The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi small

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wm
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The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi small

#1 Post by wm » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:07 pm

frame 38 special (model 31) caused me to stumble upon this article discussing the pros and cons of the use of mid range wadcutters for self defense. The first 1/3 of the article is not really helpful but the last 2/3 will interest anyone looking for a 38 special bullet to handload for self defense (or small game hunting IMO).

https://revolverguy.com/wadcutters-for- ... #more-6437

The Rossi presents an interesting set of circumstances …… a 4" barrel performance is very different then a 2" barrel but its 5 shot frame and late 60's metallurgy makes a diet of +P ammo unappealing. That's what has led me to explore the use of wadcutters and hollow base wadcutters loaded backward. While my efforts are focused on self defense I am seeing a lot of potential for use as hunting or nuisance animal dispatching. We are having an issue in Michigan with rabid skunks so I may get the opportunity to test this theory.

Also a friend of mine is laid up and I may end up running his trap line for a week or two or three. I am thinking of using the wadcutters for dispatching this or that.

Anyway just thought I share something someone else might find useful or interesting.

Wm

P.S. If anyone has done any work with 38 WC out of a carbine I'd like to hear your thoughts and findings.

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#2 Post by Blaine » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:25 pm

These cheap, 130 grain truncated-nose FMJs are useful as heck....the flat gives good/straight penetration and they are cheap as heck.
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/2900353049
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#3 Post by JimT » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:05 pm

I second the use of the FMJ trunicated cone bullet. I shoot the 125 gr. Speer's. Same POA as the Speer 125 gr. JHP.
IMG_0273.JPG
This is what it looks like in the dark. 20 gr. of WC820 with the 125 gr. Speer.
FIRE.jpg
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#4 Post by Super Fly » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:14 pm

I load a flat tip 200 grain soft swaged bullet to 625 fps in my snubby 38 Spls. I never (hopefully) have tried it out but the English sure liked it in WW1.

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wm
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#5 Post by wm » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:48 pm

I had an acquaintance that bought a single cavity mold for pocket change at a flea market and it cast a 205 grain bullet like that out of linotype …… I always remember the box it came in …… little wooden box with painted in red with the words 'Flying Beer Can". He casted up about a dozen or so bullets one day when he was getting the temp just right for what ever he was going to cast a bunch of. He loaded those slightly not quite right but close enough bullets in 357 mag cases and shot them out of his Blackhawk. Denny had ideas of using it for silhouette shooting but never pursued it before he moved to AZ.

I always figured it was meant for either a 38 S&W or a rifle (35 Rem perhaps?)

Wm

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#6 Post by JimT » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:36 am

Sixgun Sr wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:14 pm
I load a flat tip 200 grain soft swaged bullet to 625 fps in my snubby 38 Spls. I never (hopefully) have tried it out but the English sure liked it in WW1.

Image
Years ago I shot the 200 gr. factory loads out of 2" .38 Special. The bullet would not stabilize and turned sideways about 3 feet from the muzzle. Another person shot a dog with this load and the resulting wound was amazingly large and ugly ... and effective! DOA While not accurate at longer distances, the gun is made to shoot from bar stool to bar stool anyway and the heavy bullet would be pretty devastating I believe.

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#7 Post by jeepnik » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:41 am

I’m a dinosaur. I still use HBWC loaded backwards in my and my wife’s 2” .38’s. Recoil is fairly mild and terminal effect is substantial.

I’ve used/tested these on critters up to the size of coyotes. A quick necropsy revealed significant tissue damage. If it hit bone secondary projectiles where quite numerous.
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#8 Post by JimT » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:04 am

jeepnik wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:41 am
I’m a dinosaur. I still use HBWC loaded backwards in my and my wife’s 2” .38’s. Recoil is fairly mild and terminal effect is substantial.

I’ve used/tested these on critters up to the size of coyotes. A quick necropsy revealed significant tissue damage. If it hit bone secondary projectiles where quite numerous.
I spent some time with Tom Ferguson of the San Antonio PD, years ago. He used that load on a guy who was in a hotel room, shooting at people. He kicked the door in and when the shooter turned the gun toward him, Mr. Ferguson shot him in the stomach. The bad guy dropped immediately. Later the coroner asked him what he used and when he replied that it was a 38 Special the coroner said "no way!" .. the damage internally was much to destructive.

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#9 Post by Super Fly » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:20 pm

JimT wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:36 am
Years ago I shot the 200 gr. factory loads out of 2" .38 Special. The bullet would not stabilize and turned sideways about 3 feet from the muzzle. Another person shot a dog with this load and the resulting wound was amazingly large and ugly ... and effective! DOA While not accurate at longer distances, the gun is made to shoot from bar stool to bar stool anyway and the heavy bullet would be pretty devastating I believe.
Jim,
When I tested these bullets, I was not expecting much....but....I would not have used them if they tumbled in flight. They shot great out to the tested range of 7 yards...yea, a bit high...but I have trained myself to shoot for the belt buckle. :D (not really)

The article I read said (from British records) the velocity must be a bit over 600 fps. Much faster it loses its "ability to tumble upon striking." I used 231 until I got that "magic velocity". As you know, a hard crimp is needed to prevent bullet walkout in a light revolver. Don't know..don't know...but.....it's better to take the combined knowledge of people like Elmer and Skeeter who KNEW big bullets always worked......and bet on that.

Old time records said this load was supposedly as good as a 45 acp in close range combat.----6
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#10 Post by JimT » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:33 pm

Sixgun Sr wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:20 pm
Old time records said this load was supposedly as good as a 45 acp in close range combat.----6
A .22 is as good as a .45 if someone is shooting at me. :D

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#11 Post by Super Fly » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:36 pm

JimT wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:33 pm
A .22 is as good as a .45 if someone is shooting at me. :D
Thanks Jim...now I have to change my jeans or put em in the dryer with a dryer sheet.

You could not be more right...most guys will run from a BB gun. For some reason, written logic has it that ALL people, like ALL grizzly bears are extremely tough. Even T.R. said a lot of grizzlys will drop from a well placed shot.....I do know for sure I'll panic if I see a stream of blood oozing from my chest cavity.....unless it's extremely important I stay alive.

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#12 Post by JimT » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:51 am

In a close range interpersonal conflict, the best bullet is the one that does serious anatomically damage first and stops the opponent from doing the same to you.
Caliber does not enter into the equation.
Nor does bullet type.
There are too many examples of an 'inferior' cartridge being used by someone who put the shot where it needed to be before the other person did.

We all know this.
But it gives us personal confidence if we carry something that we feel is better for us.
I know I do.

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#13 Post by Super Fly » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:19 am

More words of wisdom from Jim.......wow! When they say "what comes around goes around" brings me to the year 1911. We always return to what works....all the time.--6
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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#15 Post by wm » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:31 pm

Beta test results ……

158 grain LSWC HP at estimated 800 fps using 4.0 grains of win 231. Grouped 10 shots in a 3 inch circle at 25 feet
148 grain HBWC at estimated 800 fps with 3.4 grains of win 231. Grouped 10 shots in a 1.75 inch circle at 25 feet
148 grain HBWC backwards at estimated 800 fps with 3.4 grains of win 231. Grouped 10 shots in a 1.9 inch circle at 25 feet
110 grain JHP at estimated at estimated 900 fps with 5.5 grains of win 231. Grouped 10 shots in a 2 inch circle at 25 feet.

This is just stuff I had on hand from previous handloading efforts. All are non plus P loads. I did not chrono any of the loads so all velocities are reasonably conscientious WAGs. I was disappointed in the 158 grain LSWC HP with an unexpected 3 flyers, otherwise it was shooting as well as the others and it seemed to be the most centered on the point of aim. I am going to retest that load.

If I had to load and use that gun tonight in bad times situation I'd opt for the 148 grain HBWC loaded backwards but I want to test all the above on wet newspaper before I settle on one load.

I had a coffee can full of 110 grain JHP non plus P 38specials I loaded 23 years ago :roll: and forgot about on the end of the shelf. I don't even recall what that was for. Thank goodness I have always been a stickler about labels because otherwise I would have had to do some forensic bullet pulling to figure it out.

Wm

P.S. Is found ammo like found money? I think it is

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Re: The great (ok not great but ongoing distraction) search for the best self defense ammo for the 4" barreled Rossi sma

#16 Post by JimT » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:34 am

Ammo loaded awhile back and forgotten .. then discovered is like finding treasure!

I went hunting with some 41 Magnum stuff I found in my stuff ... loaded in 1996. Worked just fine.

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