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what is the difference between .38+p and .357mag

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jeremy1391, Jul 6, 2009.

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  1. jeremy1391

    jeremy1391 Member

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    ok so here is the deal i have a snubby .357 mag and was wondering what is the power difference between these 2 cartridges?

    i know the case length difference is about 1/16" so whats the deal?
     
  2. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    38+P is a 38 special with about 25% more ooomph or so...
     
  3. jeremy1391

    jeremy1391 Member

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    ok so how much more "oomph" does a .357 have over a .38?
     
  4. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    Depending on the load 400-700 FPS more. .38 special vs .357 that is.
     
  5. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    357 generally has a ton more oomph (2-300fps more in a J frame).
    But, if you look at some loads then you'll find there's not a lot of difference.

    Take for instance Speer's 135gr 357 Gold Dot Short Barrel.
    It's rated around 990fps.
    Buffalo Bore and Double Tap both make 38 Special +P that are faster by around 100fps.
     
  6. girvin02

    girvin02 Member

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    Load half a cylinder with 38 special +p's and the other half with 158 grain .357 magnums. The difference will be obvious.
     
  7. Daizee

    Daizee Member

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    about 15,000psi.

    -Daizee
     
  8. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    case length.
     
  9. Tamlin

    Tamlin Member

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    The difference between them? .38 - .357 = .023. :D
     
  10. Pizzagunner

    Pizzagunner Member

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    The difference? Plenty.:D
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    ...be careful, he'll believe you
     
  12. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    +P to .357Mag is about twice the difference between .38Spl to +P on the heel of the hand.

    Nice one Tamlin! Got a chuckle from me... :D
     
  13. easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca

    easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca Member

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    Power difference has been answered above. But if you are asking about recoil or felt recoil, in my experience, I can shoot 300 or more .38 spls out of my L-frames in one range trip without feeling any pain or strain at all. Another 300 is doable.

    On the other hand, 48 rounds of 357 magnum (158 grain LSWC over 10.7 grains Blue Dot) and I am done for the day. Maybe I'm a wimp but after the 6th cylinder, I am already somewhat hesitant to squeeze the trigger.
     
  14. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    With the 125 grain bullet the +P 38 operates at around 18,000 PSI and clocks 925 FPS. The 357 Magnum with the same bullet generates around 32,000 PSI and moves out at around 1,250 FPS. These are factory loads. My handloads in my defensive 38s run 1,200 FPS and 1,500 FPS in the Magnum.

    Bottom line on yoiur question; The +P is a moderately loaded 38 which falls FAR, FAR short of Magnum velocities.
     
  15. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    BIG difference

    The 357 magnum has much more velocity, ft-lbs energy and recoil than does the 38 special plus P loads. It will vary from manufacturer and bullet type however.
     
  16. OLD208X3A

    OLD208X3A Member

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    Chrono needed...

    A chronograph is the only way to tell the difference. The problem is that charts don't tell the real difference when you factor in barrel length. Most ballistic charts will use a 6" barrel. If you're shooting from a snubby with a 2" barrel, you'll have to chrono to see what you've really got. If I remember correctly (anecdotally, of course) a .357 load will have the ballistics of a +P .38 out of a snubby. The factory stats on the company website won't help with this barrel difference and I'm not sure how the power curve will progress when you step from +P to .38. I think you'll also have to chrono each factory load as they will perform on a differing curve with the shorter barrel due to different powders and bullet weights. Relying on the perceived recoil is a crude way to answer the question. Isn't it interesting how I can answer your question WITHOUT answering your question? My wife really appreciates this talent... ;) Someone here probably has this already charted out for a 2" snubby.
     
  17. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    That's a very good point.
    I like to look at Buffalo Bore and Double Tap's info because they list velocities for different barrel lengths.
     
  18. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Try comparing 158gr loads - like a Remington R38S12 158gr LHPSWC +P .38 Special. It'll make from 850+ fps from my 2" 10 to 995 fps from my 6" 66, still subsonic and less the earsplitting 'crack'. Now, try the 158gr JHP in .357 Magnum - probably 1220-1260 fps, depending on other's testing, from a 6" barrel (I've never fired real .357 Magnums from any of my .357 Magnum revolvers.). Definitely supersonic - and loud - and produces 60% more kinetic energy than the +P, which is 40+% more energetic than the basic .38 Special, making the 158gr .357 Magnum over 2.25X the regular .38, KE-wise.

    To insure proper 'ignition', a better primer is needed - actually, one that produces a hotter & longer flame - a small pistol Magnum primer. Some primer makers have a 'one size does all', however. The longer case further insures the round will only be used in a properly designed/rated revolver. It's predecessor, the .38-200, didn't have that feature, much to the chagrin of some fine .38 Special revolvers of the day. The .357 Magnum was in answer to J. Edgar Hoover's request for a car door piercing round, so G-men could effectively retuen fire at fleeing felons of the day (Twenties to early thirties.). Doug Wesson took the first unit around the country - and took unbelieveable game with it. Great proof. Of course, today's cars could likely be holed with an AirSoft gun!

    I bought .357 Magnum revolvers, and even a .38 Special is still .357" bore - semantics, for one reason - availability. There are few six shooter .38s - and no 7 or 8 shooters, much less any barrel length selection. Of course, I reload many a .357M case - with .38-ish level loads. Hey, I like wimpy - the plate still makes a 'ping' and it still makes a hole in paper targets. That's me - YMMV.

    Stainz
     
  19. CJ

    CJ Member

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    According to an old rec.guns listing at http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VIIE8.html they have these relatively similar comparisons...order of columns of numbers is: weight (grains), velocity, energy

    38+p
    110 995 241.5
    125 945 247.5
    147 860 241.1
    158 950 316.2

    357 Mag
    110 1295 409.1
    125 1450 582.8
    145 1290 535.1
    158 1235 534.4
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  20. BaltimoreBoy

    BaltimoreBoy Member

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    FWIW I had earlier started tabulating the alleged foot-pounds and muzzle velocities from Midway for a variety of manufacturers and bullet weights. Velocity is quite variable - expected because of variations in bullet weight (p=m * v).

    But the foot pounds seemed to come out very well defined:
    .38 spl 191-245
    .38 spl +P 251-394
    .357 mag 420-802

    So if the figures have any credibility it would appear that 38 spl = < 250 foot pounds
    38 +P = 250-400 foot pounds
    .357 = anything over 400 foot pounds.
     
  21. Big Mike

    Big Mike Member

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    CJ, thanks for that info.
     
  22. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    Not all-inclusive by any means, but the following link talks a bit about 38 vs. 357 in short barrels:

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38vs357snub.htm

    FWEIW...
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Like mentioned above the real difference between the .38 Special +P and the .357 Magnum is pressure. Of course the velocities are higher in the .357 Magnum than the .38 Special +P too. (and so is the felt recoil)

    The current SAAMI pressure limits are:
    .38 Special = 17,000 PSI
    .38 Special +P = 18,500 PSI
    .357 Magnum = 35,000 PSI

    Here's a link to a page listing the current SAAMI pressure limits, it's one of many available on the NET.

    If you're really asking about the difference in velocities that can be fairly close with some factory ammo and considerably different with other. But, usually you will see a wide gap between a .38 Special +P and a .357 Magnum but only from a longer barrel. (4" or more) When testing a shot barrel revolver (2" snub nose) the gap is usually much smaller.

    Remington lists their 125gr .38 Special JHP @800 fps from a 4" barrel.
    Remington lists their 125gr .38 Special +P JHP @945 fps from a 4" barrel.
    Remington lists their 125gr .357 Magnum JHP @1450 fps from a 4" barrel.
    There is a very big difference there!

    Speer lists their 135gr .38 Special +P Short Barrel round @ 860 fps.
    Speer lists their 135gr .357 Magnum Short Barrel round @ 990 fps.
    Not so much of a difference there
     
  24. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    I wonder why Speer even bothers loading that short barrel 357.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Probably because many owners of small .357 Magnums want to shoot a .357 Magnum round. They don't realize they are paying twice the price for very little advantage. Both use the same exact 135gr bullet.

    They make it because people will buy it, just like S&W makes a 12oz .357 Magnum J frame because people will buy it. (and the charge a lot more for each)
     
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