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What are my options on a .38/.357? I want the ability to shoot both rounds. .38 if the wife wants to carry it, and .357 if I use it as a "run to the store in my sweatpants" gun.

On another note I prefer non-ferrous metals. Stainless, titanium, or aluminum are a plus.
 

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I just got a Taurus Poly Pro in 357 mag. I was skeptical when I first saw it at the gun store. It feel good in the hand and has proven to be a good shooter. It was my first snubbie and it didn't take long to get respectable groups at 25ft. It has a good kick, but the gun is well designed and seems to absorb the recoil well. Good luck, there are lots of great revolvers to choose from.
 

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What are my options on a .38/.357? I want the ability to shoot both rounds. .38 if the wife wants to carry it, and .357 if I use it as a "run to the store in my sweatpants" gun.

On another note I prefer non-ferrous metals. Stainless, titanium, or aluminum are a plus.
Stainless steel is ferrous. Stainless steel is the way to go if you want .357 Magnum capabilities in my view. A stainless steel revolver would offer some weight to soak up recoil. I like the 2 1/2-inch Smith & Wesson Model 66 myself but that revolver is now discontinued. It's about as small and light as I want to go with a .357 Magnum. It still holds six shots rather than the five shots most small .357 Magnums hold. The Smith & Wesson Model 60 and Model 649 look good if a person really wants a 5-shot, J-Frame type of .357 Magnum snub.
 
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The Ruger SP101 meets your specs above, but if I tried to carry it in sweatpants they'd be around my ankles within 3 steps. It's a heavy gun. The S&W Airweight j-frame variants are great for the purpose you state, but mostly come in .38. The S&W 340PD is an Airweight j-frame in .357, but that's a handful of light weight gun to hang on to shooting .357. You can always get it and decide to shoot .38s if the .357 is a bit stout. It at least gives you the option.
 

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The S&W 642 aluminum body is the biggest seller of all the Smith's but is .38 spl only. I also had a .357 360PD (340 has covered hammer) which was scandium and titanium but would not recommend it as it is just too light to enjoy shooting even plain .38's in. Your wife would hate it and it is the only gun I ever shot in my life that took skin off of my hand. Great to carry but not to shoot. I have used, carried and owned snub nose revolvers for over 4 decades with my first being a Colt Detective Special back in 71. Right now I carry a .357 LCR. Polymer frame and not too light or heavy. Just the right weight for carry and making shooting .357 not painful. The .38 LCR is only 13 oz. and a dream to carry with got .38 spl +P ammo. In my opinion it has a better trigger than any S&W out of the box and is polymer with a SS steel cylinder and barrel. The price is under $500, has great recoil absorbing Hogue grips or as I have, thinner and just as comfortable CT laser grips. I carry mine in my pocket or on my belt. I have taught a few elderly ladies to shoot the LCR and they like it a lot. There are lots of great snub nose guns out there made by S&W but their .357 models are either heavy or too light. Frankly most of us carry .38 spl +P instead of .357. More controllable and easier/faster to get back on target for follow up shots. Plus they will not make your ears ring if shot indoors. I use both ear plugs and muffs when I shoot .357's but I understand that young men like to carry .357 magnums around as I once did. However after a lot of training and experience it is Speer short barrel 135 gr. .28 Spl +P for me. More practical and pretty effective. My snub noses have been so good that the only two civilian encounters I had involved just showing them to scare off the multiple bad guys. Mine were so powerful that they had no shot stops. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Stainless steel is ferrous.
Yes you are right. SS is made of Iron (FE), Nickel, and Chromium. However it does not rust, and is not magnetic which causes it to sometimes be classified as non-ferrous. :tongue: I guess what I meant to say was "I prefer a metal that won't rust".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The S&W 642 aluminum body is the biggest seller of all the Smith's but is .38 spl only. I also had a .357 360PD (340 has covered hammer) which was scandium and titanium but would not recommend it as it is just too light to enjoy shooting even plain .38's in. Your wife would hate it and it is the only gun I ever shot in my life that took skin off of my hand. Great to carry but not to shoot. I have used, carried and owned snub nose revolvers for over 4 decades with my first being a Colt Detective Special back in 71. Right now I carry a .357 LCR. Polymer frame and not too light or heavy. Just the right weight for carry and making shooting .357. In my opinion it has a better trigger than any S&W out of the box and is polymer with a SS steel cylinder and barrel. The price is under $500, has great recoil absorbing Hogue grips or as I have, thinner and just as comfortable CT laser grips. I carry mine in my pocket or on my belt. I have taught a few elderly ladies to shoot the LCR and they like it a lot. There are lots of great snub nose guns out there made by S&W but their .357 models are either heavy or too light. Frankly most of us carry .38 spl +P instead of .357. More controllable and easier/faster to get back on target for follow up shots. Plus they will not make your ears ring if shot indoors. I use both ear plugs and muffs when I shoot .357's but I understand that young men like to carry .357 magnums around as I once did. However after a lot of training and experience it is Speer short barrel 135 gr. .28 Spl +P for me. More practical and pretty effective. My snub noses have been so good that the only two civilian encounters I had involved just showing them to scare off the multiple bad guys. Mine were so powerful that they had no shot stops. :)
I am not opposed to +P in .38 if it is going to have roughly the same energy as a magnum. .38 is just a weak round for me since I have the physical capability to shoot larger ones.
 

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A S&W 642 (.38+P) sounds like the way to go for your intended purpose. And the terminal ballistics difference between the .38+P and .357 both out of a 1 and 7/8 inch barrel is negligible. Judicious marksmanship and the ability to put follow-up rounds on target quickly will mean more than the difference between the two rounds out of a similar weapon. JMO.
 
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My understanding is that snubbies don't have a long enough barrel to get the benefits if the 357... Much of the powder burns and expands after the bullet has left the barrel. An ancillary downside is that the muzzle flash from a 357 in a snubbie will leave you flash blind in darker light conditions.

Is this true? And if so, how much barrel do you need before 357 starts making sense?

Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
 

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Is the barrel stainless on that too?
On a 642 both the cylinder and barrel are stainless steel. The frame is an aluminum allow. 38+P is a hefty round out of it, and your wife can shoot standard pressure 38s out of it to tame it down a little bit. Great all around gun in my opinion.
 

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My understanding is that snubbies don't have a long enough barrel to get the benefits if the 357... Much of the powder burns and expands after the bullet has left the barrel. An ancillary downside is that the muzzle flash from a 357 in a snubbie will leave you flash blind in darker light conditions.

Is this true? And if so, how much barrel do you need before 357 starts making sense?

Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
This is true and not true. You ofcourse are not going to get as much velocity from the shorter barrels as you are going to from a longer barrel , but there is stll a significant more power over a standard 38 (nothing wrong with a 38 either). As far as muzzle flas I dont know, I've never had to shoot my .357 in pitch dark conditions. To me a .357 in anything just makes sense. I wouldnt trade my .357 for any caliber or gun in the world. But I'm partial to the .357. Its been a love affair since I was a kid.
 

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The air weight Smiths can actually damage your hand shooting full power magnum loads. I know two people, one man (who works at a gun store), one woman, who couldn't shoot anything with their strong hand for nearly a year after two rounds out of one. They work for some people, not for others. Definitely not a gun you want to practice with shooting defense ammo. I'm a huge fan of the .357 magnum round, but only in an all steel framed gun. Fitch
 

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S&W model 66 for .357, model 642 for .38

I have found that .357 magnum loads are better to shoot from an all steel revolver with some weight to it, while .38 specials are fine from a lightweight revolver with aluminum or polymer components. So for carry revolvers I use two different guns most commonly, a 32 ounce S&W model 66 snubby with magnums, and a 15 ounce S&W model 642 for .38s. The power of the .357 is only useful when you can easily control the gun you are using, and lightweight .357 revolvers are difficult to control. Here is my model 66:



 

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I will add me 2 cents, get an all steel .357 if you are going to shoot .357's you can also look at nickel plated pistols to give you corrosion protection
 

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Another vote for the SP101 if you want .357 capabilities. I prefer the 3" barrel over the 2 1/4.
 

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I am with "Old Dog" on this one. I have carried daily and practiced extensively with my Ruger KLCR .357mag/.38spl +P for over 2 years, and love it. Shooting for "fun", I use .38spl or .38spl+P (either plinking-target shooting, or simulated combat training-see NutNFancy video on YouTube), and shoot 10-20 rounds of .357mag carry loads to top off a day. The mag loads are harder to control for follow-ups, but hardly impossible. Once one gets used to the superlative trigger (smooth as a baby's butt), proper grip and control (Mr.Jerry Misculek suggestion), and sight picture (I have installed a XS Big Dot), it's a BG's nightmare. Good luck and be safe.
 

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My thoughts are get a all steel revolver if you are going to shoot any .357 mag rounds. A 3" or 4" barrel is best, with a .357 even if you don't hit your target the noise and flame produced will scare the hell out of them.
 
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