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Thread: .38 special/200 or 180 for Jframe?

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Default .38 special/200 or 180 for Jframe?

    Question? Anyone ever done any playing around with heavier loads than 158gr out of a snubby? Like a 180grLSWCHP or so.
    Chrono? Expansion?

    I have been reading some interesting stuff about the old .38S&W/200 from around the early 1900's...and I wondered if anyone has played around with this in a .38special/200 or even a 180?

  2. #2

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    I played a little with both in 2" and 4" J's. Not much to recommend. The RN bullets blip right through whatever they hit, one of the big reasons the 38SW-200 was abandoned in the first place. Zero expansion even with Lyman #2. Just not enough velocity. Give it flat meplat, and things will certainly turn around a bit. Then there's the question of controlability in DA. I've got a bunch of experience in DA shooting, and unless you go to some really big, handfilling grips, the J's shift around way too much in your hand with either 180's or 200's at standard velocities. I've settled on either 158 SWCs at reduced velocities or 125 jacketed FPs at standard velocity for control. I'm reluctant to push into +P range with that dinky little frame.

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    Thanks Bear.
    Yup, I'm carrying 158's...but the info on the .38S&W/200's has peaked my interest. I wondered if a soft lead hollowpoint (like my 158's) would expand at those lower volocities (if you could get maybe around 650fps or better).

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    I shot two deer with that bullet, once in a 38 special case from a 4" Colt, and the second time at higher vels from a 357 case in a 6" Smith 686. No signs of expansion in either case, and neither deer was more than 25 yards away. Both were clean, broadside lung shots, and each deer covered over 100 feet before dropping. In contrast three different 158 grain hard cast SWC's from that 4" Colt dropped deer within a couple or three hops. It certainly didn't expand, but left respectable holes in the lungs and what appeared to be enlarged exit holes nonetheless. Exits with the 200 RN cast from #2 Lyman were pencil holes, and the lungs looked the same. Clean little round holes and a chest full of blood. Speculation about expansion or not, but without recovered bullets, holes are all you can go by.

    The only .357 bullets I've ever recovered from deer were half a dozen or so 125 grain JHPs from that same 357. I'm away from home and my logs, but if I recall correctly I shot a couple with 125 JHPs out of the 4" Colt 38 Special, but with no real signs of expansion. I settled on the 158 SWC in the 38 Special.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    357-158jhps in my alloy J and that's plenty to hold onto, the thing is a handful on par with my 460V with them. I have done a bunch or 180s and 200s in my Blackhawk but never considered sticking them in my little Smith defense gun. I fuggure if a 357 125/158jhp won't stop them I don't think more leads gonna help. Hunting may be another matter but I don't hunt with a J myself.
    Andy
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    Default 173gr Keith's

    Just got some 173gr Keith plain base bullets from Beartooth Bullets. Have not had a chance to load any yet, but should in the next couple of weekends. Current carry is 158gr LSWC.
    I was thinking about all the layers of clothing we wear in the winter, that a bullet has to get through, and I'm not seeing too many skinny folks either.
    Afflicted by condition human

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    Member jay51's Avatar
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    Default 180's

    I will carry 180g .357s in my 2" 640 w/Crimson Trace lasergrips while walking the dogs. Mainly because I can shoot it one-handed while holding dog-leashes in the the other hand, I'm a little shaky with a 4lb .44 one-handed. I've finished moose with 180g XTPs out of a .357 snub and it did just fine. Defending myself and my dogs from an angry cow with calf is my chief concern, I don't feel underpowered with 180 XTPs, 180 HC lead, or any other quality 180g bullet in a .357 J-frame.

    .38spl would be a whole different story though, I'd stick with the 125g SJHP+P loads in the .38spl. Most of the time my 640 is loaded with the same 125g SJHP, albeit in a .357 loading instead of a .38spl. This load is a proven man-stopper, and fairly controllable out of my all-steel 640. I just prefer the 180s when my adversary will most likely weigh closer to 1500lbs than 150!

    Good luck,
    -J

  8. #8

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    Wife carries 187 grain Cast Performance WFNGC loaded to 1000 fps in her .357 2 inch J frame. She has no problem controlling the recoil or putting 5 shots into a target at typical pocket pistol range.

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    I'm losing track, I'm sure. But I wasn't aware of any 357 J frames. Another sign that I'm getting old, I guess.

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    IF you are concerned about moose problems, the 38 SPL with any load is a pretty week limb to be hanging on.............

    I've always be a "get the right tool for the job" kind of person. Yes I can drive nails with a big screwdriver, but a good claw hammer is so much better.......

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Yup, I think you're right Tim. Time to upgrade to the .357 Jframe.
    BrownBear, here's the link to my next one...
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...egory_rn=15704
    OR PERHAPS
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...egory_rn=15704

    The Moose/Layered clothing/etc. situation is exactly the type of scenario...and after reading about the old .38S&W/200 rounds, I wondered why someone hadn't done that for .38special...but with a snubby I guess it boils down to NOT enough pressure available (even in a +P) to get reliable expansion volocity out of the short barrel. And I want BOTH penetration, and reliable expansion from my defensive round (if possible). I may also go to a 2+ or 3" barrel on the upgrade. Still won't effect CCW by THAT much.
    Either would still fit in my (beloved) Blackhawk Serpa...and of course still shoot up my 2000+rds of .38wadcutter and (soon to be my wife's) .38sp. BUFFBORES's.

    Looks like 158SWCHP's until I upgrade to the .357.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Brown Bear they make a bunch of 357 Js now. They are not meant to be fed a seedy diet of full on 357, at least the alloy aren’t and they will eventually shoot loose. Smith will fix them if they do shoot loose but the discomfort from the snappy recoil makes most use 38 at the range and save the 357 for when it’s needed. They are fun with 38 and even 38+p in them.

    Hear is mine

    Here is my wife’s
    I can’t shoot the wife’s with 357 due to the grip (trigger guard bloodies my knuckle) but she can just fine.
    Andy
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    Shows you how much of my money has been going into traditional muzzleloaders and not into revolvers in the last few years, doesn't it! Of course, I doubt I'd be opening my wallet for a 357 J, even if I knew about it.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    AD, how do you like the recoil on that little 340!
    Sweet rig, though.

    I think I'll go with one of the full stainless versions, even though heavier, because of just that reason.

    My buddy sure likes his 340 though. And I LOVE my 442..it's very managable. I just like the dependability and "FIT" of the little J's

  15. #15
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    It shoots nice with 38+P, but you know you when a 357 goes off in it. It's manageable but on par with my 460V with 395g at 1450fps. I don't shoot it all that much but it lives in my coat pocket with 357 158g JHPs and is about perfect for that. I would say shoot one before you buy and remember that the weight is always there when you pack it but the recoil is gone in a flash. I shot one at Shootersworld in Phoenix when they came out and passed. Then just before I moved to Alaska in 2001 I stopped in the shop with a range next to the park-n-swap in Prescott Valley. They had this one so I gave it another try with 38 and 357 that time and its lived in my coat ever since.

    It's the wife's little stainless 60LS that rips me up but it’s the way the lady grip wedges my man size middle finger behind the trigger guard. If you find a used 60LS it would be a great guy’s gun with just a grip replacement and logo removal.
    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    I would say shoot one before you buy and remember that the weight is always there when you pack it but the recoil is gone in a flash. I shot one at Shootersworld in Phoenix when they came out and passed.
    That's a good point. Plus, I'll be practicing with .38WC's in it mostly anyway, so the .357 would be only on rare occasions anyway. I do like Shooter's World, and getting over there and comparing would be a good idea. Yeah, I switched out the grips to larger Hogues on the 442 after a couple hundred rounds...as it was tearing up my hand. Now it's perfect. That's the main reason I like it...cuz it fits perfect now, w/really helps the accuracy.

    I also want to try out an XDm in the 3.8" anyway...so it's a good excuse to get over there. I need excuses to get myself to go into town anymore.
    (get'n old). Shooter's World's always a fun trip though.

  17. #17

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    i carry a little older model J frame in my coat pocket for years and allways like the fact if i had to deal with someone i just shoot through the jacket pocket . my load is the horandy 158 grain jhp xtp ammo i carry in the pistol for walks at night and cold winter jacket time .

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