Winchester Q4171 .38 Special FMJ Reviews

Winchester Q4171 .38 Special FMJ

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Winchester .38 Special FMJ Q4171 - You can do better

Jan 29, 2010 (Updated Feb 2, 2010)
Review by  
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.

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:

9mm
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

.45 ACP

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

9x18mm Makarov FMJ ammo by American Eagle for the pistol of the Russian Bear

Wolf Military Classic 9x18mm Makarov ammo - Avoid at all costs

.22 LR

Winchester Super-X .22 LR target ammo for .22 plinking


Recommend this product? No


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