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Greetings,

I recently acquired a model 442 snub nose. I have shot regular 130 grain FMJ Winchester white box ammo through it and it kicks and beats my hand quite a lot as I expected. However, since I am looking forward to carrying this gun, I would prefer to use ammo with less recoil.

What would you recommend as a good hollow point .38 Special round that will provide more manageable recoil for an airweight snub nose revolver?

Thank you for your insight!
 

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Honestly .. I dont know you are going to get much softer than 130 gr standard pressure WWB. I have never seen you shoot but I would recommend sight unseen 2 things. Rubber grips if you dont already have them installed and a much firmer grip. Grab that sucker like you mean it. Felt recoil on the hand is almost always a result of not gripping the gun properly and not taking a good stance. if you do both those thing you should feel it more in the body than in the hand.

I had my newly purchased 642 out just last week and except for trying a light weight gun some 14 years ago am unfamiliar with the gun. I shot a variety of rounds including +p and my hand remained unscathed and I stayed on target. The little gun almost helps to mitigate recoil at the hand because so much of it is buried in your hands with a good high grip that it cant go anywhere but back.

Hollow points and light recoil are kind of working against each other. The hollow point needs to travel at a certain speed to expand or it acts like a regular non expanding bullet. Unfortunately speed usually comes with additional recoil.

I will say this though .. The federal HST in 38+p I find to be pretty mild and according to what I have seen and read it expands quite nicely and fairly reliably. Its not cheap but you may want to give it a whirl. My wife shots it well out of a heavier gun and I shot some last week and it has a sharp report but I didnt think the recoil was bad at all.
 

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If you dont need an expanding bullet .. Injunbro has a point

https://www.targetsportsusa.com/rem...rain-lead-wadcutter-match-rtg38s3-p-4106.aspx

Those are super soft shooting and leave a very clean large hole in things.

These will also get the job done and are also very soft.

https://www.targetsportsusa.com/rem...mi-wadcutter-hollow-point-rtg38s6-p-4105.aspx

All things being somewhat equal ... heavier bullet should cause a bit more recoil but these are loaded light. Looking at the 130 gr you shot they are advertising 800FPS at the muzzle .. they dont say what length barrel but when backed out for a 2" I would think velocity is going to be the same.

I shot both of the rounds from the links above .. they are cream puffs.
 

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In my fixed sight .38s I use the old FBI 158 grain LSWCHP. The sights are regulated for 158 grain bullets . In my adjustable sight . 38s I like Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain standard pressure .
I think the FBI load called for +p pressure though. I think a 158 at +p might be a bit outside of the OP's comfort zone.

This is what I am currently carrying in my 642

https://www.underwoodammo.com/colle...hollow-point-gas-check?variant=18785707458617

Touch spicy but still not bad. I wouldnt even try their +p variant which I keep in my 686 as nightstand rounds.
 

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I found a box of these among my cousin's stuff when he passed. He was very recoil sensitive & these were his carry loads. I shot three of them from a 2'' Model 36, not sure they would have made it out of a longer barrel. They had enough punch to expand! Not a recommended load,just sayin'!

IMG_2373.JPG
 

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I use a 148 Grain DEWC (double ended wad cutter) over 3.0 grains titegroup or 3.5 grains HP-38. The tight group is a little lower pressure but about same velocity (850 fps). I do like the Wad Cutter as it is blunt and to me leaves a big area of damage. I do not notice that much recoil out of my Colt Cobra and it is lightweight. As stated, grips do play a big part in minimizing the felt recoil by positioning hand higher. Good luck finding something that works.
 

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Hornady makes both a 110 grain JHP and a 110 gr Critical Defense in .38 special; Inceptor Preferred Defense (sold by Midway) makes a 77 grain .38 special round all of which are lighter recoiling.

The spousal unit carries the 110 grain Critical Defense in her Aluminum alloy framed and Total Titanium snub revolvers.
 

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Hornady makes both a 110 grain JHP and a 110 gr Critical Defense in .38 special; Inceptor Preferred Defense (sold by Midway) makes a 77 grain .38 special round all of which are lighter recoiling.

The spousal unit carries the 110 grain Critical Defense in her Aluminum alloy framed and Total Titanium snub revolvers.
The Inceptor/ARX would be my first choice because recoil is almost non-existent and terminal performance is spectacular. The only reason I don't use it is it uses a taper crimp and the case mouths hang up loading from a speed loader. In my M36 , I load five ARX and keep Critical Defense in the loader as BU.
 

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In MY snubs, either a 148WC or a 158 LSWC - NO +p or 357 for me - too painful to shoot
 

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Greetings,

I recently acquired a model 442 snub nose. I have shot regular 130 grain FMJ Winchester white box ammo through it and it kicks and beats my hand quite a lot as I expected. However, since I am looking forward to carrying this gun, I would prefer to use ammo with less recoil.

What would you recommend as a good hollow point .38 Special round that will provide more manageable recoil for an airweight snub nose revolver?

Thank you for your insight!
I hope you will come back after you have tried a few and give us your thoughts.
 
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Federal .38 Special +P 130 gr HST is an excellent short barrel load.
In a stressful deadly force situation, you'll probably not even notice the recoil anyway.

I also like the Underwood .38 Special 150 gr wadcutter.
Longer barrels get the Federal Nyclad 158 gr LSWHP +P (the old FBI load).
 
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