What is 1911, and why are .357 rounds so powerful?

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    1. #1
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      What is 1911, and why are .357 rounds so powerful?

      I'm extremely new to handguns. My wife and I just started shooting, and I'm trying to get a handle on some of the terms I hear all the time. Here are two questions I was wondering about:

      First, what does 1911 mean? I hear that in books that have guns in them, and saw 1911 attributed to many seemingly unrelated guns while I was shopping for one.

      I bought a Ruger sp101 38/357 revolver. I read reviews on it prior to picking it up, and watched videos of its use. I have not been disappointed. It's ludicrously easy to load, fire, and clean. Aiming was easy, and the kick wasn't nearly as bad as I was led to believe - with the .38 rounds. I haven't fired the .357 rounds yet, which I'm told yield a harder kick. Since a .38 is thicker than a .357, I'm wondering why that is.

      I thought it was the grain count, but I thought the grain count referred to how many grains of gunpowder where in the bullets. A rep at the gun store told me it's a measure of weight. If someone could give a very basic explanation of why the .357 is more powerful, I'd appreciate it.

    2. #2
      Senior Member zhurdan's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Kincaid View Post
      I'm extremely new to handguns. My wife and I just started shooting, and I'm trying to get a handle on some of the terms I hear all the time. Here are two questions I was wondering about:

      First, what does 1911 mean? I hear that in books that have guns in them, and saw 1911 attributed to many seemingly unrelated guns while I was shopping for one.
      1911 refers to the Colt 1911 style pistols. They are single action single stack .45ACP(usually) pistols that were developed early in the 1900's. Google 1911 and there should be about a billion pictures of them. There are different variations in caliber, magazine capacity, length of barrel, even triggers but they are all based on the 1911 pistol.

      I bought a Ruger sp101 38/357 revolver. I read reviews on it prior to picking it up, and watched videos of its use. I have not been disappointed. It's ludicrously easy to load, fire, and clean. Aiming was easy, and the kick wasn't nearly as bad as I was led to believe - with the .38 rounds. I haven't fired the .357 rounds yet, which I'm told yield a harder kick. Since a .38 is thicker than a .357, I'm wondering why that is.
      The .357 round is a smidge longer and contains more powder, therefore, more velocity which results in more recoil (kick).

      I thought it was the grain count, but I thought the grain count referred to how many grains of gunpowder where in the bullets. A rep at the gun store told me it's a measure of weight. If someone could give a very basic explanation of why the .357 is more powerful, I'd appreciate it.
      Grains are a unit of measurement (weight) The heavier the bullets "grain", well, the heavier the bullet naturally. Grains of powder refer to how much powder is in the casing. Essentially, the .357 has a longer casing and more powder.

    3. #3
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      I had the Smith & Wesson counterpart in stainless steel and in aluminum. In stainless, as you have found, the .38s are easy to handle. With the rubber grips and the stainless steel frame I would think that the .357s will be manageable.

      Shoot a couple of hundred rounds through the gun with .38s. Then get a box modestly loaded .357 ammo--I would suggest Winchester White Box ammo. It is a moderate load and inexpensive. Very good for practice--and you can generally get it at Walmart at a good price.

      If you feel comfortable using the white box ammo, then get a box of defensive ammo and try that. The defensive ammo is generally loaded "hotter" with more kick. I hear that Hornady Critical Defense loads are easy on the recoil for the job that they do. You might want to try them. Just shoot the defensive rounds occasionally so that you can note the point of aim. Practice with the white box stuff.

      Everything changes if you move to a lightweight frame (aluminum alloy or plastic).

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Kincaid View Post
      Since a .38 is thicker than a .357, I'm wondering why that is.
      The bullets of the .357 Magnum and .38 Special are the same diameter(.357"). The brass case diameter of both is .379" which is where they get the 38 from (rounding up).

      You'll need to be careful when talking about ammo to be specific, a lot of different ammo shares the same number with the wording after the number being what tells you the specific type.
      Bruce, Life Member: NRA, NCRPA, GRNC, GOA

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    5. #5
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      This site ( Oz's 15Web Website*x Calibers ) shows a good selection of comparison pictures for handgun ammunition.

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