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Discussion Starter #1
Have a S&W 686 6" barrel that isn't my carry. That said it would be if need be a home stopper for an intruder. I have a variety of loads for it, but from what I've read and talks with coworkers you would be nuts to fire it indoors, likely at night, as the muzzle flash and sound would both be deafening and blinding with .357 loads. Not to mention risk of passing through walls etc. I have .38 SP and .357 wadcutters that I have heard less muzzle flash that would work better in a defensive situation. Opinions?
 

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I have a 4" 686+ loaded with Golden Sabers +P. They are still loud and have a bit of a flash.

Most SD bullets will penetrate drywall & studs, but will lose energy each with each passing. If you are quite worried about wall penetration I believe there are frangible bullets the break apart upon hitting hard surfaces. But they do not perform as well as premium SD rounds.

Any gun indoors will be loud, but a .357 is the loudest with incredibly sharp CRACK! impulse noise. I had the unfortunate experience of "hearing" one shot of .357 in an enclosed space. I was instantly deafened and now I have permanent tinnitus as a result.

As for being nuts to fire indoors - well, if you are in fear for you life and you fire indoors, you are not nuts. You touch off several rounds indoors you'll experience a massive threshold shift and then temporary tinnitus (or maybe permanent). Guns and ears don't go together, but if your life is in danger, you'll worry about your hearing later.

No great solutions here. One option is to do the paper work and get a suppressor, but that also has drawbacks.

Here's a table of SPL's:

http://www.caohc.org/UserFiles/file/Shot of Prevention extra handout.pdf
 

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With a 6" barrel you would get a nice velocity boost from 38 special +P rounds.

Perhaps a Speer Gold Dot 125 grain 38+P -- although almost any 38 or 38+P hollow point round would work well with that long barrel.

Wad cutters would also work, but I think a modern jacketed hollow cavity defense round would make more sense as you would get enough velocity for expansion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think the nuts reply was go with the .38 rounds, that said rather deaf then dead if in danger.
 

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Most SD use little to no flash powder now so that should be ok ..

The noise on the other hand ....
 

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I think the nuts reply was go with the .38 rounds, that said rather deaf then dead if in danger.
I see. It's been a long day and my reading comprehension is trending down :)

Really I don't have concerns about performance of a .38 SPCL relative to a .357. Another reason I have .38's in my nightstand guns is that I may not be the one shooting. A full house .357 in a 686 is actually pretty tame for an experienced shooter, but a .38 is much easier for a much less experienced shooter (like my spouse if I am not home and she needs to use the gun).
 

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I have a 6" 686, I carried it as an LEO and shot it competitively. They are fine revolvers. As long as you are competent with it and have shot it enough the blast and recoil are minor issues. I keep a pair of electronic ear muffs by my bed, if I have time to employ they great, if not, GREAT.

I personally would not use a lesser capable bullet for a few decibels. Over penetration is a myth that will not die. The FBI did a good job of debunking it 25 years ago. If you think you may miss why are you taking the shot?
 

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I have a snubby 7 shot .357.... that if someone came in, that's what I would prefer using, because that thing puts out "FLASH" like no gun , including all the revolvers , I've ever shot. It wouldn't blind me, but it sure would them. LOL You definitely won't be impacted by the flash, nearly as much as they would be.

Noise, good luck .. it is what it is, and a .38 I doubt is going to really be any quieter or that much quieter. Maybe with the .357, you may not have to shoot as many rounds too ..... what do you think a shotgun will sound like? Or any other gun outside a .22LR ?
 

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I have noticed that many people are disconcerted by the pressure wave that accompanies a short barreled magnum. Blast, flash, noise are largely range issues. If you have ever been hunting you understand what I am talking about.
 

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Have a S&W 686 6" barrel that isn't my carry. That said it would be if need be a home stopper for an intruder. I have a variety of loads for it, but from what I've read and talks with coworkers you would be nuts to fire it indoors, likely at night, as the muzzle flash and sound would both be deafening and blinding with .357 loads. Not to mention risk of passing through walls etc. I have .38 SP and .357 wadcutters that I have heard less muzzle flash that would work better in a defensive situation. Opinions?
My HD gun is a S&W Model 13 in 357. I keep it stoked with Buffalo Bore FBI loads (158gr @ 1000 fps) and feel that is plenty potent for any two legged intruders short of the terminator. Since grizzlies aren't a problem in these parts, I feel well prepared.
 

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I've got every confidence in a 38spl, and would use it without hesitation.
Its all about the right bullet and shot placement.
 

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I have noticed that many people are disconcerted by the pressure wave that accompanies a short barreled magnum. Blast, flash, noise are largely range issues. If you have ever been hunting you understand what I am talking about.
While I do agree that range and hunting are different when considering how firearm report is felt and heard, I do remember my ears ringing for longer than usual when I popped a wild piggy down in TN with my 3" SP101. It hasn't deterred me from packing my SP101 or Security Six, but I know its comin'.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
That was chilling audio, glad family was ok. No one will drive away from my house
 

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I use Winchester white box .38 spl+P 125 gn SJHP. It's not a super fancy load but I think the noise, muzzle flash, and recoil are about perfect. Plus they are very accurate out of my 686. Although if something goes bump in the night, I'll reach for my P320 before my 686.
 

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OP - this is not directed especially at you, but in light (pun intended) of a recent defensive pistol course that I took I feel that I should share some of my findings.

This course gave me the chance to fire both "duty size" and carry pistols, outdoors, on an overcast night. We shot at IPSC silhouettes and at steel. We shot both "square range" drills, from behind barricades, strong hand, weak hand, with movement added, kneeling, prone....a lot of real training value.

I found the following things:

#1. With good night sights (and no illumination) I can still get A zone hits on an IPSC silhouette at 15 yards easily, and at 20 yards if I make good use of some basic techniques for getting the most out of your night vision. The challenge with night sights and no light is not getting it hits....the challenge comes when one tries to identify exactly what the target is.

#2. When shooting without a light, muzzle flash is both a help and a hindrance. It helps because it does provide a weak "flashbulb" effect and lets you get a better grasp of the situation using your peripheral vision. It is a hindrance because you night vision is slightly less effective after each muzzle flash...but to be crystal clear - muzzle flash has an effect that is FAR less that someone shining even a dim flashlight towards your eyes.

#3. If you are planning to use a firearm for personal defense in a dark situation, I cannot state this strongly enough: Have a plan for light. It doesn't matter if it's a weapon mounted light, a handheld flashlight, a headlamp, or a parachute flare....you are going to NEED to see what you're shooting at. Once you come up with that plan - PRACTICE. Even if you can only do it in daylight on a square range, bring your light and practice using it so that you understand what your hands need to do.
 

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Whether 38 or 357, sub sonic will not be as loud. I never have any concerns how loud the shot will be unless I am shooters at targets.
 
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