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#4600041 - 12/10/17 04:28 PM Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP
FirstNissan Offline


Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 929
Loc: KY
Hi, I just ordered a J-Frame 642 S&W revolver. Its backordered at Cabela's for 4-5 weeks (Christmas rush?) anyways, looking to pick up decent FMJ range ammo and good self-defense hollowpoints. I am looking for 38 special, not the +P variety.

What would you recommend? Personal experience is preferred. Thanks!
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#4600055 - 12/10/17 04:40 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10938
Loc: Idaho
Speer gold dot 135 gn and the 110 barns are supposed to be the hot rounds for the snubbie . I my 442 and the recoil is not much fun.
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#4600069 - 12/10/17 05:14 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4056
Loc: Midwest USA
No personal exp in .38spl (.45acp and .40s&w my owned cals), but here's a generic ballistics list.

http://www.ballistics101.com/38_special.php

About 1/2 down the page, Hornady FTX gets some velocity out of the standard .38 Special load w/ their 110gr bullet.

How come you don't want +P for your defensive choice?

edit: Just noticed the OP gun is snub. Believe the figures on the referenced ballistics site were based off 4" brl.

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#4600084 - 12/10/17 05:32 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
bunnspecial Offline


Registered: 11/23/15
Posts: 737
Loc: US
Your specification of non-+P makes the choice a bit more difficult.

My go to snub loads are either the 135gr short barrel gold dot, or the old "FBI load"-a 158gr LSWCHP but both of these are +P loads.

158gr is the "standard" weight for 38 special, and most fixed sight revolvers will shoot to POA with 158gr ammo. FMJs are not super common in 158gr 38 Specials. I like just a standard 158gr lead round nose or semi-wadcutter for range use(granted I cast my own SWCs). With that said, I think S&B(or Cabelas house-brand black box Herter's Brass) sells a 158gr round nose that's either jacketed or plated.

If you opt for a lighter bullet, the big three all make either a plated or jacketed 125gr or 130gr round nose that's economical and probably as good as anything for range use. If you want to practice with a +P ammo, Wal-Mart use to sell(I haven't looked recently) a pretty affordable Remington 125gr +P jacket hollow point in 100-round boxes.
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#4600088 - 12/10/17 05:36 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
CourierDriver Offline


Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 4941
Loc: Tn.
Any 38,22,44,357 round will kill you....some make fun of 22s,,if it will penetrate a 1/2 piece of plywood, it will kill you.....I use cheap 38s and a small 5 shot pistol, fits in my pocket--why??-- just because I wanna make sure it clears the plywood,,lol..
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#4600093 - 12/10/17 05:43 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
wymi516 Online   content


Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 427
Loc: Illinois
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#4600095 - 12/10/17 05:45 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
FirstNissan Offline


Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 929
Loc: KY
Any issues with white-box winchester or remington green box range 38 special ammo? I have had issues with them in the 9mm variety.
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#4600154 - 12/10/17 07:07 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 4203
Loc: Port Orange, Florida
Any ammo will work for target practice. I am curious why you want FMC. It's popular in automatics but not so in revolver ammo. I d buy whatever is cheap. When I was a kid I would go out and shoot phone books with various loads and calibers. I found the .38 Special really didn't have enough zip to fully mushroom any jacketed Hollow point ammo. Not the way .357 magnum and 9 mm did. What I did find to mushroom and expand the best was plain old lead round nose bullets. Very impressive in .38 Special. I know all he companies hype up thier jacketed Hollow points and almost all are +P which I didn't have access to when I was a kid but you said you didn't want +P so I would carry good old fashioned lead round nose ammo. It does better than people think it's just not cool tactical ammo to most but killed many a gangster and coppers in it's day.
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#4600192 - 12/10/17 07:57 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
Balrog006 Offline


Registered: 08/09/16
Posts: 465
Loc: West Michigan
About the best, performing most reliable non +p 38 spl Ammo is the Hornady FTX. If you find it still too much from your stubby 38 they offer a lower recoil version in addition.
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#4600203 - 12/10/17 08:11 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
ron17571 Offline


Registered: 11/25/14
Posts: 166
Loc: AZ
I bought some critical defense bullets years ago.That is what is loaded.I use wadcutters for practice.I have read they are very good for self-defense also. That FBI load 124? grain is good.I use whatever is on sale. Accuracy with my stubby is really good.
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#4600223 - 12/10/17 08:42 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
WyrTwister Offline


Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 1505
Loc: Texas
I reload home casr Semi Wad Cutters . No problem with them .

Buy some ammo with cheap cast bullets & have fun .

As far as terminal effects , I will bet the flat nose of a SWC will do about as good as a soft point or hollow point . And will work regardless of velocity .

I suspect you are way over thinking this .

Wyr
God bless
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#4600248 - 12/10/17 09:17 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
john_pifer Offline


Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 1961
Loc: Nashville, TN via Memphis
Originally Posted By: FirstNissan
Hi, I just ordered a J-Frame 642 S&W revolver. Its backordered at Cabela's for 4-5 weeks (Christmas rush?) anyways, looking to pick up decent FMJ range ammo and good self-defense hollowpoints. I am looking for 38 special, not the +P variety.

What would you recommend? Personal experience is preferred. Thanks!


Cancel and order from Osage County Guns or Hinterland Outfitters and you’ll have it this week and no sales tax, probably for less.
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#4600251 - 12/10/17 09:19 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1267
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado

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#4600281 - 12/10/17 10:24 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: FirstNissan]
Robenstein Offline


Registered: 12/23/09
Posts: 5653
Loc: Central IA
For standard pressure self defense ammo I would use either the Hornady Critical Defense or the Underwood Extreme Defender.

For practice ammo...take your pick.
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#4600310 - 12/10/17 11:05 PM Re: Recommend me a 38 Special Ammo FMJ and HP [Re: ron17571]
bunnspecial Offline


Registered: 11/23/15
Posts: 737
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: ron17571
I bought some critical defense bullets years ago.That is what is loaded.I use wadcutters for practice.I have read they are very good for self-defense also. That FBI load 124? grain is good.I use whatever is on sale. Accuracy with my stubby is really good.


What I know as the FBI load(and it's a good load) is a 158gr soft swaged lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint. I've seen it from Federal and Remington, although the Remington version seems to be better liked(and it's all I've ever used). If you look at the terminal ballistics of this round, you'll find that the use of soft lead makes expansion easy but it's also susceptible to clogging that stops expansion. Still, semi-wadcutters do tend to cause more tissue damage than a round nose or an unexpanded conventional hollowpoint.

As to wadcutters-some folks do swear by them. I load Hornady swaged wadcutters over 2.7gr Bullseye by the thousands. The ones I've bought and the ones I load are a low velocity round pretty strictly intended for paper punching and not much else. The bullet design can theoretically do a lot of damage, but for a variety of reasons most commercial ones can't safely be loaded that way. Tbere's also the old trick of loading HBWCs upside-down, something that gives a ferocious hollowpoint with reliable expansion and almost no penetration. A cast wadcutter is a different story, and I think Buffalo Bore offers one such "hot" round.
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