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Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Tiro Fijo, Jul 2, 2013.
Yep, great article.
It helps give some insight into why lower velocity medium-bore bullets could still provide enough tissue damage, even with less ME, to be serviceable defensive loads, even out of the short barreled snubs.
I remember being at a gel demo shoot (not Speer) when the Speer 135gr +P load had just been introduced. One of the guys had managed to come up with a box of it and bring it to the demo, wanting to try it out during the gel shoot. It did as advertised when fired from a guy's 360PD.
The thing is that the grungy, tarnished Rem 125gr +P Golden Sabre (GS38SB) the 360 owner had been carrying virtually duplicated the penetration & expansion of the Speer load in the denim-covered gel block.
That was the day I decided to add both +P loads to my J-frame fodder, in addition to the Rem 158gr LHP +P I favored.
I still have a good supply of the Speer 125gr +P GDHP, but as long as I have access to the 135gr load, I mostly use the 125gr version for range practice with +P's.
The Speer 135gr load has been hard to get around here in the last couple of years. It think it took more than 8 months for my former agency's order of several thousand rounds to be filled (qual & off-duty ammo for .38's which were rated for +P, with standard pressure loads being used for guns not rated for +P).
The interesting thing is that I've also seen the venerable 158gr LSWCHP/LHP +P loads, as well as the Rem 125gr +P HPJ GS, still in an occasional agency ammo inventory. The little 5-shot snubs are once again more popular than ever, still running neck & neck with the popular little .380's.
Thanks for the linked article.
You're welcome, Fastbolt.
By stating "running neck & neck" I will assume you meant by POPULARITY and not performance. Correct me if wrong.
I have several hundred of the Speer 135 gr. +p and feel it is equal to if not better in some regards than the old. Rem. version of the FBI load. Probably not a helluva lot of difference in the long run. FWIW, I haven't seen the latter Rem. load at Bass Pro Shops since last Dec. Midway sold out since then as well.
I used to review the off-duty & secondary weapon qual records, for purpose of helping keeping track of ammo inventory for the off-duty weapon qual needs. It was generally an even mix of .380 & .38's in use at that time. I haven't looked at the records in the last 4 years, but I've seen more each caliber appearing during qual sessions.
I remember the last time I spoke with Dr Gary Roberts about this topic, and I don't disagree with his thoughts comparing the 2 calibers in the role of secondary & off-duty weapons.
But my blue 442 "no lock" with Esmeralda's Cocobolo boot grips sure is prettier than any .380!!
thanks for the link. I sure can't find anything I disagree with.
I have had a lot of experience with both 357 wad cutters and 44 wad cutters.
it is real easy to make a living in the woods with 357 wad cutters and a S&W Pro Series .357 mag SSR.
................and I like not having to keep up with magazines in hunting/live of the land situations.
If you are interested in an revolver to shoot you old school 38 special ammo in......the S&W Pro Series SSR is the best shooting off the shelf revolver I have bought (and I have bought a lot).
The only problem in using the LSWCHP in the 360 and 340 scandium revolvers is bullet pull. Even if the cylinder is unlikely to jam because of using 38 spcl length in 357 mag cylinders, the fourth and fifth bullet pulls out quite a bit. I have therefore discontinued this load for carry in those revolvers.
I consulted Mas Ayoob in the GATE forum about this and he verified it. Subsequent testing on my own further confirmed this.
S&W warns against using all-lead bullets in the Ti, SC & PD guns which all have lighter weight & mass due to the titanium cylinders.
The M&P 340/360 guns have PVD coated stainless steel cylinders, although they do have aluminum yokes and barrel sleeves (unlike the 442/642 guns which have steel yokes and 1-piece steel barrels).
That being the case, the weight of the M&P's, with their steel cylinders, but alloy yokes & barrel sleeves on the 2-piece barrels, puts them not quite 2oz less than the Airweights, but not quite 2oz heavier than the PD's. Kind of in the middle.
I wouldn't use any all-lead bullets in any PD or other Airlite-type snub. Notice the warning to use jacketed ammo on the barrels of some models?
The M&P snubs were brand new when I got my first one. (When I called back to order it I was told that it had been pulled from the first production lot sitting there waiting to be shipped.)
I tried a couple brands of the LHP +P's in my first M&P 340 and was unable to observe any signs of bullet pull (although I experienced some bullet pull with at least a couple brands of jacketed Magnum loads, so I don't use those in my M&P 340's).
One of my contacts at the company suggested that since they're always using different brands of the common ammo at different times in their own testing, that I make sure I test such things for myself before carrying any brand or bullet type in my guns.
He said that sometimes they'd see a brand with what they suspected might just be lighter crimps, which produced some bullet pull, but which might just be limited to a particular production run, and they might not test that brand again for a while.
FWIW, I even test-fire my jacketed & all-lead +P loads in all my J's, regardless of whether they're steel-framed, Airweights or my pair of M&P's, looking for signs of bullet pull. I pull some random rounds from every new case or production lot I might use, or even individual boxes, and check for signs of bullet pull. (I also check each round loaded into my guns for dents or minor QC issues which could cause problems, as I've had an occasional case dent or case mouth deformation affect loading into the charge holes.)
I was talking with another instructor at our range one day, after he'd worked an evening class, and he told me about a gunsmith who was doing a range qual course-of-fire with a steel-framed M36. The ammo he'd brought was some low-cost foreign standard pressure LRN ... and it exhibited severe bullet pull in almost every cylinder load, stopping the cylinder from rotating when he was shooting the gun. Not something you often hear happening in all-steel guns shooting standard pressure loads, but that's what can happen when you try to save a few pennies on ammo.
I like to err on the conservative side of safety.
Fortunately, the aluminum frame J Frames don't seem to suffer from bullet pull, at least not in any of my torture tests.
On another note, the S&W lightweight revolvers that have lined barrels don't shoot SCHP's, e.g., DPX, worth a damn.
FWIW, the run of 442 & 642 "no locks" is the bee's knees for a backup or a "run to the corner store" handgun. All I did was put in a tad lighter rebound spring (never mess with a J Frame mainspring), did a super light deburr and lubrication internally and I chamfered the forcing cone a tad. Mine shoots dead nuts on out to 15 yds. which falls into 99.99% of probable defense scenarios unless you're Mannix or Barnaby Jones.
Well said Fastbolt every word true. Worth quoting this post.
These are 3 of my revolvers, each with its ideal load. Speer Gold Dots for the light snubies ad R38S12 for the heavier .38.
However do trust me, with the R38S12 the fourth and fifth shots bullet pull significantly even with the slightly heavier M&P 340CT
That's why I check rounds from each case or individual box, in my gun, in my hands, looking for signs of it in the unfired 5th round after firing 4 rounds.
However, I tend to leave the 158gr LHP +P's for my Airweights, or my older steel models (649 & 3" 36), since their slightly heavier weight does seem to help mitigate felt recoil & torque effect.
I typically use Speer 135gr or 125gr +P GDHP, Win 130gr +P PDX1 or Rem 125gr +P HPJ (GS) in my M&P's, as the mid-weight loads seem to handle better in the slightly lighter guns (than Airweights).
I was just initially curious about the LHP +P's, as I have some Rem & Win 158gr loads. I was a bit surprised when several range test-firings didn't indicate any bullet pull in the M&P's.
Granted, one of them received some heavier grips than the original Bantams, which make that M&P weigh in at a slightly heavier 14.3oz, meaning less than an ounce lighter than my 642's. It might be that the slightly added grip stock weight mitigates the potential for bullet pull. Dunno.
The jacketed mid-weights are my normal preference in the lighter guns, though.
Funny how an ounce might make a difference.
But then so can grip stability and a locked wrist.
I remember when I was talking with a repair tech when they received a complaint about an owner experiencing bullet pull when shooting JACKETED Magnum loads out of a Ti/Sc J-frame. The factory was unable to duplicate the occurrence shooting the type of ammo ... until it occurred to them to try loosening & relating their grip & wrist a little. Then they saw bullet pull.
The consensus was that they'd never expected someone wouldn't be holding onto those little Magnum Airlites with anything short of a strong grip, and all their testing had apparently been done with fixture rests and human shooters expecting heavy recoil.
Believe it or not, they decided that it's seemingly possible to really "limp-wrist" the hard-kicking Magnum Ti J's and maybe get bullet pull, even with Magnum ammo. The recoiling gun just jumps away from the bullet and overcomes the crimp, even if it's a jacketed bullet, fired under the wrong conditions.
Who'd have thought?
I do know that one of our guys reported experiencing some repeated bullet pull and jammed cylinder rotation when shooting his different brand all-titanium 5-shot snub, with factory jacketed +P loads.
Again, it pays to test-fire the specific ammo you plan to use, and do so periodically when buying new boxes, perhaps.
I'm calling BS because I see here on GT hundreds of threads by "experts" blaming the manufacturer as they say it's nigh unto impossible to limpwrist!!! Must be the MIM parts.
I know exactly how you feel. My first reaction when told about it was, "Ya gotta be kidding me".
The gentleman at the factory said they were all pretty much caught by surprise ... but also said it had never occurred to them that someone would hold one of those hard-kicking pocket mules that loosely, either. I think he said the factory testers were holding onto the guns during R&D with a death grip.
We both chuckled and commented about how it was apparently now possible for someone to "limp-wrist" a Magnum Ti J-frame loaded with heavy bullet Magnum loads.
I know the first few times I shot one of the Airlite Magnum J's with full-power Magnum loads, I thought someone had smacked my palm & the web of my hand with a baseball bat (and I'm a long time Magnum revolver shooter). I did some rapid doubles & triples drills just to prove I could, but it's not my idea of fun.
When we were shooting some of the demo guns a rep brought by our range one day, I remember all the big strong guys wanting to shoot the couple of .500 S&W Magnums until the ammo ran out, but once was enough with the 360PD.
YES the airlite pd is a hand full with 357 mg 158 jph. I did not know I should not shoot all lead bullets in them. I have but I guess I was lucky.
Their manual simply says to test any ammo selection in their Ti, Sc & PD revolvers to make sure the bullets don't unseat under recoil. It was in discussions with some guys from the factory that the use of all-lead bullets was mentioned. They said the crimps might not hold as well on lead bullets as on jacketed bullets.
It was in the earlier .38 Spl +P Airlites that they printed the restriction of using jacketed ammo on the barrels. The newer PD .357 Magnum J's list the bullet weight minimum (120gr), but that's due to the potential for gas erosion to occur on the titanium cylinder face & inside the charge hole throats due to the burning characteristics of the powders used with the lighter weight loads.
I think it's still a good idea to check for any problems with bullet unseating under recoil, even in the Airweights & steel J's, if only to confirm the specific ammo being used doesn't present an unexpected problem in this regard.
Like I said, that one guy had problems with some RNL in his steel M36 when shooting that one brand of imported .38 Spl standard pressure loads, and the other guy reported some issues with his all titanium 5-shot snub (another brand), although he said he couldn't remember which brand of jacketed .38 Spl +P loads he'd been using when it happened.
Thanks for mentioning your info from Mas, Glockbuster.
You could argue this is an added benefit of using .38 spcl loads in .357 magnum cylinders in the light guns. Even if there is a severe bullet pull the cylinder will not jam. I never shoot .357 in my 340PD or M&P 340CT, it is as simple as the law of diminishing returns.
All else equal, lead has the severe drawback on these revolvers that no matter how good the alloy, after a few rounds lead starts fouling the cylinder rotation and the gun becomes even harder to shoot. All these snubbies have very tight tolerances in the yoke and cyinder sleeve areas.
There is a gas "collar" on the face of the cylinder for fouling control. Put a little oil there to aid function. Mine will go two boxes easily if I lube the gas collar before the range session with G96 CLP.
Interestingly, S&W had this same problem in the 19th century with the .44 American and Russian models. They had to lengthen the gas collar three times after the initial 1st Model American (Old, Old Model) in the 1870's due to blackpowder fouling freezing the cylinder. Colt, taking notice of this, utilized this on their '72 Open Top and in a different form in the legendary SAA via their bushed cylinder pin.
Yeah I might do that when I shoot lead. Most times though I just pull out the gun from carry in my ankle holster and fire it, and don´t have lube on me. And I don´t like to carry the gun lubed like that, a lot of lint and filth gets into the gun so I rather have it as dry as possible.
BTW, something I've noticed in my M&P 340's, and some of the PD's that are carried by our guys, is that the aluminum yoke bearing surfaces seem to "go dry" sooner than steel yokes. This is noticeable when spinning an opened, empty cylinder (less mass w/o ammo) and seeing it quickly slow and stop turning.
The last time someone brought this to my attention was when one of the guys had to start turning his PD cylinder by hand toward the end of the qual course-of-fire. The yoke was DRY and fouled, but easily wiped off with a lightly lubed patch, and a couple drops of lube on the yoke bearings restored normal function. I showed the guy how to remove the yoke screw, cylinder & yoke to check & lube it himself, maybe every 6 months (or said he could let one of our revolver armorers do it), since he carried it as an authorized secondary weapon in a UC position.
At first I thought it was the combination of the PD's alloy yokes and titanium cylinders (not being as nicely smooth as the steel parts), and higher gas pressures blowing the yoke bearings dry sooner, but I've seen it happening with my alloy yokes & steel cylinders in the M&P's, as well. A couple quick drops on the 2 bearing surfaces of the yoke quickly restores easy rotation, though.
It's easy to check by looking for normal ease of cylinder rotation/spin when the cylinder is open and empty for normal cleaning.