.38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby - Page 3

.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've got the 340M&P and wouldn't trade it for anything. I shoot .357's in it they do have significant advantage power wise over .38+p's. They ...

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Thread: .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

  1. #31
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    I've got the 340M&P and wouldn't trade it for anything. I shoot .357's in it they do have significant advantage power wise over .38+p's. They are, however, slower for follow up shots. You make your choices.

    One can always shoot (as I do) reduced power .357 mag stuff and still gain a significant advantage over the .38spl. guns. I, myself, have chosen the 125gr. DPX rounds. Golden Sabre would probably be another good choice. They both kick a lot less than full house stuff.

    Having said all that - money is not a big issue for me. Obviously it is for you. If you choose your ammo well (like Gold Dot 135's for short barrels) a .38+p gun would be a fine choice. You'd shoot it better and give up only a little in performance IMO.

    Couldn't go wrong either way IMO.

  2. #32
    Member Array johnsonabq's Avatar
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    Not sure where you're getting the $200 to $300 difference between 38 and 357. Looking at the Taurus website I see the CIA Model 850 in .38spl and the CIA Model 650 in .357 MAG and they both have a MSRP of $411. And both are within an ounce of each other in weight. That's a no brainer to me. Taurus is a good quality gun. I have a 606 6rd. .357 mag. It's what I carry in the woods. You know, cougars and such. Wouldn't shoot a bear. That'll just piss it off.

    As always... IMHO
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  3. #33
    Member Array CharlieP's Avatar
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    If it ain't fun - don't do it

    There is a certain trade-off between 1) gun weight & size, 2) cartridge power, and 3) recoil. You can have the plus side of any two of these, but not all three. I like to carry a small light pistol, and I don't want to deal with bad recoil, so my compromise is a 642 with 38 spl. - that's 2 of the 3. If I wanted the extra power of the .357 magnum, I think I would go with a larger heavier steel frame revolver. But again, that is still just 2 of the 3. Can you tell I don't like a lot of recoil?

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  5. #34
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    The Gold dot load seems plenty potent..but if your man enough to shoot .357 full house loads out of a light weight like an M&P 340...go for it.
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  6. #35
    Array AzQkr's Avatar
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    In the Superstitions
    .357 Mag is unlikely to give you any significant benifit in a 2 inch barrel revolver over a .38 special.

    The tale of the chrono says different.

    All things being equal, here's the breakdown between 38+P loads and the 357's out of the snubs:

    Federal .38 Special 129-grain Hydrashok +P 846 fps

    Winchester .38 Special 158-grain LSWCHP +P 858 fps

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

    The notion that the .357 is so inefficient in the two-inch guns that it's no more effective than a hot .38 Special just doesn't seem to be true. While neither is at its best in the snub, the magnum is the more potent of the two with most ammo.

    I carry a S+W 60 no dash out of that snub at with a Buffalo Boreloading here:


    Very hard cast 150gr. WAD CUTTER bullet — 868 fps (251 ft. lbs.)from S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel.

    The mind is the limiting factor


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  7. #36
    Member Array Thek9's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    I like the bigger flash & flames out of a .357!!!
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  8. #37
    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    My two cents.

    I fire probably a hundred 158 grain .357 blazer rounds out of my M&P 340 .357 per week. I have a CT grip with the padding on the back. I can fire that gun all day without any problems. I am not big, 5'8" 170 pounds or so. My dad is a big guy and carries a .454 casul out hunting - he has no problem putting 20-30 of the big bear stopper rounds through it. He does however not enjoy firing 5 rounds out of my .357 - it hurts his wrists. its different for every one - some people handle it better than others. I ONLY fire .357 out of mine and keep some .38 spec. around the house so my wife can shoot it.

    I like being able to fire .38 spec, 38 +P. .357 mag, and .38 super out of the same gun.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

  9. #38
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    The nicest J Frame I have ever owned is my S&W M&P 340 CT. But I don't carry .357 in it, I carry Gold Dot 135gr .38 +P.

    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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  10. #39
    Ex Member Array BikerRN'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!

    Sorry, but expirience has taught us that this is not the case.

    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?

    In the same gun, the .357 will always hit "harder."

    I would like to add a J-frame to my collection but don't know if I can justify the cost difference. If I go with the 340M&P I will need to trade in my 386PD 7 shot scandum frame 2&1/2 inch barrel and I don't know if I am ready to give it up. The recoil in it is sharp but not unmanageable (17.5 ounces). The 340M&P is about 15 ounces if I remember correctly (which is the same as the 642). The 642 or 340M&P would be a BUG in either case. I really like the Big Dot tritium sight on the 340M&P. It seems as if the better sights only come on the .357 J-frames.

    Any competant Gunsmith can work up a sight for you, if you are willing to pay. I had a Hi Viz "type Front Sight made by a local 'smith for my two Rugers.

    Opinions please....?
    I know you wanted to leave recoil out of the equation, but I cannot. You need to practice with what you carry, and if you can't shoot it in practice, you shouldn't be carrying it on the street.

    The smallest and lightest .357 Magnum that I will shoot is the 2 1/4" Ruger SP101. My J-Frame is a 38 Special with Gold Dot 135 Grain JHP's. In my .357 Magnums I shoot, carry and use .357 Magnum 125 Grain JHP's or SJHP's by Black Hills, Federal or Remington. That's the original "Full House" load.

    That's my 0.02 on the matter. Take care and stay safe.


  11. #40
    Member Array OhShoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brigadier View Post
    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....
    YOU must be the lightweight

    I don't find .357 from SP101 objectionable at all. I rather like what I describe a solid feel of power.
    And .38's are like .22's out of it.

    But for me, it's unfortunately too heavy and slightly too big for pocket carry.

    - OS

  12. #41
    New Member Array Brigadier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhShoot View Post
    YOU must be the lightweight

    I don't find .357 from SP101 objectionable at all. I rather like what I describe a solid feel of power.
    And .38's are like .22's out of it.

    But for me, it's unfortunately too heavy and slightly too big for pocket carry.

    - OS
    No, no lightweight here.

    I can shoot a .44 Mag with full power loads all day. I didn't care for the high pressure muzzle blast from the short barrel of the SP101.

  13. #42
    Member Array NativH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thek9 View Post
    I like the bigger flash & flames out of a .357!!!
    You'd love my ported Taurus 606.
    SE Texas Patriot Guard Rider, NRA Patron, TSRA Life Member

  14. #43
    Member Array jarin12ga's Avatar
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    When 357mags where invented,they have been know to down moose,elk,and even Grizzly bear.There is better for bear.But 357mags won't piss them off.It would ruin anyone or anythings day.IF you live after the shot?

  15. #44
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of the snubbie 357s, but make no mistake about it, there is a significant increase in performance between a 357 and a 38 from a short barrel. Take a look at Ballistics by the Inch and check out their results. (Though they don't say it, if you look at the photo of the ammo they tested, you see it is all +P) Granted, these are from a closed breech (Thomson/Center Encore) firearm and not a revolver with a barrel/cylinder gap, but I think the results would extrapolate across the change in format. In comparing same brand, same bullet weights, you'll see that the 357 gains as much as 250 fps over the 38. You'll also notice that the 357 loses a higher percentage of its velocity between a 4" and 2" barrel than the 38 does, but it does still outperform the 38 by a significant amount.

    So, to the question -- Is the performance of a .357 magnum significantly better than a .38 Special +P, I say yes. Whether the performance increase is worth the recoil increase is something you have to answer for yourself.

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  16. #45
    BAC is offline
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    I'm rather curious about whether or not the difference in performance between a .357 magnum and a .38 in actual terminal performance still justifies a slower follow-up. I know at least one wound ballistics expert who doesn't seem to think so, and recommends as a backup a .38 snubby loaded with full wadcutters. When one considers how unreliable all handgun rounds are, I think my questioning of "is it actually better" is justified.

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