This is a discussion on 38 Special vs 357 mag in 2" barrel? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In a 2" barrel snubbie what is the fps and efp difference in a 38 +P load verses a 357 load, I find data on ...
In a 2" barrel snubbie what is the fps and efp difference in a 38 +P load verses a 357 load, I find data on the 38 +P, but yet have found the data on 357 2" barrel ballistics.
Real world how many carry 38 +P in their 357 snubbies?
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Here are a couple of threads concerning the subject:
Based on Buffalo Bore's info, it looks like they get a 158 grain bullet going to 1000 fps from 38+P and about 1250 for 357 from a 2" barrel. I've used their 1000 fps side by side with Winchester 357 in the same weight, and I couldn't tell any difference in recoil.
Speaking just for myself, against humans & based on ballistic testing, it looks like a 38+P can give 12+ inches of penetration and similar expansion to a 357...so the extra oomph of a 357 gives greater penetration. That is fine if you want it, but I figure 12 inches will do for me & the FBI. If I want more oomph, I'll go to a .44 or .45 to get 12" of penetration with a larger diameter. See some testing here:
It takes far too long for me to get back on target with .357 loads- even Low Recoil Federals. Plus P 38's is what I EDC. It is still worth it to me to have the M&P 340 because of the FANTASTIC big dot sight at the end of the barrel.
I carry the .357 in my .357...
In my research in the 125-135 gr loads in both calibers it seems you gain between 100-300 fps in the snub going up to 357 mag.
Please dont ask for documentation. I scoured the web and found bits and pieces that bore that info when looked at and compared together...
I find the .38 Special +Ps are much more controllable in a small airweight S&W J frame and to still be plenty potent for the job of self defense. I use Corbon DPX 110 gr. +P hps in my S&W 642. However I use Remington Golden Saber .357 magnum 125 gr. hps in my 3 inch Ruger SP101 with a stainless steel frame. That particular round is loaded like a mid range .357 mag load and is not bad at all to shoot. Yes you do gain more horsepower by going with the .357 magnum but at a significant cost in muzzle blast and recoil especially in the five shot snub nose revolver class. JMHO.
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in my 642 i use +p .38 135grn. gold dot short barrel at 850fps+ and in my 640 .357 135grn gold dot short barrel that i have clocked at a little over 1000fps. ok speed and a good performing bonded bullet.
I carry my Ruger SP101 2.25" bbl with Gold Dot 158gr .357 Magnums. I also carry my S&W 442 with 38+P as a BUG. I carry 2 speed strips in my pocket both loaded with 38+P rounds so that my extra carry ammo can be used in either weapon. 357 magnum gets the edge, but 38+P will do just fine for re-load. I also like the simplicity of knowing either speed strip will work in either weapon. Under stress, simple is better.
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My LCR is the 38+P model so I carry 135gr Gold Dots in it. It is very manageable.
My Dan Wesson revolver is so heavy it doesn't matter much and when I carry it, it is with a 2 1/2 barrel loaded with Winchester 145gr Silver Tip 357 Mag. On my kitchen food scales it weighs 34 ounces loaded. Not exactly 'pocket carry' eh?
Whenever my daughter is home alone I leave it out for her with the Gold Dots in it. The combination of weight and it's Hogue rubber grips keeps it very tame for her. And she's getting better.
I run 125 grain buffalo bore jhp and golden sabre jhp .357 in my carry gun only. That is all I practice with as well. Mine is a 25 ozer with wooden boot grips and a 2" barrel.
As others, above this post have stated, you get a far longer "Return to Battery" (recovery from recoil & sights back on target), shooting 357 Magnums in lightweight guns. (The wisdom of S&W® producing 12oz 357 Magnum snubbies defies logic IMHO). My advise would be to shoot a variety of 38 Special, 38 Special+P, and midrange 357 ammunition; to determine what you wish to use. From this testing, select the most accurate load you can handle.
In my case, I carry and shoot 3 snubnose revolvers with the following ammunition....
• Taurus Mdl 617SS2 2¼" barrel Steel Frame 357 Magnum; 29oz with Magtech® 357 Magnum 125 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point
• Taurus Mdl 605SS2 2" barrel Steel Frame 357 Magnum; 23 oz with Buffalo Bore® Heavy .38 Special +P Ammo
• Taurus Mdl 85SS2UL 2" barrel Aluminum Frame 38 Special; 16oz with Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash .38 Special
Reloads for all three guns are Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash .38 Special. The last thing I want to worry about is which type of ammo do I have to reload.
I've been shooting handguns for 46 years and carrying them for 39 years. The above is what works for me; YMMVH.
Let us know what you finally decide.
My Ruger SP101 in .357 is a powerful SD weapon, but it also allows me to use .38's to practice point shooting...easier to concentrate on how I'm shooting rather than 'how much more my hand can take'.OMO
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I'm perfectly comfortable carrying and shooting the 135gr+p Gold Dots in my 642. I've fired .357 in a short barrel lightweight revolver on numerous occassions, and found I can't (or won't) shoot it enough to be proficient. I don't notice much of a difference in the +p Gold Dots and standard 135gr Speer range ammo.
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