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  #1  
Old 12-21-2008, 07:59 PM
NavJAG06 NavJAG06 is offline
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I have a new 642 and have fired a couple of hundred 38sp range rounds (Atlanta Arms) to acclimate to the firearm and also fired about 50 rounds of Speers Gold Dot 38 +P rounds. The range rounds were easy to handle; the Gold Dots had more recoil than I expected and were a bit hard on the hands after about 25 rounds. Looking for a good compromise for a self-defense round with decent velocity, power, and bullet spread with a bit less recoil than the Speers 38 +P rounds I fired. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:59 PM
NavJAG06 NavJAG06 is offline
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I have a new 642 and have fired a couple of hundred 38sp range rounds (Atlanta Arms) to acclimate to the firearm and also fired about 50 rounds of Speers Gold Dot 38 +P rounds. The range rounds were easy to handle; the Gold Dots had more recoil than I expected and were a bit hard on the hands after about 25 rounds. Looking for a good compromise for a self-defense round with decent velocity, power, and bullet spread with a bit less recoil than the Speers 38 +P rounds I fired. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:36 PM
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I practice with .38 special and carry Buffalo Bore 38+p 158gr LSWC. I really don't believe that the 642 was intended to be a target or plinking gun. If you ever needed it for self defense, you probably would never feel the recoil, and your social occasion will be over in less than 5 shots anyway.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:40 PM
mnhntr mnhntr is offline
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mine loves hornady +p xtp's
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:36 PM
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Federal makes some 110-gr .38 defense loads which are not +p but have decent muzzle energy. They are intended for low recoil.

I use the 128 grain +p rounds myself, but they do kick more like a standard 158 grain .38 sp factory round. That makes it easy to practice with factory ammo and the defense rounds feel and sight in the same.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:51 PM
Dale53 Dale53 is offline
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My carry loads for the 642 are the "FBI Load" (.38 Special +P with 158 gr LSWC-HP). I practice with target WC's (148 WC's at target velocity). I often shoot a cylinder full of carry loads at the end of the practice session.

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Old 12-21-2008, 11:03 PM
GatorFarmer GatorFarmer is offline
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If you go to Walmart, you can buy 100rd value packs of Rem/UMC 125 gr +P JHPs. You can use these to either 1. get used to the recoil of a +P round through your revolver or 2. use them as carry ammo in a pinch.

If +P ammunition kicks too much, you could try wadcutters or semiwadcutters, or you could get a heavier revolver. There's no free lunch with Airweights and Airlites. They're easy to carry, but the effective ammunition for them isn't pleasant to fire.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:02 AM
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Practice with light loads. Finish each session with a couple cylinders of the hot stuff.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:58 AM
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I used to shoot 125g Nyclads but you can't get them anymore. A good compromise from the Gold Dot's which are probably one of the best rounds on the market would be 125g Remington Golden Sabres. I'm not sure I would want to shoot 158's out of that gun and definately not while practicing. I carry 125g Gold Dot's in mine, I figure if I have to use it, the recoil will be the least of my worries.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
the Gold Dots had more recoil than I expected and were a bit hard on the hands after about 25 rounds
Most gunfights will be over before you reload a J-Frame five times. I wouldn't worry too much about the recoil.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:58 AM
460v LAC du FLAMBEAU 460v LAC du FLAMBEAU is offline
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I use the Gold Dots. I apply as much grip pressure as possible with that lightweight...seems to help the recoil shock.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:05 PM
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135 gr +P Gold Dot SB
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  #13  
Old 12-22-2008, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by backalow:
I used to shoot 125g Nyclads but you can't get them anymore. A good compromise from the Gold Dot's which are probably one of the best rounds on the market would be 125g Remington Golden Sabres. I'm not sure I would want to shoot 158's out of that gun and definately not while practicing. I carry 125g Gold Dot's in mine, I figure if I have to use it, the recoil will be the least of my worries.
I love the 125gr. Nyclad hollow-points for a defense load in a 38. They aren't +P rated and are pleasant to shoot, but have a massive hollow-cavity and seem to expand very well. Federal quit making them although I have several left-over boxes, but the word out now is that they are going to manufacture Nyclad again, which is good news if it is accurate.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:08 PM
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I like the Gold Dots in mine, ran into a good deal on them from a shop in NY state a while back and bought a case. I had my 642 ported and tuned, and added wood stocks; now it's great with the +P's.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:51 PM
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Change your grips to ones that cover the backsrap.This will greatly reduce the felt recoil. I carry Buffalo Bore 158 LSWCHP's in std. pressure. Covering the backstrap helps alot.

If the recoil from a densive load is to much, try 148gr. wadcutters. They would put a big old hole in a bad guy. and follow up shots would be easier to manage.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:56 PM
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+1 on target wadcutters. They will make a caliber sized hole, track straight and penetrate deep. Their recoil is ridiculously mild.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:52 PM
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Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 158's
in both my 442 and 49.
Also the first 2 up in my 640 (38)
followed by 3 BB 158 +P's.
Prior to the Buffalo Bores,
all three were loaded with Corbon DPX +P's.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:54 PM
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If you reload, and don't have qualms about using reloads for defense, a double ended wadcutter loaded at full charge levels (use your chronograph) makes a dandy defense load. You get full bore diameter WITHOUT the necessity to expand.

Just a thought...

Dale53
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:10 PM
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I've been shooting Rem 110gr sjhp's for defense out of a Smith mdl 37. No recoil problems. I've changed grips and will try a 125gr sjhp +p. Stay tuned.

Good luck,

milspec
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dale53:
If you reload, and don't have qualms about using reloads for defense, a double ended wadcutter loaded at full charge levels (use your chronograph) makes a dandy defense load. You get full bore diameter WITHOUT the necessity to expand.

Just a thought...

Dale53
At light target levels wads will penetrate 16". Hotrodded might do better against bone, but probably the extra velocity isn't necessary.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:32 PM
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I practice with 148gr lead wadcutters from www.mastercast.net. They are very accurate, and only beat my hand up a little when I fire them from my 637 Airweight (the twin to your 642 with a visible hammer). I limit myself to fifty, and first put a J&J knuckle bandage on the web of my right hand. If I forget to do that, I will make -- and break -- a blister within twenty rounds. Practice with Airweights is a duty, not a pleasure. My SD/HD load is the Remington +p LSWCHP, the FBI load. The Winchester and Federal versions of this round use hardcast bullets, which probably will not expand from a snubby. The Remington load uses dead soft lead bullets which can be expected to expand from a snubby. I occasionally fire off a cylinder full of these cartridges, just to remind me of how stout they are. If I were to use them in a SD/HD situation, I doubt if I would even notice that my hand hurt (or that my ears were ringing). The Speer 135gr +p Gold Dot is also highly regarded, and is made specifically for snubbies.

Cordially, Jack
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:46 PM
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I like the Speer GoldDot 135gr +P. A new one I just picked up today is the new Hornady Critical Defense. It should be good.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dale53:
If you reload, and don't have qualms about using reloads for defense, a double ended wadcutter loaded at full charge levels (use your chronograph) makes a dandy defense load. You get full bore diameter WITHOUT the necessity to expand.

Just a thought...

Dale53
Back in the '70s I experimented with loading Speer 148 grain hollow-base swaged wadcutters upside-down with the hollow base forming a massive hollow-cavity facing forward. They actually shot quite well and when fired into water would expand to about 3/4 of an inch even at low velocities. They didn't penetrate real far either, so I thought of them as a potentially decent defensive-round against human targets and carried them in my Model 67 for a number of years.

In this era where a lawsuit seems to arise out of every death that occurs, even if it is an 87 year-old in poor health, I am personally of the view that using any sort of handload in a defensive handgun is unwise, so I don't. That's me. Not wanting to rekindle that debate, just sayin'.....
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:17 PM
NavJAG06 NavJAG06 is offline
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Thanks to all for the great suggestions. I think I'll take the suggestions for practicing with the range rounds but loading a couple cylinders of self-defense ammo either +P or the Federal rounds suggested at the end to acclimate to the recoil of the light firearm. My regular firearms are the Sig 239 (sweet gun) and an XD 45 compact. I was amazed at how easy even the 45 with ,45 acp +P rounds is to shoot and follow through compared to the Airweight. Have to refocus that the Airweight is a close-defense weapon and correct... won't be thinking or caring about recoil in a real-life situation. Again, the advice by all is much appreciated.
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:29 PM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by NavJAG06:
I have a new 642 and have fired a couple of hundred 38sp range rounds (Atlanta Arms) to acclimate to the firearm and also fired about 50 rounds of Speers Gold Dot 38 +P rounds. The range rounds were easy to handle; the Gold Dots had more recoil than I expected and were a bit hard on the hands after about 25 rounds. Looking for a good compromise for a self-defense round with decent velocity, power, and bullet spread with a bit less recoil than the Speers 38 +P rounds I fired. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
In 38, there are two proven choices: (1) Winchester FBI load* and (2) Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel.

I would also look at the new Hornady with the red plug in the hollow point to assist in mushroom. It looks promising. I think it is called Critical Defense or something like that.

* The Winchester FBI load is the 158 grain +P Lead Hollow Point, catalog number I think ends with SPD.
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:39 AM
Fulton722 Fulton722 is offline
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MidwayUSA has the 38+P Speer 135 gr. S.B. on sale for $20.99 / 20 rounds (#738035).
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shawn mccarver:
In 38, there are two proven choices: (1) Winchester FBI load* and (2) Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel.

I would also look at the new Hornady with the red plug in the hollow point to assist in mushroom. It looks promising. I think it is called Critical Defense or something like that.

* The Winchester FBI load is the 158 grain +P Lead Hollow Point, catalog number I think ends with SPD.
Don't forget to Include Remington's FBI load (R38S12) in there as well.

Buffalo Bore makes a SMOKING FBI load as well that chronos (according to BB) at 1000 fps from a 1 7/8" Model 60.
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:57 AM
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I'm novice shooter, but I took my recently purchased 642 to the range yesterday and I went through 20 Speer Gold Dots and 20 Remington Hydra-Shok loads (both are +P).

I found the Gold Dots had a bit more recoil and were a bit harder to group for accuracy. The Remingtons felt better and were more accurate for me. I decided I will be buying the Remingtons from now on.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shawn mccarver:
In 38, there are two proven choices: (1) Winchester FBI load* and (2) Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel.

I would also look at the new Hornady with the red plug in the hollow point to assist in mushroom. It looks promising. I think it is called Critical Defense or something like that.

* The Winchester FBI load is the 158 grain +P Lead Hollow Point, catalog number I think ends with SPD.
Very good advice here and you would do well to follow. The 148/158 gr rounds are about the best there is from a 38 special and when loaded properly the LSWC-HP is a very deadly round and as always done the job unless having to shoot through car bodies and windshields. I use a Hornedy LSWC-HP in my 357 magnum 360Sc 12.5 oz Kit Gun because of the reduced recoil. It can't be shot properly by 99% of the people with most PP 357 loads.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:24 AM
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Hi In my 640 I use 135 grain Copper jacketed hollow point +P Speer Gold Dot short barrel for carry.This round was developed in conjunction with NYPD to not loose velocity when fired from snub nosed revolvers as compared to full sized duty revolvers......God Bless.....Mike
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:32 AM
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You arent buying premium self defense loads, such as Speer +P 135s or 158 +P HP FBI loads for target practice,especially at well over $1/round! The box says SELF DEFENSE and that is exactly what they are for! A +P38 is little enough! If it groups well enough to hit at 7 yards, thats good enough.

Practice with a standard 38 Special loadings, such as Winchester White Box 130 or 158 round nose, something close to the weight you are carrying in a self defense load.

Once you learn the proper grip for your gun and limit the number of rounds fired, that tendancy to wear the skin off the web of your hand won't be a problem. I unconsciously hold mine very tight because of that. Also, 50 rounds per range session with that gun is enough.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by milspec45:
I've been shooting Rem 110gr sjhp's for defense out of a Smith mdl 37. No recoil problems.
I use these on occasion but they have one heck of a flash and bang. Then again, that might not be a bad thing.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wyatt Earp:
Don't forget to Include Remington's FBI load (R38S12) in there as well.
The last box of R38S12 I bought was loaded quite different than the older stock I had. The bullet was about 1/16" further out of the case. Don't know if that's something new they are doing or if it was a bad batch of ammo. FYI
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:16 PM
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I carry my 642 loaded with HydraShocks.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by NavJAG06: Looking for a good compromise for a self-defense round with decent velocity, power, and bullet spread with a bit less recoil than the Speers 38 +P rounds I fired. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
The NYPD Gold Dot load has performed well on the street but the recoil is a bit much for me. I use the CorBon 110gr JHP+P. A bit less recoil and the Sierra bullet is very accurate. This load has performed well on the street also.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:36 PM
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Dale said: "My carry loads for the 642 are the "FBI Load" (.38 Special +P with 158 gr LSWC-HP). I practice with target WC's (148 WC's at target velocity). I often shoot a cylinder full of carry loads at the end of the practice session."

I can add but one thought to that: from a 642 snubby, the FBI load should be Remington's, not Federal's or Winchester's. Their bullets are more hardcast than Remington's and therefore have less chance of expanding in jello and other such -- um -- materials, than Remington's almost pure lead bullets (www.brassfetcher.com, www.hipowersandhandguns.net). That is what Stephen Camp carries in his 642, and what I carrie in my 637 -- the visible hammer version of your 642.

For range ammo, I agree with several posters above: 148gr LWC. I get mine from www.mastercast.net. I have fired off more than 6,000 of Mastercast's reloads without a single problem. Reliable, inexpensive, prompt. Highly recommended. You can really save money by sending them your brass in exchange (same type and quantity). If you choose to do this, send it USPS Priority Mail. I send off a thousand cases that way for nine dollars and change. Any other way I know of costs more than twenty dollars.

And, by the way, you may find the 148gr WC a bit hurty on your hand also (I do, but my hand is 77 years old). If so, check Mastercast's 100gr LWC. I tested 500 of them, found them accurate at least to 10 yards and, at 600 fps about as punishing as a .22. As for your SD/HD load, as has been pointed out above, if you have to use it for its intended purpose, you won't even notice the flash, bang and recoil -- until later, when someone says something you and you say, "What?"

I think you would accept that. I will, but then I donated much of my hearing to Naval Aviation, so I don't have that much left to part with.

Good luck,
Jack
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:44 PM
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Even after taking the ) out of the first link it still does not open.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:18 PM
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I too practice with .38 special loads but carry Buffalo Bore 38+p 158GR LSWC-HP.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:35 AM
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Best Self-Defense Ammo for 642? Best Self-Defense Ammo for 642? Best Self-Defense Ammo for 642? Best Self-Defense Ammo for 642? Best Self-Defense Ammo for 642?  
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I carry a 442 with Speer GD 125 grain JHP +P.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:57 PM
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You're asking about the best ammo for a little 38? Man please! You don't need anything special,just be a good shot. Most ones are killed by 22's,think about it.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:45 AM
markmc markmc is offline
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I bought some Georgia Arms 158 gr lswc hp +P at the gun show. They were inexpensive.I had read a lot of discussion on penetration and such using snubbies and just thought I would try some.
I know this is not a very scientific test-- but
me and my wife put some through my 642-it has crimson trace overmold grips and really tames the recoil. At 5 yards they blew right through a 2x4 at point of aim and were comfortable to me and my wife. Each made a nickle to a quarter size hole coming out-never found a whole bullet.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:54 AM
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Surprisingly, only one poster recommended changing the grips. That's the first thing that went on my 642, even before a trigger job, which it sorely needed. A proper set of grips will make the +P's relatively easy to handle and probably improve accuracy as well. At the cost of a little bit of concealibility , of course.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:34 AM
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Interesting read on Gold dot 135 gr.
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot27_2.htm
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:02 AM
Robert B Robert B is offline
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I don't understand why you guys think that 38 spc +P are so great. They rarely even meet the FBI standards for penetration of 12 inches through all the barriers. Buffalo Bore loads some that meet the FBI criteria, but they say that those loads are loaded to low end 357 mag. I love my J frame, but it's a 357 mag and I shoot the gold dot short barrel 135 grain 357s.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert B:
I don't understand why you guys think that 38 spc +P are so great.
Every person has to work out their own plan of defense. I shoot the .38 Special better than the .357 Magnum in the J frame so that's what I use.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:48 AM
Dale53 Dale53 is offline
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>>>I shoot the .38 Special better than the .357 Magnum in the J frame so that's what I use.<<<

BINGO!

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Old 03-05-2009, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by backalow:
I used to shoot 125g Nyclads but you can't get them anymore. A good compromise from the Gold Dot's which are probably one of the best rounds on the market would be 125g Remington Golden Sabres. I'm not sure I would want to shoot 158's out of that gun and definately not while practicing. I carry 125g Gold Dot's in mine, I figure if I have to use it, the recoil will be the least of my worries.
FYI-Federal is producing Nyclads again.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
FYI-Federal is producing Nyclads again.
I've heard this everywhere but haven't seen any yet. Where are they all at?
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:02 AM
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Hornady Critical Defense - They use the same powder mix they use in their TAPS. Major reduction in muzzle flash. The only problem will be finding some. They are very popular and hard to find.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by eddieb:
I practice with .38 special and carry Buffalo Bore 38+p 158gr LSWC. I really don't believe that the 642 was intended to be a target or plinking gun. If you ever needed it for self defense, you probably would never feel the recoil, and your social occasion will be over in less than 5 shots anyway.
I hear this statement all the time about not feeling recoil in a SD situation, but I must take issue with this. It isn't the felt recoil one should worry about; it is the ability to put multiple shots on target quickly. Well placed multiple shots is more important that power or recoil or type of ammo. My goal is to the carry the most effective ammo I can shoot quickly and accurately with one or two hand shooting.
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