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OT .38+P vs .357 Mag.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Tugboat, Sep 8, 2011.

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  1. Tugboat

    Tugboat Member

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    Question for pistol experts.. Is there a significant performance difference in the two being fired from a 2 inch barreled handgun, namely is the barrel too short for 357 mag bullet to reach it's max potential? Thanks for your answers in advance....Don
     
  2. reddeath

    reddeath TS Member

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    Can't really speak for actual numbers however, my view is this? Looking for personal defense go with the 357. Looking to smoke the range and make bull's eye's go with 38. In a 2" barrel shooting the 38's will be way more fun then the 357's. But if your life is on the line push all the heat you can.

    IMO

    Craig
     
  3. Russ-in-Pa

    Russ-in-Pa Well-Known Member

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    A Porche 911 will not reach top speed in 100 yards, but it will get to 100 yards faster than a Ford Taurus.

    Go with the 357's.
     
  4. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    .357 Mag is the king of "one shot stopping power" only if you put it in the right place.

    Bullet placement is 10x more important than the size of the projectile and firepower. Not to mention if you have to make a quick second shot.

    Try to see how well you can do two consecutive shots of .357 Mag. from 2" barrel, you'll see .38 Spl+P is the sensible choice.
     
  5. Rick Barker

    Rick Barker Well-Known Member

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    In with what Steve W. said, doesn't really matter what shell casing you use, as much as the bullet and you can place it where it counts.

    Are you using a JHP?, RNL? FMJ? Nyclad? Special Defense loads, consisting of a hollowed bullet with an expansion element?

    But when it comes to the differences in the cases, a consideration is how well you can control your weapon with a heavier load. You might be able to get the first round off, but what about the second? Will you be practiced in recovery from recoil from the first to get a second placed where it counts?

    Practice with what you plan to carry. It is quite different to practice with wadcuters on paper, and getting involved with the stress of a gunfight.

    One thing the average citizen does not have, is the ability to take a stress, "shoot, don't shoot" course. The can be quite eye opening.

    Will you be able to handle the muzzle flash from a 2 inch pistol using 357's?

    Here is another question for you who carry. Have you ever practiced at night?
    Think you could hit your target in the dark, with and without a flashlight or any secondary lighting?

    You should always rotate your defense loads every 6 months with new stuff and shoot up the old in order to be familiar with the load and your ability to handle.
     
  6. Codebrown

    Codebrown TS Member

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    If you'll keep it at the bedside or in your truck, get .357 - but if you'll be carrying it, get a 5-shot J-frame .38 or a Taurus ultralight m85 (way smaller) - shoot a shitload of 38's out of either for practice (3.1 gr 700X with 158 gr SWC works well), and keep it stuffed with +P Federal Hydrashoks

    I don't think your lung or liver will be able to tell the difference between being shot with a +P 38 vs. .357, and having the gun with you (ergo opting for the smaller/lighter/more convenient to carry one) is pretty important.

    That being said, if I have a .357, I won't be shooting .38's out of it if I need to be shooting it at someone.
     
  7. deercreek

    deercreek Well-Known Member

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    I personally watched a Speer 135grain 38 + P go thru an adult doe deer, somewhat on an angle for a total of probably around 12-15", completely destroyed most of one lung. This was out of a 6" model 686. Speer Gold Dot make the "short barrel" stuff that has different powders for the shorter barrels....it does seem to work better from what I can tell.
     
  8. deercreek

    deercreek Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to add that you must be able to shoot one handed and the weak hand too. What about needing to be able to shoot once you are wounded? I do not feel undergunned at all with the 38spl +P's or the 9mm's I carry on a daily basis.
     
  9. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    From any barrel the .357 wins.

    However, the margin it wins by in a 2" barrel ain't a whole lot.

    If you can handle the blast, flash and recoil, maybe that bit of an increase will be worthwhile to you.

    But you're not giving up a lot using +P ammo, and recovery for the next shot is faster.

    Myself, I always loaded the guns up to the max, as .357 recoil doesn't bother me. But, then, I used to carry a 3" Model 29 in 44 Mag.

    One round quite suited for 2" barrels is the 9mm. It's designed for short barrels, and works well in a 2" revolver. S&W chambers them in the J frame. My small CHL auto is a Walther P5 Compact in 9mm.

    My small revolver is an old S&W Model 12 in 38 Spcl. This is nothing more than the old Model 10 6-shot K frame with an aluminum frame. I found the J frames were too small for my hand. My typical load is 125gr +P Win Silvertips. I used to load even stouter ammo in it, but am hesitant to mention the ammo here, because there are issues with it.
     
  10. short shucker

    short shucker TS Member

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    I had a buddy shoot into a block of balistic gelatin, at 21', with a 2 1/2" barreled 357. He shot a 357 mag, 38+ p, and 38 hollow point factory loaded personal protection shells. All I can say is all three would get the job done without any problem!

    ss
     
  11. Tugboat

    Tugboat Member

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    Thanks to all for the very helpful information.....Don
     
  12. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    In a 2 inch barrel you get mostly more blast and flash, not worth the difference to me 38 special will do the job if you hit them good, hard to do when your blinded and deaf from the first shot.
     
  13. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

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    I have had the "opportunity" to fire a snub nosed .357 indoors in the dark. That combination could have got me killed. I am 6'2" 240 lbs and used to lift weights, so I am no weakling. I can shot AND control a .357 or short barreled .44 mag with either hand with predicable double action accuracy. The 2 foot brilliant white ball of fire that comes out of a .357 snub nose left me totally blinded for several seconds. If a second shot was needed, I would have been a sitting duck. For snub nosed use, Federal and Remington both have personal defense ammo in .38 +P. That ammo drops a baseball sized dull orange glow. I believe being able to see for a second shot or to run for an escape route is FAR more benefit than the extra horsepower of a heavy .357 round. For hunting in the daylight, for big bore silhouette competition of other outdoor activities, sure, bring on the magnum. For closed room, low light, I'll take the ammo designed for that use.
     
  14. dverna

    dverna Active Member

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    Good post Leo.

    Most people do not consider night shooting and most "problems" occur at night.

    Don Verna
     
  15. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    If the .357 misses the target will still be burned to death.
     
  16. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    A full house .357 mag shot out of a 2" J frame is not a pleasant sensation to say the least. Even the .38 special +P ammo is a handful. I also don't see the wisdom of practicing with target vel ammo then stoking up with magnums for carry - the point of the practice is to prepare for a real world crisis so you really should practice with the ammo you intend to pack. (at least a similar velocity/bullet weight loading). I would go with one of the many excellent .38 Special loadings designed specifically for short barrel revolvers.

    If you really think the extra power of the .357 is warranted then consider upsizing the gun choice to something like a 4" K frame revolver. It will be a lot more to pack but you will get a lot more useable performance out of it.
     
  17. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    It was established police practice for many years to practice with .38 Specials and load .357 Magnums for duty.
     
  18. slic lee

    slic lee Active Member

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    Tugboat,you figure this one out using the following parameters;
    a 38spec+P 125 gr comes out of any barrel at about 850 to 1000fps
    a 357 mag 125 gr comes out of the barrel at 1200 to 1500 fps with+P being faster
    your choice
    out of my ruger sp101 rapid fire 3" at 12 yds 110 gr 357 about 1200 can fire 5 shots hit into 3" circle 5 shots
    using federal 125 gr @1450 same target first shot into circle, 2nd shot outside abit, 3rd shot 5 or so inches, gun is so hot can barely touch barrel-next anywhere
    1600 is considered +P
     
  19. Rick Barker

    Rick Barker Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but we also qualified with +P & 357, every other month and swtiched to new stuff every 6 months and shot off the old stuff.

    It depended on the department. I had heard of some only 6 months and sometimes once a year. Now with ammo prices, it is a big revneue pit for a lot of departments. Some shoot only new stuff all the time. One department I know of got tired of their Glocks blowing up (one a month sometimes), so they quit using reloads.

    Most of us knew how to shoot a 357, if we carried it. Our department did not supply 357, we had to buy our own if we wanted to carry it.

    We practiced at night, with sidearms and backups. Sometimes in total darkness or at the most the overhead's flashing. Try shooting at night where you intend to, with strobes firing off behind you or off to your side. LED's just as bright. You might have an idea, how some cops miss after emptying their guns.

    Most of us carried nothing smaller than a 4 inch K or L/Colt Pythons some N's for 357 and backups were small 38's carrying 90-110 grain +P's. I, myself started with an N (28), went to a K(66), then to an L(686), which I carried for years, until we went to semi-auto's. Colts and S&W's only were allowed in regards to sidearm revolvers. Backups could be any American made revolver. Mine was a Charter Arms undercover.
     
  20. BROWNST100

    BROWNST100 Member

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    Years ago, the Dept. didn't supply you a weapon. You had to buy your own and the ammo. I used to buy a handgun every year and deduct it from my income taxes.

    When they did start supplying our weapons and ammo, we were first issued S&W 19's, then later 66's, all 4 inch and at first we got Remington 125 grn. SJHP. A new Chief and we kept the 66's but he started issuing us Blazer 125 grn SJHP.

    Finally as things progressed and more businesses and homes popped up and the Mutual Aid or Backup calls came in, We found ourselves in very crowded places like a big mall. Then a switch was made to Glocks, 9mm and 2 spare mags. They were stoked with the Blazer 115 grn HP's.

    We qualified once a year, Dept. policy and had to qualify at the same time with and backup or off duty guns. Same with the shotguns ( 870's ) and for us that were permitted our AR15's. The AR's we had to purchase and maintain ourselves.

    There were officers who had problems with the 357's. They didn't like the recoil or noise. Scores went up across the board when the switch to 9mm's was made. I would rather have seen the switch to 40 S&W but the Chief chose the 9mm's.

    Vern
     
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