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Old 01-13-2021, 12:11 AM
shil shil is offline
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Default .38 Special 135 non+P

For the Speer 135 grain Gold Dot I can find only +P data for use in the .38 Special. Can someone point me in the direction of data for a NON +P load for that bullet? I want to try it in an older revolver.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:32 AM
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Usually a +P 38 special is only a few tenths of a grain above a max regular pressure load.

How old of a revolver? If it’s really old it might never have been designed for a jacketed bullet.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:04 AM
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Any of the 17 Hodgdons mid-range loads for a 140gr XTP ought to work for a Gold Dot as well.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:02 PM
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I would bet a lot that the performance of that bullet will be iffy at standard velocity/pressure (ignoring for the moment that the difference between +P and standard is pretty modest and will not matter in most revolvers). The best standard pressure load for almost any use is the 158 grain SWC; if you want/need something milder, go with the 148 grain WC target load.
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:03 PM
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Speer 135gr Gold Dot 38 Special +P (for short barrels) is advertised at 860 fps.

Hornady 158gr Custom XTP 38 Special is advertised at 800 fps.

Hornady American Gunner 125gr XTP 38 Special is advertised at 900 fps.

I don't understand why there is a question as to the performance of any of these bullets being suspect at the mid-range velocities I mentioned previously (typically in the 850 - 900 fps range) or lower? There are START loads in the 700s, BTW.

Speer doesn't list a 125 or 158 gr factory ammo in 38 Special. Almost all their load data START charges for the 135 gr GDHP are below 825 fps.

Hornady doesn't list 125, 140 or 158 gr factory ammo in 38 Special with the HAP bullets: they are exclusively reloading components. From memory their load data for XTPs & HAPs are identical where they actually produce both bullets for reloading.

Cheers!
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:52 PM
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Most factory loads for SD are have a fps that is reliable..........

but if reduced, will generally fail in proper expansion and penetration. I found this out while testing the 135 and 125 Gold Dot bullets out in my snub nose J frame and have posted data and pictures on this site of the results.

You might try the smaller 110 JHP bullets, if you can find them
and get them up to 945 fps maximum to at least 900 fps for 197 ft/lbs of energy, for a bare bones SD load.

You might also carry a #5 Iron as back up !!
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:17 PM
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Thank you, all, for your input. I have a modest quantity of these bullets left and wanted to try them in my remaining snubbies. None of them, unfortunately, is rated for +p. I have a Model 38, an earlier Model 36, and a 1938 vintage "Brand C" Detective Special. Once upon a time, I had a Model 442. I destroyed it. A possible double-charge of Accurate #5 with the Speer 135 did the trick. Strange. No fireworks (big blast and flash). Just a destroyed revolver.

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Old 01-13-2021, 03:46 PM
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Liked everything about your post (except for the "destroyed" 442!), and I personally still don't hesitate to shoot non-+P 38 Special ammo in my Baby Chiefs or in an original Charter Arms Undercover.

Not often, but not afraid.

Cheers!

P.S. I don't see how those Gold Dots at anything under 800 fps could hurt a thing... IMHO. They just might not expand quite like the factory load, but...
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:27 PM
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I have tested the 125 & 135 Gold Dot bullets in my J frame snub nose, to try and match factory loadings.

Hopefully, you will find a speed where all five rounds will expand
however in my snub nose I had one test with the 125 GD bullet at
836 fps across my chrony that did not open up in my water jugs.

Same thing with a 135 gr Gold Dot that crossed my screen doing
809 fps.

Will they penetrate ? ................... yes.
Will they work ?
It depends on what your idea of a good SD load is.

Here is a picture of the 125 GD load, which is designed differently than the 135 gr Gold Dot.

You need to understand what your ammo was intended for and used in the correct weapons, for it to work /perform, correctly.
Stay safe.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:41 AM
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Uh, Ed.. Sorry: I stand corrected.

I forgot about those...
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Old 01-14-2021, 03:21 AM
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I have tried standard pressure loads (starting load in published +P data) for the 135 gr. Speer Gold Dots with Unique and AA No.5. Expansion in water jugs is marginal with 3" to 6" barrels.

Power Pistol might provide better results. I have not tried it and I'm not likely to find a pound of it for a while the way things are going.

I am afraid the reliably expanding standard pressure load from a "2 .38 special is an elusive thing. The old Nyclads had a good reputation. The Hornady 110 gr. flex tip might to be the best standard pressure load for reliable expansion on the market today.

I like the 135 grain gold dot in .38 +P and .357 loads use in medium frame guns. But it appears to need velocities in the 900-1100 fps range to expand reliably in water.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:29 AM
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Again, thank you, all, for your replies and insight. I think I will go back to Plan A and set aside the 135s for my .357s or a +P-capable K-frame.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:50 PM
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The Only SD load that was a non-+P load that expanded in a 2" 38 revolver was.....

the Hornady 110 FTX Critical Defense load that did 858 fps.

If I had to use a standard loading in my J frame 2" for a SD load

it would be a 148 gr for fast follow up shots or a 158 gr LSP design for winter and heavy clothing.

If your old weapon has a 4" barrel, the standard loads will work a lot better.

Good luck.
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