1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Round for a 2'' 357 snubby?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Chaplain Major, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Chaplain Major

    Chaplain Major New Member

    Hello all, writing from Afghanistan, home in December!

    Alright, here is my question, I just bought a 357 SS Rossi 6 shot revolver with a 2 inch barrel. When I carry this for personal protection, it seems that I should carry a heavy grain bullet with a hot load to maximize the potential of the short barrel. Is this right? My reasoning is that a heavy bullet will make more use of the powder in that it will respond slower than a lighter grain bullet, and receive more energy before leaving the barrel. I know I have not said this with any technical understanding so please be kind. :)
    God bless and thanks for your answers.
  2. springwalk

    springwalk Well-Known Member

    2" .357 is a novelty. You need at least 4", ideally 6" to reach the potential of the .357. I had a .357 S&W airlight and all it did was kick the heck out of me with alot of blast.
  3. wvshooter

    wvshooter Well-Known Member

    The bullet your looking for is 125 grains. Going with a heavy grain bullet would be a mistake. A JHP self defense round in 125 grains is going to have a muzzle velocity of something like 12 to 13 hundred fps. or more. It's the speed that makes the 357 the best self defense caliber out there.

    Oh no, I did it. Now we're going to hear from all the 45acp guys.

    BTW, for what it's worth I carry 40 caliber so I don't have a dog in this fight.
  4. wvshooter

    wvshooter Well-Known Member

    Not sure why you would call a 2" 357 a novelty. I think "novelty" means something that is a little unusual. 357 magnums with 2" barrels are lots of things but unusual isn't one of them. Also the original poster's gun is not an airlight. His Rossi is the same as my own and it is all steel. An all steel gun is easy to control even with the 2" barrel.

    Smith, Ruger, Charter Arms, Rossi and a bunch of other companies make all steel 357's with 2" barrels. They are all very capable in the personal protection role.
  5. wvshooter

    wvshooter Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I forgot.

    I know you're not vacationing over there so let me extend a great big THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!

    Stay safe.
  6. Chaplain Major

    Chaplain Major New Member

    Home for Christmas

    Noticed your from Charleston, I'm from Ritchie County so, I'll be back there for Christmas.

    So...not more energy down range with a heavier bullet in this short barrel?
  7. 340PD

    340PD Well-Known Member

    Speer Gold Dot 135 gr. 38 sp. +P is especially made for short barrel firearms.

    If you need more than that you should have brought a rifle to the fight.
  8. Water-Man

    Water-Man Well-Known Member

    Buffalo Bore makes Tactical Short Barrel ammo for .357Mag that I would recommend.
  9. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    For civilians, the advantage that a .357 Magnum load in such a firearm offers over a .38 Special--penetration--would be helpful against animals, while the disadvantage--recoil--works against the ability to hit very quickly with follow-up shots.

    For LEO usage, that penetration my prove useful against someone behind plate glass, for example.

    For a very long time I looked at anergy figures. The FBI has concluded, however, that energy transfer has very little to do with wounding effectiveness in a handgun; that the one shot stop is a rarity; and that what stops humans (in addition to a psychological reaction) is what is damaged (nerves, tendons, CNS, bones). They have concluded that penetration is key, and that all other things being equal, a larger bullet is better. The penetration of the .38 Special is quite adequate, and controllability for the second or third shot (think "tap-tap") is much better.

    Also, you should think twice before shooting a short-barelled Magnum indoors.

    I have a three-inch J-Magnum Model 60, and I keep Specials in it. For camping and trail use I might well buy some Magnum loads, however.

    I hope this proves helpful, Captain Major, and thanks for your service.
  10. LRS_Ranger

    LRS_Ranger Well-Known Member

    OK, time for facts:

    I love it when people say that in a snubby a 357 just has more blast with not much ballistic advantage. I've heard this a few times, where does this keep coming from? Complete BS. For example, according to my Speer manual #14, a .38+P is running a 110gr at a max of 976FPS, and a 135gr at 882FPS. This is the short barrel data using a S&W M15 with a 2 inch barrel. Contrast that with the .357 data, which is pushing a 135 gr at a max of 1258 out of a S&W Model 19 with a 2.5 inch barrel. Yea, I know there's an extra .5 inches on there, but there is also almost 400FPS of velocity gain, using the same bullet. The .357 is far from a novelty, and though it does have a good amount of muzzle blast, it also packs a healthy wallop. Bear in mind that you can always use .38's if you want.

    As far as recoil, it doesn't really recoil that bad. It's all perspective. If you shoot a 9mm, it will be a little more than you are used to. If you shoot a .44 mag, the 357 will be a piece of cake. IMO it doesn't buck up as much, it just slaps your palm pretty good. I don't think that follow up shots are that hard, even with full house loads. In fact, I don't ever shoot .38's, they are just not as much fun. Don't get suckered in by the "357 in a snubby is stupid" crowd.
  11. Water-Man

    Water-Man Well-Known Member

    Some folks just can't handle a .357 Mag so they claim using .38 is the way to go. :(
  12. EnsignJimmy

    EnsignJimmy Well-Known Member

    To be perfectly fair, a full-house .357 load out of a lightweight snubby produces an unpleasant level of recoil, thunder, and lightning. It's not everybody's cup of tea, and at the ranges you'd typically use a concealed snubby, the guy on the other end may not care one way or the other what the name of the cartridge that just poked a couple .357" holes in him was called.

    It all comes down to "shoot what you're comfortable with, because a shot on-target is better than one passing over his head."

    Tried this experiment. I once thought I'd try to replicate the ballistics of a 180 grain .40 S&W load out of my 2.25" Ruger SP-101 using a Hornady 180 grain bullet. I came pretty close, but the recoil of the heavier bullet was much less pleasant than that of a standard 125 grain load. And the faster 125 grain still carried more energy and had similar momentum.

    So, in short order, I went back to carrying standard Gold Dots in my SP-101.
  13. Water-Man

    Water-Man Well-Known Member

    Like I said...
  14. krazykeny

    krazykeny Well-Known Member

    E.E.A Windicator with 2 inch barrel.
    Speer Gold Dot 135 gr. 38 sp. +P is especially made for short barrel firearms.
  15. motorcycle-charlie

    motorcycle-charlie Well-Known Member

    i would say to try out a few different loads to see what you can shoot the best. forget numbers. go for shot placement and follow up shots. forget ballistics. they will all do the trick nothing will bounce off of an attacker. i also want to thank you for your service and wish you a safe return home.
  16. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    I'm certainly no expert pistolero, but I rely on snubby .357s and generally use Speer 135 grain .38+P but also Speer 135 grain .357 SB loads. Beyond that, I like 158 grain .38 Special LSWCHP+Ps and would also use medium velocity .357 loads like Remington's Golden Saber or even plain vanilla medium velocity 110 grain loads from Winchester or Remington. I would use heavy loads like 158 grain .357s but, frankly, the recoil diminishes my accuracy and shot to shot times more than I am comfortable with. I have little or no use for the full-velocity 125 grain .357 loads because even though they are certainly effective and will make 1200+ fps from a two inch barrel, their recoil, blast, report, etc. are all too much. Just too much of everything.

    The .38+P loads are very easy to shoot and the medium velocity 125-135 grain loads are just a tad harder to shoot but they are all effective loads. If I ever get better with the heavy for caliber .357 loads, that is what I would use. People can keep the 125s, as far as I'm concerned.

    God Bless you and bring you home safely.
  17. Sniper X

    Sniper X Well-Known Member

    I still can't see why people poopoo the .38spl +p! man, I shoot 158gr +p out of my model 10, and usually in the 4 .357mag revolvers I own. I even have six of them right now in my daily carry 2.5in Python. i also do shoot .357mag in all of them save for he model 10 for obvious reasons, but even when I carry the old 10 I don't feel undergunned! I have read a lot about the abilities of the .38spl +P rounds and bullets and they have great performance for carry in a CCW revolver even with a 2.5in barrel.
  18. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    I think it's just a process to find the right round for you, and keep trying them, preferably in speed shooting drills. It's clear a .357 magnum will always have a ballistic advantage over a .38 Special, but will it have a tactical (I hate that word) advantage? If you never practice it might not. In a double-tap, two weaker rounds on target might be better than one more powerful round on target and one with a 50% chance of shooting off into the wild blue yonder. If you practice a lot, maybe you can bring your speed of follow up and accuracy more in line between the two rounds. In my experience, heavier bullets do produce less blast, and their penetration depth is a little less dependent on velocity, so I personally think that wouldn't be a bad place to start.
  19. Sniper X

    Sniper X Well-Known Member

    I made up a saying a while back.
    The man who needs more than a .357 needs a Desert Eagle.
  20. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

    As I mentioned above, the .357 Magnum would provide an advantage where a lot of penetration is needed (against animals, or in LEO applications). That additional penetration can also be a disadvantage.

    And so can the recoil and blast. Anyone who has had any training in high performance defensive pistol shooting knows that one of the main drills is to hit multiple close range targets multiple time each very rapidly. That big bang in the shooter's hand may sound impressive and it may be satisfying, but if the bullet doesn't happen to hit anything important, and it is very likely that it will not, the defender is than totally reliant on how quickly he can hit with one or more follow up shots.

    Here's a pretty good post on the subject from a couple of years ago.



    The point he makes is that the wound channel is the same, that penetration with the .38 is adequate (more won't help) and that the deciding factor is the speed of follow up shots.

    That post was an eye opener to me. I might add that I read that long before I had studied Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness by FBI Special Agent Urey Patrick. Anyone who believes that the power of a .357 Magnum load will provide a measurable advantage in a self defense shooting should make it a point to study that report.

    In the course I took earlier this year, one of the drills was to shoot twice at each of three torso plates at seven yards, reload, and repeat the process. The instructors could do that in just a tad over four seconds. That's six shots, a reload, and six more shots, all hits, on three targets in just over four seconds. They were using service sized semi-autos.

    As noted in the post linked here, too much bang would serve only to impede in that exercise.

Share This Page