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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

My self defense gun is a Ruger SP 101 in .357 mag. It's always in my bedside table. But what kind of rounds should I use?

First of all, I'd prefer .38 spl rounds. But what kind of bullet? In Switzerland, HP and frangible rounds are prohibited except for law enforcement corps. And I'm not sure FMJ rounds are a good thing for self defense.

So I'd like to know your opinion about wad cutters in self defense. Not semi wad cutters, but normal ones
 

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Given your restrictions, which eliminate the good stuff, I believe that a 148gr HBWC would be a better choice than an FMJ or lead round point. However, I prefer the 158gr SWC load at about 800fps. Both will penetrate. Both will also be hard to find, unless you deal with reloaders. Betcha Switzerland does not allow that either! And the shipping charges . . . .
Cordially, Jack
 

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While jacketed softpoints might help to prevent leading, they would provide nothing more than WC/SWC in self defense -- unless they are hotter. So it boils down to this: of that available to you, which is hottest? As for leading, I have no problems with it in my 637 and 686 when shooting standard pressure 158gr SWC at the range.
Cordially, Jack
 

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"Hot" means fast. For example, my 158gr range loads go downrange at about 800 feet per second (don't know the metric version). There are comparable loads that go 1000 feet per second; they are "hotter". Factory-loaded ammunition in the US sometimes has the rated feet/second printed on the box for comparison.
Cordially, Jack
 

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Howdy Mr. Jonas,

I do not know if there are really any hard and fast rules on fps that clearly distinguished various levels of ammo, at least in my mind. But if you are talking about factory loaded ammo, I would think this might be some useful approximate figures.

With a 148 gr HBWC most will be loaded to what I would call target velocity. It depends on both the powder and amount of powder used, but think of target level loads as being in the 650 to 800 fps range.

With most factory 158 SWC type loads, you would probably find both a "target" and "duty" type loadings. The target rounds would be in the same neighborhood already stated, and the "duty" type loads would probably be in the 800 to 1000 fps range - again depending on the powder and amount used.

If a round starts to move above 1000 fps I tend to think of it as a "hot" or "hotter round", designed more for duty or self defense carry.

Since I do not know what brand and bullet weight of the JSP load you have access to, it is a bit difficult to offer strong suggestions. I personally would not feel underarmed with a 148 HBWC target load, if we are talking bedroom type distances of home defense usage. Nor would I have a problem using the 158 SWC in either the target of duty type levels. Since I would want to be using a speed loader for a reload if necessary, I would prefer the SWC bullet shape as it will load more quickly, especially with a speed loader, than will the HBWC design.

If the JSP is intended for defense use, I suspect it is either in the "duty" level or even the hot/hotter category. If I could not use a JHP round, I would probably want a JSP instead - if I had the choice.

But the bottom line to me, for bedroom type home defense situations, I think any of these rounds will do their part if I do mine. I think where you put the round on target is of more importance than what round you fired as long as the rounds are clearly not apples to oranges. If your options were a super slow target load or a super fast JSP, I would probably lean towards the JSP if I had that option.

Maybe you would like to try all of the availabe bullet styles in your pistol, and decide which load seems to suit you the best in your revolver.

Hope this helps a little but does not give you a "buy this one" answer. There are just too many unknowns for me on brand, bullet weight, power level, etc, for me to be able to do that intelligently.

twoguns
 

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Hello Jonas,

I have known that Hollow Point rounds were not available to the public in Switzerland and also were not available to Law Enforcement until somewhat recently.

I second twoguns suggestion for a home defense scenerio and that a JSP (jacketed soft point) would be my first choice loaded to 950/+ fps or more. I suspect that your "off the shelf" ammunition loads are somewhat limited to brands like Mag Tech and Fiocchi.

Should you decide, I would venture to guess that reloading your own ammunition is another avenue to pursue as this is how I get the best combination of load, power and performance out of my ammunition.

Chris
 

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I have not had really good luck with any flat point (as in SWC or Truncated cone) bulet in .357 magnum loaded up to 1450 fps on game.

I have never tried wadcutters though as I have seen far too many reports of the factory level loads failing to penetrate...I had one actually bounce off a bowling pin once and it did not even break the plastic skin...just left a lead smudge.

That said, I think a hot loaded wadcutter, as mentioned above, might be a good thing if you cannot legally shoot an expanding bullet. Buffalo Bore (do a google search) makes just such a load with a 148 gr WC loaded to 1000 fps from a 2" revolver and it is not even a +P load!!!!

Expensive but one would not need many for defense.

Jim H.
 

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I have experimented with loading wadcutters at higher velocities. One thing I know for certain is that the lead hollowbase type does NOT like being loaded above 1000fps or so--it wants to fly apart after leaving the barrel, and at the very least, any hopes for accuracy are in vain.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
But does a bullet need to have high velocity to be a good defense ammo? I read somewhere that a slow and heavy bullet had more stopping power than a faster one
 

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[quote:g5psuo5k]But does a bullet need to have high velocity to be a good defense ammo? I read somewhere that a slow and heavy bullet had more stopping power than a faster one
 

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Howdy Mr. Jonas,

As Mr. Jim noted there simply is no easy answer sir. But I read your question and thought back a bit to the days of the old west here. Most rounds were heavy chunks of lead being driven to what we would now call "heavy and slow" figures. For example the standard old west .45 Colt load was about 250 grains moving aroung 750-800 fps. That certainly does not sound hot by today's standards, but a ton of folks were placed 6 feet under in boot hills because of the load too.

Depending on the hardness of the lead being used, I think once you got up to around 1000 fps you could begin to have a serious issue with leading in your barrel. A serious enough issue that your accuracy could well be affected I mean.

I think if you do your part and place the rounds where they belong, more likely than not, the rounds will do their part as well. But if I had a choice I would opt for the lead loads in the 800+ range, to get out of the "target" level. But if all I could get my hands on were the target level loads I would use them and just work on doing my part. In a home defense situation, part of doing my part to me would probably involve firing multiple rounds before I checked the status of things. One shot stops are somewhat rare in my experience, and not something I want to bet my family's safety on personally.

Still not much of an answer so sorry sir. I think the safest "absolute" answer I can give anyone when discussing ammo is that there are simply very few "absolutes".

Hope it helps a little anyway. Use what you can get your hands on, and practice until you are confident you can do your part if forced to use it. Then shoot it enough to keep your confidence level up. Hopefully you will never be required to make use of the rounds anyway, except for practice.

twoguns
 

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Hello Jonas,

I checked the Fiocchi (IT) website and see a number of .38 Special loads.

http://wwwasp1.nexa.it/NEIPFiocchiWeb/risorse/images/piccole/tab_linea_fiocchi_rimmed.gif

The 70 0393 load is probably most suitable of the ones listed. 10.24g (158gr) at 300 m/s velocity. There are no photos that I saw so I'm assuming it has a blunt tip and not a sharp point.

As you can see their target wadcutter is rather slow at 210 m/s.

What other brands do you have locally available?

Hope this helps a little.


Regards,

Pat
 

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PFF;

Just for the sake of discussion, 300 MPS is about 975 FPS and 210 MPS is 685FPS. Both those sound about right if perhaps on the high side for a 4" .38 spl.

Jim H.
 

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Hello Jonas,

Does RUAG of Bern offer a civilian comparable load? I was on their website the other day and noticed that they do offer quite a few handgun loads.

Chris
 

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Hiya Jim,

Correct. What little European Fiocchi I've clocked seemed to be very slightly hotter than similar US loads.


Hiya Jonas,

Also, I just noticed they have a lead wadcutter listed for the .357 Magnum at 290 m/s. ( ~950FPS) This would IMO be an excellent load for household use. Product Code is 71 3575.


Regards,

Pat
 
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