Speer "short barrel" ballistics

This is a discussion on Speer "short barrel" ballistics within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Has anyone done the ballistics (velocity and energy) on both the 38+p and the 357 magnum short barrel ammo from a 1and 7/8" snubbie? I ...

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Thread: Speer "short barrel" ballistics

  1. #1
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    Speer "short barrel" ballistics

    Has anyone done the ballistics (velocity and energy) on both the
    38+p and the 357 magnum short barrel ammo from a 1and 7/8" snubbie?

    I know where to find Speer's specs on their site. But I'd like to see how they really differ when shot from the really short barrels like my S&W 340. That's the only gun I carry.

    Also, please discuss recoil and muzzle blast with these two specific rounds to help me decide if it's really worth it to fire the 357 short barrels or if I'd be just as well off with the 38's.

    MARV

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  3. #2
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    2" barrel at Speer

    After posting the above post, I revisited the Speer site. I don't know how I could have missed it. But it does say that the rounds were tested in a 2" barrel (both for the 38's and the 357's).

    Still - any discussion will help in looking at my ammo choices.

    Thanks!

    MARV

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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    I am assuming that you are talking about one of the smith and wesson j frames? I had a model 642 and shot .38 +Ps in it, the recoil was tolerable but could not imagine .357s in the same gun. The recoil would be brutal. Check out Handloads.com for ballistic effectiveness of the 2 calibers. If you are talking about the Speer short barrel loads then yes they do perform better because they have specially formulated powders that burn faster in the shorter barrels thereby increasing velocity and energy.

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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    Sorry I just did a quick glance at your post, I see that you were talking about the S&W 340. The two most recommended loads for the .38 snubby are the Speer 135gr. short barrel load or the old standby .38 lswchp (lead semi wadcutter hollow point) both are +P loads. I would say that anything in .357 magnum to stay with a bullet that was 125 grains or lighter as the heavier loads lose too much when fired from the shorter tube.

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    This is not scientific, but it's better than nothing...

    Water test using full, one gallon plastic water jugs @ approximately 10 feet.

    S&W 442 .38 special 1 7/8" barrel

    Speer .38 special 135 gr +P, Gold Dot Short Barrel Load

    Expansion - .539"

    Recovered Weight - 131.70 grains

    Penetration - The bullet was recovered inside of the 3rd water jug.

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    Member Array chasbo00's Avatar
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    I have both cartridges and a M&P 360. I've never compared actual velocities with a chronograph; but, Speer's test data from a two inch barrel shows the 357 Mag cartridge to be only 130 fps faster than the 38 Special +P. This means the 357 Mag 135 grain short barrel cartridge is pretty wimpy compared to most 357 Mag ammo. Probably a good thing as shooting a full-house 357 Mag in a 13 ounce snubbie is both painful and blinding. You will have to decide whether Speer's 357 Mag has enough going for it over the 38 Special +P for you. Me, I say why bother.

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    What is does the Speer data say for the .357s? I chrono'ed some Golden Sabers in my 640 last week. This is a 2-1/8" barrel in a real gun, not a test barrel. The chrono was about 10 feet from the muzzle and the average speed was 1,086 fps for 125 grain JHP bullets. The range, for the 10 shots I chrono'ed was from 1,059 to 1,134, the median was 1,084.
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    Member Array chasbo00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksholder View Post
    What is does the Speer data say for the .357s?
    990 fps

    LE: Ballistics Detail

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    Based on the numbers in the prior 2 posts, it appears that the Speer marketing talk that their short barrel rounds develop more bullet speed than the competition may be just talk. Those data indicate a 10% advantage to the Golden Saber, although, to be fair, getting numbers from the same gun/barrel would be most directly comparable. I may have to get the Speer .357 rounds and chrono them from my 640 to see the difference from the same weapon.

    I have the Speer 38+p loads in my 642. I will have to chrono those against the Golden Saber .38+p loads sometime in the same gun and see what the differences are there. Sounds like a fun range day.
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    Member Array chasbo00's Avatar
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    I would be interested in the results ksholder. Yesterday, I got a chance to chrono some Speer 9mm 147 Gold Dots and compare them with Speer's Lawman 9mm 147 FMJ. The Lawman cartridges are supposed to be a ballistic match to the 147 Gold Dots (Speer's test data shows only a 5 fps difference from a 4" test barrel). The chrono testing with a Glock 19 resulted in the Lawman cartridges being about 50 fps slower than the Gold Dots - Lawman avg was 960 fps. That's about 25 fps below their test data number. The Speer Gold Dots were about 25 fps hotter than Speer's test data.

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    This is a great source for many different calibers and manufacturers.

    I prefer the "old" site, it has more test.

    Brass Fetcher Ballistic Gelatin testing


    You can also check out their new site here:

    Brass Fetcher Ballistic testing

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    I like the Speer 135gr. GD in .357 in my S&W snubby. A little more than +P and a lot less than full house. And I don't have to clean any carbon ridge out of my cylinders.

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    I have the test on my to do list but have not found any .357 short barrel rounds to test yet.
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    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    I've chronoed both loads from my 340PD, and I forget the exact velocities I got, but I do recall that both were a little faster than Speer's website shows. I keep the 340PD loaded with the .357 Short Barrel loads, and many of my .38 snubbies stay loaded with the .38+P load. It is interesting that the 135gr. load is quite a bit faster in every gun in which I've chronoed it (about 5 different ones) than is Speer's 125gr. +P Gold Dot load, and seems to subjectively have less recoil. Remington's Golden Saber 125gr. .357 load is a little faster than the .357 Speer load, but I like the expansion and penetration characteristics of the Speer load a little better, though I doubt that a scumbag shot in the chest with both could tell the difference. I do keep my Colt Magnum Carry loaded with the Remington load, since it is a "slow barrel," and the GS gets more than 100fps. more from it than does the Speer Short Barrel. I also like the Golden Saber in my 3" Model 65s. Both these .357 loads are excellent, if one does not feel the need for full-house .357 ballistics. In flyweights like the 340, shooting comfort and controllability are manifestly better with the Short Barrel loads than they are with full-power ammo.

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