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Discussion Starter #1
The S&W 642 I just acquired holds the distinction of being the shortest-barreled revolver I own. Since it’s never before been a concern of mine, I’m looking for options on good carry ammo, specifically short barrel specific loads. Fireballs and recoil are okay, weird (unproven) bullet designs are not...

What y’all got???
 
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I load 158g LSWCHP for my snub nose revolvers. I can get about 900 fps. Also shoot them in my longer barreled guns.
The Speer Short barrel factory loads use to be popular. I am sure there is probaly something better out there. I don't chase bullet designs trying to stay on top of technology.

For jacketed 38 loads I would stay with the lighter bullets. I load a lot of Horady jacketed bullets. Takes some speed to get expansion. I mostly use them for 357 now days.
 

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Federal Hydrashok Low Recoil has been my go to load for a long time now. A .380 more often is chosen these days but when the j frame comes out that Federal load is in the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Has anyone noticed that the lighter bullets are more accurate than the 158 grain ones?

Are you finding the 135 gr Gold Dots shooting very close to your point of aim?
Curious on this as well. It was my understanding that most .38 special wheelguns are regulated for 158gr at the factory...
 

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In the 642 and M88 I prefer the Buffalo Bore 150 grain hardcast wadcutters. Although I have 158 grain LSWHC +P in my 4" and I would not hesitate to carry the 135 GD SB+P which are in my ammo supply as well.
All my 38 reloads are Hornandy critical defense 110 grain +P for one reason only. They are the most pointed 38 loads I could find and they really make it much smoother for reloading either from speed loaders or quick strips. Not bad terminal performance either.
642 2019.jpg
Rossi M88.jpg
 

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I just use a plain ol 158 weight LSWC loaded to about 650-700 Fps. Very accurate, easy to shoot, and plenty enough to do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just use a plain ol 158 weight LSWC loaded to about 650-700 Fps. Very accurate, easy to shoot, and plenty enough to do the job.
I was considering solids in lieu of HPs based on penetration performance. Why the LSWC in particular?
 
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I was considering solids in lieu of HPs based on penetration performance. Why the LSWC in particular?
Over the years of shooting 38’s, you quickly realize that it presents a conundrum when ya chop that barrel down to snub lengths.
Ive experimented with just about every factory load and bullet style and weight, and none of them seem to offer the consistency I’m looking for. The light ones expand too quickly, if at all, and either go shallow, or plug up and become a solid.
The heavy bullets work well....if they expand, or over penetrate if they don’t.

I don’t bother with the LSWC-HP, because to work, the lead is made really soft, and they have to be driven hard anyway, so that creates an issue with recoil management in a light weight gun.

So, I load my own. I know that a lswc will penetrate like crazy. No need to drive it hard to get good penetration, even thru sternum or rib bones. It will punch full caliber holes in organs (which is really the only goal anyway). It has enough penetration to reach the spinal column with a frontal hit. I am satisfied with my findings that it will do this at 650 fps or so without being overly penetrative. And it does this while still allowing me to put 5 shots on a paper plate, in 5 seconds at 5 yards.

And using that bullet, I can load my own, and have enough ammo to practice every single day with the exact load I carry.
 

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I was considering solids in lieu of HPs based on penetration performance. Why the LSWC in particular?
Over the years of shooting 38’s, you quickly realize that it presents a conundrum when ya chop that barrel down to snub lengths.
Ive experimented with just about every factory load and bullet style and weight, and none of them seem to offer the consistency I’m looking for. The light ones expand too quickly, if at all, and either go shallow, or plug up and become a solid.
The heavy bullets work well....if they expand, or over penetrate if they don’t.

I don’t bother with the LSWC-HP, because to work, the lead is made really soft, and they have to be driven hard anyway, so that creates an issue with recoil management in a light weight gun.

So, I load my own. I know that a lswc will penetrate like crazy. No need to drive it hard to get good penetration, even thru sternum or rib bones. It will punch full caliber holes in organs (which is really the only goal anyway). It has enough penetration to reach the spinal column with a frontal hit. I am satisfied with my findings that it will do this at 650 fps or so without being overly penetrative. And it does this while still allowing me to put 5 shots on a paper plate, in 5 seconds at 5 yards.

And using that bullet, I can load my own, and have enough ammo to practice every single day with the exact load I carry.
Very well explained. I'm in complete agreement.
 
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Barrels under 2" like my 442 pro, I like Golden Sabers. Barrels over 2" like my 640 pro, I like Short Barrel Gold Dots or HST.
 

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Federal 130 gr. +P HST Micro
 
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