.38 Super vs .357 Mag


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David4516
August 4, 2009, 07:14 PM
I'm thinking about buying a new carry gun. I already have a small gun (Beretta 950 Jetfire .25ACP) and a medium gun (Makarov 9x18). I find myself wanted a larger gun for carry in the woods (might run into black bear or cougar) and when I can wear more heavy clothing (plan to carry IWB).

There are two that I'm looking at and just can't decide which I like better.

Option #1: Colt 1911 "lightweight commander" in .38 Super

Option #2: Ruger SP101 with 3 inch barrel in .357 Mag

Half of me wants a semi-auto and the other half wants a revolver. I'm aware of the advantages and dis-advantages of each. The SP101 is cheaper and possibly more "versitile" but only packs 5 rounds and takes longer to reload.

What do you guys think? Are these good choices in the first place? If so, what would you choose if you were me?

Thanks in advance.

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WLE
August 4, 2009, 07:17 PM
357 hands down I would consider a 44 mag instead

David4516
August 4, 2009, 07:30 PM
Also, I should add that I'll reload my own ammo, so ammo cost is not really a factor.

And I'd carry in town too, not just the woods, not sure if I made that very clear in the fist post...

george29
August 4, 2009, 07:34 PM
The receiving end of a .38 super & .357 magnum is about the same. Now it's a matter of Revolver VS Semi.

drmajor
August 4, 2009, 07:37 PM
I carry a S&W 642. Small and no hammer to catch on clothes. It is loaded with 1-Frangible and 4 Personal Defense loads- P+. It has Crimson Trace Laser sites. The P+ is strong.

However, I bought a Ruger GP100- 6" for the woods- .357 Mag. Wonderful revolver and what a punch.

Logic-
1. Yeh, the 44 mag will hit really hard- on dear and wallet.
2. I can shoot the .38 in the 357, though not as accurate.
3. I can use the same reloader for both. Saves money and inventory.

The 6" GP100 is a well balanced revolver - not a carry gun unless you wear a trench coat. I love it's balance! But I also have size 12 hands!! It probably kicks less than the 642 2" with +P. The 2" is a not too much fun with +P. But I don't go target practice with it either.

David E
August 4, 2009, 07:43 PM
They no longer make a lightweight Commander in .38 Super due to the frames cracking. If you find one, it's more of a collector's item than a woods gun.

The SP-101 sucks for a woods gun, but some disagree. A 4" or 6" .357 is a better choice.

A very stong case can be made for an 11-shot handgun putting out .357 magnum ballistics, but is easier to control, carry and reload, but it needs to be a fullsize steel 1911.

(unless you have all kinds of money and want an 18 or 20 or 27 shot .38 Super based on the STI 2011 model)

Logos
August 4, 2009, 07:52 PM
Get a Glock in .357 Sig if you like the autoloader.....or the 10mm.....even better for those packs of man-eating cougars and black bears!

robriboflavin
August 4, 2009, 07:58 PM
"They no longer make a lightweight Commander in .38 Super due to the frames cracking. If you find one, it's more of a collector's item than a woods gun."

Dave E, you might want to check your source on this -

http://www.coltsmfg.com/products-c5-q7-COLT_PISTOLS.aspx

just sayin'...

weisse52
August 4, 2009, 09:01 PM
Both good guns. A .38 Super is an excellent pistol if you reload.

But, no shock I would pick the Colt first.:evil:

SharpsDressedMan
August 4, 2009, 09:07 PM
Glock 20 or 29. The 10mm beats the .38 super and any .357 from a 3" barrel, the Glock is lighter and pretty water-resistent, and 10-15 rounds beats 5 from the Ruger. You could get a Delta or othe 1911 pattern 10mm, although the Glock would be more comparable in price to the Ruger.

MCgunner
August 4, 2009, 09:21 PM
Lessee, hmm, which would I choose, an overweight, large jammamatic in an odd ball caliber, or a 28 ounce proven carry revolver that cares not about nose shape in a proven self defense caliber? Wow, whadda tuffy. :D I didn't even know they made the LW Commander in .38 super, but I'd sure avoid it. I'd avoid the Delta in 10mm, too. That old design didn't do well with hot 10s as I recall.

Mags
August 4, 2009, 09:27 PM
38 super ballistics

90 gr (5.8 g) JHP 1,557 ft/s (475 m/s) 485 ft·lbf (658 J)
100 gr (6.5 g) FMJ 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s) 467 ft·lbf (633 J)
115 gr (7.5 g) FMJ 1,395 ft/s (425 m/s) 497 ft·lbf (674 J)
130 gr (8.4 g) FMJ 1,305 ft/s (398 m/s) 492 ft·lbf (667 J)
150 gr (9.7 g) FMJ 1,148 ft/s (350 m/s) 439 ft·lbf (595 J

10mm Ballistics

135 gr (8.7 g) Nosler JHP 1,600 ft/s (490 m/s) 767 ft·lbf (1,040 J)
155 gr (10.0 g) Gold Dot HP 1,475 ft/s (450 m/s) 750 ft·lbf (1,020 J)
165 gr (10.7 g) Golden Saber HP 1,425 ft/s (434 m/s) 744 ft·lbf (1,009 J)
180 gr (12 g) XTP HP 1,350 ft/s (410 m/s) 728 ft·lbf (987 J)
200 gr (13 g) WFNGC 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) 750 ft·lbf (1,020 J)

357 Magnum Ballistics

125 gr (8.1 g) Bonded Defense JHP 1,600 ft/s (490 m/s) 710 ft·lbf (960 J)
130 gr (8.4 g) JHP 1,410 ft/s (430 m/s) 574 ft·lbf (778 J)
158 gr (10.2 g) Gold Dot JHP 1,400 ft/s (430 m/s) 688 ft·lbf (933 J)
180 gr (12 g) WFNGC Hard Cast 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) 676 ft·lbf (917 J)
200 gr (13 g) WFNGC Hard Cast 1,200 ft/s (370 m/s) 640 ft·lbf (870 J)

I would choose 10mm in a 1911 platform like a Colt Delta Elite. Second choice would be a 357 Magnum in a 4-6 inch Ruger GP100. If I had to get a 38 Super which I am very interested in I would custom build one in the 1911 platform.

MCgunner
August 4, 2009, 09:30 PM
Trust me, you'll carry the SP101. You WON'T carry the GP100. A gun you WON'T carry is pretty worthless.

Mags
August 4, 2009, 09:36 PM
I see your point MCgunner the GP 100 is a big honking gun but thats my choice over the SP 101 you know different strokes...

Bearhands
August 4, 2009, 09:38 PM
try finding ammo for a 38 Super..... or a 10mm... or even a 357 sig in a "local" store? Reloading is great if you can find the brass and bullets consistently.

a 357 mag would be my choice, even w/ a 3" barrel (your choice) packs a punch. Be smart and go with a "known" knockdown caliber. Confrontations are over with in 2-3 shots in a gunfight......... 5 357's on a 4 legged critter should be sufficient and if not, run or carry something bigger.

MCgunner
August 4, 2009, 09:38 PM
I see your point MCgunner the GP 100 is a big honking gun but thats my choice over the SP 101 you know different strokes...


Great gun, I agree, don't misunderstand. But, considering his choices, he's lookin' for something for 24/7 carry. I love my Rugers, but some aren't carries or regular carries. :D I shoot my P90 about as good as anything I have, won a lot of shoots with that gun, but it's 33 ounces and sorta chunky in its Sparks leather. I carry it only when I think I might be in a bad area that I'm a little worried about. I'd love to carry it 24/7, but it's just not something I'm gonna do around home.

Actually, I don't carry a SP101, had one, but I prefer my .38 UltraLite or my little sub-compact 9 in a pocket.

MDW GUNS
August 4, 2009, 09:41 PM
If you take a 1911 then in .45!!
Otherwise the .357 Mag would be my choice between the two.
However, as already listed, the .357 SIG is a great choice.
From Glock to a 1911 Night Hawk there are plenty of guns in this great caliber!!!

GodGuns&Guitars
August 4, 2009, 09:57 PM
As much as I like my 38 Super, I'd much rather have a 357 for woods carry.

prelaw09
August 4, 2009, 10:05 PM
I voted for the SP101, but...

I would choose 10mm in a 1911 platform like a Colt Delta Elite. This also makes a lot of sense.

The 357 is a classic woods gun but the 10mm in a 1911 is a very nice gun. Also, have you considered, say, the SIG 229 in 357SIG?

Logos
August 4, 2009, 10:36 PM
try finding ammo for a 38 Super..... or a 10mm... or even a 357 sig in a "local" store?

My local store had two boxes of each (10mm and Sig) today.

My local store seems to be better stocked (and has better prices) than Cheaper Than Dirt or Natchez.

I think the ammo thing is starting to get better.

MCgunner
August 4, 2009, 10:37 PM
I like a revolver's versatility and better accuracy for woods carry, .38 wadcutter for small game, 180 grain hard cast .357 for big. It's plenty if all you're worried about is people or maybe a black bear. I would carry NO auto pistol caliber in the woods weaker than 10mm.

Mags
August 4, 2009, 10:50 PM
I shoot my P90 about as good as anything I have, won a lot of shoots with that gun, but it's 33 ounces and sorta chunky in its Sparks leather. I carry it only when I think I might be in a bad area that I'm a little worried about. Well you know the saying if your screen name means what I tink it does "every Marine is a rifleman".

SaxonPig
August 4, 2009, 10:54 PM
The 357 is more powerful. Handloading brings the Super closer but the Magnum will always have the edge in power. If you want the auto then I think the Super is a good choice. I like mine.

weisse52
August 4, 2009, 10:58 PM
Well, if we are recommending our personal favorites.

For wood carry I would choose a Ruger Superblack Hawk in .44 mag with a 4 5/8".

OP,

Pick what works for you. But, shoot both with full power loads before you make a decison. I have seem several people who thought a 3" .357 was a great idea until they shot it with some full power loads.

Your money, your decision.

GRIZ22
August 4, 2009, 11:07 PM
A 38 super can pretty much duplicate a 357 mag in lighter bullet weights.

Between the two go for the 357.

MCgunner
August 4, 2009, 11:10 PM
"every Marine is a rifleman".

Actually, the MC is for "motorcycle". I shoot rifles, shotguns, and bows, as well as handguns, though. :D

Logos
August 4, 2009, 11:16 PM
Here's my personal favorites.

The larger is a nice old U.S. Customs gun.

The smaller is for when you need a slightly lighter and more concealable gun.

Both are excellent, but the old CS-1 is better for the woods.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d181/DenVII/002.jpg

But you would not go wrong with the Glock in .357 Sig or 10mm.

Choose what feels best to you......what you like best.

What you like best is always the best for you because you will use it with comfort and confidence.

I get a kick out of carrying both.....one in a shoulder holster and one inside waistband.

;)

Nomad_NH
August 4, 2009, 11:25 PM
i carry my 2 1/4 inch sp101 about half the time and a glock 26 the other half. I find the ruger very easy to conceal IWB and most of the time i actually forget its there. If your going to be carrying concealed a lot the sp101 would be a good choice in my opinion. Even in summer clothing it pretty much disappears IWB.

David E
August 5, 2009, 12:30 AM
"They no longer make a lightweight Commander in .38 Super due to the frames cracking. If you find one, it's more of a collector's item than a woods gun."

Dave E, you might want to check your source on this -

I sure hope they changed the aluminum frame to a stronger one, or it'll have the same frame cracking problem the old ones had.

Thanks for the heads up, btw.

David E
August 5, 2009, 12:32 AM
As to which gun, it really depends what the OP wants to bring the gun along for.

If for two-legged snakes, then a .38 Super loaded with Corbon 115 or 125 grain JHP's are tough to beat.

If for general purpose trail/survival use, then an accurate revolver is a better choice.

Keep in mind that "accurate" not only applies to the gun, but to the shooter. If a gun can print 1" groups @ 25 yds from a machine rest, but the shooter can't keep 'em inside a 12" circle with one gun but can shot 2-3" all day long with a different gun, then that should matter.

David4516
August 5, 2009, 01:34 AM
Thanks for all the input so far, please keep it coming.

I think I should clear something up...

It's not really going to be a serious "woods gun". That would be my Winchester model 94... I think .30-30 beats any handgun...

However, I recently (a year ago) moved in to a 10 acre farm in a semi-rural area of Washington State. There have been bear sightings in the area, or so I'm told. Haven't seen any bear around here with my own eyes, but I've seen coyotes and feral dogs on several occasions...

I also go on the occasional camping trip.

So the gun is really going to be for concealed carry around the farm, in town, and sometimes camping. I don't plan to open carry with it at all. I don't plan to hunt with it at all. I want it mainly for 2 legged animals but if I happen to run into a 4 legged one I don't want to feel totally un-prepared like I would with say my .25ACP

Didn't mean to make it sound like I was going bear hunting with this thing. My apologies...

Also, I was un-aware of a frame cracking problem with the 1911, does anyone know if that's been resolved?

Speaking of the 1911, I like it compared to say, a Glock, for a couple reasons. First, I don't really care for double stack autos. They feel "fat" in my hands. I like the "thin" feeling of single stacks like the 1911.

Second, I don't really care for polymer in a gun. I'm kind of old fashioned I guess, but I like my guns to be made of metal. That is one reason why I like my Makarov, it feels very "solid". I could run over it with a tank and it would probably still work.

So, long story short, I've pretty much ruled out the Glock. I know they're nice pistols but I just don't think they are my kind of gun.

PO2Hammer
August 5, 2009, 10:28 AM
.38 Super and .357 Magnum are my two favorites for shooting and handloading.

If I had to pick an unseen, untested gun for carry it would certainly be a revolver over a 1911.

My Super is a high end, full size model that took a full 1,000 rounds before it was reliable.

hardluk1
August 5, 2009, 02:00 PM
Maybe not work in all 38 super chambers but some can also shoot the 9x23 in those same guns and make another step up in power. The tread was also about 38super or 357 not 10mm. If someone wants to debate 10mm then by all means lets bring in 41 mag,44mag and 45 lc. Got to stop on this tread at 357 not 10mm. Always something badder around the corner.

SaxonPig
August 5, 2009, 02:56 PM
The 9x23 case is different from the Super and I don't believe the two will interchange in the same barrel unless the barrel is very sloppy on tolerances.

I should have added that I voted for the Super mainly because I don't like Ruger DA revolvers. Too ugly for my taste. I'd rather have a Super 1911.


http://www.fototime.com/A5FEE7C0F084410/standard.jpg


Or at least a handsome 357 revolver.


http://www.fototime.com/C7AF980D3E6FECB/standard.jpg

rcmodel
August 5, 2009, 03:04 PM
Also, I was un-aware of a frame cracking problem with the 1911, does anyone know if that's been resolved?There was no problem with frame cracking with .38 Super LW Commanders.

There was a problem with the feed ramp denting after some smart feller invented JHP ammo for them 20 years after they started making them.

The frame cracking problem was with steel frame 10mm Delta's.

And that was purely cosmetic anyway.

When a 1911 frame cracks, it generally cracks the left frame rail right above the slide stop cut. It doesn't hurt a thing except the looks when the slide is off, and it will not get any worse.

Fogedaboutit!

Unless you are going to shoot 10K-20K a year in competation, it's a non-issue.

rc

Gryffydd
August 5, 2009, 03:08 PM
A 38 super can pretty much duplicate a 357 mag in lighter bullet weights.
Let me know when you can get a 125gr bullet going 1600fps from a 38 super with a 4" barrel.

SharpsDressedMan
August 5, 2009, 06:14 PM
I only offered the Glock 29/20 because it is so very light, and has lots of capacity, since the capacity of the Super was being considered over the SP101. Yeah, it's not a ".36". But you COULD make a Glock 20, or 29, a ".36" by swapping out the barrel for a 9x25 Dillon. Now compare your ballistics to the .357 Magnum, of any barrel length.

tcsnake
August 5, 2009, 07:59 PM
If your gonna get a 1911 get it in .45
If your gonna get a .357 get a S&W

PO2Hammer
August 5, 2009, 08:31 PM
Let me know when you can get a 125gr bullet going 1600fps

That ain't gunna happen in an SP 101 either. A six inch revolver maybe, but not a two or three inch gun.

I consider a three inch revolver and a 5 inch Super about equal ballistically.

Gryffydd
August 5, 2009, 08:39 PM
I consider a three inch revolver and a 5 inch Super about equal ballistically.
Out of a 3" revolver Buffalo Bore's 125gr load goes 1476fps. Still above the best the .38 Super can do out of a 5" barrel. Their 158gr load goes 1398 out of a 3" revolver. Still higher than the best the .38 super can do with a 125gr bullet.

Edit: I did just find one load that pushes a 124gr to 1425 out of a 5 " barrel.

PO2Hammer
August 5, 2009, 08:41 PM
Here's a link to some chrono info on the .357 magnum and others.

I have more .357's than anything else, but their real world velocities from snubs is rather disappointing.

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

30mag
August 5, 2009, 08:42 PM
That is one reason why I like my Makarov, it feels very "solid". I could run over it with a tank and it would probably still work.
Sounds like you need a revolver.

PO2Hammer
August 5, 2009, 08:48 PM
Here's a .38 Super site;
http://38super.net/Pages/Factory2.html

Gryffydd
August 5, 2009, 08:49 PM
Here's a link to some chrono info on the .357 magnum and others.
Too bad they didn't test any of the better .357 rounds or any handloads.

Here's a .38 Super site;
http://38super.net/Pages/Factory2.html
Kinda scary how the better performing .38 Super rounds were exhibiting dangerous pressure signs, including pierced primers. In some cases tying up the gun...nice.

SaxonPig
August 5, 2009, 09:45 PM
I got up to 1525 with 115 JHPs from a 4.25" Commander. Recoil split one grip panel (genuine ivory %#*%*#&@^!!!!) and I felt it was pushing the envelope too much. At 1400 all seems fine. My fastest 357 load is 1725 with a 125 JHP from a 5" N frame Smith. This is a very warm load.

David E
August 6, 2009, 12:45 AM
There was no problem with frame cracking with .38 Super LW Commanders.


Simply not true. I'm referring to the Lightweight Commanders produced circa 1950-1965.

I do not know how the new ones hold up. My comments were regarding only the original run/chambering during the above time frames.

I'd go with a steel frame, since proper holsters would support the weight easily.

novaDAK
August 6, 2009, 07:08 AM
A 38 super can pretty much duplicate a 357 mag in lighter bullet weights.

Between the two go for the 357.

light weight bullets are not what you want for woods protection...you want heavy, solid bullets with minimal expansion...like a 158gr hard cast SWC or 180gr WFN in .357mag :)

paul45
August 6, 2009, 07:13 AM
Quote:
There was no problem with frame cracking with .38 Super LW Commanders.


Simply not true. I'm referring to the Lightweight Commanders produced circa 1950-1965.

I do not know how the new ones hold up. My comments were regarding only the original run/chambering during the above time frames.

I'd go with a steel frame, since proper holsters would support the weight easily.

You seem quite confident. Point me to published/accepted statistics on your claim, please.

MCgunner
August 6, 2009, 08:50 AM
I got 1300 fps from a 2.3" SP101 with a 180 grain Hornady XTP JHP. I think I'd rather face a bear with that than a 125 grain from anything.

TUBBY1
August 7, 2009, 12:00 PM
.357 are more available not to mention the 38+p. I put a crimson trace on it and love the action and balance. It holsters nicely behind the back in the belt, or in my belster i had made for it. Ijust added a m92 rossi big loop carbine in same caliber. Im in heaven...

mbt2001
August 7, 2009, 01:07 PM
I just like the .38 super...

Honestly it doesn't compare with the .357 mag though. It is more like a 9mm +p+ round.

tipoc
August 7, 2009, 01:22 PM
Quote:
There was no problem with frame cracking with .38 Super LW Commanders.
Simply not true. I'm referring to the Lightweight Commanders produced circa 1950-1965.

I do not know how the new ones hold up. My comments were regarding only the original run/chambering during the above time frames.

I'd go with a steel frame, since proper holsters would support the weight easily.

Some of the original alloy framed guns did crack but so did some of the steel frames. The problem was not the frames, per se, but that folks were not using the proper weight recoil springs for the guns when they first appeared in 1948. Not maintaining the new alloy framed guns springs properly led to some frame battering and cracking and the undeserved rep that "alloy frames crack". If the springs ain't proper a steel framed gun can be battered and crack. That was 50 years ago. I own a 1951 Commander in .38 Super that I've put many thousands of round threw with no problem.

tipoc

David4516
August 7, 2009, 01:29 PM
Regarding the heavy .357 rounds, someone told me that they won't chamber in a smaller revolver like the SP101? Is that true? Could I shoot 180gr loads if I wanted to?

How about .327? 6 shots vs. 5 sounds nice, but is it close to .357 power wise? If it's not, then I don't see the point in buying a new gun, I could just keep packing my 9x18...

So far the only numbers I've seen on .327 are for 115gr bullet at about 1300FPS. Doesn't sound bad but if that's as heavy as they get I don't know if I'm interested... :confused:

Gryffydd
August 7, 2009, 03:31 PM
I doubt most 180gr loads would have any trouble in the SP101. 200gr loads might cause a problem, which is why some people load them in 38 special cases.

The .327 really can't keep up with the .357, especially in the heavier bullets. Even then, the lighter bullets really can't come close. 1700fps out of a midsize revolver should be pretty easy with the .357 and 115 grain bullets.

Dr_2_B
August 7, 2009, 11:08 PM
Ruger

David E
August 8, 2009, 02:39 AM
You seem quite confident. Point me to published/accepted statistics on your claim, please.

The gunsmith that showed them to me and told me of them has long since passed away, so you're out of luck.

I can see where the wrong or worn out recoil springs could cause the cracking, so if you get an alloy framed .38 Super, be diligent about the recoil springs!

David E
August 8, 2009, 02:49 AM
Regarding the heavy .357 rounds, someone told me that they won't chamber in a smaller revolver like the SP101? Is that true? Could I shoot 180gr loads if I wanted to?

I don't own one (don't care for 'em) but the original magnums had a shorter frame/cylinder (since the SP-101 was first chambered in .38 spl.) and could only accommodate the 125 grain length loads. Shortly thereafter, they lengthened both frame and cylinder to accommodate the longer/heavier bullets.

Most, if not all, 180 loads will work fine, since the extra weight/length is inside the case, not in front of it.

James T Thomas
August 9, 2009, 05:22 PM
That 357 round did not emerge from the hunting round category, into the man stopper category, until the bullet technology was perfected.
Much later in the history.
I stated perfected, because even in this new age, defensive rounds are being marketed that do not live up to the claimed hype of those selling them.

I do not know much about the current 38 super ammo, but the last word I knew was that: ammo variety was limited, ammo availability was limited,
and apparently the terminal ballistic thing has not yet been perfected.

For your field use, other factors apply.

Walkalong
August 9, 2009, 05:42 PM
I have two 1911s in .38 Super. I would like a revolver in .38 Super, but the only ones I have seen are pricey. Maybe someday.

I have several .357 revolvers, because there are so many cool .357 revolvers out there.

It's a disease. I swear. Can I get a check from the Govmint (taxpayer ;)) for this disease, so I can buy more revolvers in .357? :D

Both suck, don't get either one--- That got 5 votes......I am amazed, I really am. Both suck? :eek:

tipoc
August 9, 2009, 09:01 PM
I do not know much about the current 38 super ammo, but the last word I knew was that: ammo variety was limited, ammo availability was limited,
and apparently the terminal ballistic thing has not yet been perfected.


Folks can drop by here...
http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=7512&categoryString=653***691***

and here...
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ItemListing.aspx?catid=645

to get a rough idea of some of what is currently available in commercially loaded stuff.

Many of the ammo manufacturers use 9mm bullets for the Super as they generally work well.

As far as the "terminal ballistic thing" that's been figured out for the Super as much as any other round.

As some one else said in response to the OPs original posts. It more a matter of what one wants to carry. A 1911 or a revolver. Take your pic.

Either the .357 or the .38 Super will work as defense arms against mountain lion. Neither would be my first choice against black bear but either might do all right as black bear can be more easily scared off then Brown bears by load noises and such.

tipoc

lawboy
August 10, 2009, 06:45 PM
A 1911 45ACP with a good LRN load will do what you need done in the woods and around the homestead. A commander size gun would work well and carry easily, esp. a lightweight. 357 is an excellent caliber for what you describe.

MCgunner
August 10, 2009, 07:48 PM
That 357 round did not emerge from the hunting round category, into the man stopper category, until the bullet technology was perfected.
Much later in the history.

Back in the K frame model 10 .38 special round nose days of 1935 when it came out, the .357 was thought to be superior to the .38 due to its penetration on sheet steel (car bodies were heavy back then) with the 158 grain load. Smith and Wesson sponsored hunting trips to kill large north American game with it, but the first registered magnum went to J Edgar Hoover for a reason.

It didn't make main stream street cop holsters until the Super Vel days of the late 60s in mass, but then one of the things that gave it more popularity for the street cop is putting the round in a K frame. N frames were heavy on the hip. The K frame carried better and shot just as well. I think the advent of the K frame magnums was the true beginning of the .357s popularity with cops, but it didn't hurt that about that time Super Vel came along.

David4516
August 12, 2009, 02:49 PM
I think part of the reason I'm having trouble deciding is that I don't see load data in my reloading manulas that I can trust for the .357 This is because their test guns all have much longer barrels (one was 9 inches, sounds more like a rifle than a handgun to me).

So I'm assuming that the muzzel velocity shown is much higher than it would be for the same load from a barrel that is 2 or 3 inches...

How much difference is there between the 2 rounds when you take into consideration the short barrel on the .357?

I may be way off but my guess is that they'd be pretty close if using similar bullet weights.

From what you guys have told me, the lighter bullets (125gr) are about equal between the two calibers. But how does the 147gr .38 super match up with something like a 140gr .357?

Deanimator
August 12, 2009, 05:17 PM
I'd rather have 9 or 10 rounds of .38 Super any day than 5 rounds of .357.

tipoc
August 12, 2009, 07:09 PM
From what you guys have told me, the lighter bullets (125gr) are about equal between the two calibers. But how does the 147gr .38 super match up with something like a 140gr .357?

The .357 from a snubby will beat the .38 Super. However it's hard to find a Super in a 3" or less barrel. Your choice is between the revolver or a semi. The choice is yours.

Poke around here some...http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38vs357snub.htm

But the idea of a snubby seems to me to cut across the idea of a carry piece for the ranch that you discussed earlier.

tipoc

DesertMarine
August 12, 2009, 09:44 PM
I would choose a S&W Model 19 with 2 1/2" barrel or 4" barrel. I have carried the Mod 19 for a lot of years and it is great. That with 125 gr JHP is great. It is concealable.
Have never fired or carried a SP, so can't comment on it. I tried Ruger DA revolvers before and did not like their actions. Don' know how good or bad the new Rugers are. Smith revolvers can be tuned to have beautiful actions.

SharpsDressedMan
August 12, 2009, 11:41 PM
When you start chopping the barrel of a .357, it gets a lot closer to the .38 super. So much so, I'm not sure I'd know the difference if shot with one or the other. This is with high performance loads and bullets in both. I like the Super. It carries easier, carries more rounds, loads faster (I'm not Miculek), and doesn't hurt my ears as much as a short barreled magnum. There are more powerful things like the 9x23 Win, and 9x25 dillon (a 9mm on the 10mm case) that fit the same size guns as the Super, so they would easily be viable if you are a reloader. The 9x25 exceeds the .357 ballistically.

rkamp
August 13, 2009, 12:39 AM
I just like the .38 super...

Honestly it doesn't compare with the .357 mag though. It is more like a 9mm +p+ round.


Pictured is my old .38 super that served as my field and defensive pistol for 10 years. I have since replaced it with a 10mm. I used Corbon 115gr jhp's for defense and handloaded 147gr XTP's (1200 fps) for woods walking.

I have tried all makes and models the past 25 years and my two main pistols are 1911's (9mm and 10mm). The .38 super is not practical when compared to the 9mm in the 1911 platform. However, it is a great round to handload for and can be very versatile.


http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o196/rkamp_111/DSC01006.jpg

RoostRider
August 13, 2009, 01:26 AM
I'd go .357 mag. revolver... don't worry about reload time... have some handy, but don't consider using it very likely...

Cheap ammo for practice (.38 spcl), everyone sells it, everyone who reloads reloads it, lots of others have the caliber (emergency ammo?), reliable, pretty accurate, plenty of punch (even for black bears- and I know bears pretty well), simple to understand and operate, fairly easy to conceal...

tipoc
August 13, 2009, 02:16 PM
The .38 super is not practical when compared to the 9mm in the 1911 platform

Interesting point rkamp. I'm not sure what you mean though. The 1911 has been chambered for the .38 Super since 1929 and is it's original home meaning that the .38 Super was developed to chamber in the 1911. The 1911 was first chambered for the 9mm in the Colt Commander in 1949. So I'm not sure why you consider the .38 Super "not practical" in the 1911.

tipoc

chris in va
August 14, 2009, 01:00 AM
I had the SP101 3"...the sucker is the same size as a Sig 220.

rkamp
August 14, 2009, 02:30 AM
Interesting point rkamp. I'm not sure what you mean though. The 1911 has been chambered for the .38 Super since 1929 and is it's original home meaning that the .38 Super was developed to chamber in the 1911. The 1911 was first chambered for the 9mm in the Colt Commander in 1949. So I'm not sure why you consider the .38 Super "not practical" in the 1911.

tipoc,

Practical in the sense that the 9mm is much, much more readily available and less expensive than .38 Super. There are so many types of 9mm loadings available. Everything from fmj practice to +p+ jhp's. The Super may have been chambered before the 9mm, but for SHTF scenarios the 9mm in 1911 is hard to beat. My old Colt had a fully supported Bar-sto barrel to ensure case support for hot handloads, a lot of 38 Super pistols come with standard barrels. Unless you handload or travel into Mexico the .38 Super does not make sense, but as a fellow enthusiast you know "sense" went out the window a while ago.

My primary defensive load is the Speer 124gr Gold Dot +P at around 1200fps. I saw a box of comparable Winchester 38 Super 125gr Silvertips at the local gun store yesterday at $45 for a box of 50 .:eek:

A nice article by S. Camp on the subject:
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38SuperTo9mm.htm

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o196/rkamp_111/272965d125.jpg

tipoc
August 14, 2009, 10:07 AM
"Practical" and there's the rub. Somehow I'm never short of .38 Super ammo. Set handloading aside I usually have a couple of hundred rounds of factory Winchester and Cor-Bon in my stockpile. I'm able to do this by purchasing on line and at gun shows where the price of quality ammo for the Super is about the same as quality ammo for the 9mm.

Now if a fella buys their ammo by the box at the local gunatorium then the 9mm is infinitely more "practical".

For any "practical" purpose the 9mm or the more powerful 40S&W is the better choice. Many more commercial loads of both to choose from. However it is a myth that the Super is hard to find. I posted earlier links to two (of several) online sources for commercial loads of the Super and as I mentioned it's usually available at gunshows.

Mr. Camp's useful article misses a point: the .38 Super, like the 44 Special and the 10mm is an acquired taste. These rounds don't give you anything you can's get elsewhere but they do give ya a combination of balance and power that many appreciate. The .44 Special is not a "Practical" round by some shooters standards the ammo is "hard to find" and more and better commercial loads of the .40 S&W and .45acp are available for a side arm then are available in gunstores for the .44 Special. Yet the .44 Special remains a popular round.

The Super gives a shooter about 100 fps across the board more power than the 9mm and can, and does it with heavier bullets at reduced pressures. It is an extremely accurate cartridge especially out of compensated guns, as IDPA and IPSC competitiors have found for over 25 years now.

Till the development of the 10mm the .38 Super was the most powerful cartridge that could be fired from a semi. That's no longer true but it does not take away from the balance the Super gives one. People shoot the Super because it is a good round and because they like it and because it's natural home is the 1911. But "practical", heck by some folks figuring there's only 3 rounds of ammo practical for semis.

tipoc

David4516
August 20, 2009, 03:11 PM
Based on input so far I'm leaning toward the .357

Now the hard part... saving up the $$$ to buy it...

Which brings me to my next question: is the SP101 a good gun for the money? Or should I look at another brand, like Tarus?

I like the SP 101 (have handled them a couple of times and shot one once) but if there is another similar revolver out there for less $$$ then I might look into it...

tipoc
August 20, 2009, 03:30 PM
SP101 is a good piece for the money and sounds like it would fit your needs. The Taurus Tracker has a pretty good rep though. It's also heavier than the Ruger. Hold both and see what you think.

tipoc

RainDodger
August 21, 2009, 11:27 AM
Remember, advice is worth what you pay for it... and you now have gotten just about every opinion you could need or want!

I have both a .38 Super (all stainless steel on a 1911 platform) and various .357 Mags. I carried a Model-66 .357 Mag on my belt, under a suit coat for years, in an earlier career.

Now I carry the .38 Super. Easier to carry, slimmer pistol and I like the cartridge. The bottom line is, I wouldn't wanna be standing in front of the business end of either of them.

Carry what you're comfortable with. You said you'll reload for it, so it's not a factor that you can't walk into a Wal-Mart and buy a box of .38 Super.

tipoc
August 21, 2009, 01:00 PM
Get both in a couple of different guns. In 5 years come back and tell us which you like best and why. Like some of us you may like both and enjoy the option of having both to choose from on any given day.

tipoc

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