Snub .357 effectiveness


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KenW.
February 17, 2013, 06:48 PM
Okay, the ballistic charts I've seen show results from 4 and greater inch long barrels. My question is this:

How effective is the .357 Mag from a 1 7/8" barrel? Much moreso than a .38 +P Gold Dot for short barrel? The area allowed for complete powder combustion of the .357 charge is substantially less, so it seems they may be much more similar than expected.

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oldfool
February 17, 2013, 07:02 PM
How effective is the .357 Mag from a 1 7/8" barrel? Much moreso than a .38 +P Gold Dot for short barrel?

effective enough, as is most +P
not all 357 really is 357 anyway, anyway
the top grade boutique stuff, you cannot say 357 doesn't get a little boost over +P.. but it is simply not a significant boost out of 1 7/8"
(more "sound and fury" factor, though, if flash-n-boom counts)

PabloJ
February 17, 2013, 07:12 PM
The .357Magnum load will start about 200fps faster then Gucci-MO .38+P load.

Iggy
February 17, 2013, 07:24 PM
Go here of a very good article on exactly what you are asking.

http://www.snubnose.info/docs/38-snub_vs_357-snub.htm

oldfool
February 17, 2013, 07:37 PM
good article, Iggy
unbiased not

KenW.
February 17, 2013, 08:17 PM
Good article, even though it'sover my head at this point.

can someone put it in layman's terms? The last paragraph sounds very in favor of the .357 Mag. At snubbie range, what's the difference really? Expansion, follow-up shots, lethality, and accuracy being considered. 357 Mag vs. 38 +p for short barrels. If a magnum out of my snubbie makes me flinch, how is that better than a +p?

351 WINCHESTER
February 17, 2013, 08:30 PM
Shoot the most potent ammo that you can shoot well. If you can't hit your target and make follow up shots maybe you should reconsider.

rcmodel
February 17, 2013, 08:32 PM
how is that better than a +p? It isn't.

Five good COM hits with .38 Spl +P beats one hit and four misses after being bedazzled with the first .357 every time.

You need to shoot some .357 in a snubby and see if you can stand the beating and still get COM hits real fast.

Most honest people will tell you they can't.

rc

KenW.
February 17, 2013, 08:34 PM
If you can't hit your target and make follow up shots maybe you should reconsider.


This question is but a step in the consideration.

Deltaboy
February 17, 2013, 08:38 PM
I have shot 357 snubs. Before and they have a big fireball at night and they are fun.

They are quite effective on every thing I shot with them.

420Stainless
February 17, 2013, 09:13 PM
If speed matters, shoot the magnum ammo as it will give you about the same boost over +P as +P does over standard pressure in a short barrel. If speed don't matter, shoot standard pressure ammo. If, as RC says, you don't handle the blast and flash of the magnum well, but can do the +P okay, then go with that.

The flash of the magnum is blinding at night out of my 2.75" Ruger. However, I've never shot standard pressure or +P after dark - I presume those would be correspondingly less so, but I don't know. The .45 ACP I usually carry had much less flash after dark. Never worried about it much as I don't tend to carry .357/.38. I personally prefer to shoot magnums even in short barrels.

rcmodel
February 17, 2013, 09:15 PM
they have a big fireball at night and they are fun.Fun at night, and effective in a gun fight at night are two completely different things though.

rc

KenW.
February 17, 2013, 09:21 PM
If i wanted flash and boom I'd shoot some more .45 Colt through my derringer. .410 slugs are much kinder.

jmr40
February 17, 2013, 10:04 PM
A better comparison is with 9mm. A 124 gr 9mm +p will equal or beat 125 gr 357 mag loads from barrels 3" or shorter. I average 1250 fps from my G-19. They will have less muzzle blast, less recoil and almost 3X the ammo capicity. And do it in a shorter, lighter gun.

While it is true that 357 still outperfoms 38 +p even from shorter barrels, it is still at its best in barrels of at least 4" and 6" or more is better. With the advent of compact 9mm pistols a snub 357 makes less sense than ever. I happen to like and own 357 revolvers, but they are all full size with longer barrels. I've tried the 357 snubs until I got a chronograph and found their bark was worse than their bite.

Haxby
February 17, 2013, 10:16 PM
125 gr factory loads hit 1375 fps from my 3" 357, and 158s hit 1200 fps.
It's not difficult or slow to shoot 6 rounds.

joeschmoe
February 17, 2013, 10:49 PM
A little, not a lot of difference beyond .38+p.
Finding the right load helps a lot.

The ability to swap ammo into a 6" and have it really perform is nice too. I have no need for .38 sp

Analogkid
February 17, 2013, 10:59 PM
With my SP101 its Practice practice practice.. I love shooting it and it is my edc with full house HP's.

click clack
February 17, 2013, 11:05 PM
What about the stuff from Buffalo Bore designed for snubs?

harrygunner
February 17, 2013, 11:40 PM
I chronographed Buffalo Bore 158gr .357 Mag JHC from my S&W 640-1.

Measurements: 1242, 1231, 1226, 1260, 1255 : avg 1243 ft/s : ~540 ft-lb

Should be effective. Easy to shoot from that all steel J-frame.

KenW.
February 17, 2013, 11:46 PM
I am restricted to factory-loaded Gold Dots.

Deus Machina
February 18, 2013, 06:34 AM
IMO, .357--in the vast majority of loads--only benefits from what I would consider a 'service length' barrel, or longer. Meaning the extra speed only really starts at 3".

My opinion: use some .38 +P. Not much difference in speed from a snubby (unless one of those Buffalo Bore loads, etc.) and far less flash, bang, and recoil, generally.

Godsgunman
February 18, 2013, 11:18 AM
I have to agree with what Deus Machina said. Really need to have at least 3" barrel or longer to make the .357 start distancing itself from 38+p and even 9mm. Testing I've done with a 3" .357 is pretty interesting. The 9mm is effective in the same length barrel but the sheer force and damage left by the .357 on the same media is clearly visible.

willypete
February 18, 2013, 01:04 PM
I frequently carry a 2.25" barreled SP101 with 158 grain Gold Dots loaded by Georgia Arms. I have chronographed a 10-shot string at 1150 fps. Compare that to 750-800 fps using .38 special 158 grain LSWCHP as loaded by Federal and Remington (FBI load). 350-400 fps (or ~50%) increase in velocity while maintaining bullet weight is a significant gain.

I have not noticed perceptibly increased muzzle flash as compared to .38 special loads. Perhaps GA uses a flash-suppressed powder.

I practice with 158 grain LSWCs loaded to 1150 fps .357 Magnum of course has a greater recoil than .38 special, but if you get used to it, it's not a problem.

With lightweight bullets (125ish grains), I agree with the idea that .357 has reached the point of diminishing returns in a 2" (actually, even a 3") barreled gun. However, with the heaver bullets (145+ grains), .357 stands out above 9mm and .38 special in small, concealable weapons.

Whether or not those few extra hundred feet per second will mean anything against an agressor is another question. All handgun calibers suck equally, etc., etc.

Edit: Just read the posted article. Interesting to see that he achieved similar results and conclusions to my own. It's a shame Mr. Camp has passed on.

Carne Frio
February 18, 2013, 01:58 PM
.357 magnum fro 2 to 18 inches. It's a great web site for many calibers.
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

kbbailey
February 18, 2013, 03:49 PM
Not exactly scientific research, but I will be happy to share my findings from my recent backyard shooting session.
I had to replace my 32gal pressure tank for my water system here on the farm. The steel tank is roughly the size of a man's torso, so naturally it became a target for my ccw before I took it to the recycler.

Again, my resulting info is completely unscientific....but interesting.

Shots fired from 10yds.
I first shot the tank with my 2.25" SP101 loaded with 6.4gr Unique under 158gr cast LWFP. Every shot passed completely through the tank.
The second gun fired into the steel tank was my little NAA .22mag with 1 5/8" barrel. It drilled right through the first thickness of steel, but barely tried to make an exit hole. Note that the .22 tended to glance off unless the hit was pretty direct.
The .45acp was a big surprise to me as it punched a huge hole, but hardly tried to make an exit. We were shooting fmj Wolf ammo(gun and ammo supplied by a friend). E few rounds even failed to enter the tank, an were lying on the ground in front of the tank fully mushroomed.
Lastly I fired my beloved '58 NMA .44cal cap 'n ball revolver loaded with 30gr 3f goex under a lube wad and .454 round ball. Much to my surprise, the only way to get the soft round ball to penetrate the tank was to shoot twice at the same exact spot. I was quite disappointed with this, as the gun is maybe my favorite handgun of all.

To make a conclusion here, I will say the the .357 snub performed pretty well as compared to the .45acp, and I am satisfied that I made a good choice in ccw/defense caliber. Esp considering that Unique is probably a poor choice in powders for a short barrel, although it works well in my other guns.

Agsalaska
February 18, 2013, 10:03 PM
It works great if you can control it. I occasionally carry a snub 38 because I am much better with it.

303 hunter
February 18, 2013, 10:35 PM
.357 magnum fro 2 to 18 inches. It's a great web site for many calibers.
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html
Thanks for the link-good info!

pps
February 19, 2013, 02:48 AM
Out of my 340pd, the 38+p Gold Dots got about 855, the 357 mag Gold dots were 135 grains and about 950fps.

Same gun, Buffalo Bore 38+p 158 grain LSWCHP got an honest 1000fps out of my gun but was hit/miss on expansion but penetrated a couple inches deeper than the gold dots in the media I was using at the time I was testing.

After a ballistics gel test I did through bone/gel with the little snubby with the federal loading of the 140 grain barnes .357 @ 1100fps, and seeing sharp bone fragments strewn about in the 17 inches of wound channel, this is what I now carry in my 340pd.

Barnes is all i will carry in any of the smaller calibers for SD. In a full size .357, 9mm, 40, or a 45 I think most SD ammo from the major manufactures should be comparable.

Madcap_Magician
February 19, 2013, 08:47 AM
The flash and muzzle blast from a .357 is often brought up, but buying self-defense ammo loaded with flash-suppressed ammo seems to solve it.

marcclarke
April 12, 2013, 01:41 AM
"With the advent of compact 9mm pistols a snub 357 makes less sense than ever."

^^^^^This^^^^^

Cocked & Locked
April 12, 2013, 04:04 PM
"With the advent of compact 9mm pistols a snub 357 makes less sense than ever."

^^^^^This^^^^^

I'm not sure about that one. I've given the coup de grace to a few deer and several goats with both compact size 9mm's and 2.5" S&W .357's.

The 9mm S&W 6946 3.5" barrel (124 grn Golden Sabre +P) required a second shot every time.

The .357 magnum (158 grain XTP handloads) does it consistently with one shot.

I also had to put my 2nd favorite Lab down. One shot did that with a 1 7/8" J-frame S&W 642 with 158 grn Remington +P "FBI load" ammo. However that shot was behind the ear with the end of barrel just a few inches from the dog's head.

I prefer the 2.5" .357 over the 1 7/8" .38 special and compact 9mm. I can't speak for the J-frame .357's because I don't have one and don't one any lighter than a 2.25" SP101.

I don't follow the theory some folks have of if one is shooting a snub .357 you might as well be shooting .38 special ammo in it. I ain't buying that one and on-line internet data ain't selling it to me.

joeschmoe
April 12, 2013, 06:07 PM
I don't follow the theory some folks have of if one is shooting a snub .357 you might as well be shooting .38 special ammo in it. I ain't buying that one and on-line internet data ain't selling it to me

I think that could be true if you choose the wrong ammo. .357 has a large range of types of ammo. Not all work well out of snubs, but some do.

Dr_B
April 12, 2013, 07:23 PM
A snubby revolver is for shooting up close to the target or jamming into a torso. .38 +p is fine. .357 at that distance is fine regardless of the barrel length. I really think a discussion beyond those points is purely academic.

rswartsell
April 13, 2013, 04:35 PM
I see your point Dr B, but again it's a matter of degree. To state or think that you need point blank range or a contact shot for a snubby to be effective is simply an overstatement and not realistic. I routinely practice out to 25 yds. with my carry piece, a 3rd gen Colt DS (granted relatively few at 25, most at 10 and 15, a few at as close as 3).

The Speer Short Barrels will do their job at 25 yds if I do mine. .357 will be a bit better. Being a revolver guy, I won't enter into the 9mm fray. Short barrel revolvers DO sacrifice some velocity and for most some practical accuracy, but lets not get carried away with this...OK?

s4s4u
April 13, 2013, 05:07 PM
The way I see it is if you are carrying a 2" snubby, terminal ballistics @ 25 yards isn't of major concern. At typical defensive ranges there is really no need for anything magnum, so why put up with all the disadvantages. At 2 - 5 yards the only difference between a 38+P and a 357 is how far the bullet will go after it exits the target. If you want more thump, go fatter rather than longer.

rswartsell
April 13, 2013, 05:17 PM
Gotta agree with that.

Cocked & Locked
April 13, 2013, 06:23 PM
The way I see it is if you are carrying a 2" snubby, terminal ballistics @ 25 yards isn't of major concern. At typical defensive ranges there is really no need for anything magnum, so why put up with all the disadvantages. At 2 - 5 yards the only difference between a 38+P and a 357 is how far the bullet will go after it exits the target. If you want more thump, go fatter rather than longer.

Fat Works :cool:

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/390177500.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259764/330374854.jpg

Sergei Mosin
April 14, 2013, 08:15 AM
In my hands, my snub can deliver medium .357 Magnum loads just as well as .38 Special +P. When I've only got five shots, I want every bit of performance I can get. There isn't much advantage to the magnum round, but every little bit helps.

easyg
April 14, 2013, 02:26 PM
If I'm shooting .357 magnum, it's going to be from a 4 inch or greater barrel.
The 125g .357 magnum has a sterling reputation for quickly stopping aggressive humans, but from a 4" barrel.
Just as the 230g .45 ACP has a similar reputation when fired from a 5" barrel (really a 4" barrel since the chamber is part of the barrel in an autoloader).

Going to shorter barrel lengths diminishes the effectiveness of those loads.
Personally, I don't think its worth it just to make the handgun a little bit lighter in weight and, arguably, a little easier to carry.

KenW.
April 15, 2013, 01:39 PM
It seems to me, that there's a LOT of unburned powder blasting out of a 1 7/8" barrel of a snubbie when you send a .357 magnum downrange.

nofishbob
April 15, 2013, 01:51 PM
BBTI is a great site, but please note their statement of how they test:

"One note: in every case with the T/C Encore the length of the barrel was measured from the end of the barrel back to the breech face. This is how semi-auto pistols are measured, but revolvers are measured as the length of the barrel in front of the cylinder gap. Take this into consideration when comparing calibers using our numbers."

In other words, in order to compare BBTI data with a REVOLVER, you need to add the chamber length to the BBTI barrel length. A 4" BBTI barrel is close to a 2" revolver barrel.

This makes a huge difference, as the 2" BBTI test would approximate a revolver with almost no barrel at all!

Bob

Deer_Freak
April 15, 2013, 03:09 PM
I really like double tap ammo for my snub nose pistols. I have a SP101 and a old Charter 357. Double tap does sacrifice some velocity but muzzle flash is greatly reduced. I can afford double tap for my snubbies because I don't shoot either of them a whole lot. The Charter has a smaller frame and is good for pocket carry. It is about the same size as a P-11 kel tec. In fact I use the same holster for both the P-11 and the charter.

rswartsell
April 15, 2013, 07:08 PM
The Speers (among others no doubt) identified SB (short barrel) are formulated to reduce greatly the effects of powder unburned within the confines of the barrel (excessive flash and noise) and somewhat more efficiently turn the charge into usable energy. Not magic, but definitely evidence of technological advancement. Try 'em if you can find 'em (methinks you will have a little wait).

gamestalker
April 15, 2013, 07:11 PM
I shoot a lot of snubby's with both +p and full house magnum ammunition, and in my opinion the .357's are nasty and difficult to tolerate, day or night. My personal choice is 38 +p 125 gr. JHP hand loaded to about 1150 fps. Although they are not a pussy cat to handle, they certainly don't leave you stunned and shocked by the blast and flash.
I've conducted informal expansion tests using various projectiles, Gold Dots, XTP's and Sierra's, with XTP's and Gold Dots performing best in both, +p, and .357 applications.

GS

tipoc
April 16, 2013, 12:59 PM
On Ballistics By The Inch:

BBTI is a great site, but please note their statement of how they test:

"One note: in every case with the T/C Encore the length of the barrel was measured from the end of the barrel back to the breech face. This is how semi-auto pistols are measured, but revolvers are measured as the length of the barrel in front of the cylinder gap. Take this into consideration when comparing calibers using our numbers."

In other words, in order to compare BBTI data with a REVOLVER, you need to add the chamber length to the BBTI barrel length. A 4" BBTI barrel is close to a 2" revolver barrel.

This makes a huge difference, as the 2" BBTI test would approximate a revolver with almost no barrel at all!

Bob

What Bob says is true, except he don't mention the part where they also test out of actual guns and print that right below the section on velocities from the test barrels. The combination of the two is especially useful.

A more valid critique can be the size of their samples. But it is what it is.

tipoc

Jim Figaniak
April 16, 2013, 08:46 PM
Ballistics for 2" revolvers.Try www.ballisticsbytheinch.com

rem44m
April 17, 2013, 12:56 PM
I don't like ballistics by the inch, mostly because when it comes to what you are actually getting you pretty much have to chronograph that actual gun. Every gun is different. I had a 3 inch SP101 and a 3 inch Gp100 that were a 100 fps off from each other. There are just to many internal and external variables to just say this length of barrel will produce _ velocity.

However, from the same gun, real full house 357 loads produce far greater velocities than a 38 special or 38 special +p from the same gun. I have chronoed four different 357 guns with various barrel lengths that I can recall and full house loads were always much higher velocities. I have had gun shop owners try and tell me that a 38 special +P out of a 2 inch barrel will produce the same velocities as a 357 magnum out of a 2 inch barrel, just without as much muzzle blast. My chronograph says different.

Now as far as "effectiveness" goes, I'm more of a believer shot placement is usually the most "effective" factor when it comes to defense with a handgun. But that is just me, I will let you all formulate your own opinions ;)

llwsgn
April 17, 2013, 08:38 PM
357 mag out of my 360sc's drop iron bad guys right proper. At the same session guys with 9mm could not. Guy with a 40sw needed a double tap for the target to drop. Some people dislike 357 snubs but I'm not one of them.

Cocked & Locked
April 17, 2013, 09:10 PM
Some people dislike 357 snubs but I'm not one of them.

Nor am I. :)

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6486421/398335687.jpg

llwsgn
April 17, 2013, 10:04 PM
Nor am I. :)

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6486421/398335687.jpg
Oh yea! Now that's purty!

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