Recommend ammo for SW 38Spl Revolver. Also, does ammo go bad?

This is a discussion on Recommend ammo for SW 38Spl Revolver. Also, does ammo go bad? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey guys. Just bought my first gun. SW 38 special revolver. As has been noted other places, ammo is hard to find. What would you ...

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Thread: Recommend ammo for SW 38Spl Revolver. Also, does ammo go bad?

  1. #1
    New Member Array sacking's Avatar
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    Recommend ammo for SW 38Spl Revolver. Also, does ammo go bad?

    Hey guys.
    Just bought my first gun. SW 38 special revolver. As has been noted other places, ammo is hard to find.

    What would you recommend?

    Sorry for the novice question, but does ammo go bad? If I go buy a bunch of boxes of SD hollow points, and they sit in the garage, are they going to go bad at some point and I need to refresh my inventory?

    Thanks for your insights and support.

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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...which S&W did you buy? good choice for a first gun...

    ...I try to keep my ammo dry...in Tx, heat extremes are a fact of life, but I've never had a dud here...I try to keep oil off the primers...again-never a dud...
    ...I've settled on Rem R38S12...it's a 158Gr Lead Semiwadcutter Hollow Point with +P loading...recoil's not bad at all...out of a J frame 2", my 12-year old didn't notice the difference when I changed from 130gr. practice ammo to the above...there are other rounds nearly as effective out there...this may be interesting to you: https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=110

    ...if you've bought a snub:
    New Page 2 by the late Steven Camp

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    I've fired ammo that was 10 years old. No problem.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacking View Post
    ...Just bought my first gun. SW 38 special revolver. As has been noted other places, ammo is hard to find.
    What would you recommend?
    These days, pretty much whatever you can find!

    Quote Originally Posted by sacking View Post
    Sorry for the novice question, but does ammo go bad? If I go buy a bunch of boxes of SD hollow points, and they sit in the garage, are they going to go bad at some point and I need to refresh my inventory?
    If it's a reasonably dry, temperature-controlled environment, I'd recommend you not let it sit for more than 50-60 years. The biggest enemy is moisture. Ammo that's not showing signs of corrosion, discoloration, etc., and hasn't been exposed to too many temperature extremes ought to be good for many years.
    Regards,
    Jim
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    He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave. - Andrew Carnegie

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    Senior Member Array mastercapt's Avatar
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    Ammo selection queations usually will have a lot of answers because everyone has a personal preference.
    The real answer is shot placement is much more important.
    However, here goes my opinion. I carry a smith 642.
    I load either Hydrashok/Personal defense ammo from Federal in the summer, because it expands more. Overpenetration is a big fear in an urban/suburban setting.
    In cooler weather, Winchester 125 Gr SWCJHP +P, as it will penitrate more thru heavy clothing.
    The differences in recoil is not that much.
    Practice a lot so the shot will do the job, and high performance ammo helps it. Even high performance ammo will not make up for bad aim.....

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    As others have said keep the ammo in a moderate temperature and low humidity and it can last a long time. I have some 38 Wadcutters I loaded in the 1970's and have been in 4 different homes that still go bang accurately. Unless you are out in a desert for 10 years and do not store your ammo indoors you likely will not have any issues. Most of this stuff is much about Nothing!
    Praise the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle --- Psalm 144
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    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Quick answer: any name-brand ammo of any commercially available loading can do the job.

    Longer answer: my last choices would be ball ammo or lead round-nose, but both have done the job many a time. Depending on your gun's barrel length, weight, and grips, you'll find some loads are more--or less--comfortable to shoot rapidly and accurately, for a variety of reasons. Recoil, blast, flash--lots of variation. Price and availability: lots of variation. Many of us like hollowpoints of 125-158g weights; others prefer 110g bullets or something more esoteric. Some would recommend "premium" hollowpoints, which often run about a dollar a shot. Others would recommend finding what's readily available and affordable in your area. Do you want to experiment a lot, or simply pick something, buy a bunch and stick with it? Every approach works, just depends on your tastes, time, funds, etc.

    Personally, for me it's a big hobby, so I enjoy fooling around with all kinds of options. If practicality is the only consideration, buy some 110's, 125's, 158's, and see what you like; or simply pick one, grab a few boxes, and learn to shoot as rapidly and accurately as possible. The drier and cooler you can keep it, the longer it will remain functional. If stored at 50-80 degrees, dry, humidity controlled, and out of direct sunlight, it's probably 99% reliable for 30+ years, 90% for another 30 years, and 80+% for another 40 years. It will outlive you, most likely. :-) Reduce any of those those storage criteria, and shelf life will be reduced somewhat. Carelessly spray WD-40 on the primers, and the ammo will not fire at all in a matter of hours, days or weeks.

    Enjoy & stay safe.

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    Member Array nechaev's Avatar
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    If you can, military ammo cans are a great place to store ammunition for a long shelf life. Make sure the rubber seals in the lid are good and not corroded, and throw in a moisture absorber of some kind. I like the thirty or fifty caliber cans for portability. Good luck.
    Richard58 likes this.

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    Member Array thedogfather's Avatar
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    Which .38 special model did you buy? What length barrel? I know the titanium J frames restrict you to jacketed bullets only. The last I read, ( most) S&W .38 specials were still factory bore sighted with the traditional 158 grain lead bullet. For home use, I load the +P 158 grain, lead, semi wad cutter hollow point. For concealed carry I load semi jacketed or jacket bullets. I think for a .38 special, overall, use the heavier bullet.

    Ammo can be stored for many years with the simple precautions already mentioned. GI ammo cans are the way to go. The .38 special is still popular, and in the past, overall, very easy to find in my neck of the woods. I stocked up really well last year, and haven't been to the range as often as I would like ... my cache is still in good shape. I got paid today. I think I will swing by the sporting goods store tomorrow and look things over.

    Enjoy your pistol. Buy a variety of ammo and just go shoot. See what works best for you.

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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedogfather View Post
    ...I know the titanium J frames restrict you to jacketed bullets only...
    Please share you source for this. It's not in the manual.

    There is, however, a check procedure you're supposed to run to assure that your chosen load won't result in bullets coming unseated. I'd bet most owners never bother (or never read the manual to know you're supposed to do it).
    Regards,
    Jim
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    He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave. - Andrew Carnegie

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