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What is a good 38 Spl. round for short barrel revolver?

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Curious as to try self defense load for my colt cobra.

Dave..

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I don’t have any gel test results, but the old Chicago load has been getting it done for a loooooong time and, while I ccw a Glock 19 most of the year, I carry a S&W Airweight in the summertime loaded with it. 

Federal 158-gr+P SWCLHP. 

Edited by Valmet
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2 hours ago, DrB said:

Curious as to try self defense load for my colt cobra.

Dave..

Two come to mind.  Speer Gold Dot 135gr. +P Short Barrel, and the old FBI load: Buffalo Bore 158gr. LSWCHP +P.  I have used both for carry and enough range use to be proficient with them.  Both seem to perform very well in gelatin from 2" snubs.  Both have fairly heavy recoil with the Buffalo Bore taking the heavy recoil honors. 

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10 hours ago, DrB said:

Curious as to try self defense load for my colt cobra.

Dave..

Try this..also made by Lehigh and Underwood..really good test results.

 

amm-18-077_1.jpg

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Speer Gold Dot 135gr. +P Short Barrel.

Designed for short barrels.  It performs well in FBI protocol gel tests. From what I've read NYPD is happy with it and has had some shootings with it.

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Why not a .357 that would allow you to fire two rounds?  .38+P and .357?

Edited by Moshe

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I have shot 158 gr LSWCHP+P, LSWC+P, Nyclad+P, NycladHP+P and the 135gr GoldDot +P.  I prefer the Gold Dot only because it kicks a little less.    

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33 minutes ago, usnret said:

Try this..also made by Lehigh and Underwood..really good test results.

 

amm-18-077_1.jpg

Underwood makes fantastic stuff 

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18 minutes ago, Moshe said:

Why not a .357 that would allow you to fire two rounds?  .38+P and .357?

Have had surgery on both of my wrists. .357 in a sub is painful for me after a few rounds. I have one of the new Colt Cobras and a old Detective Special both .38 only.

Lots of good advice for ammo to try. 

Dave..

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5 minutes ago, DrB said:

Have had surgery on both of my wrists. .357 in a sub is painful for me after a few rounds. I have one of the new Colt Cobras and a old Detective Special both .38 only.

Lots of good advice for ammo to try. 

Dave..

I understand.  I had to get ride of my Smith .44 magnum for similar reasons.  I was deadly accurate with it.  It just hurt like an SOB for .45 minutes after.  I end up selling it.  It is a sad  indictment of my degeneration as I could fire a .454 Casul before that.  So, I sold the Casul.  Then I ended up having to sell the .44 magnum.  .357 is where I have landed so far, but in four inch and 6 inch barrels.

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Lots of good suggestions. One I haven't seen mentioned is the Remington Golden Saber 125gr +P. Online they can be found at really good prices (to allow more practice) and test very well out of a snub nose. I bought a decent supply of them before I was able to find the Gold Dot 135 grain, short barrel stuff.

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5 hours ago, DrB said:

Have had surgery on both of my wrists. .357 in a sub is painful for me after a few rounds. I have one of the new Colt Cobras and a old Detective Special both .38 only.

Lots of good advice for ammo to try. 

Dave..

Something a lot of people are not aware of is small pistols with monster rounds like a two inch AS 500 can actually cause  very small bone fractures when used.

.38 is a fine round in a two inch pistol.

Edited by Historian
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26 minutes ago, Historian said:

Something a lot of people are not aware of is small pistols with monster rounds like a two inch AS 500 can actually cause  very small bone fractures when used.

.38 is a fine round in a two'm inch pistol.

Which is part of the reason why I suggested a .357 it can handle  a  +P .38 and soak more recoil than a +P in .38 revolver.  Frankly if you had a snub nosed .357 the +P .38 and a .357 would probably give you similar ballistics because the .357 has a lot more power, and a lot less room to spin out of the short barrel.  A .38 +P would yield a similar ballistic result, just with less battering on the hands.  A rubber grip will help with absorbing more of the recoil as well.  Just my .2 on the matter.

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Just now, Historian said:

I think it was worth .50 rather than .2.

Thanks. :)

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3 hours ago, Moshe said:

Which is part of the reason why I suggested a .357 it can handle  a  +P .38 and soak more recoil than a +P in .38 revolver.  Frankly if you had a snub nosed .357 the +P .38 and a .357 would probably give you similar ballistics because the .357 has a lot more power, and a lot less room to spin out of the short barrel.  A .38 +P would yield a similar ballistic result, just with less battering on the hands.  A rubber grip will help with absorbing more of the recoil as well.  Just my .2 on the matter.

Good reply.  For me I am used to my .38's.  A .357 in a snub nose would make me flinch just knowing.  That is me.  The .38 I am fine with and am looking at some of the short barrel ammo. 

In another thread I mentioned I liked my new Cobra and just ordered a Night Cobra to compliment it.  Now to find the right ammo that works for me.  In my old Detective Special I carried Silvertips or some of the old Super Vel (that was some hot stuff). I think I might still have some around. 

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I load mine with Buffalo Bore 158 SWC +P. I've considered a full WC for less recoil and not a lot of differently in energy according to Buffalo Bore.

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15 hours ago, ede said:

I load mine with Buffalo Bore 158 SWC +P. I've considered a full WC for less recoil and not a lot of differently in energy according to Buffalo Bore.

That's true. the Wadcutters are 150 grains only 8 grains less than the 158 SWC +P. The underwood full wadcutters are what I carry in my airweight J-frame. The buffalo bore load is identical. Both feature a 150 grain hardcast wadcutter at 850 fps. They are standard pressure not plus +P but full wadcutters transmit a lot of blunt force trauma and shock. And they penetrate very well. In the Lucky Gunner tests, regular target wadcutters at only 713 fps out-penetrated many Plus+P jhp's. And in a larger heavier revolver such as the OP's colt recoil would be very mild and yet velocity would be on par with many plus +P loads out of a short barrel.

Federal makes a HST 38 special "Micro"  load that is similar to a wadcutter in that it is loaded flush with the case but the bullets are meant to expand which means they wouldn't penetrate as deeply. And they are also a Plus +P load.  But the only problem with wadcutter loads is that they don't work in speed loader. I carry a speed strip for mine or other wise I carry non-Plus+P`110 grain loads as a back up. Speedloaders for a 5 shot j-frame are very small an easy to carry but so are the speed strips though they are slower to load.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Borg warner
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Back in years past we used to reload hollow based wadcutters  upside down.  Not that was the best thing in the world but was what we carried. 

Dave

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I have been carrying the 135g Speer short barrel load for years, ever since the Nyclads got hard to find. 

No round is a sure thing out of a 2” revolver though. 

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True.  You don't get much spin on a two inch barrel, no matter what you are shooting.  They are best described as "belly poppers."

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Been carrying 135 gr. +p Gold Dot's for a while now, but I'm considering switching to 148gr. wadcutters (Federal Gold) or something in 110gr (non +p).  

The Gold Dots are great, but follow up shots are slow and shooting them out of my airweight J-Frame is getting a bit painful.  

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