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View Poll Results: Which Mold For 38 Snubnose (see post one for details)

Voters
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  • Lee 358-125

    15 23.08%
  • NOE 360-172 SWC

    2 3.08%
  • NOE 360-172 SWC HP

    5 7.69%
  • NOE 360-180 WFN GC

    9 13.85%
  • Lee 358 200 RNFP GC

    2 3.08%
  • Buy Factory SD Ammo

    15 23.08%
  • Get a different mold

    17 26.15%
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Thread: Snubnose Bullet Options

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Djones's Avatar
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    Snubnose Bullet Options

    I ordered a new S&W 642 in 38 special +P rated. 1.88" barrel and 14.4 ounces in weight.

    I have several bullet molds in my 35 cal stash and am curious what everyone thinks would be the best option for self defense. I will mostly carry this gun when away from the house but may carry it while out hiking too.

    Option 1: Lee 358-125 RNFP
    http://leeprecision.com/6-cav-358-125-rf.html

    Option 2: NOE 360-172 SWC
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Option 3: NOE 360-172 SWC Hollow Pointed (small, large or cup point pins)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Option 4: NOE 360-180 WFNGC
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Option 5: Lee 359-200 RNFP (RCBS 35-200 copy)
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/57...nose-gas-check

    Option 6: Purchase Factory Self Defense Ammo

    Option 7: Get a different mold

    Thanks for any input and who doesn't like the occasional poll?!?!?!?
    The road less traveled ain't for the faint of heart

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Pine Baron's Avatar
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    Lee 358-125 RNFP
    I use this for 9mm, .38 and .357. I like it a lot.
    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    If for self defense for people I would use the Speer 135gr GD HP short barrel ammo or reloaded bullet for 38 or 357 mag J frame snub !
    I currently have a S&W 360 PD in 357 mag @11.4oz that's enough recoil , factory rated velocity out of a @ two inch barrel is 860 for 38 special and 990 for the 357.
    I just recently was able to buy the Speer 135gr GD short barrel bullet for reloading from Midway after trying to get them for almost 2 years.

    For anything else I would use the 180 gr wfn and I have that mould, as the gun will probley shoot low as all three of the J frame snubs have and this will raise the bullet impact some .
    Last edited by bobthenailer; 07-24-2017 at 04:17 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    The advice I received for my carry gun (s&w 642) was to use full wadcutters. I use a mold from Accurate Molds. I have no practical experience of using this in a self defense role. I have shot a few pocket gophers though.

    http://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/wa...-self-defense/

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I've done thousands of these
    Lee
    .358-158-RF
    .358-158-SWC-TL
    I think that Lee .358-148-WC would hit pretty hard
    for personal defense, some have turned a HB wad cutter around for pretty devastating results.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I would go with 140-158 grain HP, cast soft, with a binary alloy 30-1 or even 40-1. I have a 4 Cavity mold from MP Molds that casts a 144 grain RF HP that has become the apple of my eye. IIRC, it is a 359-640L. NOE makes a number of boolit molds that offer similar utility. Click image for larger version. 

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    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I'd like to get the mold you have for choice #1, but mostly for my 9mm,with maybe a few in my .357.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Fenring's Avatar
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    I doubt you'll get meaningful expansion with any sort of HP at .38 snub speeds so I wouldn't bother casting them for this application.

    My preference would be for a WFN around 158gr or similar with no shoulder - in my experience SWC designs with a sharp shoulder can hang up a tad if using speedloaders, if that's applicable to you.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Use standardish weight 148-158 grain bullets to have the best chance the gun will hit
    to the sights.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master OptimusPanda's Avatar
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    I went with the 358-125RF. It seemed like a fair compromise between two and four legged targets. Assuming of course that you were unwilling to keep two kinds of ammo for two kinds of problems.
    It's only hubris if I'm wrong.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Perhaps the question should be modified a bit to include the use.

    I buy factory ammo for carry loads. Mostly because it's just easier to purchase a case of "FBI load" equivalent cartridges than to make a small supply myself. My 38 Special ammo gets shot in a lot of different guns but most of it ends up being SWC or WC rounds. Because those rounds get fired in a variety of guns (alloy framed, steel framed, 2" -6" barrels), I try to keep my logistics simple.
    So the bullet in my snubnose load is likely to be the bullet used in other loads as well. The powder charge might vary but the bullets tend to be standard. My practice load for an alloy framed snubnose is likely to be a full wadcutter (but close to 155 grains) loaded to standard 38 Special pressures

    IF, I was going to cast and load specifically for a snubnose self defense load, I'd probably either attempt to duplicate the FBI load with a soft LSWCHP or use a 170ish grain Type III wadcutter cast from a soft alloy and driven as fast I safely could.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I too like th Speer short barrel loads for snubbies a lot of performance there. I have the 360 37 mag version at 12ounces and recoil can be violent with some loads. The light weight is the main cause. For hiking and larger animals the heavier bullets might be better but a 170-200grn loads recoil may be brutal.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    For two legged protection I'd stick with factory loaded ammo, it's just cheap insurance if you do have to shoot and go to court. Now days seems everyone is out to make a name for themselves, any way they can. If that means hanging you out because you loaded up these special bullets that were designed just to kill, or whatever twist they want to create in court.
    I'm not going say it can happen, but I'm not going to say it can't either! That's just my thoughts on it and it's worth every penny you paid!
    But with so many great, easily found, factory loadings, why not eliminate that risk?
    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Irish Proverb: Never approach a Bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or an Idiot from any direction!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I've never felt that the issue of factory ammo vs. handloaded ammo would be significant in a civil trial, once all the facts were on the table.

    HOWEVER...and this is a BIG however. Why open the door and give the plaintiff that possible argument ?
    The question is NEVER "will I be sued?" The answer to that is an absolute - YES, you will be sued. You're going to get sued, get over that fact.

    The real question is always, "Will I be successfully sued?"

    In the end, the type of ammunition will probably not be a factor but WHY expend the energy to fight that battle if you can just side step it from the get go?

    As for snubnose factory loads, there are two with honest track records: The FBI load and the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Load.
    I'm sure there are others that work just fine but when something is known to work well; why deviate ?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    I've never felt that the issue of factory ammo vs. handloaded ammo would be significant in a civil trial, once all the facts were on the table.

    HOWEVER...and this is a BIG however. Why open the door and give the plaintiff that possible argument ?
    The question is NEVER "will I be sued?" The answer to that is an absolute - YES, you will be sued. You're going to get sued, get over that fact.

    The real question is always, "Will I be successfully sued?"

    In the end, the type of ammunition will probably not be a factor but WHY expend the energy to fight that battle if you can just side step it from the get go?

    As for snubnose factory loads, there are two with honest track records: The FBI load and the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Load.
    I'm sure there are others that work just fine but when something is known to work well; why deviate ?
    Sorry, wasn't trying to rehash that same old argument, just figured it was worth a mention.
    As for deviating from known ammo, there's been a lot of advancements made in the last five years, some of the Buffal bore loadings certainly warrant looking into as well as Double tap and a few others.
    I gave up my .38, I just didn't trust it, much like my 9mm in the '90's, same size, nearly same weight, I'm carrying a .357. Even been eying the new Kimber just for the extra round and what, 1/4" thicker? But that's me and my choices. I know the .38 and 9mm work, but I like the 10mm and .357 better.
    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Irish Proverb: Never approach a Bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or an Idiot from any direction!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master marlin39a's Avatar
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    Lee 358-125 is my choice. The round flat design, and loaded fast, is a perfect choice for self defense.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Pick up a 148gr WC mold and load them on 3.2 to 3.5 of bullseye. Everybody needs a wc mould anyway. Most likely not enough barrel for HP. No need to waste glass checks in a 38. Nothing says the 125 leewont work but I like the more weight and flat square nose best. Just an opinion.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I like a full range wadcutter.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    sawinredneck, no worries. The topic on SD ammo comes up often.

    As for new advancements, Yep, they're out there. No doubt there are some excellent choices.
    I'm a bit old school and I like well established track records.
    With any SD load the first criteria is penetration - the bullet must penetrate deep enough, reliably enough; to reach something important that will stop the fight. The next criteria is the damage the un-expanded bullet does. In this area, a flat nose bullet profile has proven to be superior to a round nose (although a RN will sometimes do the trick if it happens to be in just the right place). After that threshold is achieved, bullet expansion is the icing on the cake.

    The old FBI load appears unsophisticated to the uninformed but that simple approach has a lot going for it when fired from a 2" barrel. The bullet is on the heavy side (158gr) which helps penetration. The alloy is soft which aids expansion even at lower velocities. The SWC profile preforms well even when it doesn't expand at all. The hollow point cavity is large for the caliber, which also helps the bullet to expand at lower speeds but the bullet has proven to be a good performer even when it doesn't expand. And finally, that simple hunk of soft lead is driven at +P velocity, which is about the best you can hope for out a 38 Special. It's not a complex formula but it works.

    Then we have the Speer Gold Dot 135gr Short Barrel load which was specifically designed to work well from.......wait for it.....Short Barrels . Speer put a lot of work into that design and it has been tested in the real world for many years. Back at the end of the revolver days in the NYPD it was the issued load for both 4" duty guns and 2" off-duty guns. It established a good track record in both short barrels and duty guns.

    There are other choices out there but I like decisions based on years of actual results.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    And I respect the results myself! That's why I'm a huge fan of the .357 125grn SJHP! But Double tap, and most certainly Buffalo Bore, have managed to impress even me.
    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Irish Proverb: Never approach a Bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or an Idiot from any direction!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check