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.38spl ammo that works well in S&W 442

Discussion in 'The Snubbie Club' started by macsimizer26, May 19, 2011.

  1. macsimizer26


    Feb 8, 2011
    can anyone point me in a good direction for ammo that has worked well in the S&W 442? looking for both target rounds(until i get a reloader) and also defense rounds. thanks
  2. Messer


    Jan 13, 2003
    Central Virginia
    Like many things when it comes to guns/ammo/self defense, it will start a Holy War of opinions. :wow:

    Here is my $.02 worth...

    If you are looking for the most accurate ammo, Federal 148 gr., Hollow Base, Full Wadcutter ammo is about as good as you can get. BUT, your 442 has neither the sights or the trigger to gain from that type of ammo.

    If you are looking for range/practice ammo, any of the bulk 130 gr. Full Metal Jacket ammo available at most gun shops & WalMarts is good for that purpose.

    As for carry ammo, I'd have to say the Speer 135 gr. Gold Dot for Short Barrels is the way to go...

    Buffalo Bore makes a good self defense round for the 38, but it's loaded HOT, and isn't fun to shoot in a small/light gun.

    Take care,
    Bob S.

  3. Dalton Wayne

    Dalton Wayne Epic mustache Millennium Member

    Apr 5, 1999
    Central Florida
    I carry Winchester bonded PDX1 38 special +P 130gr JHP in my 442
  4. SuperSleuth


    Feb 27, 2010
    I carry 125gr Federal Nyclads in my 642 (same as your 442 but in stainless steel/silver color) and practice with 130gr FMJ ammo (I shoot the cheapest I can find...right now it's PMC brand). They're pretty close ballistically so I think it's a good combo.

    I carry 135gr Speer Short-Barrel GDHP +P for reloads in strips, so I practice with those periodically when doing reloading drills.
  5. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    Jun 24, 2007
    I have control problems with any +P carry ammo in my 442, so I stick with standard pressure Federal Nyclads and Hornady Critical Defense.
  6. macsimizer26


    Feb 8, 2011
    now when u carry backup ammo, is it in a speedloader? haven't seen much on ammo prices for this caliber, are they comparable to 9, 40, 45? thanks, trying to get a heads up on what works well with this pistol as it will most likely become my carry/nightstand gun, after much much practice of course :supergrin:
  7. Daryl in Az

    Daryl in Az Enjoying life!

    Aug 31, 2007
    I carry the above mentionede 135 gr Gold Dot ammo in my J-frame. Shoots good, but it's sort of expensive for targets.

    I haven't bought a box of factory .38 special ammo in many, many years. Maybe 20 or so? A friend gave me three boxes of WWB stuff recently that's loaded with lead round nose bullets, and it shoots well enough for the purpose.

    But I mostly shoot handloads. Some years back, I bought a few 500 cnt boxes of Speer 148 gr HBWC's (bullets for reloading) from midwayusa, and they shoot good. Over the years, I've "aquired" a pretty good selection of bullets to use in .38 special loads, so I have all sorts of ammo on hand for it. Just have to keep them labeled so I know what's what.

    My advice is to shoot what's cheap, save the brass, and start reloading. I seriously doubt you'll ever regret it.

  8. HotRoderX

    HotRoderX Gen4 BETATester

    Jan 15, 2011
    I carry a 637 which is a 442 with a hammer personally I pefer one of the following.

    Them are extremely easy on the hand and have pretty good expansion results from the test I have seen on youtube.

    Other SD ammo I like is

    Nice expansion low flash only drawback is they have a kick.... which can make follow up shots a bit tough.

    As far as range ammo goes. what ever cheapest. I do pefer PMC or Independence if I can find it cheap enough. which ever range ammo you go with I suggest a 130gr because it will be lighter shooting out of a snubnose.
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  9. macsimizer26


    Feb 8, 2011
    Yea i plan on saving my brass to reload, been doing so with my 40, 45 and 223, now how hard is this little sucker? becuz consensus seems to be the 442 has a very nasty kick and can wear out the wrist fairly quickly. Does bullet weight/jhp/fmj/swc have a major affect? I like pmc in my other calibers so ill def try that, havent shot any speer or gold dot, are they loaded "hot", and how does reg ol WWB work with this model?
  10. HotRoderX

    HotRoderX Gen4 BETATester

    Jan 15, 2011
    bullet weight does make a difference the 130gr rounds I can shoot all day with almost no discomfort. I can even shoot 100-150 158gr ammo not as much fun or enjoyable but still can. +P I don't find enjoyable at all 50rounds and I am ready to put it up. I have no problem shooting my 686 357mag all day but man them +P 38's in a snubby buck harder in my opinion.
  11. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    Jun 24, 2007
    I carry my snubbie infrequently (work in a gun-free zone), but when I do, it's in my strong side front pocket. I also carry a speedstrip; they fit more easily in my off pocket. Speedloaders are fine for off-body carry (glove compartment) or jacket pocket or for use at the range.
  12. LarryNC

    LarryNC Millennium Member

    Dec 27, 1999
    I believe that there are already lots of good ideas about good SD loads and they have been mentioned already. I jusy wanted to agree with Daryl in Az, he gave you some excellent advice (in my opinion). I am a reloader. It is a great hobby, you can save a huge amount of money, too. The only calibers I have ever reloaded for are .45 ACP and 9mm. I need to buy a conversion kit for my reloading machine and some dies in .38. I have a new model 442 and somehow got lucky enough to get a brand new one without one of those danged locks. If you really want to be a really good shot, you have to shoot a lot. That is just my opinion, but to shoot a lot these days you have to either have a trust fund or be a reloader:supergrin: Good luck with your 442.
  13. macsimizer26


    Feb 8, 2011
    Lol no trust fund, dont have a reloader but did manage to get a 2nd job to support my habits and build the ol bank account up a good bit
  14. den888


    Sep 4, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    130 FMJ, 158 gr SWC/RN for practice and 125 gr Nyclad (non +P) for SD/HD use
  15. tenntornado


    Oct 17, 2011
    I am old school and still keep my snubbies loaded with 158 gr. LSWCHP+Ps
  16. jeb_ingram


    Feb 25, 2005
    Ive recently replaced my CorBon 110 gr DPX for Nyclad 125 gr. I keep two speed strips with 158 gr +P FMJ in my pocket and a Galco 2x2x2 with Nyclads on my belt.
  17. BossGodfrey


    Apr 27, 2010
    Nyclad or hornady critical defense, gold dot SB is really good but don't like the +P thing.
  18. Novocaine


    Jun 10, 2004
    I use two loads: 158 gr LSWC HP+P (Federal in my case) and Speer Short Barrel. I trust LSWCHP+P and Speer glides easier from the speedloader.

    In standard velocity (for older 3" J-frame) I use Nyclads.

    I see little reason in target rounds for the 2" revolver.
  19. captcurly


    Sep 14, 2008
    Southern Delaware
    For carry in alloy J frames I use Speer Gold Dot 135gr HP for Short Barrels. For the range and practice I use any 130gr ball ammo. Never got into reloading because I am a lazy guy.