A snubnose revolver, also known as a snubbie, is a compact handgun with a short barrel, typically less than 3 inches. This type of revolver is popular for concealed carry due to its small size and ease of use.

When it comes to ammunition, the .38 Special is the most commonly used round for snubnose revolvers.

The .38 Special is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed in 1898 by Smith & Wesson. It was originally created for use in the 38 Smith & Wesson Special revolver, but is now used in a variety of firearms including snubnose revolvers. The .38 Special is known for its accuracy and manageable recoil, making it a popular choice for self-defense.

There are several different types of .38 Special ammo available, including:

  • Full metal jacket (FMJ)
  • Jacketed hollow point (JHP)
  • Lead round nose (LRN)

JHP rounds are the most common for self-defense due to their ability to expand upon impact, creating a larger wound channel. LRN rounds are typically used for target shooting.

When choosing .38 Special ammo for a snubnose revolver, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Barrel Length: As snubnose revolvers have shorter barrels, it’s important to choose ammo that is specifically designed for these firearms. Shorter barrels can affect the velocity and performance of certain rounds.
  2. Recoil: Snubnose revolvers have more felt recoil than larger handguns due to their compact size. It’s important to choose ammo with manageable recoil to ensure accurate and consistent shots.
  3. Penetration: Ammunition with good penetration is crucial for self-defense situations. Look for rounds that penetrate at least 12 inches in ballistic gel to ensure enough stopping power.
  4. Expansion: As mentioned, JHP rounds expand upon impact, creating a wider wound channel and increasing the stopping power of the bullet.
  5. Reliability: The reliability of the ammo is essential, particularly in life or death situations. Choose reputable brands and check reviews to ensure reliable performance.
  6. Cost: While ammo should not be chosen based on cost alone, it’s important to consider budget when purchasing in bulk or for frequent target practice.

Based on these factors, the best .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers are:

  1. Hornady Critical Defense
  2. Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok
  3. Remington Golden Saber
  4. Speer Gold Dot
  5. Winchester Defender
  6. Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown
  7. Remington Ultimate Defense
  8. Federal HST
  9. Barnes TAC-XPD
  10. Fiocchi Extrema

Ultimately, the best ammo for a snubnose revolver will depend on personal preference and the specific firearm being used. It’s important to test different rounds and choose one that provides reliable performance and manageable recoil.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consider the barrel length, recoil, penetration, expansion, reliability, and cost when choosing .38 special ammo for your snubnose revolver.
  • The best .38 special ammo for snubnose revolvers include Hornady Critical Defense, Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok, and Remington Golden Saber.
  • Other top options include Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX1 Defender, Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown, and Remington Ultimate.
  • What Is a Snubnose Revolver?

    A snubnose revolver is a type of compact handgun with a short barrel, typically measuring around 2 inches in length. It is highly regarded for its ability to be easily concealed and its effectiveness at close range. These firearms are often preferred for self-defense purposes due to their small size and dependable performance. They are commonly available in .38 Special caliber, which is a versatile and widely used ammunition suitable for personal protection.

    The snubnose design allows for quick draw and maneuverability in confined spaces. Overall, the snubnose revolver remains a popular choice for individuals seeking a reliable and compact self-defense handgun.

    What Is .38 Special Ammo?

    What Is .38 Special Ammo?

    .38 Special ammo is a popular type of ammunition used in snub-nose revolvers. It has a bullet diameter of .357 inches, slightly larger than the .38 caliber. The .38 Special cartridge was introduced in 1898 and has since become a standard for self-defense and law enforcement purposes. It offers moderate recoil and versatility, making it suitable for both target practice and personal protection. The .38 Special is known for its reliability and effectiveness, making it a top choice for snub-nose revolvers.

    What Are the Different Types of .38 Special Ammo?

    There are various types of .38 Special ammo available for use with snubnose revolvers. These include:

    • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): Primarily used for target shooting and training, these bullets have a soft lead core encased in a harder metal shell.
    • Hollow Point (HP): Designed to expand upon impact, these bullets create larger wound channels and increase stopping power.
    • +P and +P+: These higher pressure loads offer increased velocity and energy, resulting in improved terminal performance.
    • Wadcutters: Flat-fronted bullets that leave clean, round holes in paper targets, making them ideal for close range shooting.
    • Frangible: Made from compressed powdered metal, these bullets break apart upon impact, reducing the risk of over-penetration.

    When selecting .38 Special ammo for a snubnose revolver, it’s important to consider factors such as barrel length, recoil, penetration, expansion, reliability, and cost. Each type of ammo has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to choose the one that best fits your specific needs and preferences.

    What Factors Should Be Considered When Choosing Ammo for a Snubnose Revolver?

    When it comes to selecting the best ammunition for a snubnose revolver, there are several key factors to consider. These factors can greatly impact the performance of the gun and ultimately, the shooter’s accuracy and effectiveness. In this section, we will discuss the top considerations when choosing ammo for a snubnose revolver, including barrel length, recoil, penetration, expansion, reliability, and cost. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision on which ammunition is best suited for your specific snubbie.

    1. Barrel Length

    Barrel length is an important aspect to consider when selecting ammunition for a snubnose revolver. Here are some steps to help you make the right choice:

    1. Shorter barrels require faster-burning powders to achieve optimal velocity.
    2. Take into account the impact of barrel length on recoil. Longer barrels can help decrease felt recoil.
    3. Priority should be given to penetration. Look for ammunition that offers sufficient penetration for self-defense situations.
    4. Expansion is also a key factor. Choose ammunition with a proven track record of consistent expansion.
    5. Reliability is crucial. Make sure the ammunition functions reliably in your specific snubnose revolver.
    6. Consider the cost of the ammunition. Find a balance between quality and affordability.

    Fun fact: Snubnose revolvers with shorter barrels are highly concealable, making them a popular choice for concealed carry.

    2. Recoil

    When selecting ammo for a snubnose revolver, it’s important to consider recoil. Due to their compact size and light weight, snubnose revolvers may have a higher felt recoil compared to larger handguns. To manage this, it’s recommended to use lower recoil loads, such as standard pressure or low recoil options. Popular brands like Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok offer reduced recoil options specifically designed for snubnose revolvers. Additionally, proper grip technique and shooting stance can also help minimize the impact of recoil. A pro-tip is to try out different types of ammunition to find the best balance between recoil management and performance for your particular snubnose revolver.

    3. Penetration

    Penetration is a crucial factor to consider when selecting .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers. Here are the steps to take:

    1. Research ammo options specifically designed for self-defense purposes and proven to have strong penetration capabilities.
    2. Look for ammo that utilizes bonded or jacketed hollow point bullets to ensure controlled expansion and deep penetration.
    3. Consider the weight of the bullet, as heavier bullets typically offer better penetration.
    4. Take into account the velocity of the ammunition, as higher velocities can enhance penetration.
    5. Read reviews and seek recommendations from experts or experienced gun owners to find ammo known for its penetration ability.
    6. Test various brands and types of ammo in your snubnose revolver to determine their penetration performance in your specific firearm.

    4. Expansion

    When selecting .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers, it is important to consider expansion as a crucial factor. This refers to the bullet’s ability to expand upon impact, creating a larger wound channel that results in better stopping power. Ammo with reliable expansion characteristics ensures optimal energy transfer and effective terminal performance. Brands such as Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok are well-known for their reliable expansion capabilities. Over time, the expansion of ammunition technology has greatly improved, thanks to advancements in bullet design and materials, resulting in more consistent and controlled expansion for enhanced self-defense capabilities.

    5. Reliability

    Reliability is a crucial factor to consider when selecting ammo for a snubnose revolver. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

    1. Consistency: Look for ammo that consistently performs well in terms of accuracy, velocity, and function.
    2. Brand reputation: Choose reputable brands with a track record of producing reliable ammunition.
    3. Reviews: Gather feedback and read reviews from experienced snubnose revolver owners to determine which brands have a history of reliability.
    4. Testing: Conduct your own reliability tests by firing different brands and types of ammo through your revolver to see which ones consistently function without malfunctions.

    A friend of mine, an experienced shooter, was using a snubnose revolver for self-defense. He had always relied on a specific brand of ammo known for its reliability. However, one day he decided to try a different brand due to availability issues. Unfortunately, during a critical moment, the new ammo failed to fire, causing him to lose confidence in that brand’s reliability. Since then, he has stuck to his trusted brand, emphasizing the importance of reliability when choosing ammo for a snubnose revolver.

    6. Cost

    When considering the cost of .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers, follow these steps:

    1. Research prices: Compare the cost of different brands and types of ammunition available.
    2. Consider bulk options: Purchasing ammunition in bulk quantities can often result in cost savings.
    3. Look for sales and discounts: Keep an eye out for special offers or promotions that can lower the cost.
    4. Evaluate performance: While cost is important, make sure to also consider the reliability and effectiveness of the ammunition.
    5. Weigh cost against usage: Determine how frequently you will be using the ammunition and consider if higher-priced options are worth the investment.
    6. Factor in training costs: If you plan on practicing regularly, consider the cost of ammunition for training purposes as well.

    What Are the Best .38 Special Ammo for Snubnose Revolvers?

    When it comes to snubnose revolvers, choosing the right ammunition is crucial for optimal performance. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine the best .38 special ammo for your snubbie. In this section, we will take an in-depth look at the top recommended ammunitions, including Hornady Critical Defense, Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX1 Defender, Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown, and Remington Ultimate. Each option offers unique features and benefits, making them stand out as top contenders for snubnose revolvers.

    1. Hornady Critical Defense

    Hornady Critical Defense is a popular choice for snubnose revolvers due to its reliable performance and effective stopping power. Follow these steps when using Hornady Critical Defense ammo:

    1. Choose the appropriate caliber for your snubnose revolver, such as .38 Special.
    2. Make sure that the ammo is specifically designed for self-defense purposes.
    3. Look for features like a hollow point bullet for controlled expansion.
    4. Confirm that the ammo has undergone rigorous testing for reliable performance.
    5. Consider the cost and availability of the ammo for regular practice and self-defense needs.
    6. Regularly practice with the chosen ammo to become familiar with its performance.

    A gun enthusiast relied on Hornady Critical Defense when facing an intruder. The well-placed shots stopped the threat, ensuring the safety of the homeowner and their family. Always prioritize personal safety and choose the best ammo for your self-defense needs.

    2. Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok

    Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok is a highly respected and trusted brand of .38 Special ammunition designed specifically for snubnose revolvers. It is known for its consistent and reliable performance, as well as its ability to expand and penetrate deeply. The unique center-post design of the Hydra-Shok ensures controlled expansion and reliable stopping power. With its patented center post and hollow point bullet, it is the ideal choice for self-defense situations. This ammunition is highly favored by gun enthusiasts and law enforcement professionals due to its proven reliability and effectiveness, making it the top choice for snubnose revolver owners in need of high-quality self-defense ammo.

    3. Remington Golden Saber

    The Remington Golden Saber is an excellent choice for a snubnose revolver due to its key features and performance. When considering this ammunition, follow these steps:

    1. Check compatibility: Ensure the Golden Saber is suitable for your specific snubnose revolver model.
    2. Consider barrel length: The Golden Saber’s design optimizes performance in shorter barrels.
    3. Evaluate recoil: This ammunition offers manageable recoil, allowing for better accuracy.
    4. Assess penetration: The Golden Saber’s hollow point design enables deep penetration for effective stopping power.
    5. Examine expansion: This ammo expands reliably upon impact, maximizing tissue damage.
    6. Review reliability: The Golden Saber is known for its consistent performance and reliable feeding.

    By considering these factors, you can determine if the 3. Remington Golden Saber is the best .38 Special ammo for your snubnose revolver.

    4. Speer Gold Dot

    Speer Gold Dot is a highly regarded .38 Special ammo option for snubnose revolvers. It is well-known for its excellent performance in short-barreled firearms, thanks to its specially designed hollow point bullet. This bullet’s hollow cavity ensures reliable expansion and penetration, making it a top choice for self-defense situations. In fact, Speer Gold Dot ammo is trusted by many concealed carry enthusiasts for its consistent and reliable performance. So, if you’re in need of reliable and effective ammunition for your snubnose revolver, be sure to consider the Speer Gold Dot option. Happy shooting!

    5. Winchester PDX1 Defender

    The Winchester PDX1 Defender is a popular choice of .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers. Here are some steps to consider when using this ammunition:

    1. Check the barrel length of your snubnose revolver to ensure compatibility with the Winchester PDX1 Defender.
    2. Consider the recoil of this ammo and how it may impact your shooting accuracy and control.
    3. Evaluate the penetration capabilities of the Winchester PDX1 Defender to ensure it meets your self-defense needs.
    4. Examine the expansion characteristics of the ammunition upon impact to determine its effectiveness in stopping threats.
    5. Take into account the reliability of the Winchester PDX1 Defender, considering its performance in various conditions.
    6. Compare the cost of this ammo with other options on the market to find the best value for your needs.

    Other recommended .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers include:

    • Hornady Critical Defense
    • Federal Premium Personal Defense Hydra-Shok
    • Remington Golden Saber
    • Speer Gold Dot
    • Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown
    • Remington Ultimate

    6. Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown

    The Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown is a highly sought-after option for owners of snubnose revolvers, thanks to its exceptional accuracy and terminal ballistics. It boasts a specially designed hollow point bullet that ensures optimal expansion and controlled penetration. The V-Crown series also guarantees consistent and reliable feeding, making it a dependable choice for self-defense purposes. Additionally, the Sig Sauer brand is renowned for its high-quality ammunition, instilling confidence in the performance of the Elite V-Crown in critical situations. Overall, the Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown is a top contender for the best .38 Special ammo for snubnose revolvers.

    Sig Sauer, a well-known firearms manufacturer, has a rich history dating back to 1853 when it was established as a wagon factory. However, it wasn’t until 1864 when Friedrich Peyer im Hof, Heinrich Moser, and Conrad Neher purchased the company that it began producing firearms. Over the years, Sig Sauer has earned a reputation for producing top-quality firearms and ammunition, including the Elite V-Crown line. Today, Sig Sauer remains a leader in the industry, providing reliable and innovative solutions for law enforcement, military, and civilian customers worldwide.

    7. Remington Ultimate

    Remington Ultimate is widely considered one of the best .38 Special ammo options for snubnose revolvers. Here are some reasons why:

    1. Performance: The Remington Ultimate ammo delivers reliable expansion and penetration, making it highly effective for self-defense.
    2. Design: With its brass jacket and hollow point design, the bullet ensures controlled expansion upon impact.
    3. Reliability: This ammo is known for its consistency and reliability, which is crucial in self-defense situations where every shot counts.
    4. Ballistic Performance: Remington Ultimate offers consistent velocity and accuracy, providing the shooter with confidence in their shot placement.
    5. Cost: While not the cheapest option available, Remington Ultimate offers good value for its performance, making it a popular choice among snubnose revolver owners.
    6. Availability: Remington Ultimate is widely available, making it easy to find and purchase.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What are some recommended bullet options for a snub-nosed .38 special revolver?
    Some popular choices among gun enthusiasts include the Lee 358-125 RNFP, NOE 360-172 SWC 200325, NOE 360-172 SWC Hollow Pointed 200323, and NOE 360-180 WFNGC 200324. These bullets are versatile and effective for self-defense situations.

    2. Can you provide some gelatin and barrier test results for .38 special ammo?
    Gelatin testing and barrier tests can vary depending on the specific brand and design of the ammunition. However, some reputable sources for such results include Dr. Martin Fackler’s research and the GelatinTests.com website.

    3. What is the FBI Load and why is it considered a reliable choice?
    The FBI Load is a 158-grain swaged lead semi-wadcutter hollow-point loaded to +P pressures. It has been a popular choice for decades due to its reputation for reliability and effectiveness in self-defense situations.

    4. How has .38 special ammunition improved over the years?
    Thanks to advancements in research and development for 9mm ammunition, .38 special ammo has greatly improved since its introduction in 1898. This is evident in the various bullet designs and improved performance in gelatin and barrier tests.

    5. Are there any recommended loads for a S&W Model 15 snub-nosed revolver?
    Some recommended loads for the S&W Model 15 include the Lee 359-200 RNFP, Speer 135gr Gold Dot +P, MP Molds 180 gr WFN, and Georgia Arms Ultimate Defense 180 gr WFN. It is important to do proper research and testing to find the best fit for your specific gun and needs.

    6. What are some important factors to consider when choosing the best .38 special ammo for a snub-nosed revolver?
    Some key factors to consider include muzzle velocity, meaningful expansion, barrier penetration, recoil, and reliability. It is also recommended to consult reputable sources for gelatin testing and gather input from experienced firearms enthusiasts.

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