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Henny
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:13:48 PM
For years I've always read something to the effect of "...snubnose revolvers can't efficiently burn the powder and you are better off carrying 38 +Ps in a 357 snubnose...." However, I don't ever recall ever seeing any real data.

A little background about me, my first centerfire revolver that I ever had and shot to any extent was a S&W Model 19. That was back when I was 12 or 13. I guess you could say I was brought up around 357s and I like them. When I was in my early 20's after a hitch in the Army and putting myself through college, I joined a pretty big police department. My first issued weapon was a Ruger Security Six 357, loaded with either Federal, Remington or Winchester 125 gr JHPs - whatever the department got for a good deal I suppose. I always liked the 357 and usually carried a 357 snubnose off duty. I had a few, SP101s, S&W 640s and currently a 340PD. I still carry the 340 PD daily. I'm now a few months away from retirement. I got older, my son grew up and I was issued several different duty guns through the years. About the only things that are the same from when I came on is I still have the same wife and I still carry a 357 off duty.

This year I got my son a 642 no lock for Christmas. It's still in my gunsafe, unfired. He enlisted (and subsequently re enlisted) and is currently on the left side of the country. This summer, he'll be able to come back east and pick up his belated Christmas gift. Since then I've picked up some 38+Ps for him to carry. I never found a need for +Ps, because I always carried magnums. When I want to do a lot of shooting with my snubbies I just usually shoot some of my 38 reloads. I was never really recoil sensitive, but I have to admit, I DON'T want to shoot magnums out of my 340 PD all day! Coincidentally, it's time for me to rotate my carry ammunition, so I thought I might as well do some chronographing and see how inefficent the snubnose is at burning magnum powder.


Here's the gun, chronograph and the ammo:






I went out to my back door range and set things up. Here's the results of the magnums out of the 640:






The results of the +Ps out of the same 640:




It seems to me, at least in my part of the world, the snubnose does a fine job at burning the powder and pushing the little 125 grain bullets four hundred and forty some feet faster than the 125 grain 38 +Ps. If it was within 150 fps, I don't think there would be that much difference according to what I have read. However, 400 fps faster? I think I continue to carry my magnums!

Things learned:

Don't always believe what you read on the internet.
Snubbies do a good job at pushing bullets at magnum velocities.
If I keep myself busy with this stuff when I retire, I'm going to really enjoy retirement!
Shooting is still fun after all these years!

"...But there's also this: there are over 5,000 men in this city, who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that's gotta be done. I know it, too, and I'm damn glad to be one of them." Joe Friday
FrankSymptoms
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:18:53 PM
Seems to me that someone here posted about some ammo that was specifically made for snubbie .357 and .38 +P revolvers.

I have the same revolver you have! Kicks pretty hard, but not at all unmanageable.
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machinisttx
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:34:26 PM
[Last Edit: 4/18/2011 2:35:24 PM by machinisttx]
I posted a thread in GD a while back about .357 mag in snubbies for the same reason. I got right at 1300 fps out of my Ruger SP101 with 2.25" barrel using that same load from Remington. The same stuff through a 4" barrel was only about 100 or so fps faster(shot the same day, only a few minutes difference in when firing took place) IIRC.

FYI, don't fire that snubby with the R357M1 load in a confined space.

ETA: the old 158 grain LSWCHP +P "FBI load" went about 850 fps through the same SP101.
Originally post by 2theLeft: If done right, there is no taste, because it goes right down the throat..

IM me to find out about SSA's poor customer service
Henny
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:36:36 PM
I've been hanging around more on the technical side of the forum lately. I must have missed the post about the snubnose ammo.

The 640 isn't too bad. The 340 on the other hand, it's not bad at all with 38s. It's barely tolerable with magnums. It feels like you're getting hit in the hand with a ball peen hammer! I still shoot a few cylinder fulls of magnums out of it every year. I kind of figure if I'd ever have to shoot it in self defense, I probably won't notice the recoil as much.
"...But there's also this: there are over 5,000 men in this city, who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that's gotta be done. I know it, too, and I'm damn glad to be one of them." Joe Friday
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:36:58 PM
1300 is smokin' out of that short of a barrel, I wouldn't have believed it but its right there. Well done.
Wounded doesn't mean you are out of the fight. It just confirms the fact that you are in one. -Sylvan 2011

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Henny
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:47:00 PM

Originally Posted By bcauz3y:
1300 is smokin' out of that short of a barrel, I wouldn't have believed it but its right there. Well done.

I was kind of surprised too. I remember chronographing my old issued Security Six with a 4" barrel and was getting between 1300-1350 fps. Then again, that old Ruger really spit lead and had a pretty large barrel / cylinder gap.
"...But there's also this: there are over 5,000 men in this city, who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that's gotta be done. I know it, too, and I'm damn glad to be one of them." Joe Friday
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:47:12 PM
I have never doubted the extra velocity but I have no reason to believe it makes the gun more effective against an unobstructed target at five feet. I like my 38s. I can handle the recoil of the 357 but I dislike the noise.
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Posted: 4/18/2011 2:59:22 PM
Doc Roberts recommends .38 special +P rounds.
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Posted: 4/18/2011 4:59:54 PM
Originally Posted By Henny:
I've been hanging around more on the technical side of the forum lately. I must have missed the post about the snubnose ammo.

The 640 isn't too bad. The 340 on the other hand, it's not bad at all with 38s. It's barely tolerable with magnums. It feels like you're getting hit in the hand with a ball peen hammer! I still shoot a few cylinder fulls of magnums out of it every year. I kind of figure if I'd ever have to shoot it in self defense, I probably won't notice the recoil as much.


I carry my 340 with .357 Hydra-shoks. Last range trip I shot 67 rounds from it, 5-.38's, 50-.357's RN and 12-.357 HS. My hand was numb when I stopped. At first it was tolerable but I wanted to push it so I kept going. Ended up waiting about an hour before I shot the Beretta which was sweet relief. I see no sense in conceal carrying a .357 mag loaded with .38's.
machinisttx
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Posted: 4/18/2011 6:33:52 PM

Originally Posted By 45FMJoe:
Doc Roberts recommends .38 special +P rounds.

Very few of them. He also makes the statement that the extra velocity from a .357 isn't needed, yet specifically states that most .38 loads DO NOT expand from snubbies. There is something of a logical disconnect there. If most .38 loads lack sufficient velocity to cause the bullet to expand, then it's pretty damned apparent that the .357 velocity IS needed. It may be that no load on the "acceptable" .38 list is up to par from a particular gun because of reliability, accuracy, or POI/POA issues. Are you going to carry a load that's unreliable, incapable of a decent group, or doesn't shoot at least close to the sights?

IMO, more ammo options is better.
Originally post by 2theLeft: If done right, there is no taste, because it goes right down the throat..

IM me to find out about SSA's poor customer service
danc46
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Posted: 4/18/2011 6:49:11 PM
At the distance I'd probably use a snub nose, as in a J frame, a 22 magnum would probably do just as well as a 38 Sp or 357 Mag.
A snub to me is a "get off me" gun and use will be very close, as in actually barrel to skin/clothes.
The gases from the barrel going into the body will do more damage than the bullet will.
I do carry a 3" Model 65 on occasion and have even dropped a coyote with a 357 Mag load in it at 80+ yards.
But it is more a handgun I'll carry if I climb on the tractor or ride an ATV up into wilderness areas.
The heavier 357 snubs aren't conducive to inside a pocket carry, more an IWB carry, for every day usage.
The lighter 38 Sp snub in the pocket makes for an easier one handed presentation if needed.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of caliber.
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Posted: 4/18/2011 11:13:02 PM
Target practice? 38's are more comfortable. Carry or backup weapon? Well the assumption is you will only draw and fire in an already bad situation. What are you going to want? Fast and hard hitting is my vote. as for the offending target? Do I think they will notice the difference? Maybe for a second or two. Who would say" Hey those are just 38's you put center body mass!"
Well, if you still can not decide .... get a 45.
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Posted: 4/19/2011 11:49:32 AM
Originally Posted By Henny:
For years I've always read something to the effect of "...snubnose revolvers can't efficiently burn the powder and you are better off carrying 38 +Ps in a 357 snubnose...." However, I don't ever recall ever seeing any real data.

When I was in my early 20's after a hitch in the Army and putting myself through college, I joined a pretty big police department. He enlisted (and subsequently re enlisted) and is currently on the left side of the country. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v338/schenninge/GUN%20STUFF/DSC00577.jpg



Thanks for your tour of Army service and LE service and for your Son's service too.

Also, appreciate you sharing your discovery results of the ballistics test, I always find these tests most interesting. My CCW is a S&W M&P 340 w/crimson trace overmold grips. Very comfortable to shoot .38's all day at the range, but full house magnum's are brutal and when fired from this scandium framed punisher, it feels like it's capable of breaking wrist bones. I tested both the Cor-Bon DPX .357 mag125 grain HP & the Hornady LeverRevolution .357 mag 140 grain FTX loads, just to compare recoil with the full house Remington .357 mag loads. Both the Cor-Bon & Hornady .357 mag loads were just slightly higher in recoil compared to the Remington .38+P 125 grain loads, but significantly lower in recoil than the full house Remington magnums.

Although I don't have extended range sessions with any of the .357 mag loads, I do carry and feel comfortable with either the Cor-Bon DPX or Hornady .FTX 357 mag loads. I have no idea as to their velocity or effectiveness as a defensive load, but assume that since they are magnum loads (and controllable), then perhaps they would be a better alternative than the +P's.
Henny
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Posted: 4/19/2011 5:14:19 PM
Ok, so I'm not the only guy that's still carrying magnums in his shubnose revolver! Has anyone else found out that when you really concentrate, that your 340PD is a very accurate gun? I'm still amazed that a little gun like the 340 shoots as well as it does!
"...But there's also this: there are over 5,000 men in this city, who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that's gotta be done. I know it, too, and I'm damn glad to be one of them." Joe Friday
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Posted: 4/19/2011 5:47:43 PM
Accuracy with J frames is unbelievable to a lot of people.
With the right load and the right shooter it's amazing at what you can hit even at 100 yards.
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Posted: 4/19/2011 7:20:10 PM
Originally Posted By Henny:
Has anyone else found out that when you really concentrate, that your 340PD is a very accurate gun? I'm still amazed that a little gun like the 340 shoots as well as it does!


Funny you should mention the accuracy of the J-snub. I shoot expert with the .45ACP 1911, but struggle to target shoot with the snub. I attributed my lack of accuracy to the sights or just the gun itself, having such a short barrel. Then went to the range with a friend when he came to visit on vacation and he shot my 340 with enviable precision, thus nullifying my claim that it was the gun. After shooting it, he commented on how impressed he's always been with the accuracy of the J-frames.

He also pointed out that if I spent as much time shooting the snub as I do my 1911's, that I'd begin seeing similar accuracy results. A year later and several hundreds of more rounds down range, I can conclude that he was right. Practice, practice, practice. Of course having witnessed the accuracy of the 340 in a skilled shooters hand, convinced me that I was the little snubs biggest limitation. Plus, I knew his advice was reliable because he's been carrying a J-frame as his BUG for years, as he's a 23 year veteran of the Detroit Police Department.
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Posted: 4/19/2011 8:27:10 PM
Great thread, Henny. Good to see you around.

I've been dealing with this myself. Out of my 4 inch 681, the .38 Special +P Gold Dot and the .357 Gold Dot expand almost indentically and have similar penetration. I'm trying to understand the case for the .357 in such a situation.
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machinisttx
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Posted: 4/19/2011 8:29:08 PM

Originally Posted By danc46:
Accuracy with J frames is unbelievable to a lot of people.
With the right load and the right shooter it's amazing at what you can hit even at 100 yards.

It's no impressive feat to hit a man sized target at 100 with one, assuming the shooter is up to the task.
Originally post by 2theLeft: If done right, there is no taste, because it goes right down the throat..

IM me to find out about SSA's poor customer service
danc46
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Posted: 4/19/2011 8:34:05 PM
Originally Posted By machinisttx:

Originally Posted By danc46:
Accuracy with J frames is unbelievable to a lot of people.
With the right load and the right shooter it's amazing at what you can hit even at 100 yards.

It's no impressive feat to hit a man sized target at 100 with one, assuming the shooter is up to the task.


I agree. I was thinking more along the lines of empty freon jugs though.
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Posted: 4/19/2011 8:38:14 PM
GOOD POST!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, +Ps can't touch the magnums. Go with the magnums for more reliable expansion.

IG
machinisttx
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Posted: 4/19/2011 9:24:28 PM

Originally Posted By danc46:
Originally Posted By machinisttx:

Originally Posted By danc46:
Accuracy with J frames is unbelievable to a lot of people.
With the right load and the right shooter it's amazing at what you can hit even at 100 yards.

It's no impressive feat to hit a man sized target at 100 with one, assuming the shooter is up to the task.


I agree. I was thinking more along the lines of empty freon jugs though.

If you can hit the small 1 lb cans at 100 with a snubby, I need some pointers. If you're talking about the bigger ones(half the size of a 5 gallon propane tank), then I'd say you have a fine load and a very steady hand.
Originally post by 2theLeft: If done right, there is no taste, because it goes right down the throat..

IM me to find out about SSA's poor customer service
danc46
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Posted: 4/19/2011 10:42:01 PM
Originally Posted By machinisttx:

Originally Posted By danc46:
Originally Posted By machinisttx:

Originally Posted By danc46:
Accuracy with J frames is unbelievable to a lot of people.
With the right load and the right shooter it's amazing at what you can hit even at 100 yards.

It's no impressive feat to hit a man sized target at 100 with one, assuming the shooter is up to the task.


I agree. I was thinking more along the lines of empty freon jugs though.

If you can hit the small 1 lb cans at 100 with a snubby, I need some pointers. If you're talking about the bigger ones(half the size of a 5 gallon propane tank), then I'd say you have a fine load and a very steady hand.


30 lb cans are what I was talking about. Believe it or not, plain old wadcutters work well for me in a 3" Chief. 158 semi wadcutters in front of 4 gr of Unique also work like a champ.
But anybody like you that has that many fine S&Ws and knows them like you do, ain't gonna be no slouch throwing lead down range, even at 100 yards.
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Posted: 4/20/2011 12:15:52 AM
What's your split times with .38 +Ps vs .357 Mags?
Henny
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Posted: 4/20/2011 8:16:10 AM
I wasnt going for speed when shooting through my chronograph screens. I think its safe to say that the times with the magnum would be slower.
"...But there's also this: there are over 5,000 men in this city, who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamourless, thankless job that's gotta be done. I know it, too, and I'm damn glad to be one of them." Joe Friday
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Posted: 4/20/2011 9:02:13 AM
[Last Edit: 4/20/2011 9:05:22 AM by alemonkey]
Good thread. I carry a no lock 642 with +P's and while the recoil is snappy it's not bad now that I've gotten used to it. The other day at the range a gentleman let me shoot both his 454 Casull and a scandium J frame in .357. The .357 was by far the worst recoil I've ever experienced, it dwarfed the .454 in my opinion. I've shot plenty of .357 out of larger framed guns like Blackhawks and GP100's and never thought the recoil was anything to speak of, but out of an airweight J frame it just plain hurts.

I like the idea of the extra power of the .357 and I know I wouldn't notice the recoil if I actually had to use it to defend myself, but my concern is with how much it would slow down follow up shots. I'm already much slower with my 642 than with a semi, and I think I would be that much slower again with .357's in the same size gun. For me it's not even the weight so much as it is the grip size. I can't get enough fingers on a J frame to effectively control it with .357's. If I was carrying something with more of a grip like an SP101 I think it would be a different story. Unless someone is behind some sort of hard cover I don't worry about .38 +P with jacketed hollow points having enough stopping power.

I agree about the surprising accuracy of the J frames. When I first bought it I couldn't hit anything with it, but the more I practice the better it gets.
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machinisttx
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Posted: 4/20/2011 12:21:02 PM

Originally Posted By alemonkey:
Good thread. I carry a no lock 642 with +P's and while the recoil is snappy it's not bad now that I've gotten used to it. The other day at the range a gentleman let me shoot both his 454 Casull and a scandium J frame in .357. The .357 was by far the worst recoil I've ever experienced, it dwarfed the .454 in my opinion. I've shot plenty of .357 out of larger framed guns like Blackhawks and GP100's and never thought the recoil was anything to speak of, but out of an airweight J frame it just plain hurts.

I like the idea of the extra power of the .357 and I know I wouldn't notice the recoil if I actually had to use it to defend myself, but my concern is with how much it would slow down follow up shots. I'm already much slower with my 642 than with a semi, and I think I would be that much slower again with .357's in the same size gun. For me it's not even the weight so much as it is the grip size. I can't get enough fingers on a J frame to effectively control it with .357's. If I was carrying something with more of a grip like an SP101 I think it would be a different story. Unless someone is behind some sort of hard cover I don't worry about .38 +P with jacketed hollow points having enough stopping power.

I agree about the surprising accuracy of the J frames. When I first bought it I couldn't hit anything with it, but the more I practice the better it gets.

The good thing about revolvers is that you can put a larger set of grips/stocks on them. My SP101 wears a hogue monogrip. The lightweight guns are easier to carry, but not nearly as easy to shoot, especially if you're trying to shoot quickly. I carry an all steel gun because I shoot magnums, and because I can shoot it a lot more before fatigue sets in.
Originally post by 2theLeft: If done right, there is no taste, because it goes right down the throat..

IM me to find out about SSA's poor customer service
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