Why do guys buy a 357 mag, and shoot only 38 caliber in it

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by george burns, Jul 9, 2017.

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  1. george burns

    george burns Member

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    This always made me say huh? I understand if someone wants the option of either round, that makes sense, but lately I see many guys spending 1000 dollars on a magnum and saying they only intend to shoot 38 or 38+p in it. Do some feel that the Magnum is just worth double the amount because it's a heavier gauge or steel instead of aluminum,heat treated, or something else.
    If one is only going to shoot 38 caliber ammo then why not just buy a 38? I don't care how a man spends his money but this is more about intent than money, do some feel the 38 calber pistols are just not up to par? Hell I shot a 36 for 20 years and it functioned just fine with 38's in it. I know when I bought a 357 it was to shoot 357 's through it, maybe seldom, but seldom works for me. Having the capability is one thing, not intending to take advantage of it is another.Maybe I missed something here feel free.
     
  2. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    First, Magnum revolvers do not usually cost more, unless they are made from some super light alloy, in which case most people would much prefer lighter loads; second, not all revolvers are manufactured with.38 Special chambers, and third, the Magnum chambering provides some additional versatility.

    If you are speaking of the J-Frame line, some people might pay more for the somewhat lighter weight. I am not one of them.

    I have a few steel Magnum revolvers. None was available in .38 Special. I shoot Specials in them, and I do not intend to shoot anything else. But if I were hiking around here (black bear county) I would load with the more potent ammunition.
     
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  3. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    When I had a KGP141 I shot 158gr JSP almost exclusively, maybe 10 boxes of .38spl total. But that was back when a box(50) of .357 cost $11.00 so why not shoot magnums that's what the big heavy gun was made for.
     
  4. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    I have wondered the same thing. I've even had people brag that they have a "357 Magnum", then later confess that after one cylinder of Magnum ammunition they have fired nothing but 38 Specials. Most people, particularly those who are only casual shooters, can't really control 357 Magnums, particularly in DA revolvers rapid fire. As the OP said, they should just buy a 38 Special.

    Dave
     
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  5. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    In a short barrel many feel you don't gain enough over .38sp+P to be worth the added expense, recoil and muzzle blast- but a stead.y diet of +P loads will wear on a .38 special J-Frame. A .357 magnum J-frame will handle a steady diet of +P loads better over time. I'm pretty happy with a .38 special; if I buy a magnum it's because- at least occasionally- I want to shoot magnum loads through it.
     
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  6. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    I shoot way more .38spl then I do .357mag out of my Blackhawk, but for me I want the option to shoot .357mag if I want to. Doesn't hurt that .38 ammo is cheaper (retail wise).
     
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  7. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    True.

    Maybe, if the gun is sold that way, and if they do not care about the additional versatility.
     
  8. DeepSouth
    • Contributing Member

    DeepSouth Contributing Member

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    It appears to me you answered your own question.


    If given the option I'll take the 357 at least 100% of the time, no reason to limit myself. Even if I never intend to 357 with it..... I have changed my mind in the past so I assume it's at least possible I may in the future, so why limit myself and one day think "I sure do like this gun, just wish I'd have got the 357!"
     
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  9. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Actually, I have a few "just" 38s. I also have an old Ruger Security Six that I don't shoot anything other than 38+P in. Well, actually I shoot 357 cases loaded down to 38+P pressures, instead of full-house 357 magnum loads. I do that because full-house 357 magnum loads hurt my 69 year old tendonitis elbow.
    But your question is why I don't just have a 38 Special Ruger Security Six in the first place if all I'm going to shoot in it are 38 Special loads. Pretty simple - I like Ruger Security Sixes, and I don't think Ruger ever built Security Sixes in 38 Special only.
    I also have a Freedom Arms 357 Magnum on layaway right now, and I probably won't run many full-house 357 Magnum loads through it either. But like Ruger and their Security Sixes, I don't think Freedom Arms regularly builds any "just" 38 Specials. What I'm clumsily trying to say here is - more often than not, I've bought a 357 because I liked the "platform," rather than the fact it was a 357 that I could also fire 38 Specials in. I hope that makes sense.:)
    I suspect there are a lot more examples of 357 Magnum revolvers that were/are not available in 38 Special only than the two I mentioned above. And I'm no business man, but if I was running a gun company, I think that would be good policy. I mean, if I knew, as you apparently do george burns, that I could sell more 357 Magnum revolvers than 38 Special only revolvers, I'd build 357s. I'd build a few 38 Specials too, just for old school guys like myself who carry them on a regular basis. But my focus would be on 357s because I'd want to sell as many guns as I could.:)
     
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  10. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    I reload a lot of +P+ 38 Spl. handloads but only shoot them out of two different .357's. Wouldn't feel comfortable shooting +P stuff out of a 38 Spl. revolver on a regular basis because of all the stuff I've heard about that stuff accelerating the wear and tear on certain models of 38 Spl. guns. So I suppose it really does boil down to an option of having the capability of hotter ammo even if it's still just all 38 Spl... At least you won't be wearing your gun out quicker.
     
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  11. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    I'm thinking, give me a moment-----
    I own both, reload nearly 100% 357, but last one I bought was a 38 spc 642. Yet I hardy ever reload 38.
    Give me a minute, I still thinking.
    Let's see I reload 357, but I bought a 38. Hum?
    I'm confused, no wait maybe I'm not!
    Hum------ still thinking
     
  12. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    I have 5 357's and recently traded my solitary 38 for, you guessed it, another 357.

    While my M19's are ran mostly with 38's, my 686 and Blackhawk are pretty much 357 only.

    I do carry the M19's with 357 ammo, they don't get much magnum ammo during practice. Just enough to figure out POI/POA and to make sure bullet pull isn't an issue.
     
  13. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    This. Say, you want a K/L frame, all steel, 4" barrel with adjustable sights? If one looks at the current S&W revolver offerings, it will be quite difficult to find a .38 Spl. revolver other than the lightweight J-frames, or the much more expensive "Classics" line (with fixed sights...). Ruger, except for the LCR line, does not offer any of their all steel revolvers in .38 Spl... You simply have no choice but to buy a .357 Magnum. And maybe the questionable reasoning, that a .357 Magnum revolver will offer you more longevity compared to a similar .38 Spl. only revolver.
     
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  14. VThillman

    VThillman Member

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    Maybe I can help. The 642 is a J-frame stubby. Warm .357 loads would sting your hand some, if the gun could shoot them. Getting one's hand stung can lead to bad habits. You may carry it as a BUG, and some folks figure they oughta run commercial ammo in their carry guns, so you ain't reloading for it.

    There, maybe none of that applies to you, but it could.
    ;)
     
  15. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

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    Personally, I like options. My .357's allow me to shoot the mildest .38spl loads to the wildest .357.
     
  16. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I don't have a .357 that I've shot only .38 out of, but I do shoot mostly .38 out of my .357s.

    I have two small framed snubs in .357mag that I mainly use .38spl out of. A 2" and a 3" Rossi 461. They aren't fun with full house magnums (well, the 2" isn't, I haven't yet shot magnums out of the 3"). It is nice to know the capability is there though.

    I have shot quite a few magnums over the years out of my S&W 65LS. However, a K-frame (especially before the new production) is more a .38 that can shoot magnums than the other way around. They weren't built for a huge diet of magnum rounds, and with the 125gr you may end up with a cracked forcing cone. Especially with its ever increasing value, I don't want to shoot it loose or crack the forcing cone, so I almost exclusively shoot .38spl and +P out of it anymore. It will get a cylinder or two of 158gr magnums from time to time for fun (never 125gr anymore).

    I think .357mag is fun out of a medium framed revolver (and not so fun out of a small-framed revolver). Though, even with an L-frame or Ruger, prices of .357mag aren't what they used to be and it can get prohibitively expensive after a while. Reloading certainly helps, but when you shoot a lot of factory ammo, .38spl is the way to go.

    That said, I have and have had .38spl only revolvers. I had a Colt Police Positive Special some years ago, and my first handgun was a Taurus 82. Currently, I have a S&W 442 and a Taurus 85CH.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  17. MrBorland

    MrBorland Member

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    I'm betting most would find the extra versatility nice, if/when needed.

    As for me, it's because I shoot an L-frame 686 best, and it happens to be chambered in .357mag. Plus, I do stoke it with .357s now and then.
     
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  18. george burns

    george burns Member

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    I didn't consider the reloading aspect, which makes a lot of sense, I see reviews on places like Buds and some make you laugh. People buy a 357 or 44 magnum, for their first gun purchase after getting a locense. Speaking about Licenses, FL allowes a Digital image on renewals now, I did mine yesterday from my cell phone, put it in their editing page and walla, done for another 7 yrs.
    Last time I snapped and printed a pic from my digital camera, but that was a pain in the butt, this is easy, it crops the photo, pay the $45 bucks and do a digital signature, and your done, they sent it out 6 months early, I am thinking the price may be dropping and they want to lock in as any folks as possible at the old rate..
     
  19. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    One could say similar for those that buy semi's and buy caliber conversions to shoot with too. The .357 mag doesn't have to go through the conversion, put the .38 SPL in and go. Far more options available in .357 offerings than .38 SPL only revolvers. For those that don't roll their own, the round cost is ~$0.35 for .38 SPL and $0.40 for .357. I don't roll my own so the ammo cost is a deterrent for both even though I enjoy the wheels guns more than the semi in most instances. Shooting .357 is fun for 30 rounds in my smallish hands and by 50 I've had my fill, 100 is the upper limit. .357 mag for me compares to 10mm and .357 Sig, those hotter rounds are :(. The .38 SPL is like .22 plinking.
     
  20. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    The S&W Model 67 (K frame, 4" barrel, adjustable sights, 38 Special chambering) is still in their catalog.

    Nice shooting revolver, at least mine is. But, I never see one in the stores I frequent.
     
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  21. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Yes, I missed that model, thank you. As I don't have observations as to what is offered in US gun-stores I cannot give even an assumption, but still - much more offerings are available in .357 for one to choose from.
     
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  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I shot 357 Magnum full power loads for years, even cracked the forcing cone on a Model 19 with a steady diet of full power 158 grain bullets. I just don't care for or need to experience the recoil anymore. Besides, paper, soda cans, and milk jugs can't tell the difference.

    I load and shoot mostly hot 38 Special loads in 357 Magnum cases these days. I save my 38 Special cases for my 38 Special revolvers.
     
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  23. pert near

    pert near Member

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    Too bad Remington's .357 Max didn't catch on or we'd be talking about more revolvers that people usually only shoot .38's out of!...LOL
     
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  24. jnichols2

    jnichols2 Member

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    The internet seems to have a lot of "Dirty Harry" types with "Barney Fife" hands.
     
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  25. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Member

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