Why a 38 Special


September 1, 2008, 03:14 AM
What are the main reasons people buy 38's when for not a whole lot mre you can get a 357 that fires both?

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September 1, 2008, 04:59 AM
been thinking the same thing.

September 1, 2008, 05:10 AM
Because there isn't very much that a 357 can do that a 38 special can't except make a lot of noise and blast. For self defense and as a range gun the 38 special is just fine. The 357 with a heavy bullet is a better hunting round. Thirty eight revolvers are usually less expensive than .357s, another plus.

September 1, 2008, 05:17 AM
^^^^^ Yup.


September 1, 2008, 06:23 AM
.38specials in the longer .357mag chambers have never been known for gilt edged accuracy and there is something to be said for practicing with what you plan to carry.

September 1, 2008, 07:14 AM
For carry in a small snubbie like a 642, I prefer the .38 Spl as it allows for a slightly smaller, lighter gun. I don't want to shoot a .357 mag out of a little gun anyway. For hunting or woods carry a full size revolver like a GP100 is my choice in .357 mag.

Kind of Blued
September 1, 2008, 07:31 AM
Cheaper gun, cheaper ammo, and if it comes to it, they still hurt really really bad.

September 1, 2008, 10:04 AM
If I was to shoot only .38 SL, I'd want a gun that shot only that. I usually buy used and it seems that a .38-only gun, like a Mod 67 K-frame, would have a lot less fatigue and wear than something that may have had a bunch of magnums run through it. When I've browsed in a gun store, the .357 S&Ws in my price range have usually been a little looser than the .38 SPLs. If I want something .357-like, I'll grab one of my 7.62x25 pieces, a CZ 52 or a Norinco 54. The K-frame .38 SPL is just about perfect for my nightstand, though.

September 1, 2008, 10:49 AM
The 357 guns are generally more expensive, usually heavier, and if you don't need or want the extra power and only plan to shoot 38s why bother with a Magnum?

I think I have more 38s than any other caliber of revolver. I also have a bunch of 357s. Each has a role.

September 1, 2008, 10:58 AM
hangtime, ".38specials in the longer .357mag chambers have never been known for gilt edged accuracy and there is something to be said for practicing with what you plan to carry."

I don't know about 38special loosing accuracy when chambered in a .357mag chamber.

September 1, 2008, 11:12 AM
Having gone throughthis journey of duality-capability, I went BACK to buying a 38SPl in a J-frame.

I bought a Model 60 in 357 Mag, and the J-frame was TERRBILE when it came to flash, recoil, and recovery follow-up shots for me. I flinched, and I really did not like it. I still hae it as a last dich woods gun, but I know I woul d not like shooting it.

My SP101 was much better in 357 mag, and it is a hevier gun, and thicker gun to really give my hand a good anchor. Still, 357 Mag from a little revolver is a lot of fire and flash.

I carry a Centennial Airweight 38 deidicated, and 38Spl from it is still a little stout, but manageable, and steady, and the low flash allows great recvery follow-up. It is a cylinder matched for the job. THe cleaning of the powder rings inside is also less caked than 357 mag. Less powder to burn, I guess.

For the S&W and Taurus little revolvers, at least, if you want 38, it is the right match. They can still handle +P. The 357 Mag is more horse than most people give it credit.

Larger frames like K and L and N make the 357 much more manageable, and pleasant.

September 1, 2008, 11:24 AM
If you only want one gun, then the .357 may be the way to go. In my case, I mostly carry and keep semiautos and shotguns for self-defense. I shoot .357 and .38 Special primarily for fun. There are many interesting .38 Specials that would be a shame to pass on just because they don't handle the higher power loads. And if you do plan to use a revolver for self defense, the .38 Special is more easily controlled by average shooters than the magnums.

September 1, 2008, 11:48 AM
I think 38 special cartridges fired in 38 revolvers are slightly more accurate than 38 special cartridges fired in 357 revolvers. That's the only reason I can think of.

I've heard of people having the chambers of a 38 special revolver reamed out so they can shoot 357 rounds in it. This may sound like a bad idea. But look at some of the revolvers that come in either 38 or 357. They are the same gun. Look at, for instance, the model 64 and the model 65. What's the difference?

September 1, 2008, 11:58 AM
I'm looking at one of those performance center Smiths at my local range but the grips were too big.
What kind of grips do you have on that? It looks smaller than the one I was looking at?

September 1, 2008, 12:02 PM
I am very fond of my Model 10 38Spl. It hits everytime where I aim it, and the 158gr +P LHP is a proven fight stopper. I carry a conceable 9mm 99.9% of the time, but if I were restricted to just this revolver, I wouldn't feel too bad at all.


September 1, 2008, 12:33 PM
I own several .357 magnum revolvers, but none are as light and easy to carry as my .38 special Taurus M85SSUL. And, .38 is plenty for self defense. The magnum is a lot more powerful, but the .38 will easily defend your life. I load up with magnums in my magnum revolvers to go hunting, something the .38 is not powerful enough to do, but at 10 feet, the snub is an effective deterrent. As others have said, the flash/bang is significantly easier on the senses. That's why I load with .38s for home protection.

September 1, 2008, 03:54 PM
hnk I have the arhends, and they are a bit to small for my hands. i'll probably get some jordan troopers later.

September 1, 2008, 05:06 PM
.38's are just plain cool. Good enough reason for me. Joe

Gary A
September 1, 2008, 05:34 PM
Cherish the Love you receive in Life.
And be sure to give someone else something to cherish along the way.

September 1, 2008, 05:48 PM
Kind of Blued said:
Cheaper gun, cheaper ammo, and if it comes to it, they still hurt really really bad.
Also, they're easier to clean since there is no ring of gunk from firing a short cartridge from a longer chamber.

September 1, 2008, 05:50 PM
For me it's about the size of the revolver. The minimum size .357 which I can effectively manage in rapid aimed fire is an SP-101 or K frame magnum. The ultra-lights under 20 ounces are extremely difficult to control and the titaniums are absurd. I SHOOT my sidearms. Lots. Lots and lots. With full power ammo. If you expect to be able to use it an emergency you had better be 110% comfortable with it. Other schools of thought exist, but I find them very questionable.

The .38 special can be comfortably shot in rapid aimed fire if the platform is at least 19 to 22 ounces in weight. That means a steel frame M36 Smith or a Colt DS. These are great pocket revolvers and are easier to tote than a magnum.

Plus I really like the cartridge and the range of options you have with it.

September 1, 2008, 06:04 PM
I was actually looking for my first .357 Magnum when I stumbled onto a used S&W Model 15. I bought it, and it might be my favorite gun (even though I have since bought a couple of .357's).

To answer your original question, because a good .38 Special is $100 cheaper than a comparable .357.

I keep one gun loaded in the house; it alternates between the 15 and a Ruger Security Six. Either way, i keep it stoked with .38 Specials because I don't want to shoot a magnum in the house and a 158 grain soft lead .38 should get the job done.

Brian Williams
September 1, 2008, 06:06 PM
Because it just works, Anybody can have a thunderspeakingloudenboomer, but a 38 just will do most everything.

September 1, 2008, 06:33 PM
Smaller, lighter gun that uses cheaper ammunition. I don't see much use of a .357 Magnum in an aluminum framed revolver.
A .38 is fine for self defense.

September 1, 2008, 06:41 PM
Because a 642 is half the price of a 340 and only a third less powerful than magnum.

September 1, 2008, 08:55 PM
anybody can have a really good day at the range or a gun that consistently outperforms expectations. Count yourself fortunate in either case but my point about practicing with what you carry still stands. Nice group BTW.

September 1, 2008, 09:01 PM
Hangtime, I too believe in practicing with what you carry. I just think that 38's out of a .357 won't affect accuracy enough to matter when it comes to all the other variables that have to fall into play to have a good (accurate) day at the range.

September 1, 2008, 10:27 PM
My take.

If you're going to use a revolver for bullseye shooting, a dedicated .38 rather than .38s out of a .357 will most likely give you a higher score.

The difference in accuracy won't count for bat guano if your purpose for the revolver is personal defense.

Unless maybe you're planning on engaging somebody at 100 yards or so.


September 1, 2008, 10:31 PM
Cus the model 15 is a great gun, Jframe .38 special shooters are great, and .357 in a snubnose is a lot of power, thus I am looking at getting .327 SP-101

September 1, 2008, 10:32 PM
Size, weight, and power are all a trade off in a carry gun. Since I can get anything done with a 38 that I can with a 357, I'll take the smaller, lighter gun. Now for the range or HD, I'll go with the 357.

September 1, 2008, 10:33 PM
I don't know why folks buy those 38 spcl's. The .357 is a much better platform as I can hotload 38's that can be fired safely and comfortably from a .357, but would be tough to control out of a .38

And what's wrong with bullseye shooting with hot loaded .38's at 100 yards? If I can hit in the 9 and 10 ring at 100 yards, do you think I can't do even better at 10 yards?

September 1, 2008, 11:05 PM
My first handgun was a .357, and I've shot a lot of .38 specials through it over the years. But when it came time to get a concealed-carry revolver, I wanted something smaller and much lighter. When I came across a good deal on a S&W Airweight, I bought it.

Both .38s and .357s have their place, but personally, I prefer shooting a .38.

September 1, 2008, 11:25 PM

Why a 38 Special?


What are the main reasons people buy 38's when for not a whole lot mre you can get a 357 that fires both?
$400 for an .38spl Airweight,. $675 for a .357 Airlite. That's a whole lot more IMHO.

$425 for a Ruger SP101 .357, but it's the weight factor.

And I'm not going to get into Braztech's, they aren't bad, but for the investment, just go up to S&W or Ruger.

September 1, 2008, 11:35 PM
But look at some of the revolvers that come in either 38 or 357. They are the same gun. Look at, for instance, the model 64 and the model 65. What's the difference?

The difference is in the length of the cylinder, the .357 Mag cylinder is longer and that makes the barrel a tad shorter.

September 2, 2008, 12:02 AM
Easy answer - have thought a lot about it:

#1) The Smith K-frame reaches the perfection of proportion when chambered in the .38spl. The .357 is too much for it. If you want a K-frame gun, .38spl is the cartridge it was built for. It's a question of balance.

Sure, you could get the discontinued model-19's, but then (this is point #2) you'd be scrubbing the hell out of your chambers every cleaning time. The additional scum ring is SO annoying.

#3) I decided I would only shoot subsonics in my defensive gun(s). This essentially means .38spl. Same for the bullseye and IDPA revolvers (one has two uses, you guess which). So the long chambers get me nothing but extra cleaning (reason #2). Besides, both of those guns are K-frames, so #1 applies too. I could handload .357's just like I handload .38's, but it's more powder and a native .38 is what the K-frame is for.

#4) I have a .357 for power loads. I can't hunt with a handgun where I am, but I can dream about it with my Blackhawk at the range. Short-barrel .357's are goofy, hearing destroying devices. Give me 4.5"+ in a magnum. That gun never sees a .38spl case as I won't pollute my lovely .357 chambers with a nigh uncleanable scum ring (see #2 again).


September 2, 2008, 12:13 AM
Because there are some neat old guns out there that only shoot the .38?

Also there are an amazing number of loadings for the caliber. The combinations seem to be endless. (if you reload)

Ghost Walker
September 2, 2008, 12:34 AM
Late at night when I'm lying in bed listening to the rain pitter-patter on the roof I, sometimes, ask myself this very same question. :D

Between the two I have always preferred the 357 magnum over the 38 special. If I want lighter loads I'll load my 357 magnum cartridge cases down to 38 velocity. Accuracy has never been a problem.

I'll train with 357 target loads for most of the day; and, before leaving the range, I'll switch to several cylinders of full house magnums. Yes, there is more: noise, flash, and muzzle lift; but, the cylinder empties right where I want it to, COM; and, no matter what, the 357 magnum is just a harder hitting round.

With either caliber they say the best cartridge is the old, 'FBI load'. 158 grain LSWC-HP, or a JHP bullet. I'm presently using 125 grain Speer GDHP's in my short barreled 357's. Haven't shot any zombies with them yet; but, they seem to be fine. ;)

Jim March
September 2, 2008, 01:20 AM
I agree that when we're talking about combat accuracy, 38s in 357 chambers won't matter one whit.

Price is one issue: there's lots of used yet nice 38s out there like the aforementioned S&W 15. One of the best shooting guns of all time is the old Colt Officer's Match in 38, which was basically the ancestor to the Python except it's half the price.

But there's also a big practical issue.

A 19oz 357 gun shooting "real" 357s will be a major handful for most shooters. Even shooting many "mild" 357s will be harsh. A gun below 19oz is basically getting ridiculous shooting 357s.

So a lot of people buy 2" barrel 357s and then shoot nothing but 38 in them. In my opinion, a big mistake and possibly a fatal one.

You'll lose up to 50fps with the longer chamber. At least 30fps by most tests I've seen published.

Commercial ammo that expands reliably in a 38Spl 2" barrel do exist. Two of the best are the Speer Gold Dot 135+P (doing 860fps from a 2") and the Remington plain lead hollowpoint 158+P (doing about 850ish). These loads and a few others do work, but they're borderline. Run them any slower and they could fail to expand.

Once you have a 3" or 4" barrel 357, this problem goes away. This is why I like the SP101 with a 3" tube - to make sure 38+Ps will work well despite the 357 chambers. I also like tight gaps in 38 snubbies and it's all about this same issue - bullet speed.

Now, you can always run Buffalo Bore's 38+P which carry enough extra energy to work no matter what - but there's both a recoil and cost penalty. Damn fine ammo, don't get me wrong.

September 2, 2008, 01:46 AM
because the .38 is...well...special :D

September 2, 2008, 05:05 AM
I have a beautiful Model 66, and it's the most accurate revolver I own. But I also have 2 Model 10s from different decades and they're wonderful too. So why shoot .357?

Because I can.

My aim has gotten a lot better in the last two years. At one point I couldn't put .357 on the paper at 10 yards. Too much recoil, too much blast, I told myself. .38 is much more controllable. And it is. And .38 out of the 66 is great. But as I've practiced, and consistently hit with the 38 Spl, I've found the 357 Mag to be easier to handle. There isn't less recoil than 2 years ago, but I have a better grip, I'm using the sights correctly, and I don't flinch anymore. It was never about the round, but about me. I can shoot .38 all day long, and often do, but because .357 is a challenge to me I've become a better shooter.

All other things being equal, you'll pay less for 38 Spl, both guns and ammo. Don't pay attention to the writers in the glossy gun magazines who say that Thirty Eight Special is for retirees and housewives and won't stop a jittery cat. They all worship the 45 Ay Cee Pee, and spend $5000 to upgrade a 1911 so they can write about it. Again. :rolleyes:

And the older .38s, from the 20s through the 60s, are little works of American art. Even S&W seems to have lost the secret of that wonderful blueing they used to use (the current blued Colts and Taurii are just mockeries of what was). People at the range with their plastic and stainless steel pistols will walk over to me and ask about them, and smile very broadly when I invite them to run six through the cylinder. A fifty year old S&W for $200 is within the realm of possibility, and still a great gun.

Either way is a good choice. Get the used S&W .38 Special now though--you can buy a new .357 later. :)

September 2, 2008, 08:37 AM
+1 to the Anti-bubba - have a model 15 on layaway and if I don't go with a SP101 for a summer carry gun, it will be a .38 special J-frame of some sort.

September 2, 2008, 09:03 AM
All arguments in favor of the .38 Spl. are valid, IMHO. I agree with -nearly- all of them & couldn't add any that hasn't already been said.
It warms my heart to see so many prefer the true .38 Spl.-only-guns (as opposed to 357/38).
I thought we were a minority, if not a dying breed.
Why is it then, you think,that so few .38-only guns are made nowadays ?
Any clues ?

September 2, 2008, 09:15 AM
For carry in a small snubbie like a 642, I prefer the .38 Spl as it allows for a slightly smaller, lighter gun. I don't want to shoot a .357 mag out of a little gun anyway. For hunting or woods carry a full size revolver like a GP100 is my choice in .357 mag.

actually...357's can be lighter. Take for example the 340pd, coming in at right about 12oz, compare to...what, 15oz in a model 642? :) Even the m&p340 (not all that much more expensive than the 642 when you consider the night sight) is lighter than the 642 by 2 ounces or so. Sure, 3oz isn't alot...until you consider that it's 1/5th of the weight of the gun! (or if you look at it from the other direction, 1/4th!)

I've got a 642 myself...but every time I look at it I wish i'd sprung for the lighter gun in .357. Granted, if you load that 12oz .357 up with some full house .357 loads, you will be nursing a cut finger most likely...but many people overlook the fact that .357's come in all kinds of loadings...you can get a couple hundred more feet per second over a .38spl and not be overwhelmed by the recoil (think a 158gr round between 1000fps-1100fps from a 2" barrel instead of ~850-900fps), and your gun is lighter (good for ankle or pocket carry) to boot....and since the gun is designed for higher pressure, you don't wear it out as quickly as a .38spl designed revolver. Also, the 642's sites suck compared to the m&p 340 :( Though the 340pd comes with similar sites as the 642.

Some people are very recoil sensitive, and in those cases there's not really much benefit to going with a .357 at all.

September 2, 2008, 09:40 AM
Why would I want to PAY for a 340 in .357 when I can spend 1/4 that on a good ultralite .38? I ain't gonna shoot .357s in anything lighter than a SP101 anyway. :rolleyes:

There are plenty of .38 models still made for concealment since it makes ultimate sense, probably STILL the best possible caliber offering for a light weight pocket sized snubby. The number of medium frame offerings is a might thin now days, I'll admit, but I have no problem with owning medium frame .357s and shooting .38s in 'em and I do have an old Smith M10 for my pleasure. :D My .38s include a Rossi M68 3", a Taurus M85SSUL 2", and a 4" heavy barrel Smith and Wesson M10 made in the early 60s and still tight and accurate. I have a 3" and a 4" M66 Taurus 357s and a Ruger 6.5" Blackhawk in that caliber as well as a Rossi 92 carbine in .357. All these get fired more with .38 than .357 except perhaps the Blackhawk that I hunt with and practice mostly with full power .357 loads.

September 2, 2008, 09:55 AM
Another thought as to why I don't have nor will i consider .357 2" pocket gun. I get 1262fps/410 ft lbs out of my little 14 ounce Kel Tec P11 little square revolver. :D I couldn't do a lot better than that with a 340 with any load I could possibly handle in a 12 ounce gun and the 9mm has considerably less recoil and muzzle blast while putting up those numbers. It's very accurate (3.5" groups from a rest at 25 yards) and has a concealed hammer and 13 rounds on tap in a pocket gun smaller and flatter and easier to hide than a J frame and the reload I carry is a LOT easier to carry than friggin' speed loaders and a lot faster in use. It is accurate and 100 percent reliable. All that is why it gets carried the most plus the fact that I've fired it so much, it just sorta points itself. I love my revolvers, but I'm a practical guy. Besides, my Kel Tec has no lock.

September 2, 2008, 11:45 AM
Why would I want to PAY for a 340 in .357 when I can spend 1/4 that on a good ultralite .38? I ain't gonna shoot .357s in anything lighter than a SP101 anyway.
Indeed, if you are sensitive to recoil and can't handle a .357 in a very light revolver, the benefits are just not there. How do you see a 340 being 4 times the cost of a ultralite .38? My 642 cost me right at 400$, BNIB. My coworker just bought a 340PD for 699$, BNIB, and the M&P 340's are cheaper by 100-150$ and come with night sights. Sure, it's certainly more expensive...but not even close to 4x the cost; by that math, the 340pd should be running ~1600$ :rolleyes:. And yes, you can buy a cheaper small .38 than a S&W 642/442/etc, but so long as you're comparing apples to apples in quality and weight, you aren't going to be looking at 4x the cost.

If you trust a keltec autoloader then that's certainly a great alternative for you. I think i'd prefer 158gr rounds @ 1100fps to 115-125gr @ 1262fps, but you know, we're already well into the land of personal preference once we bring kel-tec autoloaders into a discussion about .38spl vs. .357mag ;)

September 2, 2008, 11:52 AM
You're almost making me rethink my choice of using a .38spl SP101 and a Model 15 as our house guns. Almost.

Oh! OK. I'm over it. :)

The house guns are also used by my wife. She hates .357. She shoots very well with the two snubbies listed above. Shoot what you practice with.

I don't feel under gunned or poorly protected.

September 2, 2008, 12:07 PM
I got a deal on a Smith Mod. 10 from the gun shop. 4" bb. Tuned for IDPA, ported, and chambered for 38 Spl.

It wouldn't sell because it wasn't .357 and wasn't stainless. One of my favorite handguns, $185 out the door about 10 yrs ago.

I have tons and tons of 38 brass, loading 158 gr. SWC Oregon Trails laser cast bullets. Cheap shoot.

With the heavy frame, this gun can be loaded ++ P in published Hodgdon loads which overlap the low end .357 mag loads.

Old Grump
September 2, 2008, 01:15 PM
38 spcl because it is still an effective load, the guns are often light, easy to handle and usually easy to conceal if you must conceal.

I use a on of 2 357's to shoot my 38's and I have to spend more time cleaning the cylinder but it is just as accurate out to 50 yards as the 357.

September 2, 2008, 01:22 PM
Keltec P11 100% reliable? :scrutiny:
I owned one of these jewels two years ago and except for the broken extractor, three bad magazines and long heavy gritty trigger (which adversely affects accuracy) it was very reliable:rolleyes: Also, even after break-in the gun still wouldn't feed reliably with certain brands of factory ammo. Don't have to worry about things like that with my J-frame.

It doesn't matter how many rounds a gun carries if with just one failure it can become a single shot.

As far as pocket carry goes the rounded and curved shape of a J-frame hides much better in my pocket than the squared off slide and blocky grip of the P11.

Sure, Keltec will repair the guns for free and that would be nice if you can convince the criminal to hold off his attack until you got your gun back from repair :o

Carl Levitian
September 2, 2008, 03:12 PM
Because when I bought my model 60 in 1972, there were no J frame .357's yet. And since I had a model 60, the model 64 I bought in 1973 shot real nice with the same ammo. I've been using them ever since. As they are good quality guns, and should last the rest of my life, why change now? I'm real use to them.

September 3, 2008, 06:35 AM
I keep a .357 for home defense and another in my cabin out in the woods. Both are S&W Model 13s. They're massive enough to allow me to shoot well with full-house .357 ammo. I have a couple of .38 snubbies that are great little pocket pieces. Firing 38+P ammo from them is NOT enjoyable, though. I can just imagine what .357 must be like out of a small, lightweight revolver. No thanks. You Incredible Hulk type fellas can have all of them you want.

I also have a pair of Model 10s and one of their stainless twin, a Model 64. All have 4 inch barrels and are absolute delights to handle and shoot. I have no question as to why these were popular service revolvers for decades. They just seem to be so easy to shoot accurately.

To me, the .38 spl just makes a lot of sense for plinking, target practice and SD. It's an enjoyable round to fire from a revolver. Some of you may be enthralled by the blast, recoil and ear-splitting report of a .357 or even .44 mag, but I'm too old for that showy stuff. Leave me my anemic .38 special. We get along too well to split up now. ;)

September 3, 2008, 10:20 AM
As Pilot implies, it depends on the size and weight of the gun and on what you intend to use it for. For belt carry where you may have to end up shooting animals, a 4 inch or longer barrel on a steel frame gun is indicated, and the magnum would be very worthwhile.

If you are thinking of a lightweight snubbie, RON in PA is right on target: "I have a couple of .38 snubbies that are great little pocket pieces. Firing 38+P ammo from them is NOT enjoyable, though. I can just imagine what .357 must be like out of a small, lightweight revolver. No thanks. You Incredible Hulk type fellas can have all of them you want".

Here's something Elmer Keith had to say about short .357 magnums after new powders that would burn in the short barrels had come out: "the recoil and muzzle blast was [sic] very objectionable, even to the hardened testing crew." This is from Sixguns by Keith, and is part of a discussion of the 3 1/2 inch N-frame adopted by the FBI, in which Keith criticized the choice of that barrel length due to loss of velocity that had occurred with earlier powders.

When you consider that Keith particpated in the development of the .357 magnum and was the father of the .44 magnum, you might want to heed this.

I recently bought an Airweight, and the .38 standard velocity load is hot enough for me to remember a practice session for a day or two. Why anyone would want to trade controllability for recoil and blast is beyond me, and I have some concern that the cumulative effect of such recoil may be injurious.

Also, for home defense in a populated area, one has to consider how much penetration is advisable. To me, sensible risk mitigation calls for a .38 special, or maybe a .44 special for that application.

September 3, 2008, 10:24 AM
Sorry for the incorrect attribution. That was skoro. However, RON and Pilot make the same excellent point. :)

September 3, 2008, 10:34 AM
44 mags or better yet 44 specials are easy to shoot if you have a big gun, but out of a snubby I much rather have a .38 special.

September 3, 2008, 11:46 AM
I found 44spl's really to be directly comparable recoil-wise to a .38+P round from a snub. Actually, the 44spl snub i fired was a steel framed charter arms and it had noticeably less recoil than 38+P from my 642. Just for kicks I offered to let the fellow shoot my .38 after he allowed me to shoot a cylinder from his .44SPL. He was surprised at how much worse the recoil was from the .38. It felt kinda like a .45ACP to me without the snap from the slide slamming around..

September 3, 2008, 02:06 PM
there seem to be more surplus/LEO trade in .38 spl service revolvers available than .357 mag revolvers; let's see...

a hypothetical scenario...

I am seeking the ease of use of a revolver to keep around the house that both my wife & I can use for self defense; we are also interested in recreational shooting to improve our accuracy & confidence with our new revolver; my wife has never shot a gun & I haven't shot one in over 10 years since I retired from being a contracted security guard & I was issued .38 spl duty revolvers for the majority of my career; our budget for said gun is $350 give or take $25; I go into a local gun shop and tell the salesperson what I am seeking...

he has 2 very nice specimens for me to look over; naturally he tells me the attributes of a new S&W 620 .357 magnum revolver with its 'over my budget' price of $575; the other is a Ruger GP100 .357 magnum revolver that is priced a bit lower...$525; he states that the Ruger is a good gun, but the Smith & Wesson has a better trigger, higher resale value, etc, etc; he has me about wore out from his sales shpeel when I spot an older duty sized revolver in the used section with an asking price of $315; I ask to take a closer look at it; everything seems in good shape; mechanicals are good & tight; timing is good; seems a bit holster worn, but no indication of abuse or corrosion; turns out to be a used S&W 64 that an older gentleman sold; being within my budget I buy the used S&W 64 and get 2 boxes of .38 spl lrn to practice with & 1 boxes of Remington 'FBI' load; spotted the HKS speedloaders on the way out and go a bit over budget & buy 2 of those also;

moral of scenario...not all of us can afford the outrageous high prices of today's new .357mag revolvers...especially when a 4" duty sized .38 spl loaded with FBI load stuff will do us just fine :evil:

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