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Old 11-21-2011, 02:37 PM
captken captken is offline
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Default 38 Light Loads?

Got to worrying about the wife carrying her Sig P238 and getting confused if she actually had to use it. Would she remember to cock it, click the safety off or just start pulling the trigger to no avail. So I bought her a S&W 642. No muss or fuss or hammer to hang up if she is able to find it in her purse.
Problem is, 130 grain kicks the snot out of her hand being its so light. thinking about lighter practice loads like the old wadcutters we use to shoot years ago but can't find any. That way she could practice without discomfort but carry regular loads when carrying. Any suggestions
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:09 PM
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WADCUTTER Ammo : Ammunition To Go

Or, take up reloading...
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by captken View Post
Got to worrying about the wife carrying her Sig P238 and getting confused if she actually had to use it. Would she remember to cock it, click the safety off or just start pulling the trigger to no avail. So I bought her a S&W 642. No muss or fuss or hammer to hang up if she is able to find it in her purse.
Problem is, 130 grain kicks the snot out of her hand being its so light. thinking about lighter practice loads like the old wadcutters we use to shoot years ago but can't find any. That way she could practice without discomfort but carry regular loads when carrying. Any suggestions
My wife had very similar problems with certain loads in her 38 Special. She solved the problem by practicing w/148gr WC; for carry she loads Federal® 125gr Nyclad HP's.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:38 PM
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You would really need to get into reloading to make up some light loads, but the problem is the standard .38 Special is fairly light now. I would rather maybe trying out a different set of grips on the gun first. Maybe some Hogue or Pachmayr rubber grips. My light loads in my .38's has always been a 158 grain SWC and 3.8 grains of Winchester 231. It's like shooting a .22 in my K-frame 4-inch gun.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:33 PM
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Looking at going ahead and picking up some Hogue Monogrips to help some. She had no problem with the 38 specials in my Model 10 or 28-2 but that airweight had the web of her hand pretty red after a couple dozen rounds. Was thinking of selling my Nitron P238 after getting her the revolver but after her shooting both Friday, she said to hold on to her Two Tone Sig a bit longer. Guess we'll stay a two P238 family for a while. Maybe she'll let me carry her's some if I'm nice.
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:42 PM
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My wife kept her air weight and took MY Sig 226 and is trying to get my Python too! Women can drive you crazy trying to please them. I guess that's one reason why we love them. :-)
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:55 PM
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even 148 WC's in my 642 are a handful - light guns will have recoil - all there is to it - at SD ranges, find the lightest and slowest loads that are accurate in your gun - that will be all she needs
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:49 AM
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I'd suggest a grip that fits her hand better, something that gives her a better purchase on the gun, and moves her knuckle away from the part that bites her. There are tons of good aftermarket grips available for the J-frames.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captken View Post
Got to worrying about the wife carrying her Sig P238 and getting confused if she actually had to use it. Would she remember to cock it, click the safety off or just start pulling the trigger to no avail. So I bought her a S&W 642. No muss or fuss or hammer to hang up if she is able to find it in her purse.
Problem is, 130 grain kicks the snot out of her hand being its so light. thinking about lighter practice loads like the old wadcutters we use to shoot years ago but can't find any. That way she could practice without discomfort but carry regular loads when carrying. Any suggestions
I can't tell where you are located since it's not in your profile but if your are in the Raleigh Durham area of NC ,I have a 1000 rounds of factory loaded 148 gr wad-cutter ammo .My wife shot them in my scandium S&W 340pd with no problem$300 a case ($15 a box)
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:55 PM
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Pachmayr compac grips do a good job with recoil and are still good for CCW use. Look around the web or check out some gunshows, as the wad-cutters are still out there.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawgleg
Pachmayr Compac grips do a good job with recoil and are still good for CCW use. Look around the web or check out some gun shows, as the wadcutters are still out there.
You have offered excellent advice; my wife & I use this very grip on our snubbies. The Pachmayr® Presentation/Compac™ grip tames recoil better than any grip I have ever used.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:35 PM
KCOG KCOG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlanecole View Post
WADCUTTER Ammo : Ammunition To Go

Or, take up reloading...
+1 on the 148 wadcutters. Try Georgia Arms for inexpensive, high quality rounds this type. I bought some for the wife to shoot in her 642. She does well with them.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:01 PM
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Just don't confuse the Compac and the Compac Pro. They are very different. The Compac is a recoil soaking up hand grasping wonderful hunk of rubber while the Pro is a skinny little thing that leaves the back of the grip frame exposed to hammer into your hand. It's like having a skinny magna with grip adapter all in one unit. I can do magnums in my 640 with the Compac while the Pro would be torture.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:38 PM
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I buy Winchester target/range ammo at WalMart (33.00/hundred). They are 130 grain and have 185 ft/lbs of energy.

Winchester also lists 125 grain at 167 ft/lbs. But I can't get these locally.

If the 185 ft/lb is too much for her to handle, then consider a S & W 351 C (8 rounds, .22 magnum). Almost no recoil. Same ergonomics as the airweight, so she can graduate to the .38 when she is ready for it.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:49 PM
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Wadcutters put a VERY nice clean hole in whatever they hit. I use them in all my guns. The cheaper price allows more practice so I really don't need the 'wiz bang hot new round of the week.'
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:30 AM
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Buffalo Bore 158 grain standard pressure (NON +P) LHPSWC.

Does an honest 860 fps out of a 2" barrel, no big recoil, standard pressure, more velocity and muzzle energy than the Rem. Win. & Fed. +P offerings. GREAT STUFF and she should be able to handle it quite well.

If that is still too much for her, than I would step down to Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +P short barrel load (+P, but a lighter bullet may be easier for her), and lastly if she still has a problem, 158 grain NON +P Standard Velocity LSWC from any of the Big Three Co's. The last one is quite mild, will only give her in the mid 700's out of a 2" tube, but at least it has the weight going for it. It was a basic Police load for many years, and while it's not exactly the best, I suppose a few well placed hits with those are better than a few misses with more violent rounds.

As someone else had mentioned, (while I do not personally like them), many people do like the rubber grips such as Pachmeyer's, Uncle Mikes, etc. They do help absorb lots of recoil. I personally don't care for them because they are a bit bulkier and too "sticky" for pocket carry. I use a Tyler T with the standard Walnut Magnagrips.

I do agree with your thoughts on switching to the Revolver. Carry one myself.......

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Old 12-06-2011, 01:07 PM
Larry from Bend Larry from Bend is offline
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I agree with your concern (auto vs revolver) there's a lot to remember with the semi as compared to the revolver.
As far as WCs: many years ago, Blazer offered 148 grain WCs in little plastic ammo boxes @ dirt cheap prices. I bought a bunch, as my models 60 & 19 both liked them. When I got a Model 38 (airweight) I found out they recoiled more than my non+P 158 grain SWCs. I've never put them over a chrono but they seem to be more like +P, so all WCs are not mild.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:02 PM
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Federal Wadcutters have light recoil. An Airweight is just going to be a bit harder to handle regardless of the ammo without some better grips. The Hogue rubber J frames are a pretty good compromise without being too large to conceal.
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Old 03-18-2017, 01:30 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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Default Ultralight .38 loads

This is in response to an old thread, but having done quite a bit of experimentation in this area I thought I'd add my 2 cents. Several years ago I began teaching my wife to shoot. I was away from home frequently and we live in the country a good half hour from police response. I had a Chief's special and bought some standard loads which proved to be way more than she could shoot comfortably so I broke out my reloading gear (which I hadn't used since the 70's) and began working. To make a long story short, I came up with a very comfortable practice load--148 gr Speer HBWC over 1.5 grains of Trailboss. Recoil is negligible, and ignition has proven very reliable. I've shot these through 2", 4" and 6" barrels with good no problems. I seat the bullets flush with the case mouth, and apply a good stiff crimp. I put a set of hogue grips on the gun which help when firing defense loads--4.7 gr Unique/158 gr Speer SWCHP--which she does infrequently.
I believe there is a great advantage in being able to do a lot of practice with one's defense gun, building confidence. In the event of a defense emergency, adrenalin would likely make one unaware of the increased recoil of the hotter loads. This exercise has had the added benefit of re-igniting my interest in handloading, a wonderful hobby for us retired guys.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:43 PM
kthom kthom is offline
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FWIW, quite a few older time lawmen elected to carry the 148 grain full wadcutters in their duty revolvers. They tried to find the brand that listed those loads at the highest level among what was available. They used the same type of ammo at qualification time, knew where it hit from their revolvers, and most could shoot it pretty well. It was their thought that the same bullet that cut those nice round holes in paper would also cut the same kind of hole in flesh. I am aware of a few incidences where miscreants were shot with these "regular" wadcutter loads. All these incidences involved revolvers with 4" barrels, which no doubt gave the rounds a bit more velocity than a 2" barrel would have done. However, each case I know of resulted in the desired results. One of the results of some of these incidents was that the detectives/plain clothes officers on their departments who carried snubbies also began to load them with wadcutters. One thing was proven after this. These men could shoot their duty revolvers much better, much more accurately, at speed with this ammunition. A hit with anything sure does beat a miss with anything!

I have shot jack rabbits with these regular wadcutter loads just for practice. Where I lived and worked, jack rabbits ate the same grass as range cattle, so they were considered to be an undesirable pest on the range. Walking a pasture and shooting jack rabbits where and when you found them was great practice, whether with your duty revolver or the rifle you took deer hunting. I can tell you that when one of these wadcutters hit a tough old jackrabbit, it sounded like a fast pitch softball hitting the catcher's mitt! And the results were immediately obvious!

Now I know none of this is scientific, and a jack rabbit is a long way from a human. If these rounds can be handled by these ladies in question, and if they can shoot their revolver well with them, then they will do for the purpose intended. And if they hurt in the lightweight J Frames, then trade for a steel framed one. I'll bet they can handle them there just fine, and they can accommodate the heavier revolver for carry much easier than trying to accommodate shooting something that hurts!

You can purchase full wadcutters from Buffalo Bore that are loaded to about 900 fps out of a snubby. They ain't bad at all in a steel framed J with the right grips. They are what I carry for my first five shots. I carry either the 158 grain standard pressure LSWCHP or the Speer 135 grain short barrel loads for my reloads, since those bullets make reloading faster and easier than do the blunt nosed full wadcutters. All I can tell you is I do not feel inadequately armed when loaded out in this manner.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:20 PM
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You can use the std. 148gr wc target load or the light 110gr jacket std. loading for practice for the lightest factory loadings.

The lightest SD load that I would ever use in a snub nose J frame
is the Remington 125gr at 900fps +/-.
Some think a slow 148gr wc will do the job but I like numbers
and street shooting facts!!

The only other option is a 9mm with all the safety items....
with a 5 pound trigger that can be pulled without discharge any other way.
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340pd, 640, 642, airweight, ccw, hogue, k-frame, model 10, p238, pachmayr, presentation, scandium, sig arms, wadcutter, walnut, winchester

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