.357 Cylinder on J-Frame?

This is a discussion on .357 Cylinder on J-Frame? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; A friend of mine and I were discussing the issue and couldn't come to a conclusion. I thought this would be the place that would ...

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Thread: .357 Cylinder on J-Frame?

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    Member Array cwcaesar's Avatar
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    .357 Cylinder on J-Frame?

    A friend of mine and I were discussing the issue and couldn't come to a conclusion. I thought this would be the place that would have the knowledge. Is it possible to put a .357 cylinder into a .38 J-Frame S&W 442? Not just will it fit, but will it shoot .357 safely?

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    The .38 Special cylinder is shorter than a J-Frame .357 Magnum cylinder so it won't fit. It's unknown whether or not such a mongrel would be nominally safe. Even if the cylinder would fit I'd never be comfortable actually shooting it with the Magnum ammunition.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    Member Array cwcaesar's Avatar
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    On the revolvers that I have compared, the cylinder was the same exterior length for both .357 and .38 models. I thought it may just be a simple swap, but if it is more involved than that, I may not worry with it. Any other thoughts?

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    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    my thought is don't do it.

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    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    I wouldnt try it. I would think putting a .357 cylinder ing a .38 frame even if it would fit, you wouldnt be able to close the cylinder with ammo loaded. There would be no gap in the rear or front. Thats just my thinking.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

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    Distinguished Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    Most of the new S&W's in 38 are an alloy frame. If you check I think you'll find that the 357's are steel. Got to be a reason for that. I don't think the alloys will take the stress of magnum loads. A new snubby, even at inflated prices, is probably cheaper than life without a right hand and/or eyeballs and forehead.
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    The steel in magnum handguns is specially heat treated to withstand the increased pressures, such is not the case with .38 frames.
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    To echo others' comments, when Colt made the Magnum Carry from the SF-VI/DS-II series (D-Frame, in between the J and K sizes), they definitely beefed up the top strap. They may also have lengthened the cylinder, although that might not have been necessary--the cylinder on the SF-VI leaves a lot of clearance between the bullet and the face.

    If you must have a .357 in the size of a Model 442 J-frame, I would just go ready-made:

    Product: Model 640 Revolver

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    Senior Member Array 1911luver's Avatar
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    cwcaesar S&W make a lightweight j-frame .357,a couple actually the models 340pd and 360. there may be others as well. these guns are scandium ally,I'm no metallurgist but I suspect this make them stronger then the aluminum j-frames. while they are a bit pricey they are built from the ground up for the .357 magnum cartridge and are safe to use with it. You could even sell your 442 to help finace the 340/360 because it will shoot .38spl and .38spl+P as well.

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    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    Get a 340/360 and don't look back. They are lighter to carry and have better ballistics. They are not fun to shoot though (heavy recoil)

    With the Gold Dot SB ammo you get 33% more energy and 15% more velocity from the .357mag compared to 38+P fired from a 2" barrel.

    Speer Ammo - Ballistics Tables
    Look near the bottom of the page for the "SB" short barrel ammo.

  12. #11
    Member Array cwcaesar's Avatar
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    I am not crazy enough to actually do this, we were just curious as to if it were possible. I have a 442 on layaway right now that I plan to pocket carry, and I have no real need for a .357 right now as I have a full size 1911 for home defense. I don't have enough knowledge with guns than to do any more than polishing internals. Thanks for the replies!

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