Shaking hand with the Devil
After purchasing my S&W 340PD I read a blog at http://tenring.blogspot.com/2005/01/one-from-vault.html A woman named Denise gave a very explicite description of her experience with the 340PD in .357 Mag. I was intimidated for a moment, I only continued with great apprehension.
My first rounds downrange were WWB 38 Special, 130GR. FMJ. A pleasure to shoot, even though double action only, @ 7 yards all shots were on target.Next came the Federal Premium 129Gr. Hydra-Shok 38+P. Felt the extra recoil, but kept the shots on target. Followed this with Speer 135 GR. GDHP Short Barrel HP. My .454 Casull SHR Alaskan has a little stronger recoil but much better grips. The S&W 340PD has no real grip, you are basically holding onto the frame and riding the lightning in the Magnum mode. I shot Mag Tech 158GR SJHP and PMC 158GR JSP. None of these were a pleasure to shoot. The recoil was extreme, with better grips it would have been more pleasant.
Bottom line: I was able to keep all my shots on target from 7 yards offhand. All shots were double action(of course) and this was the first time I fired this weapon. You can save $300 and get the 38+P 342PD, I was able to keep all my shots in the kill zone with the .357 with no real discomfort. I choose the .357 because I can manage the recoil and I want a definitive fight stopper. The 38+P is good, but the .357 Mag in the chest cavity is game over.
My photos of my targets will folllow this post(I hope)
The Pros: Concealable, lightweight, concealable and lightweight plus mucho stopping power. 12 ounces unloaded.
The Cons: Firing without sunlight the HI-Viz sight was nothing more than a black front post.(I have a XS Big Dot Tritium on my kitchen table)
The S&W Manual states not to fire a bullet less than 120 grains. Also says to test fire all .357 ammo, fire 4 rounds, empty the cylinder and check to see if the 5th rounds bullet has become unseated from excessive recoil.
FYI- All the .357 ammo I shot had the bullets come unseated. I will post pictures. It was not enough to cause cylinder lockup (prevent a follow up shot) but it was noticeable.
In the pursuit of science I shot WWB .357 Mag 110 Gr. for a control group. Results were the same, bullet unseated but not enough to prevent follow up shot .
Expended brass did not want to eject.(Get your first 5 on target)
My final opinion is this is a keeper! I will call S&W Monday and see if they recommend a round/load for this weapon that will keep the bullet in the brass. I jog/walk with this weapon in a belly band and it is almost unnoticable.
I did take an expended round, scotch tape across the primer and cycle it through the cylinder to ensure a primer strike before I carried it for PD. I have bought weapons that would not fire or feed out of the box.
This is a beast and not a weapon for the recoil sensitive. I will keep it because I trust the .357's stopping power(be it a human or a truck) and I feel confident I can and will get my first shots on target. Most gunfights are within spitting distance. I will sacrifice quantity and fast reload for lightweight and comfort.
38 special, 38+P and .357
All .357 loads. 3 rounds hidden under pistol. Need a trigger job.(could'nt have been the shooter)
Left, left and middle unseated. Pretty easy to tell, did not cause cylinder lockup(luckily)