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I always got inconsistent velocities from the 135gr gold dot, big spreads....and it's already right on the threshold of not expanding . The HST was worse, plus crappy accuracy.
The all copper barnes bullet or decently motivated 158gr lwschp gets my vote. That said, the gold dot does have a good history of working 'for real'.
 

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I always got inconsistent velocities from the 135gr gold dot, big spreads....and it's already right on the threshold of not expanding . The HST was worse, plus crappy accuracy.
The all copper barnes bullet or decently motivated 158gr lwschp gets my vote. That said, the gold dot does have a good history of working 'for real'.
I have the gold dot, punch, super vel, etc. but, for some reason I gravitate back to the classics, whether lswhp or wadcutters
 

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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
 

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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 reason is that like .380's a solid majority of hollow points don't work well in a .38 snubby, with a few exceptions including the 135 grain gold dots. Also, Federal Punch as mentioned appears to perform decently. But, a lot of others don't.

I don't have the Extreme Defense in .38 but I do in .380 and .32 ACP.
 

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I went through that with my wifes Colt Cobra (aluminum frame, so standard pressure only and a very short barrel) and my .380 AMT Backup, another short barreled pistol and couldn't find ammo for either of them that gave expansion (just a little would have been enough!) and penetration. Ultimately, I settled on the Underwood standard pressure Xtreme Defender in both. I believe they both have lite-for-caliber bullets that leave the muzzle at 1200 fps and having seen video's of what these bullets can do to flesh has convinced me that they. work and can be relied on, so both of those guns now have the XD ammo in them. While neither would be my first choice to take into a gunfight, if caught with nothing but the Backup or Cobra in my hand, I feel confident that the ammo will do it's job if the shooter can do theirs.
Cheers,
crkckr
 

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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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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.
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
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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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An interesting article covering some of the older .38SPL ammunition developments. Might interest some of the younger shooters, or even those who weren't paying a lot of attention back then. ;)

As a fan of the 38sp (well, jframe fan anyway), that was a great article. Took a while to read, but was well worth it.
 

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Railsplitter said: "Note even the light weight 65 gr XD easily penetrated these barriers and keep going."

Oh yeah! That's one of the great things about the Lehigh bullet, the round nose profile and mono construction makes them completely reliable in any gun and they're barrier blind and still able to do their job when they get to their target. Kind of hard to beat them but I suppose someday they'll come up with something nuclear that will be better!
Cheers,
crkckr
 

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...

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. ...
I faced the same concern when it came to that nifty little M37DAO (made on the older -2 Airweight frame) made for that canceled overseas production run. While some of the barrels used were apparently from 442's, with +P language, when I called the factory they eventually said that the older Airweight frame was not rated to use +P ammunition. (My particular 37DAO model had the standard barrel which lacked the language stating it was rated for +P, BTW.)

Since I wanted to keep that little DAO Airweight running for a long time, I decided to stick with standard pressure ammunition. I didn't want to restrict myself to 158gr LSWC or 148gr WC, so I ended up using the standard pressure 110gr JHP's offered by Federal (Hydra-Shok) and Winchester (STHP). Both offered fine accuracy in my gun, in my hands.

FWIW, I remember in the earlier times (revolver days as a young cop) when the little 95gr STHP had earned a reputation for shooting quite low, due to the lightweight bullet. The 110gr standard pressure modern version doesn't exhibit that ... in my snubs, in my hands. The 110gr bullet weight isn't ideal - I like heavier bullets - but it doesn't seem to offer POA/POI concerns in my assortment of J's.

I finally tried the standard pressure Hornady Critical Defense, using the 110gr FTX bullet. It offered surprisingly less muzzle blast and was a tack-driver, again, in my guns, in my hands. After I'd tried it in some of my J's (37DAO, M&P 340's & 642's), I picked up several boxes of it. I'd primarily intended to just use it in my 37DAO, but I occasionally use it in one of my +P or Magnum rated J's, simply because it's so mild and accurate. The only ballistics testing I can find seems to show it offers acceptable performance, in my opinion, for my needs. Sure, I still think the midweight JHP's pushed to +P pressure are better, overall ... but it lets me carry that older 37-2DAO Airweight without excessively worrying that I'm going to crack the forcing cone or stretch the frame window.

Given my druthers, while I still have a bit of nostalgia for the various 158gr LSWCHP +P loads I used for so many years, I tend to prefer the 125, 130 & 135gr modern JHP's. Specifically Rem 125gr GS +P, W-W 130gr RA38B +P and Speer 135gr +P GDHP.

Oh yeah, I did put back some boxes of the budget Hornady American Gunner 125gr JHP standard pressure load, but I'd be surprised if that bullet would consistently expand when fired at snub nose velocities. Makes for good range fodder, though, along with 130gr Ball, and saved as a backup for the 37DAO's carry ammo, should I run out of the 110gr standard pressure JHP's.

Just some thoughts.
 

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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.
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 have some of the 158 grain hard cast +p Underwood. It’s rated at 1200 fps out of a full sized revolver:.

However, that and the Buffalo Bore hardcast “Outdoorsman” series aren’t really meant for self defense, but woods carry against animals.
 

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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
 

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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
 
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