Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin
This is a continuation of my last post giving my results from my 1911 chambered in 45ACP. I’ll be reporting on my Smith & Wesson Model 10 chambered in 38Spec with a snubbie barrel and it was a tough go, but I have picked a winner from our lineup to use in it.
The first bullet I found when I initially purchased this firearm was Sierra’s 140 gr jacketed hollow point #8325 and it shot very well for me. Even though it gave me accuracy, I never could get any kind of velocity from it. My accuracy load only gave 750fps, but I never pushed it over 800. At 750fps, it didn’t expand at all through my water test as you can see in the photo. After the initial examination, I picked out the layers of jug plastic from the hollow point cavity. It went through and stopped in the 6th jug for a whopping total of 27” or so worth. Needless to say, it wasn’t going to work for the job of self defense, so I had to find another.
When I considered another (preferably a lighter one), I did look over Sierra’s 125gr JHP #8320 but decided to go all the way to the lightest one we offer. Sierra’s 110gr JHP Blitz #8300 bullet was going to be the choice test subject for this firearm. I was able to test a few powders but none gave the accuracy I wanted or the velocity I needed (or thought I needed) from it except one. The velocity I hoped to achieve was 1,100fps and I was able to but I had better accuracy from a load that gave 1,050fps and actually gave an exact replica of bullet expansion as the faster velocity did so I kept it at the lower charge. The bullet you see stopped in the third jug so it went around 12” or so. It expanded to a 0.6” diameter and retained 100% of its weight. Needless to say, I have found a winner.
On a side note, there have been shooters call and ask what kind of velocity loss they will see from this length barrel compared to data specs. Of the velocities I chronographed from my firearm compared to several other sources, here is the rundown. From a 7.7” test barrel, I found a 300-350fps loss; from a 6” test barrel, I found a 180-200fps loss; and from a 4” test barrel, I found a 60-90fps loss depending on what manual I was looking in. Unfortunately, this is not set in stone and your results may vary but you could use this as a rule of thumb if you like.
In conclusion, I am going to use Sierra’s 110gr JHP Blitz #8300 Blitz bullet from my backup but please remember you may not get the same velocities from your firearm as I did. If your gun also has a short barrel and is not rated for +P loads, you definitely won’t so don’t push it. I may do another post on how this bullet works at slower velocities as well as how our heavier bullets work at faster velocities.
Till next time, have fun shooting.