Are todays .38 +P loads closer to .357 loads?

Are todays .38 +P loads closer to .357 loads?

This is a discussion on Are todays .38 +P loads closer to .357 loads? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi, Interested in buying a 315NG (.38+p) with 2.5" barrel for CCW and Home Defense. Only concern is ballistic performance of the .38. Last time ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array ajgranda's Avatar
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    Are todays .38 +P loads closer to .357 loads?

    Hi,

    Interested in buying a 315NG (.38+p) with 2.5" barrel for CCW and Home Defense. Only concern is ballistic performance of the .38. Last time I owned a .38 was twenty years ago. How much have the ballistics improved since then? Anything out there that gets you close to a .357 load? Or am I better off with the 386NG and loading it with lighter .357 loads for accuracy?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
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    I don't think there are any that compare to .357...not much does.

    However, the new +P cartridges today provide a powerful punch, I depend on a S&W 642 as my backup, 135 gr Speer Gold Dots
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  3. #3
    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    In short, NO.

  4. #4
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    Nope.

  5. #5
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    Are they closer? Yes, but not close to. Are they equal? No.

    I think the issue here is more toward if you can handle the .357 Mag--meaning, can you put the rounds where you want, or is the additional recoil going to be a problem. I'd think your experience (former LEO) would give you the answer. I'd rather have +P .38s on target than blow holes in the air with the .357.
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  6. #6
    Member Array ajgranda's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far. Its been so many years since I carried a .38, and the only ammo I used on and off duty were some .38 +P SWC (around 150 gr I think) which had terrible penetration. I remember having to shot a large rabid raccoon 5x center mass to bring him down. We then switched over to G19 and Fed115g HP +P+, huge difference. Are there .38 +P rounds that are about the same as a 9MM +P HP? I realize they would be coming from a 2.5" barrel vs 4". I carry a G26 with GD 124gr +P now and never feel underpowered.

    Thanks
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    I've noticed over the years that there are some .357s out there that probably should be rated .38+P.

    .357s felt a lot hotter to me back in the 70s when I bought my first Ruger Speed Six...

    OMO

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  8. #8
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boscobeans View Post
    I've noticed over the years that there are some .357s out there that probably should be rated .38+P.

    .357s felt a lot hotter to me back in the 70s when I bought my first Ruger Speed Six...

    OMO

    bosco
    I concur with the above statement.

    When one is blessed enough to be able to find a real live .357 Magnum load of old, it's a real BANG to fire off.

    Today's "mid-range" Magnum loads are what I compare to a 38 Special +P+. It's hotter than a 38 +P, but not as hot as a "King of the Street" load. Thus, we have a 38 Special +P+.

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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    At some point, the blast and kick of a .357 becomes counter productive.

    If you want the bullet to do it's job and have sufficient follow up shot speed, find something that meets your criteria (FBI/IWBA/Hornady's BS Advertising...) and carry that.

    Putting rounds on target fast and accurate will give you more stopping power than one shot of .357 that causes you to loose a grip and ruins your chance to shoot someone a second time.

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    At some point, the blast and kick of a .357 becomes counter productive.

    If you want the bullet to do it's job and have sufficient follow up shot speed, find something that meets your criteria (FBI/IWBA/Hornady's BS Advertising...) and carry that.

    Putting rounds on target fast and accurate will give you more stopping power than one shot of .357 that causes you to loose a grip and ruins your chance to shoot someone a second time.
    I'll agree, with a caveat.

    The caveat being, some of us can shoot the magnum loads well. I can, if I practice. I'm out of practice lately, and thus am not carrying the magnum loads. When I'm dialed in, and shooting a lot, you can't tell the difference in the size of my groups between the magnums and a 9mm. I'm also the same in regards to speed.

    Biker

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array bsnow's Avatar
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    Good 38 +P's work well but still not as hot as the .357. More controlable yes.
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  12. #12
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    I just looked this up yesterday due to a conversation I was having with a friend. The 9mm Speer Gold Dot 124gr +p round out of my 3.5" SR9c barrel leaves at about 1150 fps. Out of a short barrel (2") .38 like the Taurus 85 my mom packs, the comparable 125 gr +p round is only doing about 800-900 fps.

    Ballistics by the inch

    What this actually means as far as stopping power, I'm not sure, but it would seem logical that the 9mm would be more effective there.

    I had to interpolate the results a bit, but it seems like the .357 for the same 125gr weight is doing 200 fps faster out of the gun than the .38 special +p load.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Member Array Mark IL NM's Avatar
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    I'd say practice with the magnums; I don't struggle with recoil shooting a couple thousand .357 rounds a year out of the 3" SP101; I think with practice the 315NG you will handle them fine. Love the .357s from the WWB 110 grains to BB 180s...

  15. #15
    Member Array ajgranda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark IL NM View Post
    I'd say practice with the magnums; I don't struggle with recoil shooting a couple thousand .357 rounds a year out of the 3" SP101; I think with practice the 315NG you will handle them fine. Love the .357s from the WWB 110 grains to BB 180s...
    Thanks, but the S&W 315 NG is a 6rd K frame .38 +P (24oz). The Model 386 is a 7 shot .357 L frame (24.5oz) both 2.5" barrels.
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