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Old 10-30-2009, 08:31 PM
brushy bill brushy bill is offline
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Default Best Defense load in 38 SPL for old revolvers (not +P)

Thoughts on the best defense round (non +P) for 38 spl?

Normally, would say the FBI Load, but looking at a non +P load.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:44 PM
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Buffalo Bore has a standard pressure "FBI" load that just about matches the velocity of the big makers +P. I have some non +P handloads that pretty well match that performance level. That is my answer.......well part of it-I also think a full velocity wadcutter has a lot to recommend it-Buffalo Bore offers one of those also. I load my own.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:01 PM
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Default Defense Loads for .38 cal

Try the new 125 gr. Nylon Clad (NYClad HP) bullet from Federal Ammo that was recently "reintroduced". I understand it's supposed to be the best for defense, especially in the small snubnose revolvers.

Last edited by Milpolice; 02-16-2010 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milpolice View Post
Try the new 158 gr. Nylon Clad (NYClad HP) bullet from Federal Ammo that was recently "reintroduced". I understand it's supposed to be the best for defense, especially in the small snubnose revolvers.
The new Nyclads released are 125 grain, I don't think they are making the 158s anymore. I have the 125s and use them in my M60.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:49 PM
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As others have said, BB std. pressure FBI, and Nyclad are good. 148 gr. target wadcutters are also highly regarded. Use that which you and your gun shoot best with.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:59 PM
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Here are BB"s loadings


Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo - 158 gr. Soft Lead SWC-HC (850fps/M.E. 253 ft. lbs.)


FBI Load
.38 Special +P Ammo - 158 gr. L.S.W.C.H.P. --G.C. (1,000fps/M.E. 351 ft.lbs.)
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:22 AM
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I just started using the new critical defense 110 non +P. Good accuracy, moderate recoil, and from what I have read good ballistics in bare gell at 12 inches of penetration and 14 inches in cloth covered. Mid forties on expansion. For a non +P that's pretty good results. Velocity is running high 800's in a s&w snubby. That should be enough to punch through bone.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:44 PM
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My Wife's 342PD is running their full wads, seen on this page
Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Hvy .38 Spl (Non + P) Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

I wouldn't hesitate to run any of their stuff, in fact i do!
Heavy .38 Special +P Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:16 PM
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Default Hornady Critical Defense Ammo

Hornady Critical Defense Ammo 38spl this will work in an old small frame 38spl. If you want to go retro go with 158gr SWC or sometimes called the FBI round. I have an old Model 60 (purchased in Dec.,1968) and sometime shoot the Hornady in it.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brushy bill View Post
Thoughts on the best defense round (non +P) for 38 spl?

Normally, would say the FBI Load, but looking at a non +P load.
As others have suggested, the Buffalo Bore® Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Ammo is the load to carry in a snubnose 38. It produces ⅓ more energy than the reintroduced Federal® Nyclad™. Both my wife & I carry this load in our snubnose guns. POA/POI are virtually the same at any discernable distance.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:54 AM
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Buffalo Bore 20C is a great choice.

So is a 148-gr DEWC over 5.0-gr of Unique and a Federal 100.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:32 PM
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How about Federal Prem. 110gr. Hydrashok JHP's in a Mod 64, no dash, 4" pencil barell? Too light? Maybe use them only in the 642 snubby?
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:33 PM
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Default Best Defense load in 38 SPL for old revolvers (not +P)

I like the Buffalo Bore 158gr hollow point load for my old Model 37 snub. Stiff recoil, but it's a very good round.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:51 AM
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Blue Bunny 200gr Super Police.
You wont get much expansion (if any) at standard velocities in a .38spc.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:11 PM
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I just chronographed BB 158 (heavy) +P SWCHP-GC out of my actual carry gun (a 2" model 60 chief spl.) and the results were better than advertised. The average vel. was 1024 fps. which would relate to about 360 ft/lbs of energy from a 2" BARREL.. I also cronographed their standard pressure (NON +P) 158 gr. swchp out of the same gun and the average vel. was 866; again a bit higher than advertised; and better than what the FBI +P loadings (from Win. Rem & Fed) chronagraped! What impressed me even more was the consistency of the ammo. The difference between the high and the low shots were only 8 ft/sec which is unbelievable. The recoil from their +P was a bit heavier than the standard FBI loads from the big three, but nothing horrible. Just make sure you practice with the ammo you carry, so you know what to expect should you ever have to drop the hammer on a bad guy.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:18 AM
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I heard rumors that Speer made a standard pressure 125gr Gold Dot.
They also make +P, but here is the standard pressure loading in
a box of 50 for $25!

Ammunition To Go : 50rds - 38 Special Speer LE Gold Dot 125gr GDHP Ammo [53722] - $24.95
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:24 PM
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Speer does make a 125 standard non +P,but it won't expand out of a 2 inch. Go to speers site and law enforcement, it's in there. I have a couple of boxes,but you might a well use a Non +P swc. I think it's code a 57322. My thoughts on this buffalo bore ammo is I think it's too hot and in time even non +P rounds are going to loosen upguns. You may not have high +P pressure but the recoil and battering is still there. 866 with a 158 is hotter than a remington 158 SWCHP +P. Il stick with standard velocity rounds I like my old colts too much.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitesite View Post
So is a 148-gr DEWC over 5.0-gr of Unique and a Federal 100.
Do you load those flush with the case mouth, or do you crimp on one of the crimping grooves, leaving just a little of the bullet exposed?

I ask because I load a similar load. I always load the 5 grain load with a little of the bullet exposed so I can readily distinguish them from the lighter target WC loads. Is there any reason not to do this?
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:19 PM
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Not as long as they're adequately crimped to prevent recoil from allowing them to move. Especially if they're being run out of an AirLite gun like my Wife's 342. I figure if it's good enough for these folks to do
Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
(hit the view larger image)
it's good enough for my reloads, too!
I never thought to use it as a method to ID the rounds though?
Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:10 PM
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Those Buff B wads are a neat niche load. Kudos to them for making them.

I use a .38 wadcutter handload for my wife's gun. I heavy crimp all my handloads and since the powder is IMR PB and ignites inconsistently without a good crimp, that's one more reason to put the big squeeze on them. I use 148 gr. Rainier dual ended plated wads, seat them a little proud and press the case mouth right into the bullet with my Lee FCD. Of interest is that I don't know how fast they're going. I tweeked the load around penetration depth in Perma-Gel. As you can see there can be several reasons to seat a wadcutter a little high.
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Old 11-14-2009, 04:23 AM
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I agree F/S!
I think unfortunately it may be as close as we'll get to the late Mr. C's brilliant "better mousetrap" for a while yet?
But hope springs eternal!
(As long as it doesn't have any change along with it, that is)
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redlevel View Post
Do you load those flush with the case mouth, or do you crimp on one of the crimping grooves, leaving just a little of the bullet exposed?

I ask because I load a similar load. I always load the 5 grain load with a little of the bullet exposed so I can readily distinguish them from the lighter target WC loads. Is there any reason not to do this?
Hi~

My 442 has 5.0-gr of Unique under cast 148 DEWCs crimped into the top groove. They are VERY accurate, non+P and penetrate deeply while cutting a pretty good wound channel. Buffalo Bore agrees with my findings as far as potential bullet performance from a 2" with a non +P DEWC.

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Old 02-05-2010, 01:35 PM
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I like that load very much. Accurate in my 638. Very accurate in my Model 15. (and Model 10)

I used R-P brass, CCI SPP, Hunter's Supply 148 grain DEWC, 5.0 grains of Unique.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:33 PM
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"...5.0-gr of Unique under cast 148 DEWCs..."

That's an overload according to some of the weenie loading manuals published these days.

I like it!
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
"...5.0-gr of Unique under cast 148 DEWCs..."

That's an overload according to some of the weenie loading manuals published these days.

I like it!
As do I!! Now, just substitute ( ) grains of SR-4756 for Unique, and we'd be talkin'!!
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
"...5.0-gr of Unique under cast 148 DEWCs..."

That's an overload according to some of the weenie loading manuals published these days.

I like it!
I got their overload
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:00 AM
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Federal standard pressure Nyclad ammo IMO is best. I just can't believe Buffalo Bore is getting all that velocity without pushing the pressure limits.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
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I got their overload
Yeah, it's impossible to find this load of 5.0-gr Unique with a cast 148 DEWC in any "newer" manual and especially online.

I got it out of the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 2002 Eleventh Printing.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah, it's impossible to find this load of 5.0-gr Unique with a cast 148 DEWC in any "newer" manual and especially online.

I got it out of the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 2002 Eleventh Printing.
If you want a real eye opener, check the 3rd Edition from 1980.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
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If you want a real eye opener, check the 3rd Edition from 1980.
I'm not too sure that my no-dash "not-approved-for-plus-P" model 442 can handle the truth....

However, all of my steel thutty-aights would be ayy-oh-tay with a little +P bump based on slightly older data.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:08 AM
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I went to the range yesterday, and I'm still knocked out by how accurate that load is.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:21 AM
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My next project is going to use the Rimrock hardcast hollowpoint. 5.3 to 5.4 grains of Unique is my goal. (Model 10/Model 15)
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:39 AM
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I believe the Federal .38 110 grain jhp is non + p. It is very comfortable to shoot out of my Model 649.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:23 AM
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Out of a short barreled revolver, I would suggest the Federal Nyclad 125gr (P38MA). The nylon is more of a coating than a jacket. Basically it's like shooting a soft lead HP without the fouling. I see Federal also offers a standard 38 sp 110gr Hydra-Shok low recoil (PD38HS3H) and Remington has an offering of a 110gr semi-jacketed HP (R38S16). Winchester has a Silvertip 110gr HP in standard 38sp (X38S9HP). I would think the Remington and Winchester loads perform better from a longer barrel, however. I do not have current Speer info, but I do believe they offer a standard 38sp Gold Dot, as others have stated. I also believe these would perform better out of a longer barrel. The new Federal Nyclads are expensive, as are most high performance carry rounds. If you look around some mom-n-pop gun shops, and the local gun shows, you may be able to find the older stuff that came in 50rnd boxes.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:43 PM
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I'm using the same 148 grain wadcutter's but working up a load using Bullseye.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:04 PM
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Hornady Critical Defense Ammunition 90310, 38 Special, Flex Tip Expanding, 110 GR, 1010 fps, 25 Rd/b
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:21 PM
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If your working up a 148 grain wadcutter load try a hard cast DEWC over 4.8 to 5.0 of Unique.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
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If your working up a 148 grain wadcutter load try a hard cast DEWC over 4.8 to 5.0 of Unique.

I already do that load. I'm in my Bullseye phase now.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:19 PM
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A good old 170 grain cast solid like Lyman #358249 behind a mild charge of Unique or Winchester 231.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:19 PM
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I'm surprised that no one has brought up Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo, these are designed for this. 860 fps out of a 2" barrel, yes they are +P so maybe not what the OP is looking for, BUT it seems that the BB ammo while technically not +P, seems to at least perform like it, I'd like someone to explain how it's done, NOT trying to bash BB, it seems to be everything they say they are, and have MANY happy customers, I would just like to understand it, ya know, get smarter. Oh and I thought this interesting Buffalo Bore 158gr (non +P) SWC-HC
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:22 PM
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148gr wadcutters will get the job done.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:47 PM
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A lot of the old-timers I worked with swore by the "Chief's Special" load, otherwise known as Nyclad. I can't speak to the new stuff, but I've seen how the originals expanded and it was impressive. I carried the FBI load and ignored the non +p ratings, mostly because on what a cop made in those days I couldn't afford them. If the new stuff is anywhere as good as the old ones, they'll do just fine.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:10 AM
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All my reloading efforts is with 148 grain hardcast wadcutters and 158 grain hard cast semi-wadcutters. My goal is trying to duplicate the Buffalo Bore standard pressure loads. Not so I'll use them as my carry rounds, but for practice.

With my Model 10 and Model 15, the Buffalo Bore ammo is more than adequate for my needs.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:43 AM
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For all my older revovlers I use the newly-reissued Nyclads.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:32 PM
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I racked my brain and thought we had had a thread about wadcutters in snubbies before. It was just sometime ago.

And to be clear, I still load the 148 DEWC* over 5 grains of Unique.

*I've been using MidAtlantic Bullets wadcutters with equal success. They are not, however, DEWC's.
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:22 PM
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Non +P ammo for a snub nose J frame revolver is around;

110gr JHP ........... 875fps.....187 Muzzle Energy
125gr JHP ........... 830fps.....191
148 Lwc............... 630fps.....130
Red Dot ...............775fps.....197
158 Lead............. 650fps.....148
Bullseye ............. 752fps......198

As you can see the full load 38 special in all bullets have close to the same energy.
Penetration and POA would help one select which loads to use.
Most agree that "Mass" is usually the winner in stopping a threat but confidence in a load is also a great thing to have on your side.
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:38 PM
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I always enjoy these threads and the replies. Like everybody I have my preferences. My preferences come from years of big game hunting and experimenting. When I shoot a deer or elk, I quickly prop them up and do some bullet testing in real flesh and bone. With over 125 bullets recovered from animals I have some insights. One thing that comes up a lot in replies is the accuracy of certain loads. At the ranges bears will be shot at, minute of angle accuracy has zero relevance. Minute of washtub accuracy will do. I have zero use for any hollow point load when tough obstacles are the targets. If you are curious about hollow points on bear skulls check out the video of the game warden shooting a small grizzly in the head with a 357 using 125 grain hollow points, 5 times. The late gun writer Bob Milick was a very knowledgeable hunter, though he came close to cutting his career even shorter when he stepped out in front of my truck in the early morning hours, in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Bob shot a black bear in the head 6 times, at spitting distance, using a 357 and 158 grn hollow points. All six bullets failed to penetrate the skull of a 250# bear. The guide used a Colt Woodsman to put the bear down for good. I have in my collection a 110 grain bullet, from a 357, I recovered from a 3# woodchuck. The bullet failed to exit a 3# rodent. If bears have to be stopped in place, the brain or spine must be penetrated. The only sure way to get this penetration is with solid, hard cast bullets or full metal jacket bullets. Penetration in what will take the fight out of the furry creature. I shot a small black bear 4 times with a 300 Win Mag and it still ran 50 yards. In my snub nose I use a 158 grain full metal jacket load that is not plus P and states a velocity of 850 fps. Round nose will out penetrate semi wad cutters, everything being equal. For those about to are about to reply about the extra shock of swc's compared to round nose, there is no shock effect when shooting bears.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:28 PM
Duckford Duckford is offline
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Standard pressure SAAMi 38 Special loads don't have enough energy to both expand and penetrate, meaning hollow points are a poor choice. Safest bet is to run big, flat, lead bullets, especially if you are shooting older revolvers that may not even have standard barrel dimensions and might do more poorly with jacketed bullets. Hollow point is not always the best choice for every cartridge in every situation.
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Old 05-03-2016, 06:02 PM
10ring 10ring is offline
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It is my understanding that the Federal Nyclad was discontinued in 2015, despite still being listed in their catalog or on their website. Maybe not, but that is what I have heard.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:05 PM
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nitesite nitesite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckford View Post
Standard pressure SAAMi 38 Special loads don't have enough energy to both expand and penetrate, meaning hollow points are a poor choice. Safest bet is to run big, flat, lead bullets, especially if you are shooting older revolvers that may not even have standard barrel dimensions and might do more poorly with jacketed bullets. Hollow point is not always the best choice for every cartridge in every situation.
I agree with this position. So does Buffalo Bore.
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