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  #1  
Old 02-28-2009, 07:06 AM
JohnK JohnK is offline
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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A friend has generously given me four boxes of the above. It was police issue with some sister law enforcement agencies.

Anyway, how are they rated in the scheme of things.

I routinely carry the old 125 gr. Nyclad standard pressure 125 gr. ammo in my snubs, wonder if this +P+ is a bit much for the J frames.

Expansion out of 3-4" K frame guns ?

I would appreciate you opinions.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:06 AM
JohnK JohnK is offline
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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A friend has generously given me four boxes of the above. It was police issue with some sister law enforcement agencies.

Anyway, how are they rated in the scheme of things.

I routinely carry the old 125 gr. Nyclad standard pressure 125 gr. ammo in my snubs, wonder if this +P+ is a bit much for the J frames.

Expansion out of 3-4" K frame guns ?

I would appreciate you opinions.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:32 AM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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John, IIRC that is a really poorly executed load. As I recollect, it is a +P+ load that chrono's at about standard pressure velocities. It seems that Federal must have used a powder that is too fast for that application. I'm anticipating what others here know (if I'm wrong or not, but I'm 95% certain). If I'm right I would just burn it up as range ammo in a .357 revolver and be done with it. There is much better ammo (like your Nyclads) available.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:40 AM
JohnK JohnK is offline
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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I suspected that.

The one chronograph check I found gave about 920 fps out of a 4" barrel. Yawn.

Perhaps Federal just added the +P+ moniker to sell it to Law Enforcement.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:40 AM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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I got a bunch of these at a really low price. There's someone here (Brad Michael? ) who assured me that the pressures for this round do, in fact, briefly encroach above +P pressures. It was, after all, designed to be used in the Federales' K-frame .357 Magnums, so I wouldn't consider this incursion into greater-than-average-.38-Spl-pressures to be a design flaw - it wasn't supposed to be used in lightweight personal protection guns (though it seems to work just fine in mine ).



Flop-Shank is right about it not being an amazing performer, though: I get just under 900 fps with this stuff from my 1 7/8" revolvers (albeit with very low flash and with some of the smallest deviations I've ever clocked with factory handgun ammo). It's quite accurate. Never having shot a person with it, I can't vouch for its penetration or expansion characteristics. I'd note that the expansions seem to be iffy across the board in the hollowpoint shootings I've seen, so I always take manufacturers' claims on such with a big grain of salt. I wouldn't think this round would overpenetrate, though, which is a lot more important to me - and I'd think it would be more liable to penetrate effectively in the adverse situations often encountered in the real world than would a lighter-weight bullet.



Now, I have a different take than he does on the stuff's usefulness, however. I note that this was created immediately after the big FBI thrust to determine what a round needed to do and to implement that across the board in its guns. Based on that and the clear quality control utilized by Federal in making them, I would feel secure that these rounds would work just fine against people out of the guns for which they were designed. I have them in my speedloaders for my J- and D- frames. I would certainly rather carry the Federal 147-gr load than your 125-gr Nyclads.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:01 AM
WR Moore WR Moore is online now
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The 9mm version of that bullet expands quite well-at least in tissue simulants. The velocities quoted are in the ballpark for the 9mm standard pressure load. I'd expect the load to perform about as well as the 9mm version.

Erichs brought up a very important point about +P+ .38 loads. They were ALL intended to be used in .357 Magnum guns. The whole point of the exercise was to avoid use of ammunition with the dreaded "Magnum" headstamp. This was a real big deal at the time with ACLU (and fellow travelers) who wailed about cruel and unusual punishment when Magnum ammo was used.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2009, 09:04 AM
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I've done some testing of the HydraShoks over the Years and these were the only bullets I ever found that would expand when fired into nothing but water! They also had the best performance in the "Did they stay together" test after being fired through a vehicle door or window.

All my carry loads are of the HydraShok variety except for my .45 Colt but that's because Federal doesn't offer this bullet in that caliber.
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2009, 07:49 AM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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I used to carry that ammo as a duty load in my trusty Model 36 backup gun. It was the standard .38 Special load when I came into the Bureau in 1991, and remained so until revolvers were no longer allowed for carry around 2003.

I don't know anything about the pressure of the load. I know on paper its ballistics aren't anything to write home about. According to Federal's website here it does 950 fps out of a four inch vented test barrel. I don't know why it got the +P+ label. Maybe marketing, maybe some liability concern. I know the Bureau didn't care what was on the headstamp. There is a long history of the Bureau carrying .38 Specials in .357 Magnum revolvers, with .357 Magnum ammo maintained in the office and issued out with ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) approval.

I do know tons of this ammo was fired in J frame Smiths during qualifications. We had wadcutters for practice, but they are a bitch to reload with in speedloaders, so we qualified with the good stuff. My old Chief Special is as tight as ever.

This was one of the first loads developed under the ammunition protocol still in use today. As has been discussed here before, the Bureau uses ammo that will hit the magic 12" mark in gelatin after passing through a variety of materials. This one does it in spades. That is fine with me. I'm firmly in Erich's camp regarding the importance of penetration.

I know guys who have killed people with this load. Since they put their shots where they were supposed to, pretty much anything would have worked as well.

I also know a tribal cop who regularly kills deer with it out of a lever action Marlin. It met the main criteria he was looking for in a hunting load - it was free.
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2009, 08:24 AM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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The J frame should handle them just fine.
Elmer Keith stated in "Sixguns" that the J frame was capable of handling 38-44 ammunition, which operates at near 357 Magnum velocities.
He fired a whole 500 round case of it through a J frame, then went through it measuring all tolerances. He concluded no harm was done. J frames are tougher than people give them credit for.

The 147 +P+ is not the best 38 round, but it is not bad either. I have my doubts if it will expand from a snub. The Remington 158 lead hollowpoint will expand and it is reliable.
The FBI should have kept on using the 158 lead hollowpoint.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:34 AM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sigp220.45:
As has been discussed here before, the Bureau uses ammo that will hit the magic 12" mark in gelatin after passing through a variety of materials. This one does it in spades. That is fine with me. I'm firmly in Erich's camp regarding the importance of penetration.
I like at least 12" of penetration too, but there are plenty of loads in that caliber in a variety of weights that will penetrate just as well, at lower pressures and be as good, or more reliable expanders. I would use the Remington version of the FBI load, Corbon 110 gr. DPX, Corbon 110 gr. JHP or Speer SB .38+P before that Federal load, unless the 147 +P+ demonstrated a real advantage in POI and/or accuracy. If you're cheap like the tribal cop mentioned above, or have confidence in the stuff, carry it. I would if I couldn't find anything better, but being a handloader I would load up some Remington 125 gr. SJHPs with hot .38 +P data and feel better armed.
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:08 PM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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It was the issued ammo for S&W Models 640, and later 640-1, that were issued as backup by US Treasury Dept in the 1990's.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:18 AM
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By BreakerDan

Quote:
The 147 +P+ is not the best 38 round, but it is not bad either. I have my doubts if it will expand from a snub. The Remington 158 lead hollowpoint will expand and it is reliable.
The FBI should have kept on using the 158 lead hollowpoint.
While I will agree that the 158 grain lead hollowpoint is a good load, the FBI has been very specific in what it requires. While the average citizen may never consider it, the FBI places great emphasis on penetration after passing through barriers. The worst barrier being windshield glass. The same jacket that may inhibit expansion, serves well as a means of holding the bullet together once it hits a tough barrier. If the threat is behind a barrier, a tougher bullet that stays in one piece is better than a softer one that goes to pieces or deforms and goes off in another direction. The 147 grain Hydra Shok +P+ load was designed to meet what the FBI needed in a variety of situations and in a variety of firearms.

The FBI tests are and always have been very impartial. The requirements have always been clearly stated and rounds either passed or failed. In addition, there has certainly been no "brand loyalty" with the FBI as contracts for service ammunition have been awarded to all of the major brands at one time or another since the tests were started. In 40 caliber ammunition alone, The FBI has issued 165 grain Federal Hydra Shok, 165 grain Speer Gold Dot, and most recently the Winchester 180 grain bonded SXT or whatever letters Winchester is using this week to avoid saying Black Talon.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:11 PM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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I bought a bunch back when Cheaper Than Dirt was selling it for $17 a box. I've found it to be extremely accurate out of my 4" M64.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:22 AM
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This is the load I plan on using when I get my 60 Pro. I was lucky enough to walk into a gun shop 4-5 years ago and asked the guy how much a box and he said $5 walked out with a case. Regret not buying the last 2 cases.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:21 AM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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Wow, I paid twice that!
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:48 AM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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Quote:
Wow, I paid twice that! Wink
And I paid five bucks less!
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:47 PM
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Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special Federal 147 Gr. +P+ Hydra-Shok .38 Special  
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Oooo! The most unkindest cut of all!
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357 magnum, 640, chronograph, colt, headstamp, j frame, k frame, k-frame, remington, snubnose, winchester

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