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Any solid suggestions for 38sp self/personal defense ammo that is not in the +p category for a 1-78" (aka 2") barrel?

Currently using, Fiocchi Extrema 38XTPB which cycles and groups pretty well. Seems to do what is is supposed to do - at least into a phone book.

Speer Gold Dots seem to be the most popular but that is in +p and since my wife has now decided to hijack and never return my 637:aargh4:, the +p is hitting her a bit hard. Same for Rem. Golden Sabers.

TIA for the advice!

Craig
 

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Any solid suggestions for 38sp self/personal defense ammo that is not in the +p category for a 1-78" (aka 2") barrel?

Currently using, Fiocchi Extrema 38XTPB which cycles and groups pretty well. Seems to do what is is supposed to do - at least into a phone book.

Speer Gold Dots seem to be the most popular but that is in +p and since my wife has now decided to hijack and never return my 637:aargh4:, the +p is hitting her a bit hard. Same for Rem. Golden Sabers.

TIA for the advice!

Craig
Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition :smile:
 

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Haven't shopped for any but I'd be tickled with any standard velocity 158 grain semi-wadcutter loading for a snub revolver. SWCs cut dandy holes in stuff. Works well when carrying the .38 Special afield.
 

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"Jacketed hollow points make better SD rounds."


Ahh, the magic hollow point bullet. Always dependable in snub barrels and makes poor hits on assailants golden.

Shoot some game, varmints, and critters with a .38 Special and sharp shouldered semi-wadcutters and get back to us on that.
 

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"Jacketed hollow points make better SD rounds."


Ahh, the magic hollow point bullet. Always dependable in snub barrels and makes poor hits on assailants golden.

Shoot some game, varmints, and critters with a .38 Special and sharp shouldered semi-wadcutters and get back to us on that.
Don't take it personal. Wadcutters cut a nice neat hole, very similar to FMJ. Ballistics tests: .38 Special
There are no magic bullets, and critters do not equal a human assailant. The sarcasm doesn't support your premise.
It's a free country, sort of, shoot what ever you like.
 

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+100 on the Bufalo Bore standard (heavy) load. I use the item #20E.
This is a full power but not +P load that uses a 125 grain Speer Gold Dot SJHP. This bullet is proven to expand reliably and the Buffalo Bore powder charge gets it up to 950 FPS out of a 2" barrel.

The recoil is slightly higher than a normal Winchester White Box 130 Grain but in a SD situation the adrenilin rush should mask that anyways.

I carry these and feel confident they are as good as anything out there.

On a consistantcy note in checking out the brass fetcher ballistics site the buffalo bore is very consistant in expansion and penetration.

Buffalo Bore 125gr Speer Low Velocity JHC
 

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I've always used +p Gold Dots in my 642, but have heard (not experienced) that the Federal Nyclads recently reintroduced do a good job for non +p rounds. YMMV.

Cheers!
 

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For standard velocity 38 loads 158g LSWC HP does a good job. For JHP I go with 125g or 135g bullets for penatration (right now I have Hornady XTP HP and Speer Gold Dots because that's what I could find).
 

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"Don't take it personal."
"The sarcasm doesn't support your premise."


I won't take it personally if you won't. There is no more sarcasm in my reply than was in yours suggesting that I gave a poor response.

Awoodpd13 got a pass and he provided a link to what amounts to a 158 grain semi-wadcutter with a hollow point in it.


"There are no magic bullets, and critters do not equal a human assailant."


Critters may not equal a human assailant but neither do internet forum links to "tests" showing blobs of denim wrapped gelatin with bullets in them.


"Jacketed hollow points make better SD rounds."


Why does the jacket help make such a bullet superior, especially at .38 Special velocities?



Over the past 35 years I've used the .38 Special to take two deer and finish off several deer which were wounded by hunting, vehicle impact, or being caught in a tangle of fence. I've eliminated several large feral dogs and done all manner of small game and varmint hunting. Round nosed, semi-wadcutter, and hollow point ammunition were all tried. Through observation I've concluded that 158 grain semi-wadcutter bullets along with good hits is the best bet with the .38 Special. It offers enough penetration to reach the vitals at most angles and does cut an entrance wound and channel that lets out more blood than does a full metal jacket, round nose, or a hollow point bullet that fails to perform as advertised, and hollow points do fail with some regularity in the .38 Special due to velocity limitations. A snub barrel and the velocity performance lost only exacerbates expansion issues so yes, a heavier standard velocity semi-wadcutter load is a great choice in a short barreled .38 Special revolver. Further hamstringing the .38 Special by employing lightweight bullets which fail to make worthwhile velocity gains only renders it equal to the piddly .380 ACP. I have a chronograph and have tested lightweight .38 Special ammunition and it is mostly feeble.

There have been all manner of "tests" published and bandied about over the years. None are really effective and believable in my view. The "bullet of the week" method of marketing boutique self defense loads with high price tags sells ammo and generates profits yet doesn't guarantee the good hits that are absolutely necessary above all other considerations. Unless one wants to make it a fun hobby, chasing after each and every specialized self defense ammunition offering is an expensive exercise in futility.

While it can't work for anyone else, I'll stick with what I've observed which is is that accurate application of semi-wadcutter bullets at adequate velocities gains the most dependable results.
 

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I have to agree, based on what I've read, heavier bullets tend to be more effective. Second only to shot placement, of course.
 

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"Jacketed hollow points make better SD rounds."


Ahh, the magic hollow point bullet. Always dependable in snub barrels and makes poor hits on assailants golden.

Shoot some game, varmints, and critters with a .38 Special and sharp shouldered semi-wadcutters and get back to us on that.
Amen!
 

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If I can find it, HORNADY Critical Defense (red rubber tip for clothing penetration) is what I'll use in my snubnose 38. I've read many positive reports.
 

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Here are your choices:
Hornady Critcal Defense 110 FTX
Federal Nyclad 125
Buffalo Boar 158 SWC and Full wadcutters
Standard 158 SWC from most compaines
Standard 158 RN lead
Regular wadcutters

Buffalo boar ammo is still high in recoil even though it's non +P. All these rounds are good ammo with well placed hits, EVEN the 158 round nose. It will still make holes in people and go in deep. No magic there. Try these and see which one she likes. Which one shoots point of aim in her gun. Placement and penetration is what it's all about anyway. Snub guns have a very hard time with hollow points expanding, and if they do they seldom go deep enough. Some do and some don't. Lowest recoil would be the regular wadcutter. Good luck.
 

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I missed a few rounds, these are the 110 jhp from Winchester Federal and Remington. I just feel these rounds will not go in deep enough if they expand, and the Remington 110 doesn't expand.
 
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