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38's or 357's for lever gun home defense?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BlueHeelerFl, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    Would there be enough (or any) benefits to loading 38 special SD rounds in a lever gun vs 357 mag rounds for home defense?

    357 is far more powerful of course, but 38's gain a decent amount of energy from a rifle. Would that and the benefits of less recoil, less indoor noise and muzzle flash, be adequate?
     
  2. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    357's for the feed reliability alone.

    Get lighter loads if you want lighter, but the overall length aught to be 357
     
  3. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    If you have a .357 use .357. As mentioned for reliable feed but the power too. How may times have you heard perps getting shot multiple times and keep on going. Weather it's from being on drugs or these days body armor. Thats why LEO hand guns have increased in power from the .38 Spcl days. Me I keep a 12ga w/00 buck handy along with a Mini 14 and 30.. jmo
     
  4. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    357. Go big.
     
  5. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    The only up side is less muzzle blast.
    There downsides are less power. Possibly less reliability depending on your rifle. Mine feeds 38s well.
    More power means the threat stops sooner. It's not hunting for food where meat damage is a negative.
     
  6. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    I would think that .38 might be the better call if over-penetration is a concern. I don't think shooting full-house .357 out of a long gun would be particularly safe for surrounding neighbors in an apartment building.

    Past that - I agree with everyone else that .357 will bring more horsepower.


    For the record, I don't think you would be able to expect any meaningful velocity gain from .38 unless it was RNL. Even then, that's a "maybe". The long barrel might actually cost you velocity in many cases (especially FMJ), but again - not a substantial amount, if any. If you have access to a chronograph, you could confirm this one way or the other for yourself.
     
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  7. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I own 2 lever guns in .357 Magnum. A Winchester 94AE Trails End and a Marlin 1894CB.
    The Winchester is finicky about .38 Special. By “finicky” I mean shoots it great unless I need it to. Then things go wrong.
    My Marlin 1894CB shoots .357 and .38 equally well. I would never trust my life to .38 functioning well in it even though I am sure it would be fine.
    I would load .357 Magnum and I would shoot a lot of what I plan to use for home protection to make sure it functions well under fast action.

    If you are concerned about over penetration with .357 you could try Black Hills .357 Cowboy loads. 158 grain hard cast lead RNFP at 900 FPS from a handgun. You can add 200 FPS from an 18-20 barrel.

    I would never use handloaded ammo for self defense.
     
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  8. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    I admit to being a troglodyte when it comes to home defense. I think the obvious choice is 99 times out of 100 12 gauge 870 loaded with 9 pellet 00 buckshot. That one time is for a woman who can't handle a 12 gauge pump. That one time becomes a 20 gauge 1100 loaded with 2 3/4" # 3 buckshot.
     
  9. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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  10. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    I keep 158 gr. Hornady Custom XTP-HP in my 18.5" 77/357 carbine for social work.

    Dumps energy like crazy - yet doesn't over-penetrate.





    GR
     
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  11. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I think any .357 revolver with a barrel over 4" long would be far superior to a lever gun for close quarters but feel free to choose what you want.
     
  12. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    "Handguns are useful things - for fighting your way to your rifle or shotgun."




    GR
     
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  13. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I've never shot a .357 rifle but I know short barrel .357 revolvers have more muzzle flash than longer barrel revolvers. Does shooting a .357 in a 16-inch plus rifle have a significant muzzle flash?
     
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  14. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    In my 1894c at least, .38's only feed reliably if I take it slow. If you speed up and really "lever" the rounds through they start to jam.
     
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  15. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    There isn't the huge pressure wave, but there is a significant difference in volume.
    Think shooting a 410 shotgun vs 7.62x39 without muffs. Neither are fun.
     
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  16. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    My old marlin has never had an issue with 38's.

    If you are foolish enough to load up with an ammo of any kind and not test the heck out of it......well you are a fool.
     
  17. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    With std.handgun loads, no flash, and hardly any recoil. Gas is pretty cool by then.




    GR
     
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  18. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    One word: experiment.

    More words. Tube magazine guns tend to be a bit sensitive to cartridge OAL, so solve that problem first. Then find out what your rifle likes, accuracy-wise. In self defense, reliability and accuracy always have priority over terminal performance because only your hits count. Any JHP at .357 carbine velocities, or even a JSP or SWC, will be more effective than a 9mm from a short barrel.

    BTW, you should consider adding a weapon light to a home defense carbine, since you'll need both hands to work the gun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  19. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Mine feeds 38 147gr +P+ 100%. It gives me about 500 ft/lbs of energy. Once you've completely penetrated the target all that extra energy goes with the bullet downrange.

    Just something to think about.
     
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  20. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Congrats.

    OP asked a question, I answered with my suggestion.

    Nobody is talking about not testing stuff... 'cept you
    lol
     
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  21. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    and you.....with your comment on feeding reliability alone.

    and yet we see several posts stating that people have no issues.....wonder how they figured that out.....perhaps tested it.
     
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  22. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    Honestly, I'd be skeptical of using any lever action for home defense because of the risk of short-shucking it under life-or-death pressure. We can discuss mechanical factors of reliability like cartridge length and bullet shape all day, but the part I don't trust is the human element.
     
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  23. denton

    denton Member

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    I think the Hornady XTP suggestion is a good one. There was a series of videos on YouTube comparing various self defense rounds for the 380. At the end, the author had five commercial loads that he recommended. In his tests, they all outperformed long-time favorites, such as Gold Dot. The punchline: All five had one thing in common. They all used the Hornady XTP bullet.
     
  24. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Assuming one practices enough with their gun, I don't see that as an issue. I've had all sorts of people say the same thing about pump shotguns, but in nearly 20 years of hunting small and large game (and a few sporting clays competitions) with my 870 that's never been a problem.
     
  25. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    Unless there is some legal reason you are stuck with something like that.
     
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