.38+p vs. 357 mag?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 12guagecody, Sep 7, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. springmom

    springmom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    3,599
    Location:
    Spring TX
    What's better? .38spl is fine for SD. I carry a .357 out at the ranch, on the off chance I might run into a feral hog. THOSE, I want 6 full power .357 rounds for. Humans aren't near as tough as feral hogs.

    Jan
     
  2. Manco

    Manco Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,988
    What it might do to me, that's what! If I were wearing hearing protection, then there would be no issue, but .357 Magnum rounds, whether fired by me or the guy in the next lane, are what drive me to double-up on hearing protection at the range. Not that .40 S&W, which is what I primarily use for defensive purposes, isn't pretty freaking loud, too, but with this caliber I'm usually OK with just earplugs or somewhat ill-fitting earmuffs, but even with the best equipment .357 Magnum hurts a little and I have to use both.

    It's fun, don't get me wrong, but admittedly I'm a bit reluctant to shoot it indoors potentially without any hearing protection, when terminal effectiveness is what I'm mainly after. I'm pretty sure that the blast from a .40 S&W pistol directed at bad guys would be pretty scary to them, too, and maybe my own ears won't take as much damage. I doubt that there is much difference in terminal effectiveness between the two calibers (regarding human targets and defensive loads).
     
  3. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,412
    Location:
    North Coast of OHIO
    Ummm...if the bad guy is using 357mag, you will be on the recieving end of the same hearing damage...and a bullet.
     
  4. Manco

    Manco Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,988
    I can't control what they use, only what I use, and I doubt that a large percentage of bad guys use .357 Magnum.
     
  5. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,412
    Location:
    North Coast of OHIO
    The point is, I aint worried about hearing damage, Im worried about using the most effective round my handgun can handle. I have no doubt that the proper 38spl round is effective. But, I also have no doubt that the proper 357mag load is more effective. Just about any service grade handgun loaded with high performance ammo will ring your chimes. My Father fired M1 Garands, grease guns, 30 and 50 cal machine guns, and 37mm AT cannons in WWII...he heard fine the rest of his life.
     
  6. Manco

    Manco Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,988
    But I'm worried about hearing damage because it affects one's quality of life.

    I doubt that there is much difference in effectiveness against humans between any of these calibers. If I need more effectiveness, then I'll just go with bigger, quieter calibers and loads.

    True, but .357 Magnum hurts my hearing a lot more, even when wearing protection. I don't even need a decent seal on my plugs or muffs to tolerate some other service calibers. Maybe it has something to do with the audio frequencies it generates and the ones that I'm most sensitive to, but whatever the reason I doubt that I would ever hear the same again after just one shot without protection.

    My auditory system isn't nearly as robust as his, I'm sure. Some people's can take everything you throw at them, while others will eventually go deaf.

    I had a neighbor who lived into his late 90s in relatively good health (let's just say that he died by unnatural causes), and he smoked like a chimney for better than 80 of those years (no lung problems when he died). Based on that example, by all means please encourage your children to smoke all they want--it's harmless. :neener:
     
  7. bsms

    bsms Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Southern Arizona
    Folks tend to overestimate the sound of a shot, based on firing in indoor ranges. A house has couches, rugs, tables etc that absorb or reflect noise. An indoor range does not.

    I've fired 30-30s & 44 mag outdoors without hearing protection. I don't recommend it, but if I need to fire 3-7 rounds to save my life, hearing loss is the LAST thing I'll worry about. If it made folks deaf, bad guys would wear hearing aids...
     
  8. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,412
    Location:
    North Coast of OHIO
    All I use at the range is either a cheap set of electronic muffs (recent purchase, not sure what I think of them yet) or a pair of muffs I have had since 1980. Rarely, just a set of disposable foam plugs. I'm never bothered by the noise of rifles or magnums.
    Maybe it is the years of loud rock music...that, and the fact that when I was young, it was said that the 22lr needed no hearing protection, which we now know is false.
    I once fired five rounds from a 380acp out side with no protection at all...New pistol, just had to try it out...My ears rang for 24 hours...enough that it bothered me that night when I went on a date.
    There have been a few other rounds over the years with no protection...
    In any case, I am unwilling to introduce concern for my hearing as a reason to compromise the effectiveness of my self defense.
    I mentioned my Father. He was something of a weapons expert in his unit, and had enlisted prior to WWII...He experienced artillery bombardments from both ends, as well as all the small arms and machine guns and the 37mm cannon on his armored car. He participated in house and building clearing in french and german towns. He even had a collection of german automatic weapons he trained other units on, in case they needed them...Do you really think a couple rounds of 357 mag would be worse than a belt through an MG42 or a Browning 50cal? In fact, I knew a few war vets...people who fought in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam...bonafied vets of heavy fighting...they all seem to hear fine.
    If I am in defense of my life and my loved ones lives, I am going to use the best tool for the job, whether that happens to be a 357mag loaded with hot DoubleTap 125gn JHP, or a 16" AR.
     
  9. Manco

    Manco Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,988
    That makes for a good worst-case scenario.

    I think a key point that everybody seems to be missing here is that I'm trying to mitigate the issue through caliber/weapon selection ahead of time. If and when I have to shoot to save my life and those of my loved ones, I'll do what I've been training to do regardless of potential hearing damage. What's the point of having good hearing if you or somebody important to you is dead, right? It's just that it would suck if I blew out my eardrums when I could have at least limited the amount of damage when I had the luxury of time, as I do now, to consider such issues. To simply brush it aside as if it didn't matter at all is pointless.

    Well, I have fairly sensitive hearing, and with only muffs or plugs rather than both, my ears start to ache if I or somebody nearby (usually in an indoor range) shoots .357 Magnum rounds (not normally an issue because I double up now). I've repeatedly considered using this caliber for home defense, but that little ache tells me that I may regret it, and for no benefit, as I believe now. Maybe if I strongly believed that .357 Magnum is far more effective than the usual service calibers, I'd still consider it, but I changed my thinking about that a while back regardless of noise, so it's moot now.

    My ears are more sensitive than those of anybody I know personally, probably because I've always taken care of them. That said, I did walk on the wild side, experimenting with gradually breaking the seal on my muffs while shooting .40 S&W and some other calibers, and was surprised to find that while they were indeed LOUD, I don't expect to be stunned by the report of my own weapon even when shooting defensively indoors (there was no ringing or pain--my ears inexplicably felt fine). But .357 Magnum actually hurts with the muffs all the way on (doesn't even sound that loud--it just kind of aches like there's a resonance or something like that :confused: ), so I'm probably never going to use it defensively. Why risk severe damage or deafness if I don't even think the caliber offers a significant advantage, or any at all?

    I like my 180 grain .40 S&W load just fine, and it's easier on my ears as a major bonus.

    You've already brought this up. I couldn't stand such loud sounds, even momentarily, much less sustained. Live concert music makes my ears ring immediately so I avoid it, and I don't go to movie theaters anymore because they're just too loud (and hearing protection makes the audio sound lame--I'd rather watch at home on my own terms). Most likely even a few .40 S&W rounds with zero protection would compromise my hearing permanently, and I'm willing to accept that. Or maybe I'll be lucky and not suffer any damage at all, as .40 S&W has never hurt my ears. But I don't know what .357 Magnum would do, and I don't want to find out, especially since it doesn't matter to me anyway. You think it's more effective, and in that light you've made a valid point with regard to priorities, but I do not think it is more effective. Why risk my hearing for no gain? All of these calibers just poke little holes. To each their own.
     
  10. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,563
    Location:
    WI
    Worrying about the noise to save your life is like...

    Worrying how wet your house is getting when you're trying to keep it from burning down.

    Priorities...
     
  11. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    924
    Location:
    Alabama
    I shoot .38's in my 357's when shooting targets, but i carry 357's in it for sd. I would much rather ask "say it again, my hearing is not so good" than be dead because i had my gun loaded with 38 specials when 357 magnums would have been a better choice. I personally know people that have taken a hit from a .38 and are still kickin' one fellow i know took five hits in the chest and stomach from a snub nose .38 over 30 years ago, and he is still going strong. I knew one guy that was shot trough his car with a .357 whom took one hit and was killed although the bullet first penetrated his trunk, seat and went completely through his upper body. I had an uncle that was shot seven times at close range with a .25 acp and the bullets didn't even come close to penetrating his vitals. On the other hand i had a brother in law whom was a very large man and he was killed with a single shot from a .380 acp, still i want the most stopping power available to the gun i happen to be carrying.
     
  12. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,412
    Location:
    North Coast of OHIO
    I wont really diferentiate between common handgun calibers...I have been known to use a Beretta 92FS or Browning HiPower in 9mm as my house weapon, and dont feel underarmed with that caliber...I also feel well armed with a properly loaded Model 15-3 38spl. Even used a glock23 40S&W for a while, till I decided the caliber just didnt do anything for me, and I didnt really care for the glock...In that case, I decided I like 45acp better.
    But, I find I like the no nonsense simplicity and brute force of the 357 mag revolver for a grab in the middle of the night weapon...My choice, and no disparagement to anybody elses choice. I switch back and forth between a Model 686-1 4" and a Model 19-4 2.5".
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  13. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,466
    Location:
    Colorado Rockies
    Uniquedot-you seem to know quite a few people who have been shot. I'll make it a point to not hang around you.
     
  14. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    924
    Location:
    Alabama
    Actually, i have seen quite a few! I had another brother in law that had half his head removed with a 12 ga. Some of these people had it coming, while some were victims of circumstance. I have seen several shootings at work over the years as well.
     
  15. fourdollarbill

    fourdollarbill Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    Ohio
    When the 10mm hit the FBI scene they were more interested in penetration than stopping power because of the more industrial type gun fight they would face like shooting through barricades or car doors, etc... (long story short) When the FBI studies started focusing on one shot stops in frontal attacks they found a light and fast bullet was more suited. (longer story short) When this all played out and manufactures were scrambling to fill the "need" the 40S&W was born and (i think) proven to be a better one stop shot than the 10mm. This turned the 40S&W into one of the great civilian self defense calibers.

    Can we relate this to the 357mag vs 38spl for SD?
    Well in my opinion - yes but...

    To me the 357mag is still my SD choice even though the 38spl is more suited for a civilian type frontal attack. Why? Because technology prevails - look at the 125gr gold dot. Would they stuff it in a 357mag case and sell it for SD if it wouldn't work? Well I'm going to use it until more than one source says its not a good idea.

    If your making a decision to buy a SD ammunition just remember this. If you have to use it for civilian SD it will most likely always be a FTF frontal attack. If not - your hunting !

    When the bad guys surviving family sues you, you don't want to have to explain why you shot through a car door to defend yourself from a guy whom is hiding from you.
     
  16. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    Salem, Or
    Someone has already mentioned that a ton of research of actual shootings has been done. These are well documented police records of one shot stops. There are numerous accounts studied in Handgun Stopping Power. Once you read one of these books you'll find them pretty convincing. The .357 with a 125 grain JHP is the one to match. Many other calibers now with new bullet designs actually meet the performance, but not many. This is real world, not gelatin tests or opinions.

    If my family or my life depend on it I want to cause the most damage I can as fast as I can. The .357 is my choice. A .38 special even in +P doesn't even come close. I'm not referring to opinions but empirical data in the real world. Comparing a .357 125 JHP compared to a .38+P both out of 2" barrels you'll find the .357 delivers far more velocity and energy. The only reason I see to use a .38 is if the .357 bothers you too much to control. Just my .02.
     
  17. Prosser

    Prosser Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,451
    As I've said before, I think a lot of the 'data' is skewed. Most shootings are at night, by off duty LEO's. They use the .357 as a backup, with a short barrel. The light for caliber loads leave a LOT of velocity in the short barrel, but, the result is a lot of that powder comes out, and burns the target, and creates one heck of a bang.

    I recently loaded some minimum pressure loads for the .475 Linebaugh. 275 grain Speer HPs at 1560 fps, and this is a MINIMUM pressure load out of a 7.5" barrel. 325 FP's at
    about 1515 fps. The 275's had MUCH more boom, and flash. The 325's burned all the powder, with the result they are quieter, but are moving nearly as fast. This is an example of how a light bullet can give MUCH more blast and flame, if a relatively slow burning powder is used.

    "Partner: Just look for a guy about 6 feet tall, hair and clothes on fire, blind, and deaf."

    Hence the absurd effectiveness people give to the .357.

    A study I would like to see is the SIZE of the bad guys that are shot. I've never had a guy smaller then I am attack in any sort of violent crime. I suspect the FBI must also know that the average violent felon tends to be over 220 pounds. Would you try and shoot a feral hog at 240 pounds with a 125 grain bullet that only penetrates 12-14" maybe?
    Also, the mind set of a number of felons the FBI has engaged has been on the psychopath side. Guys who are so committed to killing that they continue to fight to the end, focusing only on killing the agents, and this overcomes the effect of the gun shots.
    Adrenalin is amazing stuff, and, once in place, seems some guys like Platt become near bullet proof, with only penetration to vital organs being effective to stop them.

    I know of one violent gang enforcer in San Francisco that is still running around, with a bad leg, and a .454 Casull. He's smart, uses cars for cover, and you would have no problem justifying shooting the guy through a car door, if he had pulled that .454 on you.

    Still, a very smart police officer I know had a chance to engage him, with the guy using a car for cover. He decided that even his .41 Magnum, a carry over from the old days in San Francisco LEO, did not tip the scales enough to engage this guy, and pulled back.

    First rule is know your target, and what it's capable of. Bringing a light bullet to a fight with guys with the size and determination of large feral hogs is not a wise decision.
     
  18. antiquus

    antiquus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Messages:
    305
    Buffalo Bore 158g .38 +P heavy from a 6" barrel. 1228fps and 529ft/lbs. Seems like enough.
     
  19. Manco

    Manco Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,988
    Like I've said several times already, I think that .357 Magnum offers no advantages in terminal effectiveness against humans. If I thought that it did, then that might be different, but frankly I think it is vastly overrated, as are the differences between all of the calibers commonly used in pistols, for that matter. Why should I be so stupid and illogical as to shoot something that damages my hearing more if I don't believe that it is more effective? Where's the sense in that?

    As for priorities, based on what I typically see at the range, most people would be better off defensively with .22 LR because they'd probably shoot better with it, and that should have priority over minor considerations such as caliber.

    Not according to the following document that primarily addresses penetration into the human body:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf

    Sure, penetration through barriers is an important part of how they evaluate ammunition, but it's a separate matter from wounding factors per se--they wanted more penetration into people, too, and their reasoning makes sense to me.

    Do you have a reference to this supposed massive self-contradiction on their part?

    Nonsense, especially when the FBI used and still uses the same heavy-for-caliber 180 grain bullet weight; the velocities of the loads they used in both calibers are virtually identical, as well.

    I don't see how because the FBI doesn't believe in the "stopping power" of pistols any more than I do.

    I'm sure that it works, just like many other loads in other calibers. It's not necessarily better, though, but manufacturers will stuff anything into anything as long as it sells.

    Maybe he was hiding and shooting at the same time, just like me.

    I don't find them convincing in the least. And I used to actually believe in that stuff. :eek:

    There are no opinions in the real world, and absolutely nothing subjective to skew the data? Sure.... :scrutiny:
     
  20. Prosser

    Prosser Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,451
    The really funny stuff in M&S is the stopping power of the .357 magnum equals a .308 rifle?
    :rolling:
    Why? Because the guy shooting the .308 missed the target.
    Antiquus:
    Just because it says Heavy .38 special doesn't mean it's not really a .357. Out of my gun, the buffalo bore went 1040 fps, and was 10 grains heavier then the Fioochi 147-8 Grain HP's that go 1131 fps out of it.
    Shooting a cylinder with alternating rounds, you can barely tell the difference. Both recoil as much, and as heavy as I can shoot in a 360PD.
     
  21. AStone

    AStone Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    24,176
    Location:
    Far N, E coast
    oops. posted something in the wrong thread.
     
  22. 357sigRog

    357sigRog Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    255
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I really like the Buffalo Bore 158gr +P Lead Semi Wad Cutter Gas Check. Pretty hot load for a 38 spec. to me.
     
  23. pezo

    pezo Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    765
    Location:
    Michigan
    Manco, I agree wth you. Out of longer barrels .357 mag can shine, but with short barrel defensive revolvers it isn't necessary. To me the likely hood you will wind up in a situation where .357 mag would get you safe and .38 special wont is not realistic or at the very least statistically small. I do believe the likely hood good control and shot placement maybe needed and I find .38 easier to shoot and hit with out of a snubby. I believe in audio exclusion during adrenaline but only to a point. I know I can shoot a cylinder or two of .38 and although my ears will ring I will not be disoriented or permanently deaf. I know because I have done it. You couldn't pay me to shoot .357 mag without hearing protection indoors, and probably not outdoors either. Most of my wheelguns are .357 but the small ones are fed .38. I also believe the so called advantages of all the "defensive" hand gun calibers are way overstated in reality. To many variables in a defensive situation, particular differences in calibers is a small factor. Speaking mostly about the standard list of defensive calibers. I love the .357 mag and the .38 special, but they are different tools for different jobs. I know they have tactical .357 mag which may address the issue of flash, recoil and noise but they can be pricey and I like to shoot and practice a lot with what I carry. I also like the shorter brass of the .38 for clearing out the empties.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice