.38/.357 Bullet Recommendation

This is a discussion on .38/.357 Bullet Recommendation within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Over the years, I have made numerous attempts to find the proper projectile/powder combination that best duplicates the finest defensive loads currently on the market ...

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Thread: .38/.357 Bullet Recommendation

  1. #16
    Member Array tkirk's Avatar
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    Wink Projectile/Powder Combo

    Over the years, I have made numerous attempts to find the proper projectile/powder combination that best duplicates the finest defensive loads currently on the market today for the .38 Special/.357 Mag. Since you are currently using a strong firearm....one that will constantly stand up to the rigors of "stiff" loads without "shooting loose" after a few hundred rounds, I recommend a light projectile/high velosity combination once utilized in the original "Super Vel" Defensive Ammo that was introduced in the '70s.

    To duplicate those ballistics, one will require a quality 110 grain JHP or SP, driven by H110 Powder, with CCI 550 Mag Primers in both configurations. In the +P .38 Special mode, one can expect a velocity of approximately 1,150 fps out of a 4" barrel with the appropriate powder charge, and 1,700 fps in the .357 configuration using the maximum/recommended grains of powder.

    H110 meters extremely well, and I have found that the standard deviation per round is no more than 5-7 fps. Both the 110 grain SP/JHP are great penetrators, and both expand well in wet newspaper and ballistic gel. The muzzle energy of the 110 SP/JHP grain bullet exceeds that of the old standard Police Load of the 158 grain lead offering carried in the '50s/'60s, with an additional 150 foot pounds of energy generated at the muzzle of both .38/.357 configurations. This additional energy results in a tremendous wound channel being created in soft tissue due to hydrostatic shock, and produces an increased wound cavity that literally destroys the surrounding capillary blood vessels, nerves, and muscle tissue.

    Small projectile/High velocity gives this old standard cartridge a new life with extreme accuracy, and I would put this offering up against the best 9mm or .40 Caliber factory loads on today's market. Give it a try....follow the directives from a quality reloaders guide, and work up your loads slowly to the maximum powder recommendations from the manufacture. Happy Trails!

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  3. #17
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Some, including Iowegan of the Ruger forum warn against 110gr hot loads with slow burning powders relative to top strap flame cutting and forcing cone damage. Post #34.

    Cracked forcing cone on GP100. - Page 2 - Ruger Forum
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  4. #18
    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    My best heavy .357 loads have been with W296, whether 125 grain JHP/JSP or 158 grain JHP/JSP.
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

  5. #19
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Agreed re 296. I load either 125gr or 145gr Slivertips.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  6. #20
    Member Array tkirk's Avatar
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    Over-The-Top Recommended Powder Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Some, including Iowegan of the Ruger forum warn against 110gr hot loads with slow burning powders relative to top strap flame cutting and forcing cone damage. Post #34.

    Cracked forcing cone on GP100. - Page 2 - Ruger Forum
    There is no question that WW-296 & H-110 have the potential to damage small-frame (J-Frame Type) wheel-guns when utilizing 110gr & 125gr projectiles, thus is behoves any reloader to use commen sense when approaching Max loads.....a constant diet of "ANY" factory hi-velocity ammo will accomplish the same thing, as most manufactures specifically state that this type ammo was "NOT" designed for use in these small-frame delivery vehicles.......they will "shoot loose" over a period of time! Needless to say....I would NEVER use maxed-out re-loads or hi-velocity factory ammo in today's "tupperware" offerings, and I even question the quality and strength of the metal utilized in their current all tempered steel delivery vehicles when compared to the quality that was once offered by Colt, S&W, & Ruger. My original S&W Model 29 .44Mag, purchased in '76, has had a steady diet of 50,000 hot-loads run through the bore without any notable damage....it still locks up tight, has great timing, and the star looks as if was factory new. The only failure I have had with this piece occurred after firing 4000 rounds in the first year, when one of the internal "trigger studs" became seperated from the frame.....S&W replaced the "stud", at a cost of $36.00 plus shipping, and I have not had a single problem since. That's quality manufacturing my friend....once upon a time!

  7. #21
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    I would definitely agree re past quality. My experience with my 3-1/2" Model 27 purchased new in 68' has been absolutely problem free after many, many rounds of HOT .357 loads.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  8. #22
    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    I've only had two .357s - a 6" M28 and my 4" Python. I wish I still had the M28.

    There are loads I used in the M28 that I wouldn't use in the Python, but it still handles stiff loads nicely - but not a steady diet of them. Considering the value of my 1971 Python, I don't shoot it near as much as I used to.

    I have no desire for one of the lightweight J-frame models.
    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein

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