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Thread: .357 vs .38 special

  1. #1
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    If this has been discussed before, I apologize. The search function isn't functioning at the moment.

    I've noticed quite a few people lately that carry a .38 special revolver. The first thing that always comes to my mind when someone says that is "Why not .357?". As far as I can tell, the only benefit that the .38 has over the .357 is felt recoil. I've shot both before, all though not extensively,and the .357 didn't feel unwieldy by any means. Is there some other benefit of the .38 special over the .357 that I am unaware of?

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Ammo's cheaper I think... so are the guns. .38's are also often smaller in size.

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    A lot of these "carry" .38s are lightweight models to make carrying them easier. I don't think you'd want to shoot many full load .357s out of those guns if they were chambered for it.

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    Is the .38 special ballistically similar to the .357? I didn't think so, but I might be wrong.

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    Had onlyfired .38spl and +P'sin a 4" S&W and a 2"pre-Taurus snubbyand a9mm Glock,but last weekendhad the chance to use an old Ruger .3574"police model. The recoil really surprised me when using a .357 VS .38spl and waseven more than a 9mm.I suppose the differenceis a longer bullet with more powder but I am a dinosaur who likes revolvers andnot a regular shooter.

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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    The reason I carry a .38 Special is because I use a 637 AirweightS&W for a BUG. At only 13.5 ounces plus ammo,it carries a heck of a kick. I don't even use the .38+P that it is designed for. The kick a revolver this size would develop in .357 would probablybe off the charts.
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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    DreQo wrote:
    Is the .38 special ballistically similar to the .357? I didn't think so, but I might be wrong.
    Same bullet, more powder, more muzzlevelocity, more muzzle energy, flatter trajectory. Big difference.
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
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    The .38 Special was developed at the end of the black powder era.

    It was quickly adapted to smokeless powder, which left a lot of room in the casing.

    It was adopted in the late 1800's as the standard police round and did not give that up until about 15 years ago.

    In the 1930's state troopers found that they had a problem with the .38,s. It was a car.

    The .38 LRN did not penetrate car bodies very well.

    To overcome this problem the .357 was developed.

    There was plenty of room for a bigger charge as the smokeless powder has much less volume than black powder.

    To keep someone from putting the hot new shell in an old .38, they made the casing a little longer and called it a .357 Magnum. .357 because that is the actual diameter of the bullet and magnum because a magnum wine bottle is bigger than a regular one.

    The .38 is a fine round if you use modern JHP ammo and aren't shooting through cars.

    38's are generally cheeper guns to buy and the ammo is cheeper.


    Tarzan

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    With today's metals the weight is almost the same when comparing guns of similar size.

    If your considering buying a revolver by all means buy the .357 mag vs a .38spl only gun, especially if your not getting a snub nose.

    Even if you never shoot .357 it is nice to know you can.

    For some, recoil has always been the complaint when using .357mag especially in small lite weight guns.

    As for ballisticsfor those that buy into that, the .38spl from 2"< bbl is hardly as potent as a .380with fewer rounds and a slower reload for the untrained.

    I own a Ruger SP101 3" and use Rem. 125gr JHP for defense and Wwb 110jhp or CCI Blazer 158jsp for practice all in .357mag.

    [line]
    What guns are you considering?





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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    tarzan1888 wrote:
    I carry a .357 snubby and load it with .357 Magnum JHP's, and use .36's for practice.

    Tarzan
    For when a .357 is too fast and a .38 is too big? :P
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I carry .357's, but at times i wonder whether I should use .38's, mainly because I wonder how deaf I'd be if I ever had to shoot a .357 w/o hearing protection in a tight space.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    tarzan1888 wrote:
    I carry a .357 snubby and load it with .357 Magnum JHP's, and use .36's for practice.

    Tarzan
    For when a .357 is too fast and a .38 is too big? :P
    LOL! Dang, beat me to it!
    What guns are you considering?
    1911 .45, 1911 .40, AK-47, .357 snub, .454 or larger revolver, Walther PPS .40..

    Oh wait, did you mean what .357 guns am I considering? At the moment I have absolutely NO clue what my next gun will be. I've never owned a revolver, but I keep finding myself drooling on the glass with the wheel guns behind them while I'm at the gun shop lol.

    As far as brand, I'd probably lean towards a S&W as they've a good reputation and I personally like them. Their prices get a little steep, though. I wouldn't be disappointed with a Taurus, either. As far as model, the .357 would more than likely be a snub-nosed, possibly hammerless. She'd be mostly a concealed carry tool.

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    DreQo,

    Check out the ballistics charts on the ammunition manufacturers websites. Just compare, say, .357mag.and 45 ACP.

    I have conflicting data. Jeff Cooper, or someone citing him as a source, reported the .45 ACP as having the best record of one-shot stops on bad guys. Another source, Massad Ayoob I think, said the .357 mag.125 gr. hollow-point had the best record.
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    Citizen wrote:
    DreQuo,

    Check out the ballistics charts on the ammunition manufacturers websites. Just compare, say, .357mag.and 45 ACP.

    I have conflicting data. Jeff Cooper, or someone citing him as a source, reported the .45 ACP as having the best record of one-shot stops on bad guys. Another source, Massad Ayoob I think, said the .357 mag.125 gr. hollow-point had the best record.
    I've noticed the same conflicts. It's DreQo, btw .

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    rodbender wrote:
    The reason I carry a .38 Special is because I use a 637 AirweightS&W for a BUG. At only 13.5 ounces plus ammo,it carries a heck of a kick. I don't even use the .38+P that it is designed for. The kick a revolver this size would develop in .357 would probablybe off the charts.
    I carry a J-frame 357.mag as a BUG it also weights only 11.oz or so. When I practice with it with 357mag. it really feels like it will jump out of my hand when I firing. I am getting in a habit of holding it really tight when I do any practicing with it.

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    I certainly agree with going deaf using 357's w/o ear protectors and I made the mistake of doinga casual one hand shoot when using it for the first time. Am looking for a lightlyused S&W 2" (airweight if possible) in .38 or .357 where I will use .38'smost of the timeanyway. Anyone have a general idea about usedprices in VA or NC from gun shows or aprivate purchase?

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    tripledipper wrote:
    I certainly agree with going deaf using 357's w/o ear protectors and I made the mistake of doinga casual one hand shoot when using it for the first time. Am looking for a lightlyused S&W 2" (airweight if possible) in .38 or .357 where I will use .38'smost of the timeanyway. Anyone have a general idea about usedprices in VA or NC from gun shows or aprivate purchase?
    I purchased a used340PD last week that I had to look very close to see if it had ever even been fired. I would rate it at 98%. I paid $600 OTD, It is much higher than the 442 or 642 but the trigger action on it is so much better until that almost makes it worth the difference and then add the lighter weight. I don't plan to shoot .357's on any kind of regular basis in it.

    I had been looking for a revolver for my wife since she doesn't have the strength in her hands to rack the slide on a semi-auto normally. I showed it to her and she said "Oh you got me a LITTLE gun." I said, "I just knew you would love it.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    tarzan1888 wrote:
    I carry a .357 snubby and load it with .357 Magnum JHP's, and use .36's for practice.

    Tarzan
    For when a .357 is too fast and a .38 is too big? :P

    There really isn't that much difference in velocity out of a .357 Snubby and a .357 with a 4 inch barrel.



    "Here is a direct comparison to the previously posted .357 Mag. Snubby Chrono tests ( .357 Mag. 2&1/8" S&W model 640 revolver) vs velocity for .357 Mag 4" S&W Model 65 revolver. Again distance was 10ft. and Temp. approx. 40 degrees. Same test boxes of .357 Mag. ammo used in both tests. Thought it would be easier to read this way without jumping back and forth.


    1. CorBon 110 gr. JHP ( Snubby = 1189 fps) ( 4" = 1268 fps)

    2. Federal 110 gr. JHP (Snubby = 1199 fps) ( 4" = 1284 fps)
    (Classic)

    3. Remington 125 gr. JHP ( Snubby =1301 fps) ( 4" = 1519 fps)
    * this box was seemed above avg. speed for 125 gr.* I'm Keeping
    rest of it! I thought it would chrono around 1450 fps

    4. Federal 125 gr. JHP (Snubby = 1236 fps) ( 4" = 1460 fps )
    (Classic)

    5. Remington 158 gr. JHP ( Snubby = 1158 fps) ( 4" = 1267 fps )

    6. Federal 158 gr. JHP (Snubby = 1124 fps) ( 4" = 1261 fps )
    (Classic)


    7. Remington 180 gr. JHP (Snubby = 1034 fps) ( 4" = 1173 fps )

    8. Winchester 180 gr. JHP (Snubby = 1092 fps) ( 4" = 1210 fps )
    (Ranger SXT)

    *Velocity may vary according to test weapon, lot of ammo, temp. and other factors*. This is what I recorded at that particular time."



    http://www.stoppingpower.net/forum/t...?TOPIC_ID=8004



    Tarzan.








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    I always enjoy these discussions about .38 vs. .357 and barrell length. They are almost as good as the Glock vs. XD threads.

    I see some stats that say that in a snubby there is no difference between a .38 and a .357 and then comes alond someone showing no difference between a 2" and a 4" barrel. :what: These are great to discuss and some people even argue about them. Whatever I feel totally secure that either a .38 or a .357 in a snubby or a 8" cowboygun will be adequate. If not then I am in trouble and it isn't the caliber that is the problem. It is nice to hear people talk about the superiority of one bullet over another based on a energy difference of 5 ft/lbs then someone says that a 10% difference in velocity isn't that much.

    Just make sure whatever you use is reliable and you have it with you. I'd much ratther have a J-Frame on me than a Desert Eagle in the safe.

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    PT111,

    Try this. Rather than have your wife rack the slide back, have her hold the slide and shove the pistol forward.

    Carry on.

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    PT111 wrote:
    ....I see some stats that say that in a snubby there is no difference between a .38 and a .357 and then comes alond someone showing no difference between a 2" and a 4" barrel. :what: .....

    There is a difference between all of the above. In .357 thatdifference is not great, in that there is no more difference between some manufactures with the same loadings as there is between say a 2 inch and a 4 inch barrel in same make of gun. I am sure that you could find a supped up .38 +p+p that approaches a very mild .357.

    I am confident that a .357 snubby will perform better shooting .357 rounds at any loading as compared to .38 rounds at a similar loading.



    Do you need .357's in a snubby? That is your choice.



    .38's out of a snubby have been putting down bad guys for a very long time.



    The bottom line, for me, is that size is not as important as what you do with it. :P



    Tarzan



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    If your concern is Energy delivered, then just plug in the Speed and Grains of the round you plan on using.

    The numbers don't lie - http://www.beartoothbullets.com/resc...55&bv=1200

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    Dustin wrote:
    If your concern is Energy delivered, then just plug in the Speed and Grains of the round you plan on using.

    The numbers don't lie - http://www.beartoothbullets.com/resc...55&bv=1200
    I don't believe in "Energy delivered" in a hand gun rounds.

    Energy doesn't wound. Velocity and mass equate to momentum which determines penetration and expansion, which make a permanent wound channel, which puts down the bad guy.

    If you don't agree....I don't care. :celebrate



    Tarzan

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    tarzan1888 wrote:
    Dustin wrote:
    If your concern is Energy delivered, then just plug in the Speed and Grains of the round you plan on using.

    The numbers don't lie - http://www.beartoothbullets.com/resc...55&bv=1200
    I don't believe in "Energy delivered" in a hand gun rounds.

    Energy doesn't wound. Velocity and mass equate to momentum which determines penetration and expansion, which make a permanent wound channel, which puts down the bad guy.

    If you don't agree....I don't care. :celebrate



    Tarzan
    Uh... What you just described is the result of energy :?

    Velocity and mass equate to momentum which determines penetration and expansion - Energy

    See ?

  25. #25
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    Here is info from a manufactuers website:

    http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunitio...htm#standard38


    OP enjoy regardless of what you choose, shopping/research is part of the fun.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
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