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Old June 10th, 2019, 09:04 PM #1
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Unhappy FBI Load .38 Special

I keep reading about this load. It's apparently a +P SWC Hollowpoint that gets high marks from writers like Massad Ayoob and others. The only problem is that the only place that carries anything like it is Georgia Arms, but when I did a search for reviews, I found that the only one gave it a poor review. Velocity and accuracy were fine, but expansion was terrible. The hollowpoint bullets looked as though they could have be reloaded again, and so I gave up on them.

I've been unable to find them anywhere and according to what I've heard, they're very expensive when they are found. The bullets seem to be straightforward enough, and there's little in their description that would justify a horribly high price. The Georgia Arms load seems only to suffer from hard bullets. I have several very small .38 revolvers (early model 60 and 36). And despite not being made for +P ammo, their steel construction does let them handle the more powerful ammo.

If anyone knows where I can get the FBI Load at a reasonable price, please let me know. Also, had anyone used this ammo in these bantum-sized pistols, please let me know.
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Old June 10th, 2019, 09:14 PM #2
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Dunno about cheap, but Buffalo Bore still does a 158 +P lead semiwadcutter. You'll occasionally find some boxes of the Federal stuff floating around of the FBI load, but by and large the market has moved to faster burning powder ammo for snub-nosed revolvers (as seen with the Speer Gold Dots formulated for short barrel revolvers).

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=108
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Old June 10th, 2019, 09:31 PM #3
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Remington makes a "FBI Load" 158 grain lead hollow point +P. It has a softer projectile than any other factory loaded lead hollow point 38. It's not loaded quite as hot as the Buffalo Bore version but much less expensive and softer shooting. I keep a couple Model 10's loaded with it around the house.

I like Georgia Arms semi wad cutter practice ammo. Never tried their hollow point.
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Old June 10th, 2019, 10:10 PM #4
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Have you thought about hand loading?
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Old June 10th, 2019, 10:50 PM #5
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I haven't seen it in years, but Winchester used to provide us our ammunition when we carried S&W Model 15 4" and it was labeled as 110 Gr JHP, +P+ It was known to many as the Treasury load. We put many thousands of these rounds down range out of our Model 15 revolvers and while it probably shortened their service life, none of us ever questioned whether they would do the job. The bullets were running about 1000 ft/sec out of the 4" barrel and most of us didn't count our scores but the number of X's on our targets. We had some excellent marksman on the job back in the day.

http://winchesterle.com/Lists%2FCata...FRA38110HP.pdf
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Old June 10th, 2019, 10:53 PM #6
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As mentioned, checkout Speer Gold Dot 38 Special +P Short Barrrel 135g JHP for your Snubbies. It will also perform well with 4” barrel too

The FBI load may have set the standard once but it is a dinosaur compared to newer, modern LE duty JHP designs

Here’s a nice comparison of ballistics for all us Snubbie lovers

http://snubnose.info/docs/snubby_ballistics.htm
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Old June 11th, 2019, 06:35 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold Steel View Post
I have several very small .38 revolvers (early model 60 and 36). And despite not being made for +P ammo, their steel construction does let them handle the more powerful ammo.
All S&W revolvers in .38 Special, made after WWII, are rated for +P ammunition. That's straight from S&W.
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Old June 11th, 2019, 07:44 AM #8
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Lucky Gunner has it for $23.00 box of 50. Midway has Remington now for $23.34. I used to shoot these out of J framed Smiths, stung a little but how many are you going to shoot?
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Old June 11th, 2019, 08:09 AM #9
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I have fired 158 grain lead ammunition powered close to the FBI load in a 2”
M36 Chief’s Special, 3” M36 (using skimpy factory and Pachmyer grips), and an early Ruger 2” LCR. All recoiled stoutly but controllably. The Smith’s exhibited more muzzle flip. The Ruger is more straight back but hard into the palm. These are not beginner nor casual shooter gun/ammo combinations.

I do use a pocket holster for the LCR and load it with 125 grain +P ammunition.
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Old June 11th, 2019, 08:22 AM #10
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As already mentioned , .38 Special FBI load is 158gr LSWCHP +P. I've practiced with it for years in my snubbies. Easiest one to get is Federal 029465084134:
https://www.ammunitiontogo.com/produ...cutter-hp-ammo
https://www.luckygunner.com/38-speci...l-le-50-rounds

If you haven't shot it, be prepared for brutal recoil out of a lightweight .38 snub-nose. My hands start to feel numb (and ache the next day) after two cylinders of it through my S&W 442.
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