J Frame: .38 or .357?
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  1. #1
    Junior Member SgtTurtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Chandler, AZ

    J Frame: .38 or .357?

    I am a CCW holder and am looking for a pocket carry weapon. I am interested in a J-Frame S&W. The big question for me is whether to go with a .38 or a .357?

    I am a big guy and am not very recoil sensitive. I primarily shoot an HK P2000 in .40. (I love this gun!)

    Is the .357 too much in such a light weapon with a short barrel? Are the ballistics of the .357 that much better than .38 +P? My primary concern is follow up shots.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Port St.John,FL.
    The J-frames are great little guns that take a lot of practice to get good with. Getting one in .357 gives you the option to shoot all the different loads you want. Try them all till you find the one that you do the best with. The .357 is to much for most people in snub to shoot with any degree of accuracy. In due time with a lot of practice you will get good with the hotter loads. Just remember these are pure defense guns and are made for up close and personal.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    I shoot a 640-1(stainless steel 23oz.) which I can shoot .357's through, but don't. I shoot .38+p's and that is all of the ass I want from a small gun. A .357 is not out of control with the gun, but second shots are a little wild. I shot a scandium weight gun once(12oz.?) and it was too much IMO. Try beating your hand with a brick, upward.

    Many people swear by shooting .357's through the little guys. This is simply my experience. I'm 5'9, 160lbs.

    I hope this gives you some perspective.

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  5. #4
    Junior Member Pointblank's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Metro Cleveland OH
    I carry a 649 quite a bit. It is a .357, but I usually carry +P .38 Special Corbon DPX in it. It has a slighly longer barrel and you have the ability to thumb cock it without worry about snagging. It's what they call the "Bodyguard" style of revolver. With the stock grips (pictured) you can accurately shoot magnums, but I replaced them with rubber boot grips. I usually carry it in a Mika pocket holster.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    CLT, NC


    SgtTurttle: Sir; my choosing SW638. I shoot Single Action and a most natural selection [after a lot of research] Could I have done as well with another?
    Yes. The facts: Ability to conceal without hanging while removing from pockets, light weight, +P, ease of handling, ease of car, truck, ability of hitting my target. Unit is a good traveling companion. Having shot different models of this variety, having seen [for me] not much difference in shootability. Single action or double action work best for me.
    It came down to pocketability. Can you hit your target? Yes. Does it require a marksman? No. Does it require above average ability. No. Does it require above average strength? No. Does it require you to be a "marksman" No.
    Does it require you to practice don't they all.
    Follow up with your decisions and experiences

  7. #6
    TOF is offline
    Senior Member TOF's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Northern Arizona
    I have a J frame equiv. in the Taurus 605.
    .38 +P 125 Gr. Gold Dots chronograph at around 900 fps. out of it.

    To achieve any greater velocity I have to use fullhouse .357's which I can use well but with definite discomfort after a few shots. Don't even consider a 12 ounce feather weight. They are for Masochists.

    I want greater velocity so either carry an M&P40, M&P9 or will be carrying my new GP100.

    If you go with a snubby I have found the Ruger SP101 to be more comfortable with Hot loads.


  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    I have the Model 60 in 2 1/8 trim .357 Mag.

    When I shoot it, about 15 rounds of 130 grain Mag loads (factory), and I'm done. My hands are shaking and I just don't want-no-mo.

    I also reload 38 Spl at 125 grain (pretty light loads) and I can shoot those all day long.

    Mine has the Hogue Bantam grips, which are a rubber grip that look like a Speigle Boot Grip.

    Mine is Magnaported, with one heck of a good trigger job on it. Good enough double action that I don't recall ever shooting it single action...

    I can hold 5 shots (Mags) to about 3 or 4 inches across at 15 yards double action.

    I have an IWB, a hip holster, an ankle rig, and Thunderwear for it.

    For carry, I have Magsafe 357 SWAT loads and full house 130 JHPs in a speed loader for back up.

    I carry it lots... Shhhhhhhhh...

    Go for the option, and get the 357. If I had to do it again now, I'd pick the hammerless variant, however...

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