The muddled 38

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wvfarrier
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The muddled 38

Post by wvfarrier »

My EDC is a 2.62" smith with 38 special 130 Ranger +p's.
Ive been watching some of the gel tests (4 layers of denim) for a WIDE assortment of personal defense loads and virtually ALL failed to expand in the gel block when penetrating 4 layers of denim, several functioned like fmjs. Its pretty disheartening. I realize that 10% gel is not exactly soft tissue but it does provide a pretty good idea of what will happen to a bad guy. I really dont wanna carry 357s in a short barrel for a wide variety of reasons. The new Federal HST 130s seem to be showing a lot of promise so i will probably test them at home and see how it shakes out.
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wecsoger
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wecsoger »

Good article on using wadcutters, here:

https://revolverguy.com/wadcutters-for-self-defense/

also if you do a search on '38 special wadcutter self defense' you'll get links to a lot of very interesting reference material.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wm »

This might interest you ……

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLPFPyg9r1k

Personally I have continued to use standard pressure 148 grain HBWC loaded back wards. There are pros and cons to this. If you want to explore this subject there is a lot of information on the internet (for example https://www.grantcunningham.com/2011/11 ... wadcutter/ and https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/wadc ... f-defense/)

I do have a high degree of confidence 110 grain Hornady Critical Defence and Critical Defence Lite. it uses lighter bullets to achieve higher velocity that makes expansion more reliable.

No free lunch …… you have to try to balance velocity, pressure, recoil, expansion, penetration, accuracy, etc. and find what works best for you. I place a great emphasis on quick follow up shots and therefore am very conscious of recoil but some people are not & put an emphasis on accuracy at longer ranges and still others are very conscious of bullet expansion. I can't say who is more right or most right & I don't think anyone is absolutely wrong.

The Fedral NyClad 38 special 125 grain JHP was a great option once upon a time but its been long since discontinued. Wish that was brought back again. There was a short run back around 2010 but I don't think Federal got enough of a response to keep it in production.

Wm

P.S. Just some background so you don't think I'm just being a internet know it all ….. I came into possession of a Rossi model 31 (5 shot, 38 spl, with 4" barrel) a couple months back and I spent a good bit of time finding out what worked best in this revolver. At the same time I reexamined my carry load in my S&W 36 & 60 both of which have 3" barrels. I retired the Federal Hydra Shock 38s I carried for years and switched over to Hornady Critical Defence for urban carry and the hand load 148 wadcutter HBWC back wards for hiking and trails. POI is about 3" different at 50'. The Rossi is right on for the 148 grain bullets and the Smiths for the 110 grainers.
Last edited by wm on Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
stretch
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by stretch »

Lots of ink has been spilled on the best loads for a 38 Special.

I like a 158gr. SWC or HPSWC to +P pressures. Most of the fixed sight
revolvers seem to have sights regulated for the heavier bullets. I'll have
to try 148 gr. WCs, which I never have. I have to wonder, though - how's
barrel leading with the wadcutters at +P velocities?

I frequently carry a 6-shot Rossi 357 with a 2" barrel. That's loaded with 158gr.
JHP over 14.0 gr. of 2400. In this revolver, it's comfortable to shoot and very
accurate. It also shoots to point of aim with the fixed sights.

I know - out of a 2" barrel, I may not get reliable expansion. But - I WILL get
decent penetration, whether it expands or not!

-Stretch
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wvfarrier
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wvfarrier »

I was always taught to never carry handloads for EDC. I do in the woods though.
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Tycer
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by Tycer »

This is what I carried when I did.
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/2719493508/
I did my own penetration tests and while bone and layers of denim affected expansion, penetration was always excellent. Shot placement is always key no matter what you carry.
Kind regards,
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by piller »

I am not convinced that there is a "best" option due to the variables such as barrel length, bullet weight, time of year to affect amount of clothing, and some other issues. If you can, try your choices in your gun on something that represents the conditions you expect. If you can't do that, research what you can and make a choice. Maybe I am just being a know it all, but I do think practice and familiarity with your gun so that you hit what you are trying to shoot at is as important as any other factor. I have only my Army Infantry experience and hunting experience to draw on for any personal knowledge. The .38 is still around for the simple reason that it has given good results over a long time. There might be better choices, or there might not be better. I am not the authority there. I just never believed in one shot stops being the norm. If I carry, I have reloads that are easily accessible. I have never needed my carry gun, and I try to stay aware so that it never happens. Practice and being aware of your surroundings and situation are never wasted effort.
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mikld
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by mikld »

One of my house gun's loads are using DEWCs. I load them over a max. charge of W231 (not +P) and am getting around 750 fps from my 2" snubby., with about 5"+ penetration in wet paper (much denser the gel/flesh). I cast them from my normal bullet alloy, approx. 12 BHN, lube them with my "Speed Green and size them to fit my gun (same diameter at the throats, .358") and I get very little leading. Accurate as far as I've tested them; 30-35 feet, or room distance. I figger the flat face will deliver good tissue destruction, won't endanger my neighbors and are easy to shoot...
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mikld
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by mikld »

wvfarrier wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:52 am
I was always taught to never carry handloads for EDC. I do in the woods though.
I first read this subject when I discovered reloading forums in 2006 and it has been "discussed" ad infinitum! Never has a consensus been reached nor a good example of prosecution from "killer ammo"...
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JimT
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by JimT »

Bullet expansion has not been a consideration for me, no matter the caliber. It is not expansion that disables or stops.
Dangerous Game bullets have been solids since round ball days.
I hear people say "I would use solids on dangerous game but not for self defense."
And I think WHAT?
I have run into far more dangerous humans than I ever have dangerous game.
I want something that will penetrate.
And I want my skill level to be able to place the shot in the proper place under extreme stress.
If the bullet has to penetrate heavy clothing in the winter ... good luck with an expanding bullet. Add a heavy layer of fat and things go downhill rather rapidly.
With the little short barrel revolvers it is even more critical.
You can't get enough velocity to get an expanding bullet to work reliably.
You can't get enough velocity to run a heavy enough bullet that it will penetrate reliably. Too heavy and the bullet won't even stabilize. That was proven years ago with the old .38 Special 200 gr. load.
For me ... and no one has to agree, this is my solution for me ... if I am carrying a little short barrel gun, it will be loaded with bullets in the 125 to 140 gr. range. They will either be cast bullets or FMJ at as much velocity as I can get safely.
1894cfan
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by 1894cfan »

How about the Keith 170gr SWC in either Lyman #2 or pure lead at standard velocities?
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Tycer
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by Tycer »

1894cfan wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:35 pm
How about the Keith 170gr SWC in either Lyman #2 or pure lead at standard velocities?
I would want a bit more velocity than the 170 could give. Jim is spot on.
Kind regards,
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JimT
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by JimT »

FIRE.jpg
Jacketed 125 gr. Speer
20 gr. WC820 (military surplus H110)
S&W Model 340 .357 Magnum
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yooper2
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by yooper2 »

I carry full charge wadcutters in the little Colt Agent that lives in my pocket. I know from shooting game and livestock that they hit hard for a 38 special load. I use the old SEACO double ended wadcutters and I am not at all concerned about carrying handloads.


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wvfarrier
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wvfarrier »

I loaded up some 125 grain jsps over 7 grains of Power Pistol. Im hoping to try them in my 2.62" 357 mag. Its a hair above 38 spl +p but well under 357 mag. I laddered these starting at 6 grains. I plan to try them this weekend and see how they feel/work.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by Machado »

My carry gun is an old 2", 5-shot Rossi. I've had acceptable results delivrred by the old Lyman's 35893 bullet + 5.0 gr of Bullseye. I had the gas check indent milled off the mold. Accuracy is very good from 6" barreled revolvers. This bullet punched through 8 inches of wet phone books. I cast them from #2 alloy, @~BHN 15.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by piller »

Looks good. No advice from me as you seem to have already done the work and the testing.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by jeepnik »

In short barreled .38's I carry HBWC's loaded backwards. They seem to work well.

As to prosecution for using "killer" ammo. I figure that's way down the list of my concerns if I need to stay alive.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by walks with gun »

You may have to look for some 158gr, lead hollow points if you want penetration as well. Someone must still carry these.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by stretch »

As to prosecution for using "killer" ammo. I figure that's way down the list of my concerns if I need to stay alive.
Has there been ANY successful prosecution of anything like that since the 1950s?!? (Okay, okay - there is New Jersey, where the
fine for possession of hollow point ammunition is $1,000 per round.) But seriously, does anyone have any documented evidence
of suchlike since the turn of the century?!

I gotta agree with Jeepnik, though - WAAAY down the list of concerns when one is shooting for one's life.

-Stretch
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by horsesoldier2019 »

If today’s bullets don’t suit you, your best best is to go to a LSWCHP made of pure lead or a hardness rate of no more than 12.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wvfarrier »

I worked up some loads using CFE Pistol in both 38 +p and 357 mag (light mag load). The projectile is the 130 HST. In both loads the recoil is miniscule and there is almost no flash. Accuracy at 7 yards was fantastic on the loads i settled on. Twas a good day!
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by 3leggedturtle »

The more i reload for, and shoot with the 38 Special in pistols and rifles, the more it ranks up there with the 45 Colt and 30/30!
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

I dont call it a long Colt for the same reason I dont call it a short Auto!
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by wm »

3leggedturtle wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:14 pm
The more i reload for, and shoot with the 38 Special in pistols and rifles, the more it ranks up there with the 45 Colt and 30/30!
Jack of all trades but master of none.

It probably isn't the best for any one specific application but it is darn versatile (especially if you handload) that it is passable in almost any need.

Wm
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by piller »

Pretty good description. Enough power and accuracy for most applications, and not easily defeated in either category. Yes, there are plenty of more powerful cartridges out there, BUT WHAT ABOUT RECOIL! Try shooting a .44Mag in a comparatively light revolver. I once shot a Bulldog that was loaded hot. Yes, it was a .44 Special, and yes it was loaded with a compressed load of 2400. OUCH! Buff's pistol started coming apart after a few hundred rounds. He sold it off. I fired one cylinder full. 5 shots was more than enough for me.
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Re: The muddled 38

Post by 3leggedturtle »

Piller, 158gr +P loads in a .38 LCR were doable for 10 rounds. After that would hope the threat was done or the food was in the ground! Todd/3leg
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

I dont call it a long Colt for the same reason I dont call it a short Auto!
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