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Best .38 Home Defense Ammunition


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Old 03-02-2009, 02:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by canebrake View Post
Ruger is a very reputable firearms manufacture and my bet is the response will be the same as most of this level of producers provide, "You should have no problem using +P ammo but we recommend you not use a steady diet of +P. Keep in mind with any use of increased performance ammo you will produce accelerated wear to your firearm."

Call them and see what they say. If their answer is NO, ask them why their dealers are saying the opposite and I did not get the firearm I was sold!

Let them figure out how to keep you as a loyal customer! Best .38 Home Defense Ammunition - Ammunition & Reloading
Interesting, I didn't know performance ammo accelerates wear on the fire arm. Through my research though I did read numerous articles that said not to use the performance ammo at the range, only load it in the gun when it is put away in case it needs to be used.

I wasn't aware that it accelerates the wear, I thought they were making that point due to a cost issue since the performance ammo is much more expensive.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BILLYBOB44 View Post
Make the phone call, that Cane suggested FIRST before you make NEGATIVE assumptions. I think that you will probably be POSITIVELY surprised!
Not sure if you saw it but this is the response that I posted in the introduction thread regarding why I bought the .38 versus the .357:

I was looking for the .357 but they didn't have a used .357 at the gun shop that I went to. I really like the .38 though, being my first hand gun purchase I was probably a bit hasty. I fired it and really like it a lot.

My main concern is that a .38 special has enough power for home defense. I know I wouldn't have to ask that question if I would have waited for a .357. I am guessing though if I get the right ammunition for the .38 then it will be plenty of firepower.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:17 AM   #13
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Default I missed it.

I'll have to go back and read the 38/357 thread, I missed it. Keep in mind that a .38 Special can be a good defense weapon. I know in the 60-70's it was the #1 revolver carried by most big city cops. Check the stats, there has been a lot of kills made with a .38 Spl.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by canebrake View Post
Ruger is a very reputable firearms manufacture and my bet is the response will be the same as most of this level of producers provide, "You should have no problem using +P ammo but we recommend you not use a steady diet of +P. Keep in mind with any use of increased performance ammo you will produce accelerated wear to your firearm."

Call them and see what they say. If their answer is NO, ask them why their dealers are saying the opposite and I did not get the firearm I was sold!

Let them figure out how to keep you as a loyal customer! Best .38 Home Defense Ammunition - Ammunition & Reloading
Can you please explain why the +P bullets accelerate the wear of a firearm?
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:49 PM   #15
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Default Sp101

Just checking on Ruger's website, the only SP101 chambered ONLY for the .38Special is listed as ".38 Special +P". If that is the case with yours, chances are that it is so stamped on the barrel. The only other calibers they are showing are the new 327 Fed Magnum and the 357 Magnum.

Given how they are promoting the SP101, I would be surprised if it was NOT chambered for the "+P" load. Despite that, if it does not clearly indicate on the barrel that it is chambered for either the ".38 Special +P" or the .357 Remington Magnum (.357 Magnum), you should definitely call Ruger before trying the +P loads in it.

Whenever buying a gun (handgun or long gun), ALWAYS check the markings on the barrel for caliber. It is not a foolproof indication of correct caliber, but is always a good start.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:54 PM   #16
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Just checking on Ruger's website, the only SP101 chambered ONLY for the .38Special is listed as ".38 Special +P". If that is the case with yours, chances are that it is so stamped on the barrel. The only other calibers they are showing are the new 327 Fed Magnum and the 357 Magnum.

Given how they are promoting the SP101, I would be surprised if it was NOT chambered for the "+P" load. Despite that, if it does not clearly indicate on the barrel that it is chambered for either the ".38 Special +P" or the .357 Remington Magnum (.357 Magnum), you should definitely call Ruger before trying the +P loads in it.

Whenever buying a gun (handgun or long gun), ALWAYS check the markings on the barrel for caliber. It is not a foolproof indication of correct caliber, but is always a good start.
Thank you for your response, I have sent Ruger a response via email inquiring about the +P issue.

I am still up in the air as to which +P bullets are most effective for home defense, but it appears that it is personal preference. It doesn't seem like there is 1 brand or grain size that is head & shoulders above the rest.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:56 PM   #17
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Can you please explain why the +P bullets accelerate the wear of a firearm?
The +P indicates higher chamber pressure, hotter loads. The higher pressure increases the stress on the metals. Also, some guns are susceptible to the topstrap fatigue from high pressure loads as the hot gases escape from the cylinder gap, in effect creating somewhat of a cutting torch on the strap immediately above it.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:57 PM   #18
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Can you please explain why the +P bullets accelerate the wear of a firearm?
Plus P Ammo

Most shooters see +P and instantly think more power. Although it may be true the +P rating actually stands for "plus pressure" or "increased pressure."

Pressure is what propels the bullet down the barrel. This pressure is regulated by an industry organization known as SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Association).

A cartridge that has been around for a long time, is actually capable of being loaded to higher pressures than SAAMI has established. For example let's consider your .38 Special, a cartridge more than 100 years old. Many currently produced guns in this chambering can handle higher pressures but SAAMI canít change the set standard because of the older guns in circulation. These older guns can't handle the increase safely.

In this case SAAMI has established a second standard that is refer to as "+P." These are now considered two separate cartridges and must be marked with the +P on the headstamp. The standard .38 Special will read ".38 Special" or ".38 Sp." and the higher pressure rated cartridge is marked with a +P added to its name.

The cartridges SAAMI has established a second, higher pressure, +P version, include the .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .38ACP, and .45ACP. All are old rounds that were created before WWI. Modern counterparts are referred to as .38 Special +P, 9mm +P, .38 Super +P, and .45ACP +P.

The .40S&W doesnít have a +P counterpart because it was designed in the 1990s, and all guns made for them are capable of firing the established pressure.

The two disadvantages of the +P cartridge are, more recoil and it will be harder on the gun. Even if the gun is rated appropriate for +P ammo, it will wear out faster. The pressure of firing the gun is what wears it out, therefore the higher the pressure the more wear.

Most of us use the +P ammo for personal defense and standard load ammo for practice. After carrying for a while we usually expend the vintage carry ammo and reload with fresh. This gives us the occasional practice with +P ammo that keeps us aware of how it feels to shoot.

Revolvers have less to worry about because they're intrinsically stronger than autos. By design, some gas bleeds out of the gap between the cylinder and forcing cone. When I fire my Magna-ported Ruger NM Blackhawk in low light conditions it looks like a Pink Floyd concert! Best .38 Home Defense Ammunition - Ammunition & Reloading
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by stick_man View Post
Just checking on Ruger's website, the only SP101 chambered ONLY for the .38Special is listed as ".38 Special +P". If that is the case with yours, chances are that it is so stamped on the barrel. The only other calibers they are showing are the new 327 Fed Magnum and the 357 Magnum.

Given how they are promoting the SP101, I would be surprised if it was NOT chambered for the "+P" load. Despite that, if it does not clearly indicate on the barrel that it is chambered for either the ".38 Special +P" or the .357 Remington Magnum (.357 Magnum), you should definitely call Ruger before trying the +P loads in it.

Whenever buying a gun (handgun or long gun), ALWAYS check the markings on the barrel for caliber. It is not a foolproof indication of correct caliber, but is always a good start.
You still need to call Ruger and confirm your model is suitable for +P ammo!
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by canebrake View Post
Plus P Ammo

Most shooters see +P and instantly think more power. Although it may be true the +P rating actually stands for "plus pressure" or "increased pressure."

Pressure is what propels the bullet down the barrel. This pressure is regulated by an industry organization known as SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Association).

A cartridge that has been around for a long time, is actually capable of being loaded to higher pressures than SAAMI has established. For example let's consider your .38 Special, a cartridge more than 100 years old. Many currently produced guns in this chambering can handle higher pressures but SAAMI canít change the set standard because of the older guns in circulation. These older guns can't handle the increase safely.

In this case SAAMI has established a second standard that is refer to as "+P." These are now considered two separate cartridges and must be marked with the +P on the headstamp. The standard .38 Special will read ".38 Special" or ".38 Sp." and the higher pressure rated cartridge is marked with a +P added to its name.

The cartridges SAAMI has established a second, higher pressure, +P version, include the .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .38ACP, and .45ACP. All are old rounds that were created before WWI. Modern counterparts are referred to as .38 Special +P, 9mm +P, .38 Super +P, and .45ACP +P.

The .40S&W doesnít have a +P counterpart because it was designed in the 1990s, and all guns made for them are capable of firing the established pressure.

The two disadvantages of the +P cartridge are, more recoil and it will be harder on the gun. Even if the gun is rated appropriate for +P ammo, it will wear out faster. The pressure of firing the gun is what wears it out, therefore the higher the pressure the more wear.

Most of us use the +P ammo for personal defense and standard load ammo for practice. After carrying for a while we usually expend the vintage carry ammo and reload with fresh. This gives us the occasional practice with +P ammo that keeps us aware of how it feels to shoot.

Revolvers have less to worry about because they're intrinsically stronger than autos. By design, some gas bleeds out of the gap between the cylinder and forcing cone. When I fire my Magna-ported Ruger NM Blackhawk in low light conditions it looks like a Pink Floyd concert! Best .38 Home Defense Ammunition - Ammunition & Reloading
Thanks a lot for your response & explaining this. It totally make sense, increased pressure creates more wear & tear on the firearm.

My next point was that shouldn't I fire a couple of +P rounds at the range just so I know how the gun will react if I need to use it for home defense?
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