.38 +P vs .357 mag

This is a discussion on .38 +P vs .357 mag within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have not carried my Python .357 mag (2" barrel) too much for CCW in a very long time, most always carry a Glock. I ...

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Thread: .38 +P vs .357 mag

  1. #1
    Member Array Trader's Avatar
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    .38 +P vs .357 mag

    I have not carried my Python .357 mag (2" barrel) too much for CCW in a very long time, most always carry a Glock. I was shooting it at the range today and with each shoot fired, a and smile comes across my face. I may start carring this gun alittle more often.

    In consideration of a defensive round in close quarters, recoil, pentration, perfromance and so on - Given the pick of a .38+P or .357 Mag round, which one would you pick. I know very little on the .38+P round. Some mfg.literture claims this round to be a .38sp pressured to near that of a .357 Mag., near the same performance at close range but with less recoil than the Mag.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    I dont see how if the pressure is the same how can recoil be less same size bullet probley the same bulltes if same manfucturer makes both round

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    Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    Trader - I am too lazy right now to go get comparitive actual figures but as I see it, .38 +P is actually only marginally up from std .38spl. Higher pressure round for sure but - nowhere near true .357 levels.

    One of my carry pieces is SP-101 - well capable of managing .357's and I shoot some thru it. However - I stoke that with CorBon 110 +P's for carry - mainly because I know (and have proved) that I can get all five shots off quicker and with significantly better shot placement.

    Thus - I elect to favor a more controllable result at sacrifice of some power.

    If OTOH I was carrying my M28-2 ... which I do occasionally, then I'll have the CorBon 140's on board. That with it's 4" barrel and extra weight makes for same sorta control as I have with snub and +P's.

    Let me guesstimate some figures for now. Let us make an assumption that we have (for convenience' sake) ... +P's and .357's loaded with 158 bullets. Then using round figures we say that +P makes it up to 900 fps, and .357 is only 1150 fps ... we get energy figures as follows.

    +P = 285 ft lbs (not a huge step over some 9mm's)

    .357 = 465 ft lbs

    In fact I'd expect the .357 to come out even higher - I am just plucking easy figures for this.
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    Former Member Array The Tourist's Avatar
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    You must also figure in barrel length.

    If a .357 was fired from a snub-nosed revolver, even a high quality one like an SW 66 in 2 1/2" length, and six inch revolver fired a +P+ .38 Treasury round, I'd speculate that the .38 would hit harder.

    Considering the muzzle blast, the recoil that feels like a cracked bat and the limited number of rounds, I don't carry a traditional .357 revolver. Perhaps in the woods, most likely for ferral dogs.

    No matter what the speed, something with a '4' in it seems the better choice.

    I've heard the old cannard that any .357 is better than a .44 SPL. I'll even concede that the Federal 125 grain .357 probably is. All this does is pit the best of one against the weakest of another.

    This doesn't even figure in 'control.' If recoil tosses you off of the target, then what good is any round, no matter how effective?

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    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Trader as a guy whose shooting experience revolves around 1/3" traiditional revolver calibers for better or worse, I had to debate that very problem myself not too long ago.

    The bottom line is that unless the moon is full and it's Leap Day, the .357 is the better tool hands down.

    The trouble for me though was: Yes that's true, but how well can I control it out of a snubnose boot gun?

    And I had to be honest with myself: Not very well. Sure I could hit the target with such a gun and such a caliber, but could I successfully do drills and such at full speed? Only hits count. I can squeeze off four shots in the black with the .38 out of a snubnose in the same amount of time I can land two shots with the .357 and I'll hold a tighter group too.

    I got myself some Gold Dots and never looked back. Maybe some day I'll be a better shooter and I'll use the better caliber, but for now this is it for me.

    Tourist, I think I'm coming around to your way of thinking very, very slowly. I am really liking the idea of 44 Special. I just need to find a gun to fire it with.

  7. #6
    Former Member Array The Tourist's Avatar
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    Euc,

    This has been an easy decision for me for another reason--I cast my own bullets.

    After reading 'Sixguns' by Keith, I saw that he favored casting blocks with 'square' lube grooves. Most of the popular ones at that time had his overall design, but rounded lube grooves so the bullet fell out of the blocks easier.

    I was lucky enough to find a double-ganger 429421 (unchecked) set of blocks of his design. Tightened my groups up by an inch on the first time out.

    The answer was obvious, more of the bullet engaged the rifling, and the slug basically had three plump driving bands.

    But this was the beginning, as I started to take this calibre and its capabilities seriously. It was no longer a quaint cartridge of a patriarch in our sport, but a performer in its own right. Even Thunder Ranch has a new combat model.

    Big holes. Gotta love 'em. Still valid.

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