.38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby - Page 4

.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 got rid of a 642 for a Kahr MK9 but now I miss the way the j-frame carried in a pocket holster. Especially the ...

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Thread: .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

  1. #46
    Member Array me540's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    I got rid of a 642 for a Kahr MK9 but now I miss the way the j-frame carried in a pocket holster. Especially the easy fast draw.
    I carried speer short barrel 38+p and practiced with it until I could easily hit the 50 yard sillouette at our range.

    I am now torn between getting another 642 or the m&p 340, should have never let it go in the first place.

    Here are the numbers from speer for their gold dot short barrel loads:

    38 special +p 135g

    velocity in feet per second: muzzle: 860 25yrds: 838

    Energy in foot pounds: muzzle: 222 25yrds: 211

    357 magnum 135g

    velocity in feet per second: muzzle: 990 25yrds: 957

    Energy in foot pounds: muzzle: 294 25yrds: 275

    *Also, I have never tried the double tap speer gold dot 38+p 125g, but they claim:

    velocity: 1.875" bbl S&W - 1100fps and muzzle energy: 336 ft. lbs. from 1.875" bbl

    Last edited by me540; January 29th, 2009 at 11:35 PM.

  2. #47
    Member Array Jim Downey's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    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)

    That's correct, Hoss, and why we included photos of the actual boxes used - so that if anyone had any questions, they could look for themselves.

    And yeah, the .357 mag clearly outperforms the .38 even with really short barrels. That said, I have a 642 in my pocket right now . . .


    Jim D.

    Ballistics by the inch: "Four guys, two chronographs, and 8,500 rounds of ammo."

    Like Science Fiction? Read *or listen to* my novel, Communion of Dreams, for free.

  3. #48
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    My wife practices with and confidently carries a S&W 642 with CT grips...it's a great little piece (15 ounces empty) at a reasonable price. Link it up with a good pocket holster like the Mika and you've got a great rig.
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

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  5. #49
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by johnsonabq View Post
    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
    OP mentioned S&W models. Taurus is a good gun maker. I'm snobbish about firearm manufacturers I would carry everyday (esp being punished by .357 mag out of a light small frame). Taurus does not have the same quality of firearm as a S&W. If it was a revolver, I would go (not in order, just who I would consider) Ruger, Colt, S&W...IMHO.
    NRA Life Member

  6. #50
    Member Array KaiWolf's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    In a snubby, 357 might be a bit much, but maybe that is just me. I tried one of the 2 inch guns with .357, and the recoil was quite harsh, hard to keep on target compared to others I have shot.

  7. #51
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    I would not get a .357 in a lightweight snubby. I fired a .357 in a Taurus lightweight and one shot was enough.
    However, with my 640 or M60 3" and Pachmayr rubber grips I do not find it punishing for 20 rounds or so. A .357 is just not fun to shoot in even a M19 for many of us. I handload reduced loads that exceed .38 Spl and they do OK in my snubbys.

    But no way would I get a LW .357.


  8. #52
    Member Array Wuchak's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Shawnee, KS
    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?

    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.

    Opinions please....?
    That double the cost is not comparing equally equipped guns.

    1) $688 = 340 M&P . This comes with XS Night Sights
    2) $542 = (642 @ $442) + (XS Night Sight @ $100)
    Difference $146

    the difference is smaller when going to the CT version of the M&P
    1) $883 = 340 M&P CT. Comes with night sights and CT LG405 grips
    2) $775 = (642 @ $442)+ (Night sight @ $100) + (LG405 @ $233)
    Difference = $108 (I didn't use the 642 w/factory CT's because they are a different and much larger model.

    I like both night sights and laser grips and I think a $100 premium to be able to shoot .357 is not bad. If you reload and have other .357s already this keeps things simple.
    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.-H. L. Mencken

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