.357 Mag vs .38 +P in 2" snubbie


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hurrakane212
February 21, 2006, 08:07 PM
So I stumbled on a debate about .357 Mag ballistics being not much better than .38 +p ballistics in a 2" barrel. Is this true? How big a difference is there? .357 's hurt after a while out of a snubbie... if I can shoot something with a little less "slap" (I prefer the "shove of a .45 acp) and get comparable results.. well... I'm in!~Nathan

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Mooseman
February 21, 2006, 08:34 PM
Without knowing squat about ballistics. I would think that since the recoil is noticibly harder with the .357 its got to be hitting the target harder all things being equal. Just a thought:)

Mooseman
February 21, 2006, 08:39 PM
Sorry, didn't really answer your question and couldn't figure out how to delete my post.:(

Jkwas
February 21, 2006, 09:08 PM
I don't enjoy shooting 357's out of my snub for many reasons.
Excessive noise
Excessive flash
Excessive recoil
Having to re-position my hand on the grip after each shot
Wearing off the skin on the inside of my thumb
You get the idea.
I use a good quality 125gn 38+p hollow point load. After looking at the ballistics of this type of ammo, I am very confident it will do the job.
Currently using 125gn 38+p speer gold dot, but I also have carried PMC Starfire.
Do you give up a measure of performance by not shooting 357? Sure but hitting the target is most of the battle and follow up shots are important also.
Not to mention the debate about the 357 making you deaf with out hearing protection (right or wrong) is enough to dissuade me from using it as a PD round. I don't think you need worry that 38+p isn't enough.

ChristopherG
February 21, 2006, 09:12 PM
Your objection to .357's from a snub is that they hurt after a while? What is this gun for? Why would you need to shoot it for longer than 'a while'? What I'm getting at is that the discomfort level of shooting a .357 mag snub is just the price you pay to have power on tap should you ever need it.

As far as the meat of your question, .357's outperform .38's by a sizeable margin out of a gun of ANY barrel length (or even NO barrel length). It's true that they gain LESS than they do from a longer barrel, but they are certainly more potent. And the critical thing is that the .38 (or .38+p) with the limited velocity you get from a short barrel is at the bottom end of what a lot of people consider the acceptable range of performance for a SD handgun. Even if the gain is not MASSIVE, it's enough to get you out of that grey area where a JHP may or may NOT perform as designed due to marginal velocity. A .357 snub is the least fun gun I own by a big margin, and the one I carry most by an even bigger margin.

If you're feeling brutalized by your little gun, look into Speer's new .357 SB (short barrel) load using their massive-cavity 135 GDHP.

ChristopherG
February 21, 2006, 09:23 PM
Not to mention the debate about the 357 making you deaf with out hearing protection (right or wrong) is enough to dissuade me from using it as a PD round.

I've been seeing this a lot lately, and have to ask; haven't you guys ever shot accidentally without ear protection? I have, several times (over the course of several years and several tens of thousands of rounds downrange), and I'm here to tell you the difference between the sound of a .38 and a .357 is nothing you're going to care about in a life-and-death confrontation. I've shot a full-on, hot-loaded .41 magnum from a short-barreled Ruger without hearing protection, on a galvinized-roof, enclosed-shooting-stall range.

It was loud.

But my ears rang for just a couple minutes, and I can still hear just about as well as I could before. I sure as you-know-what don't endorse listening to gunshots unprotected, unnecessarily; but to make the difference between the SOUND of a .38+p (which also hurts, incidentally!) and a .357 the grounds of your choice of caliber is to make a decision for the wrong reasons.

Stephen A. Camp
February 21, 2006, 09:29 PM
Hello. Here are some observations:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38vs357snub.htm

Best.

Ben Shepherd
February 21, 2006, 10:48 PM
The old speer #8 manual has a section on this exact subject. While I don't have it handy at the moment,I can tell you, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that as noted above 357 will ALWAYS outrun 38, regardless of barrel length.

1911user
February 21, 2006, 11:07 PM
I always used 38+P 158gr LSWC-HP (old FBI load) out of 38 and 357 snubbies. Good shot placement with adequate penetration and rapid follow-up shots are what is important. You should be able to put 2 good shots each into 2 targets at 5 yards in 2 seconds or so. If you can do that repeatedly with 357 mag ammo, carry it; otherwise stick to 38s. It's a hard test when you have to reposition your grip after each shot or are afraid to practice. Consider me a fan of 38+P properly placed.

MCgunner
February 21, 2006, 11:29 PM
The .357 will put up over 400 ft lbs with a good load out of a two inch. The +P .38s will deal out about 250, advantage .357. However, if you wanna get the .357 up closer to the 550-600 ft lbs it's know for, you're going to have to use a 4" gun. I've never shot the 3" guns, but from what I've read in some articles, they push the .357 much better than any 2" by a large degree. The .357 uses a lot of slow burning powder. Think of the gun as a solid fuel rocket. A lot of the recoil is caused by that action/reaction thing that causes the space shuttle to fly. It's got a lot of pressure and it's still burning hard, like an after burner, when it comes out of the barrel. It ain't working on the bullet anymore to create velocity, but it's one heck of a rocket and has the muzzle blast to go with it.

If I do get a .357 CCW anytime in the future, it'll be a 3" SP101. It's a heavy gun with a longish tube, but in the caliber, that's a very good thing. It is still quite concealable IWB, but no pocket gun. I prefer 9mm +P or +P+ from a 3" compact, though, myself. I get 400 ft lbs from a 115 grain bullet, more than the .38 +P if a little short of .357 (not much). It doesn't have the flash bang of either and the recoil is softened by the action of the slide. I shoot a compact nine much better than I think I could a .357 mag in a light J frame 2". I don't know that for sure since I've never owned one and haven't put more'n half a box of .357 through a friends, but just from that half box experience, it was pretty evident I was better off with a 9 or .38 +P. His was a steel frame gun, too, not one of the titanium ones.

If you can shoot it and are willing to pay the price of temporary blindness in a dark room and temporary deafness even outdoors without hearing protection...:what: ...go for it, but it ain't for me, don't think. I'll stick with my 9mm, maybe my .45 or just carry my .38+P first, thanks. I LOVE the .357 as a hunting and outdoor caliber, love it in the self defense role in a large gun, but in a compact 2" J frame, I'll pass.

rnovi
February 22, 2006, 04:24 AM
MC Gunner touched on a big part of the snub-nosed recoil question: gun weight. Shooting a hot 125 grain .357 from a 12 ounce S&W Airweight snubbie just plain hurts. Shoot the same load from a 26 ounce Ruger SP101 and the load is "Stout", but not painful.

In either case, the .357 will out perform the .38 in any situation...except maybe target shooting! A .357 load that goes 1500 fps out of a 6" tube might go 1200 out of a 2" snubbie. Still, a .38 spec is around 900fps in nominal loads and around 1200 max in a +p load through a similar 6" barrell.

Magnums - You just plain get more.

Now whether or not more is better, well, only YOU can answer that!

1911user
February 22, 2006, 05:02 AM
Magnums - You just plain get more.

Now whether or not more is better, well, only YOU can answer that!

If a 38+P has enough momentum to penetrate all the way through someone with an expanded hollowpoint, tell me how a magnum is going to "plain get more"? For quartering shots through tougher animals, then magnums are better for most situations due to longer range and larger/tougher animals so long as the bullet is decently heavy to not sacrifice penetration.

rnovi, take my test: 2 cardboard torso targets at 5 yards, 2 center shots into each in 2.0 seconds total and you can start with the pistol in your hand. Can YOU do it from a snubby revolver loaded with 357 mag ammo? It's a very practical scenario for CCW don't you think? You don't even have to draw or reload, just 4 good hits in 2.0 seconds. I don't have a snubby revolver anymore, but it wasn't hard with good technique, some practice, and heavy 38+P ammo. I use a 9 and 45 now.

All of the massive :what: foot-pounds of energy that remain after the bullet has exited the target is useless.

EDIT: I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if you can't control the snubby in rapid fire, it will prevent you from placing your shots well. And if you can't do it in practice, you haven't a hope of magically gaining skills when crunch time happens; you'll be lucky to retain most of your practice skills at best.

My educated belief is that the 2 most important things in serious pistol shooting are good shot placement with enough penetration to reach vital areas. If those 2 conditions are not met, it's going to be a long day unless the opponent decides to just give up. Even magnum handgun rounds are not a lightning bolt from the gods, see Preachermans post (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=184631) for his discussion of the inherint weakness of handgun rounds. If you can't control it, why carry it?

MCgunner
February 22, 2006, 10:51 AM
If a 38+P has enough momentum to penetrate all the way through someone with an expanded hollowpoint, tell me how a magnum is going to "plain get more"?

Where's Doctor Courtney when you need him?;) But, I agree that the .38 is plenty and since it's much more managable in a smaller gun, your point of putting it in the torso is easier to do for most folks, Dirty Harry excluded. That's why I like .38+P in little guns like J frames. There's more to defensive handguns that pure power. You have to put it where it'll work.

Marshall
February 22, 2006, 12:26 PM
I would rather have .357, thanks though. :)

rnovi
February 22, 2006, 01:00 PM
rnovi, take my test: 2 cardboard torso targets at 5 yards, 2 center shots into each in 2.0 seconds total and you can start with the pistol in your hand. Can YOU do it from a snubby revolver loaded with 357 mag ammo?

1911user - Two seconds? No. Can't even do that with my GP100. But three seconds? Yes, I can. I can't pull a DA trigger fast enough to accurately put down four shots in two seconds with any gun. However, in three seconds I can do it with a 2 1/4" SP101, but I can't do it with a J-frame airweight. That's the weight part of absorbing the recoil of a full magnum. That was my point - weight makes a big difference in absorbing recoil.

It's something I practice, mainly for the giggles of it. The loads I use are "shock and awe" loads: 125 gr FMJ's over a large quantity of 2400. The load clocks out at 1625 fps from my 6" gp100. I haven't bothered to clock it with an SP101. We have Tuesday Night "Tactical-Lite" nights at the local gun range with various scenarios such as "Car-Jacking". The whole idea of full mags in a snubbie came about during "Flashlight Night".

The range is completely black except for one small light in the back and the flashlight in your hand. All targets are forward of you and include steel popers, paper targets, and the like. What started as a joke (ok, 24" fireball from an SP101) turned into a cult phenomena with a bunch of us trying to punch targets downrange with snubbies and full loads.

I do agree, a .38 spec is far more controllable in a lightweight snubbie than a full .357 mag. I've never argued that point. Nor do I argue that a .38 special with 158 grain lead hollowpoints is not a decent home defense load. It is. Heck, my bedroom gun is loaded with .38 specs so I am not disagreeing.

I also fully agree: all the power in the world (.460 Weatherby anyone?) is meaningless if you can't put your shot on target.

The original question, however, was wether or not a .357 puts out more power than a .38 spec. A .357 mag still puts out more power than a .38 +p, even in a snub. The only time it didn't was, what, prior to 1934 when the .357 didn't even exist.

As to the secondary comment on "all the extra energy that isn't placed into a target is useless" - true. However if you have a 500 fpe .357 load that dumps 350 fpe into a target before exiting then you have still done more damage to the target than if the target got hit with a 260fpe .38 spec load that stays in the target. You've dumped more energy into the target and created a bigger hole on the other side of the target which would mean greater blood loss and a greater chance of a an incapacitating shot.

This of course, can be argued against shot placement (did you hit a rib? Soft tissue shot? Etc.), bullet design (glassers vs. cast lead vs. std jhp's), and just how whacked up on heroin the perp might be.

It still doesn't mean that a .38 special is a more powerful round than a .357. It isn't.

SAWBONES
February 22, 2006, 09:55 PM
Use whatever you can best handle, which your gun shoots accurately.

I have several S&W and Ruger "snubbies", all of which shoot more accurately and precisely with .38 Special +P JHP loads than with .357 Magnum 125gr+P JHP loads (and I'm not particularly recoil-sensitive), so that's what I carry and shoot in them.
Unfortunately, the traditional .38 Special 158gr LSWCHP +P loads from Federal and Winchester seem to have very poor accuracy and precision compared to the (now discontinued) Federal Nyclad 158gr+P HP. Fortunately the Speer Gold Dot .38 Special "short barrel" 135gr+P JHP loads are spot-on. (I haven't yet tried the "short barrel" Gold Dot 135gr JHP .357 Magnum loads, but look forward to doing so.)
It's quite true that typical premium factory .357 Magnum loads in 125gr+P require a gun with a longer (6"-8") barrel in order to maximize velocity while minimizing muzzle flash and blast. Shooting premium factory .357 Magnum 125gr loads in a 2" barrel "snubbie" is a basically a waste of energy and effort, IMNSHO.

oldbear
November 1, 2009, 10:15 PM
.357 Vs. .38

Much has been made about the muzzle blast, recoil, and noise a .357 makes when fired from a 2” revolver and much of this is correct. Yet I can attest form personal experience that if you ever have to fire a .357 or any pistol, for that matter, in a combat situation you will not feel the recoil, here any noise, or notice the muzzle blast. So go with the cartridge you feel most comfortable shooting, and practice, practice, practice with it.

I day-to-day pistol is a Taurus 617 2” with Speer 125 Gr .357 loads. My bedroom gun is a 30 year old S&W M-66 2 ½”. As I now live in a condo, and I don’t wish to worry about putting a round into my neighbor’s wall at 3:00 A.M. the first two rounds are .357 Magsafe rounds then the next four are 158 Gr. .38 +P rounds.

Enjoy your shooting and be safe.

ArmedBear
November 1, 2009, 10:34 PM
Gold Dot Short Barrel .357 loads are just a bit hotter than their +P is.

I shoot my full-house trail carry .357 handloads in a snubbie Model 60, no problem. But I don't like them in an alloy lightweight. The 60 is all stainless steel.

In my Airweight, I shoot .38+P. Of course, that's what it's chambered for, but I chose to buy it that way after trying "real" .357 in an Airlite. That hurt, and fast followup shots were difficult.

Borrom line? I wouldn't pay the few hundred extra bucks for a lightweight pocket gun, to get a .357. I don't think you'll end up using it with anything but .38+P, or maybe those Gold Dots that aren't exactly "real" .357 anyway.

But, especially for applications like trail carry, a steel snubbie is completely viable with the hottest .357 you want to load in it.

Note also that the Model 60 has a larger grip on it, than the 642 that I often pocket-carry.

Landric
November 2, 2009, 12:21 AM
This comes up a lot, and I still can't figure out how the various internet commandos have come to the conclusion that the .38 Special+P (and +P isn't plus much P over standard pressure loads) is somehow equal or nearly equal to the .357 Magnum out of a short (or for that matter) any length barrel. However, it does seem to be "common knowledge", so perhaps this will do a little to dispel it. Here are some facts:

I chronographed the Speer 135 grain Gold Dot .38 Special +P and the Speer 125 grain Gold Dot .357 Magnum (I chose the 125 grain Magnum because the 135 grain GD "Magnum" is not in any way, shape, or form a full power magnum, its really a +P .38 Special in a Magnum case). I chronographed each load in both my 2 1/4" Ruger SP101 and my 4" S&W 681-3. Here are the results:

.38 Special +P-

SP 101 Ave. Velocity 856 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 219 ft.-lbs.
681-3 Ave. Velocity 996 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 297 ft. -lbs.

.357 Magnum-

SP101 Ave. Velocity 1242 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 428 ft.-lbs.
681-3 Ave. Velocity 1392 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 538 ft.-lbs.

Just for grins, I also chronographed the legendary "Thor's Hammer" load, the Federal Classic 125 grain SJHP .357 Magnum out of both guns. Here are those results:

SP101 Ave. Velocity 1293 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 464 ft.-lbs.
681-3 Ave. Velocity 1428 fps, Ave. Muzzle Energy 566 ft.-lbs.

As we can see, the full power magnum has a serious advantage over the .38 Special +P when two Gold Dot loads are compared. The magnum has nearly 400 fps on the .38 Special and nearly twice the muzzle energy. In fact, the magnum load only loses 11% of its 4" velocity when fired from a 2 1/4" gun. On the other hand, the .38 Special +P loses 14% of its 4" velocity when fired from the snubbie. Its not a huge difference, but the .38 Special actually loses more than the magnum does in short barreled revolvers.

One does pay for the extra magnum power with increased recoil and blast. For some of us the trade off is worth it. For others, it isn't. I'm already limiting myself to five shots, I want as much power per shot as I can get while still having control. I can control full-power magnums in the SP, so that is what I carry.

None of this, of course, is likely to persuade the internet commandos who have never taken the time to test their "knowledge", but they aren't reading this thread anyway, they already "know".

ironvic
November 2, 2009, 01:28 AM
I've had a couple .357 snubbies and they do tend to hurt a little when they go boom, but I'd rather be on my end of the gun than the other. My current .357 snub is a S&W 686 Plus, 2 1/2 incher. For me, anyway, it doesn't hurt at all to shoot .357 Magnums with it, and .38 Specials are a breeze coming out of the short L frame.

My stainlesss J frame snub hurt a bit more when slinging .357s but it was very reassuring when I worked behind a counter down at the bookstore on the night shift. I practiced with it shooting .38s and finished up range sessions by running a couple of cylinder loads of .357 Magnums to feel comfortable with the recoil.

After a while, that little J frame biter started to cause my right hand to go numb from damage caused by recoil where the thumb joint connects with the palm by the web of the hand. My solution was a heavier shorty gun and the problem was solved. I figure it's better to go bigger on the gun and not have to worry about nerve damage to my shootin' hand from repetitive recoil damage. I guess the key point is that I'd still stick with .357 rather than have to rely on the .38 Special when there's that little extra "punch" that the .357 gives in an emergency.

armsmaster270
November 2, 2009, 01:45 AM
Per Speer, the Gold Dot Short Barrel in a 2" vented barrel
38+p 860fps-222ft lbs
357 990fps-294ft lbs recorded at the muzzle for both.

PO2Hammer
November 2, 2009, 01:46 AM
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/
.357 mag ammo is pretty disappointing from a snubby.

Landric
November 2, 2009, 03:01 AM
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/
.357 mag ammo is pretty disappointing from a snubby.

That website is interesting as far as it goes, but I think a lot of people don't read the testing procedure, look at the chart, and then claim their opinion that .357 is little better than .38 Special is correct because of it. However, according to their own test data, they are measuring their 2" contender barrel using a method that includes the chamber. Since the average .357 Magnum cartridge is just over 1.5" long, that means it has about 1/2" barrel in the 2" tests. A real revolver with a 2" barrel gives the magnum 2" to work with, not 1/2". You will note that their 3" data ( 1 1/2" of actual barrel without a cylinder gap to bleed off velocity) is more in line with the actual results from a 2" snubbie. One will also note that in their "Real World" section they do not include any testing of magnum loads in an actual 2" revolver.

As interesting as the information is, it doesn't have much at all to do with the realities of a 2" magnum revolver.

PO2Hammer
November 2, 2009, 10:59 AM
Agreed, they should have used a snubby revolver in their 'real world weapons' section, as common as they are.

jakk280rem
November 2, 2009, 11:22 AM
2 cardboard torso targets at 5 yards, 2 center shots into each in 2.0 seconds total and you can start with the pistol in your hand.

1911user, i might try this. What's the distance between targets?

Confederate
November 2, 2009, 02:57 PM
First, any .357 mag round will outperform any .38 Spc with the same bulllet. Second, any .357 will handle any .38 round available, and third, most good .357s can be comfortably shot with a good pair of neoprene grips. (I have a Ruger Speed-Six with Pachmayer round-butt grips that is very comfortable to shoot.) For the life of me, I can't understand people who go with 2-inch revolvers of any kind, especially magnums.)

I used to have a two-shot derringer that fired .357s, and as much as they hurt the hand, I could use it in an emergency. It was unreliable, though.

ArmedBear
November 2, 2009, 03:41 PM
Landric, I specifically wrote Gold Dot "Short Barrel" .357, which, like you, I don't consider to be real magnums. However, I'm guessing that a lot of people would be using them in a Scandium gun, since real magnums are not controllable enough IMO. (If I can't shoot all the rounds in it accurately and quickly one-handed, it's not a defensive handgun.) And by doing so, they're hardly getting anything a .38+P doesn't give them.

Both of your guns are heavy. I have a lightweight snubbie for .38+P, and a steel one for real .357 magnums. Pocket carry is a lot more practical with the lightweight, but shooting real magnums in it isn't practical. Had you read my post, that would have been pretty clear.

The SP101 is a pretty bulky gun, for a 5-shot snubbie, and has Ruger's signature sharp edges all around it. Not one that I'd choose.

ArmedBear
November 2, 2009, 03:42 PM
For the life of me, I can't understand people who go with 2-inch revolvers of any kind, especially magnums.

Do you carry a gun often? What about more than one?:rolleyes:

Prosser
November 2, 2009, 04:31 PM
Mr. Camps' article answered your question, more or less.

My experience is the most I can shoot out of a 360 PD snubbie is:
Fioochi's 148 grain Partially jacketed bullets, at 1131 fps
Buffalbore 158's .38 Plus P's, that go 1040 fps,
and,
discontinued
Corbon 125's at 1204 fps.

Anything more in a scandium, and, I either have a cut finger, or want to go back to something that's comfortable to shoot, like a .500 Linebaugh.

There are 9mm guns that will do 125's at 1200 fps, and, be more controllable, due to about 25% more weight, my Kahr PM 9 being one. Still, nothing is as easy to throw in a pocket as the 360PD, and, anything that is, is anemic in comparision.

On the otherhand, embrace the insanity. The flash bang grenade type flash
at point blank range, which is the limit of my shooting range, and better be in
the PRK for self-defense, can have some great results, making bad guys want to go the other way.

"Yes, officer, I can describe the bad guy. His hair is on fire, he's blind, and he's running down the street yelling for help!"
:D;)

I guess S&W wised up, and, they added another 1/2" to the nighthawk series guns. This should give you decent ballistics, if not great.

3" would be REAL .357.

I do think there is a place for a heavy bullet .357 load, around 180-200 grain HP, but, at about 950-1100 fps, with a quick burning powder for snubs, or maybe a little less, like 950 fps. Why? I think the .38 is marginal on penetration with our current loadings, and, a heavier bullet at this speed might give that bit of added penetration I'm looking for.

Keep in mind that the Buffalobore Plus P 158 load only goes 15" in Gello, and that might be out of a REAL gun. All of the heavy bullet loads for the .357 I've shot have been too heavily loaded for a snubby, designed for hunting, with
too much recoil.

ArmedBear
November 2, 2009, 04:36 PM
Anything more in a scandium, and, I either have a cut finger, or want to go back to something that's comfortable to shoot, like a .500 Linebaugh.

LOL

I wholeheartedly concur.

However, I can shoot my 2 1/4" Model 60 with 158 grain full house handloads (16.5 grains IMR 4227 that I loaded for bigger guns), one-handed, no problems. Like I said, effective one-handed shooting is one of my specs for defense, not "can I hang onto it with both hands".:)

It's amazing how much of a difference 12 oz. or so can make. Maybe less than 12 oz.

RustyHammer
November 2, 2009, 04:38 PM
I love a good debate; however, in reality, anything you would be shooting at with a 2" revolver (close distance) wouldn't really care which you were using. It all comes down to location, location, location ...

ArmedBear
November 2, 2009, 05:28 PM
Rusty, I agree.

That's why my Model 60 is primarily an unobtrusive trail carry gun, like when I'm out hunting with birdshot and want a badger stopper on my belt just in case my dog gets into it with one.

Around town, a 642 in my pocket is convenient, concealed, and plenty powerful enough.

Landric
November 2, 2009, 07:32 PM
ArmedBear, none of my comments were directed at you, more in general about all the bad information I have heard on the topic on the internet and in gun shops over the last several years.

I find the SP101 to be an excellent pocket gun. Yes, its heavy, but it makes up for that by being more shootable than lightweight revolvers.

Cayoot
November 2, 2009, 08:30 PM
I really like my 3 3/16" SP-101 (.357 Mag). I carry it usually IWB, but sometimes I just slip it into my back jeans pocket. It rides well and stays hid under my shirt for a quick run into town.

However, I'm not a fan of hollow points. I throw the .357 Speer SB load in when I'm going to be in town all day, but usually I prefer SWC. I really like a 175 grn SWC (#358429) in my normal EDC (S&W 686+ w/3 3/4 inch tube). But I have a problem with bullet pull when shooting those in my little Ruger, so I go with a little 165 grn GC SWC.

Either way, I know the bullet will reach the bone/organ that needs to be modified.

Just my opinion tho.

jim243
November 2, 2009, 08:55 PM
That's interesting, an almost 4 year old thread, goes hot yesterday. Well the debate goes on, or so it seems. Since I too use a 2.25 inch SP-101 I found the coments interesting, I am not sure the Ruger SP-101 was in production when this thread first started. I was going to say that the person should get Houge grips for their 357, untill I looked at the date of the post. I don't know about everone else, but use 110 grain 38 spl for practice and 124 grain JHP 357 mag for carry. All else can use what works best for them.

Jim

Marvin KNox
November 2, 2009, 10:06 PM
A good debate sometimes never ends - even after several years. The reason is that folks don't like to change long cherished beliefs - no matter where the facts lead.

The facts are that a good modern .38+p will do the job under most conditions. It will open up fully and penetrate adequately.

Under adverse conditions such as odd angles or certain clothing barriers a good .357 will give a bit of a margin of performance that will be welcome.

If one chooses the wrong bullet for his .357, it will perhaps not perform as well as a "well chosen" .38+p bullet.

If the shooter can handle a little extra blast and recoil, the .357 will be the better choice for him. If he can't, he's better off with a .38+p. (Always assuming that the shooter has the knowledge to select proper bullets for self defense.)

These things hold true whether shooting a 4" or a 2" barreled gun - even if the longer barrel always performs better with either round.

People who disagree are either simply uninformed of the facts or are being obstinate. :) It's all been researched and discussed before.

But, to me at least, it never grows old hearing people argue guns and ammo.

Willy G.
November 2, 2009, 10:24 PM
I was looking at the S&W 340 for the .357/38/+P option but went with the S&W 442 for the price.

Prosser
November 2, 2009, 10:53 PM
DThh

Prosser
November 2, 2009, 11:01 PM
However, I can shoot my 2 1/4" Model 60 with 158 grain full house handloads (16.5 grains IMR 4227 that I loaded for bigger guns), one-handed, no problems. Like I said, effective one-handed shooting is one of my specs for defense, not "can I hang onto it with both hands".

It's amazing how much of a difference 12 oz. or so can make. Maybe less than 12 oz.
__________________

That added 12 oz does a couple things.
First, it cuts the recoil speed in HALF. 45 fps down to a liveable 20-30 fps.

Next, it takes a 15 oz pocket gun, and makes it a holster only gun.

I really like my 3 3/16" SP-101 (.357 Mag). I carry it usually IWB, but sometimes I just slip it into my back jeans pocket. It rides well and stays hid under my shirt for a quick run into town.

However, I'm not a fan of hollow points. I throw the .357 Speer SB load in when I'm going to be in town all day, but usually I prefer SWC. I really like a 175 grn SWC (#358429) in my normal EDC (S&W 686+ w/3 3/4 inch tube). But I have a problem with bullet pull when shooting those in my little Ruger, so I go with a little 165 grn GC SWC.

I would like to see this one. Can't see sitting on a 3", nor that it would fit in a jeans pocket...

That said, the real problem with either caliber, using light bullets, is you can throw a TON of velocity at those light bullets, and, unless you use a solid, they still expand, and, stop quickly in the target. Heck, you can shoot a 185 grain .44 magnum bullet at 1600 fps, and still only get 15" of gello penetration.

If you look at this page:
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

one does come to the conclusion that most .357 loads out of a 2" really aren't, anymore.
At least from this sampling. Real world results for me, out of a 360PD, gave me 1204 fps with a Corbon 125 grain HP they show at 904 fps out of a two inch. That's a HUGE difference, so maybe Corbon changed the powder. the same weight DPX goes 1050 fps, so I have to think they went to a faster powder.

What I usually come away with is .357 Magnum should have a barrel length at least equal to the first number in the caliber, in inches.

There is a REAL good argument if the barrel is shorter then that, that you should be using some sort of flat point projectile, at 1200 fps or so.

I did just find this:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Speer%20125%20grain%20Gold%20Dot%20hollowpoint.html

So, if you can get 1432 fps, in .357, the bullet will go 16" of gello, and expand to .651"
Can't do that with a 2". 3" maybe, 4" yes, easy.

If you are going to rely on .38 special wadcutters, the bullet does not have to be heavy to get excellent penetration:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%20Bore%20Ammunition%20150gr%20standard%20pressure%20Hard%20Cast%20Wad%20Cutter.html

Finally the 158 grain HP .38 special, at least from Remington, sucks penetration wise, 11"


http://www.brassfetcher.com/158%20grain%20+P%20lead%20HP%20%28test%202%29.html

Finally, in a .38, there is no magic bullet. The Corbon fancy DPX still sucks penetration wise, at 11".

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Cor-Bon%20110gr%20+P%20DPX%20all%20copper%20hollowpoint%20%28Heavy%20clothing%20test%29.html

rd2007
November 3, 2009, 02:55 PM
I took advantage of the time change yesterday evening to do some unscientific tests of different ammunition with my SP101 .357 Magnum. I had read that the flash of the .357 round will blind you and that concerned me, so that was the main part of my test. We got to the range at around 5:30 PM and it was completely dark by 6:00, so it was a great opportunitly to see the flash and determine what it would do. There were lights on the range, but not many and the flash was very evident. I shot four different rounds: Monarch .357 158 gr, Hornady LEVERevolution .357 140 gr, Winchester .38+P (details unkown), and some bulk cheapo Remington .38 Specials again with unknown additional details. As far as flash, my son and I both thought the order from worst (most) to best was Remington, Winchester, Monarch, Hornady. The .357 Magnums had minimal flash and WAY less than the .38 Special and + P. The Remington had a huge amount of flash and the +P was a close second. The only one that could compare with them was the Mosquito shooting Mini Mag .22LRs, which pretty much spits straight fire, powder, and smoke.
When it came to "hurting" the order almost reversed: Monarch, Hornady, Remington, Winchester. I couldn't see the .38 or +P hurting until I got a couple hundred rounds through them and the .357s definitely let you know there's some power in your hands. However, if you really needed it, would you really fire more than five rounds of .357 Magnum? Even if you only get one direct hit, that's probably going to be the end of the battle right there. I would definitely not want to get hit by one of those. The noise alone is enough to make everyone jump.
So my verdict is I am going to stick with the Hornady's in .357 Magnum. The flash is minimal, the sound is going to scare the crap out of everyone around you as well as probably hurt your hearing for a while, and I'm a big enough guy to handle the round. I also let an older (probably in his 60's) gentleman test out the .357 round and he got a big 'ol smile on his face, but said one was enough for his lifetime.. He definitely was not a good candidate for the .357 round because he nearly had the gun pop out of his hand. It is a very special round that should only be used by people that actually appreciates it.

ArmedBear
November 3, 2009, 03:05 PM
Next, it takes a 15 oz pocket gun, and makes it a holster only gun.

I have one of each, though as I said, I see no point in shelling out an extra $300+ to shoot .357 from the pocket gun.

However, I can and do carry the Model 60 in my pocket. It's about the maximum I'd want to, and it's not great for hiking many miles, but for running errands around town, it works fine. I also carry it in IWB and OWB holsters.

I wouldn't buy a steel gun as an exclusively pocket-carried gun, but it works fine for that when appropriate. I'm not particularly large, tall, or oddly-shaped, either.

armsmaster270
November 3, 2009, 03:49 PM
The S&W snubbies are actualy under 2" I think 1 7/8" I carry .357's in my 340PD but it is not my primary it's a BUG.

ArmedBear
November 3, 2009, 03:54 PM
The S&W snubbies are actualy under 2" I think

Typically, the alloy frame guns have 1 7/8" barrels, and the steel guns have 2 1/8".

Why aren't they all just 2"? I don't know.:)

KBintheSLC
November 3, 2009, 04:27 PM
I only have one snubbie... a 1 7/8" SW Airweight. I could not imagine for the life of me shooting a full house 357 out of a gun that small and light. I reserve the 357's for my 4" GP100. The snubbie Smith holds 38 +P... good enough for me.

I might consider 357 for a steel-frame snub like an SP101, but this little sub-15oz'er would kick like a mule if it fired 357's.

snooperman
November 3, 2009, 05:37 PM
I do have a Ruger SP101 and from time to time carry it, but mostly it is my truck gun. I keep Gold dots in it, as well as some other +Ps. The key is shot placement more than anything else. I carry, on a daily basis IWB, the Colt Detective loaded with Gold Dots and feel well protected. I have good control and quick follow-up shots with this firearm. I have on occasion carried my Ruger Speed Six loaded with hot .357 magnums as it easy to manage and control. You need to experiment with what works for you. It isn't as much about ammo as it is about you knowing your gun and shot placement. My wife also carries a Charter Arms 32 H&R magnum and it will work for her very well as she is very good with it. My 2 cents

Landric
November 3, 2009, 05:51 PM
Prosser said:

That added 12 oz does a couple things.
First, it cuts the recoil speed in HALF. 45 fps down to a liveable 20-30 fps.

Next, it takes a 15 oz pocket gun, and makes it a holster only gun.

That is a matter of opinion. I carry a 2 1/4" DAO SP101 in my front pocket everyday. In fact, its in my pocket as I type this. I don't have any trouble carrying or concealing it in such a manner.

If you look at this page:
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

Then you will be misinformed if you take their results, obtained in a Contender, as having anything to do with results from a revolver with a similar barrel measurement.

one does come to the conclusion that most .357 loads out of a 2" really aren't, anymore.
At least from this sampling. Real world results for me, out of a 360PD, gave me 1204 fps with a Corbon 125 grain HP they show at 904 fps out of a two inch. That's a HUGE difference, so maybe Corbon changed the powder. the same weight DPX goes 1050 fps, so I have to think they went to a faster powder.

Nope, its just that they are including the chamber in their barrel measurement, whereas the barrel measurement on revolvers does not include the cylinder/chamber length. When they shoot .357 loads out of their 2" barreled Contender, they are actually only giving the cartridge about 1/2" of barrel, not 2". The average OAL of a .357 Magnum cartridge is between 1.500" and 1.600". That is the reason for the difference in results.

NMGonzo
November 3, 2009, 06:42 PM
"A snubby with .357 loads in hand beats my 5 1/2 inch .44 in the safe"

ME!

V1ROT8
November 5, 2009, 05:49 PM
Always remember...what do you feel comfortable with? Get in to a situation and the last thing you need to be worrying about is what kind of ammo you will be using against a bad guy in a bad situation.

TomADC
November 5, 2009, 06:12 PM
I have a few Federal Hydro shocks in 38 spl these are a few years old but look like a 38 spl full wadcutter but they are a hollow point with a post down the middle, I shot a few into a chunk of duct seal clay they performed well IMHO got to maybe the size of a 1/2 dollar or .50 piece, I keep them in my Tours 85 and Smith 19 snb nose revolvers.

Lovesbeer99
November 5, 2009, 06:24 PM
I actually tested this. Get 4 thik phone books and tie 2 sets of 2 together with a heavy string. Then soak them in water for 4 hours till they absord all the water and get really think and really heavy. Then blast them from 15 yards.

The 38Spl + P expanded but did not penetrate more than half way through. It did some damage though.

The .357 blasted through and put a whole in the back of the books about the size of a soft ball. I did not recover the bullet, but as you turn the pages you can see the damage just getting worse (or better if you prefer).

This was out of a snub SP101. .357 wins hands down.
By the way. I found that grip has a lot to do with percieved recoil. Maybe you can just try a few adjustements and see what happens.

I did this again weeks later with a 9mm.
The 9mm - cut right through with a small channel. I couldn't find the bullet.

ElkSmoker
November 6, 2009, 01:32 AM
I have a S&W 340 Airlight PD Scandium with the 1-7/8" barrel. I call it "Little Medicine". The difference between the .38/.38+P I've run through it (mostly 158 gr. LRN and FBI load), and full house 158 gr. 357 mags is considerable from both ends. Logic dictates any velocity gains, as others have pointed out, will result in more energy...not sure why people wouldn't think that. Having said that, the 357's are a miserable handful for follow-ups. For CCW, I use a Galco pocket holster and have started using the Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr .38+P. Accurate and very quick follow-ups. I like it for CCW. On the other extreme, I work some mining claims in Montana grizzler country...used to carry my 4-inch 500 S&W (I call it "Big Medicine"), but it is heavy and gets in the way of climbing around and swinging a pick, so I switched to the snubbie in a deSantis thumb-break holster. I'm loading my own with 158 gr. hardcast lead with gas checks and just shy of 7 gr. of Unique. About the absolute minimum I would even consider for a big bear in an emergency...but it's a barker and man, does it penetrate! Recoil is violent and brutal to say the least. I'd rather pop a couple dozen through Big Medicine than a cylinder full of these. Anyway, the gun is so light, you don't remember it's on your belt, and stays out of the way while I'm digging holes...kind of a unique use for a .357 snubbie.

sthomper
March 10, 2011, 06:08 AM
can and do common .357mag round exit a 2.(fraction of an inch)" barrel at over 1000 fps? 1100 fps??? ive seen youtube video saying such.

just the barrel length not the lie posted by some here claiming cylinder length as part of the barrel overall length (a sad liar)

i have read that no 38spl+p can even get close to that out of a 2.(fraction of an inch barrel).

if there is a few hundred fps difference between the 357 and 38spl+p that would be a significant difference in energy.

the magnum powder burn stuff seems to be another lie or disingenuous.

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