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View Full Version : non +P .38 Special defensive loads?


savasyn
07-23-2009, 2:05 PM
I assume that there are non +P .38 special loads out there that are worth looking at, right? Seems that most(all?) of the HPs I see are +P.

Lately I've been buying the 135 grain Speer Gold Dot +P "short barrel" rounds for the snubbies I keep around the house. I just took my newest snub, an older Colt Detective Special, to the range yesterday to try out. Even with target loads it moved around in my hand more than I was interested in(though still quite a bit more accurate that I was expecting it to be!) Between that and it being old, I'd rather not run +Ps through it.

What are some reputable brands of defensive .38s that I could look into? Bonus if they are good out of a 2" barrel.

Thanks!

Bushido-sig
07-23-2009, 2:35 PM
I heard Federal has a SD round called "nyclad" that is non + P, I've never used them myself and am anxious to try some out. Supposed to have good expansion with low recoil.

savasyn
07-23-2009, 2:40 PM
I have some older 158 grain +P nyclads. Didn't know they came in non +P. I also thought they discontinued making that stuff as it was an old design.

Bushido-sig
07-23-2009, 2:46 PM
I heard they were re-introduced but hard to find.

HowardW56
07-23-2009, 2:47 PM
I assume that there are non +P .38 special loads out there that are worth looking at, right? Seems that most(all?) of the HPs I see are +P.

Lately I've been buying the 135 grain Speer Gold Dot +P "short barrel" rounds for the snubbies I keep around the house. I just took my newest snub, an older Colt Detective Special, to the range yesterday to try out. Even with target loads it moved around in my hand more than I was interested in(though still quite a bit more accurate that I was expecting it to be!) Between that and it being old, I'd rather not run +Ps through it.

What are some reputable brands of defensive .38s that I could look into? Bonus if they are good out of a 2" barrel.

Thanks!

Try changing the stocks. If you keep the gun around the house, and don't carry it, put a set of Hogue Stocks on it...

rivviepop
07-23-2009, 2:53 PM
Hornady makes a non +P JHP/XTP round in 3 grains (110, 125, 158).

Example (random Google hit):
http://trophys.dealerease.net/catalog/product.asp?ret_id=806356&pid=13053

Here's some real life ballistic testing of several .38 out of a snubnose:
http://www.snubnose.info/docs/snubby_ballistics.htm

Harbinger
07-23-2009, 2:59 PM
My wife has the same revolver. Aren't they awesome?

Regardless of the recoil, I would not trust a snub-nose .38 in an HD situation without that Speer ammunition.

As others have said, change out the grips!

Mike

den888
07-23-2009, 7:18 PM
I have a mid 80's vintage Colt Agent (alloy framed Detective Special) and I use Federal Nyclad 38 special loads (Federal P38M)

They are available again, see Federal's website -

http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=828

savasyn
07-23-2009, 7:37 PM
Excellent, thanks guys!
Chances are, my new DS won't make it into HD service, but I would like to have some decent non +P rounds for it. I do like that it has a capacity of 6 over the normal 5 for something that small though. I'll most like pick up another J frame Smith or perhaps an SP101 and go with .357s.

Lucky Scott
07-23-2009, 7:58 PM
I have a M85 snubbie that is non- plus P.
I also use the Nyclads and they work great.
You can also try this site.

www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110

savasyn
07-23-2009, 8:04 PM
Hey, those look nice. Thanks for the link!

I have a M85 snubbie that is non- plus P.
I also use the Nyclads and they work great.
You can also try this site.

www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110

Exiledviking
07-23-2009, 8:47 PM
I suggest you check out the Corbon DPX also.

From what I have heard, they recoil less than the +P 135 gr Gold Dots and the DPX rounds have an excellent reputation.

M47_Dragon
07-23-2009, 9:08 PM
The Glaser Safety Slugs (Blue and Silver) also come in .38 Spl standard.

http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/glaser/glaser.htm

savasyn
07-23-2009, 9:27 PM
The Glaser Safety Slugs (Blue and Silver) also come in .38 Spl standard.

http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/glaser/glaser.htm

Oh nice! For a number of years back in the mid '90s, I loaded my semi autos with Glasers. They never had feeding problems and seemed like a great choice for an apartment dweller. In the late '90s, I starting taking shooting classes from one of the LFI instructors(though not through LFI) and he subscribed to Ayoob's theory that using using unconventional ammo could hurt you in court. As such, I started going with Pro Loads, which apparently were used by a number of police agencies. To this day, I tend to stick with things that cops use if possible. I'm less attached to that notion as time goes on though.

I still have a bunch of Glasers in the packing(semi-auto calibers only). I have some Magsafes too, which have almost no recoil and are devastating(or at least were on the variety of non-living things I've shot with them.)

paul0660
07-23-2009, 9:40 PM
Perhaps you can work on your grip as well. Hold the strong hand as high as possible on the grip so that the web between your forefinger and thumb is high on the grip. Put the thumb of the weak hand over the top of the other thumb below the lower knuckle. Works wonders, especially DA.

savasyn
07-23-2009, 9:57 PM
Perhaps you can work on your grip as well. Hold the strong hand as high as possible on the grip so that the web between your forefinger and thumb is high on the grip. Put the thumb of the weak hand over the top of the other thumb below the lower knuckle. Works wonders, especially DA.

That's about how I do it, but I'm clear I could find a better method than what I was using. I have fairly large hands and a 1928 DS has a small grip. I found that I had to lower my grip a bit to give myself enough room to be able to pull the trigger all the way back. I'm sure this contributed to the felt recoil. Even with all that, the thing still was quite accurate and consistent on the paper.

Khram
07-24-2009, 2:58 PM
There is a Winchester silvertip non plus P 110gr.

1JimMarch
07-24-2009, 8:10 PM
The Hornady XTP series in 38Spl (standard OR +P) are all junk. The XTP is a "deep punch" design that needs magnum velocities to work. *Maybe* in both 38+P and a 6" barrel you can get one to expand.

Realizing this (finally), they've come up with a winner: the Critical Defense, in 38Spl standard pressure a really nice load for older/weaker guns or shooters who are recoil adverse. It's a "pre-clogged hollowpoint" design with a rubber nose insert that begins the hollowpoint expansion process similar to the Cor-Bon Pow'R'Ball but at much lower speeds and recoil. These designs resist the "clothes clog problem" nicely.

The Federal 110gr "Personal Defense" load is junk - just not going fast enough. Federal *might* have put enough heat on the re-issued Nyclads but I don't trust Federal in general - too often they "wimp out" on bullet speeds.

The very best standard-pressure 38 is by Buffalo Bore, but it's pricey as hell:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=23

He's using pressure test gear to keep peak pressure low but for a longer period of time, netting as much bullet energy as anybody else's +P. His 158gr lead hollowpoint will still recoil quite a bit but the load based on the 125gr Gold Dot will be a bit less felt recoil than a Speer 135+P yet milder on the gun and a bit milder on the shooter.

(Guns die from sharp short pressure spikes, wrists are damaged more by total recoil forces, hence the difference.)

If the main goal is going easy on the gun, shop with Buffalo Bore - both the 158 lead hollowpoint and 125 Gold Dots work great. If the main goal is to go easy on the shooter (or both gun and shooter), the Hornady Critical Defense would be my top choice.

What else...oh yeah, Glasers. I don't trust 'em in 38 or 38+P, they're not going fast enough. Glasers work best with SPEED, both to make 'em burst open and then punch deep enough when they do. In 357 and hotter they can be damned effective in the larger-pellet "silver" flavor but not in 38.

Finally, the data here does a poor job of IDing which rounds are +P and which aren't, and water-jug testing gives an overly optimistic view of expansion - use with CAUTION:

http://www.snubnose.info/docs/snubby_ballistics.htm

Brassfetcher's data is much better:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/38%20Special.html

paul0660
07-24-2009, 8:31 PM
Found a vid of the grip I described:

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-shoot-a-revolver-like-pro-jerry-miculek-276392/view/



The trigger control vid is excellent as well.