.38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

This is a discussion on .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I fired a full power .357 out of a snubbie revolver...........once. That was enough for me. And it was a heavy Ruger SP-101, not a ...

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Thread: .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

  1. #16
    New Member Array Brigadier's Avatar
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    I fired a full power .357 out of a snubbie revolver...........once. That was enough for me. And it was a heavy Ruger SP-101, not a lightweight.

    A good .38+P load in a J-frame is what I carry daily. I'd much rather be confident that I can hit what I aim at and can hit with fast follow up shots than rely on the myth of the OSS.

    YMMV

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  3. #17
    Member Array johnsonabq's Avatar
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    IMHO... First make sure you can handle the .357mag out of a snubbie. I have a 2" Taurus 606 .357 and full on magnum loads are a handful but then with them all you need is one hit if you do your part. If you stick with the steel pistols and not one of the alloy light weights the recoil is significantly less. Like they say, it's all a trade off. Take the time to know your options.

  4. #18
    New Member Array Rhodie's Avatar
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    rhodie

    Then you might consider a Ruger SP101 with 3 1/16 barrel and six rounds of .327 Remington Mag. If one can believe all that is written about it, it will give you close to .357 performance with less recoil. I have one and love it, but sure have not shot anyone with it, so I have to go on what I read as to performance. But it is definately less punishing than a 357 and the SP101 is great little concealable gun.

  5. #19
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgglock View Post
    Thanks for all your replies. I just wish the 642 came with better sights. I guess I could always take it to a gunsmith and have them mill a dovetail on the front for a better night sight.
    If you can find one the the 360 has a pinned front sight. Thats my every day carry with speer gold dot 135 grain plus p. That round will do the job.
    If your heart is set on 357 then the sp101 by ruger carried in a paddle holster is a great choice too and wont break your wrist.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

  6. #20
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    My .02 cents... buy a .357... they are normally the same or close in price of the same brand & model .38. Then figure out whether you want to shoot .38 spcl's, +P's or .357's in it. It will have a better resale value later, you can shoot what you want in it, etc.

  7. #21
    Member Array glock45's Avatar
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    I have going through the same thought process in deciding about a snubbie for the wife. She likes the Ruger SP101 but has not really held it to check out the weight.
    I figured she can carry it with 38 +P and I can carry it from time to time with .357 loads. Having the flexibility is worth the extra weight IMO.
    I will just have her hold the SP101 vs a lighter 38 and she will make the decision... I'm rooting for the .357

  8. #22
    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    According to all of the chronograph reports I've been able to find, there's a massive performance difference between .38 and .357 through a sub 2" barrel.

    I love my M&P 340. It took a long time and a lot of practice to "train" myself (read: kill all the nerve endings in my palm) to shoot a full box of .357's through it, but I think it was worth it. It's fun to shoot and even more fun to watch your range buddies give it a try.

    I guess at the end of the day, I'm glad I bought the .357. If you've only got 5 shots, why not make them 5 really nasty shots?

  9. #23
    Member Array drs1457's Avatar
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    I don't know. I own a S&W 686P 357 and enjoy shooting 38 special through it at the range and 357 to carry. I am contemplating getting a snubby and will probably get it in 38 special. If it ain't fun to shoot at the range, not sure it's worth it. Just my opinion.
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  10. #24
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    Timer's don't lie. If you have the chance to shoot both with a shot timer present, I recommend it.


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  11. #25
    Member Array 1boredguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgglock View Post
    Lets start by throwing out the obvious about the difference in recoil. In a self defense scenario I don't think I or anyone else will feel the difference in recoil between the two. I guess I am saying that adrenaline will serve as a recoil buffer!

    What I want is some information or opinions on, is this question... Is the performance of a .357 magnum significantly better than a .38 Special +P in a 1 &7/8 inch barrel of a S&W J-frame model 642 vs. a J-frame model 340M&P? And if it is, is it enough to justify the almost double the cost of a 340PD over the 642?

    Opinions please....?
    I agree that recoil is a bit more. In a realistic civilian defensive situation, you should be fine shooting a human sized target at 15 feet or less.

    As for the power difference... You will read many different opinions from "guys on the internet." I am currently reading Massad Ayoob's new books, and he says that Police records show that the 357 Mag has proven to be very very powerful - even in snubbies.

    Some people prefer small booms, some prefer big booms. It's your life you're training to protect (along with your loved ones), so I'd say practice with the 357 plus 38, to help lower costs, if you can afford it.

    As for people that prefer the big boom, but are feeling iffy about the bullet budget... the "self defense" budget is one of the last budgets I would cut. Over here it's about 20 cents difference per bullet, I think it's worth it since I prefer the 357.

  12. #26
    Member Array crankshop1000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgglock View Post
    Thanks for all your replies. I just wish the 642 came with better sights. I guess I could always take it to a gunsmith and have them mill a dovetail on the front for a better night sight.
    Get the CT grips and learn to point shoot.The laser is a great training aid and you will soon be able to point shoot center mass accurately with or without the laser. The 642 is a up close belly gun. Sights are for target pistols which the 642 will never be.

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I have a 442 that I carry now. I am seriously considering a S&W 340MP, mainly for the reduced weight and the Big Dots. I would still carry Speer 135 grains in .38.

    Money is only a concern if you don't have it. If you can afford it, then have at it.
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  14. #28
    Member Array NativH's Avatar
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    Get the 357 mag and you will have lots of ammo options. A lightweight 357 will be a handfull though and as long as you are using a holster (not pocket carry) get a heavier pistol.

    I have a Colt Detective Special 6 shot 38 spl and a Taurus 606 6 shot 357 mag. Both are blued with steel frames, shoot great, and weigh enough to where hot rounds are manageable. The Taurus is even ported and that helps somewhat with full power 357's. I've got a half dozen boxes of Corbon 115 and 125 gra +P+ rounds that don't have the power of a 357 but still pack a punch. I like the option of using 357 mags and know that the +P+ rounds won't be a problem either. Only +P's in the Detective Special because those +P+ rounds would probably loosen it up too much. If you must get a lightweight frame pistol, perhaps the 38 is the way to go. Full power 357's would be nasty in one of those.
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  15. #29
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    I am not recoil sensitive, and I own a couple 357 and a 44 magnum.

    Since I learned back in the 90ís, I always practice drawing from hit and double taping the target in the COM.

    I own a Ruger SP101, along with a bunch of other pistols, and I elect to carry the Glock 26.

    The SP101 is heavier, and while a 357 is superior to a 9mm, it is not fallow up shot (double tap) friendly.

    I figure the same would be said of the 357 compared to the 38 special.

  16. #30
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    IMHO,

    A light weight small frame revolver hurts when you shoot .357 Mag from them. It hurt my hand and by the 3rd round, I was done. I'm not gun shy, but I did not enjoy shooting .357 Mag from such a light and small frame. .38 Spls (even +Ps) are easy on the hands and easier to reaquire target. I can't tell for certain from your post, but before you buy, strongly suggest you go with someone who has one or rent it. It is one of the few experiences I have had with a firearm where I can say with almost 100% certainty, until you at least try to shoot 5 .357 Mag rounds out of it, you will never be able to make an informed decision.

    It was very had for me to make the choice you are coming to. In the end, I made the choice for the following reasons.

    No doubt, .357 Mag is the more effective round, especially from standard sized revolvers. I question the effectiveness of all that powder out of such a little frame, but I'm not going to say it is a wash. I'll just state that the .357 Mag has a greater reduction in potency out of a small frame then the .38 Spl +P looses. The .357 Mag would still be more powerful. However, you have now also increased the recoil shooting from a light, small, frame (thus making recoil a larger factor). In addition, from such a small frame, the .38 Spl +P is as effective as a 9mm of the same size. So, the .38 + P is an effective SD round, and should be easier to realign than the .357 Mag.

    This weapon is an easy to carry, easy to CC, firearm. If I was hunting I would want a .357 Mag. This is not a hunting firearm regardless if .357 Mag or .38 Spl +P.

    Still I went around in circles. So it came down to something very simple. I desided either way, I would have buyers remorse. However by going with the less expensive firearm, I would at least always have the fact that I saved $200 to $300 going with the .38 Spl +P. I desided the versatility (being able to shoot .38 Spls + .357 Mags) was not worth the additional cost.

    If I feel the need to carry a more powerful firearm, I CC the Glock instead of the revolver.

    I bought the .38 Spl +P. My brother purchased the .357 Mag. After going to the range a few times, we both use .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP. I feel that I made the right choice.

    Note: My brother owns a 5 inch .357 Mag revolver and a .357 Mag carbine. For him, the versatility was justified.
    NRA Member
    S&W 642 (no-lock) with .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP
    Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger

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