J frame 38 ammo - Page 2

J frame 38 ammo

This is a discussion on J frame 38 ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've long been a believer in the venerable 158 gr. LSWCHP, but after a lot of research, I'm convinced that the 135 +P Gold Dot ...

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Thread: J frame 38 ammo

  1. #16
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    I've long been a believer in the venerable 158 gr. LSWCHP, but after a lot of research, I'm convinced that the 135 +P Gold Dot is really the best bet in a snubby. I still have plenty of the 158 LSWCHP's and reload them in both .38 and .357, but they're now more of a woods gun/range load for me. If I'm carrying a snubbie for SD, it's generally loaded with the Gold Dots.
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  3. #18
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    It is my understanding that the gold dot 135g +P round was developed for the NYC police department for back up snubbys. The goal was to achieve terminal ballistics similar to 9MM. Apparently real world results have held up over the years.


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  5. #19
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    This is the carry load for the .38s here. However, experience showed that carrying these rounds in speedloaders and speed strips in a pocket resulted in deformed bullet noses because the lead is so soft. So the reloads are all +P JHPs in the 125-135 grain range, and these hold up nicely in the pocket compared to the SWCHPs.
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  6. #20
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    For 2-3" snubbies, I like HST.
    For snubbies less than 2", I like Golden Sabers and Gold Dots.

    I prefer to have expansion with my penetration. Better chance of hitting something "Critical" on the way in. (But I do prefer penetration over expansion if given a choice.)

  7. #21
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    My preference is based on my experience shooting flesh and blood so I stick to wadcutters but, I prefer the hardcast 150 grain Buffalo Bore or Underwood.
    J frame 38 ammo-642-2019.jpg
    All my reloads are Hornady 110 grain +P for one reason only and that is the jacketed pointed profile. They just are easier to load fast than anything else I have found. I would rather a heavier bullet for reloads but, I will take efficient reloading over optimum bullets in the extremely unlikely event of needing to reload.
    My 4" model 10 gets LSWHC+P in Buffalo Bore or Underwood flavors with the same reloads as the snub.

  8. #22
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    I use Hornady® Critical Defense® 110gr FTX® (#90310) in my S&W® BODYGUARD® Crimson Trace® 38 Mdl BG38 SKU: 10062. Very accurate, low recoil = faster follow up shots. I use the same load except in a +P configuration (#90311) in my BUG, a Charter Arms® Undercover® DAO (#13811).
    Last edited by dawei; September 15th, 2019 at 10:46 AM.
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  9. #23
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    I think I plan to move to the Critical Defense 110g 38. I shot a few of these recently and recoil was tame and based on ballistic testing I have seen subsequently perform well.


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  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by forester58 View Post
    My preference is based on my experience shooting flesh and blood so I stick to wadcutters but, I prefer the hardcast 150 grain Buffalo Bore or Underwood.
    Forester, don't remember if you reload, but Rim Rock up in Polson makes the 155 grain wadcutter bullet I handload. I've been pretty happy with them. Out of my 640, a chrono says they are moving along around 950fps. A bit quicker out of a 4" revolver.

    I, too, keep a few 140 grain JHP's in a speed strip for the same reasons as you. They are loaded more like a light .357 mag.

  11. #25
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    If you can find Winchester Ranger 130gr +P thats a good load as well.
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  12. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jframed View Post
    If you can find Winchester Ranger 130gr +P thats a good load as well.
    Same as PDX1, I believe.

    I’ve tried a bunch of different loads through my snubs...what I’ve found is in my all-steel 36’s and 649, I really like the FBI Load. Shoots nicely, and is dead on POA/POI at 25 yards.

    In the lightweights...I dunno if there’s a change in the height of sights, or if it's just the lighter frame reacting faster in my hands, but the FBI loads shoot a little high for me...but 125-130gr +P are pretty much on. There, I tend to use the Golden Saber, PDX1, or Gold Dot.

    That’s what works for me, at least.
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  13. #27
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    LSWCHP +P 158 gr is my load of choice from my 2"ers. It's my pseudo LSWC because it's a factory load. But, it's not gonna expand from a 2". After retirement, I'm switching to my handloaded 158 gr LSWC+P,
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  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsteve113 View Post
    LSWCHP +P 158 gr is my load of choice from my 2"ers. It's my pseudo LSWC because it's a factory load. But, it's not gonna expand from a 2". After retirement, I'm switching to my handloaded 158 gr LSWC+P,
    Nice. I load a lot of 158 LSWC to +P. My snubbies are .357 Mags, but I find it is more fun to shoot .38+P loadings or 'light .357's' with them. 158 LSWCs are great shooters.

  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nix View Post
    Nice. I load a lot of 158 LSWC to +P. My snubbies are .357 Mags, but I find it is more fun to shoot .38+P loadings or 'light .357's' with them. 158 LSWCs are great shooters.
    In the outdoors I use the old Skeeter Skelton “38/44” load, loaded in .38 Special cases in my snub magnums, LCR and SP101. I get 1050 fps with a home cast 158 gr. LSWC in those snubs. Very pleasant load, and powerful enough for any swamp critters down here.
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  16. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nix View Post
    Forester, don't remember if you reload, but Rim Rock up in Polson makes the 155 grain wadcutter bullet I handload. I've been pretty happy with them. Out of my 640, a chrono says they are moving along around 950fps. A bit quicker out of a 4" revolver.

    I, too, keep a few 140 grain JHP's in a speed strip for the same reasons as you. They are loaded more like a light .357 mag.
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