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  #1  
Old 01-15-2010, 6:47 AM
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Default Best home defense ammo in 38 sp?

Good morning,
noob question here...

I have a new Ruger GP 100 and my wife is very enthusiastic about having this gun for home defense. However the 357 magnum loads are too much for her to feel comfortable shooting. The 38 sp rounds are perfect!

I know that almost any 357 will do the trick at close range, but which 38 sp rounds will stop most attackers with a single shot to center mass.

Thanks guys/girls!
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Old 01-15-2010, 7:50 AM
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If you're down near SD, this stuff will do the trick.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=259156
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2010, 8:04 AM
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Any modern self defense ammunition should be just fine. I have Speer Gold Dot 135 JHP +P ammo in my 38. 357 ammo would be better. If she has trouble controlling the gun with 357 loads or if it is hurting her hand, look into the Hogue Tamer grips. I've shot some pretty hefty loads out of my GP100 with those grips and they were downright comfortable Standard Ruger grips blow big time.
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Old 01-15-2010, 8:17 AM
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The old FBI load - 158 grain LSWCHP +P has been proven effective in actual engagements.
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Old 01-15-2010, 9:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadIndianSwamp View Post
... I know that almost any 357 will do the trick at close range, but which 38 sp rounds will stop most attackers with a single shot to center mass. ...
Be careful of falling prey to "Magic Bullet-ism". There really isn't a handgun round magically guaranteed to stop most attackers with one round to center mass/torso. A careful study of actual handgun fights shows that most of the time 2 or more rounds are required, regardless of caliber or round configuration.

This is why many train and practice delivering at least 2 rounds to center mass and following up with additional rounds to torso as necessary ... or to the head if more skilled ... until the the threat is neutralized.

38sp is plenty capable of doing the job, as long as you can put rounds on target. Rather than concentrating on the getting the biggest/most powerful cartridge, your time is better spent trying to figure out what your wife can shoot well reliably. This is especially important in that you have only 6 chances (with a GP100) to get it done in a real SD encounter.
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Old 01-15-2010, 9:18 AM
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I keep 125gr, JHP, +P in my .38sp.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2010, 9:36 AM
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Speer Gold Dot 135+p. Fed. Hydra-Shock 147+P+
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2010, 9:41 AM
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Quote:
BadIndianSwamp: Best home defense ammo in 38 sp?
Buckshot 00. jk.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:16 PM
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I keep Corbon 110 gr JHP+P. 1250 fps, and very accurate. As others have said just about any other modern HP, especially +P, will do well. Use whatever your hand gun and yourself does best with, buy several loads and do some experimenting.
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2010, 2:43 PM
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Thanks guys! I think the question was very well answered.
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Old 01-15-2010, 3:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legasat View Post
I keep 125gr, JHP, +P in my .38sp.
+1.
I think mine are Remington.
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  #12  
Old 01-15-2010, 3:32 PM
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winchester makes the pdx1 round in 38sp. its a bonded jhp. it is the redesigned talon round for civilian sale.
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Old 01-15-2010, 5:38 PM
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You might find this link somewhat helpful:

http://www.snubnose.info/docs/snubby_ballistics.htm
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  #14  
Old 01-28-2010, 2:29 PM
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For the misses I load the Ruger LCR or Sp101 with Speer Gold Dot 135grain +p.

However, for myself I prefer the .357 loaded with 145grain Winchester Silver tips.
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Old 01-28-2010, 3:12 PM
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winchesyer pdx1
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  #16  
Old 01-28-2010, 3:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadIndianSwamp View Post
...which 38 sp rounds will stop most attackers with a single shot to center mass.
Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.

Remember:

Two to the chest
and one to the head,
makes me happy,
makes him dead.
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  #17  
Old 01-28-2010, 3:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieTactics View Post
Be careful of falling prey to "Magic Bullet-ism". There really isn't a handgun round magically guaranteed to stop most attackers with one round to center mass/torso. A careful study of actual handgun fights shows that most of the time 2 or more rounds are required, regardless of caliber or round configuration.

This is why many train and practice delivering at least 2 rounds to center mass and following up with additional rounds to torso as necessary ... or to the head if more skilled ... until the the threat is neutralized.

38sp is plenty capable of doing the job, as long as you can put rounds on target. Rather than concentrating on the getting the biggest/most powerful cartridge, your time is better spent trying to figure out what your wife can shoot well reliably. This is especially important in that you have only 6 chances (with a GP100) to get it done in a real SD encounter.
Well stated - there are no "Magic Bullets".

You're better off firing a .38 special 148 grain wadcutter than you can reliably hit with instead of a full-house magnum load that will stun you into shock after firing it indoors without ear protection.

I used to have a .38 special load using a 148 g wadcutter hollow base loaded hollow base forward, very accurate, low noise, low flash, and the thing even expanded a bit.
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  #18  
Old 01-28-2010, 3:40 PM
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I've gone to PDX1 (Winchester "Supreme Elite") for most of my HD ammo, regardless of caliber. I'm impressed with the ballistics tests... and it was originally designed for the FBI anyways.
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Old 01-28-2010, 3:43 PM
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According to FBI statistics (Sorry, I can't locate the study) the round that results in the greatest sucess in stopping an assailant with one round is the 125 grain JHP in the .357 magnum caliber.
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Old 01-28-2010, 3:44 PM
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I can recommend Hornady's Critical Defense 38 spl. 110 grain for 2-3" revolver.
Shoots to point of aim with little recoil and gets good penetration.
Try a box and test it out.
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  #21  
Old 01-28-2010, 3:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunndeal View Post
According to FBI statistics (Sorry, I can't locate the study) the round that results in the greatest sucess in stopping an assailant with one round is the 125 grain JHP in the .357 magnum caliber.
Those are not from F.B.I. statistics. That's from the bogus Marshall and Sanow one shot stop research, if you can even call it research.
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Old 01-28-2010, 4:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AJD View Post
Those are not from F.B.I. statistics. That's from the bogus Marshall and Sanow one shot stop research, if you can even call it research.
I'm not familiar w/ Marshall & Sanow, I got the info from a chart published by Chuck Hawks (I don't know who he is either). I'm a neophyte at this stuff so I'm willing to listen and learn from all of you.
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Old 01-28-2010, 4:15 PM
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I've seen that site before, and I'm pretty sure Chuck is using the Marshall and Sanow data for his chart. The 125gr load did have a good reputation though. Of course most of its performance is based on anecdotal reports.

This is still a very good read to this day on Handgun wounding factors put out by the F.B.I. It even addresses one shot stops, and has very good info on terminal ballistics. Whether you agree 100% or not it's still a good read.
http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm

But as metioned in this thread shot placement IMO is still the most important factor.
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  #24  
Old 01-28-2010, 4:52 PM
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Don't use the 158 grain lead anything for self defense. I'm sorry, but if you are getting this for SD, splurge and get the good SD ammo. Get 2 boxes from the same lot. One to sight in and practice with, and one to use for emergencies. Find some cheap practice ammo that shoots at a similar point of aim and practice. A lot. This is one place where you don't want to skimp. Try out several kinds of SD ammo if you want, to find the one that your wife shoots best with.
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Old 01-28-2010, 7:39 PM
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Ahhh yessss.... The Myth of the One Shot Stop. UmmHmmmm....

There are no guarantees with firearms. You can find extreme, rare examples from both ends of the possibility spectrum - Soldiers who have taken multiple hits from a .50 Cal machine gun who are still able to return fire, drag a wounded comrade to safety and then collapse after been extremely functional for several minutes.

At the other extreme there are examples of those hit by a .22 LR who have dropped like a rock and died in seconds. There are way too many variables to be able to rely on stopping an attacker with one shot from a handgun to center mass. All you can do is find a round that you like and practice well with it and take your chances.

I figure there is about a 90% chance of stopping a bad guy with 8 pellets of 12 gauge buckshot to center mass. Just pulling my own numbers out of the air, no real life studies. Still no guarantee, but better reliability than any handgun in the world.

We have all spent our lives getting programmed by Hollywood and TV dramatic shootouts. Hollywood and TV are very bad sources for any information or education regarding firearms. THe good guy shoots once from the hip and the bad guy flies backwards through the air and through the picture window, clearly dead before he even starts to fall 70 stories.

We have a deep emotional need to hold the "Magic Off Switch", just point it at the bad guy and turn him off every time. Sorry, there is no Magic Off Switch in a handgun. Maybe 50 pounds of high explosive under the front seat of the bad guy's car is more like it. We've seen it over and over and over on the screen, point the gun and turn the bad guy off. It's not real.

Get a shotgun. Know that there are no guarantees no matter what. You get in a gunfight, you take your chances.

Avoid gunfights.

Do some searches on 'One Shot Stop'.

CL
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Old 01-28-2010, 8:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadIndianSwamp View Post
I have a new Ruger GP 100 and my wife is very enthusiastic about having this gun for home defense. However the 357 magnum loads are too much for her to feel comfortable shooting. The 38 sp rounds are perfect!
What barrel length?

If it is 4" barrel or longer use the 125 gr +P Speer Gold Dot. If it is 3" or shorter use the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P. Or you can use my favorite .38 Special ammo, the Corbon 110 gr +P DPX in either length barrel.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:00 PM
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I take a lot of my ballistics advice from the guys at chuckhawks.com, I have yet to find a website where every source of information is fairly and evenly contemplated and combined to create FACTS, not OPINIONS.

From a article with this question in mind, it is said that the best all around performer is the Cor-Bon .38 Special+P 125 grain JHP. Its a high pressure round, with slightly less felt recoil than the #2 choice, which was already mentioned, the .38 Special +P 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint, made by Federal, CCI, Remington, and Winchester.

THAT SAID, both of those rounds really perform well in steel frame 4"+ revolvers. Your GP100 should meet both of those standards, so your good to go. When considering ammo for .38 special snubbies, the answer is a little different.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:37 PM
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This may not sound too sexy, but ol'&good 158 grain LSWCHP +P would be my choice if I used .38spl for home defence.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:40 PM
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i have Hydra Shoks in mine
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by AJD View Post
Those are not from F.B.I. statistics. That's from the bogus Marshall and Sanow one shot stop research, if you can even call it research.
I am curious as to why you call it Bogus? Numerous firearms and ballistics expert have drawn similar, if not exact conclusions, as the Marshall and Sanow study, from entirely different methods.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Exiledviking View Post
What barrel length?

If it is 4" barrel or longer use the 125 gr +P Speer Gold Dot. If it is 3" or shorter use the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P. Or you can use my favorite .38 Special ammo, the Corbon 110 gr +P DPX in either length barrel.
the cor-bon 110gr is a great middle ground, as it performs well in 1" or 6" barrels
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaLiberal View Post

I figure there is about a 90% chance of stopping a bad guy with 8 pellets of 12 gauge buckshot to center mass. Just pulling my own numbers out of the air, no real life studies. Still no guarantee, but better reliability than any handgun in the world.



CL
A study done by Marshall and Sanow, that has been supported by numerous experts, shows that in REAL LIFE (not dead pigs or ballistics gelatin) shooting, 12 gauge 00 buck has a 95%+ ONE-SHOT incapacitation rate. So yes, there is a reason that just about everyone will agree that a 12 gauge is THE best HD gun.

Interesting enough, it also found that specific high pressure JHP loads in 9mm, .40SW, .45acp, 10mm, all had 90% one-shot incapacitation rates.

If anything, this study disproved the myth that "the majority of shootings required numerous shots to end an attack" that you often see espoused on the web. Some critics, for some unknown reason, have come out against the Marshall and Sanow study, but with no real reason.

I personally am very fond of the information on chukchawks website, as it draws from the M&S study, ballistics gelatin experiments, biological material studies (mostly dead pigs) and tries to draw conclusions from ALL sources.

I think the one conclusion we can draw, is that contemporary ballistic technology has made bullet design more important than caliber, in the case of handguns.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echidin View Post
You might find this link somewhat helpful:

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

I wish they had been consistent in the tests from bullet to bullet though...
The Winchester STHP performance through 6 layers of denim is comparable to what a Hydra-Shock will do. No expansion... it just plugs up and acts like a ball round. It'll do the same thing to drywall.

It's hard to go wrong with Speer GD.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gun toting monkeyboy View Post
Get 2 boxes from the same lot. One to sight in and practice with, and one to use for emergencies.
This.

Also, be sure to keep 5 rounds aside to hand over to the PD to aid their ballistics testing if you are involved in a shooting. With the slight variances from lot to lot, it could be enough to cast doubt on your claim of the location/proximity of the intruder. Keep the original box the ammo came in as well.
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A just gov't will not be overthrown by force or violence because the people have no incentive to overthrow a just gov't. If a minority of people attempt such an insurrection to grab power and enslave the people, the RKBA is our insurance against their success.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bellehood View Post
A study done by Marshall and Sanow, that has been supported by numerous experts, shows that in REAL LIFE (not dead pigs or ballistics gelatin) shooting, 12 gauge 00 buck has a 95%+ ONE-SHOT incapacitation rate. So yes, there is a reason that just about everyone will agree that a 12 gauge is THE best HD gun.

Interesting enough, it also found that specific high pressure JHP loads in 9mm, .40SW, .45acp, 10mm, all had 90% one-shot incapacitation rates.

If anything, this study disproved the myth that "the majority of shootings required numerous shots to end an attack" that you often see espoused on the web. Some critics, for some unknown reason, have come out against the Marshall and Sanow study, but with no real reason.
Actually, there are lots of reasons. A google search will bring up many critiques; Fackler and MacPherson have written a lot about it.

The big one for me is: a closed data set that nobody aside from the authors has seen. From a scientific perspective, if you can't see the data and you can't reproduce the experiment, then there really isn't much value.

Gelatin is certainly not the ultimate authority, but it does allow for comparisons and for interested parties to repeat experiments.

-- Michael
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Old 01-29-2010, 8:26 AM
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Two bottom line factors for our home defense pistols:

1. shot placement
2. many more shots placed well




WAY back in 3rd place
3. caliber and load (with .38 being the minimum)

I've recently switched from Speer Gold Dot's in our .38's and 9mm's to Barnes Bullets.

They're available in CorBon DPX boxes, but Barnes has won me over with their bullet design.

Last edited by doc540; 01-29-2010 at 9:29 AM..
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Old 01-29-2010, 8:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Bellehood View Post
I am curious as to why you call it Bogus? Numerous firearms and ballistics expert have drawn similar, if not exact conclusions, as the Marshall and Sanow study, from entirely different methods.
I don't know of any modern ballistics experts (people who can actually be called experts) who have come to the same conclusions. Their research is NOT scientifically or statiscally valid, and I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can guarantee if you took that so called study to any University or any other respectable institution in the world that has even a basic concept of what research is they would laugh at that study.

Nowhere, is there anyone with any credibility in the scientific community that calls something research while comparing different variables with widely different sample sizes, at the same time they pick and choose which data they use without using randomized selection (the only valid method) and then omits ALL the raw data. Second, the conclusions drawn from the type of research Marshal and Sanow tried to conduct could never have cause and effect determinations made from them even if they were done properly. And there are always extreme spreads in data any legitimate research. ALWAYS. The M&S study has none of that.

Your assersions that no one has ever come out with a real reason against Marshal and Sanow's research are absolutely false. They were even removed from a publishers catalog that published exclusively to the law enforcement community.

Quote:
(In 1993, Calibre Press permanently removed Marshall & Sanow's first book, Handgun Stopping Power, from their catalog after law enforcement members with the International Wound Ballistics Association presented them with compelling evidence that the book was teeming with falsehoods. Since then, Calibre Press has refused to carry Marshall & Sanow's books.)

Note: The founders of Calibre Press, Charles Remsberg and Dennis Anderson, recently retired and sold the business to another company. Mr. Remsberg personally made the decision to reject the Marshall/Sanow books because he did not want to offer flawed information to law enforcement officers. We applaud Mr. Remsberg's integrity and high regard for officer safety. It is unknown if the new owners of Calibre Press are aware of the problems with Marshall/Sanow, but current editions of the Calibre Press catalog contain the latest Marshall/Sanow book.
http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs31.htm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/afte.htm
http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs8.htm
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