Your Favorite 38 Special Load

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by Smash05, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Varg Lobos

    Varg Lobos

    May 20, 2007
    They are not that bad out of my 3" sp101. But certainly not something I would use to plink with and shoot 100 times.:D

    But I load them with .357's, not .38's when I use it for a trail gun.
     
  2. SIFU1A

    SIFU1A

    May 12, 2001
    my fav .38 special SD loads are:

    *speer gold dot 135gr in snubs, or

    *remington golden sabres 125gr +p in snubs and everything else, unless its non +p then i like the old federal nyclads.
     
  3. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I can't see any reason why a nyclad would cause more tissue damage than another quality HP. It would certainly cause more damage than say LRN, FMJ or Wadcutter, assuming it expands. I think my top two choices are most likely to expand at their given velocities through clothing. I am intrigued with the Bonded PDX line, but would want to see some objective testing to know how it reacts in tissue. Barrier issues are less of a concern for me, but are a factor. Doesn't federal load an HST load in 38special as well, I thought I saw someone offering them a while ago.
     
  4. Spydiefan04

    Spydiefan04

    819
    Jan 8, 2005
    My two favorite .38 loads:

    1) Federal 147gr +p+ HydraShok Tactical when available
    2) Winchester 158gr +p LSWCHP

    Yes Federal does make a HydraShok Tactical in .38 but all the ones I've seen are loaded beyond +p. The place I get mine from says they are not restricted to law enforcement only but that they are not the most available round to order, I've only seen the load at 1 gunshop and at occasional gunshows.
     
  5. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    HST, not hydrashock. I thought I had seen it a while back on le.atk.com. Not there anymore. There are two Hydrashock loads - 129gr +p and 147 +p+.
     
  6. Spydiefan04

    Spydiefan04

    819
    Jan 8, 2005
    The only 147 +p+ loads I've seen were HST.

    The Hydrashok .38s I've seen are 110gr and 129gr +p, the 129gr load is very common/quite popular here.
     
  7. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I am pretty sure that the 147gr load you speak of is a classic hydra shock load, available and marketed to law enforcement for years now. It is listed as Hydrashock on ATK's website, and is not the more modern HST (does not have the post) HST is a different generation of bullet. Those 129gr bullets are everywhere, I think they are marketed specifically to civilians under the "personal" defense line. My 158gr Federal LSWHP's are nyclad.

    http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/pistol/tacticalhydra-shok.aspx
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  8. sotto

    sotto

    50
    Feb 18, 2008
    The standard .38 spl wadcutters are my stand-by snubbie loads. Light recoil, fast follow-up shots, one in each side of the chest in the nipple region and lotsa blood is gonna pour out of both cleanly cut holes very quickly, and the lungs will collapse.
     
  9. Erasmus

    Erasmus

    Jul 15, 2002
    My favorite .38 load is a homecast lead bullet.
     
  10. Spydiefan04

    Spydiefan04

    819
    Jan 8, 2005
    Yeah you're right I just checked the box they are Tactical Hydrashok (not HST) and they have the post in the center.
     
  11. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    How does it shoot!
     
  12. tyr_shadowblade

    tyr_shadowblade Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Soft lead wadcutters at standard pressure from a snub barrel are not the best choice. They may not penetrate a leather jacket or winter parka. They may glance off a rib.
     
  13. Scott Free

    Scott Free

    Sep 15, 1999
    Are there any confirmed instances when a standard pressure wadcutter failed to penetrate a leather jacket or parka? I'm asking because I really don't know.

    As for glancing off a rib, I would think the sharp edge of a wadcutter would make it less likely to glance off of an obstruction. I'm not a coroner, though.
     
  14. tyr_shadowblade

    tyr_shadowblade Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    MANY documented cases of the old .38 S&W fired out of snub barrels failing to penetrate. And I heard that the "-P" loads fired from the older Airweights had similar problems. Standard pressure wadcutter doesn't seem much different to .38 S&W RNL or .38 SPL -P RNL, but I'm sure a ballistics expert will clear things up soon enough.
     
  15. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Most leather in jackets isn't going to stop a wadcutter loaded at standard pressures in a 38spl. Understand though that you are going to get a .357 hole straight through. The wadcutter is preferred by some who want to guarantee a minimum penetration of 12 inches, and out of a 38spl standard pressure that is going to almost always require some sort of non-expanding round. Wadcutters are assumed to cause more damage because they have a flat meplat - the next most effective round might be a 130gr standard jacketed bullet, or a SWC. Since I step up to +p, there are enough loadings out there that will go to 12 inches and usually expand, that I have choices. I would not choose a WC unless I had an older revolver, or a handicapped shooter.
     
  16. Scott Free

    Scott Free

    Sep 15, 1999
    I mentioned earlier that I carry Corbon DPX +P, so I understand the limitations of wadcutters. That said, wadcutters have very little recoil which may be especially important in lightweight guns. Less recoil allows faster and more accurate followup shots. Speed and accuracy almost always beats fancy bullets. I'm torn on this myself and it's why I've chosen the DPX as the recoil is fairly mild for a +P load. (I know my shots are faster with wadcutters, though.)
     
  17. SIFU1A

    SIFU1A

    May 12, 2001
    very true aboiut the 147gr hydras, i still have a box or 2 myself, i found them in my ammo box a few weeks ago & had forgot i had them, i bet they are going on 20 yrs old lol, but they are federal .38 spl hydra-shok 147gr +p (or possibly even +P+) and IIRC marked "LEO only" which, of course, is just company policy.

    me, i wouldnt use hydras for anything but practice nowadays, that design is pretty long in tooth now and lots of better stuff around.

    i dont expect much expansion from any snub especially with non +P ammo, but if anything would expand a bit the nyclad would, maybe, possibly, on a good day lol.
     
  18. Erasmus

    Erasmus

    Jul 15, 2002
    The old military loading for the .38 Special using the 130 grain FMJ was notoriously ineffective. Think " -P 9mm ball".

    I liked it for practice and fun, but carry anything else for social occasions. That said, I still buy it and shoot it. At targets.
     
  19. Smash05

    Smash05 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    I think the point was, 130gr FMJ could be used as an alternative standard pressure load if you wanted to guarantee penetration to a minimum of 12 inches, out of a snub. Me personally, I would only use 130gr FMJ for small game hunting and target shooting, and as stockpile ammo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  20. average gimp

    average gimp

    Jun 5, 2009
    Nyclads are dead soft lead, thus highly likely to at least flatten if not mushroom. The nylon jacketing prevents barrel leading.
     

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