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Hello folks,

I'm considering an older Colt Agent/Cobra for general CCW carry. As a general rule, I like to shoot as much as I can and I like to shoot my carry load when possible. Because the Agent is an older aluminum framed revolver, I'm a little concerned about firing +P loads with regularity in it.

So, are there any non +P .38 JHPs worth a darn out of a snubby, out there? From my research it seems nearly every JHP or LSWCHP is a +P load.

If not, I suppose I'll probably opt for a 125-grain or 135-grain +P JHP and practice a lot more with lead and FMJ.

Thanks,

-Rob
 

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Do you reload?

I ask because I have a handload that's from the standard-pressure .38 section of my Speer #10 manual that puts a 148-gr plated wadcutter out the front of a 1 7/8" snub barrel at 895 fps (so it should do about the same out of the 2" bbl of your Agent - great gun, BTW :) ). These are feisty, but they're standard pressure according to the book. I'd be happy to mail you the info if you want it.

I like heavier bullets at the low velocities that snubs generate, because I want to make sure that I get adequate penetration and I just don't trust the lightweights (especially the standard pressure lightweights) to do it.

I figure a WC is fine at snub velocities (particularly the standard pressure snub velocities) because you're unlikely to get much expansion from a hollowpoint.

One standard-pressure hollowpoint that I've consistently heard good things about in terms of expansion at low velocities is the discontinued Federal 125-gr Nyclad. IIRC, Mr. Camp has good things to say about this round, as does another Texan friend of mine who used to represent Federal and who's gotten a lot of their rounds to play with over the years. Personally, I'd still have concerns with the round penetrating adequately, but . . . that's one option.

Winchester makes a 158-grain LSWC at standard pressures, too, but it's hard to find. It would probably be pretty slow, though, but it should do the job.

FWIW, I've worked on a lot of handgun killings over the years as a lawyer and a few as a PI, and some things remain constant: the bullet has to hit and damage a vital structure (the brain, upper spine, heart/aorta) to put a human down with any rapidity at all. Accuracy and adequate penetration seem more important than velocity and energy transfer or bullet expansion.

Accordingly, if you can shoot your fine old Colt (go for an Agent over a Cobra!) accurately, I think you'll be well-protected, whether you choose to carry +P rounds or not. FWIW, I carried +P 158-gr LSWCHPs and practiced with standard pressure stuff in my Agent.



cheers, erich
 

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Rob,

Check out Hornady's 125 grain XTP factory 38 special load. Velocities look reasonable to me but it is not rated +P. Also, the XTP tends to offer greater penetration over some other loads in the same weight.

I think there is also a 110 grain Winchester Silvertip in non +P loadings.

PGM
 
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Ammoman has non +P .38 Special Nyclads in stock right now.
This is the best-performing mild .38 load on the market, IMHO. I am surprised there's any of it around still, as Federal d/c'd production of this ammo some time ago.

I have had access to terminal performance data that suggests that a standard-pressure 148 gr wadcutter load is better than the NyClad. The only reason I still like the NyClad is that the bullet noses are much faster to load into cylinders from a speedloader or a Bianchi speed strip than the wadcutters are.
 

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I have enough 125gr Nyclad to last me a while if I don't squander it plinking.

Looking for a replacement and I ain't found it yet. The XTP looks good on paper but I've not fired any. Main problerm I have is that $.50 a pop isn't realistic on my budget anymore.

Wadcutters or SWC at 750 fps+ prolly do about as good as anything out of a snub, at least til you get into +P loads. Georgia Arms cowboy loads work about the same as nyclads with speedloaders. Good for training at least, and prolly not that bad a load to carry, with its flat nose. Not clocked any though.

Enough rambling.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Shoot a cylinder full or two every few months and practice with standard pressure. I shoot Cobras which are aluminum frames also. Colt manual says that at 1000 +p rounds have the gun checked by a smith. My one cobra has at a minimum 750+p thru it without a problem. Still tight and 100% reliable. I shoot standard pressure for practice and carry 135+P gold dot. See what you can control recoil wise as the Agent is a light gun. Previously I carried 125 Nyclad or Remington 125+p. I wouldnt lose any sleep over +p.
 
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