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Old 11-11-2019, 12:14 AM
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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
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:50 AM
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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.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:39 PM
lyle gorch lyle gorch is offline
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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.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:22 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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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.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:31 PM
lyle gorch lyle gorch is offline
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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.
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:47 AM
Snyper708 Snyper708 is offline
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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?
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
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:05 PM
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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.

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Old 11-12-2019, 08:39 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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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.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:02 AM
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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.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:27 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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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.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:06 PM
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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
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:54 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.
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.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:26 PM
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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.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:40 PM
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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.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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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.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:13 PM
justin22885 justin22885 is offline
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if i had to pick either caliber and couldnt buy guns in the other, i'd choose 38 special
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:30 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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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.
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