Smith & Wesson 642 38 special or the Smith & Wesson 340 in 357. mag?!?!?!!?

This is a discussion on Smith & Wesson 642 38 special or the Smith & Wesson 340 in 357. mag?!?!?!!? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; going to be getting one soon for backup and pocket carry. the 340 is a lot more expensive so im leaning toward the 642 but ...

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Thread: Smith & Wesson 642 38 special or the Smith & Wesson 340 in 357. mag?!?!?!!?

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    New Member Array Smitty010203's Avatar
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    Smith & Wesson 642 38 special or the Smith & Wesson 340 in 357. mag?!?!?!!?

    going to be getting one soon for backup and pocket carry. the 340 is a lot more expensive so im leaning toward the 642 but I really feel like that 357 is just a lot more powerful. I cant decide which to get. any thoughts?

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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I have a 360 and it is SO worth the ability to shoot the beast... Besides, you can take it to the range & let other people try to shoot it & have them be scared of you for being willing to tackle such a beast hahaha...

    Actually Deadguy & I have the same weapon... If you keep your shoulder & elbow relaxed but keep a firm grip & wrist while firing it reallly minimizes recoil... well as much as you can expect from a 13 oz 357.... Remember, you can shoot 38 through the 340, you can't shoot 357 through the 642...
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    Thoughts

    Try them both first. I've owned both. The 340 PD is a handful and typically .38 rounds were shot through it. Follow up shots were more difficult than the 642. Both are fine weapons but my choice for a backup was the 340 PD.

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    Senior Member Array SFury's Avatar
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    Get the 340. Having the option for .357 rounds is better than not having it. You can always shoot 38 rounds through it if full load 357 rounds are too much to handle.

    Basically, I'm agreeing with 357and40 for the same reasons. Going with the 340 may also keep you from buying a new gun that can shoot something more powerful than the 38 rounds.

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    I have the 340PD and like shotting .38 special. Shooting .357 is painful! With that said, I carry with .357. If I ever needed to use it, adrenaline would likely compensate for the Mule kick.

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    Member Array mj40p's Avatar
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    Buy the 642. If you buy the 340 you most likely will carry it with 38+p anyway. You probably would not practice with 357's because they are not fun to shoot out of 13 ounce revolvers. Your time to second shot will be faster with 38s and be more accurate. My wife carries a 642 with 125 grn federal nyclads. The nyclads are a standard pressure round that are proven to expand from short barrel revolvers. Even with the 642 she is ready to shoot something else after about 50 rounds. If you want to shoot 357 in a j frame buy a model 60. For those of you who carry 340s with 357s and practice with only 38s try shooting all 5 357 rds as fast as you can at 5 yds and see how accurate you are. My wife can put 5rds into 5 inches at 5 yrds as fast as she can fire her 642. All that 357 power isn't any good if you can't put them where you need to as fast as you need to. The 642 is only 2 ounces more than the 340,the model 60 is about 23 ounces.
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    New Member Array Smitty010203's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I would like that 340 it just cost so much more and Like mj40p said I cant imagine myself shooting 357 at the range much from that gun. And the follow up shot clearly wouldnt be as quick as with 38's .. however with power of the 357 im not so sure it would need to be as quick of a follow up shot. I also carry a glock 23 in 40 cal. Isnt a 357 even more powerful than that cartridge?

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    My vote goes to the 642. I carry a 15-ounce J-frame and although I'm not recoil-sensitive, a box full of standard .38s is all I feel like before moving on to something relaxing, like a .45 ACP. Two or three cylinders of +P to cap off the training session, and I've had all the fun I can stand. It's not painful per se, just fatiguing. Reducing the weight another 15% (13 vs 15 oz) will hardly make a difference in your carrying comfort, but you'll know the difference shooting it. That said, the right grips can mitigate the effect of the lighter weight with respect to felt recoil.

    There is no doubt that a .357 makes a bigger impression than a .38 downrange, but the recoil, muzzle blast and flash are so much greater with the magnum that the ability to place shots effectively are seriously compromised for most shooters. A snub is a difficult gun to shoot well in the first place, and going lighter won't make it any easier.
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    Senior Member Array Skeeter64's Avatar
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    If you are set on a pocket .357, I would lean towards a slightly heavier model like the S&W 640 or 649. They are a whole lot easier to shoot .357's out of which would probably lead to more practice with the bigger round.
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    Distinguished Member Array Madcap_Magician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty010203 View Post
    Thanks for the responses. I would like that 340 it just cost so much more and Like mj40p said I cant imagine myself shooting 357 at the range much from that gun. And the follow up shot clearly wouldnt be as quick as with 38's .. however with power of the 357 im not so sure it would need to be as quick of a follow up shot. I also carry a glock 23 in 40 cal. Isnt a 357 even more powerful than that cartridge?
    Not out of a 1 7/8" barrel, it isn't. The .357 Magnum is more powerful than the .38 Special out of a snubby, it's true, but the .357's legendary power is based around a 125-gr. bullet going about 1300-1400 fps. Out of a J-frame barrel, a .357 is doing only about 950 fps. A comparable .38 Special is doing 700-800 fps. So yes, a .357 is more powerful than a .38 Special in a snubby, but it's not as powerful as your Glock and produces substantially more recoil than the .38.

    Personally, I feel that while adrenaline will mean you'll forget the recoil of the .357, what adrenaline will not do is bring the gun back on target or help you shoot better. I think that for most, the .357 in a lightweight snubby is overgunning it, and the drawbacks outweigh the marginal increase in power.
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    Distinguished Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Never owned anything but 4 all-steel snubbies(3 Smith's and if you count my Ruger Security-Six)so can't speak from experience. That said, I think the 642 loaded with +P 38's should do the trick as a BUG. Just my $.02. Will be getting an SP101 in a couple weeks.
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    How about a 649 in 357. That is what I chose to keep access to the hammer but to have the hammer shrouded to reduce the potential for snags.

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    I like my 340 M&P. The night sights are nice, and the coating is bomb proof. The ability to shoot a .357 if the need ever arises, is comforting. Actually shooting a .357 hornaday defense round out of it smarts a bit, but it is a cannon.

    I looked at a 642 that had not been taken care of, left in an ankle holster and carried for a few years seldom wiped off or shot, and the frame was corroded and action locked up. The DLC coating on the 340 and 342 is stout stuff, I've pocket carried mine for a year and other than a couple gouges on the trigger guard from some gravel... it looks identical to how I bought it.
    I like barami hip grips over the boot grip, a nice palm swell and for me it actually has less felt recoil than the stock rubber boot grips.

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    Senior Member Array bunker's Avatar
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    442 or 642 is my answer. I would not want to get shot by a 38 special... how dead do you need the bad guy to be?
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    Distinguished Member Array deadguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFury View Post
    Get the 340. Having the option for .357 rounds is better than not having it. You can always shoot 38 rounds through it if full load 357 rounds are too much to handle.

    Basically, I'm agreeing with 357and40 for the same reasons. Going with the 340 may also keep you from buying a new gun that can shoot something more powerful than the 38 rounds.
    And yes I agree with you both.

    125 grain .357s are totally manageable. I shoot 158 XTPs and while they CAN hurt, the one handed loose elbow tight grip greatly reduces the "shock" of the big load.

    Wife and son shoot it and while the wife likes the standard 38s, the 12 year old begs for the 125 Maggie numbs. And he's good with it.
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