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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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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
 

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1943 - 2009
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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.
 

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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.
 

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1943 - 2009
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FLM said:
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.
 

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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/


Captain Crunch said:
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.
 

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Captain Crunch said:
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. :biggrin:
 

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safestop

Captain Crunch said:
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.
[email protected]
www.safestop.net
Regards,
Fuzzy
 

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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.
 

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safestop said:
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.
[email protected]
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. :wink:
 

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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.
 

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Non +P?

Euclidean said:
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.
 
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