Best 38 Special Ammo - Editor's Choice

What is 38 Special Ammo?🟢

It is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed for revolver handguns. Originally introduced by Smith & Wesson in 1898, it has since become one of the most popular revolver cartridges in the world. Its name is somewhat misleading as the bullet diameter is actually .357 inches, with the ‘.38’ referring to the approximate diameter of the loaded brass case. This cartridge is well-known for its balance between recoil and effectiveness, making it a preferred choice for both self-defence and target shooting.

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Standard Pressure Lead Round Nose (LRN): This traditional ammunition typically weighs 158 grains and has a muzzle velocity of around 770 feet per second (fps). It’s a popular choice for target shooting due to its low recoil. +P Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP): This is a higher-pressure round designed for self-defence. It typically has a bullet weight of 110-158 grains and a muzzle velocity ranging from 900 to 1,000 fps. The hollow point design facilitates expansion upon impact, increasing stopping power.
Standard Pressure Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): With a bullet weight of 130 grains and a muzzle velocity of approximately 800 fps, this ammo is commonly used for target practice and competition shooting. +P Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point (LSWCHP): Known as the “FBI Load”, this round is often used for self-defence due to its effective balance between penetration and expansion. It typically has a 158-grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of around 900 fps.


It offers several advantages that contribute to its ongoing popularity among firearm enthusiasts. Here are some key benefits:

  1. ⭐ Manageable Recoil: These rounds are known for their manageable recoil. This feature makes them an excellent choice for novice shooters who are still adjusting to the kickback of a firearm, as well as for experienced shooters looking for comfort during prolonged shooting sessions.
  2. ⭐ Versatility: It is a versatile round that can be used in a variety of applications, from target shooting to self-defence. Its compatibility with different firearms and the availability of various load types enhance its adaptability.
  3. ⭐ High Accuracy: Due to their moderate muzzle velocities, these rounds are highly accurate. This characteristic, coupled with the manageable recoil, often results in improved aim and precision, making it a preferred choice for target shooting.
  4. ⭐ Reloading Potential: The brass cases are durable and can often be reused several times. This trait makes them ideal for reloading, which can be a cost-effective approach for frequent shooters.
  5. ⭐ Availability: This ammo is widely available and relatively affordable. This ease of access ensures that users can readily find and purchase ammunition, be it for immediate use or stockpiling.
  6. ⭐ Effective Self-Defense Round: With the right load it can be an effective self-defence round, offering a good balance between stopping power and recoil.
Our Top Pick
Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special Ammo 130 Grain
Elevating standards of excellence and precision, it serves as a symbol of meticulous artistry. Beyond its extraordinary accuracy, it presents a distinctive benefit - the mitigation of shooting noise. This inventive attribute, combined with thoughtfully chosen propellant, fosters a heightened, polished shooting encounter. Every individual bullet is subject to meticulous attention, undergoing meticulous profiling and precise weighing to guarantee unwavering outcomes. The ammunition's unwavering dedication to clean-burning powders elevates your firearm's performance, bestowing it with a refined, more efficient essence.
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  1. 💠 Self-Defence: Its reliability, combined with its manageable recoil, makes it a preferred choice for self-defence. High-pressure +P rounds are particularly effective, offering a balance between stopping power and penetration.

  2. 💠 Sport Shooting: The accuracy and manageable recoil make it a frequent choice for sport shooting and competition.

  3. 💠 Target Practice: Its high accuracy and relatively low cost make it ideal for target practice. It’s an excellent round for honing shooting skills without breaking the bank.

  4. 💠 Hunting Small Game: While not a primary use, these rounds can be used for hunting small game at close range. Careful shot placement and the use of appropriate loads (like the hollow points) can result in effective performance.

  5. 💠 Home Defense: It is a viable option for home defence. While it may lack the firepower of larger calibres, its manageable recoil, combined with the effective stopping power of self-defence loads, makes it a reasonable choice for a home defence handgun.

  6. 💠 Law Enforcement: It held a long-standing position as the cartridge of choice for many law enforcement agencies before the adoption of semi-automatic pistols. Even today, some officers carry .38 Special revolvers as backup firearms due to their reliability and effectiveness.

38 Special Ammo Review | Top-20 38 Special Ammo

#1 Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Ammo Special 130 grain

Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Ammo Special 130 grain

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In the realm of dependable handgun ammunition, a legacy manufacturer steps forward with their time-tested solution. With a profound understanding of the user’s needs, this seasoned brand offers a solution that ensures durability and consistency. One particularly popular choice from their array is this ammo, cherished by shooting enthusiasts seeking quality for their range training and target practice.

Amidst the evolving landscape of ammunition options, this manufacturer’s experience shines through. Their dedication to quality materials and production processes has resulted in ammo that stands the test of time. This ammunition’s composition, including its full metal jacket and thoughtfully designed centre, aids in a seamless draw and accurate firing. When seeking ammo that doesn’t compromise on lethality, this option ensures a potent punch for your trusty handgun. Regardless of the specific firearm you favour, the consistent performance of this ammunition enriches your shooting experience.

  • Reliability Amid Scarcity: Finding trustworthy ammo can be a challenge, but this option eliminates the search for quality, ensuring a consistent supply.
  • Time-Honoured Craftsmanship: Drawing from years of experience, this manufacturer employs proven methods and premium materials, guaranteeing a robust product.
  • Enhanced Draw and Precision: The well-designed centre and full metal jacket facilitate smooth handling and precise shooting, contributing to a satisfying shooting session.
  • Varied Applications: Whether for training or target practice, this ammo delivers reliable results, making it suitable for different purposes.
  • Empowering Your Firearm: This ammunition’s potency ensures your handgun is always ready to perform, instilling confidence in every shot.
  • Minimal Innovation: While built on a foundation of reliability, this ammunition may not offer the latest technological advancements present in newer alternatives.
  • Potentially Higher Cost: The commitment to quality and craftsmanship might come at a slightly higher price point compared to some budget-friendly options.
  • Limited Specialty Features: If seeking specific features tailored to unique shooting needs, alternative ammunition may offer more specialized solutions.

#2 Sig Sauer Elite Performance 38 Special Ammo 124 grain

Sig Sauer Elite Performance 38 Special Ammo 124 grain

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Imagine a world where your training ammunition seamlessly aligns with your carry rounds. This innovative solution by a renowned manufacturer brings this concept to life. Designed to replicate the ballistics of their acclaimed Sig  V-Crown defence ammunition, the Sig  FMJ promises consistent and cost-effective performance, whether you’re honing your skills or stepping onto the competition stage.

In the realm of ammunition innovation, the Sig stands as a bridge between practice and real-world scenarios. Engineered with meticulous attention, it mirrors the characteristics of SIG’s trusted defence rounds. The inclusion of reliable primers and the same clean-burning propellants further solidify its premium-level performance. The copper-jacketed bullets, known for their durability, maintain their integrity upon impact, offering a familiar recoil, point-of-impact, and energy to ensure a reliable training experience. Be it for practice sessions or competitive endeavours, this ammo steps up to the plate with confidence.

  • Affordable Excellence: Combining premium performance with affordability, the SIG FMJ caters to both experienced shooters and newcomers.
  • Dependable Performance: By employing reliable primers and clean-burning propellants, this ammunition assures consistent results round after round.
  • Uncompromised Durability: The copper-jacketed bullets retain their structural integrity upon impact, delivering predictable recoil and energy akin to real-world scenarios.
  • Everyday Shooter’s Choice: Fully-reloadable brass casings enhance affordability, making it an appealing option for regular practice and skill improvement.
  • Limited Specialty Features: While replicating V-Crown ballistics, this ammo may lack the specialized attributes that certain shooters require for niche applications.

#3 Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo +P 110 Grain

Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo +P 110 Grain

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In the realm of personal defence ammunition, a notable advancement has emerged – the Critical Defense Rifle series. Engineered to redefine threat-stopping power, this ammunition brings a new level of confidence to the realm of self-protection.

When it comes to personal safety, this ammunition sets a new benchmark. At the heart of this innovation is the FTX, a groundbreaking bullet design that pushes the boundaries of hollow point performance. Its patented Flex Tip technology not only enhances expansion but also eliminates the risk of clogging when passing through clothing or barriers. The inclusion of bright cartridge cases offers increased visibility in low-light conditions, while the utilization of low-flash propellants ensures that night vision remains uncompromised. Each round demonstrates unwavering consistency and reliability, attributes crucial for peace of mind in critical situations.

Video review

  • Focused on Defense: Designed with personal protection in mind, this ammunition stands as an optimal choice for concealed carry firearms and self-defence rifles alike.
  • Visibility and Precision: Bright cartridge cases contribute to easier chamber checks in low-light settings, ensuring readiness when it matters most.
  • Preserving Night Vision: The incorporation of low-flash propellants guarantees that your night vision remains intact, offering a tactical advantage during nocturnal encounters.
  • Consistent Dependability: Corrosion-resistant cases and optimized propellants not only limit recoil and muzzle flash but also establish Critical Defense as a reliable companion for any situation.
  • Potentially Elevated Cost: The advanced technology and specialized features of this ammunition might be reflected in a slightly higher price point compared to standard options.

#4 Remington UMC Handgun 38 Special Ammo 130 Grain

Remington UMC Handgun 38 Special Ammo 130 Grain

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In moments that demand reliability and performance, Remington UMC Centerfire Handgun Ammunition emerges as a steadfast choice. Crafted for high-volume shooting scenarios, this ammunition embodies the ideal blend of value, performance, and quality. For those seeking a solution tailored to high-volume shooting needs, this ammunition delivers on its promise. This ammo strikes a balance between budget-consciousness and optimal performance, ensuring that quantity never compromises quality. Its thoughtful design includes a waterproofed case mouth and primer, securing maximum reliability even in challenging conditions. With cases plated in nickel, oxidation concerns are mitigated, facilitating smooth feeding and extraction. Moreover, each bullet is meticulously treated with powders that reduce muzzle flash, enhancing the overall shooting experience.

  • Enhanced Feeding and Extraction: Nickel-plated cases minimize oxidation, resulting in improved feeding and extraction, contributing to a smoother shooting session.
  • Reduced Muzzle Flash: Specially treated bullets effectively reduce muzzle flash with each shot, enhancing visibility and overall shooting comfort.
  • Versatile Application: Designed primarily for target shooting, this ammunition adapts well to practice sessions and skill enhancement.
  • Moderate Energy Output: The ammunition’s muzzle energy might be considered moderate, potentially not meeting the needs of those seeking higher stopping power.

#5 Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo 90 Grain

Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo 90 Grain

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For those who prioritize personal security, the Hornady Critical Defense Lite Handgun Ammo stands as a beacon of reliability. This ammunition shines across various settings, ensuring optimum performance when it matters most. Evolving from its initial offering, the lineup now includes 44 Special and 45 Colt bullets, expanding its versatility. At the heart of this ammo lies the patented FTX bullet, renowned for its reliable expansion even when encountering different clothing materials, including leather. Notably, the 45 Colt bullets are optimized for short-barreled platforms, delivering a harmonious blend of power and precision.

This ammo redefines reliability and adaptability in personal defence. With an expanded lineup and proven FTX bullet technology, it offers a dependable solution for various environments, ensuring confidence and peace of mind for those seeking ammunition that performs when it matters most.

  • Adaptive Defense: It excels in diverse environments, ensuring reliable performance across different scenarios.
  • Expanded Lineup: With the inclusion of 44 Special and 45 Colt options, this ammunition caters to a broader range of firearms and preferences.
  • Reliable Expansion: The patented bullet technology guarantees consistent expansion, overcoming the challenges of clothing and barriers for reliable stopping power.
  • Night Vision Preservation: Low-flash propellants and bright cartridge cases enhance practicality, ensuring readiness while preserving night vision.
  • Moderate Weight: The ammunition’s lighter weight may result in slightly reduced stopping power compared to heavier options, potentially influencing terminal performance.
  • Specialized Design: While versatile, the design may not cater to highly specific shooting scenarios or niche preferences.

#6 CCI Blazer Brass 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

CCI Blazer Brass 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

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CCI Ammunition Blazer Brass emerges as a harmonious blend of reliability, practicality, and economy. A true companion for target shooting endeavours, this ammunition is designed to offer consistent performance and easy reloading.

In the pursuit of reliable target shooting performance, it takes centre stage. Crafted with attention to detail, it boasts reloadable brass cases, ensuring longevity and cost-effectiveness. The inclusion of reliable primers and clean-burning propellants cements its reputation as a dependable choice for accuracy and consistency. With standard boxer-type primers and primer pockets, the reloading process is streamlined, making it an excellent option for those exploring the world of reloading. An affordable solution, it allows shooters to engage in extensive target practice without breaking the bank.

  • Reliable Primers and Propellants: The commitment to quality primers and clean-burning propellants guarantees consistent and accurate performance, vital for successful target shooting.
  • Streamlined Reloading: Standard boxer-type primers and primer pockets simplify the reloading process, making it accessible even to those new to reloading.
  • Economical Choice: It is a cost-effective option ideal for extended target practice.
  • Versatile Application: Well-suited for target shooting, this ammunition caters to both newcomers and experienced shooters honing their skills.
  • The ammunition’s moderate muzzle velocity and energy levels might limit its suitability for scenarios requiring higher stopping power.

#7 Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special Ammo 130 grain

Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special Ammo 130 grain

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Delve into the world of precision and reliability with Federal Premium American Eagle Centerfire Handgun Ammunition. This ammunition not only ensures superior accuracy but also addresses the often-overlooked aspect of noise reduction without compromising performance.

For those who value quality and precision, it stands as a testament to meticulous craftsmanship. Beyond its exceptional accuracy, it offers a unique advantage – the reduction of shooting noise. This innovative feature, coupled with hand-selected propellant, contributes to a cleaner, more refined shooting experience. Each bullet is treated with the utmost care, undergoing rigorous profiling and weighing to ensure consistent results. The ammunition’s commitment to clean-burning powders transforms your firearm into a cleaner, more efficient weapon. With Federal primers and brass, the foundation of reliability is solidified, allowing you to shoot with skill and confidence, knowing that every pull of the trigger is met with precision.

  • Enhanced Shooting Experience: It combines superior accuracy with noise reduction, elevating your shooting session to a refined and precise endeavour.
  • Precision Profiling: Meticulous bullet profiling and weighing guarantee consistent results, instilling confidence in every shot.
  • Clean-Burning Powders: The ammunition’s use of clean-burning powders not only reduces fouling but also contributes to a cleaner firearm, enhancing longevity and efficiency.
  • Reliable Foundation: Federal primers and brass lay the groundwork for dependability, ensuring each shot meets the mark with precision.
  • Versatile Selection: With a variety of bullet styles available, this ammunition caters to diverse target practice preferences.
  • Noise Reduction Trade-Off: While noise reduction is a unique advantage, shooters seeking the full auditory experience of shooting may find this feature less appealing.
  • Moderate Muzzle Velocity: The ammunition’s moderate muzzle velocity might impact its suitability for scenarios requiring higher energy output.

#8 Sig Sauer V-Crown 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

Sig Sauer V-Crown 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

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For seekers of superior personal defence ammunition, the Sig Sauer Elite Performance series presents an unparalleled choice. At its core, the V-Crown Jacketed Hollow Point design showcases innovation and precision. The unique design boasts a secondary hollow point cavity, complemented by strategically engineered V-shaped jacket skives and scores. This synergy ensures controlled, uniform expansion across various distances and velocities. Moreover, a distinctive toothed cannelure halfway up the shank enhances jacket and core locking, resulting in exceptional structural integrity, maximum weight retention, and unparalleled terminal performance. The Techni-Crom coated brass cases not only enhance lubricity but also bestow superior corrosion resistance and reliable feeding and extraction. Each calibre loading is meticulously matched to the core temper of the V-Crown bullet, underscoring Sig Sauer’s commitment to maximum terminal performance.

  • Unparalleled Structural Integrity: The unique toothed cannelure reinforces jacket and core locking, resulting in exceptional weight retention and unmatched terminal performance.
  • Enhanced Coating: Techni-Crom-coated brass cases offer enhanced lubricity, corrosion resistance, and reliable feeding and extraction, ensuring seamless operation.
  • Optimal Caliber Matching: Each calibre loading is meticulously matched to the core temper of the V-Crown bullet, culminating in consistent and effective terminal performance.
  • Higher Cost: The precision engineering and advanced features of this ammunition might result in a slightly higher price point compared to standard options.

#9 Winchester SUPER-X HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 110 grain

Winchester SUPER-X HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 110 grain

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Step into a legacy of trust and reliability with Winchester Handgun Ammunition, a name synonymous with decades of proven performance when it matters the most. Embodying a time-tested design, this ammunition offers the Power to Defend, providing a steadfast solution for personal safety.

This ammunition stands as a symbol of consistency and trust. The Silvertip Jacketed Hollow Point design, with its storied history, remains true to its heritage, delivering a time-proven solution for stopping power. The ammunition’s efficacy is bolstered by an engineered jacket profile, meticulously crafted to ensure reliable functionality, precise accuracy, and consistent expansion. With each shot, it embraces its legacy of dependability, catering to those who prioritize safety and effectiveness.

  • Time-Tested Trust: Winchester Scarries a legacy of trust and proven performance, instilling confidence when personal safety is paramount.
  • Silvertip Design: The design offers maximum stopping power for effective personal defence.
  • Engineered Jacket Profile: The ammunition’s meticulously engineered jacket profile guarantees reliable functionality, pinpoint accuracy, and uniform expansion, essential for precise shot placement.
  • The design and purpose are primarily centred around personal defence, potentially limiting its suitability for other shooting applications.

#10 Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 125 grain

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Step into a world of unwavering dependability with Winchester USA Handgun Ammunition, a testament to precision and quality. Crafted from premium components, this ammunition stands as a beacon of reliability, offering penetrating and consistent performance that can be trusted in critical moments.

For those who seek nothing but the best in their ammunition, it emerges as a pinnacle of quality. Designed with meticulous attention, this +P Ammo is a premium choice for individuals prioritizing top-tier performance in self-defence scenarios. Its jacketed hollow point design harnesses maximum stopping power, exemplifying its effectiveness when personal safety is paramount. With a muzzle velocity of 945 fps, these rounds offer the accuracy needed for precise field engagement. The hallmark of consistent accuracy has made this ammunition a staple among law enforcement professionals, attesting to its reliability and performance.

Video review

  • Premium Self-Defense Choice: Designed for self-defence, this ammunition’s jacketed hollow point design ensures maximum stopping power when personal safety is on the line.
  • Law Enforcement Trusted: The ammunition’s consistent accuracy has earned the trust of law enforcement professionals, attesting to its effectiveness in critical situations.
  • High Energy Deposit: It guarantees a high energy deposit, ensuring its capability to safeguard personal safety.
  • Versatile Application: This ammunition’s reliability and quality make it a versatile choice for various scenarios.
  • Higher Recoil: It may result in slightly higher recoil, potentially affecting follow-up shots for some shooters.

#11 Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo 110 Grain

Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special Ammo 110 Grain

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Hornady Critical Defense emerges as a pinnacle of excellence. Anchored by the revolutionary FTX Bullet Technology, this ammunition showcases the epitome of hollow point design. The patented Flex Tip not only facilitates reliable expansion but eliminates the notorious issue of clogging when passing through clothing and barriers. In low-light situations, the enhanced visibility of the cartridge cases enhances chamber checks, complemented by low-flash propellants that preserve night vision.

It signifies a leap forward in personal defence capabilities. Through its innovative bullet technology, defence-centred design, and commitment to reliability, this ammunition stands ready to empower defenders with superior performance and unyielding dependability.

  • Defence-Centred Design: The design is optimized for concealed carry and self-defence rifles, offering tailored performance for the vigilant defender.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Cartridge cases with enhanced visibility aid chamber checks in low-light scenarios, enhancing readiness and confidence.
  • Preserved Night Vision: Low-flash propellants contribute to preserved night vision, allowing for consistent performance without disrupting visual acuity.
  • The .38 Special +P designation may lead to slightly higher recoil, influencing follow-up shots for some shooters.

#12 Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 150 grain

Winchester USA HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 150 grain

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Standing as a beacon of excellence, Winchester USA White Box Ammunition is a symbol of reliability and value. With a legacy backed by generations, this ammunition offers a steadfast solution for a wide spectrum of shooting endeavours. The 150-grain Lead Round Nose variant exemplifies this dedication to excellence. Crafted with meticulous attention, each round reflects consistent performance and high-quality composition.

  • Versatile Application: From recreational shooting to varmint control and target practice, this ammunition suits a wide array of shooting needs.
  • Durable Construction: Crafted with precision, each round’s brass cartridge case ensures durability and reliability, contributing to dependable shooting experiences.
  • Value Proposition: It offers outstanding value, delivering high-quality performance at a reasonable price point.
  • Limited Terminal Performance: The Lead Round Nose design may have limitations in terms of terminal performance for self-defense or hunting scenarios.

#13 Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special Ammo 110 grain

Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special Ammo 110 grain

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Federal Premium Personal Defense Ammunition stands as the epitome of trust in defence circles, lauded by security agencies for its remarkable efficiency and quality. At the heart of its superiority lies the ability to deliver controlled expansion, ensuring maximum effectiveness upon impact. What truly sets it apart is its unique penetration through barriers, bestowing it with unmatched penetration ability. The dynamic combination of Hydra-Shok and expanding full metal jacket components confer upon these bullets a distinctive edge over competitors. This ammunition’s variant boasts significant recoil reduction, exceptional accuracy, and remarkable overall ballistic performance. The notched copper jacket of the bullet initiates and controls expansion, while the centre-post hollow-point design ensures reliable expansion, rendering it a steadfast choice for self-defence scenarios.

  • Controlled Expansion: The ammunition’s controlled expansion capability ensures optimal impact effectiveness, enhancing its performance in personal defence situations.
  • Barrier Penetration: Unique barrier-penetration abilities bestow this ammunition with remarkable penetration capabilities, elevating its performance in critical scenarios.
  • Hydra-Shok Advantages: The Hydra-Shok and expanding full metal jacket components offer a distinct competitive advantage, rendering these bullets superior to their counterparts.
  • They are potentially limiting its suitability for other shooting purposes.

#14 Winchester SUPER-X HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 158 grain

Winchester SUPER-X HANDGUN 38 Special Ammo 158 grain

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Since its inception in 1922, Winchester Super Ammunition has consistently delivered exceptional quality and unparalleled performance, catering to the diverse needs of hunters and shooters. The  +P 158-grain  variant epitomizes this tradition of excellence. With a focus on personal defence, this ammunition encompasses the essence of versatility, serving equally well on the range and in critical self-defence scenarios. The Hollow Point design offers distinct advantages, punching clean holes in paper targets while demonstrating effectiveness in personal defence situations. The ammunition’s brass cartridge case material ensures durability, while it’s muzzle velocity and energy deliver consistent and reliable performance.

  • Versatile Application: This ammunition seamlessly transitions between the range and personal defence, offering a well-rounded solution for a variety of shooting needs.
  • Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point Design: The design delivers clean paper target holes and holds promise for personal defence scenarios, making it a versatile choice.
  • Reliable Performance: The ammunition’s brass cartridge case material, muzzle velocity, and energy ensure consistent and reliable performance across shots.
  • Legendary Excellence: Winchester’s legacy of dependability and quality, backed by a long history, contributes to its enduring reputation.
  • While effective for personal defence, it may exhibit limitations in terms of terminal performance compared to specialized defence rounds.

#15 Winchester DEFENDER HANDGUN 38 Special +P Ammo 130 grain

Winchester DEFENDER HANDGUN 38 Special +P Ammo 130 grain

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Prepare for unparalleled personal defence with Winchester Defender Ammunition, meticulously engineered to deliver exceptional stopping power and performance as defined by the rigorous FBI test protocol. When the stakes are high, trust in the innovative prowess of it to provide the utmost protection.

This ammo sets a new standard in personal defence, designed to maximize terminal ballistics for uncompromising stopping power. Crafted with precision, the innovative bonding process seamlessly welds the jacket to the lead core, enhancing penetration and weight retention. The 130-grain Bonded Jacketed Hollow Point design ensures consistent and effective expansion, expanding up to 1.5 times its original diameter for maximum stopping power. The notched jacket, preprogrammed to expand into six uniform segments, guarantees tactical reliability with every shot. With a muzzle velocity of 950 ft/s and energy of 260 ft-lbs, it stands as a steadfast choice for personal defence scenarios.

  • Innovative Bonding Process: The proprietary bonding process welds the jacket to the lead core, enhancing penetration and weight retention for superior performance.
  • Uniform Expansion: The design expands uniformly to 1.5 times its original diameter, ensuring consistent and effective stopping power.
  • Tactical Reliability: The notched jacket’s preprogrammed expansion into six uniform segments guarantees reliable and tactical performance in critical situations.
  • Proven Performance: Its adherence to rigorous testing protocols ensures its reliability and performance when it matters most.
  • The premium performance and innovative features may result in a slightly higher cost compared to standard target ammunition.

#16 Hornady American Gunner 38 Special Ammo 125 Grain

Hornady American Gunner 38 Special Ammo 125 Grain

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Hornady’s commitment to quality shines through in the American Gunner Ammunition, featuring high-quality primers and cases that ensure consistency and dependability. The acronym “XTP” signifies eXtreme Terminal Performance, a testament to the superior ballistic prowess and accuracy that every shot delivers. With its eXtreme Terminal Performance bullets and commitment to quality components, this ammunition enhances your shooting endeavours, whether in pursuit of accuracy, hunting success, or personal defence.

  • Reliable Precision: Hornady’s meticulous craftsmanship ensures that each round performs consistently, translating to enhanced accuracy and performance.
  • eXtreme Terminal Performance: The bullets embedded within this ammunition pack a punch, showcasing superior ballistic performance and terminal impact.
  • Wide Caliber Range: It is offered in popular handgun and rifle calibres, providing a versatile and affordable shooting experience.
  • Top-Tier Components: It has quality brass, primers, and propellant.
  • While offering a wide range of versatile options, this ammunition may have limited offerings for shooters seeking highly specialized rounds.

#17 Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special +P Ammo 130 grain

Federal Premium Centerfire Handgun 38 Special +P Ammo 130 grain

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Step into the realm of personal defence confidence with Federal Premium’s HST ammunition. Engineered for optimal performance in critical situations, this ammunition embodies consistent expansion, controlled penetration, and superior terminal effectiveness. Federal Premium’s commitment to personal safety shines through in the design o ammunition. The specially crafted hollow point ensures reliable and consistent expansion, producing the desired penetration without risking over-penetration. With a focus on function and reliability, the bullet’s nose profile, nickel-plated case, and high-performance primer culminate in a seamless performance, particularly in semi-automatic handguns.

  • Reduced Recoil and Noise: The heavy bullet and lower velocity combination result in decreased felt recoil and noise, contributing to enhanced control and accuracy during rapid-fire scenarios.
  • Controlled Penetration: The expanded diameter and weight retention of the bullet offer optimal penetration tailored to self-defence situations, striking a balance between effectiveness and safety.
  • Enhanced Functionality: Federal’s meticulous design, from the bullet’s profile to the nickel-plated case, ensures reliable cycling and operation in semi-automatic handguns.
  • Limited Range Application
  • Cost Consideration

#18 CCI Ammunition Blazer Aluminum 38 Special +P Ammo 158 grain

CCI Ammunition Blazer Aluminum 38 Special +P Ammo 158 grain

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Blazer Ammunition is a steadfast companion for shooters seeking consistent performance and reliability. With a diverse range of handgun rounds tailored to meet various shooting needs, it ensures that each trigger pull delivers the satisfaction of hitting the mark. While it may not cater to all shooting disciplines, this ammo remains a valuable choice for those looking to refine their shooting skills without breaking the bank. Elevate your shooting experience with ammunition and embark on a journey of safe, accurate, and enjoyable shooting sessions.

  • Reliable Performance: It guarantees a safe, reliable, and enjoyable shooting experience, instilling confidence in every shooter.
  • Consistency Across Sessions: The consistent performance of this ammo remains a hallmark, translating to accurate shots session after session.
  • Affordable Practice: With a focus on practice and training, it offers an affordable option for honing your shooting skills without compromising on quality.
  • Non-Reloadable Cases: The use of aluminium cases, while promoting accuracy, may not be conducive to reloading for some enthusiasts who prefer brass cases.

#19 Hornady Custom 38 Special Ammo 158 Grain

Hornady Custom 38 Special Ammo 158 Grain

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Discover the precision and knockdown power that discerning handgun shooters seek, embodied in Hornady Custom pistol ammunition. Whether it’s the renowned Hornady extreme terminal performance bullet Hornady Custom ammunition promises a combination of accuracy and stopping power that stands above the rest. This brand takes pride in its commitment to quality, exemplified by the meticulous hand inspection of every round before packaging. The fusion of hand-loaded precision and factory production results in Hornady Custom ammunition, granting shooters and hunters the advantage of handcrafted accuracy in a factory load.

  • Premium Brass: Hornady sets the gold standard by producing the majority of brass for its Custom pistol ammo. A rigorous selection of other brass ensures adherence to elevated standards, encompassing feeding reliability, resistance to corrosion, optimal hardness, and capacity to withstand chamber pressures.
  • Precision Match: Each cartridge undergoes a meticulous loading process to achieve consistent pressure, velocity, and performance from batch to batch. Prudent primer selection complements individual loads, ensuring efficient and reliable ignition of the powder charge.
  • Limited Caliber Variety: While offering an impressive selection of bullets, Hornady Custom may not encompass every caliber, limiting options for shooters with unique preferences.

#20 Liberty Civil Defense 38 Special Ammo 50 grain

Liberty Civil Defense 38 Special Ammo 50 grain

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Liberty Ammunition welcomed the .38 Special into its esteemed Civil Defense lineup back in 2014, marking a significant leap in personal defence capabilities. Distinguished by its cutting-edge construction, it stands apart from competitors, boasting a solid copper bullet design that deviates from the conventional lead composition.

It is tailored for personal and home defence scenarios. This ammunition excels in delivering unmatched stopping power and barrier penetration, complemented by reduced recoil and impeccable match-grade accuracy. Sporting an exceptional and unique design, it earns the distinction of being the world’s fastest and most lightweight lead-free self-defence ammunition available today, weighing a mere 50 grains.

  • Innovative Design: It adopts a groundbreaking solid copper bullet design, elevating its ballistic performance beyond traditional lead projectiles.
  • Maximum Stopping Power: The ammo exhibits remarkable stopping power, making it an ideal choice for self-defence and home protection.
  • Reduced Recoil: Shooters benefit from reduced felt recoil, ensuring better control and accuracy during critical moments.
  • Impressive Velocity and Energy: With a muzzle velocity of 1500 fps and 250 foot-pounds of energy it outperforms competitor offerings with higher velocity and energy levels.
  • Enhanced Penetration: Despite its lightweight build, this ammunition displays surprising penetration capabilities against soft targets, exceeding expectations.
  • Environmental Consideration: This line features nickel-plated solid copper bullets and brass cases, addressing environmental concerns associated with lead ammunition.
  • Limited Projectile Weight: The use of a lighter 50-grain projectile may lead to a varied performance in specific scenarios or preferences, potentially affecting terminal ballistics.



Reloading ammunition is the process of assembling cartridges by hand, using various components such as brass casings, primers, gunpowder, and bullets. It’s a practice commonly undertaken by shooting enthusiasts, competitive shooters, and hunters who seek greater control over the quality and performance of their ammunition. Reloading offers several benefits, but it requires careful attention to detail and adherence to safety guidelines.


Reloading your own ammunition can be a satisfying and cost-effective procedure once you have the necessary equipment and knowledge. Here are some benefits:

  • 💡 Cost-effective: Reloading can be significantly cheaper than buying new ammunition. It lowers the costs by reusing the major components, which account for the majority of the ammunition’s price.
  • 💡 Custom Loads: Reloading allows you to customize your load to fit your particular needs. You can adjust the powder charge, projectile type, and even the overall length of the cartridge.
  • 💡 Improved Accuracy: Custom loading your ammunition to match your specific firearm can result in improved accuracy. This is particularly beneficial for competitive shooting or hunting.
  • 💡 Availability: During periods of high demand, certain types of ammunition can be hard to find. Reloading your own ensures you always have a supply on hand.
  • 💡 Reduced Waste: Reloading your own ammunition is environmentally friendly. It allows for the reuse of casings and reduces the amount of waste generated by discarded ammunition.

Many shooters find the process of reloading to be a rewarding hobby in itself, adding another dimension to the shooting experience.

Bullet Parts📏

A .38 Special ammunition bullet cartridge is composed of four main parts:

  1. Case: The case, often made of brass, is the container for all the other components of the cartridge. It’s typically reusable, which makes it a prime candidate for reloading.
  2. Primer: Located at the base of the case, the primer is a small, sensitive compound that ignites when struck by the firing pin. This ignition sparks the gunpowder within the case.
  3. Gunpowder: This is the propellant that, when ignited by the primer, creates a high-pressure gas which drives the bullet down the barrel of the firearm.
  4. Bullet: The bullet is the part of the cartridge that gets fired out of the gun. It’s made of a lead alloy, often encased in a copper jacket. The bullet’s weight, shape, and material can all affect the trajectory and performance of the round.

These components all work together to function properly. When the firing pin of the firearm strikes the primer, it ignites the gunpowder. The resulting rapid expansion of gases propels the bullet forward and out of the barrel.

38 Special Ammo Bullet Parts

Reloading Equipment🛠️

When it comes to reloading your own ammunition, having the right equipment is crucial. Here’s a detailed list of the necessary tools and supplies:

  1. ✔️ Reloading Press: This is the centrepiece of your reloading setup. The press is used to deprime and resize the casing, seat the bullet, and crimp the case around the bullet.
  2. ✔️ Dies for .38 Special: These are crucial in the reloading process. They’re used to resize the casing, remove the spent primer, and seat and crimp the bullet.
  3. ✔️ Shell Holder: This holds the casing in place during the reloading process.
  4. Reloading Scale: This is used to measure the exact amount of powder for each round. It’s important that this is accurate to ensure safety and consistency.
  5. ✔️ Powder Measure: This tool dispenses a consistent amount of powder for each round.
  6. Powder Funnel: A small funnel is used to guide the powder into the casing without spilling.
  7. ✔️ Primer Tool: This tool seats the new primer into the casing. Some presses have this included, but not all.
  8. ✔️ Callipers: These are used to measure the overall length of the finished round to ensure it meets specifications.
  9. ✔️ Bullet Puller: A bullet puller is a tool that can be used to disassemble a loaded round. This is handy if you make a mistake during the reloading process.
  10. ✔️ Reloading Manual: While not a tool, a reloading manual is a critical resource. It provides the specifications for different loads, including the type and amount of powder to use.

By having all the necessary equipment and understanding how to use them, you can efficiently and safely reload your own ammunition.

38 Special Reloading Equipment

Step-by-Step Guide🔔

  1. Inspection: Begin by inspecting the used brass casings for any cracks or deformities. Any damaged casings should be discarded.
  2. Cleaning: Next, clean the brass casings. A tumbler filled with cleaning media is the most common method.
  3. Resizing and Depriming: The cleaned casings then go into the reloading press, where a die resizes the casing back to its factory dimensions and punches out the old primer.
  4. Priming: A new primer is inserted into the casing using a priming tool.
  5. Powder Charge: The next step is to add the powder. It’s crucial to use the correct type and amount of powder, as recommended in reloading manuals.
  6. Bullet Seating: Finally, the bullet is seated into the casing using a die in the reloading press. The bullet needs to be seated to the correct depth, which is also specified in reloading manuals.

Throughout this process, it’s essential to maintain attention to detail. Double-check your measurements for the powder charge and bullet seating depth, and always follow the safety guidelines. You’ll soon find that reloading your own ammo not only saves money but also allows you to customize your ammo to your exact preferences. As always, safety is paramount when reloading, so ensure you understand each step thoroughly before proceeding.

Safety Rules📛

When reloading ammunition, there are several key safety rules to follow to ensure the process is both safe and effective:

  1. Use the Correct Equipment: Always use equipment specifically designed for reloading ammunition. This includes the reloading press, dies, and other tools.
  2. Follow Load Data Accurately: Always use a reputable reloading manual and follow the load data precisely. Be aware that different brands of bullets, even if they are the same weight, can have different load data.
  3. Wear Protective Gear: Always wear protective eyewear and gloves during the reloading process. This will protect you from potential injury from primer or powder sparks.
  4. Work in a Well-Lit and Clean Area: Make sure you have proper lighting in your work area to avoid mistakes. Also, keep your workspace clean and free of spilt powder or bullet fragments.
  5. Avoid Distractions: Reloading requires focus and attention to detail. Avoid distractions while working on your ammunition to prevent potential errors.
  6. Don’t Mix Powders: Using the wrong type or mixing different types of gunpowder can be extremely dangerous. Always check that you’re using the correct type of powder.
  7. Store Powder and Primers Properly: Store your powder and primers separately in cool, dry places away from heat sources and out of the reach of children.
  8. Inspect Your Ammo: Always inspect your finished rounds for any potential problems. Any rounds that look odd or different from the others should be set aside and not used.
  9. Don’t Rush: Rushing can lead to mistakes and potential accidents. Take your time to ensure each step is performed correctly.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority when reloading your own ammunition. Following these safety rules will help ensure that you produce high-quality, reliable ammunition while staying safe in the process.

Please watch this video to learn more information📺


Is 38 special ammo the same as 38 ammo?

These terms can often be used interchangeably, as they generally refer to the same type of ammunition.

🔰 The “.38” refers to the approximate diameter of the bullet (not the cartridge), while “Special” is a specific type of .38 calibre ammunition developed by Smith & Wesson in 1898.

🔰 It’s important to note, though, that there are other .38 calibre cartridges (like .380 ACP or .38 Super), which are different from .38 Special. So, while “.38 ammo” could technically refer to any .38 calibre ammunition, in common parlance it’s usually synonymous with .38 Special. Always ensure the ammo you choose is suitable for your firearm to ensure safety and performance.

What is the effective range for 38 special ammo?

The effective range can vary based on several factors, including the type of firearm, bullet design, barrel length, shooter’s skill, and intended use. Generally, .38 Special is considered effective within relatively short to moderate distances. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. ⭕ Self-Defence: For self-defence purposes, the most effective at close ranges, typically within 7 to 15 yards (21 to 45 feet). This range allows for accurate shot placement and maximum stopping power in high-stress situations.
  2. ⭕ Target Shooting: When used for target shooting or practice, it can be accurate and consistent at distances of up to 25 to 50 yards (75 to 150 feet), depending on the shooter’s skill level and the specific firearm.
  3. ⭕ Hunting and Specialty Shooting: While this ammo is not commonly used for hunting larger games due to its limited energy and stopping power, it can be effective for small game hunting within short distances, generally within 25 to 50 yards.

It’s important to note that the terminal performance, especially with different bullet types, can vary significantly at longer ranges. Factors such as bullet drop, velocity loss, and energy decay can impact the effectiveness of the round. Additionally, the shooter’s ability to accurately place shots plays a crucial role in determining the practical effective range.

For precise shooting or long-range engagements, other cartridges with higher velocities and flatter trajectories, such as the .357 Magnum or various semi-automatic pistol cartridges, are more commonly preferred.

Ultimately, understanding the limitations and capabilities and practising at various distances will help you become a more proficient and responsible shooter. Always prioritize safety and adhere to best practices when using firearms and ammunition.

How to store & organize 38 Special Ammo?

Storing and organizing ammunition requires adherence to safety guidelines and best practices to ensure its longevity and performance.

  1. ✅ Proper Storage Container: Ammunition should be stored in a cool, dry place, preferably in a dedicated ammo storage container. Some shooters prefer metal ammo cans, while others opt for plastic storage boxes. Regardless of the material, the container should be sturdy, resistant to moisture, and sealable to keep out dust and dirt.
  2. ✅ Climate Control: Ammunition is sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity. Consequently, storing your ammo in a climate-controlled environment can help prevent corrosion and deterioration. Avoid storing ammo in places like garages or attics where temperature and humidity can fluctuate greatly.
  3. ✅ Organization: Organize your ammo by calibre, type, and date of purchase. Using dividers or separate containers for different types can make it easier to find what you need when you need it. Labelling each container with its contents and purchase date can also help you track your usage and ensure you use older ammo first.
  4. ✅ Secure Storage: For safety reasons, it’s essential to store your ammunition in a location inaccessible to unauthorized individuals, especially children. A lockable storage box or safe is often the preferred choice.
  5. ✅ Avoid Damage: Ensure your ammo is protected from physical damage. Don’t stack heavy objects on top of your ammo containers, and avoid dropping or roughly handling the ammunition.

Remember, proper storage and organization not only promote safety but also help maintain the reliability and performance of your .38 Special ammo over time.

We believe this video can be helpful for you📺

What Does +P+ Ammo Mean?
The term “+P+” on ammunition refers to rounds that are loaded to a higher internal pressure than standard cartridges, resulting in greater velocity and energy. This is often done to achieve enhanced performance, specifically in terms of power and range. However, it’s crucial to note that not all firearms can safely handle +P+ ammo due to the increased pressure. Always check your firearm’s manual or consult with the manufacturer before using +P+ ammunition to ensure safety and avoid potential damage. Also, be aware that using +P+ ammo can result in greater recoil and quicker wear on your firearm over time.
What's the difference between .38 Special and .357 Magnum?

Both cartridges share similar physical dimensions in terms of bullet diameter and case length, but they differ significantly in terms of performance and power.

.38 Special: It was introduced in the late 19th century and has a long history of use in law enforcement, self-defence, and target shooting. It typically uses bullets with a diameter of .357 inches (hence the name “38”), and its standard operating pressure and velocity levels are relatively moderate. It is commonly available in various bullet weights and types for different purposes, including target shooting and self-defence.

.357 Magnum: It was introduced later as a more powerful. It is based on the same case but is loaded to much higher pressures and velocities. This results in significantly increased muzzle energy and stopping power. The .357 Magnum is known for its exceptional performance and is often used for self-defence, hunting, and law enforcement. It can shoot the same ammunition but is chambered for higher-pressure .357 Magnum loads as well.

Key Differences:

  1. 🔘 Pressure and Velocity: The most significant difference between the two cartridges is the higher pressure and velocity of the .357 Magnum. This increased pressure results in a substantial boost in kinetic energy and terminal ballistics.
  2. 🔘 Stopping Power: The .357 Magnum is known for its superior stopping power. It delivers greater energy to the target, resulting in more effective penetration and expansion of bullets, particularly with hollow point designs.
  3. 🔘 Recoil and shoot ability: Due to its higher pressure and energy, the .357 Magnum generates more recoil and muzzle blast than the .38 Special. This can impact shoot ability, especially for less experienced shooters or those with smaller frames. However, some firearms designed for the .357 Magnum feature porting or other recoil-reducing features.
  4. 🔘 Versatility: The .357 Magnum offers greater versatility in terms of its application, as it can shoot both .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition. This allows the shooter to use milder loads for practice or training and switch to higher-powered .357 Magnum loads when needed.

While both cartridges may appear similar externally, the .357 Magnum’s higher pressure and velocity significantly enhance its performance and effectiveness, making it a preferred choice for situations requiring increased stopping power.


The .38 Special ammunition is an enduring classic in the realm of firearms. Its manageable recoil, high accuracy, versatility, and reloading potential make it a suitable choice for a host of applications, be it self-defence, sport shooting, target practice, hunting small game, home defence, or law enforcement. The wide availability and relative affordability of this ammo further add to its appeal. Despite the advent of more technologically advanced cartridges, it holds its ground as a reliable and effective round, a testament to its well-engineered design and time-tested performance.

Tags: #Best #38 Special Ammo #Review #Remington #Winchester #Self #Homme #Defense #Hornady

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7 months ago

38 special and ammo my grandpa left for me

    7 months ago

    Is .38 Special suitable for revolver competitions?

      7 months ago
      Reply to  Caol

      🔰 Yes, .38 Special is commonly used in revolver shooting competitions, especially in categories where higher-powered cartridges like the .357 Magnum are not allowed.

        7 months ago

        This is a cartridge I favor after the .357, particularly when I require reduced recoil.

          7 months ago

          Greetings! Can I shoot a .38 Special +P in a firearm chambered for a .38 special?

            7 months ago
            Reply to  Champ

            Yes, you can generally shoot .38 Special +P ammunition in a firearm chambered for .38 Special, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

            .38 Special +P (plus P) ammunition is loaded to higher pressures and velocities than standard .38 Special ammunition. Many modern .38 Special firearms are designed to handle the increased pressures of +P ammunition, but it’s essential to verify if your specific firearm is rated for +P use. Here’s what you should do:

            🚩 Check the Firearm Manual: The first step is to consult your firearm’s owner’s manual. It will provide information about whether your firearm is rated for +P ammunition. If the manual states that +P ammunition is safe to use, you should be good to go.

            🚩 Inspect the Firearm: Examine your firearm for any markings or indications that it is +P rated. Some manufacturers may mark the firearm’s frame or barrel to indicate its compatibility with +P ammunition.

            🚩 Consider Recoil and Wear: While using +P ammunition in a firearm rated for it is generally safe, it does produce more recoil and can cause more wear and tear on the firearm over time. Be prepared for increased felt recoil, and keep in mind that using +P ammunition extensively may lead to faster wear on internal components.

            🚩 Practice and Testing: If your firearm is rated for +P, you should still practice shooting with +P ammunition to become familiar with its increased recoil and performance characteristics. Additionally, consider testing various brands of +P ammunition to find the one that performs best in your firearm.

            🚩 Personal Comfort: Lastly, consider your personal comfort level with the increased recoil of +P ammunition. If you find the recoil to be too harsh or uncomfortable, you might prefer using standard .38 Special ammunition.

            Remember that safety should always be your top priority. If you’re unsure about using +P ammunition in your firearm, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable gunsmith or a certified firearms instructor before proceeding.

              7 months ago

              Thank you for reloading the info. The step-by-step guide was clear and concise, making the reloading process seem approachable even for those new to the practice. Safety tips were emphasized throughout, which I appreciate. This article has certainly motivated me to explore reloading as a way to customize my ammunition.

                7 months ago
                Reply to  Emilion

                Thank you for your kind words 👍

                  7 months ago
                  Reply to  Emilion

                  This article will certainly enlighten newcomers to the field. I have been actively involved in reloading since the 1970s and participated in PPC competitions during the 1990s and early 2000s, favoring the 38 SPCL and Red Dot – which paired exceptionally well with the 148 HBWC. Just this past weekend, I had the chance to teach my adult son the art of reloading. We started with a single-stage process to ensure he gains a solid understanding before progressing to more advanced stages at a later time.

                    7 months ago
                    Reply to  Emilion

                    Yeah, interesting. The Lee Universal Decapper is my preferred tool as it allows me to decamp before cleaning. This method helps avoid any possible damage to the sizing die, especially when gathering range brass. Post-decapping, I prefer to clean near the flash hole. My tool of choice for priming is the Lee Case Primer. It’s gentle on the hands and offers a comfortable grip. However, refilling the tray can sometimes be a bit tricky.

                      7 months ago
                      Reply to  Emilion

                      Reloading has been my hobby for many years, and I’ve always enjoyed using a single-stage press. However, I started to experience hand fatigue during the case prep phase, which diminished my enjoyment somewhat. That changed when I acquired the Lyman Case Prep Xpress, a fantastic device that has rekindled my passion for reloading.

                        7 months ago

                        Hello. I found some ammo that was presented to me a few years ago. How long is 38 special ammo good for?

                          7 months ago
                          Reply to  Fin

                          The lifespan of .38 Special ammunition largely depends on the conditions under which it is stored.
                          ✔️ If kept in a cool, dry, and stable environment, ammunition can last for decades without losing its effectiveness. Some reports even suggest that ammo stored properly has been successfully fired after 50 years or more. However, it’s crucial to regularly inspect older ammunition for signs of corrosion or any other damage.
                          ❌ If the rounds appear to be compromised, it is safer not to use them. For optimal performance and safety, many shooters prefer to use ammunition within 10 years of its manufacture date, although this is more a rule of thumb than a strict guideline. Remember, proper storage practices are key: store ammo in a climate-controlled, moisture-free environment, and in a suitable ammo container.