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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
38 Special Snubbies and 110gr Loads

Choices are.....
Buffalo Bore® 110gr
+P Barnes® LF (#20F/20)
COR®BON 38 Special
+P 110gr DPX (#DPX38110/20)
Federal® Premium® 110gr Hydra-Shok® JHP Personnel Defense® (LR) (#PD38HS3H)
• Fiocchi® Extrema® 38 Special 110gr Hornady® XTP HP (#38XTPB25)
Hornady® 38 Special 110 gr FTX® Critical Defense® (#90310)
Hornady® 38 Special
+P 110 gr FTX® Critical Defense® (#90311)
• Remington® 38 Special 110gr JHP (#R38S10)
Winchester® 110gr Silvertip® JHP


I would appreciate opinions & observations of these loads.
• For those of you having shot them how accurate are they in your snubnose (1⅞", 2" barrel) guns?
• How consistent is the velocity?
• Do they "Print" to POA? That is to say are POA & POI identical?
• Are they really low recoil?
• Are ANY of these loads to be AVOIDED?

Based upon your posts I will purchase some and try them in my two Taurus® Mdl 85SS2ULs. Many thanks in advance.

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Lots of choices.
 

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Just curious.David, why do you prefer 110 grain loads for snubbies? I trust your.qualified.judgement, but would like to know your.reaoning. Is it recoil, velocity or both?
 
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If I had to go with 110 grain bullets I would choose the Federal Hydra-Shok or the Hornady FTX Critical Defense. Since I don't have to use them I carry Blazer 158 JHP +P for my 38 load and Federal 158 grain Hydra-Shok in the 357 load in my LCR.
 
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Just curious.David, why do you prefer 110 grain loads for snubbies? I trust your qualified judgement, but would like to know your reasoning. Is it recoil, velocity or both?
1. I didn't say I prefer them. (I carry the Buffalo Bore® 38 Special Standard Pressure 158gr LSWCHCGC).
2. Recoil has become an issue for my daughter (RA), and my wife.
3. I want to compare the recoil vs accuracy of a suitable 110gr loading against the Federal Premium 38 Special 125gr Nyclad® HP (#P38MA).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I had to go with 110 grain bullets I would choose the Federal Hydra-Shok or the Hornady FTX Critical Defense. Since I don't have to use them I carry Blazer 158 JHP +P for my 38 load and Federal 158 grain Hydra-Shok in the 357 load in my LCR.
I surmise you mean the Standard Pressure (#90310)?
 

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Most sights on snubs are regulated for 158 grain and a light bullet will often shoot way low, have to file the front sight on a snubby. I prefer the heavier loads, myself. They ain't THAT much more powerful out of a snubby than a .380 and a heavier bullet gives them an advantage in penetration.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For milder recoil, the Spousal Unit uses Hornady's 110 gr. FTX Critical Defense ammo in her Taurus Total Titanium M-851.
I'm guessing the (#90310) Standard Pressure load?
 

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I have a stash of the 95 gr. Magtech First Defense SCHP (Solid Copper Hollow Point) that I've been using for snubbies.

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I surmise you mean the Standard Pressure (#90310)?
Back in the Day, I worked at a few Federal Courthouses where we were only allowed to carry a 38 spl with 110 gn loads. I carried the Federal +P Hydra-Shok's then as they provided more penetration than other offerings. The Hornady FTX CD load seems to be a good penetration load from what I can find but if they made it in +P then that would be my choice.
 

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I shoot Blazer , Remington , Monarchs or Mag-Techs depending what I find and price . But I have always got them in 158gr as well as my .357s' in 158gr also . The .38s' recoil isn't as bad as the .357s' but I like the punch of the .357s' . However I shoot better with the.38s' cause of less recoil . Steels are dirty most times as where brass aren't as bad . I prefer FMJ in everything but I have use HPs' which work as well . I use a Rossi .357/.38 with a 3" barrel . Not sure exactly how much different the recoil is between the 2" and 3" if any so can't compare in that area . I bought 2 boxes/50 of Monarchs .357 , 158gr, FMJ today and they were cheaper than Blazers for a change @ $18.99/box . $4.00 cheaper per box than Blazers . Blazers are steel tho , not brass .

I might add tho if i chose from the list you posted I would go with the http://www.hornady.com/store/38-Special-P-110-gr-Critical-Defense/ but I would prefer these : http://www.hornady.com/store/38-Special-158-gr-XTP/
 

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As long as your gun is rated for +P there is no problem with any of them.

Personally I use the 125 gr. Hornady FTX or Golden Saber.

Yes I am aware of Evan Marshall's work which recommended the 110 gr. loads. Bullet design has come a long way since then.

I suggest shooting any load from a recognized manufacturer labeled as defense and then practicing enough so that you are sure of hitting what you intend.
 

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Now that you have edited your original post as well as answered my question, I have always been under the impression that +P in a snubby will not utilize the powder burn time, as well as a lighter bullet like a 110 grain will not develop enough compression in the cylinder to develop a suitable velocity. I realize a lot is still lost in longer barreled guns with the gap between the cylinder face and the forcing cone, but some effect is measurable for powder burn time with a longer barrel. In any event, I have always believed, (maybe erroneously) that +P gave very little extra umph to a snubby.

Over the years, I have shot a lot of standard pressure loads of .38 special and from 110 to 158 grain in many different length barrels from 1 1/2" to 6" and have not noticed a difference in recoil, and I'm in the same camp as Native Texan and Ron 24/7 as to a fixed sight revolver being set up for 158 grain loads. The lighter grain bullets will deliver more energy without a doubt in a 4" barrel as there definitely is more velocity.

I know that the Fiocchi rounds are typically loaded a little hotter, but again I don't know if that translates to any more velocity in a snubby as I have never chronoed them or +P out of a snubby.

My wife has a Model 85 steel snubby she has had since 1982 or 83 and it is her car gun. For a long time, I had some commercial reloads with 158 grains and a SWCHP in it for defensive use until I discovered the IMR 4227 powder wouldn't hardly burn in any of my revolvers. If the old fart who did the reloads wasn't in such bad health, I would ask for a refund, as the IMR 4227 is crappy powder for any hand gun. Right now, she just has standard pressure Remington SJHP in 125 grain in it. She shoots the 85 very well and I feel for any fool who ever makes her use it, as she will not hesitate.

The wife, when she does practice, has reloads of 125 grains in front of 3.8 grains of Red Dot that is a powder puff round, and that is what I usually practice with also. I really don't think that any standard loading 158 grain .38 special is going to be noticeable regarding recoil if she has to use it.

I know you don't have Academy Sports in your neighborhood, but back before Christmas, I did see some 158 gn SJHP in the Monarch Brass at Academy, and the next time I see them, they are coming home with me to go into her model 85 and my sons Rossi 3" 3501-3. The other .38 special revolvers with 4 and 6 " barrels all get +P treatment.

I prefer the penetration of the 158 grain.
 

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But, if she's recoil shy, buy some 110 grain stuff and test it and have her test it. If she's experienced, she can adjust her sight picture to raise POI if need be ore you can file the front sight should she decide she likes the stuff.
 

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Most sights on snubs are regulated for 158 grain and a light bullet will often shoot way low, have to file the front sight on a snubby. I prefer the heavier loads, myself. They ain't THAT much more powerful out of a snubby than a .380 and a heavier bullet gives them an advantage in penetration.
True that. My Taurus 617 shoots 2" low with 158 grain +P ammo, and 6" low with the 110 gr. zingers. I'm not going to do any sight filing, so it was back to the 'heavyweights'
 

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I know you don't have Academy Sports in your neighborhood, but back before Christmas, I did see some 158 gn SJHP in the Monarch Brass at Academy, and the next time I see them, they are coming home with me to go into her model 85 and my sons Rossi 3" 3501-3.
I prefer the penetration of the 158 grain.
That's what my 2 boxes were that I bought today @ $18.99 . I was glad to see them too . Been a while since I seen a box of 50 that cheap . Even the Blazers were $21.99/box/50 . I may go back and get a couple more boxes of the Monarchs .
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Now that you have edited your original post as well as answered my question, I have always been under the impression that +P in a snubby will not utilize the powder burn time, as well as a lighter bullet like a 110 grain will not develop enough compression in the cylinder to develop a suitable velocity. I realize a lot is still lost in longer barreled guns with the gap between the cylinder face and the forcing cone, but some effect is measurable for powder burn time with a longer barrel. In any event, I have always believed, (maybe erroneously) that +P gave very little extra umph to a snubby.
Over the years, I have shot a lot of standard pressure loads of .38 special and from 110 to 158 grain in many different length barrels from 1 1/2" to 6" and have not noticed a difference in recoil, and I'm in the same camp as Native Texan and Ron 24/7 as to a fixed sight revolver being set up for 158 grain loads. The lighter grain bullets will deliver more energy without a doubt in a 4" barrel as there definitely is more velocity.

I know that the Fiocchi rounds are typically loaded a little hotter, but again I don't know if that translates to any more velocity in a snubby as I have never chronoed them or +P out of a snubby.

My wife has a Model 85 steel snubby she has had since 1982 or 83 and it is her car gun. For a long time, I had some commercial reloads with 158 grains and a SWCHP in it for defensive use until I discovered the IMR 4227 powder wouldn't hardly burn in any of my revolvers. If the old fart who did the reloads wasn't in such bad health, I would ask for a refund, as the IMR 4227 is crappy powder for any hand gun. Right now, she just has standard pressure Remington SJHP in 125 grain in it. She shoots the 85 very well and I feel for any fool who ever makes her use it, as she will not hesitate.

The wife, when she does practice, has reloads of 125 grains in front of 3.8 grains of Red Dot that is a powder puff round, and that is what I usually practice with also. I really don't think that any standard loading 158 grain .38 special is going to be noticeable regarding recoil if she has to use it.

I know you don't have Academy Sports in your neighborhood, but back before Christmas, I did see some 158 gn SJHP in the Monarch Brass at Academy, and the next time I see them, they are coming home with me to go into her model 85 and my sons Rossi 3" 3501-3. The other .38 special revolvers with 4 and 6 " barrels all get +P treatment.

I prefer the penetration of the 158 grain.
I agree w/you and I shoot Buffalo Bore® 38 Special Standard Pressure 158gr LSWCHCGC (#20C/20) exclusively in my two Taurus® Mdl 85SS2UL revolvers. There is one +P load that really performs from a snubby; and that is the Buffalo Bore® 38 Special 158gr LSWCHCGC+P (#20A/20). The standard load gives an honest 850fps & the +P loading is 1040fps. The +P has WAY TOO MUCH RECOIL in my ULTRA-LITE 38's however. OTOH, in my 29oz 617SS2 the +P loading is very manageable.

My wife uses a 24oz 605SS2 as her primary, and an 85SS2UL as her BUG. Our daughter uses an 85SSB2. At present both carry the Federal® Premium® Standard Pressure 125gr Nyclad® HP in their guns. The only problem is that the Nyclad® loading is almost impossible to find. I can find the 110's almost everywhere locally; hence my OP.
 
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