Can You Ever Go Back?


September 11, 2007, 07:37 PM
I've been shooting for a long time. For many years I was happy shooting .38/.357 guns (see my user name), and using .22s for trigger & target practice, plinking, etc. I've collected many guns in these calibers during this time.

A couple of years ago I picked up a 4" .44 mag. This year I got another, a Ruger Bisley Super Blackhawk Hunter. I also picked up a .45 Colt Bisley. And I started loading for these calibers.

Now I find myself wistfully looking at my .357s. I take them to the range, and there's no "spark". The .38s feel like shooting .22s, and .357s don't seem that much stronger. I'm not getting the "tactile feedback" or satisfaction from shooting these that I do out of the larger caliber stuff. This is especially true with any .38/.357 longer than 4"; My 8.75" S&W 27-2 has been rendered downright boring (though it still has the sweetest trigger I've ever encountered).

I don't think I'm a bigbore junky, and I don't want to be a caliber snob (and I certainly don't mean to "start anything" in that area). Can those who are more experienced with this than I tell me: Will there come a time when the "30s" call to me again, or am I lost forever to the world of calibers that begin with "4"?

I'm considering loading for .38/.357, but am questioning the point; If I'm not satisfied shooting it, why bother loading it? Also, I can still buy these calibers cheap (well, .38 anyway...).

-- Sam

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September 11, 2007, 08:38 PM
I have handguns up to .30-30 winchester. I find my .22s get most of the action followed by .38 special in various platforms. Accuracy is what does it for me, not recoil and noise.

I can handload .38 special for a little over 3 dollars a hundred. Can you buy 'em for that? I cast my own bullets, free bullets. All I pay for is a primer and 2.7 grains of bullseye for each shot. .38 is my most loaded handgun round, followed by .357, followed by 9mm, followed by .45 ACP (might be a tie here with 9mm), followed by .45 Colt, then .30-30 Winchester, then .380. I hardly EVER break out the .380 dies because I hardly ever shoot the thing, LOL.

Just all in what you like, I guess. I've always been a .38/.357 junky. My first centerfire handgun was a .357 Ruger Security Six.

September 11, 2007, 08:43 PM
If you keep this up they'll change your username. :D
Loading .357 can make a hell of a difference, I have a buddy who put 4 factory loads and 3 hot handloads in a 6" taurus 357, and had me shoot them without giving me much of a warning as to the difference. It was like someone swapped guns on me towards the end.

September 11, 2007, 08:51 PM
I know how you feel. I had my share of .22s, semi, and revolver. Had a couple of .38s, Still have my snubby for CCW. A .357 Ruger Security Six. A couple of .32s again revolver, and semis. Even shot, and still do my .45ACP. But that all went out the window when I first shot a .44mag.
It was an older Contender with a ten inch barrel. It had the stock wooden grip, with the rubber backstrap. I pulled the gun up lined up the sights ( at an antique cast iron electrical fuse box) BANG !! The gun recoiled straight back, and twisted to the side, and ripped the webbing, between my thumb and forefinger. The fuse box exploded, the back flew off about ten feet, and the door blew off the hinges. I looked at the box, looked at my hand, my mouth hung open...... And I have never looked back. I sold my .357 to buy that Contender. went through a Herriet grip, shooting glove, and finally found a Pachmyer grip for it. With that grip I could shoot it one handed.
I next bought a Ruger SSA in .44mag, Redhawk .44mag. i have two old Vaqueros in .45 that I load up to the same specs as the .44mag.
My .45ACP are fun ......But I LOVE my snot knockers!!!!
Just purchased a Encore .45-70, with a fifteen inch barrel can't wait to shoot it !!

September 11, 2007, 09:27 PM
The only caliber that has fallen by the wayside is the .357. I shoot tons of .38's for the reasons MCGunner outlined. My favorite revolver is my Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag. It does so many jobs well that it has retired the .357 Magnum for me. Bill

September 11, 2007, 10:53 PM
am I lost forever to the world of calibers that begin with "4"?


Handloaded .45 Colt in a Bisley is perfection.

September 11, 2007, 11:09 PM
Recoil is accumulative.. Someday your wrists will start talking to you.:(

September 11, 2007, 11:37 PM
I know what you mean about "recoil"! I thought I was going to have to give up my Ruger Super Blackhawks in 44 magnum until I put a muzzle brake on them. Now, my heaviest 240 gr. loading recoils like a target loaded 38 special....

September 12, 2007, 12:35 AM
Actually, I run my .45 Colt loads pretty middle of the road (nowhere near "Ruger only"), and prefer to download .44 to near "special" levels, though I do have a couple of high vel loads in each. It's not the kick, it's something about some quality of the recoil impulse from the larger calibers. It just seems more satisfying. I still shoot for accuracy, I just tend to shoot a bit fewer rounds.

I've got some pretty hot .357 loads from Miwall (, and they give a good kick, if that's all I was after. 160gr @ 1400fps. I usually only shoot those out of a Bisley Vaquero, though.

I'm not giving up on (or giving away ;)) the .357 stuff; I realize it's probably just a phase. Over the years I've drifted into and out of a bunch of weapons, calibers, and shooting disciplines. I'm sure there'll be more. What I need is a new safe... :)

-- Sam

Jim March
September 12, 2007, 01:07 AM
To me, accuracy is more interesting than big booms.

If it's accurate and has enough power for it's mission (whatever that is), it's interesting.

September 12, 2007, 09:18 AM
I've gone full circle on this one. I started shooting .38 Spl, moved to .357 Mag then bought several .45ACP revolvers -- partially for ammo commonality with my 1911. I enjoyed them all but have come back to the .38 Spl (actually 158 gr LSWCHP+P) in the two revolvers I now own. I shoot them well, and I've come to appreciate lower-pressure cartridges. Magnums were starting to hurt my ears even with hearing protection. So I've pretty much settled on .45ACP for semi-auto and .38 Spl+P for my revolvers. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a more powerful big-bore again if I needed one for a specific reason though.

September 12, 2007, 02:55 PM
I seem to collect .357 magnums like bad pennies, but I just don't shoot them anymore. Most of my shooting these days are the .22, .32, and .41 (and yes I download when the roar and recoil is not needed).

Ala Dan
September 12, 2007, 03:19 PM
I'm always up to the test of acquiring a good, quality .38 Special;
as my last purchase was a very minty, LNIB S&W model 442. I don't know
that I needed it; other than to keep my S&W 642 company? Since then,
the 642 has been gifted to my daughter; to keep her Walther PPK company. ;)

May 30, 2008, 08:57 PM
I just arranged to trade my .357 for a .44. Looks like you and me are in the same boat, Sam. :(

May 30, 2008, 09:09 PM
Things go in cycles. I shot 22 for years almost exclusively with some 357 magic thrown in. Then one day a pretty Model 57 comes into my life and we started seeing each other a lot. Thought about getting married, but I still like a little spice from the 357/38spl and 22's. Last year (or was it the year before?) I began shooting the 357 again about the time I got a carry gun in 38spl. I also throw in some 480 Ruger shooting. This year, I have been shooting more 22LR again and mostly in rifles. What goes around comes around. So, don't give up on your 357's. For me the 357's and 41's are just about perfect when I want to shoot something other than 22's.

May 30, 2008, 11:21 PM
I was fifty-five before I ever touched a .38 or .357M - and that was my new 2" 10-11 and 6" 66-6 9/03. I had always shot .44-.45+ handguns. Of course, on watch in the USN, it was a .45. Oops - there was a .36 Navy c&b bp revolver mixed in with a couple of .44/.45 C&B's - way back.

I sold my G21 ten years ago this summer - my AMT DAO .45 B-Us left soon afterwards - my revolver metamorphosis was complete. I started with a convertible BH - to shoot up my .45 ACP stash - had to try .45 Colts... the madness began.

I've had big boomers - my new .454 SRH - the early soft ammo case woes - had several .45-70 rifles - even a 1H in .458 Lott. Now, only a .45 levergun and a couple of .22 rimfires in the long guns. Yesterday found me buying my first new revolver in over two years - a .357M/.38. Sure, I finally bought new 629s in 4" & 6" - but mainly as .44 Special shooters. Age - CTS problems - lighter bounces are better enjoyed - and permit more shooting. I even 'discovered' the .32 S&WL/H&RM over the last few years.

Oddly, the timing here on this topic is more poignant to me. In the AM, I meet a friend - to swap one of my SA Rugers, my BHG SBH (.44M), for a LNIB (Never fired since new!) Seecamp .32, holster, etc, and some cash (To be determined...). I will be on my way to a club flea market to sell it and my .45 BHG Vaquero, as well as my BHG SSM and 4" .32M SP101. The new .38 I bought, a 627 Pro, ushers in a return to basics - and more commonality in ammo (.32 bullets are just as dear as .38s, which are much more plentiful!).

So, yes, you can go back to your roots. The day that popping some targets with a MKII and, now a couple of bucks worth of .22s, is no longer fun... or the day that shooting even mild .38's doesn't put a smile on your face, well, it'll be a sad day for your shooting.


PS I still have a pair of .45 Colt MGs and a 625JM for my 'big bores' - enough for me.

May 31, 2008, 12:26 AM
Well, to me shooting is more than just felt recoil. Many shooters enjoy hitting targets at 100+ yards and they enjoy the blast and the jolt. I don't enjoy shooting .44 mags indoors at all and don't appreciate it when the guy next to me starts a relentless litany of cannon blasts. It's not nearly as bad for the guy behind the magnum as it is for the poor guys to the side.

The .357 mag and the .22LR are my two favorite calibers and of course that would include the .38 Spc. The 9mm is a splendid round, but its propensity for tossing brass every which way makes it a pain.

If you're using an N-frame revolver, try switching to a medium frame like a GP-100 or a 686. Or I'd get a Ruger Speed-Six with a 3-inch barrel. I sure don't see any deficiency in the .357 round and you might find these combinations more challenging.

Wood grips are fine for some people, but the Ruger (right) will beat you to death
with the tiny grips that come with it.

This one has Millett sights and rubber grips. Very sleek.

This 3-inch Speed-Six began life as a .38 and was chambered for .357 by a gunsmith who was
very exacting. As a result, this is one of the most accurate .357s I've ever shot. And it's a beauty.

The Smith 686 is beautifully balanced and extraordinarily

May 31, 2008, 12:34 AM
I found my love of .38's revived with vintage Colts. I had a couple of Police Positive Specials and an Official Police, plus some others. One PPS in particular shot astonishingly good groups, and all of them had an elegance and weight-to-recoil balance that you rarely find in modern arms.

I still keep a Det. Special and Speed Six as my CCW pieces. The .44's are bulky and clunky in comparison. With some personalization and fitting the iron I have now is faster and more accurate than any big bore I've handled.

May 31, 2008, 12:36 AM
I am very happy with .45 or my .44 mag. I do not own a .357 or .38 special. I do love the .32's easy to the wrist, lower noise and I use them to train the young shooters!!!

Brian Dale
June 1, 2008, 04:15 AM
Yosemite Sam and Floppy D, you don't have to worry. The .38s and .357s won't take your breath away like the .44 Mag or give you the same warm glow inside as the .45, but keep them in the safe.

They'll calmly wait for the day when you want to go out and spend all day immersed in the Zen of hitting precisely with a fighting handgun that doesn't require two coolies and a batman to haul its ammo chest. :)

Keep them all. As others have said, the .38s and .357s are also good to lend to any shooting companions who find it tiring to hold that big Super Blackhawk out at arm's length for very long.

Peter M. Eick
June 1, 2008, 06:48 AM

As a died in wool 38/44 (all of the above are 38/44's) collector, I cannot see the reason for going beyond 357/38. Bigger bores costs more to reload for, are harder on the body to shoot a lot (recoil etc) and while they can be accurate, they are harder to shoot accurately.

Give me a nice 38 special or 38/44 round and I am pretty pleased.

June 1, 2008, 07:50 AM
Recoil is cumulative.. Someday your wrists will start talking to you.:( Ditto Iggy. Old age by itself will catch up with you. I am shooting more 9MM than ever before for just that reason.

I still like to touch off some .44 mags, but not as a steady diet. A nice leisurely .38 load is lots of fun.

June 2, 2008, 12:48 PM
Why? Because even big bore zealots like to shoot something smaller every once in a while. Like you, I look back occasionally and think fondly of the light in the pants recoil of the .44 mag. Having moved up to .45, .460, .475 & .500's the little ol' .44 just doesn't do it for me as far as the big bang goes.

BUT... I still shoot more .22LR than all other rounds combined. I realize that I go through stages. After a while of shooting big bores (I truly love big recoil) I gotta shoot something smaller. Here lately I am enamored with the .32 H&R. Light recoil, plenty of POP and scary accurate. I also get more caught up in revolvers, autoloaders, bolt guns and AR's... my interest has never settle on ONE thing. Unless you can call having built 9 10/22's too many. ;)

Don't question it. Go with the flow. If I ever settle on ONE caliber I will know that my love affair with guns is over and I hope that day never comes. Shoot the rimfire and .357 calibers for quantity & practice. Shoot the big boomers for fun and longer range accuracy of it.

Just shoot!

June 2, 2008, 03:15 PM
You know, I am currently in the process of selling my .32s - dies - ammo - etc. I guess I feel my 'going back to basics' is going to calibers I can more easily find ammo or reloading supplies for - .38/.357 and .45 ACP.

Wimpy .38s are as much fun as .32s - and no more expensive to reload. Plus - they fit more of my revolvers. My latest is a 627 Pro, an 8-shooter with some nice features.

Wimpy .45 ACPs, which wouldn't work most 1911 actions, are fine in my launcher - a 625JM. Wally World has UMC bulk pack - $82/250. - ball ammo - hard to beat for big-bore fun.

Here are my means of 'returning to basics':

Both are current stock - my 625JM being well over three years old now. Keepers!


June 4, 2008, 09:48 AM
What are the grips on that bottom unit? They look awfully comfortable! PM me with details of what .32 stuff you have for sale please.

June 4, 2008, 10:27 AM
My Precious...

June 4, 2008, 12:51 PM
Eventually "big" simply became harsh to shoot and loud. But everyone is different.

June 5, 2008, 01:08 AM
Started out with 22RF as a little kid. Worked up thru the calibers over the years. Kids have no interest in firearms to speak of so in the process of selling off the collection and will probably end up with the originals 22's. What goes around comes around.

tasco 74
June 5, 2008, 05:50 AM
when i got my first handgun it was a s&w model 13-2 4" .357 magnum and when i took it to the berm and shot it the first time it felt like someone had slapped me in the ear.(i didn't wear earplugs)... but i was hooked on the power of the magnum handgun... i had a chance to shoot a lot of different guns owned by lots of friends but i always liked the sharp slap of the .357 mag... i even got a chance to shoot a tc contender rechambered for .444 marlin...... now that was a beast!! but when my 1022 custom was built and i found i could shoot all the bullets into the same hole i was hooked on a whole other thing! now my 1022 custom is my favorite lead launcher!! it's just hard to beat a rifle you can just pick up and ask WHAT DO I WANT HIT? and know it's as good as hit!! even if it is only a .22 rimfire.......................

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