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Thread: 357 Mag vs 38 Special Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-14-2019 01:30 PM
Arch Stanton
Quote:
Originally Posted by goat daddy View Post
I look at 38 spec as a plinking, target and fun round. Upon occasion I carry a "K" frame smith in 38 while in the back pasture. there are several types of vermin there. I look at the 357 as a hunting and social work round 125 JHP or pistol and 180 JSP or 125 barnes for the 357. I have shot boar with 158 gr LSW with good results. 12-18" of penetration
That's a good way of looking at it and I think the way I will go.
11-14-2019 01:13 PM
justin22885 if i had to pick either caliber and couldnt buy guns in the other, i'd choose 38 special
11-14-2019 12:51 PM
clc79092 The difference? how about a 38 special semi jacket 158 grain will leave big dent on 55 gallon drum. 357 magnum same bullet will blow a hole through both sides.
11-13-2019 09:40 PM
PalmettoTree
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatchet jack View Post
There is a real step up in power when using a 357 over a 38 in a snubby. I am not a fan of Paul Harrell but this video shows pretty clear that there is a definite jump in power when using a 357 over the 38 even in a short barreled gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27wDLjY5JSs
Good video! I am a database man but nothing compares to field testing with fewer variables.

So my database data is supported by this and the other post of actual field test.
11-13-2019 09:26 PM
PalmettoTree
Quote:
Originally Posted by fragout View Post
One example of the differences between 38spl and 357 mag using a lab radar chronograph and a Ruger GP100.

Ammo :
38 spl = Speer gold dot +P 125gr.
357 mag = Speer gold dot 125gr.

Chrono results:

38spl produced an average muzzle velocity
of 945 fps, which gives it 248 ft lbs of energy.

357 mag produced an average MV of 1450 fps , which gives it 583 ft lbs of energy.

The difference:

505 fps and 335 ft lbs of energy via 357 mag. ( Same gun, same bullet, and all fired on the same day under the same conditions)

11B
Thanks you are exactly correct. Actual muzzle velocity as very different from that which is printed on any ammo box. There are many variables that can change the data. It is alway best to eliminate as many as possible.

None of the other variables are going to make up for the difference your data shows.
11-13-2019 08:54 PM
PalmettoTree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the difference, if any.
One shot stop rating is a function of ME. Never can a .38 special keep up with a .357 on a ME basis.

Top .357 ME with 125gr. projectile is 580 to 583 ft lbs. .38specials drop to 342 or below ft lbs. I carry a 38 special anyway.

I have never seen one but there is something called a .38 super with 431 ft lbs.

Just remember all ratings are based on the assumption you hit the target. I know people that will let the anticipation of their .357 mess with them so badly that I can out shoot them.

Buy the best gun for you.
11-13-2019 08:06 PM
goat daddy I look at 38 spec as a plinking, target and fun round. Upon occasion I carry a "K" frame smith in 38 while in the back pasture. there are several types of vermin there. I look at the 357 as a hunting and social work round 125 JHP or pistol and 180 JSP or 125 barnes for the 357. I have shot boar with 158 gr LSW with good results. 12-18" of penetration
11-13-2019 06:27 PM
Arch Stanton I ended up running a lot of 38s through this Henry chambered for 357 today. Almost no problems other than a very very SLIGHT hangup on one shell that didn't end up mattering. There is a slight but insignificant difference in recoil and there is slightly less sound.

No real difference in hitting targets at any distance.

The only issue that I can seem to find is there is more powder smell so I am guessing more residue in the rifle so I may have to clean it more often if I switch to only 38s for target and plinking everyday.
11-13-2019 12:02 AM
Pol Huge difference.

A .357 out performs a .38 special by a big margin out of any barrel length. Most people erroneously believe that is not the case in short barrels

Some numbers from www.ballisticsbytheinch.com

Cor Bon 110 gr 2" barrel .38 = 675fps,
Cor Bon 110 gr 2" barrel .357 = 928fps

and

Federal 125gr JHP 2".38 = 700fps
Federal 125gr JHP 2".357 = 949fps

A .357 out of a 2" barrel performs about the same as a .38 out of a 4" barrel, and out of a 3" barrel, a .357 will outperform a .38 from just about any (regular) length handgun barrel.

IOW, out of a short barrel there is even more reason to use a .357 mag as a .38 special becomes marginal.
11-12-2019 08:39 PM
Arch Stanton
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyle gorch View Post
Here's a site that is a useful reference when comparing cartridges and barrel lengths.

http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/index.html

I don't think I've ever tried 38's thru my lever gun. I'm sure they would work, just never had reason to do it. I guess I always figured the advantage to the rifle was the ability to shoot full power 357's fast and accurate. Downloading with 38's wouldn't seem to have any benefit.

I think some cowboy shooters shoot 38's in their lever guns to shave time off their scores due to lower recoil but that is sort of a specialized application.
The main reason I am looking at them is the cost. I shoot several days out of the week and the only reason I even downgraded from a .44 to a .357 was to save money on target ammo. I can get .38s about half the price of .357s and it's also easier for me to find them in bulk.
11-12-2019 02:05 PM
hatchet jack
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyle gorch View Post
357 is capable of considerably higher energy levels if fired from a gun with enough barrel length to achieve it.

In a 2" pocket revolver, the difference is not so much.

For an all purpose handgun, a 4" or 6" medium framed 357 is hard to beat.

For a pocket gun, a 2" 38 is pretty good too.
There is a real step up in power when using a 357 over a 38 in a snubby. I am not a fan of Paul Harrell but this video shows pretty clear that there is a definite jump in power when using a 357 over the 38 even in a short barreled gun.

11-12-2019 05:47 AM
Snyper708
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
I have a Henry that claims it is chambered for both so how would this apply?
It's chambered for the 357.
The 38 is identical aside from being shorter so it fits, just as a 22 LR gun can shoot 22 shorts
11-11-2019 10:31 PM
lyle gorch Here's a site that is a useful reference when comparing cartridges and barrel lengths.

http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/index.html

I don't think I've ever tried 38's thru my lever gun. I'm sure they would work, just never had reason to do it. I guess I always figured the advantage to the rifle was the ability to shoot full power 357's fast and accurate. Downloading with 38's wouldn't seem to have any benefit.

I think some cowboy shooters shoot 38's in their lever guns to shave time off their scores due to lower recoil but that is sort of a specialized application.
11-11-2019 08:22 PM
Arch Stanton
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyle gorch View Post
357 is capable of considerably higher energy levels if fired from a gun with enough barrel length to achieve it.

In a 2" pocket revolver, the difference is not so much.

For an all purpose handgun, a 4" or 6" medium framed 357 is hard to beat.

For a pocket gun, a 2" 38 is pretty good too.
I'm using a rifle with 20" barrel. I was hoping to save money with 38s but it doesn't seem to be worth it.
11-11-2019 07:39 PM
lyle gorch 357 is capable of considerably higher energy levels if fired from a gun with enough barrel length to achieve it.

In a 2" pocket revolver, the difference is not so much.

For an all purpose handgun, a 4" or 6" medium framed 357 is hard to beat.

For a pocket gun, a 2" 38 is pretty good too.
11-11-2019 01:50 AM
Kalifornia Guy
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradoMinuteMan View Post
I used to think the same thing until I started reloading. Most recommended .357 mag cartridges don't get close to filling the case, same with many .38 Special +p. Only the slowest of powder gets close to filling the cases. .38 Special was developed with black powder which is why it needed such a long case. When it was converted over to smokeless powder which is much more efficient the longer case was no longer needed.

The primary reason that .357 mag was developed to have a longer case was so it couldn't be chambered in the weaker .38 Special chambers.
I must have had a brain **** when I put that post , reloaded .38 Special/.357 mags for years and new that it was for safety but drew a uuuh moment. I reload with IMR 4227 which gets compressed so I should have said that extra 1/8'' is good for certain powder. Anyhow glad you caught it.
11-11-2019 12:14 AM
fragout One example of the differences between 38spl and 357 mag using a lab radar chronograph and a Ruger GP100.

Ammo :
38 spl = Speer gold dot +P 125gr.
357 mag = Speer gold dot 125gr.

Chrono results:

38spl produced an average muzzle velocity
of 945 fps, which gives it 248 ft lbs of energy.

357 mag produced an average MV of 1450 fps , which gives it 583 ft lbs of energy.

The difference:

505 fps and 335 ft lbs of energy via 357 mag. ( Same gun, same bullet, and all fired on the same day under the same conditions)

11B
11-09-2019 08:45 PM
ColoradoMinuteMan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalifornia Guy View Post
The .357 Mags extra 1/8'' makes a big difference in bullet performance and impact over the .38 Special, .38 Special +P is fairly stout but doesn't reach the performance level of the .357 Mag.
I used to think the same thing until I started reloading. Most recommended .357 mag cartridges don't get close to filling the case, same with many .38 Special +p. Only the slowest of powder gets close to filling the cases. .38 Special was developed with black powder which is why it needed such a long case. When it was converted over to smokeless powder which is much more efficient the longer case was no longer needed.

The primary reason that .357 mag was developed to have a longer case was so it couldn't be chambered in the weaker .38 Special chambers.
11-09-2019 08:05 PM
Outpost75 Revolvers which are built to .357 Magnum design standards are more durable than most .38 Special revolvers, and so can digest a nearly unlimited number of .38 Special +P and +P+LE loads without shooting loose or going out of time. Most .38 Specials not built on platforms designed to .357 standards, will have reduced service life if subjected to high volume firing with .38 Special +P, +P+LE and "hot" handloads in older manuals, which exceed industry +P standards.

The S&W J- and K- frame .357 revolvers are intended for only occasional use of full-charge .357 ammo. Their designers presumed that the lighter revolvers would be used mostly with .38 Specials, which includes +P and +P+LE defense loads.
If subjected to continuous use with full-charge .357 ammo their durability is reduced. This is a fact.

If you love the recoil, flash and bang and feel that you must shoot full-charge .357s all the time, to avoid threats to your manhood, then you should select and S&W L- or N- frame or Ruger Blackhawk or GP100. Frankly I seldom use or need .357s. If I need more energy than .38 Special +P I generally go up to the .44 Magnum or .45 Colt. I don't see the need to use full-charge .357s unless you don't have a more powerful handgun and must "make do" with what you have. I use about ten rounds of .38 Special ammo in my revolvers for every round of full-charge .357 I fire, even in my Marlin 1894C rifle.
11-09-2019 06:05 PM
hatchet jack The 38/357 is probably my two favorite rounds to shoot. I do shoot more 38 Special than 357 magnum from a handgun but with my Marlin lever I mostly shoot 357 or at least loads in 357 cases. My favorite load for 357 guns is 6.6grs of Unique with a lead SWC bullet in a 357 case. That load gets around 1150fps from a 4" barreled gun and is more pleasant to shoot than full power 357 loads. For a one gun person a 357 revolver is hard to beat.

My Marlin has no problem shooting 38 Specials. I even load one loading with a WC bullet seated out of the 38 case about 1/4" and it feeds just fine and is an accurate small game load. But remember light jacketed bullet loads in a rifle is asking for trouble with a bullet getting stuck in the bore.

I have a S&W model 15 that is a tapered barrel model 10 with adjustable sights added. It is the best 38 Special gun I think you can own. Second would be a model 10. I just got the gun my mother carried when she worked for the Sheriffs dept. A Nickle plated heavy barreled model 10. I can't wait to shoot this gun.



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