This has got to be the Superman of cartridges for which there is no kryptonite for.
Consider the numerous reasons the 38spl should not even exist. Hi cap guns, wunder nines, larger cartridges, j frames now rated for 357 magnum cartridges, blah, blah, but yet, it refuses to go away.
As a matter of fact, sales in all things 38 spl are strong, and that may be an understatement. Ammo, reloading, guns, you name it, if it's got to do with a 38 spl, it's a hot item.
So whats the big deal with the 38 that makes it endure and still come out in the top 5 selling cartridges and handguns of today, despite competition from all comers? While many newcomers to SD gravitate more to the autoloading pocket pistols, or hi cap service type weapons, there is I believe, a certain reason it is still so popular.
The reason in my opinion is not complicated at all. For starters, it's what I would call a real working handgun. What I mean by this is that, whether it be used for target practice, competition, SD applications, or accompanying one on a hike in the outdoors, it is up to the task.
For an utterly reliable pocket gun with ample power, the j frame fits the job. It can be carried in a pocket holster, all day, allowing the user to have a firing grip on the piece in a public place, with noone the wiser.
Then there's the magnificent k frames of latter days, the M10, which has the greatest out of the box DA trigger pull of any production model ever produced. With fixed sights, it's usually perfectly regulated to a 158 weight bullet. A natural pointer, with the stock grips forcing a high purchase on the piece, the experienced shooter can easily draw and pump six into a humanoid target faster than you would think. Rugged, requiring little care, IMO, it's the finest example of a combat handgun.
Then there's the M15. With adjustable sights, it may be the perfect example of a trail gun.used with light loads, it can handily take squirrels, rabbit, turkey, and other such edibles with more authority than a 22 rimfire without meat destruction, but still be better suited to larger animals such as coyote, feral dogs and such.
Even larger game such as whitetail deer can be had with the right bullet, if the pistolero is up to the task, and knows his limitations.
The cartridge itself is amazing. Loaded with a good lswc, it is good for everything one needs to do. If needed, the k frame revolver can be stoked with ammo approaching the limits of the 357 mag by the handloader who knows what he is doing.
Speaking of 357 magnums, one of the most ridiculous gimmicks I have seen is the new snub revolvers chambered for the 357 magnum. The loss of velocity due to barrel length( or lack of), combined with the hard kicking, muzzle flashing, ear splitting, discharge of such, has not enough advantage over a properly loaded 38 snub to justify it to exist. In my testing of both the snub 357, and the 38 spl, over the chrono, and in test medium, I have not been impressed.
I suppose, after a weekend of shooting, testing, and analyzing, I just wanted to get some thoughts off my chest.
Maybe it's age, or experience, or just opinion, I really don't know.
But I can see no advantage to be had by any other caliber for all practical purposes over the 38spl. Apparently, according to handloading component sales, I am not alone.
There's much more to be said, and I haven't even scratched the surface of this topic. But I know I can't wait to load up another batch of a do it all combo of 38 spl handloads and hit the shooting range, or field again.
It's truly an all round workin mans gun/ cartridge combo.
Anyone else here as crazy over the 38 as I am? I'd like to here your thoughts.