An old favorite

An old favorite

This is a discussion on An old favorite within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I don't know what possesses me to ask this, but anyway... The thought occurs to me that at any given gun show there's usually a ...

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Thread: An old favorite

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    An old favorite

    I don't know what possesses me to ask this, but anyway...

    The thought occurs to me that at any given gun show there's usually a pretty good deal to be had on some old .38 Special wheelguns. I can see someone picking one up for various reasons.

    I was just thinking about how much I depend on premium ammunition in my own .38 Spl carry piece. I know there's no guarantee it will expand but it's making the most use of the caliber. It's also a +P load of course.

    The thing is though, I'm fortunate enough to have a gun that is +P rated. I realize basically all new guns are, but I personally would not put a +P load in a gun that was conceived of before +P was so widespread.

    Now I'm talking about a dedicated .38 Spl here obviously. If it was a .357 Mag you could use a .38 Spl +P load no problem I would think.

    So if +P is out the window, my thinking has always been well use the old 158 grain semi wadcutter and be happy because that's as good as it gets.

    Am I right? If your .38 wasn't +P rated what defensive load would you use?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    I carry a Federal nyclad 125 i think it is not sure if my colt cobra is rated +p i dont think so so i carry this a 158 wadcutter turned backwards would be great

  3. #3
    Member Array TonySoprano's Avatar
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    I have a S&W Model 60 and when I carry it its in an ankle rig with 135 +P Speer Gold Dot short barrel load.

  4. #4
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    Bud,

    Back in the early 70s when Super-Vel was the only high-performance .38 Special ammo on the market, I did extensive testing of a handload consisting of a Speer or Hornady 148 grain hollow base wadcutter, seated backwards over a stiff charge of Unique powder. I don't recall the exact charge weight, but it was stiff.

    I shot this load in various 2 and 4 inch .38 revolvers into wet phone books (I didn't have any ballistic gelatin) at 7 yards and at silhouette targets at 7 and 15 yards. Naturally, expansion was usually better from a 4 inch barrel, but was never consistently reliable, even less so from a 2 inch barrel. Some recovered bullets exhibited the classic mushroom shape, some didn't expand at all.

    Accuracy was generally acceptable, with the advantage going to the 4 inch barrel. At 15 yards out of a 2 inch barrel, this load had a tendency to keyhole on the target. Another downside to this load is that swaged lead wadcutters driven to high velocities leaves copious amounts of lead in barrels.

    I did shoot a big Alaskan snowshoe hare with this load out of a 4 inch Model 19 Smith at about 10 yards. It was an instant kill but I couldn't recover the bullet.

    My conclusion was that this loaded cartridge looked mean and nasty but really wasn't practical.

    I seem to recall that the original U.S. Customs Sky Marshalls experimented with a similar load for their issued S&W Model 60s, but I don't think they ever actually adopted it for use.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

  5. #5
    FLM
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    For non +P, I'd use the Safestop cup point wadcutter. Good penetration and less recoil.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array CombatEffective's Avatar
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    In the one and only .38sp dedicated revolver that gets used for defensive purposes I often keep non +p rated Hydrashocks in it as my wife sometimes uses this gun. However, I do believe it (S&W 64 with HB) to be able to handle +p on a small scale.

  7. #7
    1943 - 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLM
    For non +P, I'd use the Safestop cup point wadcutter. Good penetration and less recoil.
    That's a very interesting round. I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up. The main problem with the HBWC seated backwards is that it wasn't designed to be used that way. The SafeStop cup point uses the same principle but looks to be specifically designed to eliminate the problems associated with the backwards HBWC.

    Thanks for the post. Too bad the SafeStop wasn't around in the 70s, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

    BTW, do you know of any source for loaded ammo using the SafeStop bullet? I don't handload anymore. Thanks.
    Last edited by Captain Crunch; May 8th, 2005 at 03:53 PM.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

  8. #8
    FLM
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    Here's the site. I think you'll have to send Fuzzy an email for ordering info. http://www.safestop.net/


    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch
    That's a very interesting round. I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up. The main problem with the HBWC seated backwards is that it wasn't designed to be used that way. The SafeStop cup point uses the same principle but looks to be specifically designed to eliminate the problems associated with the backwards HBWC.

    Thanks for the post. Too bad the SafeStop wasn't around in the 70s, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

    BTW, do you know of any source for loaded ammo using the SafeStop bullet? I don't handload anymore. Thanks.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch
    Bud,

    Back in the early 70s when Super-Vel was the only high-performance .38 Special ammo on the market, I did extensive testing of a handload consisting of a Speer or Hornady 148 grain hollow base wadcutter, seated backwards over a stiff charge of Unique powder. I don't recall the exact charge weight, but it was stiff.
    Accuracy was generally acceptable
    Oh I remember using Unique as well with that type of Handgun. In fact, back in the late 70's into the late 80's I carried a Smith 60 with 4.1 Gr of Unique.. with that 148 Gr Wadcutter reversed.. and a magnum primer.. VERY stiff charge, BUT VERY interesting possibilities of that bullet moving down range.
    Last edited by CLASS3NH; May 9th, 2005 at 12:40 AM.

  10. #10
    New Member Array safestop's Avatar
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    safestop

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch
    That's a very interesting round. I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up. The main problem with the HBWC seated backwards is that it wasn't designed to be used that way. The SafeStop cup point uses the same principle but looks to be specifically designed to eliminate the problems associated with the backwards HBWC.

    Thanks for the post. Too bad the SafeStop wasn't around in the 70s, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

    BTW, do you know of any source for loaded ammo using the SafeStop bullet? I don't handload anymore. Thanks.
    Captain,
    My first post to this forum. Would be happy to answer any question that you may have.
    We should probably do it off line as I'm betting this forum does not need or want any on-line advertising.
    safestop@comcast.net
    www.safestop.net
    Regards,
    Fuzzy

  11. #11
    1943 - 2009
    Array Captain Crunch's Avatar
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    safestop,

    Welcome to the forum. Good to have you on board.

    I'll contact you by e-mail later.

    Thanks again.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

  12. #12
    DC Founder
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    Quote Originally Posted by safestop
    Captain,
    My first post to this forum. Would be happy to answer any question that you may have.
    We should probably do it off line as I'm betting this forum does not need or want any on-line advertising.
    safestop@comcast.net
    www.safestop.net
    Regards,
    Fuzzy
    Nope, safestop, your welcome to do it in thread. I'm sure many of our members are interested. As long as it is not repeated advertising I don't have a problem with it at all.
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  13. #13
    Member Array BigBore's Avatar
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    If i was forced to carry a non +P
    38spl,i think i would use hornady
    125gr XTP load.It was quite
    accurate from my 38-2,recoil was
    mild and it had low muzzle flash.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Question Non +P?

    Quote Originally Posted by Euclidean
    If your .38 wasn't +P rated what defensive load would you use?
    Haven't seen these in quite awhile, but I think I'd use a standard pressure NYCLAD JHP. They were touted for being "range safe" but it was also discovered that they provided the most uniform expansion of any standard pressure load.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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