Winchester .38 Special FMJ Q4171 - You can do better
Jan 29, 2010 (Updated Feb 2, 2010)
Review by Trebor1415
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Inexpensive, FMJ prevents lead fouling
Cons:Frequent failures to fire.
The Bottom Line: Only recommended if you can't find anything else.
Developed over 100 years ago, the .38 Special cartridge is still a favorite for target shooting, competition, and self-defense.
Recommend this product?
The Winchester Q4171 .38 Special load is one of the company's bargain priced choices sold as part of their "USA" line. It is designed for general range use and casual shooting.
This load uses a 130 grain FMJ projectile, a reloadable brass case, and a boxer primer. The ammo is packed in white boxes marked USA and is available in both 50 and 100 round count boxes.
The Winchester web site lists the load as having a muzzle velocity of 800 FPS, as measured at the muzzle, and producing 185 foot pounds of energy.
While suitable for casual plinking, this load should not be used for serious competitive use. It is not accurate enough for Bullseye competition and the low muzzle velocity of the 130 grain bullet makes it difficult for it to meet the minimum power factor for IDPA or IPSC competition. This is a plinker load, plain and simple.
I shoot a lot of this particular load as it is one of the few relatively affordable .38 Special loads I can easily find on a regular basis. I practice with it and provide it to my students who use my handguns in classes.
After multiple, long running, problems with this load though, I am actively seeking a low cost replacement. I consistently have failures to fire with this load when used with my revolvers. At first I thought it was a problem with one particular revolver, but I later noticed it happens with every revolver I've tried with this ammo.
I'll typically have one or two failures to fire from each 100 round box. These rounds will not usually fire even after multiple firing pin strikes or after trying them in a different revolver. I assume the problem is primer related, but I don't have the resources to actively investigate further.
Because of the repeated failure to fire problems I do not recommend this .38 Special ammunition for anything but the most casual use. As soon as I find another regularly available low-cost alternative I will stop buying this particular load.
Here are some of my other ammo reviews.
Personal defense revolver ammunition:
Blazer .357 Magnum 158 gr JHP's for target shooting with "Magnum Force."
Winchester .38 Special +P 125 gr Silvertip ammo is not for Werewolves
Winchester .38 Special 110 gr Silvertip ammo is a good standard pressure load
Target revolver ammunition:
American Eagle .38 Special 158 gr LRN ammo
American Eagle .38 Special 130 gr FMJ ammo
Personal defense ammo for semi-auto pistols:
Winchester Ranger SXT RA9TA 9mm Luger 127 gr +P+ is a top defensive load
Federal C9BP 9x19mm 115 gr JHP is a great standard pressure defensive load
Winchester 9mm Luger 115 gr Silvertip is a good standard pressure load
Winchester .45 ACP JHP's for target shooting or self defense
Economical target ammo:
Blazer 9mm pistol ammo: Blaze away with cheap bulk ammo for target practice
Winchester White Box 9mm 115 gr FMJ ammo is good, cheap target ammo
Remington UMC Mega Pak 9mm ammo is good bulk ammo
Blazer Brass 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, cheap ammo for shooters on a budget
Sellier & Bellot 9mm Luger ammunition - An OK plinking round
Federal American Eagle 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, economical bulk target ammo
Winchester White Box 9mm FMJ ammo is 50 rounds of good, cheap practice ammo
American Eagle 9mm 147gr FMJ FP for target shooting
Winchester Win Clean 9mm bulk ammo for lead free target shooting
American Eagle 9mm 147 gr TMJ ammo reduces the risk of heavy metal poisoning
Blazer .45 Auto pistol ammo for 1911 pistols or other .45 ACP guns
American Eagle .45 Auto (.45 ACP) for the classic American 1911 pistol
The Winchester .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ load is a good budget ammo choice
Blazer Brass .45 ACP 230 gr ammo is good, inexpensive fodder for semi-auto pistols
American Eagle .45 ACP 230 gr TMJ ammo reduces toxic chemical exposure
9x18mm Makarov FMJ ammo by American Eagle for the pistol of the Russian Bear
Wolf Military Classic 9x18mm Makarov ammo - Avoid at all costs
Winchester Super-X .22 LR target ammo for .22 plinking
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