Range Report, W-W factory load, .38SPL 200g ammo

Range Report, W-W factory load, .38SPL 200g ammo

This is a discussion on Range Report, W-W factory load, .38SPL 200g ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Thanks to Superhouse 15, I was able to fire some factory-loaded Winchester-Western .38SPL ammo with a 200g LRN bullet. Tomorrow I'll attempt to post photos ...

Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Range Report, W-W factory load, .38SPL 200g ammo

  1. #1
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    391

    Range Report, W-W factory load, .38SPL 200g ammo

    Thanks to Superhouse 15, I was able to fire some factory-loaded Winchester-Western .38SPL ammo with a 200g LRN bullet. Tomorrow I'll attempt to post photos of the ammo, and will describe further at that time.

    Temp 83 degrees; rounds loaded and fired w/o effort to seat powder against either bullet or primer.

    1.Colt Detective Special, 2" bbl.
    2. Velocity: Lo: 595.2 ; Hi 620.7; Avg 604.5; ES 25.52; SD 9.38.
    3. POI at 15 yards: +4.5" ; L 1.25"

    I also fired a single round through my Ruger 4" bbl. at 681.4fps; POI was + 2 1/8"

    I'm saving a single round for this weekend, when I'll have the obligatory shootout with 6 milk jugs!

    OBSERVATIONS: apparently factory velocities for the old "Highway Patrol" loading were 770fps (prob. 6" bbl or test bbl.) Another source indicated a factory 200g round was rated at 730fps. An older Lyman manual gave reloading data that stated a "factory duplication" load gave 703fps. The ammo I tested seems most consistent with the last-named round, as my 4" bbl. clocked only 22fps slower, albeit with a single shot that is statistically inadequate. The 2" D.S. averaged almost exactly 100fps than this claimed factory duplication load, however, so that seems consistent for a snubbie.

    Thanks again to Superhouse 15 for his support of "scientific inquiry"! Thanks also to Mike Irwin for researching his sources for me.

    I will load my own 200g bullets to about 750fps from my 4" guns, and will see what that gives me in the snubbies. Ditto for future penetration tests, which I'll post as fast as we can drink milk and shoot.


  2. #2
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,465
    Thanks for posting.

    They were really screaming outa there weren't they? Still, one could be said to be having a bad day to catch a couple of those rounds in the vitals.

    A friend of mine was striving for a goal of over 800 fps with 200 grain .38 bullets from a two-inch barrel with reasonable pressure indications. He managed to accomplish his goal, shooting the results of his efforts in both a Colt Detective Special and a Smith & Wesson Model 36. I can't now recall the powder and charge weight he used.

    I know the old max 2400 load listed in older Lyman manuals will get to 800 fps in a two-inch barrel but it is a healthy load. I also don't think that 2400 would perform well at less than max charge weights in the .38 Special.

    Did you notice whether or not the WW 200 grain loads leaded much? The Remington 200 grain bullet leaded like a fiend. I remember pulling very long strips out. Was about the worst leading I've ever encountered.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    upstate new york
    Posts
    1,178
    They rank right up there with Cowboy Action loads, just a wee bit heavier.

    bosco

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,055
    Glad I could help.

    I was brainstorming with a friend and he seemed to remember an article in Guns and Ammo about heavy .38 loads. Seem to recall that they were quite unstable and tumbled into the wet newspaper or clay or whatever they shot into in the old days. I looked through my old magazines, but thanks to an ex, I lost most of them and didn't find it.

    Now that friend was a security guard part time and they were limited to 158gr RNL ammo. He kept these rounds in the hopes of increasing performance ("stopping power") without looking too different than the 158gr if he were to be inspected. Good thinking in my opinion.

  5. #5
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    391

    Penetration test with Factory Load

    Shot it out Sunday with the wily milk jugs, using the W-W factory 200g load from my 2" Colt D.S., range 10 feet. This load chrono'ed recently at 605fps.

    RESULTS:

    1. Penetrated 5 jugs through-and-through. Two pop-off caps launched, all screw-ons remained intact, #2 jug split along the handle seam.
    2. Missed #6, left classic keyholing dent 1/16 to 1/8 inch deep in backstop behind #6 (a piece of 2X12), caromed off and was not found.
    3. Bullet tracked straight through jugs 1 and 2, and entering #3; deviated slightly right in exiting #3 and entering #4; deviated significantly thru #4; entered #5 near right edge and exited in right rear corner, thus missing #6. Total deviation about 4-5 inches rightward.

    ANALYSIS:
    1. Penetration and deviation very similar to handloaded 200g LRN chrono'ed at 663 fps.
    2. Note that my handloaded 200g LSWC-K at 718fps penetrated all 6 jugs arrow-straight, then penetrated 2x12 backstop to the shoulder, knocking down backstop & falling out. (This is my "service load" & it clocks just over 750fps from 4" guns.)

  6. #6
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    391

    Some thoughts on the 200g loads, past rationale & present utility

    Although a 200g .38SPL load has not been commercially offered for some time now, I think it should be, in LSWC-K form, specifically for what it offers in snub-nosed revolvers. Since no ammo company can offer it without seeming to undercut the reasoning for premium expanding-bullet loads, however, I'm confident that the 200g solution will be left strictly to handloaders. Below are my thoughts on the matter.

    Personally, I was interested in chrono'ing & penetration testing a factory 200g load to see what it would do, and tangentially to see why it caused (-es) such a variety of perceptions as to its effectiveness or lack thereof.

    Granted, the factory .38SPL round I chrono'ed at 605fps (2" bbl) is indeed lighter than I personally would want to depend on. ME-wise, it's about 162 fpe.

    By contrast, the .38SPL 200g "Highway Patrol" load, which was advertised at about 770fps (6" bbl, I believe), is the basis for my personal reload velocity goals of 750/4" bbl, and these offer a different level of power than the milder factory load I tested. My reload thru a snubbie gives 229fpe at 718fps; thru a 4" bbl. it is 250fpe at 750fps. (Modern-day standard vel .38SPL 158g at 755fps is 200fpe in 4"-V bbl. for comparison.)

    To the extent that ME is any guideline, then, a "Highway Patrol"-equivalent load offers:
    1. 41% increase in ME vs. the "standard" W-W 200g load in snubbies (229fpe vs. 162fpe)

    2. 24% increase over (today's) factory loaded 158g in snubbies, assuming 158g MV = 725fps. (229fpe vs. 184fpe)

    3. 15% increase in a snubbie vs. modern factory 158g in a 4" bbl. (229fpe vs. 200fpe)

    4. 25% increase in a 4" bbl. over today's 158g/4-V bbl. (250fpe vs. 200fpe)

    Key conclusions, as I see them:

    1. The appropriate comparison btwn. the .38 S&W "Super Police" round (aka the British service .380/200 round) and the .38SPL is at the velocity offered by the W-W "mild" factory load I chrono'ed in the original post, i.e. about 600fps in a snubbie and 680 (albeit only a single chrono'ed shot) from a 4" bbl. This is very similar to the British vels of about 630fps in their service revolver.

    2. Comparing .38SPL 158g to .38SPL 200g, which was the greater focus of comparison for US police agencies some decades ago, the "mild" 200g W-W load at 680fps (again, I chrono'ed only a single round of this in a 4" bbl.) gives 205fpe, almost exactly the same as today's 158g grain load (200fpe). Thus, no real difference in ME.

    3. Comparing the standard 158g load to the 200g "Highway Patrol" load, however, the latter offers a significant upgrade in ME. ***Indeed, in a snubbie, it is more powerful than a 158g load from a 4" barrel--I suspect that was the key point for police agencies exploring how to get the most out of the .38SPL.***

    4. I also need to shoot a standard 158g into milk jugs and check penetration--one poster on another forum said his 158LRN penetrated only four jugs, vs. my 5 for the 200g LRN and 6+ for the 200g LSWC-K. His result may offer more insight about US police attempts to use 200g loads: they got better penetration. Granted, I'm shooting milk jugs--not scientific, not car windshields, etc., and that could decisively alter things.

    5. When you change bullet profiles from the blunt 200g LRN to the LSWC-K, the ME figures remain the same for a given velocity, but the bullet track remains absolutely straight, without the deviation I've experienced with the LRN. This seems to get at the quality the British admired in their 1920s testing--the 200g carries straight through. (I don't know how my water test compares to their media--perhaps my 18" before deviating thru water equates to a "straight-through" in whatever they used.)

    6. In sum, even the 200g "mild" W-W gives increased penetration over 158g. Once you boost power to 200g "Highway Patrol" levels, you have increased penetration and increased energy vs. 158g loads. When you add in LSWC-K configuration to "Highway Patrol" vels, you have depth of penetration, straight wound channel, improved permanent cavity wound characteristics vs. LRN, and increased energy.

    7. Although the performance described in #6 above is probably bested by the more recent 158g +P "FBI load" and its addition of expanding bullet/better wound channel and (probably) less danger of overpenetration. . .many have commented that the FBI load often fails to expand from a snubbie. Therefore, my "bottom line" is that a "Highway Patrol" level 200g load with LSWC-K profile still seems to offer an outstanding standard pressure snubbie SD option for those who hesitate to place their bets on expanding bullets from a short barrel. Too bad it's available only to those who reload. . . .

    Thanks for listening as I tried to reason my way through the history of these 200g loadings! Of course, the Brits simply may have screwed up in the 1920s, but the line of thinking I've outlined above seems consistent with much of their rationale, and barely scratches the surface on low pressure/controllability advantages, plus the apparent fact that they weren't comparing the 200g lead bullet to modern JHPs or even LHPs, I guess. Thus, their criteria seem to have been penetration and wounding characteristics of an essentially non-expanding bullet. (And I think Fackler might argue they were onto something!)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Metro
    Posts
    807
    Now if only we had a 200 grain LSWCHP bullet available we might really be onto something.

    As of yet I don't cast my own bullets (and probably won't anytime soon). When it comes to the lead bullet market 200 grain .358 bullets are not the easiest thing to come by. So far I have only been able to find 200 grain RNL bullets. While I think it would be great fun to experiment with them, they cost enough more than the 158 grain bullets I use for IDPA and general shooting that it doesn't make a lot of sense to switch to them. And, since they are RNL, they don't have IMO a good application for defensive use.

    Thanks very much for the data, I have found the threads on this subject very interesting!
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  8. #8
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    391
    Thanks, Landric.

    I'm not sure if the Mt. Baldy bullets I've used are sized to .357 or .358, but if you specifically want the latter he'd probably accommodate. Link is Mt. Baldy Bullets
    Look under "Revolver" bullets.

    Alternative is Colorado Cast Bullets at CO Cast Bullets
    He is half the price, but sells in 2000 bullet minimum (wholesaler).

    I agree, for plinking 200g is rather expensive! Ditto your thoughts on RNL--not my choice for defensive use.

    As far as hollow-pointing a 200g (just re-looked your post more closely), I wonder if you could get a bullet that heavy to expand at .38 vels. . .Now certainly you could in .357, however. Soft lead at 900+ fps vel would be a beast!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Metro
    Posts
    807
    I suspect that expansion at .38 Special velocities would depend on the softness of the bullet. I would imagine it would expand some, but it would be modest. However, any expansion is an improvement over none (which is what can be expected from a 200 grain SWC), and in the event it doesn't expand it looses nothing to the 200 grain SWC.

    Thanks for the links. I'd really like to try some out. Perhaps I will scrape together the funds eventually.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Metro
    Posts
    807
    LAMan:

    I might have to get into casting sooner than I had planned. I'd really like to play with some 200 grain .38 Specials, and I'm willing to buy some bullets for now, but given what they cost, if I find a load I like, I'll have to cast them myself to make it less painful. I guess I just need an excuse.

    Have you tried a load using the 200 grain bullet and Trail Boss by any chance? I recently discovered that I could make IDPA major in .45 ACP using a 250 grain .45 Colt bullet and Trail Boss. Its making roughly 170,000 power factor and has extremely light recoil. I'd very much like to do the same thing for SSR using a 200 grain bullet in .38 Special. Only 625 fps is needed with the 200 grain bullet to make 125,000. I think that might be really pleasant to shoot out of the 4" L-frame I use for SSR.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  11. #11
    Moderator
    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    10,465
    Hey Landric;

    At that velocity they will be powder puffs from that L-Frame. At 680 fps my World War II Webley Mark IV .38/200 is very pleasant when shooting them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Metro
    Posts
    807
    That is what I am hoping for. The .45ACP load I worked up using the 250 grain bullet and Trail Boss is so mild that I fully expect it to be challenged if I shoot it at a sanctioned match. Of course, they are welcome to challenge it, it more than makes power factor. I'm hoping the for the same result in .38 Special.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Ruger LCR Range and Ammo test Report
    By 147 Grain in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: November 8th, 2010, 01:40 PM
  2. Short Barrel Ammo Range Report: 38 Special Snubnose Comparison (S&W and Ruger)
    By 147 Grain in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: November 7th, 2010, 10:01 PM
  3. Which .38spl Load Would You Use?
    By Joshua M. Smith in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: July 15th, 2007, 11:13 AM
  4. Part Range Report, Part Ammo Question - Rossi .38spl
    By Joshua M. Smith in forum General Firearm Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: March 7th, 2007, 12:38 PM
  5. Range Report Glock 26- Defensive ammo
    By js in forum Defensive Carry Guns
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: August 29th, 2006, 01:15 AM

Search tags for this page

.38 special 200 grain

,
.38 w-w ammo
,

200 grain factory load 38

,

38 s&w ww ammo

,

38 special 200 grain bullets

,
38 special w w ammo
,

38 special w-w ammo

,

ammunition picture of w-w 38 special

,

trail boss load data for 38s&w

,

w-w 38 special ammo

,

w-w 38 special bullets

,

w-w 38 special bullets pics

Click on a term to search for related topics.