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  1. #1
    Buckeye's Avatar
    Buckeye is offline Member
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    .38 Special +P vs, .357 Mag

    What's everyone's opinion in buying a revolver that's only chambered and rated in .38 Special +P. What's the energy difference between .38 Special +P and .357 Mag, vs. the tradeoff on abuse you take shooting them out of a small frame revolver. Are there any performance drawbacks shooting .38 Specials out of a .357 Mag chamber? I was toying with the idea of buying a snubby and maybe one of those light ones, sure common sense would dictate that you buy .357 Mag so that you have the option, but is the .357 Mag thing just for bragging about? I doubt I'd ever carry them unless .38 Special +P is really weak.

    I'm an auto pistol guy just looking for advice on a possible revolver purchase.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Buckeye; 07-16-2007 at 01:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    I would say that your choice would depend on your life style. If you are an outdoors person, the .357 would make more sense(to me). If this just for nightstand duty, the .38 +P should be fine.
    I pulled these figures off the Federal balistics charts. I compared bullets close to the same weight.
    Hydra-shock .38 sp +P: 129 gr at M.V. of 950 f.p.s.; M.E. of 259 ft. lbs.
    Hydra-shock .357 mag :125 gr , M.V. of 1440 f.p.s. ; M.E of 578 ft. lbs.
    Note: These are from a 4 inch vented test bbl. and will be reduced in a snubby.
    I generally keep .357s in my 2 1/2 in D.W., and have reloads handy in both loadings.
    Most of my range time is with the .38s.
    Last edited by drummin man 627; 07-16-2007 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Buckeye's Avatar
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    Wow I wasn't aware that .38 Specials +P were still that slow. Yes I am an outdoors type, but as of yet in Ohio we can't carry a handgun while hunting...go figure

  4. #4
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    It seemed pretty mild to me also. Try some of the other companies' offerings, they may be higher.
    Midway has a lot of info. You just have to sort it out.
    Here is the .38 special page. http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe...g=653***691***
    The Glaser Pow'rball+P 100 gr sizzles @ 1400 fps with M.E. of 514 ft lb from a 2 inch bbl. That's cooking.
    Last edited by drummin man 627; 07-16-2007 at 06:40 PM. Reason: Follow up.

  5. #5
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Some .38 Special +P loadings, especially in the 158gr bullet weights, are excellent defense cartridges. Probably better suited for home defense/urban use than the high-stepping .357s.

    One advantage often overlooked is the shorter cased .38 Special will offer more positive extraction in the snub nosed guns, which usually have shorter extractor throws.

    Bob Wright

  6. #6
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    I find that full-power .357s are pretty much impossible to control in realistic defensive shooting when fired in anything less than about a 3" K-frame. The little J-frame Magnums are more about marketing than realistic self-defense unless you are an uber-skilled shooter.

    As Bob Wright notes, a good .38 Special load is perfectly adequate for defense, without the vicious recoil and muzzle blast of a full-house .357 in a tiny pocket gun.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  7. #7
    rasgun is offline Junior Member
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    i agree with mike and bob...the .357 load in a small frame is too much. there will be no chance for a follow-up shot, and what if there is a second attacker? the .38 will provide enough penetration and allow for a more quick follow up shot.

  8. #8
    Charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasgun View Post
    i agree with mike and bob...the .357 load in a small frame is too much. there will be no chance for a follow-up shot, and what if there is a second attacker? the .38 will provide enough penetration and allow for a more quick follow up shot.
    You guys are right on. I used to have a Smith 640 (ALL steel) and shot 5 full house .357's in rapid (or should I say rabid) succession........only ONE TIME. I'm kinda' on the big side (6'1" & 215) but it hurt and I don't want to have to do that again. Somebody makes a 135 grain .38 Spl. designed especially for snubbies that is supposed to be very effective. And remember, it's an "Oh S**t" gun and you're probably only shooting 10 to 15 feet max. Just my $.02.

  9. #9
    Buckeye's Avatar
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    Great info guys, I appreciate the feedback. I'm leaning toward a Taurus or S&W (the ones with the laser grip specials)...will depend on how much free cash I run into, glad to hear I don't need to limit myself to .357 Mag.


    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
    And remember, it's an "Oh S**t" gun and you're probably only shooting 10 to 15 feet max. Just my $.02.
    Right on...I was thinking a vehicle consol or pocket gun when I can't or didn't think to carry with my full rig...
    ...BTW All my carry guns are "Oh S**t" guns I even practice like I'm scared!

  10. #10
    Baldy's Avatar
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    I agree with Mike,Bob,and Charlie. I have shot and carried the snub nose all my life just about and I have shot more than my fair share of .357s in them. They can be fun to shoot on occaions but you will loose at lot in a gun fight. I recommend you find a .38+p load that shoots around 1,000 to 1,100fps and you will do just fine with some practice. When you get above 1,300fps they become little bears to hang onto let alone hit the target. Good luck.

  11. #11
    mvslay is offline Junior Member
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    I personally carry the .357 in my snub nose. But I practice at least once a month with it. Full house .357 in DA. It has the most recoil of any handgun I fire regularly. If you decide to go the .38 +P route I suggest you get a .38 +P gun. You'll have slightly better performance due the shorter cylinder length (less over-bored cylinder for bullet to travel through with gasses escaping around bullet). And the .38's are typically slightly less expensive. Plus like Bob says easier extraction. As for me I believe some "light" .357 loads are in my future. But, I also admit some serious thought into the legal issues surrounding reloads for defense must be expended.

  12. #12
    JaxFL904's Avatar
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    .357 all the way

  13. #13
    Revolver's Avatar
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    With a small frame, I'd just go with .38 Special. I personally don't even like small frames. .357 Magnum is best suited for medium frames and up.

  14. #14
    neophyte is offline Member
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    What did you do

    Buckeye: Sir; did you find anything or are you still looking?
    I see where the Taurus or SW may have caught your eye.

    What about Ruger GP100 .357
    What you'll end up with is a very solidly built; comfortable, years of enjoyment Tool.
    Best of all worlds; Double action, Single Action, .38's, .357's, full house in either, and not totally break a bank.
    Different barrel lengths available
    Shiny or Blue
    Well balanced

    Can you tell my preference contemplations

  15. #15
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Well, the OP did ask about a "small framed" revolver. The GP100, while a good revolver, is built on a medium-large frame.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  16. #16
    mkim1120 is offline Junior Member
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    i own a s&w 642 and it is a .38sp and the recoil in it is so great that i am very inaccurate... i am consider selling this handgun but prob would use it as a night stand weapon to back up my mossberg500..

  17. #17
    TerryP Guest
    My carry gun is an SP101 in 357 mag. I have read much about the light weight Smith J frames and the brutal recoil with the 357 loads. I find the SP's grips fit my hands perfectly and I don't have issue with control. Granted my shooting has been confined to the range and not the urban jungle but I actually have fun shooting it with the full power loads. I personally feel the 158 grain JHP in 357 is the load for personal protection.

  18. #18
    Aim&Shoot is offline Junior Member
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    Ruger vs S&W

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
    My carry gun is an SP101 in 357 mag. I have read much about the light weight Smith J frames and the brutal recoil with the 357 loads. I find the SP's grips fit my hands perfectly and I don't have issue with control. Granted my shooting has been confined to the range and not the urban jungle but I actually have fun shooting it with the full power loads. I personally feel the 158 grain JHP in 357 is the load for personal protection.
    I realize this is an old post but I've narrowed down my search to either the Ruger SP101 or the S&W Model 60. I probably will shoot 38s most of the time but sure would like to shoot a 357 often. The difference between the two seems to be only weight so I'm leaning towards the Ruger which is a bit heavier but I'm thinking better for the 357. Can you give me your opinion between the two? Thanks.

  19. #19
    johnr is offline Member
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    i can't tell you anything about the SP101 or how it compares with the S&W60. i picked up a good used model 60 this christmas and love the way it shoots. the snubby aiming takes a bit to get use to. i almost upgraded to a 3" barrel to get a better sight radius. the 3" had adjustable sights.

    38s are not a problem, 357s have a good kick in the palm, 38+p are a good compromise.

    remember to keep the cylinder clean if using 38s, if the chamber builds up carbon, the 357s will not fully seat

    ymmv

    john

  20. #20
    USAFgsm is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnr View Post
    i can't tell you anything about the SP101 or how it compares with the S&W60. i picked up a good used model 60 this christmas and love the way it shoots. the snubby aiming takes a bit to get use to. i almost upgraded to a 3" barrel to get a better sight radius. the 3" had adjustable sights.

    38s are not a problem, 357s have a good kick in the palm, 38+p are a good compromise.

    remember to keep the cylinder clean if using 38s, if the chamber builds up carbon, the 357s will not fully seat

    ymmv

    john
    I'll follow that up with a comment about the SP-101, since I have one of those but not a Model 60

    I LOVE my SP-101. To put things into perspective, the SP101 actually has less felt recoil with .357s in it than an airweight Smith with .38 specials. Both my mom and my wife HATE the airweight, but really like shooting the Ruger. I actually snuck 2 magnums into the cylinder and let my wife shoot it and she didn't even notice. I have the short barreled SP-101, and am thinking really hard about getting one with the 3" barrel. I highly recommend it. Plus it's built better than the Smiths

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