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best .38 and .357 mag defensive ammo? Login/Join 
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Would prefer +P in .38 special. Will be used in a 2" barrel.

What do you suggest and if you know of any deals going I would appreciate that too.





Strive to live your life so when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says "Oh crap, he's up."
 
Posts: 31703 | Location: St. Louis MO | Registered: February 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I carry a 642-1. My carry ammo is Speer 135gr Short-Barrel Gold Dot HP +P, .38 Special. It can be tough to find at times as Speer produces it in cycles, every 3-4 months I believe. Look for the 50-round boxes for the best value. You can sometimes find them for $30-35/box.

My second choice is Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP standard pressure, .38 Special, aka the FBI load. It's standard pressure, but produces the same velocity as the older +P versions (some people have reported that the current versions of the FBI load by other makers have been watered down). It also produces the same kick as the +P versions. BB also makes a +P version that produces 1000fps out of a 2" barrel, but recoil is very stout, obviously. One caveat: if you're using one of S&W's scandium-frame models, firing lead bullets could potentially cause the bullets to pull forward from their cases during recoil, sometimes enough to lock up the gun. Buffalo Bore's loads are also on the expensive side, usually $25+/20-round boxes.

If I couldn't get either of those loads, I'd probably just get Remington's version of the FBI load. I'm not sure what they call it, but you can usually find pretty good prices on 50-round boxes, I want to say in the $20-30 range, but it's been a while since I've priced them.

Winchester's 130gr PDX1 load seems to get generally good reviews, but I have no firsthand experience with them.



"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Sherlock Holmes
 
Posts: 690 | Registered: February 26, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Remington # RTP38S12 is the FBI load.
 
Posts: 522 | Location: Southern Michigan | Registered: May 30, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use the old Remington 125gr .357 medium velocity in my 340sc. I also have Golden Sabre medium velocity 125's and just got a box of Gold Dot short barrel 135gr .357 that I need to try. Have not had any issues locking up the cylinder with bullet pull on the first 2 loads and compared to a full house load they are manageable with good follow up shot capability. 125gr Federal 357B are brutal 158's even worse. Love the weight to power ratio on a drop in your pocket gun. Very comforting train with the load you carry in the scandium guns.
 
Posts: 436 | Location: Upstate New York | Registered: January 08, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by henryarnaud:
I carry a 642-1. My carry ammo is Speer 135gr Short-Barrel Gold Dot HP +P, .38 Special. It can be tough to find at times as Speer produces it in cycles, every 3-4 months I believe. Look for the 50-round boxes for the best value. You can sometimes find them for $30-35/box....


Here's the 50 rd box for $29:

http://palmettostatearmory.com...ion-50rds-53921.html

Tough to find, also tough on the hands. Do not fire a 50 rd box from a 642 in the same range trip. Ask me how I know that...
 
Posts: 12069 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Sigmund:
quote:
Originally posted by henryarnaud:
I carry a 642-1. My carry ammo is Speer 135gr Short-Barrel Gold Dot HP +P, .38 Special. It can be tough to find at times as Speer produces it in cycles, every 3-4 months I believe. Look for the 50-round boxes for the best value. You can sometimes find them for $30-35/box....


Here's the 50 rd box for $29:

http://palmettostatearmory.com...ion-50rds-53921.html

Tough to find, also tough on the hands. Do not fire a 50 rd box from a 642 in the same range trip. Ask me how I know that...


Agreed. I do most of my shooting with 132gr FMJ standard pressure loads and limit +P to 20-25 rounds per session, at most.



"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Sherlock Holmes
 
Posts: 690 | Registered: February 26, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Sigmund:
quote:
Originally posted by henryarnaud:
I carry a 642-1. My carry ammo is Speer 135gr Short-Barrel Gold Dot HP +P, .38 Special. It can be tough to find at times as Speer produces it in cycles, every 3-4 months I believe. Look for the 50-round boxes for the best value. You can sometimes find them for $30-35/box....


Here's the 50 rd box for $29:

http://palmettostatearmory.com...ion-50rds-53921.html

Tough to find, also tough on the hands. Do not fire a 50 rd box from a 642 in the same range trip. Ask me how I know that...



That's a good deal. Thanks!





Strive to live your life so when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says "Oh crap, he's up."
 
Posts: 31703 | Location: St. Louis MO | Registered: February 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KevinCW:
quote:
Originally posted by Sigmund:
quote:
Originally posted by henryarnaud:
I carry a 642-1. My carry ammo is Speer 135gr Short-Barrel Gold Dot HP +P, .38 Special. It can be tough to find at times as Speer produces it in cycles, every 3-4 months I believe. Look for the 50-round boxes for the best value. You can sometimes find them for $30-35/box....


Here's the 50 rd box for $29:

http://palmettostatearmory.com...ion-50rds-53921.html

Tough to find, also tough on the hands. Do not fire a 50 rd box from a 642 in the same range trip. Ask me how I know that...



That's a good deal. Thanks!
yeah it looks to be in stock. GTDist is who I usually order from but 38 Gold Dot SB is out of stock. They do list 357 Magnum Gold Dot SB as being in stock but it is pricey, $26 for a box of 20 vs $28-29 for a 50 round box of 38s.




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Posts: 9645 | Location: Jawjah | Registered: December 30, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I snagged a couple boxes of the gold dots. It is rare they are in stock in the 50 round boxes... probably should have got more.





Strive to live your life so when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says "Oh crap, he's up."
 
Posts: 31703 | Location: St. Louis MO | Registered: February 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Firing a hundred rounds from a 642 in a shooting session isn't a big deal; it's an easy revolver to control and shoot.
 
Posts: 1055 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sns3guppy:
Firing a hundred rounds from a 642 in a shooting session isn't a big deal; it's an easy revolver to control and shoot.


Don't assume that because you can handle 100 rounds through a 642 that others can. Different people have different tolerance levels for recoil. If I shoot 100 rounds through my 642 my performance starts suffering towards the end and I'm icing my hand afterwards.



"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Sherlock Holmes
 
Posts: 690 | Registered: February 26, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Federal 38G is the 158+P LSWC HP FBI load. It's pretty mild out of a 642.


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Posts: 5179 | Location: Newyorkistan | Registered: March 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just ordered 2 boxes of the short barrel 38 +P based on all of the reviews I've read, sure sounds like you can't go wrong with those out of a J-frame.
 
Posts: 1269 | Location: Raleigh, NC | Registered: March 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like the Winchester PDX1

 
Posts: 13842 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: June 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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38+P Short Barrel Gold Dot will likely be your best bet. It's the NYPD approved BUG load, IIRC. I've carried Winchester Ranger Bonded 130+P (also sold as PDX1 in the expensive 20 round boxes) in my 442 when I couldn't find the Gold Dot.

I hope you don't mind the wall of text or that para doesn't mind the link to another forum, but Dr. Gary Roberts, who has a considerable amount of experience in this field and has supervised controlled tests for LE and mil organizations (i.e. not a Youtube know it all), has written an excellent piece about ammo selection for .38 special back-up guns:

(some trimming, original at pistol-forum.com)

quote:
10/23/12
[...]
There have been many reports in the scientific literature, by Dr. Fackler and others, recommending the 158 gr +P LSWCHP as offering adequate performance. Please put this in context for the time that these papers were written in the late 1980's and early 1990's--no denim testing was being performed at that time, no robust expanding JHP's, like the Barnes XPB, Federal Tactical & HST, Speer Gold Dot, or Win Ranger Talon existed. In the proper historical perspective, the 158 gr +P LSWCHP fired out 3-4" barrel revolvers was one of the best rounds available--and it is still a viable choice, as long as you understand its characteristics.

While oversimplified, bare gelatin gives information about best case performance, while 4 layer denim provides data on worst case performance--in reality, the actual performance may be somewhere in between. The four layer denim test is NOT designed to simulate any type of clothing--it is simply an engineering test to assess the ability of a projectile to resist plugging and robustly expand. FWIW, one of the senior engineers at a very respected handgun ammunition manufacturer recently commented that bullets that do well in 4 layer denim testing have invariably worked well in actual officer involved shooting incidents.

With few exceptions, the vast majority of .38 Sp JHP's fail to expand when fired from 2" barrels in the 4 layer denim test. Many of the lighter JHP's demonstrate overexpansion and insufficient penetration in bare gel testing. Also, the harsher recoil of the +P loads in lightweight J-frames tends to minimize practice efforts and decrease accuracy for many officers. The 158 gr +P LSWCHP offers adequate penetration, however in a 2" revolver the 158gr +P LSWCHP does not reliably expand. If it fails to expand, it will produce less wound trauma than a WC. Target wadcutters offer good penetration, cut tissue efficiently, and have relatively mild recoil. With wadcutters harder alloys and sharper leading edges are the way to go. Wadcutters perform exactly the same in both bare and 4 layer denim covered gel when fired from a 2" J-frame.

When faced with too little penetration, as is common with lightweight .38 Sp JHP loads or too much penetration like with the wadcutters, then go with penetration. Agencies around here have used the Winchester 148 gr standard pressure lead target wadcutter (X38SMRP), as well as the Federal (GM38A) version--both work. A sharper edged wadcutter would even be better... Dr. Fackler has written in Fackler ML: "The Full Wadcutter--An Extremely Effective Bullet Design", Wound Ballistics Review. 4(2):6-7, Fall 1999)
"As a surgeon by profession, I am impressed by bullets with a cutting action (eg. Winchester Talon and Remington Golden Saber). Cutting is many times more efficient at disrupting tissue than the crushing mechanism by which ordinary bullets produce the hole through which they penetrate. The secret to the increased efficiency of the full wadcutter bullet is the cutting action of its sharp circumferential leading edge. Actually, cutting is simply very localized crush; by decreasing the area over which a given force is spread, we can greatly increase the magnitude to the amount of force delivered per unit are--which is a fancy way of saying that sharp knives cut a lot better than dull ones. As a result, the calculation of forces on tissue during penetration underestimate the true effectiveness of the wadcutter bullet relative to other shapes."

Currently, the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP, Winchester 130 gr bonded +P JHP (RA38B), and Barnes 110 gr XPB all copper JHP (for ex. in the Corbon DPX loading) offer the most reliable expansion we have seen from a .38 sp 2” BUG; Hornady 110 gr standard pressure and +P Critical Defense loads also offer good performance out of 2" barrel revolvers.

Any of the Airweight J-frames are fine for BUG use. The steel J-frames are a bit too heavy for comfortable all day wear on the ankle, body armor, or in a pocket. My current J-frames are 342's and previously in my career I have used the 37, 38, 649, and 642. I like the 342 w/Lasergrips very much. Shooting is not too bad with standard pressure wadcutters and the 110 gr DPX, but not so comfortable with the Speer 135 gr JHP +P Gold Dots. Before the advent of the 110 gr Corbon DPX load, I used to carry standard pressure wadcutters in my J-frames with Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP's in speed strips for re-loads, as the flat front wadcutters were hard to reload with under stress. There is no reason to go with .357 mag in a J-frame, as the significantly larger muzzle blast and flash, and harsher recoil of the .357 Magnum does not result in substantially improved terminal performance compared to the more controllable .38 Special bullets when fired from 2” barrels. emphasis mine

For years, J-frames were considered "arm's reach" weapons, that is until CTC Lasergrips were added. With the mild recoil of target wadcutters, officers are actually practicing with their BUG's; when combined with Lasergrips, qualification scores with J-frames have dramatically increased. Now 5 shots rapid-fire in a 6" circle at 25 yds is not uncommon--kind of mind blowing watching officers who could not hit the target at 25 yds with a J-frame suddenly qualify with all shots in the black…

2" J-frames are great BUG's and marginally acceptable low threat carry guns because they are lightweight, reliable, and offer acceptable terminal performance at close range--downsides are difficulty in shooting well at longer ranges because of sight design and sight radius limitations, along with reduced capacity coupled with slower reloading. Nonetheless, with the addition of CTC Laser Grips and an enclosed or shrouded hammer, the 2" J-frame models without key locks (I personally will NEVER own firearm with an integral lock) may be the best BUG's and most reliable pocket handguns available.


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Posts: 3845 | Location: Holly Springs/Canton, GA | Registered: November 02, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Following the lead from the Lost Allman Brother:

https://www.buffalobore.com/in...product_detail&p=288

https://www.buffalobore.com/in...product_detail&p=111

I just ordered some of each of the above to test in my 649.

A bunch of the guys on PF carry wadcutters in their bugs.
 
Posts: 888 | Location: Hollywood,Florida | Registered: July 26, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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