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38spl+p

earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,368 Senior Member
I've had an interest in 38spl+p for occasional use in 357mag revolvers for a long time. 

I also have a tendency to make impetuous purchases when I see things on sale as opposed to buying something that's generally reputed to be the best performing product of its type.

Like this ammo here. I have a stash of it I've never fired.



The video shows what might be considered a failure. But I actually think it performed pretty well. Reason being that if used in a crisis. The target won't be static or perpendicular. If hits are made, they'll likely be at odd angles and possibly include limb extremities, and even hits after a solid barrier penetration. 

I have a couple other brands of the +p ammo, and some handloaded hot 38spl. In all honesty Ive not ever carried it, opting instead for full magnum cartridges when used. But I do like having a less potent loading avialable for HD or even certain other circumstances. 

The lighter bullets seem to be the way to go for factory fodder. My handloads are 158gr cast lead swc's..

A small 357mag revolver carries with great ease and convenience. The +p 38spl gives it pretty good versatility.

Replies

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,446 Senior Member
    I have a Ruger LCR that's rated for .38 +P...and another chambered for .357 Mag...the latter is NOT a pleasant shooter with full house loads,while the .38 +Ps are quite manageable...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,730 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    I have a Ruger LCR that's rated for .38 +P...and another chambered for .357 Mag...the latter is NOT a pleasant shooter with full house loads,while the .38 +Ps are quite manageable...
    What is your opinion of the LCR? Been considering one as a lightweight camp gun?
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,389 Senior Member
    I have a Ruger SP101 2.25" that is unpleasant to shoot with full house .357 handloads in it.  Its not bad with .38 +P though.  By unpleasant I mean that after 3 rounds of a rally hot 110gr XTP handload with W296 there was some quite noticeable discomfort in my wrist.  Uncomfortable to a point that I packed things up for the day to prevent potential additional damage or irritation.  I will shoot that load all day from a 4" 686 or 6" GP100 though.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,368 Senior Member
    Yea, it seems like alot can be had in the lighter 38+p in terms of performance versus recoil in comparison to full throttle magnum ammo. It also looks like some care in ammo selection is needed to get the best benefit.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,446 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    Jayhawker said:
    I have a Ruger LCR that's rated for .38 +P...and another chambered for .357 Mag...the latter is NOT a pleasant shooter with full house loads,while the .38 +Ps are quite manageable...
    What is your opinion of the LCR? Been considering one as a lightweight camp gun?
    Well, I've been toting the thing around now for about 8 years I guess...Light, handy, dependableand accurate enough for what it is....While it's not my primary carry piece, it does a fine job when I don't need to get strapped up with my 1911 and a couple of spare mags...like when I go to the dump or fishing...

    If I recall correctly, Ruger came out with an LCR with a 3" barrel that might make for a more utilitarian camp gun
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,730 Senior Member
    The 3” is actually what I have been considering. Figuring if I take a dunk wading the river it might fair a bit better than most. And .357 ought to be adequate for most vermin I might incounter. 
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,171 Senior Member
    I have been jaded towards the .38 Spl and +P loads since the mid 90s and shooting a pig 3 times. After which he tried to separate my nethers from my torso. 
    Have not revisited current options. Fool me once.......shame on you.  Fool me twice........
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,368 Senior Member
    Likely not a good option for dispatching  wild pigs.

    In the world of compromise where handguns reign. It may provide a viable option. Depending on how much compromise the user is willing to endure, versus whatever might be gained in the compromise.

    As I was typing the OP.. I couldn't help but wonder if the 9mm parabellum in its current guise. Might not actually rival or even best the versatility of bullet weight and velocity options of the 38spl, 38+p, 357mag cartridges???


  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,171 Senior Member
    Likely not a good option for dispatching  wild pigs.

    In the world of compromise where handguns reign. It may provide a viable option. Depending on how much compromise the user is willing to endure, versus whatever might be gained in the compromise.

    As I was typing the OP.. I couldn't help but wonder if the 9mm parabellum in its current guise. Might not actually rival or even best the versatility of bullet weight and velocity options of the 38spl, 38+p, 357mag cartridges???


    Funny you mention that........I did some terminal performance testing today with the 9mm. 
    Can’t post video. 😒
    But I’m gonna post a thread on it and the .357 Sig that was used by someone else as well. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,368 Senior Member
    Cool! There's been a lot of new bullets for 9mm.. The sig cartridge has a significant fan base.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,171 Senior Member
    I’m exhausted.......will post it tomorrow.......😴
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,712 Senior Member
    ...

    The video shows what might be considered a failure. But I actually think it performed pretty well. Reason being that if used in a crisis. The target won't be static or perpendicular. If hits are made, they'll likely be at odd angles and possibly include limb extremities, and even hits after a solid barrier penetration. 

    I have a couple other brands of the +p ammo, and some handloaded hot 38spl. In all honesty Ive not ever carried it, opting instead for full magnum cartridges when used. But I do like having a less potent loading avialable for HD or even certain other circumstances. 

    The lighter bullets seem to be the way to go for factory fodder. My handloads are 158gr cast lead swc's..

    ...
    What the video fails at is giving the viewer a chronograph reading of the velocity. Lead "begins" to deform around 660 fps but you won't get that perfect mushroom until you're in the neighborhood of about 800 and then you'll need to push it faster if clogging could be an issue. There's a good reason for modern 38 Special bullets to have a huge cavity -- to avoid the clogging. Anyway, were the bullet fails at is consistency. If I'm expecting it to expand, it better expand. I'm guessing you don't expect your own semi-wadcutters to expand and they probably don't -- they're consistent to the purpose intended. Naked people beware though.
    I'd still be interested in a chrono reading if you do your own testing.
    My next observation, if you're gonna use 125 grain bullets in a compact gun, I think you'd be better served with a compact 9mm with +p ammo. Better performance and higher capacity. Just a thought.
    I know a 357 Sig is a better performer than a 38. More blast and recoil to but if that doesn't bother you then it's a good option.
    I think I'd continue to use standard 38 for practice and use 357 Magnum loads for familiarization and keep it loaded with 357 mag when I'm out and about.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,368 Senior Member
    Yea, my handloads are commercial cast bullets. 15 brinnel hardness? Oregon Trail brand. Maybe #18..

    A chrono would be good.

    The penetration of the Remington load was pretty good I thought. Regardless of expansion.

    I think the 9mm might be a serious contender with anything less than full throttle 357mag..
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,996 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    I have been jaded towards the .38 Spl and +P loads since the mid 90s and shooting a pig 3 times. After which he tried to separate my nethers from my torso. 
    Have not revisited current options. Fool me once.......shame on you.  Fool me twice........
    I think that the .38 Special is a REALLY complicated topic when it comes to terminal performance.

    Its origins lie in the blackpowder era when about all you commonly saw was round nose lead - that could penetrate fine, but not give much for "special effects".

    There's the +P and standard pressure loads and appropriate gun issues to consider.

    Then you have a huge potential range of barrel lengths greatly affecting velocity.

    And lastly we have the fact that any given bullet is typically engineered to perform at a certain impact velocity.

    So odds are that whatever is loaded is the WRONG bullet for the job:  we're going to have .357 bullets that won't expand at .38 snubby speeds; .38 snubby bullets that might either come apart or fail to penetrate adequately at .357 speeds, or at least not deliver as much for the money as possible.

    We are living in the age of "engineered" bullets.  A manufacturer can pretty much tell their slide-rule commandos that they the need a final result of ______, and they can usually manage it.  We could probably solve the .38 Special issue with the introduction of several bullet classes that are advertised as making FBI performance guidelines when fired at various points along the power curve.

    The current problem is that we don't necessarily know what the designer of a bullet had in mind, and that any .358 bullet can potentially be fired out of anything as pokey as a .38 Short Colt to something as aggressive as a .35 Whelan.  This is a case where labeling with intended performance specs matters, and it hasn't for the most part been done.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,712 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    I think that the .38 Special is a REALLY complicated topic when it comes to terminal performance.

    ...
    Then you have a huge potential range of barrel lengths greatly affecting velocity.
    ...
    And lastly we have the fact that any given bullet is typically engineered to perform at a certain impact velocity.
    ...
    The current problem is that we don't necessarily know what the designer of a bullet had in mind,
    ...
    This is a case where labeling with intended performance specs matters, and it hasn't for the most part been done.
    That's a great idea and an obvious fix but from a marketing standpoint it could be troubling because it would go a long way in eliminating the, "I'm gonna try these bullets and see how they work" market share.
    You have the right idea but I think it would be a tough sell to tell all marketers they need to label there bullets accordingly. There reply might be something like, "Let them try a few 💰 to see if they like them."
    I would love to see that kind of labeling but a lot of folks wouldn't know what to make of all the numbers.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • AlleyCatAlleyCat Posts: 182 Member
    edited June 28 #17
    Spk said:

    I would love to see that kind of labeling ...

    Attention.

    To improve bullet performance and velocity in short barrel revolvers, please place hand over cylinder gap.

    :)

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,996 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    Bigslug said:
    I think that the .38 Special is a REALLY complicated topic when it comes to terminal performance.

    ...
    Then you have a huge potential range of barrel lengths greatly affecting velocity.
    ...
    And lastly we have the fact that any given bullet is typically engineered to perform at a certain impact velocity.
    ...
    The current problem is that we don't necessarily know what the designer of a bullet had in mind,
    ...
    This is a case where labeling with intended performance specs matters, and it hasn't for the most part been done.
    That's a great idea and an obvious fix but from a marketing standpoint it could be troubling because it would go a long way in eliminating the, "I'm gonna try these bullets and see how they work" market share.
    You have the right idea but I think it would be a tough sell to tell all marketers they need to label there bullets accordingly. There reply might be something like, "Let them try a few 💰 to see if they like them."
    I would love to see that kind of labeling but a lot of folks wouldn't know what to make of all the numbers.

    #1.  You're operating on the assumption they're out to screw their customers.

    #2.  It's a consumable item.  If they like it, they'll buy more.  If it's already directed at where they want to go, they'll start there.

    #3.  Your whole "I'm gonna try lots of options" encourages the customer try - and risk them liking -  SOMEONE ELSE'S PRODUCT.

    #4.  Eliminating most of the need for the "I'm gonna try lots of options" approach assists the "I ain't got time and money for that tinkering crap" customer.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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