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  #51  
Old 07-02-2011, 03:19 AM
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Default lead Bullet selfdefense loads

Been following the recent testing and found the results pretty interesting. Thanks for taking the time and ammo to put this together. My CCW is a S&W model 36 and would like to experiment on my own regarding the 158swc +p loads as an alternative to the remington golden sabers that I now use.
I have seen 158 gr loads manufactured by Federal carrying the number 38G but have a funny feeling that that isn't what I'm looking for. If someone would post the codes would make it easier to try and find the 158+pones. As always all help will be greatly appreciated. Plan to try them out in a model 36 and a model 10 w4"bbl. Thanks, Frank
  #52  
Old 07-02-2011, 10:18 AM
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38G is the correct number for the "FBI" 158gr LHP+P load. One of the most street proven .38 Special loads ever. Remington also makes them (R38S12) and Winchester (X38SPD).

That load and the Speer 135gr Gold Dot short barrel (NYPD) load are probably the two .38 Special loads with the highest number of actual shootings to look at and they both work very well.
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  #53  
Old 07-02-2011, 12:49 PM
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Re: Buffalo Bore +P . . . When fired from my Model 638-3 it suffers from sticky extraction to the point I have to pull the empty cases out by hand. Recoil is stiff but OK for an experienced shooter. Due to the extraction problems I switched to CorBon +P DPX 110 in my light guns and save the BB stuff for the K frame magnums.

I find that I have better control with the CorBon stuff and bullet placement is what this is all about.
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  #54  
Old 07-02-2011, 11:54 PM
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Thanks for the information. Frank
  #55  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old cop View Post
Re: Buffalo Bore +P . . . When fired from my Model 638-3 it suffers from sticky extraction to the point I have to pull the empty cases out by hand. Recoil is stiff but OK for an experienced shooter. Due to the extraction problems I switched to CorBon +P DPX 110 in my light guns and save the BB stuff for the K frame magnums.

I find that I have better control with the CorBon stuff and bullet placement is what this is all about.

I know I'm late here (Happy New Year) but Buffalo bore has a 158gr lead SWC HP that is not +p & says non+p on the box. Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash HVY 38 SPL (NON+P), This is written right on the box. The # is 20C-158gr. It says soft lead SWC-HC @ 850fps.

My .38 is an early one probably before +P. I've chronographed this load at an honest 876fps from a 2" bbl.
You may want to try this load.
Frank
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  #56  
Old 01-03-2012, 11:13 PM
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Hi Frank;

876 fps with a 158 grain lead SWC is just plain good enough, I don't care what anybody says. I can live with that kind of a load in a snub .38 Special from now on.

In fact, my snubs are carried stoked with the Remington +P 158 grain version and they don't quite make that velocity from the short barrels. They'll still deliver adequate .38 Special goodness though.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:50 AM
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Keep in mind that a three-inch barrel will give velocity about 75-80 FPS over that of a true snub. That Buffalo Bore non Plus P round must be pretty effective from a three-inch gun, and I agree with Brian that it should fare well, even from a snub.

I think I'd feel most comfortable shooting the Plus-P equivalent from a .357. That post about it giving sticky extraction from a Model 38 concerns me. Keep in mind that this refers only to Buffalo Bore Plus P, which is quite a bit hotter than for most brands.
  #58  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:28 PM
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Excellent posts!

I've also been a big fan of the BB "FBI" load. I use that and Corbon 110gr +P DPX in my short-barrels. I just picked up two boxes of the non plus-P 158 loads for my earlier snubs (37 and an early Colt Cobra).
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:12 PM
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This is the ammo in my 340 PD.

Heavy .38 Special +P Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

In my 640 (38), 442 and 49, it's BB Standard Pressure 158's.

A close second choice would be Corbon DPX 110 +P's.
  #60  
Old 01-05-2012, 01:45 PM
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I have to confess to being a .38 Special bullet weight "snob," preferring to leave the paltry lightweight 110-125 grain bullets to insignificant cartridges like .380 and 9mm (heh). I've had such good results with the 158 grain lead SWC loadings over the years, both standard velocity and "+P", that I'll happily stick with it. I've seen nothing in all the tests and charts bandied about, along with all the photos of expanded bullets and bullet-holed gel, that convinces me that it is necessary for a change. I know where the 158 grain loadings hit with my favorite .38 Specials and have observed through the years what they do on critters up to deer and large feral dogs.

Most +P 158 grain loadings come with hollow points but I'm not even a stickler for the hollow point in the .38 Special or other non-magnum revolver cartridges. Perhaps for the faster stepping magnum revolver rounds they have some marked value,especially for game shooting.

Texas Star mentions: "That post about it giving sticky extraction from a Model 38 concerns me.

I was contemplating some of the .44 Special handloads I've cooked up experimentally in the past after making a post the other day on another forum.

In pushing the envelop a bit with .38 Special, .44 Special, and .45 Auto Rim I've never happened to encounter sticky extraction with even the most "enthusiastic" handloads tried. I have to wonder if one can push non-magnum straight-walled revolver cartridges hard enough to even get to sticky extraction. That's not saying that too-heavy handloads can't be damaging in them for they can and will damage. All I've ever noticed though were flattened, and in a few instances cratered, primers.

When chronographing that heavy +P 158 grain Buffalo Bore loading, the only revolver of the four used in the test that exhibited primer flattening was my old favorite Model 10 Heavy Barrel and it showed flattening on two of six chambers. The cases however, still just fell out of it as normal with the lightest caress of the extractor.

In playing with straight-walled magnum cartridges in the upper reaches of barely sane handloading one will get sticky extraction if he's taken things a bit too far.

Can a fellow experience sticky extraction in a .38 Special revolver when the same ammunition is fired in revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum with effortless extraction?

What say ye?
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  #61  
Old 01-05-2012, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
I have to confess to being a .38 Special bullet weight "snob," preferring to leave the paltry lightweight 110-125 grain bullets to insignificant cartridges like .380 and 9mm (heh). I've had such good results with the 158 grain lead SWC loadings over the years, both standard velocity and "+P", that I'll happily stick with it. I've seen nothing in all the tests and charts bandied about, along with all the photos of expanded bullets and bullet-holed gel, that convinces me that it is necessary for a change. I know where the 158 grain loadings hit with my favorite .38 Specials and have observed through the years what they do on critters up to deer and large feral dogs.

Most +P 158 grain loadings come with hollow points but I'm not even a stickler for the hollow point in the .38 Special or other non-magnum revolver cartridges. Perhaps for the faster stepping magnum revolver rounds they have some marked value,especially for game shooting.

Texas Star mentions: "That post about it giving sticky extraction from a Model 38 concerns me.

I was contemplating some of the .44 Special handloads I've cooked up experimentally in the past after making a post the other day on another forum.

In pushing the envelop a bit with .38 Special, .44 Special, and .45 Auto Rim I've never happened to encounter sticky extraction with even the most "enthusiastic" handloads tried. I have to wonder if one can push non-magnum straight-walled revolver cartridges hard enough to even get to sticky extraction. That's not saying that too-heavy handloads can't be damaging in them for they can and will damage. All I've ever noticed though were flattened, and in a few instances cratered, primers.

When chronographing that heavy +P 158 grain Buffalo Bore loading, the only revolver of the four used in the test that exhibited primer flattening was my old favorite Model 10 Heavy Barrel and it showed flattening on two of six chambers. The cases however, still just fell out of it as normal with the lightest caress of the extractor.

In playing with straight-walled magnum cartridges in the upper reaches of barely sane handloading one will get sticky extraction if he's taken things a bit too far.

Can a fellow experience sticky extraction in a .38 Special revolver when the same ammunition is fired in revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum with effortless extraction?

What say ye?

Bryan-

I think it depends on the gun. S&W chambers have often been bored rather casually. At one time (about 1969), I asked Speer about this, having found that I could chamber FIRED .38 S&W cases (not .38 Special) in a Model 19!

Speer said that they'd had some trouble with extraction on S&W's and suggested that I buy a Colt, instead. I already had a Python, and it gave no issues of that nature. Nor have I personally experienced tough extraction on Rugers. Most S&W's have also done better than that M-19 did. But some loose chambers are out there, and case expansion in them probably causes the trouble.

My point about using BB's hotter Plus P round in a .357 was just that I suspect that they load that pretty hot, and I'd feel better shooting it in a .357. In fact, it should be an excellent combat load in a K-frame .357. They use a gas check to prevent leading. (Hopefully...)

Please tell us about your experiences shooting deer and feral pigs with a .38. Another member has had pretty good luck with a 147 grain 9mm on pigs, but I think he shot just two. Said they dropped as fast as those shot with a .357 SIG.

I personally wouldn't willingly tackle one with less than a .357 Magnum, and would prefer a .44.

In particular, have you had to shoot through the tough gristle plate behind the head, protecting the shoulders? A defensive shot will probably encounter that.
  #62  
Old 01-07-2012, 02:38 PM
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I vaguely remember reading that when the S&W .460 was released, factory ammo had to be downloaded a little from SAAMI maximum. I think max was around 55,000 psi, but manufacturers found they got sticky extraction at that pressure, so backed off to around 50,000 psi.

Is this comparable at all to .38/.357? I don't know, but if the .460 doesn't show extraction problems until 50k+ psi, I certainly wouldn't expect a .38 to show any at 20k psi, or even a .357 at 35k psi.

Every reloading manual I have ever seen talks about hard extraction and flattened primers in their RIFLE sections, not the pistol sections. Most pistols don't reach any where near high enough pressure to show such signs.
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Old 01-07-2012, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngalt View Post
I vaguely remember reading that when the S&W .460 was released, factory ammo had to be downloaded a little from SAAMI maximum. I think max was around 55,000 psi, but manufacturers found they got sticky extraction at that pressure, so backed off to around 50,000 psi.

Is this comparable at all to .38/.357? I don't know, but if the .460 doesn't show extraction problems until 50k+ psi, I certainly wouldn't expect a .38 to show any at 20k psi, or even a .357 at 35k psi.

Every reloading manual I have ever seen talks about hard extraction and flattened primers in their RIFLE sections, not the pistol sections. Most pistols don't reach any where near high enough pressure to show such signs.

John-

I once had a Model 34 .22 Kit Gun, and it had to have the extractor rod POUNDED to get fired cases out! I haven't bought a .22 revolver since.

I complained to Roy Jinks, and he told me to send the gun back and S&W would polish the chambers. Said that hard extraction has occurred in some .22 revolvers for decades. Ammo brand made a little difference, but all were sticky. My .22's since have been Ruger autos, which have been very satisfactory.

Last edited by Texas Star; 01-07-2012 at 03:28 PM.
  #64  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
John-

I once had a Model 34 .22 Kit Gun, and it had to have the extractor rod POUNDED to get fired cases out! I haven't bought a .22 revolver since.

I complained to Roy Jinks, and he told me to send the gun back and S&W would polish the chambers. Said that hard extraction has occurred in some .22 revolvers for decades. Ammo brand made a little difference, but all were sticky. My .22's since have been Ruger autos, which have been very satisfactory.
That would have to be a gun problem, not a pressure problem. I wonder if it is due to lead building up in the chambers.

Another interesting comparison - I have a 66-4 and a 686-6. Shooting the same loads in each (3.5 gr Bullseye, 158gr LSWC in magnum cases), the 686 requires a tap to the ejector to extract fired cases. They just fall out of the 66. My assumption is the 66 has smoother, better polished chambers. Obviously there isn't any difference in pressure, and this is a very low pressure target load.
  #65  
Old 01-17-2012, 08:03 AM
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I use the standard load of a 158swc hardcast with 5.1 grs. of Unique in my 38 spec. and ccw 442-1 snubby. It will kill a 120lb doe with one double lung shot with complete pentration on the off side. One time I held a tad high and it broke the spine in two and still pentrated the off side. Its a good bullet design and has been working for a good 7-8 decades . Whats not to like? Its proven! Shot placement is everything and pentration is queen. You can keep the 125-135 hp loads in the snubby,but I will stick with the 158swc.

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Old 01-29-2012, 02:56 PM
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Good testing,and nice reporting on the figures,sir.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:23 PM
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This is by far the most interesting handloading thread I have ever read!
  #68  
Old 05-23-2013, 12:11 AM
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A little late replying to Texas Star's post number 61 above, dated January 5, 2012. I apparently haven't revisited this thread in some time.

I've never attempted to chamber fired .38 S&W cases in a Smith & Wesson .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver but have found that about half of any box of 50 .38 S&W factory loads will chamber without excessive force (read that as being able to chamber and extract without getting stuck).

They'll fire too!

.38 S&W has not been found to be capable of being chambered in any Colt .38 Special revolver around here. Have not tried them all though.

Have never taken a hog with anything but high-powered rifles. .30-06 is not for a moment intimidated by gristle.

Have only taken 5 deer in my life with handguns, two with a .44 Magnum and 2 with a .38 Special and one with a .41 Magnum. Both .38 Special-shot deer developed "heart trouble" and expired rather quickly. The first one took only a few very wobbly steps after being fairly struck through the heart with a handloaded 200 grain Remington round nose component bullet at around 15-17 yards, fired from a Smith & Wesson Model 14 with 8 3/8-inch barrel, the bullet traveling at 930 fps.

The second was taken on a whim, a smallish doe (and that's a smallish doe for Texas mind you) at 30-35 yards, shot with a factory Winchester +P 158 grain lead SWC-HP fired from a 4-inch Model 10 Heavy Barrel. That bullet really cut into the blood vessels at the top of the heart rather than damaging the heart itself. She ran in a curious "rocking horse" lope for 40 yards or so, then sagged and collapsed.

Observing the results of the .38 Special versus the .44 Magnum I could make a case that the .38 Special was the better killer (but I won't). A Sierra 240 grain JHP over a heavy charge of H110 and making 1478 fps from a 8 3/8-inch Model 29 was used in both instances.

The second buck taken with the .44 Magnum collapsed where he stood, effectively hammered by a shot striking at the base of his neck as he stood facing me at maybe 30 yards. The first though was a stinker, taking what appeared to be a decent broadside hit at 20 yards that got both lungs. This deer ran down a steep, brush-choked hill and deep back into a draw to pile up in a tangled windfall giving me a merry time to trail. I've always considered that it was over 165 yards but there was no real way to pace off the distance.

So that's a total of 165 yards that the two deer traveled after being shot with a .44 Magnum to 57 yards traveled for the two deer shot with the .38 Special.

You see. The .38 Special puts 'em down faster.

Right!
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:47 AM
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Default Thanks for doing that work....

.... and posting that wad of data.

I got some data from a friend out of an old Sierra book, which were known to be some *HOT* loads.

I had a 2" model 10 so I was confident with trying these out.

Their +P load with a 125 grain JHP STARTED at 6.4 grains of Unique and went pretty far up from there. I tried the 6.4 grain load and thought it best that I back down to about 6.2 grains if I want to play with fireworks.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:11 PM
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I've been told by ammo co. engineers that they sometimes use lots of powder that are not offered in what they called "cannister grade".

That may explain why BB is able to achieve those high velocities. They may be using powders not available to reloaders. And they may well be at the edge of the SAAMI pressure envelope. Probably only BB knows for sure.

T-Star
I've been taken to task for suggesting that BB uses duplex or triplex charges but I think that is a valid way to achieve what they have do. With testing labs and very good quality control there's no reason why they can't test and tune each batch of powder to get consistent results. I believe that such a charge could spread/widen the power curve at close to maximum pressure without spiking over max. In other words rather than just an impulse with a peak, there are several impulses over a longer time with peaks just under the maximum pressure.
  #71  
Old 04-16-2014, 11:25 AM
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Thought he did a "New Test" but see it is just an Old Post dug up...............

I am sure "AA" will maybe chime in.............. any way since I am here........

I found it interesting that his "Snub Nose" data was on the nose per my M49.
the 158 with 3.8gr Bullseye in mine got 720 fps
the 125 PMC reached 870 fps
my 110 Super-vel reload reached 996 fps.

R.I.P.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:35 PM
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Wonderful information. Thanks for all the hard "fun" work.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:02 AM
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Old 07-13-2023, 08:13 AM
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Folks, There's absolutely nothing wrong with the .38 Special, or preferably +P variant, provided you respect 3) important facts. 1) Use a Projectile heavy enough to get where it needs to go to perform said work, & 2) Place your shot reasonably well enough to get into the prescribed target area, & lastly 3) Keep the range to something the round is capable of handling. Yes, there are many more potent, longer range cartridges available, yet if you pay attention to those 2 particular provisions, you'll do just fine. The 'lowly' .38 Special has been working for a great many years now, & should continue for many more so long as you respect its limitations.

Best, Dom P. / 'dpast32'

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Old 07-15-2023, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
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Bmcgilvray:
I am so pleased that this ancient thread was again brought back to the top of the "new posts" list. I've read it several times in the past and each re-visit leaves me in awe of the great work the original poster has blessed us with.


As an old geezer with a fondness for the.38 special, I can only hope some of my younger brethren read it all and take it to heart.

My 148 grain flush-seated wadcutters over 4.8 grains of Unique also thank you.

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  #76  
Old 07-15-2023, 10:49 PM
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Still Great data, the 38 special we’ll go 900 ft./s On a full charge of dirty old black powder or a healthy charge of unique and it is still about the most used revolver round. B McGilvery I enjoy about anything you post. THANX
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Old 07-17-2023, 08:30 AM
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This is one of my favorite zombie threads.
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Old 07-18-2023, 12:41 AM
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This thread was started in 2010 and ran mostly into 2012. I see no reason this thread should be brought back from the Abyss.
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