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Old 09-19-2012, 05:10 PM
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I emailed Speer today about using these with a 5 inch barrel. They recommend against it due to over expansion and over penetration. They said the std 125 GR Gold Dot is a better choice. Just thought I'd pass it along.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:54 PM
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They told me the same thing about .45ACP in 3 inch vs. 5 inch.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:55 AM
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Frankly I think they're just making stories up depending upon who you talk to on what day. If you are talking about .38 spl GDSB in a longer barrel handgun you MAY get the velocity up to what a .357 mag out of a 2" will be. Since the bullets are the same all you will have is something closer to the more powerful .357 mag in 135gr JHP SB load when shooting out of a 5 or 6 inch revolver. The .38 spl 135gr SB doesn't get a lot of expansion at the modest velocity it makes from a 2" snub anyway. As to extra penetration...well there's usually an inverse relationship between expanslion and penetration, so again it still sounds like a story.

The Speer SB 135gr in .357 mag runs about 130 fps faster than the .38 spl load.

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:15 PM
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Steve,
Where did you locate the information that the bullets are the same between the .38 and the .357?
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:14 AM
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You say Speer told you that, Really??

Well, when Speer developed that round for the NYPD they told them they could also use the same load for the few officers who still carried a 4" service revolver.

To prove my point further, the sane exact bullet is used in Speer SB .357 Magnum load which is rated @130 fps more then the .38 Special load. I highly doubt the slightly longer barrel will generate more than an additional 130 fps with the .38 Special load. The SB Speer load is just fine in a longer barrel .38 Special... (just like Steve said above)
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
Steve,
Where did you locate the information that the bullets are the same between the .38 and the .357?
If you buy Speer 135gr SB Gold Dot bullets for handloading they only offer one type, and its not specified for .38 spl or .357 mag. The data in their loading manual also doesn't specify a different .357 135gr gold dot for .38 spl vrs .357 mag.

It makes no sense for a company to load different bullet types of the same weight in their factory loads for the two calibers and not offer both types to the hand loading customer. The logical conclusion is there is only one type of .357" diameter 135gr Gold Dot bullet being produced by Speer for use in both cartridges.

An example of a manufacturer using different type bullets for the 2 cartridges is Remington which sells their brass jacketed 125gr Golden Saber bullets to hand loaders. The 2 different types, one designated for the .357 mag and the other for the .38 spl, the .38 spl bullet having a wider opening and deeper hollow than the bullet designed for the .357 mag.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:29 AM
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You say Speer told you that, Really??

Well, when Speer developed that round for the NYPD they told them they could also use the same load for the few officers who still carried a 4" service revolver.

To prove my point further, the sane exact bullet is used in Speer SB .357 Magnum load which is rated @130 fps more then the .38 Special load. I highly doubt the slightly longer barrel will generate more than an additional 130 fps with the .38 Special load. The SB Speer load is just fine in a longer barrel .38 Special... (just like Steve said above)
Here's the answer to my email to Speer:

Jim: expect over-expansion and over-penetration from the higher velocity of the 5" barrel, I would not suggest the use of the SB in barrels longer than 4".
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
Here's the answer to my email to Speer:

Jim: expect over-expansion and over-penetration from the higher velocity of the 5" barrel, I would not suggest the use of the SB in barrels longer than 4".
which is probably equivalent to: " Gee Jim, we never tested it in a 5" barrel, only 4", so I can't give you any other official answer than to just say ...."
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:16 AM
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"They recommend against it due to over expansion and over penetration."

Over expansion and over penetration sounds good to me! If it was one or the other, I would need to make a decision. I would be happy to take both.
As has been noted above, the idea that a couple of inches of extra barrel length in a .38 Spec will cause a round that just meets FBI minimum penetration in a 2 in barrel will now go through anything encountered while making too big a hole seems incredible. The new "worlds most powerful handgun"! That could save my day.

Rick
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:45 AM
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Personally, I have complete confidence in that ammo whether it be fired from a 2" or a 5" Barrel.
Regards, Pete
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:24 PM
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I've always wondered how much of these newer whizbang loads is hype & how much is real. When they say specially formulated powders to give higher velocity & less muzzle flash in snub barrels-- that part I believe, I do that handloading just by using a fast powder instead of a slower powder. But when it comes to the bullet being specially designed to open at lower snub velocities.... that's when I start smelling something. Esp in .357 bullets-- do they manufacture a special JHP bullet for 38 snub velocity, another for long-barrel 38's, and yet another for 357's? When you look at the bullet catalog, all the manufacturers just show bullet weight & configuration, NOT designed-for velocities.
I don't care for one load for practice & another for carrying. I handload an old-fangled Speer lead SWC-HP at full service power level for my own non-plus-P version of the "FBI load" for all my shooting. If I didn't handload, I'd buy the factory equivalent from Remington or whoever. I must admit that I have some whizbang JHP loads for my Ruger LCP (at about a buck a round), since IMHO the standard 380 ball ammo isn't much of a stopper & since i don't shoot it enough to want to mess with handloading for it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:18 PM
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I've always wondered how much of these newer whizbang loads is hype & how much is real. When they say specially formulated powders to give higher velocity & less muzzle flash in snub barrels-- that part I believe, I do that handloading just by using a fast powder instead of a slower powder. But when it comes to the bullet being specially designed to open at lower snub velocities.... that's when I start smelling something. Esp in .357 bullets-- do they manufacture a special JHP bullet for 38 snub velocity, another for long-barrel 38's, and yet another for 357's? When you look at the bullet catalog, all the manufacturers just show bullet weight & configuration, NOT designed-for velocities.
I don't care for one load for practice & another for carrying. I handload an old-fangled Speer lead SWC-HP at full service power level for my own non-plus-P version of the "FBI load" for all my shooting. If I didn't handload, I'd buy the factory equivalent from Remington or whoever. I must admit that I have some whizbang JHP loads for my Ruger LCP (at about a buck a round), since IMHO the standard 380 ball ammo isn't much of a stopper & since i don't shoot it enough to want to mess with handloading for it.
According to Speer their 135gr bullet was specifically designed to reliably expand at as low as 800 fps for use in a short barrel handgun where lower velocities are the normal. They do not have 2 different 135gr bullets. The same bullet is used for their SB .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum loads. That's why what the email claims makes no sense...
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:37 PM
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IMHO if it will expand at 800 out of a 38 snubby, it will likely fail & come apart at 1200 (?) out of a longer-barrelled 357 magnum. You can't have it both ways, aka "there ain't no free lunch".
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:02 PM
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IMHO if it will expand at 800 out of a 38 snubby, it will likely fail & come apart at 1200 (?) out of a longer-barrelled 357 magnum. You can't have it both ways, aka "there ain't no free lunch".
Very true. However, what's unusual about Gold Dots in general is that because they're a bonded design, they tend to be a little more forgiving about being overdriven (i.e. they won't shed weight or petals as easily) though I wouldn't exactly call their performance at hyper velocities "optimal" (they have a tendency to under penetrate). Like you, though, I'm quite happy sticking with the "old technology" LHP.

For what it's worth, the .357 iteration of the Short Barrel load is barely pushing 1000 FPS from a 2" vented test barrel according to ATK.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:51 PM
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"For what it's worth, the .357 iteration of the Short Barrel load is barely pushing 1000 FPS from a 2" vented test barrel according to ATK."

Which is likely about what the .38 plus P version would get out of a 5 in barrel.
When it comes to terminal ballistics, the bullet likely doesn't care how it got up to speed!

Rick.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:19 PM
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I've shot a lot of these.I'll have to agree that they'll be fine from the longer barrel. They are a bonded bullet and even if they "over expand" (didn't know there was such a thing) they won't break up. Heavy enough for the desired penetration too.
They work fine in a custom tuned Mod.10 HB for me.It's a 4 inch,but shouldn't make that much difference.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:12 PM
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After reading through this interesting thread I emailed Speer again and this is what I came away with. The .38 +p and 357 are both below 1000FPS with the 135 SB bullet out of a 2" barrel. The 38+P with the 125 hits 945 out of a 4" and the 357 out of a 4" hits 1450. If you drive the 135 grain Gold Dot bullet too fast the petals bend back against the bullet which they call "over-expansion" and the bullet over-penetrates much like a FMJ. This is the reason they do not recommend the SB load in barrels over 4". I think a lot of the misunderstanding was with the terminology. I wouldn't call that over-expansion but Speer does. After it's all said and done, I plan to load the 5" with 125 Gr Personal Protection and the snubs with 135 Gr SB. Thanks for all the input. This forum is always interesting.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:52 PM
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After reading through this interesting thread I emailed Speer again and this is what I came away with. The .38 +p and 357 are both below 1000FPS with the 135 SB bullet out of a 2" barrel. The 38+P with the 125 hits 945 out of a 4" and the 357 out of a 4" hits 1450....
Speer says their 357 load does 1450 fps out of a 4" but less than 1000 from a 2"? It loses over 450 fps (over 30 percent)? I am sceptical (to say the least).
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:22 AM
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I have a Speer LE poster they put out a year or two ago, comparing the various calibers penetration results in each of the FBI test categories and they show the 38 135+P out of a SW640 as having a velocity of 860 fps while the 125gr 357 Mag out of a M65 (no bbl length) is clocked at 1189 - presuming the 65 is a 3" I don't see how they claim 1450 from a 4".
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:56 PM
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Speer says their 357 load does 1450 fps out of a 4" but less than 1000 from a 2"? It loses over 450 fps (over 30 percent)? I am sceptical (to say the least).
You're reading the numbers a little off. They said the Short Barrel 135gr load does just under 1,000 fps from a 2" barrel and their "normal" 125gr load does 1,450 from a 4" barrel. both rounds are very different. The short barrel load is intentionally designed to limit the velocities because the ammo is meant for those 12oz Airlite J frames S&W is making.

They are talking you about 2 different loads...
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:43 PM
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You say Speer told you that, Really??

Well, when Speer developed that round for the NYPD they told them they could also use the same load for the few officers who still carried a 4" service revolver.

To prove my point further, the sane exact bullet is used in Speer SB .357 Magnum load which is rated @130 fps more then the .38 Special load. I highly doubt the slightly longer barrel will generate more than an additional 130 fps with the .38 Special load. The SB Speer load is just fine in a longer barrel .38 Special... (just like Steve said above)
I wouldn't so sure the bullet is exactly the same, unless a credible source at Speer said so. Back when Federal was loading the 125 gr Nyclad in standard and +P versions, the bullets looked identical but Federal told me the +P version had slightly more antimony to prevent over-expansion. I thought that was pretty funny, because out of my 2" barrel the standard velocity stuff actually clocked slightly faster than the +P. Lot-to-lot variations, and all that.

But I agree with your conclusion that the short barrel rounds would be ok in a 4" gun. First, because I've heard the same story as you about NYPD and the 4" barrels. Second, because the problem with pistol bullets, especially at .38 velocities, is usually UNDER-expansion, not over expansion. And finally, Speer has stated that "too much" velocity on a GD bullet can cause the front to expand so much that it sheers off as a ring, and the base continues to penetrate. That's about the same principal as the Nosler Partition bullets, and they've proven to work well on a wide variety of game sizes.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:52 AM
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The 135gr+p load will be fine out of a 5 inch barrel. Yes it is designed to work (penetrate and expand) from a snub, but it will also handle the small velocity increse that is from a 4 or 6 inch barrel.

Dont confuse this load with the terrible 125gr loads in .38spec and .357mag. Nobody should use those in anything. Speer, just like every other manufacturer puts out crappy bullets because bad gunwriters and old wives tales still sell ammo.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:57 AM
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Almost forgot, that "Cody" person that supposedly answers Speer ammo, yeah, he doesnt know what he's babbling about. His answers change from email to email. Your best bet is to follow Dr Gary K Roberts's work, or contact either the ammo designer, or the LE side of your favorite ammo maker. Anybody that quotes muzzle energy (to include ft/lbs) or stopping power should immeadiately be discounted.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:47 AM
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Speer, just like every other manufacturer puts out crappy bullets because bad gunwriters and old wives tales still sell ammo.
Which, when you think about it, is rather ironic considering that the now defunct IWBA turned out to be better "bullet salesmen" than Mssrs. Marshall and Sanow could ever hope to be.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:25 AM
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The 135gr+p load will be fine out of a 5 inch barrel. Yes it is designed to work (penetrate and expand) from a snub, but it will also handle the small velocity increse that is from a 4 or 6 inch barrel.

Dont confuse this load with the terrible 125gr loads in .38spec and .357mag. Nobody should use those in anything. Speer, just like every other manufacturer puts out crappy bullets because bad gunwriters and old wives tales still sell ammo.
What facts are you basing your opinion on?
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:07 PM
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What facts are you basing your opinion on?
I'll answer for him and take it a step further by actually providing resources.

http://le.atk.com/downloads/catalogs/GoldDotPoster.pdf

If you look at the bare gelatin data from the 135 gr. SB load, the petals on the expanded bullet haven't fully peeled back. It's within the realm of possibility that they wouldn't fold back excessively at the velocities obtained from 3" barrels and up, but since I don't have photos of any actual recovered bullets or data on this load fired from longer barrels, I really can't say for sure. Since the Gold Dot is an electrochemically bonded design, chances are it will probably hold together pretty well at those higher velocities when you look at the retained weight data for that load fired through intermediate barriers, i.e. it won't readily shed its petals or jacket.

As for the "godawful" 125 gr. .38/.357 load, it'll do the job and penetrate at least 12" of gelatin, although it tends to not perform as well across the board in expansion when it must first pass through intermediate barriers. As a private citizen, I doubt I'll ever have to shoot a perpetrator through common building or automotive materials, but that round's expansion performance through heavy clothing concerns me. At lower .38 Special +P velocities, I doubt that same bullet would open at all and perform more like a FMJ. Retained weights for the 125 gr. Gold Dot, however, are quite exceptional with the sole exception of the windshield glass results, so they'll more likely than not hold together quite well.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:12 AM
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Please dont answer for me.

My comments regarding the 135gr+P load are based off the fact that , as stated before, the .38special load and .357mag load use the same bullet. A 5 inch barrel isnt going to increase the velocity of the .38special load that much over the .357mag load.

As for my comments regarding the 125gr Speer Gold Dot in both .38spec and .357 magnum, they have been shown to have poor performance in lab testing. Neither load expands after encountering the stand soft intermediate barrier testig. Neither expand reliably when bare ordnance gelatin is encountered. The barrel length with either load doesnt matter either. That said the 125gr+p in .38spec does work better than the .357mag version, but that still isnt exactly a glowing statement.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:15 AM
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Which, when you think about it, is rather ironic considering that the now defunct IWBA turned out to be better "bullet salesmen" than Mssrs. Marshall and Sanow could ever hope to be.
Please elaborate...
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:11 AM
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Gearhead Jim,
The 135gr bullet Speer uses in their short barrel .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum ammo is the same exact bullet. Just email Speer and ask them. Also, check their bullet site and you will see there is only one .357" 135gr bullet offered as a component. If there were two 135gr bullets they would offer both as they do with some of their other bullets.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:07 PM
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Please dont answer for me.
Why not?

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My comments regarding the 135gr+P load are based off the fact that , as stated before, the .38special load and .357mag load use the same bullet. A 5 inch barrel isnt going to increase the velocity of the .38special load that much over the .357mag load.
Yes, both 53921 and 29317 utilize the same exact bullet, but at different velocities. According to ATK's own data, the latter clocks an additional 130 FPS from the muzzle of a 2" vented test barrel.

Do you have any test data showing what kind of velocity or expansion we can expect from either load when fired from a service length barrel? If not, statements such as "a 5 inch barrel isnt going to increase the velocity of the .38special load that much over the .357mag load" are nothing more than conjecture.


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As for my comments regarding the 125gr Speer Gold Dot in both .38spec and .357 magnum, they have been shown to have poor performance in lab testing.
Whose "lab testing" are you talking about? Where can we find it?

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Neither load expands after encountering the stand soft intermediate barrier testig. Neither expand reliably when bare ordnance gelatin is encountered. The barrel length with either load doesnt matter either.
Really? Why is that? Who performed these tests? Where can we find the data for them? What protocols did they use?

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That said the 125gr+p in .38spec does work better than the .357mag version, but that still isnt exactly a glowing statement.
What evidence do you base that on, if you don't mind me asking?

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Please elaborate...
I would, but I want to keep things civil and not get a ding from the moderators.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:41 PM
Florida J Frame Florida J Frame is offline
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Thanks CoMF, I started a similar post but decided to just let it go. So far, other then the information I received from Speer that the SB is intended for 2" barrels and would be OK in a 4" but nothing longer, is the only information in this thread that I can substantiate. Everything else is conjecture or opinion. I have not found anything with testing to back it up that shows the 135 SB will function as advertised in a 5" barrel. I also have not found anything negative about the 125 gr bullet unless you try to shoot through a barrier which might even be an advantage in a HD situation. It's been an interesting thread with a lot of opinions expressed but I still think I'll use the 125 in the 5" and the SB in my snubs as per Speer's recommendation.
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  #32  
Old 09-30-2012, 02:52 PM
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Florida,

No problem, and I'm glad that the info I posted was helpful.
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  #33  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
I still think I'll use the 125 in the 5" and the SB in my snubs as per Speer's recommendation.
I think that's a fine plan. Besides, there are other factors that can be as important. Factors like accuracy in a particular gun and recoil (in lightweight guns) are just as important, in my opinion, as expansion and penetration.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:32 PM
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Gearhead Jim,
The 135gr bullet Speer uses in their short barrel .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum ammo is the same exact bullet. Just email Speer and ask them. Also, check their bullet site and you will see there is only one .357" 135gr bullet offered as a component. If there were two 135gr bullets they would offer both as they do with some of their other bullets.
I don't know anything about the short barrels .38/.357 stuff. But. Have you compared them? Or emailed them? Speer only lists one GD bullet available for the .357Sig. Their loaded .357Sig ammo has at least 2 different 125 grain GD bullets. What's available in component form doesn't necessarily correspond with what they use in their ammunition.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:39 PM
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I don't know anything about the short barrels .38/.357 stuff. But. Have you compared them? Or emailed them? Speer only lists one GD bullet available for the .357Sig. Their loaded .357Sig ammo has at least 2 different 125 grain GD bullets. What's available in component form doesn't necessarily correspond with what they use in their ammunition.
Believe what you want. I'm not going to keep repeating myself. Email Speer and find out for yourself. It's really the only way to find out for sure. Then come back and tell us Speer told you they are the same bullet.
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  #36  
Old 11-05-2012, 02:25 AM
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I asked them about the 135Gr SB bullet and they told me that it was designed for "Short Barrel" guns with velositys just over 1,000fps to 800fps,for best results.
At higher velositys the bullet might have a tendancy to seperate or have the copper pedals break off. If velositys are over 1,000fps they said the 125 Gold Dot would be the correct bullet to use,due to the heavier construction makeup.
Note:
I tried a 125 GD in my snuby at "Nyclad" velositys, this one was doing 836fps at 8 feet and went through 3 water jugs and 3/4" into a partical board. Picture to follow.......

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 11-05-2012 at 02:29 AM.
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  #37  
Old 11-05-2012, 05:20 AM
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Would this be a good bear load with my 8-3/8" barrel L-frame? Do I have to worry about top strap flame cutting?
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:39 AM
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..."a good bear load or strap flame cutting load"

I was surprised that the 125 GDot did not even start to open up,maybe just a little at that modest velosity. I did not post it but the Sierra 110 JHC went through 4 Jugs of water and kept on going...........I did not get to check out that bullet !! Thats when I added the partical board and another jug,behind it................Shooting at 4,500 feet elevation
must be different than sea level test?? !!
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  #39  
Old 11-07-2012, 11:20 AM
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Would this be a good bear load with my 8-3/8" barrel L-frame? Do I have to worry about top strap flame cutting?
You have them little black bears back there, so it might be ok for baby bear, just keep an eye open for mamma bear and then whip out the 44
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  #40  
Old 03-09-2017, 12:28 PM
Lightfoot30 Lightfoot30 is offline
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Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
After reading through this interesting thread I emailed Speer again and this is what I came away with. The .38 +p and 357 are both below 1000FPS with the 135 SB bullet out of a 2" barrel. The 38+P with the 125 hits 945 out of a 4" and the 357 out of a 4" hits 1450. If you drive the 135 grain Gold Dot bullet too fast the petals bend back against the bullet which they call "over-expansion" and the bullet over-penetrates much like a FMJ. This is the reason they do not recommend the SB load in barrels over 4". I think a lot of the misunderstanding was with the terminology. I wouldn't call that over-expansion but Speer does. After it's all said and done, I plan to load the 5" with 125 Gr Personal Protection and the snubs with 135 Gr SB. Thanks for all the input. This forum is always interesting.
So, the "over expansion" actually results in overall smaller diameter when the petals bend too far back, creating the smaller hole, thus, leading to the "OVER Penetration" they talk about when fired thru the (higher velocity) longer barrels.

Thanks, that explanation clears up the confusion about the terminology used by Speer.
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  #41  
Old 03-09-2017, 01:44 PM
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You do realize this thread is 5 years old, right?

I suggest you write Speer and ask them. As you can see from this old thread there is no agreement between all the "Internet Experts!"
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