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Hello,

I was digging through the boxes of .38spl ammo I have and I've run across some LSWC of the non-hollowpoint design.

Currently loaded in my .38spl snub are Gold Dot 135gr +P "short barrel" loads, and I doubt that will change. The speedloader is filled with LSWCHP +P.

A certain ER doc a while back recommended standard pressure full wadcutters as the load carried in the chambers. His thinking was soft lead, caliber sized hole, and very manageable recoil. I don't remember what he recommended as a reload, but it was more powerful.

So, what would you load in your first cylinder? Speedloader? Why?

Josh <><
 

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I no longer bother with factory ammo in my .38 Specials: my carry ammo and my practice ammo are now handcrafted right here at home, with more attention paid to them than any factory ammo has ever had. :)

I most often load my J-frames (1 7/8" and 3") with either my personal defense wadcutter loads (148 grain Tennessee Valley Bullets hardcast full WC at 955 fps from the short barrel) or my newly-developed "NM FBI Load" (158-gr hardcast TVB LSWC at 855 fps from the short bbl, 950 from the 3"). The almost-200 handgun killings I've worked on have taught me that one needs precise shot-placement and adequate penetration to effect a stop with a handgun, and both of these loads are capable of such - and neither should be terribly overpenetrative.

When hiking up Bear Canyon with the 3" 36-1, I generally load it with THE LOAD (of fame on other boards), a 158-gr TVB LSWC hardcast that does an honest 1185 fps from this gun. (It does 1086 fps from the alloy-framed 1 7/8" gun, and it's thoroughly unpleasant from that one. Frankly, I don't see any need for it in the short-barrelled gun because I pretty much only use that one in town.)

After dinging jacketed bullets in 'loaders in my pockets, I now carry Speed Strips in a Sideguard Holsters Rough Pouch, which allows me to carry hardcast bullets without getting them dinged up. I keep the pouch filled with two strips: one carrying my defensive wadcutter load and the other carrying THE LOAD.

A review of the Rough Pouch that Srigs built to my design parameters is here: http://proguns.proboards92.com/index.cgi?board=cc&action=display&thread=1200190712 Sideguard now makes this for the public.

Some reflections on the speedy reloading of the J-frame can be found here: http://proguns.proboards92.com/index.cgi?board=semiautos&action=display&thread=1198520211 I've played at it for years, and I'm still not all that fast (though through practice I got to where my 940 could be reloaded as fast as any other small pistol I've owned). The TVB defensive wadcutters that I'm using now protrude a bit from the case and are faster on the reload than the Rainier flush-seated DEWCs I was using before I moved up to the hardcast. Still, I believe the LSWCs enable me to reload a bit faster.

I've yet to hear of anyone who reloaded a J-frame in a gunfight, though . . . ;)
 

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the reality is any +p hollow point is about as good as the next out of .38 snub guns.

the 135gr gold dot, 158gr lhp, and DPX are still at the top of my list.

I seldom carry speed loaders anymore, belt loops are less bulky. I don't see myself attempting to reload a 5 shot in a fight. fights are close up and time outs aren't allowed to reload.

carry a second gun. top off if you can when the shooting is over.

I see little need to change ammo type in the middle of the fight. real AP might be the exception, but its not legal in the US. target wadcutter ammo is good for paper punching and rabbit shooting.

snub guns are real fighting guns and all most civilians need. they have good points/ bad points and take a little extra training to use effectively I suppose.

all just my opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The FBI load is easier for me to reload with due to its profile. This is the reason it's in the speedloader.

The reason the speedloader is there is because I don't want to cover a downed aggressor with an empty gun while waiting on the police.

Josh <><
 

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Sounds well thought out to me.

I carry 158gr LHP as a reload, it works through all my J-frames including a 640 magnum and a SP-101. I generally carry a magnum and an airweight as a second. the easy way to overcome the firepower issue is to own two snubbies:)).

If you haven't read ED LOVETTES BOOK, the SNUBBY REVOLVER
The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard, Revised and Updated Edition, it comes highly recommended.

I'm finding the snubby a down and dirty answer to my SD needs. I know folks that carried snub guns as personel weapons in combat.
 

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I think I will wait and see what Marshall says about it after a few more autopsies (?). Until then, I will stay with the old 158 +P LSWC.
 

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The reason the +P 158gr lead SWc has remained at or near the top of the list for self defense is twofold: The extra velocity melded with a pure lead bullet allows expansion, the 158gr weight insures that suffecient penetration is achieved. I'd like to see some actual shooting results with the lighter bullets loads to see if they both expand well and penetrate deep enough. As example, in .380cal. the WW Silvertip Aluminum jacketed hollow point does expand, it just doesn't penetrate well. As of this point in time, I do not trust light bullet loads at .38 special velocities.
 

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I think I will wait and see what Marshall says about it after a few more autopsies (?). Until then, I will stay with the old 158 +P LSWC.
I read his board every day as well as this one; he simply says that the NYPD, for which the Speer 135SB was designed, is happy with the performance.
He goes on to say in different places, that he loads this and DPX now.
I load the Speer in the lighter guns which require jacketed ammo; still like the 158+p LSWHP in heavier guns.
 

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A final thought (thunk) before I go, I have also not been too satisfied with shooting a lot of the 158 +P LSWC as they lead the barrel badly after on a comparitively few rounds. Then accuracy falls off. I have no idea how one would make it thru a long qualification course. Maybe it is just me but after about 20 accuracy gets really bad.

Thanks for the Marshall report. I don't read his OL stuff much but should. SPR Gold Dots have done well in his data.
 
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