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I'm new to the handgun world. I just picked up a sp101 snub .357 mag. for defense of my family. Which ammo in either .38 or .357 do I want for home defense, don't have my cc yet, that will be the most effective. My knowledge of grains and brands are very limited, as well as the actual bullets makeup. Thanks in advance.
 

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158 grain, hollow point, .38 Special +P... The +P is a faster burning powder that will give some added acceleration for the short barrel.
 

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Buffalo Bore does make a good.38 Special load for short barrels might want to look. Also I like the Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special loadings as well good luck!!!
 

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Agreed on the Buffalo Bore...designed for snubs with low recoil & low flash. A little pricey but worth it. Check out their semi-wadcutter versions. I have the SP101 2.25 357 just because I like both ammo options, but 357 from a snub doesn't take advantage of the full 357 power (and it beats you up a bit) :D
 

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People will argue all day long about whether you should use 357 or 38 for CC but for HD, I think you should clearly opt for the 38. 357 is too much flash and bang indoors and will be easier for other family members to handle should it come to that. I'd recommend either Hornady 110gr 38+P or Speer 135gr 38+P.
 

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158 grain, hollow point, .38 Special +P... The +P is a faster burning powder that will give some added acceleration for the short barrel.
This statement is not entirely true.
+P stands for +Pressure
Extra pressure rounds can be achieved using any powder, not just fast burning powders. +P designation signifies the loading is above the pressure range for standard SAAMI spec 38 Special cartriges and should only be used in modern revolvers where the manufacturer specifies the safe useage of +P designated loads.
OP, your SP101 will handle +P loads all day long. I often carry 125 gn +P jacketed hollow points in my SP and never feel under prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
People will argue all day long about whether you should use 357 or 38 for CC but for HD, I think you should clearly opt for the 38. 357 is too much flash and bang indoors and will be easier for other family members to handle should it come to that. I'd recommend either Hornady 110gr 38+P or Speer 135gr 38+P.
I hadn't thought about the flash or bang, that's a good point, the 357 would be a bit much indoors as well as a lot of kick for my wife, she finds the 38 tough for her as well too though, just needs more practice.

What about the type of bullet, like hollow points.... and the others... I'm not sure what would be best for HD.
 

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I hadn't thought about the flash or bang, that's a good point, the 357 would be a bit much indoors as well as a lot of kick for my wife, she finds the 38 tough for her as well too though, just needs more practice.

What about the type of bullet, like hollow points.... and the others... I'm not sure what would be best for HD.
Some consider hollow points ineffective out of a snub because there isn't enough velocity to expand the hollow point. I've even read and tried some full wadcutter loads and have seriously considered carrying. Check out the old FBI load too.
I've settled on 38+P Golden Sabers for now. Those have pretty good reviews.
 

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I hadn't thought about the flash or bang, that's a good point, the 357 would be a bit much indoors as well as a lot of kick for my wife, she finds the 38 tough for her as well too though, just needs more practice.

What about the type of bullet, like hollow points.... and the others... I'm not sure what would be best for HD.
For HD you want something that expands rapidly and does NOT over penetrate. Expanding hollow points such as Hornady's XTP bullets or Winchester's PDX1 ammunition are some excellent examples.
 

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I carry Hornady Critical Defense 38+P rounds in my LCR .357. With arthritis in my right hand, I just can't take the recoil of the .357 in a small revolver. Being heavier, your SP101 should be able to take up some of that recoil.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry too much about the noise and muzzle flash. If you have to fire it in self-defense, you will be deaf after the first shot anyway and the muzzle flash will just light things up so you can see better.

Really, if you have to use that revolver it is going to be in a life or death situation. With the adrenaline flowing, I doubt very much if you will notice muzzle flash, noise, or recoil. And when it is over, if you notice the after effect of those, that means you survived and that is good!
 

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In .357 Magnum: Try Remington Golden Saber 125 grain JHP (GS357MA). These are more of a ".357 medium" load, slightly less velocity and kick, but still very effective. They are what I have used for years in various revolvers with barrel lengths from 2" to 4". I HIGHLY recommend trying these. You could also try the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain FTX (90500), although I prefer this load in 3" or longer .357 Magnums with at least 24 ounces of weight (no lightweight revolvers).

Others have stated good recommendations in .38 Special already, so I won't repeat that information further. Personally, I wish Hornady made a +P .38 Special with the 125 grain FTX bullet, or even the XTP bullet.

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You guys have been great, there's been some good information. I'll have to look into the recommendations you have made. I appreciate any further info. I've looked into some of the options, kinda seems daunting choosing. Also, any ideas for reliable, quality range ammo? I think 38 as well as 357, practice for my wife as well as me.
 

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Thanks for this thread. As a new 2" SP101 owner I've been pondering it too. It seems that you probably reach a point of barrel shortness where the magnum load reaches rapidly diminishing marginal returns. In other words the velocity increase is minimal in terms of actually helping the projectile expand, compared to just pushing a bunch of still-burning powder out the barrel for a disorienting flash and bang.

I do see some guys on the web doing stuff like shooting different loads from different barrel lengths into water. Nothing. Strictly unscientific, but fun anecdotal evidence.

For my gun that's going to be used largely as a "kit" gun outdoors, hiking or fishing, it makes me wonder if the high-dollar premium stuff is really worth the cost. Winchester's white box 125 grain JHP +p 38 seems to expand a bit, and reliably, and can be purchased at Walmart for $25 / 50.

CCI's Blazer aluminum 158 grain JHP .357 is light for a magnum, but could be considered as a very fast 38. It seems to have very similar ballistics to Buffalo Bore's insanely expensive 58 grain LSWCHP and also goes for $25 / 50.
 

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I have mine loaded with Buffalo Bore 38 Spl +P 158 Gr LSWC/HP-GC. I measured their velocity out of my 2 1/4" SP101 and it averages 1,037 FPS which generates 377 ft/lbs of energy and a momentum factor of 23. It is decent for defense of the home front. It is supposedly made with a low flash powder but shot it in daylight so can't verify that. The lead bullets will expand well on impact.
 

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Thanks for this thread. As a new 2" SP101 owner I've been pondering it too. It seems that you probably reach a point of barrel shortness where the magnum load reaches rapidly diminishing marginal returns. In other words the velocity increase is minimal in terms of actually helping the projectile expand, compared to just pushing a bunch of still-burning powder out the barrel for a disorienting flash and bang.

I do see some guys on the web doing stuff like shooting different loads from different barrel lengths into water. Nothing. Strictly unscientific, but fun anecdotal evidence.

For my gun that's going to be used largely as a "kit" gun outdoors, hiking or fishing, it makes me wonder if the high-dollar premium stuff is really worth the cost. Winchester's white box 125 grain JHP +p 38 seems to expand a bit, and reliably, and can be purchased at Walmart for $25 / 50.

CCI's Blazer aluminum 158 grain JHP .357 is light for a magnum, but could be considered as a very fast 38. It seems to have very similar ballistics to Buffalo Bore's insanely expensive 58 grain LSWCHP and also goes for $25 / 50.
I wouldn't get too wrapped up in the ammo discussion. I wonder too if the high dollar rounds are worth the extra cost. I have a few boxes of Federal 158 grain semi jacket flat points that I got at Walmart and they are very accurate out of my GP100 and Henry Lever. At little over $.50 cents a round they seem pretty stout and hit my steel targets with some authority. I would not want to get hit by that projectile.
Shot placement will always be key.
 

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I also carry 110gr Hornady Critical Defense .38+p in all my snubbies ( Ruger and S&W) :)
 

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We use the Critical Defense 38sp +P in the SP101 for HD. From shooting them in practice, they do not create the massive fireball that the 357's do so that would be good in a night time scenario.

We shoot all types of 38's in ours for practice. it shoots everything we put in it and at the ranges of a self defense situation would be, I do not think it would matter all that much as far as POA is concerned. IMHO at least :)
 
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