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.38 Special or .357 Magnum for self defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by shephard19, Sep 9, 2009.

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  1. shephard19

    shephard19 Member

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    It seems to me that many people use .38 Special in revolvers that were designed for .357 Magnum for self defense because of the greater controllability of the former. Given the choice which do you use or would you use for self defense?
     
  2. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    38 Special.
     
  3. jackslayer

    jackslayer Member

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    I think you could go over post after post after post to find a general consensus on what you should use. To save you some time, go .357 as long as you can handle it effectively. As many will tell you, the most important thing is that the bullet hits the BG. If you can do that with .357 use it. If not, train so that you can. probably with 125 grain bullets, although some swear by 158's.
     
  4. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    Either will do the job nicely, however the .357 is more effective and more versatile.
     
  5. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Special people, magnum bears.
     
  6. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors // I agree, It's as much about how confident you are with firearm as the bullet.

    .357 in airweight, ouch not for me // .38 in airweight, tough to practice with but doable.(Is that a word?)

    I am most confident with my S&W L-frame 6'' 357 and prefer to carry it with 6 Corbon 125grJHP

    After renting /borrowing ;; posting poll here on Sp101/686.... After 1 month + to make sure of choice .. Have ordered a S&W 638 airweight bodyguard .38+P, no key.

    But that is just me and my way of doing things.
    I'm looking foward to the light weight but powerful 5 shot 638 at least getting me back to my truck and the 6'' .357 ;- )

    . I will probably use a 110 gr. JHP but need to test several loads to see what new revolver likes.
     
  7. Fly'nBuff

    Fly'nBuff Member

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    .357 in the L-Frames.
    .38 +P in the J-Frames.
     
  8. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Member

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    + 1 Fly'nBuff
     
  9. sig228

    sig228 Member

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    In my j-frame:

    First two shots .38 +P
    Next three .357

    Mix and match.
     
  10. DNS

    DNS Member

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    I'll vote for .38 special in a J frame. Mike
     
  11. blutarsky

    blutarsky Member

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    personally, i keep my revolver (3" gp100) loaded with a good quality 38spl +p for home defense. primarily because if it came to it i'd rather shoot those indoors than a hot .357 in an enclosed space in the middle of the night.
     
  12. gglass

    gglass Member

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  13. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors \\ Thanks gglass ;; so much for the 110 gr /// Which of the .38 rounds would you use in a 638 airlight? Fed 147gr hyd shock +P+ or one of th BB ?
     
  14. JAV8000

    JAV8000 Member

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    Double Tap 125 gr. .38+P for my 638.
     
  15. kanook

    kanook Member

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    from a recent hunt I discovered that a .357 158 SJsP at point blank (using a bangstick) didn't penetrate a gator skull. So I thought that my angle was off , reloaded and tried again. Still went boing. The third was further back in the neck and that worked.

    Now on the second gator (my wifes 7' 7") I remember the 357 problem and used 38 special FMJ first to see if it was better. The stick went bang and the gator is in the freezer.

    I now have a lot more respect for that old useless caliber. Your results may be different than mine, and all shooting is different too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  16. nathan

    nathan Member

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    .38 sp easy on the wrist !
     
  17. dougwx12

    dougwx12 Member

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    Home, city, or barrel <=2": .38
    Woods with barrel >=3": 357
     
  18. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Member

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    I like .357 ammo...and lots of it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. megatronrules

    megatronrules Member

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    I have two .357 snubbies a Ruger SP101 and a S&W M&P 340 both are loaded with 130gr hydrashock .357's. The Ruger is easier to control obviously due to its weight but I can still make good hit COM on a man sized target a 7yards with 340 and the 340 is easier to carry to. This question has been asked countless times but to me the .357 IS the better SD round providing you can control it. That being said theres nothing wrong with .38+P either.
     
  20. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    357. I can see better in the dark with the muzzle flash.
     
  21. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors /\\//\

    C&L too sweet for words ,,

    JAV8000 I have to try those thanks.

    +1 dougwx12
     
  22. Glockman17366

    Glockman17366 Member

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    38 +P in the snubbies (I have a Ruger SP101, but I don't consider it a snubbie).
    .357 Mag works fine in a revolver that weighs 25 oz or more, but it sucks in a light weight gun.
     
  23. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    My concealed carry is a 638 in .38 Special of course.
    I shoot it weekly using 158 Semi- Wadcutters.
    I LOVE the .38 Special cartridge and I really believe that it is underated.
     
  24. wditto

    wditto Member

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    Cocked & Locked , what model is that there gem, and where can I get one ???thanks
     
  25. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    I split the difference and go with .38Spcl +P. Good controlability, and good performance. For the lightweight J-frame type guns, I like standard .38spcl (Federal Nyclad is a favorite of mine...thankfully, reintroduced recently).

    That said, I do have a policy of buying revolvers chambered in .357 instead of only .38spcl, simply because of ammunition flexibility.
     
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