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woods walking defense load for .38 spl snub

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by kmrcstintn, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn

    457
    0
    Apr 16, 2002
    Hershey, PA
    first let me say this...I am under financial crisis and have to use what I have on hand (S&W 642) and have already sold several other CCW handguns (Beretta Nano, Ruger SP101); with that said...I am seeking opinions for a load to use in my S&W 642 for woods walking (hiking paths where people walk, ride bike, walk dogs, etc) and hunting (CCW during archery seasons per PA law); I have a handful of different loads on-hand to consider, but not sure which one would best serve me...

    Mastercast.net 158gr hardened lead semiwadcutter solid non +p bulk reloads

    CCI Blazer (aluminum cased) 125gr jacketed hollowpoint +p's

    Federal Nyclad 125gr nylon coated lead hollowpoint non +p's

    a very small stash of Remington 158gr lead semiwadcutter hollowpoint +p's (heard a rumor these were dropped fron production & I haven't seen any locally in nearly 2 years)

    if you recommend something different, please remember it might take several weeks/months to buy enough for accuracy testing since I have to budget for anything I don't have and would buy a bit at a time...

    thanks
     
  2. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    7,353
    901
    Mar 14, 2005
    USA
    The 158g LSWCHP+P is a great load from a snub. Second to that the Nyclad is a good load also.

    Either one of those will be a good load from a snub. If you run across some Gold Dot 135g+P Short Barrel pick them up if you can they are a great snub load.

    I often carry my snub when hunting because it fits in the pocket of my coveralls and is easy to carry that way without a belt on.
     


  3. NMPOPS

    NMPOPS

    791
    13
    Jun 11, 2002
    New Mexico & Michigan
    I'd go with your Mastercraft load. A good cast lead SWC is hard to beat!

    Sent from my Ally using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

    15,316
    2,489
    Feb 1, 2005
    PA
    This is a good load for general defense, but I would be concerned about penetration on some of the tougher 4 legged threats. :dunno:
     
  5. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    18,104
    611
    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    Either of the +p loads you mentioned would work well. My condolences on your situation.
     
  6. 390ish

    390ish

    745
    9
    Dec 6, 2004
    virginia
    Go with the mastercast. I reload the hornady 158 swaged hollowpoint swc to plus p level and it shoots to point of aim.
     
  7. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr trout fear me!

    For what it is worth, I'd also consider how well I can shoot those different loads. The Airweight J's (like your 642) have more recoil and can be more difficult to put rounds on target than the steel framed revolvers.
     
  8. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    18,104
    611
    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    True. The +p 158gr loads will try to twist the little revolver out of your hand.
     
  9. unit1069

    unit1069

    8,128
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    Oct 10, 2007
    So. Central US
    I've never owned a .38 Special but I understand this is as good a self-defense round for that caliber as there is against human predators, a far greater danger in the woods than animals.
     
  10. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    7,353
    901
    Mar 14, 2005
    USA
    In my area two legged critters are the only ones I fear. I would not expect anything from a snub .38 to handle a large 4 legged predator.


    A +P hardcast wadcutter is prolly the only choice, and it would be marginal at best.
     
  11. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    1,827
    86
    Feb 20, 1999
    Florida
    If your main concern is two-legged critters i.e. bad guys then the 158 LSWCHP+P is a good choice. This is a heavy-for-caliber round that will get very good penetration. They are accurate as well. The recoil will be crisp, but I'd take that trade off in this caliber.

    If your concern runs more towards four-legged critters i.e. rabid dog etc then the Mastercraft would be the way to go. Expansion isn't as much of a consideration as penetration on animals. Particularly if it is a larger animal.

    If you have a speed loader, perhaps load with a cylinder full of Mastercraft and have th LSWCHP in the speed loader.
     
  12. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    18,104
    611
    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    Is a 148gr BBWC loaded to 800 or so FPS. Light recoil + good penetration.
     
  13. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    24,178
    2,129
    Sep 15, 2003
    WA

    I agree. The 642 loaded with the Rem FBI load (158gr LSWCHP+P) is the best choice for any realistic threats while walking the trails in the woods.
    Against humans, it's among the best. Against critters that constitute a genuine threat, as good as the other choices, at least....just remember a soft lead HP won't fare well against skulls on most critters unless it goes in an ear or eyeball.
     
  14. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn

    457
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    Apr 16, 2002
    Hershey, PA
    to clarify...are you recommending full wadcutters, which I don't have and can't get locally without ordering it (and the article does mention that most factory wadcutters are soft lead)??? or are you indirectly telling me to use the hardened lead semiwadcutter bulk reloads that I currently have??? thanks
     
  15. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    6,513
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    Oct 16, 2008
    Missouri, East of KC
    I am a big fan of 158gr LSWC for a .38
    However, you also have to find a load that shoots to the point of aim, or you have to adjust the point of aim.

    Back in the 1970s, the 4" revolvers shot 158 grain lead (and jacketed, usuall) to POI, but the 2" revolvers were set up for 110gr loads.


    Hunting with a 2" - no. Not something I'd recommend. Lower velocity, short sighting radius.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  16. Kentguy

    Kentguy

    1,775
    115
    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH
    kmrcstintn... "I have a handful of different loads on-hand to consider, but not sure which one would best serve me."

    Mastercast.net 158gr hardened lead semiwadcutter solid non +p bulk reloads

    :agree:

    IMO given your situation and choices available, these will serve you the best. I shoot & reload 158g LSWC and if need be, would trust my life with them. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  17. AquaHull

    AquaHull

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    Nov 11, 2011
    West MI
    That would be my choice, the 135 GD isn't the best for critters
     
  18. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    18,083
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    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    I cast and load for my wife's 642... 158 grain lswc works great. I'd stick with your mastercast load if it's giving you acceptable accuracy.