357 mag vs 38+p in a snubby

357 mag vs 38+p in a snubby

This is a discussion on 357 mag vs 38+p in a snubby within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After looking at another web sight (stoppingPower.com), I got a little confused with regards to their posting on what is the better personal defense ammo ...

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Thread: 357 mag vs 38+p in a snubby

  1. #1
    Member Array Trader's Avatar
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    Question 357 mag vs 38+p in a snubby

    After looking at another web sight (stoppingPower.com), I got a little confused with regards to their posting on what is the better personal defense ammo for a 2.5 inch 357 mag. Now I come here to my number 1 forum for direction and comment.

    Some posted, a 38+p is has better performance as a ccw round over a 357 mag. Some said, if the 38+p doesn't preform better than the mag round it is near equal in performance. Excluding roll our own loads, I would think a 357 mag / 125 to 145gr. round would carry more k.engery, provide better pentration through outer clothing and produce nasty results over a 38+p round.

    I have also seen stated that many rounds have very poor performance in any snubby espically mags. All the the excess power does is produce a large muzzle flash and recoil in a snuby. Some of the recent posting regarding the new GD short barrel ammo have been less tan impressive.

    So, can anyone help clear this confussion up for me. At the range I shoot both 38 and 357's and love this gun. Would appreicate all comments. Also what ammo would you recommend for a ccw round for my 2.5 snub,357 mag Python.

    In advance thanks.


  2. #2
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    Hi Trader. This is always, or often, an individual thing re assessment. I will give you my take - it may not be that of others.

    I no longer carry my SP-101 (2 1/4") regularly but when I did I carried CorBon 110 +P's - tho I have CorBon 140 .357's on hand too. I chose the +P because while they in no way compete with Mag loads for power, they permit a much more reliable faster follow-up.

    I am a recoil junkie so am not phased by mag loads in a snub - they do tho just make shooting that much harder and yes - with some, ammo flash is somewhat excessive - but main deal - I really do not find I can make a second shot as fast - which applies then also to all subsequent shots. If I carried .357's then I chose my M28-2 - better weight and controllability - adequate then to recover faster, but obviously, bigger heavier gun.

    Ideally I prefer traditional 158 +P - most snubs shoot nearer POA with those.

    I think you need to shoot both for yourself and decide then on what you feel you can handle and still stay effective. Oh, you say you do both, sorry - well anyways - again come back to controllability and if .357's are manageable then certainly, they will give an edge.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Usually a +p is Better for follow up shots compared to the 357 .. Sure 357 has more power but you lose a lot in the way of controlabilty.

    My 2 inch snub isnt rated for +p so i just carry 125 federal nyclads in my 38

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    For me it was real simple. I rented a snubnose .357 and fired some 110 grain loads in it and did not feel like I could realistically manage it at speed under stress so I went with .38 Special. By doing so, I was able to get a slightly shorter and much lighter gun which was ideal for the pocket carry I wanted anyway.

    The .357 IS the better tool but sometimes you have to consider the human factor and not just the numbers.

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    Member Array Trader's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight guys. My Python is not my primary carry , however in todays times, I want to make sure I don't short change the BG's. I want to make sure I can give them all they deserve including the biggest bang of my bucks.

    Thanks

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    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    My 25 year old daughter carries a SW 649, n .357 and she just bought some +P+ at the local gun store. Don't have the stats but the gunstore guru said they were as hot as the .357 and a whole lot cheaper.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    I could be very wrong --BUT-- I do not believe that you can(especially)buy a .38+anything round that will equal a .357Mag. I was the rangemaster/armoror at a NAS in the early to mid 80's.I shot some of the(then) FBI .38 special,110 gr.(stamped+P+) loads. Lots of flash and muzzle flip out of a snubbie but not really great valocity(as per chrono) Can't remember the actual velocity but remember that it didn't impress me or the FBI and NIS guys. Can't say how that 110+P+ would do as to penetration either. Another thought would be....would it be better to put one round in the BG at say 500 foot pounds of energy or two rounds in the BG at say 300 foot pounds of energy each. Also I find it very hard to accurately double tap a revo. So for me it would be the most kick a$$ .357 mag. round that I could buy or reload,hope that it thumps the BG hard enough that I could put at least one more in him before he could attempt to return fire.-------

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    If you want to look at the chrono results from a 2.25" S101, go to
    www.stoppingpower.net

    Lots of .357 and .38 clocked, but bear in mind, this was from one gun, on one day, and on one chrono.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    A big part of this equation is what your launching platform is and using good ammunition.

    With the little short barrels on most snubnose revolvers, a whole lot of the .357's potential is wasted and a lot of +P .38 Special loads can come close to matching it or in some tests reportedly exceeding it by a slim margin. Supposedly.

    Personally I use the Gold Dots and smile and be happy about it. I believe I use the 135 grain short barrel load. Honestly if not for this product and similar products, I wouldn't feel confident in .38 Special for self defense and even still I have doubts about it. I try to keep in mind it's still not the most effective handgun when it comes to raw performance.

    .38 Special out of a 3" barrel is about the worst level of performance I think is going to be effective enough for my tastes so I figure a .38 +P load in a 1" barrel is right around there somewhere. It's basically the worst load I'm willing to carry in the worst firing platform I'm willing to carry.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    While I do not have the data here right now, my own investigation concluded that the 145 gr Win Silvertip was the best for the .357 considering expansion and penetration. You might go to Warrior Talk Forums and search the Terminal Ballistics Forum. I just searched and here is a thread.
    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...ight=silvertip

    Here is another site that shows results from .38 Spl
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/38special.htm

    As for the claim that in the short barrels the .38+P is about as good as the .357, here are a couple of factory loads that I chronographed.
    .38 Spl M642 129 gr Fed +P vel = 835 fps.

    .357 Mag M 640 125 gr Speer GD vel = 1159.

    That is not an insignificant difference. I have loaded some 158 gr Jacketed bullets for the .357 at chronographed at 950 fps from the 640, and I did not consider that max. My point being that the .357 significantly outperforms the .38 spl in short barrels as well as long barrels.

    I recall that on the Stopping power forum that the 145 gr ST was the best out of the .357 short barrel. I used to carry 125 gr Gold Dots in my 640, but have changed to the 145 gr ST.

    As to recoil, the factory grips are really punishing. I got some Pachmayer rubber grips, and they really take the punishment out of it. Of course I do not find any full house .357 round especially pleasant out of the J frames.

    Jerry

  11. #11
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    not sure if they make em, but maybe look for loads specifically made for snubbie revolvers? Other than that, sorry don't know.

  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    While active duty USN,on certin assignments,the higher ups wanted me to carry a .357 double action, under 4" bbl. I basically refused and ended up carring a 1911. I practiced with that revo but could not( to my satisfaction) master more than one accurate shot fairly quickly. I finally got so I could shoot two shots both single action fairly quickly but the recoil was the limiting factor and the shots wern't up to my accuracy standard. For me, the fastest follow up shot was to use the weak hand thumb to recock for the next single action shot.-------- If my CCW was a small snubbie in .38 Special I would carry a medium/hot,high tech bullet load.------------

  13. #13
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    the wife and i both have 649's. we tried the federal 125 gr. 357's and the speer 135 gr. .38+p. i can control the .357's(barely) but the wife could not. tried the speers and it's much more controllable with them. we're trading off a little power but i think it's worth it. more accuracy, and practice isn't painful.

  14. #14
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    For my 2 cents, I have always used 125 gr. jacketed hollowpoints in my .357 snubbies, but since I feel in a snubby a fast second, accurate shot maybe needed I prefer 38 ammo, especially in a light weight snubby.
    My j frame carry ammo is 38 special ( not even +P)and gets 14" of penatration into jello after going thru auto windshield material and is recovered at a .44 dia.
    So for me that is good enough with no flame throwing and super load blast.
    Regards,
    Fuzzy
    "Life is a blind stage, on a hot range"
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    Jim Cirillo's "Safestop" ammo
    NRA Lifer and Instructor

  15. #15
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    In terms of raw power, the higher .357 mag pressure tops the lower +p+ pressure any way you slice it. Short/long bbl - light/heavy bullet.
    In the woods I'd use the power with 180 gr Cast Core Federals. But who among us will volunteer to pop one in a confined space (car, room, etc.) With a steady hand and deliberate first shot placement, all of us can be in the successful 60% of the "one shot stop" catregory using the mild .38 Spl.

    I'm sorry to add, I find the low pressure of the .45 acp to be less painful to the ears, more pleasant to shoot and control, easier to conceal, and still neck and neck (95%) with the .357 (96%) for one shot stops. Call me crazy.
    Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776

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    ("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
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