.38 Special shortages?

WebHobbit

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May 3, 2011
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So I recently bought a couple of new revolvers after being exclusively in auto land for many years. Anyway so I'm looking high and low (at least online) for my go-to .38 defense load of choice -namely Speer Gold-dot 125 or 135 grain +P in the LEO 50 round box. That stuff is SOLD OUT seemingly everywhere! You can find plenty of practice ball and what not but those specific ones are GONE. I found some 125 standard pressure but from the tests I've seen they aren't a whole lot of good from a 1.87 inch barrel.
 

Ark

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You can find the standard pressure variants. That 1.87 snub needs all the help it can get!

FWIW last time I went shopping for .38 defensive ammo, I perused the Lucky Gunner data and concluded that standard pressure with low expansion was adequate and paid for its minor shortcomings in shootability. Ended up running Hornady 158s.
 

snuffy33

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It's a bit of a drive for you but Atkinson Firearms, in Greenwood, had 20 plus 50 round boxes of .38 Spl. Gold Dot 125 on their shelf today around 1pm. Didn't notice weather they were +P or standard.
 

WebHobbit

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I seen that. As far as I can tell from the spec sheets ALL the 135+P Speer has the SAME bullet and same specs. They are all "short barrel" even if not marked on the box. Also right now ALL the 125 showing in stock are the standard pressure variety. Any objective study of both the published specs AND gel tests show that standard pressure .38 is pretty damned weak. Expansion is VERY iffy....and pretty much a guaranteed NO if it passes through clothing first. The +P stuff STILL doesn't make it into a magnum or EVEN a standard 9mm...but it does give it a MUCH greater chance of performing especially from a snub. .38 standard pressure is down around .380 level performance at best.
 

Lt Scott 14

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Your investment into a snubbie 38 spec is very sound. I've had one or two always while carrying my EDC.(G19-3). Yes ammo can be a tough search, in these latest times, guess non + P might suffice. I would stay on a JHP before lead round nose though. Utilize it well, bread and milk run carry in cargo shorts, and polo's. Untucked summer shirts still rage with CCW. Get a little practice, stoke it full of JHP, and keep a speed strip or two in opposite pocket. Again, good luck.
 

cosermann

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Comparatively less ammo availability (in loads I'll shoot), and higher cost per round is what keeps 38 spl snubbies a niche tool for me. That said, I'm comfortable loading with any of the following rounds in rough order. Many are in stock various places online if one looks.

Speer 135 gr +p Gold Dot
Corbon 110 gr DPX
158 gr +P LSWCHP (softness of the lead is brand dependent, prefer Remington)
148 gr wadcutters
 

VERT

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Supply of some ammo is getting or has been tight. .38 hollow points and 12 gauge buckshot are two I can think of that are bad right now.

OP are these handguns you intend to carry or are they just extra guns. If you just want some “just in case” ammo to have for the extra guns, grab some ball or wadcutters and relax. People are freaking out and hitting the ammo hard right now. Hopefully things will settle back down.
 

WebHobbit

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May 3, 2011
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I have 60 pounds (4 cases) of Winchester 130 grain flatpoints due today in from SGAMMO. These are for paper. I bought two new revolvers. A 3 inch fixed sight GP100 for the Wife's house-gun (she's a bit taller than me with commensurately longer fingers so she has a hard time with my Shield and she prefers wheel-guns) and a Performance Center 642 J-Frame for me as a possible backup gun to my primary carry gun a Shield 9mm. Plan on stoking both with +P 38 Gold-Dots if I ever find them in stock
 
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