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Old 02-24-2016, 08:46 PM
Paper Maker Paper Maker is offline
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Default 442 and low recoil ammo for recoil sensitive

Just wondering what everyone's experience has been that has tried the low recoil self-defense 38 special ammo. Can you tell much of a difference. I am trying to find something that my wife feels comfortable and confident with. I know Hornady makes a 38 special LITE load. Any comments or recommendations would be really appreciated.

Thanks. I posted a similar thread in the revolver section.

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Old 02-24-2016, 08:59 PM
Otreb Otreb is offline
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Unfortunately, most low recoil ammo in .38sp is also very low performance with light for caliber bullets at sedate velocity. I would probably forget the prospect of expanding bullets and use a target wadcutter with some assurance of penetration instead. It's low recoil, so easier to hit well with.
The Hornady Lite load is silly-light 90gr at mid 900s fps. It may expand, but it doesn't have the kind of mojo I'd want for reliably penetrating big bones that protect the important giblets in human anatomy. Being so lightweight also means low point of impact relative to point of aim especially in snubby revolvers.

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Old 02-24-2016, 10:13 PM
Lostaro Lostaro is offline
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Have seen informal testing with the 90grn Hornady.....not very impressive. I've shot the 110grn standard Critical Defense...decent load and recoil isn't bad.
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Old 02-25-2016, 12:03 AM
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Consider a 148-gr wadcutter.
Slow and steady wins the race (unless your name's Jeb).
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:02 AM
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Default J frame load

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Originally Posted by Lostaro View Post
Have seen informal testing with the 90grn Hornady.....not very impressive. I've shot the 110grn standard Critical Defense...decent load and recoil isn't bad.
I agree We ( wife and I) really like the Hornady 110 gr. Critical Defense
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:53 PM
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OP will certainly have to compromise somewhere, as I did in selection for ammo out of my 340 PD, weighing about 25% less. if he searches for short barrel gel tests online, he will have some idea of performance to compare apples and apples so he can select a low velocity round that has some element of performance. From online data, he can also compute muzzle energy based on real velocity out of a snub, since practically no maker gives velocity data from snubs (Speer short barrel and buffalo bore excepted). . There are certainly available rounds that outperform the Critical Defense out of a short barrel,and many that don't. I believe Hornady limited expansion in their 38 round to enhance penetration. It may be a good compromise. Speer short barrel 135g goes about 860FPS and performs well in this gun. That Hornady 110 +P C.D. Went 839 FPS out of my J frame. Formula for muzzle energy is Velocity squared divided by 450240 times bullet weight. Do the math. Hopefully, this would give some idea in advance of relative recoil of the rounds. Maybe someone who knows more could weigh in on this relationship between muzzle energy and recoil. I am not sure it graphs at any kind of a straight line, because of different powder burn rates, but maybe in snubs there is more of a direct correlation.
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:13 PM
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Otreb has some good advice.

After much testing , even handloading different bullet weights at differnt velocities, I have my J-frame loaded with 148 grain hollow based target wadcutter ammo. Seems to be a good compromise on weight , velocity and recoil . Plus I like the full wadcutter bullet. Try them out.
Gary
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:53 PM
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While a manufacturer may be able to point to measurements of recoil forces, and call something "low recoil", the way the recoil is felt by people is still pretty subjective.

I've listened to some shotgun shooters express that the "low recoil" buckshot they're required to shoot (listed as having up to 40% less recoil than standard buckshot) still has a lot of recoil. I imagine if I gave them some Magnum loads to try, they might have a different perspective ... but that doesn't mean they'll suddenly be able to use the low recoil buckshot any better.

I've used some advertised "low recoil" .357 Magnum in one of my M&P 340's, and it still hammers the palm of my hand and snaps the little gun upward hard enough to batter the knuckle of my index finger. If it's "low recoil", you could've fooled me.

Is your wife shooting a 5-shot snub? Is it an Airweight (or lighter) or all-steel? Going from an Airweight to steel helps a lot of folks quite a bit. Going from J-frame to a K-frame helps even more.

I've listened to one LE trainer discuss how an agency he was helping choose duty ammo for their authorized J-frames (secondary weapons) were looking at issuing 148gr target wadcutters, instead of one of the "better performing" (in scientific gel testing) modern +P JHP's. Why? Because they saw an immediate and significant improvement in accuracy and controllability when testing officers.

I own a very nice M37-2 which only sees standard pressure loads. I carry one or another of the most easily found 110gr standard pressure JHP's in my area, which are the W-W 110gr STHP and the Fed 110gr Hydra-Shok. A bit more felt recoil (to me) than the 148gr target WC, but still quite controllable (for me). If I couldn't find a standard pressure JHP which might expand (providing the potential for larger cutting, tearing effect), I'd revert to either the standard pressure 158gr LSWC or 148gr WC. Anything other than 158gr LRN or 130gr Ball.

There's always a potential for trade-off's that fall to one side or the other of line separating the "advantage/disadvantage" columns when you're looking at compromises.

If you've already decided to use a small, lightweight revolver, then you try to find ammunition that will yield the amount of felt recoil force that she considers tolerable, and which permits good accuracy. If you can go to a larger, heavier revolver? Well, that might open some doors to harder recoiling .38 Spl +P loads that are observed to potentially be "more effective", while letting the increased revolver weight mitigate the felt recoil.

Of course, using soft, all-lead loads means a little more effort is going to be involved in keeping the cylinder charges holes and barrel clean of lead buildup.

TANSTAAFL, always. (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)

She's got to consistently hit her intended target. Excessive felt recoil that causes flinching, especially under stress, isn't going to exactly help, right?

Using ammunition that maximizes her ability to shoot without flinching, accurately, is better than a walloping load that makes her flinch and miss.

Just my thoughts, anyway.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:27 PM
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After developing a little arthritis in my shooting hand I switched from an LCP and an Airweight J Frame in my carry line up to a Glock 42. The pain went away and I can now go through a couple boxes of ammo on a range trip with no discomfort. It also eliminated the flinch I was developing because I was anticipating the pain. If you are looking for a soft shooting accurate gun the baby Glock may help.
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastbolt View Post
While a manufacturer may be able to point to measurements of recoil forces, and call something "low recoil", the way the recoil is felt by people is still pretty subjective.
I've used some advertised "low recoil" .357 Magnum in one of my M&P 340's, and it still hammers the palm of my hand and snaps the little gun upward hard enough to batter the knuckle of my index finger. If it's "low recoil", you could've fooled me.
Using ammunition that maximizes her ability to shoot without flinching, accurately, is better than a walloping load that makes her flinch and miss.
Just my thoughts, anyway.
Ditto all of that, especially the knuckle skin tear.I shot that low recoil 357 last week. If it is Fed 130g and also says high energy, that is a contradiction in terms for sure. That was a 400 Ft/Lb round. The critical defense non +P 110 is about 172 ft/lb for comparison, and to possibly put felt recoil in perspective. If OP were near me I'd give you some to try.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:52 AM
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Get a different gun. There is no effective round that will make a 442 suitable for someone who is recoil sensitive.

I find my 2" model 64 very gentle. Maybe a consider SP101.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petepeterson
Consider a 148-gr wadcutter.
Slow and steady wins the race (unless your name's Jeb).
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle
Otreb has some good advice.

After much testing , even handloading different bullet weights at differnt velocities, I have my J-frame loaded with 148 grain hollow based target wadcutter ammo. Seems to be a good compromise on weight , velocity and recoil . Plus I like the full wadcutter bullet. Try them out.
Gary
I use 148 grain wadcutters also. Noticeably less recoil than HTP 158 grain +p LHP, but still not like shooting a Glock 42 with almost no recoil.

Last edited by Ziggy2525; 02-26-2016 at 04:53 PM. Reason: JHP to LHP
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:20 PM
Lobster Picnic Lobster Picnic is offline
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I say start with the pink 90gr. Hornady and work your way up. When she says "ouchy" go back to the previous load.

Don't worry about guy stuff like expansion and FPS. It matters more that she has something she can practice with without pain and that she shoots accurately and has confidence in what she carries. You want that confidence and muscle memory to kick in during a crisis. I know the round she carries might not be ideal, but all handguns are a compromise. If she has to use her gun, hitting the target is the most important thing.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:22 PM
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Back to the top!!!
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:52 AM
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You can't get much liter rounds than 38wadcutters short of reloading ammo . The problem is the 15oz air weight and the stock grip on a 442 make for a handful of nasty revolver for many new shooters , assuming you still have that tinny 2 finger grip . Buy a soft rubber 3 finger grip form Hogue or packmayr to greatly improve control or get a 20oz steel version or a different handgun . Even then the trigger pull on a snub nose is not something for a new shooter to feel goood about most times .

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