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=110
    +1. Great load.

  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Showman View Post
    I carry Remington 110 grain SJHP. This load has been around since the early 1970s. I like the coating Remington uses on the brass, too: it looks to be some kind of smooth silvery steel (stainless? Nickel?)...anyway, it ejects nice and smooth.
    It is nickel.
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  7. #21
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    158 lswc bullets, and that will work just fine.
    Concur.
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  8. #22
    Member Array Spovik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chanroc View Post
    Hornady's 110gr Critical Defense.
    This is what mine is loaded with for around the house (live in town).

  9. #23
    Member Array pete950's Avatar
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    I like Lead SWC / SWCHP and good old 148 WC

  10. #24
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    The problem with the old (good?) 148gr LWC is that it's mostly loaded very mild for target purposes. I shudder when I see this load recommended for snub use for SD. I've seen a factory load go just over 650fps from a snub.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

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  11. #25
    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    Just about any 158gr factory load would be fine. I used wad-cutter ammo for years, now I just use standard ball ammo. If I were a BG, I wouldn't want to be hit by wad-cutter or any .38 bullet.

  12. #26
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Not sure if anyone's still watching this one, but here comes two more cents' worth.

    Lots of excellent solutions suggested, but Superhouse is asking a great question that you have to answer for yourself, in order to make the best choice. What are you specifically looking to avoid: flash, blast, recoil, overpenetration, wear & tear on the gun itself?

    Then ask, what--if anything--are you trying to optimize? Penetration? Expansion? The best penetrator in commercially available standard pressure would probably be the 158g SWC that several have recommended, and it's probably the load that will shoot closest to your sights. (The hollowpoint version aka "FBI Load" is indeed +P.) The softest-shooting would be a target wadcutter. Beyond that, you're basically left with 110g or 125g bullets to choose from. The Federal Nyclad is the 125 most likely to expand, but other 125g hollowpoints are available. In 110g, the Winchester Silvertip is highly thought of by many, but there are also other brands.

    Ed Harris is one of the most knowledgable guys in the field, and he has expressed a preference for the Nyclads, with the Silvertips being his top alternate choice. Personally, I follow his recommendations, although I'm one who also uses handloads (a different proposition in some respects) with a 200g LSWC loaded to about 650-700 fps.

  13. #27
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    Hornady Critical Defense.

  14. #28
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    The problem with the old (good?) 148gr LWC is that it's mostly loaded very mild for target purposes. I shudder when I see this load recommended for snub use for SD. I've seen a factory load go just over 650fps from a snub.
    So?

    The bullet profile will give excellent penetration...if it bores a nice clean hole clean through the vitals and ends up under the skin on the exiting side...who cares how fast it's moving?

    And the mild velocity means faster follow up shots...add in that the flat face will likely not deflect off od bone...I will recommend it as a good load.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

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    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  15. #29
    Member Array pete950's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    The problem with the old (good?) 148gr LWC is that it's mostly loaded very mild for target purposes. I shudder when I see this load recommended for snub use for SD. I've seen a factory load go just over 650fps from a snub.
    The faster a hp travels the faster it opens up = not enough penitration to vitals. In my snubs I carry "Jim Cirillos Safe stop" wadcutters they come out of a 2 inch at 750 fps.When I dont have those around I use the Buffalo Bore full Wadcuters for reloads in my speed loaders and strips Fed, Rem, Win or any other brand of 158 grain LSWC. From personal experiance the 125 Nyclad save your money.

  16. #30
    Member Array Brent2006's Avatar
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    Is this a gun that isn't rated for + P rounds? If its a 4 inch barrel it should be heavy enough that a + P round should be manigible. I tend to stick with Dr Gary K Roberts recommendations. Right now I've got the Speer Gold Dot SB 135 grain +P in my revolvers but the Speer Gold Dot (non short barrel) 135 +P is very good in 4 inch barrels. As far as non + P goes, if I had to use a standard pressure load I would go with Speer Gold Dot .38 special 125 grain. Here are the 50 round boxes and currently in stock

    http://www.sgammo.com/product/speer/...ure-ammo-53722
    Last edited by Brent2006; December 6th, 2012 at 11:15 AM.

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