Ammunition help for a new gun and a new shooter!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by winds-of-change, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    Please be patient with me. I am very much a newbie. I just got a Ruger gp100 6" barrel, stainless. I have only been using snap caps in it for now, getting the feel for it, practicing holding it and aiming it, etc. This is my very first gun. Now I'm ready to take it to the range. I go look at ammunition and I have no clue what to buy for target shooting. I want to start with .38's in it and work my way up to a .357 magnum. There there are so many kinds. Do I want wad cutters, semi wad cutters, lead, jacketed, hollow points, what grain? I've seen ammunition that was less expensive but it had aluminum casings rather than brass. It just didn't sound right to me but I don't know anything about ammunition. I just want to shoot targets. I'm going to start shooting paper targets but I want to find an outdoor range and shoot metal targets. Please help me figure out what I should be using just to shoot at paper targets (for now) and learn to handle my gun. What should I be using for metal targets? What do I want to have for self defense when my gun is home and is my 'house gun'? I do believe for house gun self defense I want a .357 magnum hollow points. Please correct me if I'm wrong and give me some guidance so I can take my gun to the range and have some fun.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2010
  2. jetgirl

    jetgirl New Member

    For just paper, wad cutters are usually what works best.
    As far as grains...somebody else will need to come along and answer that one.
    As for learning to handle your gun, I'd look into some NRA instruction. :)

  3. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    For punching holes in paper the only consideration I would give is the amount of lead fouling I want to clean out of the barrel and the cost per box...they are usually inversely related.

    Check your range rules, some may not permit unjacketed rounds, some make exceptions for revolver ammo, some don't. No need for fancy ammo at the range for paper, you will want to shoot the full range of .38sp, .38sp +p and .357 mag just to get accustomed to it, each round will have a different recoil and muzzle flip.

    For HD, a +p .38 sp round is easier to control and has more than enough power; it will also reduce the chance of overpenetration through adjoining walls.
  4. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

    As Jpyle noted check with your range for any rules on ammo types.

    Do not start out with .38 special +P or .357 magnum loads. Wait until you become comfortable with the pistol and become more proficient with it.

    If lead ammo is OK, find some .38 special wad cutters or semi-wad cutters in the lowest bullet weight you can find (typical weight is 158 grain). I would not worry about barrel leading with those factory loads in a 6" barrel (not enough velocity).

    If lead ammo is not OK at your range find some 125 grain jacketed standard .38 specials.

    Work your way up in bullet weights (grains) and power levels (+P then .357 magnum) as you get more experience.
  5. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    Don't get too hung on the bullet weight. The only reason I say this is because most 38 target ammo is 130gr while most SD ammo in 38 or 357 will be 125gr. There are other weights but those are the most common and found in every Walmart, dicks..etc. If I'm shooting factory 38 target loads they are 130gr jacketed and for SD I use 125+p. I can't see a difference in the way they act in the gun.
  6. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

    The Blazer aluminum cased ammo is great target fodder and I've shot a ton of it with no problems. To get used to your gun, you'll need lots of practice so buy whatever is cheapest. Not long ago I found a place online selling basic 158gr lead ammo for $13 a box so I bought a bunch of it...
  7. patret

    patret New Member

    The Ruger pistol barrels should be lapped before shooting cast bullets. I have found them to be prone to leading. Lapping compound can be purchased from Brownells for under $5. My best target load is a 158 gr cast bullet with 3.0 grains of bullseye for a 38 special.

  8. TOF

    TOF New Member

    A 6" GP100 will handle any commercial 38 Spl. or .357 ammo you find on the shelf. It's weight will tame even the heavy Magnum loads.
    Initialy purchase based on price. The lower the better so you can shoot a lot.
    It matters not whether it is a wadcuttert , semi wadcutter, round nose or whatever. They all make holes in paper and for that matter are capable of killing an intruder.

    Revolvers tend to be a bit more sensitive accuracy wise to bullet weight and velocity than semi autos so don't be surprised if point of impact shifts an inch or so between different loads and brands. They are however typically more precise and produce tighter groups, in my experience.

    Your GP100 has adjustable sights so you will be able to tune for your preferred load once you become reasonably familiar with shooting it.

    Purchase a bunch of low cost ammo and go shooting.

    Enjoy the learning process.

    PS: A 50/50 mix of white vinager and hydrogen peroxide will loosen lead in around 5 minutes then wipe it clean. I have not lapped my GP100 and it does not lead much at all. Plug the muzzle with an ear plug then pour the solution in from cylinder end. Let stand 5 minutes and wipe clean. Easier than removing copper.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  9. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    Yes, the Blazer is exactly what I saw that I wasn't sure about. It was cheaper than the other ammo but I wasn't sure about it.

    Thanks to everyone for replies.
  10. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    The cheapest way to shoot (excepting reloading) is to buy bulk rounds with lead bullets or buy bulk commercially reloaded (again lead bullet) ammo. Check with different websites and shop around. You'll be able to buy 500 rounds for about 1/3 to 1/2 what it would cost you for individual boxes over the counter.
  11. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    I find that handguns do lead pretty badly if not broken in first. I like to shoot about 200 rounds of jacketed ammo before trying any plain lead bullets.

    Many commercial lead bullet ammo uses swaged (soft) lead bullets. These can badly lead a barrel, even at very modest velocities.

    Good cast bullets can be shot at very high velocities with out leading the barrel.

    As far as ammo choice, any jacketed .38 Spl ammo is fine for the break in period. Keep in mind, some "full metal jacketed" round nose .38 spl ammo actually only has a copper nose cap. The driving band area (the part that actually touches the barrel) is unjacketed soft lead. You are safer choosing a soft point bullet for the initial break in period.
  12. budman46

    budman46 New Member

    winds-of-change, have one of the best and probably one of the toughest .357 revolvers made.

    do you want to get really good at shooting it? if so, you have to:

    1. get a .22 revolver...shooting it enough to become proficient, then buying factory .38s/.357s to shoot in the ruger for serious work...or,

    2. reload so you can afford to shoot the .357. your choice of ammo at this point would settle on a .357 case with a cast bullet. if you reload, the cost differential between .38spl and .357 rests upon the availability of brass and powder. 100 cast bullet .38 spls cost probably $1 less than .357s loaded with the same bullet...


    ignorance is its own reward