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Test Gun: S&W M442
Barrel length: 1 7/8 inches.
Ammunition: Speer .38 Spl 135gr Gold Dot +P (53925)
Test media: 10% Vyse Ballistics Gel
Distance: 10 feet.
Chronograph: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2.
Five shot velocity average: 848fps
BB Calibration: 4 inches.

Speer .38 Spl 135gr Gold Dot +P in Vyse Ballistics Gel

Sorry but 850 fps just doesn't do it for me 135gr or not. My 38 snub nose carry round is the Underwood 125 gr Gold Dot which gets around 1100 fps velocity out of a 2 inch barrel and 1250 fps out of a 4 inch barrel. This video explains.


 

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I did. The gdsb needs more than was gotten from that revo. Some bullets, the threshold for exp can be 50fps from expanded to not. I’ve loaded that bullet up,& down & no, it isnt reliable once you drop below 950fps. Above 1100, the bullet starts shedding petals & fold them back against the bearing surface. Its one test though, one lot.

That's why I like the standard GD bullet that Underwood loads. It performs very well at 1100 fps with no fragmentation.
 

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The FBI settled on a 12" "minimum" penetration depth for their purposes. For a while another major fed agency was satisfied with 10", but they didn't get the press coverage, and they were more interested in actual OIS results than strictly considering lab testing.

If it weren't for the over blown Miami shootout 10 to 15 inches penetration would be our standard. Corbon at one time even advertised their JHP ammo to get a penetration depth of 9 to 11 inches! And Corbon had a good street reputation.
 

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Doc, I'm not sure why anyone today would carry anything other than a good JHP or a good all copper JHP or an even an even more decent Lehigh Xtreme Defense. The wadcutters sort of work, as do the lswhp, but only sort of (as in occasionally) which is why better bullets were designed in the first place. The failures of these bullets are legendary! You'll not ever go wrong with Gold Dots or HST and of course, Underwood loads a lot of Lehigh's bullets to good effect. I personally rely on the Underwood factory 9mm, 10mm and .45 ACP, although I am not in least adverse to carrying my own reloads with these same bullets.
Cheers,
crkckr

The Underwood Gold Dot 125 gr 38 Special and their 38 XD round both make the 38 Special a viable SD option. If it were not for these rounds I would just carry a .380.
 

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What do you think of Underwoods 158 grain Keith hardcast? I saw Revolver Sam on youtube and his testing showed it might not overpenetrate too much in a snubby. I have Underwoods Xtreme Hunter in 357 mag but at 1700 fps it was just too painful to shoot

I am not a fan of heavy non expanding bullets.

Velocity is what makes these UA solid copper rounds work. That is why I carry Underwood's 65 gr XD in 357 Sig for SD it has a velocity of 2100 fps with no more recoil than a +P 9mm. For woods use the Underwood XP is my choice in 357 Sig and .40.
 

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I too am not a big fan of non-expanding bullets. In some cases they do work but more often than not they just poke a hole. A very small one at that... a hard cast 38 or 9mm bullet leaves a permanent wound cavity about the diameter of a pencil lead! Unless it hits something vital directly it's simply not a good SD round.

Expanding bullets at least leave a bigger wound track with higher chances of major blood loss (at least!) and thus work although if nothing vital is hit it could take a long time before the perp is out of business. Meanwhile he could be unscrewing your head or doing some other dastardly act! Like maybe shooting at you? That's why I carry a 10mm with Underwood 100 gr. XD bullets that simply scream out of the barrel!

Unfortunately for her, my wife's Colt Cobra is restricted to standard pressure .38's due to it's aluminum frame. As it is, she won't carry the lightweight Cobra much less anything heavier, so I guess I'll have to get her some spray or something. Wimin... just not much you can do about them!

The only +P ammo that will work in the Cobra is the Win. 95 gr. SilverTip (now discontinued) because the round, even though a +P, is very mild. Mainly I keep it loaded with the Underwood standard pressure Xtreme Defender, which does make the little 6 shot revolver a decent defense option. Now if I could just get her to carry the durn thing!

Underwood and Lehigh have been a huge savior of the standard pressure .38 and the .380, turning both into, if not exactly primary SD guns, at least options for deep concealment that will actually work.
Cheers,
crkckr

I had not thought of the standard pressure angle with the XD rounds before but it makes sense. Also the XD rounds being lighter than lead bullets should lessen the recoil. Example the 65 gr 357 Sig XD round at 2100 fps has 100 ft. lbs. more energy than a 125 gr 357 Magnum but the recoil is about like shooting a +P 9mm!
 

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The Underwood ammo I intend to carry in my 10mm has 740 fpe with a velocity of 1825 fps. I expect the recoil to be pretty light as well. The 9mm 90 I was carrying is also light in the recoil department, as is the standard pressure .38 Special, with it's 100 gr bullet and a velocity of 1200 fps & 320 fpe. It's a bit slower out of the Cobra but still blows my zip lock bags up pretty well! Pretty good for coming out of a standard pressure pistol!
Cheers,
crkckr
Note even the light weight 65 gr XD easily penetrated these barriers and keep going.

 

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Fastbolt, you have a much wider selection of .38's than I do. I've never been a big fan of the .38 to begin with, I much prefer the 357 Maximum! That's a heck of a round out of my Contender! I was told originally that it would probably shoot better with the 180 & 200 gr bullets but I've found that it actually likes the 110 and 125gr bullets and shoots them much like a rifle! I can shoot .5" 100 yard groups all day with the 125's which are leaving the barrel at 2100 fps! What that bullet does to a big jackrabbit should probably be illegal... pretty much cleans and dices everything with one shot!
Other than the Cobra the only other .38 I have is an old Colt but it's all steel so at least it will handle +P stuff. I have a few .357 Mags, my favorite being a 4" 586 with fixed sights. It's a great shooter, comfortable and accurate. But mostly these days I'm into the semiautos and just in the last couple of weeks got a couple of 10mm's and I'm starting to reload for them. I like this cartridge a lot! I'm not 100% sure why I'm switching to a whole new caliber at my age (70... older than dirt!) but so far it's working out great!
Cheers,
crkckr
I would suggest maintaining a good supply of ammo and spare mags for the 10mm. The future is uncertain.
 

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I've got 6 mags for each pistol and have 2000 rounds of brass on order from Starline. Getting the bullets I want are going to be the big problem. I can't afford to load a huge number of the Lehigh bullets as they are pricey, to say the least. What I want are the 165 Speer Gold Dots, my second favorite bullet. I like the velocity possible out of the 10mm and it's high enough to insure they operate as advertised. I don't know if Federal sells the HST bullet as a component (they don't) so that would leave the Golden Saber. I've already tried a few of the Hornady 155's and while they didn't seperate the core & jacket like the (older) 9mm's, they do fold the petals back along the shank of the bullet at 10mm velocities, so I may try slowing them down some (against every fiber of my being!) to see if that works. I suspect they are optimised for the 40S&W. We'll see what turns up but somehow I don't ever see the Lehigh bullets coming out "on sale" from anyone! I can use either the 100 gr or the 115 XD, but I think the 100 is the optimum bullet for the 10mm. I have some and once I get a red dot for my G29 I'll do do some bench shooting to see if there's a preference.
Cheers,
crkckr

If it is the Hornady XTP they are designed for "limited expansion" so they can get a couple extra inches of penetration. The XTP is the last round I would use for DS.
 
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