What's an FBI load?

12-08-2007, 08:27 PM
Would someone please explain what an FBI load is to me? Would they be a good carry load for civilian self defense? And lastly, who manufactures them? Thanks in advance. :up:

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12-08-2007, 09:20 PM
Also know as the "Chicago" load, it's a .38 Special 158-grain LSWCHP (lead semi-wadcutter hollow point).

Today, it's typically loaded to +P velocities (around 875 to 900 fps). Remington's R38S12 is an example.

Some also refer to .357 magnum loadings of the same bullet as an FBI load. (But the load pre-dates introduction of the .357).

Yes, it makes a fine .38 carry load. Arguably, one of the best.

Best, Ops

12-08-2007, 09:24 PM
That bullet and velocitie is a load I would trust.

12-08-2007, 09:36 PM
FBI had a load in 10mm didn't they? What are they carrying now? Is there a load for their current carry ammo?


12-08-2007, 10:21 PM
The standard issue FBI sidearm these days is a Glock 22 or 23 (agents free to choose).

I don't know what load they use, though I have some vague recollection of it being a 180-grain JHP of some sort.

Best, Ops

Joe B.
12-08-2007, 10:30 PM
They did try a S&W 10mm for a while, but many agents couldn't handle it and when they asked for a lighter load in the same bullet caliber, S&W developed the .40 gun and cartridge for them.

12-08-2007, 11:02 PM
Wimps :D

12-08-2007, 11:05 PM

Best, Ops

12-08-2007, 11:08 PM
What's an FBI load?Sometimes it's the same as a pantsload. :lol:

12-08-2007, 11:14 PM
Probably was for Grogan and Dove... before they bled out.

Best, Ops

12-09-2007, 02:11 AM
I just bought a used 2" model 37 at Popeye's shop. It was probably some LEO's backup piece, so the finish is beat up, but it's pretty tight. Anyway, Popeye told me about the FBI load and I figured the experts here could fill me in. With the aluminum frame, I can't shoot +P's and I want the maximum goblin load. ;)

And hey, I've got 3,000 posts! :D

12-09-2007, 04:00 AM
It's similar to a DEA load, except not optimised for belt-to-foot range.

12-09-2007, 07:40 AM
FBI agents are also authorized to carry the glock model 27. I think agents who were on board before they settled on the glock can carry any .40s&w they qualified with.

Your model 37 will shoot the FBI load, it just can't hold up to prolonged use of the high pressure round. If it were my gun, I'd practice with normal pressure ammo and carry with the FBI load - at least until I found another .38 special carry load I could trust.

12-09-2007, 08:43 AM
Back in the 1970's, the "FBI load" was a .38 special loaded to "+P+L" specs (from FBI specifications, and manufactured by Federal). It was TOO hot, even through heavy-framed .357 magnum revolvers, and after several agents had "KA-BOOMS", the ammo was discontinued.

12-09-2007, 08:54 AM
What opsboss said in all his posts.
Spot dead nuts on accurate.
As usual for ops.
Never heard of the report like that refered to by desert dawg.
Of course no one can know everything about anything.
The "FBI" load had been around a long time, is just as effective today as it was way back yonder.
The .40 S&W was created from the aftermath of the Miami Massacre.
Grit & CA357. Look that one up and read it closely. Very interesting, very sad.
Probably THE most studied police/gobblin shooting in history.
Use enough gun, use good TACTICS.

12-09-2007, 10:57 AM
And maybe most important, don't stop shooting 'til you know the fight is over!!!

12-09-2007, 12:39 PM
budroe, I know what +P+ means, but what does the L stand for?
Del, I have read about the Miami shootout and it's an education in itself.

Okay, so I'll use regular .38 specials for practice and find a lead semiwadcutter hollow point somewhere for carry. Is lead preferred because a jacketed hollow point won't expand at those velocities?

12-09-2007, 01:21 PM
CA357 - I don't have a clue about the L, unless it stands for "law enforcement only". Perhaps something like the Winchester Black Talon ammo. With some of the .357 +P+ loads on the market, its amazing any .38 special load could blow up a .357 - stranger things happen, I guess. I wonder if Federal really blundered so badly with this round, they just decided to pull it completely off the market rather than backing off a bit on the loading. The lead +P SWHP's expand very well. I have 10 or 12 boxes stored away at home. I often use that load in my short barreled .357's as well as .38's.

12-09-2007, 02:36 PM

12-09-2007, 03:02 PM
... and find a lead semiwadcutter hollow point somewhere...
Remington R38S12
Winchester X38SPD

Both are loaded to 890 fps from a 4" barrel and available from most online stores (like Midway). The Remington's a bit cheaper.

You can also roll your own. Bullets are available from Hornady (#10428) and Speer (#4628). I don't have a preference, but the Hornady's are cheaper. About 4.0 grains of Unique will get you standard .38 SPL velocity, and around 4.3 grains will get you into +P territory.

I load A LOT of 158-grain LSWCHPs in .357 mag for a cheap, accurate and fun practice load. (6.2 grains of Unique for 1000 fps from a 6" barrel). And in nickel-plated cases it's an impressive looking cartridge. :D

USUAL DISCLAIMER FOR NIMRODS: 6.2 grains of Unique is a MAGNUM load. Do not use it in a .38 Special!!! You won't like the results.

Best, Ops

EDIT: Okay, I don't know how I managed to post that twice. Clicked on the wrong button somewhere during writing I guess. Sorry.

12-09-2007, 03:06 PM
Well, you were talking about Nimrods. :D

12-09-2007, 03:07 PM
The Remington R38S12 and Winchester X38SPD aren't +P right?

12-09-2007, 03:31 PM
The Remington R38S12 and Winchester X38SPD aren't +P right?
No. They ARE +P loads.

Best, Ops

12-09-2007, 04:15 PM
I can't use them in the 37 then. I'll just have to find a good .38 special hollowpoint.

12-09-2007, 05:18 PM
I can't use them in the 37 then.
Sure you can. Practice with standard pressure .38s... but carry +Ps (as budroe stated earlier).

It's a common practice. and personally I wouldn't hesitate to do it.

Best, Ops

Old Soldier
12-09-2007, 06:52 PM
What's an FBI load?

Isn't the FBI load accordingly on how Brown their eyes are.:D :D :D :D :D

12-09-2007, 06:58 PM
O.S. you may be confusing load/brown eyes with noses and career path. :D

Old Soldier
12-09-2007, 07:06 PM
Oh, is that it. :up: :up: :D :D :D

Mr T
12-10-2007, 07:38 PM
Any S&W revolver with a mod. No. is safe to shoot +P. Mod. 10 vs the older M&P Manufactured before 1957. However, it is very good advice to use +P for very limited practice and carry. The bulk of your practice should be with standard pressure. I have seen a Colt Cobra that had fired so many +P's that the frame was out of spec. Sold for 100.00... full disclosure parts only! Try to find some of the older(no longer manufactured Federal Nyclad. They still load the +P but not the original Chiefs Spec. loading. I'm hoarding most of my last box as I have great faith in it. Mr T

12-10-2007, 07:41 PM
Thanks gentlemen. :up:

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