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  #1  
Old 12-18-2016, 11:03 PM
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Default Good performance for snub SD load........

I was disappointed with the velocities I was getting out of my Model 36 (all steel j frame), in the 550 to 750 fps range, so I started working on finding a better defense load.

I was thinking of using 125 grain Speer Gold Dots to get the velocity up, but decided that it would be difficult to get adequate velocity needed for expansion from the numbers I was getting. So I thought that 135 grain short barrel Gold Dots would be worth a try.

I loaded the 135 grain, GDs on top of 6.4 grains of Power Pistol and finally got to the range today and shot over the chrony. Shots averaged 957 fps. By about the third shot they started to sting, but not bad enough to worry me in a defense situation.

Now another challenge. We have an airweight J frame that is a bear to shoot anything above target rounds. I put a Hogue Monogrip on it that should help the recoil some. What velocity will I be able to get with the 135 grain GDs in the alloy airweight without knocking my hand off. My wife likes the J frames, too, to hold. My son and I shot some warm loads in the airweight. Both of of us said, "There ain't no way Mom's going to be able to shoot this." So I'm hoping I can get a monogrip for the 36 and let her use that at the expense of a tad more weight. I haven't tried clocking anything through the airweight yet.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:27 PM
Rogeronimo Rogeronimo is offline
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Those are good numbers at 950 fps average. The 38 sp+p boasts 860fps from speer, and reviews still boast 13 +" of penetration in gel. You could, perhaps, back them off some more.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:04 AM
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The factory 135gr GD out of my M49, 21oz. does 866fps.
I have a full load Red Dot at 851fps with a ES of only 9.

For practice rounds I went to the cheaper Hornady 140gr XTP
with 4.2grs of Red Dot for only 734fps.
At 100fps slower than the +P load it is easier on the hands.

Skip the six section 125gr Gold Dot for snub nose use. It needs
at least 905 or more to "Maybe" open up, with heavy recoil.
Besides the 135gr for SD use, the factory 125gr Rem. Golden Saber or the
110gr all copper Corbon work well in a J frame snub nose.

Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2016, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
I was disappointed with the velocities I was getting out of my Model 36 (all steel j frame), in the 550 to 750 fps range, so I started working on finding a better defense load.
Energy is a function of 1/2 of the velocity (feet per second) squared times the weight of the bullet dividied by 7000 (to convert grains to pounds) and by 32.2 (to convert weight to mass).

Out of a 1.875 inch barrel, you may find that energy - and hence lethality - comes from heavier bullets with faster burning powders. Look, for example, at Bullseye with 158 grain bullets.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:39 AM
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For low recoil loads in a snub nosed 38spl, it's hard to beat a wc load.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:08 AM
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We have found that a 110 gr jacketed HP bullet worked well in the light weight revolvers , smiths and rugers . easy on recoil and the bullets expanded well . don't have a chrono to give you fps . POA = POI @ 20 yds .
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:52 AM
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Have stopped worrying so much about expansion from snub, care more about controllability and poa=poi. A 158 gn lead with large meplat at about 750-800 fps may be given consideration, and possibly penetrate adequately from various angles.

While they are close range defense weapons, there is a large difference in poi between a light fast bullet and a large slower one.

Just an opinion
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:22 AM
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Default I'll be glad to.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogeronimo View Post
Those are good numbers at 950 fps average. The 38 sp+p boasts 860fps from speer, and reviews still boast 13 +" of penetration in gel. You could, perhaps, back them off some more.
Especially in that alloy .38!
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:28 PM
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There is really no quick fix to a good SD load with low recoil.
When you increase the fps of lead it gains in heavy recoil and
if you drop the fps with JHP bullets you risk failure to expand.

In the 16oz. J frame:

A 110gr JHP at 866fps has 183 ft/lbs of ME and a recoil of 3.92.
A 125gr JHP at 836fps has 194 ft/lbs of ME and ............. 4.60
A 158gr Lead at 750fps at 197 ft/lbs of ME and ............. 5.73

Even if you find a large, heavy, 158gr lead box of ammo out there
at a lower speed of 725fps with 184 ft/lbs, that will match the light weight
110gr JHP, the recoil will still be at 5.25.

Only way out is to shoot the 148gr target load that has 150 ft/lbs of ME and hope for the best.
When energy's get this low, I start to think about a large can of pepper spray!!
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:42 PM
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Can I ask what unit of measurement the 3.92, 4.60 and 5.73 are? Have found recoil seems to correspond very closely to muzzle energy, in same pistol.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:40 PM
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Default Speer gives info on the short barrel......

From the Speer site they have a table showing the expansion of the 135 grain Short Barrel Gold Dots in several materials. The ones pertinent to SD run around 850-870 fps. So I can easily reduce the load by about 100 fps. That ought to make a comfortable load in the model 36. No predictions about the Airweight. I haven't tested it with the Hogue Monogrip, but with the original grips anything over a target load hurt. In my son's exact words after firing it..."There ain't no way Mom's going to be able to shoot this gun!" She wanted the Airweight, but I've got a mind to trade her the mod 36, especially if I can find a soft grip for it.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:07 AM
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in my snubbys i dont want to ever worry about a hollow point bullet expanding, so i go the rout of loading DEWC's in them for self defense. the full .357 meplat is rough to beat. hard to think a hollow point from a 2" bbl would fully expand without a "brisk" recoil to say the least. i load 148gr. DEWC's w/5.5gr of 800x in fed brass at col of 1.295". its a very pleasant round to shoot, its not +p, runs about 800fps, and it shoots real close to point of aim from my smith 640 & my 2" colt PPS. another plus is its so mild shooting that you can practice all day w/your carry load. best way to explain it is "a hollow point may not expand, but the wadcutter sure aint gonna shrink" lol

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Old 12-20-2016, 12:37 AM
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I, too, would suggest a hardcast LSWC over a conventional expanding bullet. A bullet has to penetrate, first, to be effective, and penetration is what hardcast bullets do. A nice 158-grain LSWC should work well and be tolerable.

A compromised load in a defensive weapon you practice with often beats the hell out of an excellent load you never shoot.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:38 AM
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Default There's a good reason for that...

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Originally Posted by zeke View Post
Can I ask what unit of measurement the 3.92, 4.60 and 5.73 are? Have found recoil seems to correspond very closely to muzzle energy, in same pistol.
The mass of the gun and bullet lbs or Kg, the recoil force in lbs or Newtons, recoil velocity in feet/sec or m/sec, the recoil energy in ft/lbs or Joules all figure in to the recoil equation which is a direct result of the mass and velocity of the bullet leaving the muzzle, which results in muzzle energy from which the recoil (in ft/lbs force) is figured through the recoil equation. In not so many words, it's all tied together.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:10 PM
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Just me, but the point of the J-frame is to be able to have a small concealable handgun with adequate power. Adding a bulky grip kind of defeats that, might as well step to a K-frame for even better results. No way to make a J-frame with heavy loads shooter friendly IMO. If I carried one, it would be fed std vel 158grLSWCHP. You know, the old hit with a bb is better than a miss with a bazooka.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:42 PM
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This flies in the face of conventional conversation, but practice with what you enjoy, load SD for effect. You'll never feel the recoil anyway.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:23 AM
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Default The Monogrip....

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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Just me, but the point of the J-frame is to be able to have a small concealable handgun with adequate power. Adding a bulky grip kind of defeats that, might as well step to a K-frame for even better results. No way to make a J-frame with heavy loads shooter friendly IMO. If I carried one, it would be fed std vel 158grLSWCHP. You know, the old hit with a bb is better than a miss with a bazooka.
That is a viable alternate. When I get this worked out I may work on that load. The Monogrip is slightly larger but it does have that cushioning on the backstrap. After I put it on my wife was pleased with it. I have yet to come up with the exact load, but 850 (which isn't a +P load) or a little more with the Speer 135 grain is my new goal. The acid test will be how does it shoot in the model 38 alloy job. If I can't get adequate velocity with a JHP, the HPSWC will be my next choice.

If the load is still too hard, I may put soft grips on the model 36 and tell her she'd be better off with that one.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
That is a viable alternate. When I get this worked out I may work on that load. The Monogrip is slightly larger but it does have that cushioning on the backstrap. After I put it on my wife was pleased with it. I have yet to come up with the exact load, but 850 (which isn't a +P load) or a little more with the Speer 135 grain is my new goal. The acid test will be how does it shoot in the model 38 alloy job. If I can't get adequate velocity with a JHP, the HPSWC will be my next choice.

If the load is still too hard, I may put soft grips on the model 36 and tell her she'd be better off with that one.
What I like about a full wc or swc, hp or not, if it fails to expand, it has a nice flat point to crush tissue as it penetrates deep. A full wc cup point would probably be ideal running 800fps. It might expand some, but it is tearing a hole, not pushing tissue aside like a RN. The wide mouth of the 135grGDSB would be much the same too.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeke View Post
Have stopped worrying so much about expansion from snub, care more about controllability and poa=poi. A 158 gn lead with large meplat at about 750-800 fps may be given consideration, and possibly penetrate adequately from various angles.

While they are close range defense weapons, there is a large difference in poi between a light fast bullet and a large slower one.

Just an opinion
I agree absolutely. Fixed sight revolvers are typically "regulated" for "standard ammunition", which in .38 Special is likely to be 158-grain bullets. Use of different bullet weights at different velocities will almost certainly result in POI (point of impact) variations from POA (point of aim). I have personally tested several different revolvers with differing ammunition and the results are enlightening. Lighter bullets at higher velocities have shorter "barrel time" (the length of time spent transiting the bore during the recoil impulse), and will almost invariably shoot lower in relation to POA. It is also not unusual for different loads to shoot well left or right of POA. Such differences can easily result in bullet placement several inches off POA at modest handgun ranges.

Also, in my experience, it is very unlikely that any commonly available ammunition will achieve its performance potential in the snub revolvers. Velocities will usually be much lower than when fired in 4" or longer barrels (frequently 100-200FPS), and terminal performance (penetration, expansion) suffer accordingly.

I'd much rather have a standard velocity .38 Special load that consistently puts the shots where I want them to go than any load that misses my intended target.

I own Model 36, Model 37 Airweight, Model 10, Model 64, and other S&W .38 Special revolvers. I stick with standard pressure and velocity ammo that I know to be compatible with the revolver in use. If I feel the need for greater performance I start thinking about a larger caliber.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:23 PM
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The 135gr "Factory" GD in a snub should run around 850-880fps.Your loads at 957fps can be dropped down 100fps and still work in your snub and reduce your heavy recoil and sting, a BUNCH !!

As for the 158gr FBI loading.....
They were around 850fps before they brought out the new package.
Today 800fps is the minimum I expect from factory ammo for SD work. Under 800fps you might as well load a LSWC design that shots a t POA.
A standard 158gr lead in a 4" barrel is only going around 755fps.
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Old 12-29-2016, 02:26 PM
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I think the OP is overestimating his velocity expectations from a 2 inch. Each individual gun and lot of ammo varies, etc, etc . But the 850-860fps range is typical for mainstream factory +P with 125-135gr.

Subtleties in the pressure curve can effect flip and torquing, but as rule of thumb, recoil closely relates to the Momentum of the total ejecta ( bullet weight plus powder weight ). Even a mild 158 loading will have more momentum than a +P 125 , or gasp 110jhp. When I carried a M37, I loaded 158 +P lead HP. * I * had suitable grips, plenty of hand strength, and made a decision to put up with the pain of firing in exchange for the horsepower if needed for real.

You can only bend the laws of physics a small amount. With an Airweight J Frame ( or other firearms of similar power/ weight ratios generally ) you quickly reach to inherent conflict between sub-marginal terminal ( whatever you call it) vs sub-marginal control and excessive pain.

If it were me or lived one in that perdicament, I would make darn sure to use an all steel gun. An SP101 would be even better. I've used Airweight and a 3in steel frame as BUG. The steel frame J's are viable for deep d concealment.
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Old 12-29-2016, 03:54 PM
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RW, since you are talking handloads for defensive rounds in your lightweight snub, you might try this out. Buy yourself a box of Hornady 148 grain hollow base wadcutters and load with a fast powder such as Bullseye or 700-X and when loading the bullet, load it upside down to where the hollow base becames a massive hollow point. Don't expect much accuracy beyond 10 yards or so, but in my experience it would shoot decently accurate to that range. And since those are swaged bullets, that is soft lead and should facilitate expansion at lower velocities, especially with that massive hollow base becoming a hollow point. And if you don't like the way they shoot after trying it out, load them normally and you will still have bullets that will do serious damage when hitting the target.

Last edited by muddocktor; 12-29-2016 at 06:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:36 PM
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IIRC, generally, expansion is reliably ensured at ~850 fps. A Speer tech said I should expect "about 920 fps" from the 38 +P Short barrel load from my 4" barrel. I do prefer 3 and 4" barrels.
To me the craze for featherweight hand weapons in the 12-16 oz. range has gone a bit too far, regardless of the popularity. An all-steel gun at 20-25 ozs. and a 3" barrel and adjustable sights makes more sense, is easier to shoot, because it soaks up recoil better, and can be fitted with grips for everything from dainty lady's hands to Gorilla paws. I can carry my 42 oz 586 all day without a problem, but I would love a smaller gun...they are easier to conceal. Ammo? a good (read major manufacturer's) 110 gr, 125 gr., 135 or 158 gr loads, or an equivalent (practice) reload that will get beyond minimum expansion velocity in a barrel will be all someone will ever need...IF they practice with it! My HBWC reloads all were traveling sideways by the time they got to 25 yards!

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Old 04-07-2018, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogeronimo View Post
This flies in the face of conventional conversation, but practice with what you enjoy, load SD for effect. You'll never feel the recoil anyway.
*
The results of the Newhall shooting, with 4 dead CHP troopers, called that into question almost 50 years ago. When I had a .38 snub, I carried it with Black Hills WC, and and two speed loaders of standard velocity SWC for reloads (easier to reload in a hurry than the WC).

Placement and penetration are the first critical variables.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:21 PM
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Old thread but I just saw it - good to see another .38 load using Power Pistol. My first 125-g load is using 6.9-PP - which is OK per Hornady data but I think I'm only going to fire it in my 686P...
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:11 PM
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My Airweight model 37 curiously fits me with standard grips.I say curiously because it is about the only gun I own that doesn't wear custom grips.
I shoot 154gr SWC propelled by 3.8gr Titegroup.
I haven't chronoed it in the model 37 but in a 6'' .357 mag it clocks 898fps.If you apply the rule of thumb of aprox 25fps per inch,that puts it down to 775 to 800 fps(I try not to be over optomistic).
And the thing is not a bear to shoot.I guess I can have my cake and eat it too!
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:26 AM
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Default A few points....

I'm mostly talking about my mod 36 all steel gun, but I have an airweight which is much more difficult to shoot ANYTHING from that, defensive or no. I find the monogrip necessary for that.

I could take the big grips off the all steel mod 36 and put the originals back on. They make it easier to hold the small handle but don't increase that much in comfort level.

I don't load anything that I can't shoot well. I'm trying to maximize what it can do, not turn a .38 into a 'supergun'.

For my purposes and budget, I don't see anything wrong with practicing with a similar, but cheaper load. If I only practice with what I carry, I won't be able to practice much.

If I were to actually NEED to use a gun, I don't really care if it's HSTs, SWCs, Gold Dots, or round nose slugs. It's too late to think and tweak and experiment in that situation, so it's kinda fun to test a bunch of stuff while you have 'spare time' and can use a chronometer and a calculator.

I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to shoot just one round in an SD situation. Five good shots should stop one threat or as many as five.
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Old 04-14-2018, 07:49 AM
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stu1ritter stu1ritter is offline
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Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........  
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I bought a model 37 in 1978 and have been working on a load ever since. It is a most difficult gun to "practice with what you carry". I finally settled on 158 gr. (for POI=POA) and full meplat. Shown below in .38, .357 and 44 versions. The loading is the same as a 158 SWC so you can adjust from there. I could tolerate hollow point expansion velocity in my model 36 and 60 but never in the 37. (molds by Accurate)

Stu


Last edited by stu1ritter; 04-14-2018 at 07:53 AM. Reason: forgot photo
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Old 04-14-2018, 11:58 AM
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fredj338 fredj338 is offline
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I dont carry a snub but if I fod, I would stoke it with the 158gr lswchp +p. Easy to shoot, easy to duplicate for practice.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:46 PM
Qc Pistolero Qc Pistolero is offline
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Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stu1ritter View Post
I bought a model 37 in 1978 and have been working on a load ever since. It is a most difficult gun to "practice with what you carry". I finally settled on 158 gr. (for POI=POA) and full meplat. Shown below in .38, .357 and 44 versions. The loading is the same as a 158 SWC so you can adjust from there. I could tolerate hollow point expansion velocity in my model 36 and 60 but never in the 37. (molds by Accurate)

Stu

Those are mean looking.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:12 PM
ruggyh ruggyh is offline
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Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........ Good performance for snub SD load........  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdwhit View Post
Energy is a function of 1/2 of the velocity (feet per second) squared times the weight of the bullet dividied by 7000 (to convert grains to pounds) and by 32.2 (to convert weight to mass).

Out of a 1.875 inch barrel, you may find that energy - and hence lethality - comes from heavier bullets with faster burning powders. Look, for example, at Bullseye with 158 grain bullets.
(kinetic) Energy has nothing to do with "lethality" it is a calculation of heat. If it did a catcher would never survive a fast ball.

It is all about bullet construction, penetration, and shoot placement.

be safe
Ruggy
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