357 MAGNUM or 38SPL for my new EDC Snub Revolver??? Help me out!!!

357 MAGNUM or 38SPL for my new EDC Snub Revolver??? Help me out!!!

This is a discussion on 357 MAGNUM or 38SPL for my new EDC Snub Revolver??? Help me out!!! within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok so, I'm looking at buying a new snub nose revolver (2 in. barrel or less) and I have been dead set on buying the ...

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Thread: 357 MAGNUM or 38SPL for my new EDC Snub Revolver??? Help me out!!!

  1. #1
    Member Array SnubMan's Avatar
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    Mar 2008

    357 MAGNUM or 38SPL for my new EDC Snub Revolver??? Help me out!!!

    Ok so, I'm looking at buying a new snub nose revolver (2 in. barrel or less) and I have been dead set on buying the S&W M&P 340 b/c I really wanted to be able to carry magnums so I could get some extra power out of my snub. BUT,,,, upon lots of reading I started to find several reasons why I should just stick w/ 38 SPL:

    1) Supposedly the powder in magnums burns very slow (are there quick burning powders specifically for a short barrel revolver??? ---If so please post LINKS!!!). So by shooting a 357 magnum out of a snub you really are not getting much advantage over a 38SPL b/c a lot of the powder (from the 357) is not being burned before the bullet leaves the barrel so you’re not really gaining anything from shooting magnum cartridges. ALSO all that extra powder only hinders the shooter by creating an even greater muzzle flash (possibly disorienting the shooter at night ---- never bothered me at the range but the range is really well lit --- actually I have never shot at night) (Also muzzle blast ---- and its uber loud compared to 38 SPL)

    2) Shooting 357 through a light-weight snub puts a lot of extra strain on the gun (might not last as long right….. I don’t know----what do you think ---- were talking light-weight snubs here)

    3) Obviously Increased felt recoil when shooting 357. (Controlling it is not a problem I can shoot Remington 357 Mag 125 gr JHP "Golden Saber" ammo just as well as practice 38 SPL FMJ) . Shooting 357 beats my hand up a little more than 38SPL, which is not a problem in a self-defense shooting but it limits my practice sessions and that’s never good!!!

    But I LOVE the idea of being able to shoot a much more effective cartridge from practically the same size/weight revolver for my EDC piece.

    So is it worth getting a snub in 357?

    AHHH,,, what to do! Please help! Thanks all for your responses!

    Also I'm dead set on getting a snub so please don't try and sell me on getting a different type of gun!!!!
    Last edited by SnubMan; April 17th, 2008 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Member Array libertarian5's Avatar
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    4 Corners
    I would get the .357 and practice with .38 special. Carry the .357 for self defense. I don't agree at all about .357 being the same as .38 spl from a short barrel. Both loads lose power, so the .357 is still going to be a lot better. Just shoot them both and you will agree - more recoil=more energy, and there is definately more recoil with a .357.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by libertarian5 View Post
    I would get the .357 and practice with .38 special. Carry the .357 for self defense. I don't agree at all about .357 being the same as .38 spl from a short barrel. Both loads lose power, so the .357 is still going to be a lot better. Just shoot them both and you will agree - more recoil=more energy, and there is definately more recoil with a .357.
    Ditto. Unless the pistol you have your sights set on only comes in 38 special, I'd always choose to go with the magnum for the option of carrying the more potent round.

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Since you seem set on loading up your snub with 357 magnums, a good gun choice for you might be the Ruger sp101. I personaly load my snubs with 38spl+P and restrict 357 magnum loads to my 4" revolvers, but that's just my choice. To each his own.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    I'd give a +1 to the Ruger SP101 - the extra weight makes hotter loads more controllable.

    I favor lighter bullets in shorter barrels - a 2" barrel will be able to get a 110gr projectile going a lot faster than a 158gr. I'd aim for a 110-125gr load if you can find one.

    Speer makes .357 Magnum 135 grain Gold Dot's for Short Barrels: A23917-SPEER GOLD DOT 357MG 135GR GOLD DOT HALLOW POINT SHORT BARREL They're way too expensive to practice with, but they're excellent self defense ammo.

    Cor-Bon makes a 110gr .357 JHP: Corbon Self Defense Cartridges SD357110/20, 357 Remington Mag, Jacketed Hollow Point, 110 GR, 1500 f Rated for 1500FPS and ~550ft/lb of energy... You won't get that from a 2" barrel but it won't be significantly lower.

    Some .38 +P's in the right configuration would work fine too.

    Bottom line? Carry what you can shoot the best!

    If you can put them all in the A zone with .357's, excellent. If you do better with the .38 +P's, those are the load for you. But I'd definitely get the .357 revolver so you can shoot either load. You won't go wrong with either a Smith or a Ruger. See if you can find a range that would let you rent both and try them out side by side.

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  7. #6
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    Array pgrass101's Avatar
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    .357 and shoot .38's out of it.

    It's what I do and I can carry .357's in it if I feel the need. 2 types of ammo one gun. What's to lose
    A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    From the Snubnose Files: LINK

    2 1/2" model 19

    Ammunition Average Velocity (ft/sec)

    Federal .38 Special 129-grain Hydrashok +P 846

    Winchester .38 Special 158-grain LSWCHP +P 858

    Remington .357 Magnum 125-grain SJHP (Full-house load) 1243

    Handload: Rucker 158-grain CSWC 1100
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  9. #8
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Consider gun weight in decision

    I believe that both .38 special and .357 magnum are useful calibers in a snubby revolver, but of course the .357 may have a lot more effect on an attacker because of higher velocity and energy. Since you seem to prefer the .357, based on your posting, I would say you should get a gun that can handle that caliber.

    But if you are going with .357, I'd recommend a heavier gun than a 15 ounce J frame airweight, for the sake of recoil management and controlability. Why don't you consider an all steel snubby revolver that weighs in the 25 to 30 ounce range, such as a Ruger SP101 or various S&W guns like the models 640, 19 and 66? In a good belt holster these guns are easily concealable and comfortable to carry.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    I'll concur with the SP101 suggestion. Generally speaking, if it can fit in the cylinder, a Ruger revolver can handle it.
    "I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."


  11. #10
    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    get the 340. 357's aren't really that bad. Plus I believe that anyone can train up to shooting 357's through it as long as you don't mind putting in a bit of work and dealing with a little pain. And there's nothing that beats having one of the best defensive rounds on the market in a package that fits in your front pocket.

  12. #11
    Member Array diablo111's Avatar
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    I carry Magtech Guardian Gold .357 magnum (125gr. JHP), very manageable from my 2" barreled Taurus 605. When I go to the range and practice, I use .38 spl +p and standard .38 spl.

    IMHO, when the time comes and the adrenaline is pumping, I don't think the recoil will even be noticeable...why get a .357 magnum and not use it to it's potential?
    If you own a handgun and your state law allows it, please carry.

  13. #12
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I love Revolvers, and carry one often.

    With that said, I'd go with the Ruger SP101 if I was going to shoot 357 Magnum loads. I used to have a S&W 640 and found I didn't like shooting it much with "full house" Magnum loads.

    For a lightweigh J-Frame I'd go with 38 Special only. That's just me, and you may be fine with .357 Magnum out of a lightweight snubbie, but I'm not. I myself frequently carry a 3" GP100 loaded with Black Hills 125 Grain JHP's in .357 Magnum and a S&W 442 loaded with Gold Dot 135 Grain JHP's (Short Barrel Load). My reloads are all 38 Special, so they will work in either gun.

    In my personal opinion the "lightweight" .357 Magnums are too much of a good thing If loaded with the .357 Magnum 125 Grain jhp's. There is a reason that load is called the, "King Of The Street."

    Last edited by BikerRN; April 17th, 2008 at 08:09 PM.

  14. #13
    Member Array zookeeperk9's Avatar
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    I just purchased a S&W 360PD three weeks ago for my new EDC gun. I used to carry my Taurus PT111 9mm. I like the Smith for daily carry, much lighter, easier to conceal, full 357 magnum power, no rusting from rain and perspiration. I have had it to the range and ran 38 special, 38+P and full house 357 magnums through it. The 357's were a hand full but I liked them. $700.00 is a lot of money, but I would invest it in another one in a minute.

    *Rust-Yes I keep my gun clean and oiled but every day carry for a construction worker = worn finish and a little surface rust.

  15. #14
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    I’m pretty new to light weight self defense guns. I went through the exact same considerations – even though mine even included considering autos as well.

    Maybe it was too many old movies, or maybe the Rockford Files. Maybe it was LA Confidential. But I really, really wanted a snubbie- no doubt about it. I got the S&W 340M&P with CT405’s from the factory. I haven’t regretted it for a minute.

    I’ve shot both the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel rounds – 38 and 357. 357 gives you about 30% more performance. That’s worth packing 357’s in my book. The flash and kick are no big deal at all, even to a newbie like me.

    Oh – the 357’s do kick more – but you are experienced and they should be NO problem at all for you. If they are, you’ll always have a world of +p’s to choose from in a stronger gun than the 642. Tritium night sight and 13 ½ ounces of weight are nice for the money. If the money doesn’t scare you, it’s a no-brainer.

    Everyone I know of says that the light weight is what they want – especially in pocket carry. No one I know of regrets getting the light weight gun unless they are foolish enough to go shooting full house 357’s in it. Why do that? – unless you want to be blind after the first shot you take in a low light setting.

    To me the light weight 357 loaded with Speer’s reduced recoil and low flash 135 grainers at around 1000 fps is just what the doctor ordered.

    If you are getting a snubbie get the one you really want. You wont have any regrets later that way.


  16. #15
    Member Array Derrin33's Avatar
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    I actually prefer .38 to .357. But thats me. Kinda like how I prefer .40 to 9mm and .45. It's all about what you like. BIG +1 to the fact that buying a .357 gives you the option of shooting both rounds. Not only do I prefer it, but so does my wife. She wants a 85 just like mine and I figured why not buy 2 and just buy one kind of ammo.
    God Bless America!!

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