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  1. #1
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    Velocity loss on small 357s?

    I've been looking at small revolvers in 357. I've had a couple of revolvers, and don't ever feel quite "right" when I'm without one... I've convinced myself that I need a 3 inch 357, either S&W or Ruger SP-101. I'm now thinking that whatever the extra 1 or even 3/4 inch of barrel offers me in velocity gain might well be eliminated in other aspects of the pistol.

    Could you please estimate which variables help or hurt velocity most? Barrel length? Flash Gap? Bore smoothness? Bore diameter variance? What else? Rate them in order please, based on experience and/or opinion. This is not a scientific survey, just trying to get my head on straight. Maybe chasing the three inch barrel pistol is a waste of effort, and I should just get the more commom 2.25 or 2.5 inch pistols.

    At a minimum, the three inch tube gives me a little more sight radius to work with...

    My guess is:
    1: barrel length
    2: flash gap
    3: bore consistency
    4: bore smoothness

    Opinions?

  2. #2
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    Growler67 is offline Member
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    In the ranges a handgun encouter are usually at, it isn't significant in any measure (velocity loss) IMO. We're talking miliseconds at 30 feet or less from muzzle to impact. If you are THAT worried about it ten go with lighter bullets to offset the variance.

    I wouldn't obcess over this facet of SD, personally. I carry 147gr in 9mm for the same reason. A lot of people write about the 124gr being faster and all, but seriously, when engaging a target at 30 feet or less it really IS insignificant. Just sayin'.

  3. #3
    nailer is offline Member
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    Well said!

  4. #4
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    For SD, against a two legged attacker, I'd carry it with 38+P Buffalo Bore 158gr GDHPs anyway. Actually, I'd just carry my XD-45 with 230gr Double Tap GDHPs.

    The thought was against a 4 legged attacker with 200gr Double Tap FP hardcast. In that instance, a 357 needs all it can get.

    I'm looking for something to fill multiple roles.

    1: Enjoyable pistol to shoot. Any all steel 357 with pop gun 38 loads is fun.
    2: Teaching pistol for my daughters to learn on. This definately calls for the low power of 38s, or below, maybe even wadcutters, and something with a hammer to pull back for accurate single action fire.
    3: Part time personal defense pistol. Double action pistol with some pop.
    4: Animal defense when we are up north in the woods. We have seen bobcats, dogs, and the occasional bear. Double action with major pop.

    The thing is that I've been holding out for the three inch pistol for a better sight radius and for a little more pop with hard hitting loads. A 2 inch might not suffer as much as I think, according to many.

  5. #5
    Growler67's Avatar
    Growler67 is offline Member
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    For those purposes why are you thinking smaller? Animal defense for instance, you are thinking in the wrong direction IMO. Seriously. That's why I switched up to 147gr from the 124gr because I was living and camping in Colorado. Speed difference of 100-200fps wouldn't offset more mass on target in my judgement and so I've stuck with the 147gr HydraShok for my SD/HD needs. Smaller barrel just doesn't compute. Go with a 5" GP100 or something similar for animal defense in .357 at a minimum would be my recommendation. It'll also fill many other roles including the others you mentioned quite well.

  6. #6
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    I appreciate advice, but do you understand that you have not even attempted to answer the question?

    My person to person SD needs ase well in hand. I have an XD-45 and a PM-45, one or the other is always close at hand. both run great.

    I do not need s bullet recommendation.

    I know the 357 is marginal against dangerous game.

    None of that is part of my question.

    Instead of more preaching off topic, is there anyone with an opinion (or even better) some information on the question that was posted?

    I'm quite certain that if I was in a situation where I KNEW I was going to be facing a black bear, I'd be hauling a 44 Magnum or better yet a 45-70. The odds are extremely low of this, so the pistol does not have to be born and bred for that role. But a short batrrel 357 with the 200 grain loads fairs much better than anything I can shoot from my XD.

  7. #7
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    TOF
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    I don't have definitive data on most of your questions but do have chrono comparison data between a S&W Model 19 4" several years old vs. a new Taurus model 605 2.25".

    Your guess is as good as mine regarding Barrel smoothnes.

    The test series covered a range of powder charges yielding 435 FPS low end to 951 FPS high end.

    Bullet used was Zero 125 Grain SJSP, powder was Vihtavuori N320 and 38 spl. cases

    Powder charge ranged from 4.0 to 5.5 Grains

    Powder Charge ...........2.25" FPS .................4" FPS
    4.0 ...........................525 .........................483
    4.4 ...........................667 .........................656
    4.7 ...........................751 .........................767
    5.0 ...........................788 .........................806
    5.5 ...........................935 .........................951

    This test was an attempt to determine effects of barrel length using relatively fast powder. My intent was to repeat it using slower powder but I never did.

    Cylinder Gap: My new GP100 choked in an IPSC match because the cylinder gap was too tight for Titegroup powder. Nasty stuff. It was .004 when hot as purchased. I adjusted it to .008 when hot and there was no measurable impact on velocity. I chrono fairly often. I went back to Vihtavuori powder eliminating the need for increased gap but as it had no effect on velocity I do not plan on readjusting the gap.

    FWIW I chose to buy a 4" GP100 and the Taurus 605. They can both be CC'd and the GP has adjustable sights for when I play with loads or hunt. I prefer the sight radius of the GP but can hit 10"x10" steel at 25 to 35 yards with the Taurus.

    In my opinion the longer barrel will provide significant velocity increase with hot loads but if you plan to use lighter loads the sight radius will be its primary advantage.




    Edit. system will not accept multiple spaces had to use periods. Also added some coments

  8. #8
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    In my opinion the longer barrel will provide significant velocity increase with hot loads but if you plan to use lighter loads the sight radius will be its primary advantage.
    This is pretty much what I'm looking for. And your data looks good.

    I thought there would be a difference, just didn't know how much. If it is only going to be 20fps, then it's not of consiquence. Sight radius might be a bigger deal.

    From 2.25 to 3.06 might not gain enough to matter. I thought flash gap would matter, but now I'm not su sure. I guess at a certaoin point it would, but maybe not like I thought.

    Thanks for the input.

  9. #9
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    I have 3" SW M13, 2.5" SW M66 & 2.25"Taurus M651. Very little difference in velocities between the two SWs. The M66 seems to have tighter chambers than the M13. Muzzle blast & recoil about the same. The M651 is about 10 oz lighter than SWs and recoil and muzzle blast signicantly greater. I use midrange Golden Saber in it which balistically equals about a +p 9mm.

  10. #10
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHBrumb View Post
    This is pretty much what I'm looking for. And your data looks good.

    I thought there would be a difference, just didn't know how much. If it is only going to be 20fps, then it's not of consiquence. Sight radius might be a bigger deal.

    From 2.25 to 3.06 might not gain enough to matter. I thought flash gap would matter, but now I'm not su sure. I guess at a certaoin point it would, but maybe not like I thought.

    Thanks for the input.
    Don't forget the data I showed earlier is essentialy .38 special to .38 +P. If you test .357 Magnum loads the 4" is going to achieve 1250 to 1300 or so FPS but the stubby is probably going to be at 1100 or less.

    Hot loads require enough barrel for all powder to burn within the barrel. I get 1340 FPS from my GP100 using a slower burning powder (VV N110) and the same 158 Gr. SJSP. With a short barrel 1/2 the powder would burn outside the gun.

    I don't shoot that load in the snubby though cause they would probably hurt.

  11. #11
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOF View Post
    Don't forget the data I showed earlier is essentialy .38 special to .38 +P. If you test .357 Magnum loads the 4" is going to achieve 1250 to 1300 or so FPS but the stubby is probably going to be at 1100 or less.

    Hot loads require enough barrel for all powder to burn within the barrel. I get 1340 FPS from my GP100 using a slower burning powder (VV N110) and the same 158 Gr. SJSP. With a short barrel 1/2 the powder would burn outside the gun.

    I don't shoot that load in the snubby though cause they would probably hurt.
    If the extra barrel buys me another 100+fps, then I'm interested again...

    But in truth, if I do go this route, the chances of a no-retreat encounter with something are pretty slim.

  12. #12
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by forestranger View Post
    I have 3" SW M13, 2.5" SW M66 & 2.25"Taurus M651. Very little difference in velocities between the two SWs. The M66 seems to have tighter chambers than the M13. Muzzle blast & recoil about the same. The M651 is about 10 oz lighter than SWs and recoil and muzzle blast signicantly greater. I use midrange Golden Saber in it which balistically equals about a +p 9mm.
    If you have a handful of hotter loads, and happen to shoot them anytime soon, post again.

    You and TOF seem to agree that with mild to medium loads the velocity difference is not that big of a deal.

    When I was reloading for 357, I wanna say we used Unique and it was 9.6 grains under a 125gr bullet? I seem to recall a pretty decent noise from that stuff. I don't think we ever loaded any hotter than that. When we loaded the 158 grain bullets, we loaded them a bit lower in the velocity range.

    But I do recall that we used slower powder for heavier loads. Looking at what TOF said, this makes a small pistol about 1/2 flame thrower. Every mm of barrel likely helps for that kind of load...

  13. #13
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    TOF
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    A friend of mine uses 2400 for his hot .357 Mag loads. It produces a 3 foot diameter ball of flame out of a snubby in the daylight. That is why I use Vihtavuori powders. My loads with VV N110 produce comparable velocity with no visible flame.

    If you load your own you can select different speed powders to optimize performance but a long barrel will always out perform the short at the top end if optimised.

    I find that a slightly longer barrel hides better when CCing IWB as it forces the grip closer to your body. The little bit of extra weight doesn't bother me and assists in stabilizing the gun.

  14. #14
    FHBrumb is offline Member
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    We used 2400 in 44 mags. Even with a 6 1/2 inch barrel, there was fire left over.

    For a short barrel, I'd go a little faster, and tune it.

    I have some Red Dot, a little Unique, and some Winchester 296. I'm not sure about primers though. I'd have to dig a bit to see if any are here.

    But yes, I can load my own, if I choose to.

    But first I'd need a pistol.

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