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For what it is worth - got my wife a 13 ounce S&W M&P 360 J Frame 2" barrel
(actually I believe it is 1 7/8") and needed a low recoil round. Bought some Federal Premium Personal Defense "Low Recoil" 110 grain Hydra Shok JHP and some .357 158 grain RFP "Cowboy" ammunition. I was concerned that the 110 grain Hydra Shok would not open up but it went though 3 gallon jugs of water with complete expansion - estimated penetration 10" - recoil was low even in the 13 ounce J Frame. Did not set up the Chrony so no velocity info. Only had five gallon jugs left and no surprise the 158 grain RFP
.357, even at "cowboy" velocity, easily shot through all five gallons. Would estimate that it would penetrate at least 18" - More recoil but still easy to manage. Can't wait to get some more Buffalo Bore 150 grain hard cast DEWC standard pressure and low flash ammunition and buy a bunch of gallon water jugs. The Federal will for sure expand but I believe I would rather shoot through the "target" with a hard cast wadcutter or the "cowboy" load.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

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Sorry jm. I thought I was in the handloading section.

Have you tried the speer gold dot short barrel ammo?

I don't have a .38, but that's what I keep that in my .357 (4" GP100) when it's loaded. It's a perfect power level. 135 grain bullet goes around 1100 fps. It's a little more than a .38, but a lot less than a full-house .357.

The bullet I fired into wet phone books showed 2x expansion and weighed 99 grains afterward. Let me see if I can find it and i'll take a picture of it.
 

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Found it:



I haven't tried that ammo in a .38, but the .357 stuff is a good bit lighter than full power .357 ammo.
 

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I carry S&W Airweights (642 and 637) . I carry Hornady 125 gr TP/JHP .38 Spl (standard pressure) in them. I find the round very easy to handle in the little guys.
 

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I carry a S&W 340 PD, it's a 357 Mag, nothing is low recoil in that pistol. I use two litter pop bottle for my targets.

One of the best tests is to fill the 2 litter bottle with water to the 2/3 level and then put it in the freezer over night. Then shoot the pop bottle with bullets you think with do the job.

Buy Milk Jugs? Where?

Jerry
 

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Wadcutters give you the meplat, but you have to be hand loading them to seat them out to the full length of the cartridge so you have room for enough powder to get more penetration from them. The Lee tumble lube bullet's small grooves can be used as crimp grooves anywhere along the bullet, so it is convenient for this, but you have to cast bullets yourself to get them.
 

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One of the best tests is to fill the 2 litter bottle with water to the 2/3 level and then put it in the freezer over night. Then shoot the pop bottle with bullets you think with do the job.

And then what????????????
 

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If your bullet is strong then it blows up real good. If if your bullet is weak, then it doesn't. Pretty much like a non-frozen water jug test in that regard, except the ice doesn't run out, so you can shoot it again, for fun.

A friend of mine who'd read about the idea froze a whole bunch of these bottles for a shoot we did about three years ago. We wound up kind of puzzled about how to rank the results? You could see that different rounds create different amounts of damage, but you can't measure an exact cavity volume as you can in putty or wet newspaper, and the bullet can shift position in the ice fragments if it is captured, not making a uniform penetration. So, interpreting the results is a judgment call, same as wet water jug destruction is. A number of 45's made holes in the ice and stayed in the bottles. .308's blew them to pieces. About what you'd expect.
 

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Good data to have though if you're ever attacked by a squad of frozen 2-liter bottles :)
 

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In that case I mainly want someone to shake me awake.
 

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In my J-Frame S&W's I use Federtal +P+ 147 grain Hydra Shocks
 

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Backwoods, then you drive to my place with a lot of ammo, so we can both shoot your pistol at the frozen water filled pop bottle. You can see the damage for a few minutes after you shoot the bottle, instead the water going every where.

With the J frames, you have to be careful about bullet size and weight. Mine says on the barrel nothing less and 120 grain bullets.

Again on my J Frame there is not practical low recoil bullets, I never load anything too light, there are problems with ammo at that end of the spectrum and I don't want my J Frame to blow up from a stuck bullet in the barrel when I need to depend on the pistol.

Plus I found a long time ago to practice with the ammo you are planning on using for your defense, so there are no surprises.

Jerry
 

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Jerry.Sounds like fun.Long way to drive, but I just made some 255gn.Keith's for my SBH.Dont think there would be a bottle left..LOL..I like the 140gn.Federal HS in my 442.
 
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