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.38 hide in purse special reload ???

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by sterzenbach, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    As the title could hint, im trying to find the best load for my lady's purse gun. Its a Taurus .38 special +P 2in barrel. I load 158g hollow points for 357 with great success, most argue thats the "best" 357 working load(I know some argue 125g). But for the lower pressure, slower, and shorter cased 38 special I have no idea what works best. Currently shes got half a box of the Winchester 125g JHP loaded with bullseye, id have to pull up the archives but I think it was somewhere around 4.5gr charge.
    What im working with is:
    Bullets
    Nosler 158g JHP
    Speer 158g JFP
    Winchester 125G JHP
    Hornady 110g JHP
    20140323_035223_zpspg8mhza1.jpg
    For powder i was going to try some 700x hi-skor but I also have Bullseye, Bluedot, Titegroup, and trail boss.

    Back to the main question. What usually is a consistent self defense bullet to load for 38 special?
    Any input would be much appreciated.
     
  2. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Of your choices, I've only worked with Bullseye and Blue Dot. My opinion would be a load on the hot side for Bullseye. You've basically got no barrel length to work with and I don't think Blue Dot would be the ticket. Personally, I'd look at something like Unique. I'd probably use the 125gr hollow point, but the 158gr bullets work well, too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  3. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't bother with the common 158's unless you're hunting deer out of a stout loaded magnum.. traditionally they are very sturdily built just for that purpose, with the flat point/JSP being more resistant to deformation.
    Do some research to see what velocities you'll be actually getting out of a .38 snubby with various slugs.. via chrony or reliable testing.
    A good classic that doesn't rely upon velocity or expansion to be effective is the .38 target wadcutter and or the semi-wadcutter.
     
  4. taylor

    taylor Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    I agree on a WC or SWC, you'll never get enough velocity out of that revolver to have expansion. I've heard some makers sell low velocity HP's for .38 Special and if I was you I would look into that. I use reloads for everything except saving my own life, there are too many good, reliable commercial loads available to try and save a few bucks trying to duplicate them with my own recipes.
     
  5. skud_dusty

    skud_dusty Salem, OR Active Member

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    If you Google "docgkr 38 special" you will find a list of ammo that will meet fbi specifications out of a 2" barrel. The only one i remember is the 135gr +p gold dot, but there are 2 or 3 others that meet the requirements as well.
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If you load those 110's about as hard as you absolutely can, they'll probably expand. That means kick and blast.
    You can load the SWC/WC's down to 600fps and they'll still perform admirably with negligible recoil and blast.. or you can +P+ them for true whompers/hunting for more penetration/flatter trajectory.
    Here you can get them for about $75/1000..
    http://www.northwestfirearms.com/threads/round-two.166329/#post-1081847
     
  7. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I carry a Charter Arms Undercover .38Spl +P And since you can't get more then about 4.5grs of Bulleye to burn in 2" of barrel. I currently use a 125gr HP and 4.5gr of Bullseye as my std load. It has good accuracy (extra powder burning outside of the barrel just pushes the bullet around and wrecks accuracy) Recoil is very manageable (which my be of benefit for your wife) and the flash is as light as I can get it.

    I haven't tried heavy slugs but I did a lot of testing with heavier powder charges and I saw no advantage and only the smallest of velocity increases always with a negative effect on accuracy.
     
  8. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for all the insight and pointers. Ive had decent luck with the 125grs and bullseye, but I am gonna work with the 110s a bit. Definitely going to invest in the SWC WC bullets, good bulk price. Currently all I have as far as blasting bullets in berrys 158g FN.
     
  9. skud_dusty

    skud_dusty Salem, OR Active Member

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    The big thing that people often overlook is that wadcutters will actually cut and create permanent wound cavities whereas most lrn or fmj bullets only push flesh aside and make a temporary cavity. If you can push a jhp fast enough for it to work correctly a wc/swc may be the way to go.

    Also 700x is quite possibly the worst powder on the face of the earth. It is dirty, measures terribly, and doesn't completely burn till you are running it very close to max.
     
  10. theperk63

    theperk63 Milwaukie Member

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    Also for potential liability sake, you might want to find an off the shelf self defense load designed for a short barrel...since it's for your lady's purse gun (meaning if she has to pull, someone's gettin' shot), I agree with Taylor, do a little research and buy a box or two of the commercially available SD rounds. The gun only holds 5 rounds and even if you get her a couple of speed loaders that's less than a box of ammo. Then use your reloads for her to practice and maintain her skills.
     
  11. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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  12. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I have a S&W M&P 340 lite weight snub nose .357 magnum. I load 158 grain LSWC , 158 grain MagTech JHP, 158 grain Hornady XTP/HP and 158 grain Gold Dot HP bullets using Unique powder.

    Using .357 magnum cases I use 6.2 grains of Unique with the 158 grain Magtech JHP I get about 870 fps. ... .38 Spl +P range

    Using .357 magnum cases I use 6.2 grains of Unique with 158 grain Hornady XTP/HP I get about 935 fps. ... high end .38+P - low end .357 magnum range

    Using .357 magnum cases 7.1 grains of Unique with 158 grain Hornady XTP?HP I got 1010 fps ... this is into the low .357 magnum range

    Using .38 Spl cases I use 4.2 grains of Unique with 158 grain Hunter Supply LSWC I get 700 fps. ... .38 Special load

    Using 4.5 grains of Unique with the 158 Hunter Supply 158 grain LSWC gives me 850 fps ... getting into .38 Spl +P range
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  13. JRuby

    JRuby St. Helens Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Would a heavy crimp make a difference when loading for a 38 S&W snubnose? Generate presure prior to the bullet actually moving?

    Just a thought?
     
  14. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I am not sure what you are asking. I use a heavy roll crimp with my snub nose S&W M&P 340. With the heavier loads for .38 Special +P, and for .357 magnum loads, I have had crimp jump in the 5th chamber sometimes. I use the same heavy roll crimp when I load for .38 Special, or .38 Special +P. In these loadings I have never noticed a crimp jump. I have not looked for one either.
     
  15. JRuby

    JRuby St. Helens Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I was speaking a bit hypothetically - to me it would seem that by having a crimp the bullet would generate higher pressure and perhaps increase the burn in such a short barrel. Yes I understand not wanting the bullet to walk out of the case and cause a jam. Maybe the effort isn't worth the risk. Just asking?
     
  16. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    For defense, I would stick with OTS commercial ammo, winchester PDX-1 is what I carry in 9mm, .45 and .380, and what my wife carries in .38SPL. Could I make something better? yea, maybe, but I would rather have the deep pockets pay my legal bills if I ever had to use it. For hunting in my backup I carry Barnes Tac-XPD (loaded by me) in my side-arm. I havn't had a chance to test them in ballistics gel yet, but I'm considering switching over to them as my carry load, however I will be buying the OTS ammo for this purpose.
     
  17. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    There goes that red herring again. Since when have you heard of an ammunition manufacturing company "pay my legal bills"?
    You're lucky if they replace a box for whatever reason.
     
  18. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    AMProducts wrote:


    I also use factory ammo in my carry gun ... Buffalo Bore 147 grain +P+ in my 9mm, Buffalo Bore 158 grain JHC in my S&W 627, Buffalo Bore 185 grain JHP .44 Heavy .44 Special in my S&W 329PD, and Speer 135 grain GDHP Short Barrel .38 Spl +P in my S&W 340. I cannot afford to shoot these every week at the range, so I load the bullet weight and type to the approximate velocity of the factory load.

    What do you practice with ?
     
  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The ammunition company is not going to directly pay your legal bills... the fact that the deep pockets have insurance and lawyers is going to make sure the only thing at issue in your civil trial for wrongful death is the fact that you shot that guy. Not what kind of ammo you used. You're avoiding liability here.

    Since I shoot a 115gr hollow point for defense, I usually shoot a 115gr FMJ for practice, loaded to the same velocity. I find pretty much zero difference in feel and POI between the PDX-1 and most ball ammo.
     
  20. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    38 special wadcutters. What happens if the purse gets snatched?