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Old 05-29-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default Best .38 Special and .38 Special +P for my brand new S&W M&P 340CT .357 Mag. Revolver

I bought the 340CT for concealed carry and wanted a revolver for reliability. My plan is to start practice with .38 Special then move up to .38 Special +P. Because of the light weight and relatively small Crimson Trace Laser Grip it comes with, I don't currently plan to shoot .357 Magnum. It was all the other features which compelled me to get this particular handgun. Inasmuch as I have had a Ruger LCP .380 semi-auto for awhile, I am somewhat familiar with the substantial recoil of small "carry" pistols. I don't plan to use the 340CT for fun shooting, I have another handgun for that. QUESTION: I would really appreciate current information about reliable .38 Special and .38 Special +P ammo for my 340CT. I have a box of Hornady Critical Defense 110 Gr. FTX JHP .38 Special (1010 fps) and a box of Hornady Critical Defense 110 Gr. FTX JHP .38 Special +P (1090 fps) but haven't fired a round in the gun yet. I have to wonder if the 110 Gr. bullet coupled with the relatively high velocity would produce too high a recoil for effective follow-up shots. Anyone know about similar Cor-Bon ammo for the 340CT? I'll be grateful for any and all help on this.

Last edited by AFSteve; 05-29-2011 at 05:03 PM. Reason: spelling error (typo)
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:25 PM
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Everybody is different in terms of how they perceive recoil and how it affects their controllability for follow-up shots. For instance, I've tried Buffalo Bore .38 Special +P 158gr LSWCHP in my 642. After 5 rounds I realized I would never try that again! However, there are people who carry this load in a lightweight snub and are confident in their abilities to deliver accurate fire quickly. I think the only way you're going to figure it out is to try different types of ammo for yourself to see what works. I do think starting with standard pressure loads before going to more powerful +P loads is a prudent method for evaluating ammo. I can't help you with the Hornady or Corbon ammo as I don't have any experience with them. However, I have heard good things about Hornady's loadings.

Personally, I carry 125gr Federal Nyclads in my 642. They kick about the same as typical 130gr FMJ practice loads, so I can carry the Nyclads while practicing with the FMJ. Speer's .38 Special +P 135gr Short-Barrel GDHP has some kick, and isn't too difficult to control when fired from my 642, but I was noticeably slower on follow-up shots than when firing Nyclads. For me, the Nyclads work as a primary carry round, while I carry the SBGDHP in strips for reloads. I like that they both have pretty good track records in stopping violent attacks.

I'd also recommend investing in some snap caps or dummy rounds and do A LOT of dry fire practice with your snub. The CT grips should be very beneficial in terms of skill development.

ETA: The single most important thing in terms of ammo selection, after reliability, is your ability to get good, consistent hits quickly. Anything after that is just icing on the cake, imo.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 05-29-2011 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:37 PM
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That can be a fun gun to shoot with 148gr wadcutters.

After you learn to shoot it comfortably (what I call, deciding it is your gun), I recommend practice with 25 wadcutters followed by 5 Speer Short Barrel 135gr +P, and carry the Speer loads for SD.
Practicing with defense loads in a light stubby gets tiresome quickly.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Best .38 Special and .38 Special +P for my brand new S&W M&P 340CT .357 Mag.

There is a lot to be said for the standard pressure Nyclad™. It performs far, far, far better than paper ballistics indicate. It is particularly suited for those shooters not very recoil tolerant. My wife, 62, has arthritis in her hands; and can't manage any +P ammunition. She has carried the 125gr Nyclad™ round for the last 8 years and can shoot very well with it. It is very well made.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:00 PM
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Nyclads are the way to go. I keep them in my 1968 Cobra.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:27 PM
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Recoil and comfort is rather subjective. Nothing I tried in my 442 made it enjoyable.

One solution was adding a K frame snub to my range bag.

They offer many of the same challenges but more forgiving in the recoil department.

Always shot about 2/3rds K frame and the rest in the little monster J frame.
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Speer Short Barrel 135gr +P, and carry the Speer loads for SD.
Agree - this is what I carry in my S&W 640-1 .357 ... it's a good load.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for the info, ContinentalOp. I already have some Snap Caps and I'm working on barrel movement via trigger pull (the Crimson Trace Laser Grip has been a big help with this). I'm trying to learn how to "stage" the trigger on my 340CT. I will certainly try the Federal Nyclad and Speer.

Cheers
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFSteve View Post
Thanks for the info, ContinentalOp. I already have some Snap Caps and I'm working on barrel movement via trigger pull (the Crimson Trace Laser Grip has been a big help with this). I'm trying to learn how to "stage" the trigger on my 340CT. I will certainly try the Federal Nyclad and Speer.

Cheers
I'm glad I posted something of use to you. FWIW, I think you'd be better off learning to pull the DA trigger straight through. I used to stage the trigger, but I found that learning to pull the trigger straight through helped me shoot more accurately at a higher rate of speed, particularly when point shooting at close range. It requires a little more work, and may take longer to develop proficiency, but I think it'll pay off in the long term. Again, just my opinion.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:08 AM
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I have tested Hornady Critical Defense on lots of different media, and conclude that it works as adventised. It is what I carry on the street.

For home defense, only the Glaser Safety Slugs make any sense to me. They create a devastating shotgun style wound in flesh, yet will break up on wallboard and not kill your family who are in the next room.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:47 PM
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Default Thank you all for the great info

My thanks to ALL the guys who were thoughtful enough to share their knowledge and personal experience about ammo for my new S&W M&P 340 CT .357 Magnum revolver. I paid attention! I now have five different kinds to try out to decide which will suit me best for practice or carry or both, and they are (in random order and no preference, yet):

. Hornady .38 Special Critical Defense 110 Gr. FTX JHP 1010 fps/249 ft-lbs muzzle.

. Federal Premium .38 Special Personal Defense 110 Gr. Hydra-Shok JHP 980 fps/235 ft-lbs muzzle.

. Federal Premium .38 Special Personal Defense 125 Gr. Nyclad HP 850 fps/191 ft-lbs muzzle.

. Hornady .38 Special +P Critical Defense 110 Gr. FTX JHP 1090 fps/290 ft-lbs muzzle.

. Speer .38 Special +P Personal Protection 135 Gr. Gold Dot - Short Barrel HP 860 fps/222 ft-lbs muzzle.

I'm indebted to you all.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:58 PM
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Keep in mind that manufacturers quote velocities from longish "test barrels", so those velocities do not reflect the reality of what you will actually get from a snubby!

In a lot of cases, shooting a .357 from the snubby will actually get you somewhere in the ballpark of the velocities quoted for a hot .38+P from a "test barrel".
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:26 PM
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Default Thanks OFF ROAD. Roger on the Test Barrels

You're right on target (pardon the pun) on the test barrels. I believe only the Speer I listed was tested on a 2 inch barrel, hence the name Gold Dot - Short barrel. I also observed the velocities and ballistic energy at the 25 and 75 yard tests, which, admittedly, doesn't actually provide any additional validity of "snubby" performance. Although I didn't put it on the list, I also have a box of Hornady .357 Magnum Critical Defense 125 Gr. FTX JHP 1301 fps/470 ft-lbs muzzle. Maybe someday, after I've built up my hand/wrist/arm muscles, and sufficient intestinal fortitude, I will try one of them out on my 13.3 Oz. Smith. If I survive, I'll post it on the S&W Forum.

Cheers
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:45 AM
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My 340 PD is loaded with Buffalo Bore 125 gr. 38 +P's.
I prefer jacketed bullet in a Scandium gun.
Prior to those, it was loaded with Corbon DPX 110 +P's.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:56 PM
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Default Great info, coach 22

Thanks for the info. Let's face it, S&W was able to develop the 340 series thru the use of super-expensive scandium (@ six-figures per pound) blended with aluminum to produce an extremely light-weight (13.3 Oz.), easily concealable, and inherently reliable - as are all revolvers - handgun for personal protection ONLY. Sport shooting is not for this kind of a weapon. Indeed, for those in need, it can even handle the 35,000 lb. pressure of a .357 Magnum. Amazing! And, as you are no doubt aware, they ain't cheap, but then, they ARE for personal protection. I have made the choice, so my next step is to do my very best to select the best possible ammo for ME from among all the very good stuff out there. Yes, I'll have to spend some dough up-front trying out the various ammo, but I consider it to be a necessary function to achieve the desired result, i.e. effective, last resort, personal protection. This is why I am so grateful to you and the other forum members who have shared your knowledge and experience with me. It will save me a bundle, and perhaps much more. I first checked the Corbon 38 +P 110 gr DPX on their website and I agree that it is a preferred all-round choice for Law Enforcement/Military for it's metal/glass penetration as well as deep body penetration capabilities as would be expected for them to encounter. However, when I checked the Buffalo Bore website for the 38 +P Low-Velocity JHP I can certainly see why this is your present "carry" ammo. Other than the Speer Gold Dot Short-Barrel 38 +P, the Buffalo Bore is the only one with good specs from a 2 inch barrel, and I really like the specs. I will definitely try some of these. Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:14 AM
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Steve,
Thank for the kind words. I did leave out one thing.
I use one of these.
Mika's Pocket Holsters - Custom Made Pocket Holsters, Waistband Holsters, Vest Holsters, Tactical Pocket Mirrors And Much More.
Best I've found. The first day, it feels bulky,
After a few days, it conforms to the gun.
It won't come out when you draw your gun,
and it's easy to re holster without removing it.
Affordable too.
The Uncle Mike's version costs about $10.
Works pretty good, but they lose their shape in about a year.
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:46 PM
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I checked the Mika Pocket Holsters website as you suggested and liked what I saw, especially the favorable comments from LEOs, both on the Mika website as well as elsewhere on the www. Inasmuch as the $29.95 price is very reasonable for what you get, and due to my various pants pockets being about evenly split between square and round types, I ordered one of each type holster online yesterday, June 4th. This morning, Sunday, I received a call from Mr. Mika, who is a retired police officer, explaining the details of his holsters and letting me know when I could expect to receive mine. Now how about that! This is a far cry from me having to call a company to complain to someone in Calcutta, India speaking barely understandable English about a poorly made Chinese product that has failed. What a pleasure it is to deal with an American company! Maybe there's hope for us yet. Thanks again for the info.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:05 PM
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Mr. Mika is a real stand up guy and will take care of you.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:45 PM
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Hornady makes some of the best mass produced factory ammo, if not the best ammo, in the world. Both those ammos you mentioned are excellent.

Try the Speer Gold Dot short barrell .38 ammo

Lastly, Buffalo Bore probably makes THE BEST ammo - check out their offerings in .38 special. They have about 8 different offerings and a good description of each.

CorBon is, IMO, too hot of a load
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:33 PM
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Speer makes their SB in magnum, also. Same bullet, but more velocity. I know you don't want full pressure magnum ammo, but the Speer loading is more like plus P plus. About another 100 FPS, if I remember correctly.

Rick
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:05 PM
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You are correct, the quote of 860 fps with Speed Gold Dot Short Barrel .38 Special +P ammo is from a 2" barrel and I have confirmed that velocity and a little higher myself. That ammo is also very accurate in my S&W M442.

I can't agree with the above statement, Buffalo Bore is the BEST ammo. Sure it's good ammo with a very high price and they produce very high velocities but that doesn't make them the best. Sorry but the highest velocity does not translated into the best ammo.

I highly suggest finding the ammo which is most accurate in your revolver and use that ammo. Most current SD ammo on the market will do what it should do if you do your job. The best ammo in the world using the best bullet will do you no good without hitting what you aim at.

BTW, if you have no intention of shooting .357 Magnum ammo why spend twice what you need to spend on an Airlite J frame instead of just buying an Airweight J frame? I carry a M442 and before that I carried a M642 and both are very reliable but half the price of the M340.
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Last edited by ArchAngelCD; 10-27-2012 at 12:51 AM. Reason: Typo...
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:13 AM
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Since they've been mentioned, here are but a few
of the many Mika Pocket Holsters around here...



When it comes to ammo. My primary carry load is the Buffalo
Bore 158 gr. +P LSWCHP (lead semi wadcutter hollow point.)

I also use the 135 gr. Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo &
some of Buffalo Bore's standard pressure .38 SPL offerings.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFSteve View Post
handgun for personal protection ONLY. Sport shooting is not for this kind of a weapon.

You should consider that YOUR personal opinion only, not a blanket statement covering every human on the planet.
People shoot, for fun/sport/entertainment a LOT of different and odd firearms. What you consider torture might be great fun for someone else.
Don't throw your big blanket over the entire world because it doesn't work out.
Good luck with your heater/load choice.

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:38 AM
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Of course this is a personal opinion but mine is that a 357 Magnum has no business being shot out of a 2" revolver. Way too much muzzle flash, noise, recoil and truly offers little to no advantage over a good .38 special in that size gun. In a 2" barreled gun, most of the advantage of a 357 magnum is wasted because the extra pressure does not have the time (barrel length) to accelerate the projectile, and creates more "problems & difficulties" than advantages.

Start off with mild 158 grain 38 specials and I would recommend either the Buffalo Bore (heavy) 158 grain SWCHP-GC +P, Speer 135 grain short barrel JHP +P after some practice and familiarization with your new gun.

In a 2" barrel, the BB 158 grain heavy +P will do an honest 1025 - 1040 fps out of your revolver, the Speer will do about 880 fps or so, and a 158 grain .357 Magnum won't do much over 1060 to 1120 out of the same gun - but what it will do is create a lot of muzzle flash, kick and noise. The 125's are not recommended in small frame revolvers and I would avoid them. I think once you have tried shooting .357's out of your gun you will have come to a similar conclusion.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:11 AM
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I like the Speer SB also. But another not mentioned that
is also good is the Rem. Golden Saber 125+P.

During your testing be sure to check for "bullet jump." This happens under the stiff recoil experienced in these small guns. The bullet in a chambered round can "jump" out of the case slightly, sometimes a bit more with each round fired, finally sticking forward into the forcing cone locking up the cylinder. Measuring with a caliper is good, but eyeballing next to a round that hasn't been in a chamber when another round was fired is also good. Be sure to check #5 in the cylinder especially, as it's been exposed to recoil 4 times. The 110 gr. rounds are notorious for this due to the decreased bearing surface available. But check in your gun.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:33 AM
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There still is...only one way
for you to know which ammo is
your favorite and best for you.
[you know that answer]

Practice a lot with light .38's [like Magtech]
and carry the SD rounds of your tested choice.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:40 AM
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Critical defense 110gr is as good as any. Low recoil, better accuracy under stress, reliable expansion and sufficient penetration b
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:04 PM
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Even though that 13oz revolver is rated to shoot .357 magnum loads one has to remember one thig................

the 158 FBI load in a J frame has around 5.55 ft/lbs of recoil
and the same weight gun shooting a 125 gr JHP magnum will have about..................

11.99 ft/lbs of recoil,or more.............

Proper pistol grips and a shooting glove,my be in order if going to shoot a bunch of these ?
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