S&w 360pd


May 5, 2007, 07:06 PM
I exchanged my brand new Bersa Thunder CC 380 today for a S&W 360PD. The Bersa had major fit/finish issues, misfeeds galore - and it made me realize why I've always trusted wheelguns with my life.

Took it to the range and wow, I have never had such an uncontrollable gun. I chose it for size and weight, but now I'm second guessing myself. I was originally going for the 38, but ended up whe the .357 instead.

I actually had so much muzzle flip on this gun that it made a bullet jump it's casing and lock up the gun.

Any recommendations for other shooters on a more controllable ammo? I have other Scandium guns (like the .44 mag 329PD) that I have no problem controlling. This one is like getting kicked in the hand with a mule - and I'm afraid I'm going to miss my target if I can't ge the situation under control.

I've heard you can shoot 38 +P ammo through a .357, is that true?

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May 5, 2007, 07:08 PM
I've heard you can shoot 38 +P ammo through a .357, is that true?
You can shoot non +P .38spl through a .357 too. Try some regular .38spl rounds out. Winchester's X38SMRP, the 148gr super-x wadcutter is light shooting and should be good for defense. The speer 135gr +P round might also be a good choice but you'll have to see how you can handle the recoil.

May 5, 2007, 08:16 PM
Okay, that's really good to know, because .38 spl is about the most I'll need for most social work, and I'd only load it up in the winter time where lots of heavy coats are worn in Colorado.

Any issue with those and muzzle flip?

Now I'm a bit confused on cartridge designation - .38 would be wider than .357 right? What I am missing here?

May 5, 2007, 09:02 PM
More info here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Special).

Despite its name, its caliber is actually .357-.358 inches (9.0678mm), with the ".38" referring to the approximate diameter of the loaded brass case. This came about because the original .38-caliber cartridge, the .38 Short Colt, was designed for use in converted .36-caliber cap-and-ball (muzzleloading) revolvers, which had cylindrical firing chambers of approximately .374 inch diameter, requiring "heel-based" bullets, the exposed portion of which was the same diameter as the cartridge case (see the section on the .38 Long Colt). Except for its length, the .38 Special case is identical to that of the .38 Long Colt, and to the .357 Magnum which was developed from the earlier cartridge in 1935. This allows the .38 Special round to be used in revolvers chambered for the .357 Magnum (but not the reverse, due to the pressure generated from the firing of a .357 Magnum bullet is significantly higher than a .38 round).

May 5, 2007, 09:04 PM
No, .38 Special and .357 magnum are both .357 inches in diameter ( for jacketed bullets anyway, as lead bullets are generally an extra .001 in diameter for .358 inches). I believe the .38 designation is from the older nomenclature of referring to the diameter of the bore at the grooves, rather than the modern method of specifying the diameter at the lands.

The case and bullet diameter of .38 and .357 are exactly the same. The only difference is that the .357 magnum case is 0.135 inches longer. This is not longer to allow for more powder but to prevent the higher pressure magnum cartridge from being chambered and fired in revolvers only designed for .38 Special pressures.

May 5, 2007, 09:10 PM
You spent $600 on a 12 oz revolver and did not even know what ammo will work in it? We do need more backround checks before selling guns.

May 6, 2007, 01:12 AM
Excuse me for being ignorant on that fact, the smaller calibers are new territory for me (I am very comfortable with .44 Mag and .45 ACP). I chose the gun because it is the only one of the few that I felt met my size and pocketability requirements (weight, size, enclosed hammer design). I knew that the .357 magnum caliber - which I've shot before in other revolvers - would meet my PD requirements. I plan to train on any gun long enough to become familiar with its operation and become accurate at the range in which I plan to use it. I have other Scandium S&W pistols that can be operated accurately and reliably for their weight/power ratio. I am committed to learning a gun platform through and through before ever letting it leave a range environment. In this case, I was committing to a platform more than a specific caliber. I do not have arthritis or any other concerns that would prevent me from being able to handle this gun competently with more training and research.

Based on these past experiences and current requirements, I set out to find the pistol for me. I have shot snub-nosed pistols before, but usually borrowed or range renters. Nobody rents these particular Scandium models in my area, and I knew from my research that the recoil was going to be on the brutal side. No surprise here - but I know with the .44 Mag 329 Scandium with S&W there are strategies to turn that into a very manageable pistol (which I have).

Unfortunately, I purchased it at Sportsman Warehouse - and the salesman was a super rude and not very helpful - wouldn't even help with holster selection and wouldn't explain much to me. I usually shop the local gun shop but the price was over $100 less than what the gun shop could sell it to me - not chump change. Even though the salesman was less than helpful, based on my research at THR and Gun Blast and other such sites and user reviews - I felt I knew the basic requirements of what I was looking for. The price differential between a .38 and .357 revolver was negligible at the shop, and the .357 cartridge has an excellent reputation as a personal defense cartridge from those I've talked to (including my CCW instructor - who carries a similar J-Frame .357 as his personal carry). The salesman did not explain that the .38 and .357 were interchangeable cartridges, and I did not think to ask. I figured I could learn to use and respect this platform - even if it mean starting on reduced loads.

So yes, excuse me for not knowing that the .357 and .38 special were interchangeable in platforms like a .44 mag and .44 special, or a .22 or a .22 Long, or even a .45Colt/.454 Cassul/460SW in the S&W 460 platform. I'm a lifelong gun owner/user and don't appreciate your snippy and rather offensive tone. I'm here to learn - we all start somewhere, and I feel my logic in purchasing this particular platform was a good starting point for my CCW journey.

I feel grateful to learn that the .38 special cartridge will help me learn the platform more effectively as I work into controlling the .357 cartridge - like the .44 special did with the .44 mag platform. To feel where the trigger pull breaks and fires the cartridge, to help keep my hand steady through the pull to the shot release, to work on any flinching I might have based on the pull. I was just planning to load a reduced load - but this saves me time and $$$. To those that helped me, thank you. To those stopping by to throw stones - go take it elsewhere please.

May 6, 2007, 02:48 AM
You spent $600 on a 12 oz revolver and did not even know what ammo will work in it? We do need more backround checks before selling guns.
Thankfully the man is free to spend his money how ever he chooses. I certainly hope you're just frustrated thinking about that being your $700 and don't really support more infringements on rights because of someone's pre-shopping research habits.

Any issue with those and muzzle flip?
The wadcutters should be pretty easy. Its a light gun and you'll still notice it, it will probably never be your favorite gun, but I find with them I can get pretty decent follow up shots. The speer 135gr +P load has a sharper bite to it but compared to the mag rounds they'll probably all seem easy.

The only thing to be aware of is that if you shoot alot of .38spl rounds you might build up a carbon ring the cylinder that will make it harder to chamber .357 rounds. Might want to give your chambers a little extra cleaning attention now and then.

May 6, 2007, 03:37 AM
Don't give up yet. My Smith M60 is also a j-frame, but being all stainless steel weighs quite a bit more than the Scandium model. It works fine for me with wood grips and .38s.

My Smith M66 (also fairly heavy) worked OK with full-bore .357 Mag loads, but it had Pachmeyer synthetic grips. Maybe you can find some other grips that will bring yours under control. It's worth a try.

May 6, 2007, 06:23 AM
I have a 340pd, shot it today again. I have had .38 and .357 rounds pull out of the case if they are not jacketed. As the crimp is not strong enough to hold them in the light weight gun. I find the recoil of the .357 mag. 158gr bullets to not be as bad to shoot, although they are still not fun. Keep a death grip on it when you shoot it and the recoil is more manageable and the groups hold together better. After shooting the magnum's when you switch back to the .38 +p's they feel like a piece of cake. I have talked to more then one 44 mag owner that has handed the gun back with out emptying the whole cylnder.

May 6, 2007, 10:02 AM
Try some Corbon DPX 38+P. In my 340 PD, they have much less recoil than the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel. They are lighter, faster and the bullet design is supposed to penetrate better. They also make the DPX in 357, which is what mine is loaded with. Hope this helps.


May 6, 2007, 10:51 AM
Start with .38 target wadcutters to master the trigger.
Once you've mastered the trigger, move up to standard pressure .38, .38+P, target .357, standard .357, and so on to master recoil.

If it turns out you can't tame the gun, that's alright, no gun is meant for everyone. Hopefully, though, you can and an article like this one will help:

May 6, 2007, 12:06 PM
Thanks, I really appreciate the help. I do believe I will start the .38sp, .38+P, .357 target, .357 full load to master the gun. Same way I worked to become deadly accurate with my .44 mag.

I will also take a look at some of the heavier, slower rounds for the .357 which might be more accurate. Accuracy for me is key, last thing I want is to put them anywhere else but the bad guy.

I'll take a look at some of these loads and we'll see how things go. Thanks for the link to the article, I'll check that out today.

May 7, 2007, 03:25 AM
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but in those ultra light snubbies, the manufacturer recommends a minimum bullet weight, I think somewhere around 120gr for the .38/.357. If you go any lighter you will in fact have the bullet jump its casing. What ammo were you shooting when it locked up on you?

I don't have the 360 but I do have an airlight in .38 +P, and I always use 158 gr loads to err on the safe side.

May 7, 2007, 06:08 AM
According to the manufacturer the minimum bullet weight only applies to the .357 magnum loads and not the .38 loads.

May 7, 2007, 08:02 AM
Incidentally, anyone ever read the owner's manual?:) S&W points out that you should load the gun with whatever you are going to carry in it, shoot 4 rounds and then remove the last bullet, measure it and compare it to the length of a bullet out of the box. They are well aware that bullets can walk out of the case because of the recoil.

I regularly carry a 17oz Taurus with 38 Spcl +P that is quite enough recoil for me. However, the thing that bothers me the most with it is the trigger slap.

May 7, 2007, 10:49 AM
All of the light weight alloy revolvers will allow "crimp jump" with full power loads. The best insurance against crimp jump is to test your ammo previously and any time you shoot less than a full cylinder, when you reload your gun, rotate the rounds that were unfired, so that they fire first, the next time you shoot. Rotation like this keeps the same rounds form being subjected to more than a cylinder full of bullet pulling recoil. Even the very best loads will eventually jump crimp if you subject them to too many firings.

May 9, 2007, 02:43 AM
Unfortunately, I went straight to the range from the store. I did ask about the bullet weight but got some BS response from the clerk about "pressure", which didn't make any sense. I figured it had something to do with the scandium frame, and just purchased some cheapie .357 Blazer ammo that was over the bullet weight requirement (not worried about reloading so the aluminum case didn't bother me). Even the guy at the range was stumped, but then I did read the manual and it made sense.

I've since donated that ammo to the range.

May 9, 2007, 02:46 AM
I wonder if in testing ammo I can put a black magic marker ring around the 5th bullet. If the bullet moves even a bit you will see the spacing between the black lines. Does that make sense?

Also, I think I'm still going to be concerned with the .38 special ammo, because it has to be the same principle. I know the cylinder chamber is longer, but there is still a risk there.

May 9, 2007, 03:10 AM
I'm sorry you bought a AitLite before you came here and read all the complaints about those light Magnum revolvers. I bought a 15 oz Airweight .38 Special +P instead of the 12 oz AirLite. I didn't want to spend all the extra money only to shoot .38 Special through it anyway.

As others have already told you, .38 Sp +P rounds will probably be more comfortable to shoot. If you really want to shoot .357 Magnum rounds through it try Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel .357 Mags. They are the 135 gr rounds and they are loaded lighter than "normal" .357 Mag ammo.

Also, it you change the grips you will make shooting .357 Mags easier. Pachmayr Compac Grips are slightly larger but cover the back strap which makes the recoil feel much lighter. http://www.pachmayr.com/pachmayr/index.htm

You bought a fine revolver so don't be down on yourself, just make the adjustments to shoot it well. You are still much better off now than with a Bersa Thunder... LOL

May 9, 2007, 09:31 AM

You are correct that there is still risk of crimp jump with 38 SPL ammo, but since 38 SPL ammo will generate less recoil (depending on the load) the problem will not (depending on the crimp) be as prevelant with 38 SPL ammo.

May 9, 2007, 07:57 PM
Targatop, that blazer ammo seperates in my 340dp too... it's not the gun, it's the "quality" of the ammo. :)

Above posters are correct in starting small, and working up. It's a good gun, but it needs two hands, patience, practice, and possibly a larger grip.

May 10, 2007, 12:37 AM
I just bought an M&P 340, which is a slightly heavier revolver than yours due to the stainless steel cylinder and is hammerless, and I've found it to be a great pocket gun. I don't plan on shooting full-house .357 Magnum loads through it but will be content to carry it loaded with 135 grain Speer Gold Dot Hollow Points in .38+P. I don't find the recoil to be too bad either. Yeah, it'll take me some time to adjust to it since I've put about 75% of all the rounds I've fired through a 9mm Sig P226, but the M&P 340 will be something that I can take with me 99.9% of the time regardless of dress (where legal, of course). Keep up the practice and things should get better for you.

May 11, 2007, 11:39 PM
Shot regular .38 special ammo in it today and it was much easier to control. I was able to get a decent grouping going at 5 yards, and I will work my way back. Biggest issue for me now seems to be getting a feel for when the trigger is going to engage. For grins I've tested it successfully in almost all my summer clothes and I find it consistently easy to conceal.

May 12, 2007, 08:41 AM

Come over and join the "642 Club" but really a snub nose appreciation group.

We deal with all issues "snubby". Holsters for various carry options, ammunition in particular with realworld range reports and experiences.

Here's the link.


Side note:

I have a BERSA BT 380 and it has run flawlessly for 750 rounds.
I bought a S&W 642 (the stainless alloy version of yours) NIB and it failed at about round 60. Had to go back to S&W for a new sear. I have a Kahr PM9 which has been a PIA also but I like it and will get it to the 100% point if it takes 10 trips back to Kahr. The moral of the story, I bought the wheel gun from a manufacturer of some credibility thinking it was a panacea for autos...not so. They all have problems sooner or later.

Anyway come on over and say hello. We have almost 500 contributing members on that Thread. None who will decry the position on your learning curve trip. We like to help.


May 14, 2007, 05:06 PM
Thanks Dennis, I'll come over and come onboard!

May 15, 2007, 02:24 PM
Try Remington Golden Sabers. I find these have much less recoil than the Blazers or Fioochi.
For target shooting, I don't know. My S&W 360 has had my hand bleeding once.
It's about like my .454 Alaskan.
Follow up shoots are long.

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