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Old 09-09-2011, 08:47 AM
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Default Ammo of Snubnose 38's

I have a couple of snubnose 38's, a SW M36 and a Taurus 85. I have gone through several loads with various weight bullets and velocities and can not seem to find one that will shoot to point of aim at 20 yards. Just wondering what loads members have found that shoot well in their short 38's. What is best bullet weight and velocity to get them to hit where you aim.
Thanks.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:13 AM
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My best luck has been 158gr lead with S&W revolvers. No luck (in accuracy) with Colt snubbies, although that is probably unusual. All three Colts shot to POA with 158gr, just weren't accurate. Most of my S&W snubbies have been accurate, and most shot to POA with 158gr. Some didn't (one or two have shot to the right or left, one shoots very low regardless of ammo - haven't bothered fixing it yet because I have enough other revolvers).
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:05 AM
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158 gr. lswc does well in my 642 and 638 and works for my 3" & 4" revolvers also. Doesn't seem to matter what powder I use as long as the velocity the same.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:42 AM
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S&W .38's are sighted to hit six o'clock at 15 yards with 158 grain standard speed bullets.

Lighter bullets usually hit low.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
S&W .38's are sighted to hit six o'clock at 15 yards with 158 grain standard speed bullets.

Lighter bullets usually hit low.
You know your stuff sir! My complements.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinooch View Post
You know your stuff sir! My complements.

I got that years ago from an article by the late Harry Archer, a USAID agent who was an S&W enthusiast who wrote for the now-defunct, "Gunfacts." I also exchanged some letters with him.

Harry had sources at the factory who told him various facts that were seldom otherwise reported.

After he said that, I tried it, and it seemed to be accurate. Keep in mind that you have to hold the front sight level with the rear sight to get those results at that range. Vary front sight exposure for longer ranges.

Thanks for the compliment. BTW, Ruger fixed-sight guns seem to be similarly sighted. Can't speak for Colt. I've had a lot of windage problems with them. The late Col. Chas. Askins bought a bunch of Colt .38's while marksmanship chief for the USBP. He had to slightly turn the barrels on most to get them on target.

I asked why he didn't buy S&W's, as he knew that he'd have that problem with Colts. He said that the S&W sales reps were snobs, while the Colt guys were friendlier! So much for government purchases...

Last edited by Texas Star; 09-09-2011 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
S&W .38's are sighted to hit six o'clock at 15 yards with 158 grain standard speed bullets.

Lighter bullets usually hit low.
What are you holding 6 o'clock on? Obviously some kind of target, but I don't know of an NRA 15 yard one. What you're saying is that the gun prints X inches high at 15 yards. What does X equal?

Interesting point on Askins view of Smiths for the BP issue, particularly after he appeared in their ads and had been presented the Registered Mag. by Wesson. I'd asked about this a couple of years ago but no one had an answer.

Good shooting.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:39 PM
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Thanks to everyone. The 158s did seem to be the best of those I tried. Back to the loading bench.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:49 AM
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I agree S&W most fixed sight revolvers are sighted in with a 158gr bullet. I have also had good success with Speer's 135gr Short Barrel .38 Special +P ammo.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:54 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, S&W revolvers were traditionally sighted for the FBI load; which used a 158gr bullet (.38+p LSWCHP). I suppose they stuck with it over the years.

So basically... what the other guy said.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:36 PM
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What you're saying is that the gun prints X inches high at 15 yards. What does X equal?

Exactly my thoughts. A 6 o'clock hold to hit the center of a target will only work on a known size target at a known distance. Larry
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:50 PM
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I use 158 gr. SWC and 3.2 gr. Bullseye in my 4, 5, and 6 inch .38 Spl. revolvers. In the 2 inch revolvers I find that I need to increase the Bullseye load to 3.4 gr for the best accuracy. Fixed sight revolvers can have different points of aim. I will test several loads (i.e. 3.0 to 3.6 gr Bullseye) and then file the front sight. I have a couple that I had to build the front sight higher using J.B. Weld, then file down. I have not had a J.B. Weld come loose.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:55 PM
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3.4 grains of Titegroup pushing a 148 gr double end wadcutter. Works great in my model 36 snubbie and model 10 4".
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
S&W .38's are sighted to hit six o'clock at 15 yards with 158 grain standard speed bullets.

Lighter bullets usually hit low.
I'm a fairly new shooter (about one year behind the trigger)who needs some "schoolin'". If a gun is sighted to hit six o'clock, does that mean it will hit slightly below where you aim the sites? Or do you aim the sites slightly below where you want to hit?

Probably a seperate issue but I tend to hit a little low on all the guns I fire (442, Sigma9 and M22a).
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:19 PM
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If you find yourself hitting lower than expected,unload the gun and dry fire at the target.Watch your sights after pulling the trigger.Still need to do that if I haven't shot in a long while.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
S&W .38's are sighted to hit six o'clock at 15 yards with 158 grain standard speed bullets.

Lighter bullets usually hit low.
Your response confuses me, TS. What does, "sighted to HIT 6 O'CLOCK at 15 yards " mean. It has been my experience that my snubbie S&Ws will shoot 158gr, standard velocity .38s into the black of an NRA B-2 50' target utilizing a "6 o'clock hold". Are we talking about the same thing. You are correct in saying that lighter bullets will shoot low.
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