.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; 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 ...

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Thread: .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

  1. #1
    Member Array bgglock's Avatar
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    .38 Special vs. .357 in Snubby

    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....?

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  3. #2
    Member Array carver's Avatar
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    It's your money, and it will be your gun; you will make the final decision.

    As to the difference; IMHO, the .357 is a great one shot stop load, much better than the .38. My concern though, is for the bullet that goes thru the BG, and still has speed and mass! The .357 is known for it's ability to shoot thru, and keep going. Food for thought!
    Y'all be safe now, ya hear!

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    Given the choice between the .357 and .38 I'd go with the .357. You can practice with .38 loads and carry .357 for defensive loads, which will be cheaper. Why give up the option if you don't have to.

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    Member Array rainmaker's Avatar
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    Or you can kind of split the difference and carry a quality 38+P load, like Hydrashoks or Golden Sabers. Most feel it's less recoil and faster second shot than using 357. In any case, revolver in 357 gives you options on loads.
    Steve

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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    I wouldn't spend twice the money for a .357 mag and then carry .38 Specials in it. If you spend the money for the 340PD, it makes sense to carry the ammunition it is designed for. I would say that even from a snub the .357 is significantly more powerful than the .38 +P.

    That said, I carry a .38 Special J-frame Airweight loaded with +P as a BUG. I do not see any reason to change, and I have no desire to shoot 100 rounds of .357 through an Airlite come qualification time (we have to shoot the ammo we carry at qualification).

    To me, its not worth twice the price and all the extra recoil. YMMV.
    -Landric

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Scandium J frames are nasty little .357s. Save some $$$, and enjoy shooting more, look at the good old 640.
    I'm not a lawyer or a LEO, just a pantload with a computer.

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    Senior Member Array GreyGhost's Avatar
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    Follow up shots will be much faster w/ 38s than w/ 357. I've only met one person that shoots 357 in a scandium snub. He says NOT FUN!
    Question Everything!

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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    I think recoil is a very valid concern. True, you may not notice it in a "situation", but it will still affect your accuracy and follow up speed.

    Practice with what you carry, always. Extra power is nothing if you can't hit the target.
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    .357 Mag is unlikely to give you any significant benifit in a 2 inch barrel revolver over a .38 special. Furthermore, most, if not all, .357 Mag loads are not designed for a 2 inch barrel, but for a 4 to 6 inch barrel.

    A .38 special load designed for a 2 inch barrel which will penetrate to an acceptable depth, expand and allow you to get fast followup shots will be much better than a .357 with excessive flash, recoil and slow followup shots.

    Your basic choices are 110 Grain +p DPX, 135 Grain +p Gold Dot, 158 Grain +p SWCHP or 148 grain wadcutters: any of these will revoke a birth certificate if you do your part.

    The first 2 are designed for short revolvers, the other 2 have just worked for a very long time.

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    Member Array bgglock's Avatar
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    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.

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Even in short barrels there is a significant difference between a .38 Spl and .357 Mag.
    I once chronographed loads out of M85 Taurus, and a Smith 640 w 2 1/8" barrel.
    A typical example is:
    M 85 129 gr +P Federal Hydra-Shok - Velocity 835 fps.
    M 640 .357 125 gr Speer GD Velocity 1159 fps.

    Slightly over 300 fps is a significant amount IMO.

    I more often carry a Smith 642 because of the light weight, but the .357 M640 carries a greater punch.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    Member Array hybrid's Avatar
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    I like options so yes for me.

    I guess you cant quite consider a 24oz 3" J frame a snub but thats another option if you want a less punishing .357 J frame, it conceals just as good but I cant pocket carry.

    it all depends does recoil bother you or can you deal with it, and more importantly do you dig it, do you want a .357 snub.
    NO 3rd party disputes

    The power of imagination is the key to life.

    It helps you think ahead, consider the possibilities,and prepare you for the future.
    If you lack that ability, you're no different from livestock trapped behind a fence.

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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hybrid View Post
    I like options so yes for me.

    I guess you cant quite consider a 24oz 3" J frame a snub but thats another option if you want a less punishing .357 J frame, it conceals just as good but I cant pocket carry.

    it all depends does recoil bother you or can you deal with it, and more importantly do you dig it, do you want a .357 snub.

    Hi Hybrid,

    I have a M60 3inch, and like it a lot. It is as easily carried, almost, as a shorter barrel, and is much easier to shoot with its better sights. A set of Pachmayr rubber grips greatly reducess the felt recoil.

    Regards,
    Jerry

  15. #14
    Member Array hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryM View Post
    Hi Hybrid
    Hi jerry, yup I love mine and here I was thinking 3" J frame owners are rare.
    NO 3rd party disputes

    The power of imagination is the key to life.

    It helps you think ahead, consider the possibilities,and prepare you for the future.
    If you lack that ability, you're no different from livestock trapped behind a fence.

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by hybrid View Post
    Hi jerry, yup I love mine and here I was thinking 3" J frame owners are rare.
    We may be as I had a hard time finding a holster maker who had it listed as a gun he makes holsters for. But brilliant minds have a way of seeking the same level. :):)

    Regards,
    Jerry

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