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Snub .357 effectiveness

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by KenW., Feb 17, 2013.

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  1. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    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.
     
  2. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    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)
     
  3. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    The .357Magnum load will start about 200fps faster then Gucci-MO .38+P load.
     
  4. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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  5. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    good article, Iggy
    unbiased not
     
  6. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  7. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    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.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  9. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    This question is but a step in the consideration.
     
  10. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    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.
     
  11. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Fun at night, and effective in a gun fight at night are two completely different things though.

    rc
     
  13. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    If i wanted flash and boom I'd shoot some more .45 Colt through my derringer. .410 slugs are much kinder.
     
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  15. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    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.
     
  16. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    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
     
  17. Analogkid

    Analogkid Member

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    With my SP101 its Practice practice practice.. I love shooting it and it is my edc with full house HP's.
     
  18. click clack

    click clack Member

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    What about the stuff from Buffalo Bore designed for snubs?
     
  19. harrygunner

    harrygunner Member

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    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.
     
  20. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    I am restricted to factory-loaded Gold Dots.
     
  21. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    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.
     
  22. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    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.
     
  23. willypete

    willypete Member

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    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.
     
  24. Carne Frio

    Carne Frio Member

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  25. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    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.
     
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