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I'd like to start off by saying that this is NOT another one of those pointless "which is better" threads (whew :cool:) I'm just going to ask which would be better for my needs. I realize that with a .357 Magnum you can shoot either for more versatility, but I really only intend for it to be a self defence weapon, maybe to go in the glovebox and temporarily as a home defence "nightstand" gun until I can get a Mossy 500 Field/Home combo. Also as a fun gun to punch paper with and blow crap up with, but hey, all my guns do that :D:

I intend on using it as a backup weapon for SHTF, because IMO in a SHTF scenario really a handgun of any kind should only be used as a backup weapon if your rifle or shotgun malfunctions or for some odd reason, it isn't on your person (which it probably should be at all times. I don't intend to use it for hunting. Although loaded with snakeshot it would make a good snake gun... but I already have my Rossi .410 for that.


So what i'm really asking is, do I really need to save up the extra money for a .357? Or would a .38 Special suit my needs? Well actually, it'll probably end up being a Christmas gift, but since my family's kinda broke, money is still an object.
I disagree. I think your handgun should be your primary weapon when the SHTF. Life goes on, even after the SHTF. Things might get dangerous during whatever SHTF event, but it may not be appropriate to be walking around with a rifle or shotgun. A handgun offers concealability; the element of surprise.

.357 will offer you more versatility, but .38 is much more common. Also, you won't have excessive muzzle blast issues with the .38. As far as power goes: .38 Spl < 9mm < .38 +P < .357 Magnum
If I had a choice, I would choose a gun in .357 magnum. However, I wouldn't sweat it if it was .38 only.


If you can trust a 9mm to get the job done, you can trust the .38.
 

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Another thing to add. Where the .38 and .357 really shine is when it comes to reloading. You can really unleash the .38s potential if you have a .357 revolver by making loads that split the power difference between .38 +p and .357. Essentially, you would be creating a +p+ load. You can use cheap and plentiful 38 brass, and not risk blowing up your gun because 38 +p+ still won't be developing pressures near that of a full .357 load. Just think of it as a .357 lite.

If you load .38 or .38 +p specs, the brass lasts dang near forever. I've got some that have been loaded about 50 times; so many that you can't even read the headstamp anymore. Another advantage with a revolver is that you don't have to chase your brass.

If I had to buy factory .38, there is no way I could shoot my revolvers as much as I do. The cheapest online that I've seen is like $12/box + shipping, and those are only occasional sales. Most of the time its the $14-$16 online for normal pressure stuff and $18 local. +P loads are around $20 a box. For some reason that extra $0.005 powder charge per case adds a $4 premium to each box when you buy retail. When you reload, .38, +p, .357 magnum pretty much all cost the same, about $5 a box.
 
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