Creedmoor’s New .38

Creedmoor .38 Ammo

Creedmoor Ammunition announced a new handgun load for the .38 Special. The new +P load uses Hornady’s existing 125 grain XTP bullet driven to 1,050 fps at the muzzle. That works out to be 306 ft-lbs of energy for those interested.

Don’t expect that velocity out of your handgun, though. The numbers are generated when using a 7.1″ unvented barrel. Drop down to a 1.875″ snubbie and you can only hope to break 900 fps at the barrel.

For example, I recently ran some Winchester Kinetic HE through both a Ruger LCR and a Smith & Wesson 642. While the ammo was fine, the 110 grain bullet was only making between 778 – 854 fps at the chronograph. From the test barrel, the ammo is rated at 950 fps. I would not be surprised to see similar drops from this load as well.

From a self-defense perspective, I like to see adequate penetration and good expansion to help ensure rapid blood loss in the attacker. The XTP bullet has been around for decades, and from what I’ve seen, it’s expansion is heavily dependent on velocity. It seemed to be a hollow point design that was biased toward penetration, perhaps in an effort to meet the (then new) FBI testing protocols. (Take a look at Tom R’s testing of the XTP in .380 here.)

The XTP bullet is a popular choice for many ammo manufacturers who are not developing their own bullets, but I suspect that its popularity is driven more by availability than performance. While the XTP bullet is a fine bullet, I don’t think it is an ideal choice for self-defense in the relatively low velocity .38 Special (plus or no plus P) round. Of course, your take may be different. Feel free to comment on this below.

The price on this ammo is listed as $12.25 for a box of 25 rounds. Volume purchasing can drop the price.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Patriot Gunner

    If it’s “Gunny approved” I don’t want any of it or anything to do with it.

    • Swarf

      Glad I’m not alone in that. F that guy.

      • MarcoPolo

        What’s wrong with Gunny?

        • Edeco

          My problem with him is first he’s soft on background checks. Pretty normal gun culture 1.0 guy. That alone would be no biggie but he’s also a nostalgia icon. Together I think thats bad. A lot of people can’t enjoy history responsibly, they envision a vindicating lost paradise, they project, look with rose colored glasses. Gets me feeling all iconoclastic, which admittedly doesn’t take much.

      • iksnilol

        What’d the guy do wrong (‘cept for using Glocks of course)?

        • Kivaari

          He’s a pretty good actor. Even in that cheesy old movie “Siege of Firebase Gloria”, you could tell the guy was a real soldier at one time. He knew how to handle that rifle. Than his job in “Full Metal Jacket” was stellar.

          • Bill

            He ought to be good, he plays exactly one character.

  • PK

    Does it hurt anyone else to see “spcl” instead of “spl” in abbreviation of .38 Special?

  • Giolli Joker

    I’m pleased to read about a new product accompanied by a constructive critique rather than by a dumb press release.

  • gunsandrockets

    From what I’ve seen, no .38 special load has appreciable expansion when fired from a snub barrel revolver, even the Buffalo Bore +P LSWHP. But that’s a good thing. When bullet energy is that low, any significant expansion would reduce penetration beyond acceptable limits.

    If you really want significant expansion and adequate penetration from a snubbie, you are just going to have to use a magnum instead of a .38.

    • Madcap_Magician

      The solid-copper hollow points seem to be a good, if expensive and practically unproven, compromise here. They expand, but the petals don’t have the lead mushroom, so the expansion diameter is there, but they lose less penetration, I suspect because the frontal surface area of an expanded SCHP is less than that of a traditional lead-core JHP.

  • gunsandrockets

    It seems to me the contemporary market for self-defense pistol ammunition over-values bullet expansion and under-values penetration compared to real-world utility.

    • Giolli Joker

      Lehigh and Polycase are moving in the opposite direction, though.

  • DaveP.

    Who the devil uses a 7.1 inch barrel in .38 special? That’s so cheesy it’s got a “Kraft” sticker on it!

    • iksnilol

      I’ve always wanted a S&W MP 10 with an extended barrel and shortened butt.

      Would be a handy target piece.

    • PK

      Mann barrels and universal test receivers, perhaps? It seems to me they developed the load and verified SAAMI spec pressure, then used those results as the performance advertisement. It’s not uncommon, sadly.

      • DaveP.

        This reminds me of “power by brochure” in the ’60s: the horsepower figures used in automotive marketing were arrived at with ‘clean’ motors (just the engine, no muffler or A/C or power steering pump or anything else), all by themselves on dynamometers. By the time all the accessory equipment was attached and the engine dropped into the car and mated to the transmission, what actually reached the road was vastly different.

        Using ultralong test barrels to get velocity figures may not be uncommon but it’s still cheesy as hell and most definitely doesn’t encourage me to buy the product. I’ll stick with my Short Barrel Gold Dots, thanks.

        • iksnilol

          So they tested only the engine, without the car? :O That kinda seems dishonest due to drive train loss and whatnot.

          • DaveP.

            Dishonest? Pretty much. Musclecars were the big thing and ‘gross horsepower’ fed into the advertisement campaigns. All that changed in 1972, when Congress forced all manufacturers to abide by a “Net Horsepower” standard (look up ‘SAE Net Horsepower’, there’s a bunch of good articles online) which is the engine with all the trimmings, just like it would be installed; also, there’s actual penalties for fudging on your published HP/torque numbers (I know for a fact both Mazda and Hyundai have run afoul of this: they were brought to civil court and forced to shell out big fines to the buyers).

    • wayne Reimer

      Meh…mine’s 12 inches. Mind you, that’s a Rossi ranch hand. I bet these might even cook out of that barrel a little quicker.

      • Gus Butts

        I still got to get me one of those with the thigh holster…

    • Jeff Smith

      This. It always annoys the hell out of me when you see advertised velocities coming from uncommon barrel lengths.

    • Madcap_Magician

      What are you talking about? S&W is just about to release a special concealed-carry edition 642 with a 7.1″ barrel just for this ammo!

      Any… day… now…

  • John Yossarian

    “Gunny Maann!” Still looks like a Trojan box.

  • Hoplopfheil

    Needs a disclaimer on the box:
    “Tested with imaginary lie-barrel that doesn’t really exist.”

    • Bill

      Well, sort of, now that nobody carries 6 inch .38s like they did in the 60s and 70s. I always wanted a Colt Officer’s Model Match or a 6 inch K Frame.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    Most of the industry uses 4″ vented barrels for revolver defensive ammo, but I guess the numbers don’t look that magical that way…

  • john huscio

    Basically an older Larry Vickers.

    • Patriot Gunner

      Say what you will about Larry Vickers (Crisco cooking oil, I know), but at least Vickers is former Delta with a wealth of knowledge about firearms. I’ve taken one of his carbine courses and he is a fantastic teacher as well. Plus he doesn’t yell and isn’t annoying lol.

  • Gregory

    You may as well use a mini 9mm with 124 grain +P loads.

  • Joesph Constable

    I love the .38. I am very disappointed in for defense in a snub nose. The solution is a .357 snub nose revolver using down loaded rounds. Virtually all .357s with known expanding bullets are way to powerful for the snub nose. There is only one commercial product I have found that fits the down powered .357 for a snubbie and that is the Speer Gold Dot short barrel 135 grain. Only I can never find any for sale.

  • Jeff Smith

    Nice to see! My Colt Police Positive .38 Special is one of my favorite guns. I paid $199 for it at a local gun shop, stripped/cleaned it, and fell in love the first time I look it out. I’ve owned H&Ks, Berettas, Sigs, and Springfields, but, for some reason, I can shoot better with it than all of them. It’s like a laser beam.

    • Edeco

      IKR, I found a 6 incher. Could have gotten a new lower-end 357 and if it breaks having to get it fixed will put a stop to my relatively economical fun, but meh. The cylinder rotation and cylinder latch go the correct way instead of backwards like a Smith 😀

  • Kivaari

    The price is right compared to other .38 Spl JHP ammo.
    I’ve gone to using mid-range wadcutter ammo. My old favorite load, the Federal 125 gr. Nyclad HP, is uncommon, not on dealer shelves and very expensive.

    • DaveP.

      Try Speer Short-Barrel Gold Dot. It seems to perform pretty good out of 2″ tubes, and you can find it online.

      • Kivaari

        Thanks, I’ll look for it.

    • Bill

      Nyclad was good stuff, would love to see it come back.

  • AD

    I have a question: when measuring barrel length in a revolver, we don’t count the chamber. But since this is an unvented test barrel, I assume the 7.1″ length includes the chamber? In which case I guess that makes it about the same total length as a 6″ barrel revolver? Still not a terribly useful test, but the length would make a little more sense from this perspective.

  • >R. Lee Ermey only carries a Glock.
    >R. Lee Ermey refers to a box of .38 Special as “my ammo.”
    >Ergo, Glock makes a super secret pistol or revolver chambered in .38 Special.
    >Or possibly, R. Lee Ermey just wants to make money.

    • DaveP.

      *shrug* Joe Namath sold pantyhose and Ricardo Montalban hawked Chrysler Cordobas. Man’s got to make a living any way he can and if this is how R. Lee keeps body and soul together I say good for him.