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Old 11-08-2019, 10:07 AM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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Default 357 Mag vs 38 Special



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Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the difference, if any.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:21 AM
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Everyone should have at least one of each.

The difference is about a tenth of an inch in case length.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:26 AM
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I have several of each. If I could only have one gun, a .357Mag fills several needs in on piece. Just use a brush on the cylinder if you shoot a lot of .38 Special to get the carbon ring. Wadcutters are an excellent small game load in .38, while 125 grain hp is an outstanding defense load. 158 grain pills in different configurations make good game loads for deer,etc.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:33 AM
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I like 38 Special, and consider it minimum power for self defense with proper bullets. Out of all my shooter buddies in the last 50 years only 2 actually shot 357 all the time instead of 38 Specials most of the time in their pistols.

Myself, if I'm putting up with the muzzle blast then I'm shooting my 44 Mags.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:26 AM
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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.

With the variety of Bullets,Powder and commercial rounds available both are great for shooters and reloaders, I've hunted deer with the .357 Mag and shot bunnies with .38 special Wadcutters out of the same revolver on the same hunt. The .38 Special/.357 Mag is one of the most versatile handguns to own, that's just my opinion and I have several that all serve different purposes such as Target-Concealed-Hunting-Training and I shoot wax bullets to 170 gr bullets.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:40 AM
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I consider the 357 as the most versatile round. I have 357 in pistol, rifle and barrels for the contender. the contender are 357 max but shoot 357 mag and 38 spec. just fine. I carry a 357 ruger bolt action rifle deer hunting. The larges game shot was a 300# wild boar. 38 spec is great for target and small game. I have shot grouse with 38 wadcutters. Works just fine. When I'm out and about in the field I usually carry a smith model 10. I find the 38 is easier on my hearing. I also recommend hearing protection when shooting the 357 mag. I have a 21" barrel for my contender as well as a 10" in 357 max. The 357 max is just awesome from a 21" barrel. I had a 44 mag,sold it. Never liked 44 mag. I do have a 454 ruger. Not as versatile as the 357 but functional
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemeyer007 View Post
Out of all my shooter buddies in the last 50 years only 2 actually shot 357 all the time instead of 38 Specials most of the time in their pistols.
I tend to shoot the caliber the gun is chambered in, out of it.

I load for them all, so its not really a matter of cost or economy. The cost is about the same, or at least not worth worrying about the difference.

Im not opposed to doing it, just that, other than maybe a narrow niche type use, or if youre limited on funds and only buy factory, theres no real point.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:15 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemeyer007 View Post
Out of all my shooter buddies in the last 50 years only 2 actually shot 357 all the time instead of 38 Specials most of the time in their pistols.
I tend to shoot the caliber the gun is chambered in, out of it.

I load for them all, so its not really a matter of cost or economy. The cost is about the same, or at least not worth worrying about the difference.

Im not opposed to doing it, just that, other than maybe a narrow niche type use, or if youre limited on funds and only buy factory, theres no real point.
I have a Henry that claims it is chambered for both so how would this apply?
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:25 PM
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I have an older Ruger SP101 chambered in 38 sp. I shoot my handloads which are +p level.
All my other guns in 357 mag get modest pressure hard cast SWC handloads.
If I need more energy than that, I also own several guns in 44 mag.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
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I have a Henry that claims it is chambered for both so how would this apply?
Its chambered for 357mag. Its just saying what the others dont feel the need to do, or their lawyers wont let them. Probably more the latter.

Hows it work with both? There can be issues with some things in that respect too. Not so much a revolver issue (if you keep things clean), but other things may not be as reliable as they would be with the proper round.

I had a Ruger 77/357 that fed 357's no problem, but 38's were iffy, and usually caused stoppages until the rimlocked mags were cleared. It also wasnt as accurate with the 38's.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
I have a Henry that claims it is chambered for both so how would this apply?
Generally speaking a 38 can be fired through a gun chambered for 357 the caveate being a lever action may have problems feeding the shorter round. Try it with a single round and see if it will cycle. If successful try it with a couple then a full magazine.

My Henry 22 feeds any 22 colibri through CCI no problems
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:09 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK103K View Post
Its chambered for 357mag. Its just saying what the others dont feel the need to do, or their lawyers wont let them. Probably more the latter.

Hows it work with both? There can be issues with some things in that respect too. Not so much a revolver issue (if you keep things clean), but other things may not be as reliable as they would be with the proper round.

I had a Ruger 77/357 that fed 357's no problem, but 38's were iffy, and usually caused stoppages until the rimlocked mags were cleared. It also wasnt as accurate with the 38's.
This is how they list it:

"Henry Big Boy Lever Action Rifle .357 Magnum/.38 Special 20" Octagon Barrel 10 Rounds Polished Hardened Brass Receiver American Walnut Stock Blued Barrel"
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the difference, if any.
Not sure what you are looking for but there is considerable difference in the terminal ballistics while shooting the same bullet and there's a lot of gray area if you reload

It's all based on what you want and/or need. When you want a desired outcome on a target at a given range, you seek out and find a cartridge/bullet/load combination that will get you what you want or you go to another cartridge altogether



Can you be a little more specific with your question?
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:36 PM
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Both great rounds.
Would recommend getting at least one 357.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the difference, if any.
Barrel length is key.
38spl, esp +P, is perfectly fine in a short barreled revolver. Longer barreled revos or lever guns? 357 starts to shine.
Esp in a lever gun, 16 inch barrels turn a good 357 load into a light rifle round.

Both are good to own IMHO.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:27 AM
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When I was doing LE we shot 38+P+. a special contract round for LE use only. I decided to try 357s instead. After going through a few qualifications it was apparent that it was going to lower my qual. scores between 5 and 10 points, so I switched back to the 38+P+.

Been retired for a lot of years now and I carry a S&W M19 when I go to Church. I practice quite a bit, but only 18 or 24 rounds at a time, not the 60 rds we did to qualify. Doing it this way I don't see much difference in my accuracy between the two cartridges. Of course the M19 is a 34 oz. gun with a 4" bbl. I am sure a little gun would be a lot harder to shoot well with 357s.

What is apparent is the difference in power. I shoot 125gr +P 38 spec. ammo, and I can hit an ag disc blade a lot of times before it starts to fall apart. But when I shot the disc blade about 20 times with the 357 it REVERSED THE CUP in the blade and broke it into pieces. A VERY dramatic difference.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Stanton View Post
This is how they list it:

"Henry Big Boy Lever Action Rifle .357 Magnum/.38 Special 20" Octagon Barrel 10 Rounds Polished Hardened Brass Receiver American Walnut Stock Blued Barrel"
You shouldn't have a problem with the .38's , I say "shouldn't " for one reason all guns are a bit different. I have a Henry .357 and have no problem shooting .38s in it, if you do fire lots and lots of .38s then you should run a brush in the chamber to clean out fouling in the space that a .357 will be takeing up that will help the longer 357 to chamber easily.
Have fun, it's a great gun in a great caliber
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:05 PM
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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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Old 11-09-2019, 08:05 PM
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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.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:45 PM
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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.
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