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  #1  
Old 04-08-2017, 01:24 PM
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Shooting Illustrated | Federal Premium Introduces .38 Spl. +P HST Micro Ammo

Federal .38 Special +P HST Micro Self-Defense Ammo: Coming to the Range | Range365

Interesting.

Has anyone seen this yet?

Or, has anyone seen -any- Federal HST for .38 special yet?

Or have they not loaded their HST to this caliber as of this date?
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:38 PM
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This is the first .38 Special HST loading that Federal has offerred, AFAIK. I have not seen it, but then again I have not been looking for it. At $31/20rnd box MSRP, I likely won't so long as ammo sellers keep selling Speer 135gr SB-GDHP for around $35/50rnd box (+/- $5/box). Plus the Speer load has a solid track record in actual shootings. Obviously, being new, the .38 HST has no track record.

The biggest downside I can see to the .38 HST is the deep bullet seating. It should work fine as an in-chamber load, but I wouldn't want to try doing speed reloads with it. Another reason I like the Speer SB-GDHP is the rounded nose makes it easier to reload.

However, given how well HST performs in other calibers, and has a proven track record in actual shootings in most of those other calibers, I would presume that the .38 Special HST would likely be at least an adequate performer.

But for now I'll stick with the Speer SB-GDHP.
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:04 PM
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With the massive expansions hst supplies, i bet it will be just like the 380 load that has inadequate penetration
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:03 PM
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In the service calibers, HST generally provides a good balance between expansion and penetration. I keep 147gr HST in my Beretta 92FS.

I recall the .380 HST not performing well, but I couldn't remember the reason why. Inadequate penetration seems likely.

While I wouldn't judge a round's performance solely on ballistic gel performance, I would be interested to see what the .38 HST can do in gel. Gel performance wasn't mentioned in either article mentioned in the OP.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:28 PM
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At $31/20rnd box MSRP, I likely won't..........

The biggest downside I can see to the .38 HST is the deep bullet seating. It should work fine as an in-chamber load, but I wouldn't want to try doing speed reloads with it.
These were my first and second thoughts, in that order.

Is there any actual fact behind the reasoning to seat that bullet so deep being what they are saying it to be- namely, uniform powder ignition?

And if so, my thought on this was, why didn't they just use a longer (bigger, and heavier) bullet and seat that a little deeper, or maybe even use a wad in the case, instead of making it look like a Nagant revolver cartridge?

As for performance, we shall see.

I can't find any gello tests of it myself.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:32 PM
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I recall the .380 HST not performing well, but I couldn't remember the reason why. Inadequate penetration seems likely.
The HST suffered from failure to expand across the board in the lucky gunner .380 test.

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self...-tests/#380ACP

Is it just me, or does anyone else here think that hardball is still the way to go with .380, for the most part, especially in the itty bitty automatics?
Not just because of the extremely erratic performance of JHP's in this caliber, but for sheer reliability, I like to keep the hottest round nosed FMJ I can find, in my little P3AT.
Right now its got Fiocchi ball in it.

In any case, .38 special is, IMHO, a more capable caliber then the .380, and if done right, I don't see why the HST loading wouldn't be a good one.

But it sure is off to a .....weird..... start.

Last edited by BoogersXDm; 04-08-2017 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BoogersXDm View Post
The HST suffered from failure to expand across the board in the lucky gunner .380 test.

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self...-tests/#380ACP

Is it just me, or does anyone else here think that hardball is still the way to go with .380, for the most part, especially in the itty bitty automatics?
Not just because of the extremely erratic performance of JHP's in this caliber, but for sheer reliability, I like to keep the hottest round nosed FMJ I can find, in my little P3AT.
Right now its got Fiocchi ball in it.

In any case, .38 special is, IMHO, a more capable caliber then the .380, and if done right, I don't see why the HST loading wouldn't be a good one.

But it sure is off to a .....weird..... start.
Just my opinion, but with .380 I'd still prefer a good, deep pentrating JHP than FMJ. Rounds using the 90gr XTP bullet tend to perform well in terms of penetration. The Speer Gold Dot also seems to do well. My reasoning is that the open mouth of a JHP is more likely to actually cut and tear tissue, i.e. a "cookie cutter" effect, than FMJ, even if it doesn't expand. A FMJ will penetrate deeper, but it will stretch the tissue before breaking through it. After the bullet's passed through, the elastic nature of tissue will often cause it to spring back, leaving a hole that's actually smaller than the bullet's diameter. I'm not sure if a flatnosed FMJ would do much better than a roundnosed FMJ.

This is, of course, presuming the JHP round is reliable in the gun. I would prefer to find a gun/JHP combo that worked reliably than just default to FMJ, if at all possible. But I would rank reliability and shootability higher than terminal performance, so I wouldn't rule out using FMJ in .380, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

I know there are many people, however, who would disagree with me and stick with FMJ in .380s. To each their own.
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2017, 06:55 PM
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This is great news to hear, sort of. I have been wanting Federal to come out with 38spl and more so 357mag HST rounds. I would love to be able to buy just the bullets too for making my own.

However, this "micro" gimmick will not get my dollars. If they would have made a normal 38spl+P round, I may be interested. This could be baby steps though with a regular round to follow, and hopefully a 357mag round which is what I'm really after.

I wouldn't use their 380 HST round to guess what other calibers will perform like. The use of 380 for defense doesn't make sense to me when much better options are available without sacrificing anything. To each their own though.

Everyone just loves Speer and they do have a good track record, but when I tested Gold Dots vs. HSTs in 9mm+P, the HST won hands down. The GDs were actually rather disappointing with sporadic expansion, while the HST never failed to fully expand. This was 6 years ago, so maybe GDs have gotten better. Given the choice though, I will take HST every time.

So until they get a regular revolver round on the market, I will stick with my 140gr XTP load for 357mag, and Hydra-Shok +P in 38spl.
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2017, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
Just my opinion, but with .380 I'd still prefer a good, deep pentrating JHP than FMJ. Rounds using the 90gr XTP bullet tend to perform well in terms of penetration. The Speer Gold Dot also seems to do well. My reasoning is that the open mouth of a JHP is more likely to actually cut and tear tissue, i.e. a "cookie cutter" effect, than FMJ, even if it doesn't expand. A FMJ will penetrate deeper, but it will stretch the tissue before breaking through it. After the bullet's passed through, the elastic nature of tissue will often cause it to spring back, leaving a hole that's actually smaller than the bullet's diameter. I'm not sure if a flatnosed FMJ would do much better than a roundnosed FMJ.

This is, of course, presuming the JHP round is reliable in the gun. I would prefer to find a gun/JHP combo that worked reliably than just default to FMJ, if at all possible. But I would rank reliability and shootability higher than terminal performance, so I wouldn't rule out using FMJ in .380, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

I know there are many people, however, who would disagree with me and stick with FMJ in .380s. To each their own.
If it were one of the larger sized .380's I'd be using the best JHP I could get, but in the little pocket sized guns that are meant for close quarters situations with short barrels and very little margin for error in their short action cycles, I just feel that FMJ is the way to go (even if the gun does cycle reliably on the range with JHP). I especially favor the round nose FMJ in the tiny guns, despite the agreed upon fact that these don't give the best wounding profiles- its all about ensuring reliability.

Doesn't matter what your loaded with if the gun goes click not bang, and for one of these little guns that are meant for desperate situations, that would be very bad.

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  #10  
Old 04-08-2017, 08:43 PM
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I wish Federal would have done an updated version of their older 147 gr +P+ Hydra-Shok loading using a tweaked 147 gr HST.
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  #11  
Old 04-09-2017, 12:31 PM
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I wish Federal would have done an updated version of their older 147 gr +P+ Hydra-Shok loading using a tweaked 147 gr HST.
+p+ is a whole lot of pop for a snubnose, which is what they are obviously trying to market their first take on the HST for in .38 Special.

Why not a 158gr +p.

And why this extreme bullet setback, I've read here and there that because .38 special was once a black powder case that the volume of smokeless powder takes up alot less room in it, it doesn't always provide the most consistent burn or whatever.

Is this true?

And what would be wrong with putting a sort of wad in the case then, to keep the powder down close to the primer?

I've never rolled my own ammo, and am not an ammo historian or anything, so these are just random musings.....

But if anyone can set me straight?
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2017, 01:34 PM
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It's possible that they're using a fast powder for low recoil and clean burn and need to set the bullet down deeper. Hard to say.
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Old 04-10-2017, 04:51 AM
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So much time and energy wasted on trying to pick the perfect bullet for SD. I have said it so many times already but I will keep saying it. The best bullet in the world will do you no good unless you hit you shoot at. Find a load that is accurate in your gun and go with it!
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:22 PM
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So much time and energy wasted on trying to pick the perfect bullet for SD. I have said it so many times already but I will keep saying it. The best bullet in the world will do you no good unless you hit you shoot at. Find a load that is accurate in your gun and go with it!
Yes, but please excuse me, I'm sort of a "bullet geek", so its really not a waste of my time when its a fun thing to think about.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:33 PM
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Fair enough, if it's fun go with it...
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:19 PM
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Is this ammo available yet? Haven't seen it listed for sale anywhere??
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:28 PM
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Now if Federal had designed that 130 gr 38 special HST with some
aluminum inside of it, to be able to make it longer, so it would stick
out of the case , at least like a 125gr JHP..............

it might be a winner?

That flush look, just is not my cup of tea for a SD load, that will
pass all the drills..........
or will it?
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
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Is this ammo available yet? Haven't seen it listed for sale anywhere??
I don't believe its available yet.


Quote:
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Now if Federal had designed that 130 gr 38 special HST with some aluminum inside of it, to be able to make it longer, so it would stick out of the case , at least like a 125gr JHP..............
Couldn't they just use a paper wad to keep the powder down close to the primer or something?

Perhaps drop the wad down on top of the powder and hold it in place in the case with some wax or glue or something?

Is this even possible?

Quote:
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That flush look, just is not my cup of tea for a SD load, that will
pass all the drills..........
or will it?
It looks like it would NOT be conducive to rapid reloading of a defensive revolver, but I suppose since some people use wadcutters, maybe its not as big a deal as I'm making out of it?

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Fair enough, if it's fun go with it...

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Old 04-13-2017, 02:49 PM
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Well, if just 5-6 shots are enough for the job............ fine.

I just don't see LE using it until the bugs are cleaned out.
It only takes one strike in this ball game !!
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
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This is the first .38 Special HST loading that Federal has offerred, AFAIK. I have not seen it, but then again I have not been looking for it. At $31/20rnd box MSRP, I likely won't so long as ammo sellers keep selling Speer 135gr SB-GDHP for around $35/50rnd box (+/- $5/box). Plus the Speer load has a solid track record in actual shootings. Obviously, being new, the .38 HST has no track record.

The biggest downside I can see to the .38 HST is the deep bullet seating. It should work fine as an in-chamber load, but I wouldn't want to try doing speed reloads with it. Another reason I like the Speer SB-GDHP is the rounded nose makes it easier to reload.

However, given how well HST performs in other calibers, and has a proven track record in actual shootings in most of those other calibers, I would presume that the .38 Special HST would likely be at least an adequate performer.

But for now I'll stick with the Speer SB-GDHP.
If the price comes down, use it for a carry load but Gold Dots for a quicker reload. I inherited a 4in .32 S&W Long 31-1 that I bought Buffalo Bore hard cast wadcutters for penetration and Magtech JHP for quicker reloads. The hollow point, even if it doesn't expand, is some what flat and should penetrate fairly deep at 800 fps....hopefully. I never carry the gun, but any gun I own has to have a defensive loading.
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Old 06-11-2017, 05:30 PM
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Since I usually use wadcutters in my J-frames, this HST in .38 Special will have to be tested.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:27 PM
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So no one has found a box yet..................?

Bummer.


We need pictures !!!!!
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Old 06-18-2017, 04:18 PM
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Now everyone recall a non-LEO gunfight where someone had to reload a J-frame or any other snubbie. Not relevant to be frank. That's merely picking fly **** out of pepper. Your average Ralph CCW isn't going to engage in a "toe to toe" shootout with the Sinaloa Cartel at the local Piggly Wiggly.

It's a brilliant idea to prevent bullet "jump" in ultra lightweight revolvers and I for one cannot wait to see denim/gel test results. I think it's going to be a winner.

The "Great Ammo Panic" has passed and manufs. can now concentrate on advancing technology via innovative moves such as this. Let's see how this one pans out & applaud Federal for at least not writing the .38 Spcl. off.
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Old 06-18-2017, 04:58 PM
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Now everyone recall a non-LEO gunfight where someone had to reload a J-frame or any other snubbie. Not relevant to be frank. That's merely picking fly **** out of pepper. Your average Ralph CCW isn't going to engage in a "toe to toe" shootout with the Sinaloa Cartel at the local Piggly Wiggly.
True, but if I am forced to defend myself, I don't want to be waiting around for the police with an empty gun. 911 response times in my town average 9 minutes. While the need to perform a lightning fast reload in the middle of a gunfight is practically nil, I'd still rather be able to reload my gun as quickly and fumble-free as possible.
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Old 06-18-2017, 05:55 PM
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I have just had a case of this ammo delivered. It will be the end of the week before I can chronograph the stuff in my 2" & 3" 38's. I did test fire it, and it's shooting to point of aim in both barrel lengths in my M337, M642 & 3" Colt at 15 yards.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:08 AM
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True, but if I am forced to defend myself, I don't want to be waiting around for the police with an empty gun. 911 response times in my town average 9 minutes. While the need to perform a lightning fast reload in the middle of a gunfight is practically nil, I'd still rather be able to reload my gun as quickly and fumble-free as possible.
Again, you're panicking about something that in all reality will never happen. It's like a Baptist learning Latin "just in case" they are elected Pope. To be frank, there should be little problem loading these correctly from Speed Strips as no one smart uses crappy HKS loaders anyway.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:16 AM
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At a dollar-and-a-half a round, I'll not be buying any very soon.

Larry
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:25 AM
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Again, you're panicking about something that in all reality will never happen. It's like a Baptist learning Latin "just in case" they are elected Pope. To be frank, there should be little problem loading these correctly from Speed Strips as no one smart uses crappy HKS loaders anyway.
Thank you for sharing. Have a nice day.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by F224 View Post
I have just had a case of this ammo delivered. It will be the end of the week before I can chronograph the stuff in my 2" & 3" 38's. I did test fire it, and it's shooting to point of aim in both barrel lengths in my M337, M642 & 3" Colt at 15 yards.
Where did you find this, and how much did a case cost?
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  #30  
Old 06-23-2017, 10:07 PM
F224 F224 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete950 View Post
Where did you find this, and how much did a case cost?
Midway-USA, back ordered sometime ago and it just showed up recently. About $200 for 200/ rounds.
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  #31  
Old 06-24-2017, 12:00 PM
Kifaru Kifaru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F224 View Post
Midway-USA, back ordered sometime ago and it just showed up recently. About $200 for 200/ rounds.
That's not bad for SD ammo. I would be very interested to read your conclusions and thoughts about this ammo. I read somewhere that all the extra space afforded by the originally black-powder case causes inconsistent powder burn in modern ammo. And the orientation of the powder charge can be greatly affected by position: ie. firing downward, etc. Thus the reasoning behind the wadcutter-like setback.

Whatever the outcome, all of this experimentation bodes well for the continued viability of the snubby .38 as a self-defense option.
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  #32  
Old 06-25-2017, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F224 View Post
I have just had a case of this ammo delivered. It will be the end of the week before I can chronograph the stuff in my 2" & 3" 38's. I did test fire it, and it's shooting to point of aim in both barrel lengths in my M337, M642 & 3" Colt at 15 yards.
Looking forward to the chrono info!!
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  #33  
Old 06-25-2017, 07:03 PM
ddixie884 ddixie884 is offline
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Me too.....................
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  #34  
Old 06-25-2017, 07:40 PM
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If no gel...
or wet pack....

at least a water melon test !!
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