Winchester .38 Spl 158gr LSWCHP +P in Clear Ballistics Gel.

Test Gun: S&W M442
Barrel length: 1 7/8 inches.
Ammunition: Winchester .38 Spl 158gr LSWCHP. 
Test media: 10% Clear Ballistics Gel.
Distance: 10 feet.
Chronograph: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2.
Five shot velocity average: 778fps
Gel Temperature 74 degrees.

I didn’t realize it but its been almost two years since I did a .38 Spl. test. While digging through some stuff today I came across a box of some Winchester 158gr LSWCHP’s that I’ve for a few years now. It’s been some time since I have carried a snub nose but when I did it was with this load(AKA the FBI load). I have owned this M442 for about 25 or so years and put thousands of rounds through it. But when I picked up my first sub-compact 9mm that all change and it’s been at least 6 years since I have carried one.

If the truth is known I could never shoot well but sometimes it was necessary to have something a little smaller than my normal carry pice, a Glock 19. I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a reason the 5-yard group below sucks.


I got a five-shot average velocity of 778fps with a high of 786 and a low of 774fps.

The first round into the bare gel had a velocity of 775fps and penetrated to 20.5 inches. The expansion was .39 inches and recovered weight was 157.9 grains. Round two also penetrated to 20.5 inches and expanded to .38 inches with a recovered weight of 156.7 grains. Its velocity was 768fps.

Through the covered gel, both rounds were clogged with the clothing and passed through both gel blocks and were found laying on the floor. The recovered weights were 157.6 and 157.7 grains. The velocity of the two rounds was 757 and 775fps. There was no expansion of either round.

I don’t know how many times someone said ” try it with a 4 inch, a 4 inch, a 4 inch” Ok, here it is out of a 4-inch S&W 686 .357. Two round in bare and two in the clothed gel.
The first round in the bare gel had a velocity of 830fps and penetrated to 17.5 inches. The recovered diameter was .47 inches and the recovered weight was 157.1 grains. Round two’s velocity was 824fps and penetrated to 17.25 inches. The recovered weight was 156.4 inches and expansion was also .47 inches.

Through the heavy clothing, the first round’s velocity was 812fps and it penetrated to 18 inches a recovered weight of 156.8 grains. Round two’s velocity was 778fps and it’s penetration was 26 inches and weighed 157 grains. Neither bullet showed any expansion.

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