OK, Let's talk about 38 spl defensive ammo.

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by Gr8Xfatman, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Alright, I've chosen to carry the Charter Arms Undercover. You guys have helped me choose a concealment meathod, in another thread.


    Now would you give me some advice on your views of the the best defensive loads in 38 spl?
    I'm sure you all have a favorite brand, but tell me about specific loads. Also any links to more of this information would be appreciated.

  2. Ari

    Ari Guest

    148gr WC this makes it nice as you do not have to spend big bucks on ammo. I have two friends that carry 38's this what they both carry. Come to think of it, it is what my wife carries in her wheel gun too. It gives you the needed penetration and cuts a nice hole.

  3. I'm using Gold Dot +p's in my .38
  4. Gold dot +p's here too!
  5. Corelogik

    Corelogik Member

    When I kept a .38 for the house, before I got the Mossy, I ket it loaded with Hydra-Shok's. Sorry, I don't recall the weight or specific loading.
  6. Do you handload? If so, a cylinder of soft lead wadcutters or Hornady XTPs on top of a max load of the propellant of your choice would make anyone on the business end of your .38 a very sad panda... If not, I here you can't go wrong with Speer anything, GDHPs included.
  7. Stan9106

    Stan9106 Member

  8. HPHooked

    HPHooked Member

    Yo Death,

    Never, ever, ever shoot a BG with personally reloaded ammo. :naughty:

    If an anti-gun prosecutor, County Attorney, or State Attorney General took you to trial for shooting a BG and found out you used your personal reloads, he could make the case that you WANTED to INCREASE the lethality of the round beyond that of already manufactured ammo. That would PROVE intent to kill the BG, get you some prison time, and turn your home and funds over to the BG's family in a civil suit. :sick:

    Also, since you use factory ammo, the CSI folks can contact the manufacturer and get some test rounds for that lot #. That way they are not burning up evidence trying to burn you at the stake. Always save the factory box for the rounds you carry in your weapon and write the weapons' serial number and description on the inside cover (Ex. - SW40VE, SER# RAYXXXXXX). This will also assist in any investigation of a shooting and aid in your defense. You'll also get extra legal assistance from the ammo makers as they can prove the ammo functioned just as it was designed to. :D

    JMHO - YMMV. :clap:
  9. Most DAs wouldnt even know you reloaded unless you told them. If they try to make a case around what you said all you have to say is that is with in SAAMI specs and the CSIs can prove that.

    Back to the .38s. My grandpa used either the WWB or Rem UMC hollow points and he was happy with them.
  10. Thayldt21

    Thayldt21 Senior Member Member

    One of the Neighbors Has a snubby he uses Wad cutters. Thats all I know. Well Besides the fact it is his Carry piece also.
  11. Krippp

    Krippp Well-Known Member


    just picked these up today cause we love the gold dot bullets for the wifes .38
  12. condition1

    condition1 Member

    i would throw the 38 rounds to create a distraction and find my 40 or 45.
    j/k I don't own a 38, but from everything I've read, wadcutter would do the trick
  13. HPHooked

    HPHooked Member

    Those will handle any defensive situation you might run into.
  14. Whiskey

    Whiskey Guest

    PMC starfire +p 120gr HP. All time favorite. They look pretty wicked when fully expanded.
  15. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Member

    158 grain lead semi wadcutter hollow point +P ammo any brand will work. When cops carried revolvers, this was the best ammo available. It worked as well out of a 2" as it did out of a 4" barrel. If you don't like the recoil try the buffalo bore non +P ammo. You can also check out Brass Fetcher' ballistic testing.


    Take Care and Stay Safe
  16. Josh Smith

    Josh Smith Guest

    Revolver: Rossi M68 1-7/8†Barrel
    Ammunition: 38 Spl Gold Dot “Short Barrel†135 grain +P

    Readers have been asking for a test of this ammunition. I do not order ammo for my own reasons and was unable to get any. A friend saw my dilemma and sent me a sample.

    In celebration, I built a new test platform.

    This new testing platform is designed to better retain the water jugs. It will take a leaden shield in the back to stop any rounds which may pass through five water jugs. The side shields cover all but the first jug, which many times comes undone in an enthusiastic manner. I believe that it’s better to let this one go as the box may suffer damage, and flying wooden debris are likely more dangerous than flying water.

    This is a dual-purpose box. The sides have holes in them to accept dowel rods. The idea is to turn it into a Fackler box should I decide to use Dr. Fackler’s method.

    The box is marked at 1†intervals so I can make more accurate estimates of penetration.

    On to the test…

    This is one gaping Gold Dot. The bullet has only the slightest of curve before it opens up into the hollowpoint.

    Speer claims a velocity of 860fps from a 1-7/8†barrel from this round. I’ve seen figures published on the Internet which give it over 900fps from the same length barrel.

    Additionally, Speer advertises penetration figures of 11†in bare gelatin, 11†in heavily clothed gelatin, and 13†in gelatin covered with four layers of denim.

    The new setup…

    … and the shot.

    I found the first jug shredded, on the ground.

    The denim went its own way too, with a bullet hole through the middle.

    The bullet impacted at 21†of water and bounced back a few inches (lower left hand corner). The jug which it bounced off of was cut.

    The shoot looked like a 9mm standard pressure round from a service sized pistol, not a round from a 38 Spl snub nose. Additionally, while recoil was a bit brisk, it was not at all uncontrollable and because it was quick, it was actually quite pleasant from my all-steel revolver.

    These are the numbers I came up with inside after shooting.

    Expansion was about .62â€.

    As you can see, the petals folded back further than they probably would have in tissue or gelatin. This is common in water testing.

    The 21†of penetration I got in water through denim would give approximately 10.5†to 13.1†in gelatin, which is consistent with the numbers provided by Speer.

    In summary, it looks like we may have a winner. Though I’m not aware of any actual street usage of this round as of yet, it would seem that it does approximate a standard pressure 9mm round from a service sized pistol. It almost duplicates the performance of the standard pressure 115gr Remington hollowpoint (non-GS) I tested a while back.

    I will carry this load in my revolver and keep the FBI load in a speed loader I have on the way, ready to go on my belt. The test numbers look very promising, but I’m a bit leery of relying solely on data collected in testing, whether it be an informal water test or a more scientific calibrated gelatin test.

    Regardless, this is the only round besides the old FBI load I would feel comfortable using from a snubby to dispatch a coyote. If I get the chance, I’ll report the results. Usually though, I have a long gun with me on my hikes and hunts.

    Hope you enjoyed!

    Josh <><