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Thread: Is a .357mag needed? Why not a .38sp?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is a .357mag needed? Why not a .38sp?

    Is .357 really needed if you have a .38 with 358429 and 358156 bullets running +P velocities? Primary uses would be range, woods and SD.
    Cargo

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I seldom use full-charge .357s. If a #358429 Keith at 1000 fps won't do it I go straight to a .44 Mag. or .30-'06!
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    I seldom use full-charge .357s. If a #358429 Keith at 1000 fps won't do it I go straight to a .44 Mag. or .30-'06!
    Or a 12g slug, that was kind of what I was thinking but as I don't have a lot of shooting friends I wanted to get some opinions.
    Cargo

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cargo View Post
    Is .357 really needed if you have a .38 with 358429 and 358156 bullets running +P velocities? Primary uses would be range, woods and SD.
    Depends upon what else walks in your woods and what you might be self defending against. For the last 2 events, I would prefer all the steam it can give me.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cash View Post
    Depends upon what else walks in your woods and what you might be self defending against. For the last 2 events, I would prefer all the steam it can give me.
    In your neck of the woods I can understand your viewpoint on that. The most dangerous things we have in our woods are hogs, gators, snakes and criminals.
    Cargo

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I believe a 158 gr bullet at around 1100 fps to be about the ideal load for 98% of what a handgun may be called upon to do.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy 358429's Avatar
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    The real advantage of 357 magnum is when assembling 155 grain deep hollow pointed plain base 358429 powdercoated bullets cast from 10-1 alloy, over 15.5 grains of Winchester 296. They must be doing over 1000 feet per second from my J frame with two inch barrel.

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I feel the 38+P is adequate for the vast majority of situations, excluding perhaps bears. For the woods I usually up it to 45 Colt tier 2 or better. I don't even own a 357 anymore.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I agree in that the .38 Special +P is adequate for most scenarios.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    I feel way more confident with a max load of 296 and a 125 grain JHP in my model 19, 28 or 686. The 38 special is great for target shooting and lead 158 grain cast bullets allow me to hold at 6:00 while full power .357's land lower at point of sight. For real world handgun use the .357 is my go to revolver...
    Last edited by gnostic; 05-29-2021 at 12:55 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    That bullet was way to effective at stopping the threat...said no man ever.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    +P 38 special a 358429 is topped out around 900 fps maybe 950 fps.

    A 357 magnum with a 358429 is topped out around 1350 fps, maybe 1400 fps, especially if you load to CIP standards

    +P38 special with a 200 grain bullet is topped out around 700 fps

    357 magnum with a 200 grain bullet is topped out around 1250 fps

    I've even taken the 357 magnum as far as a 220 grain at a tick under 1200 fps.

    Those are numbers you can see in your normal hunting revolvers with 4"-6" barrels.

    Those are the raw numbers, what you need depends on purpose. I Could take a 357 mag with a round nose 200 gr, and send it through a deer at 1200+ fps with disappointing results. I could also take a 38 special with the 358429 HP at 950 fps, and it would likely prove a decent deer load.

    On the other hand I could take a 38 special 358429 solid at 900 fps, and most wouldn't shoot a big game animal like an elk with that due to lackluster wound, although the penetration should be adequate. Compare that to a 357 magnum with a 200 gr wide flat nose hauling 1200+ fps, and you have a round very capable of hunting big game.

    Ultimately a 357 magnum can buy you about 500 extra fps if you want it. That is a LOT, and it can be seen in terms of penetration, or wound, or just about any other metric. At least with hunting handguns. A 357 magnum still has a lot more velocity in a sub 2" barrel, but there is a lot of bark with less bite.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 05-29-2021 at 01:51 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    contender1's Avatar
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    I was asked a similar question in a shooting class I taught last weekend. Here's my reply.

    "Why does an automobile need 300, 400, or even 500 horsepower? It's main purpose is to transport people from point A to point B. HOWEVER,, often, the load being transported is heavier than "normal" people transporting. OR, more importantly, sometimes you need horsepower to be able to get yourself away from a potentially dangerous wreck."

    So, a 38 spl, loaded with whatever bullet & XYZ powder may be perfectly fine for most stuff,, you may find the NEED for more power & that's where having it as an OPTION will be a relief. JMO.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    The magnum gives options. Download the 357 to 38 sp or use it at top end. Plus you now have the ability to do use 2 different cartridges. So yes, you need one...... and a levergun in 357.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

    Lefty Red's Avatar
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    I feel 38spec 158gr SPs or 148gr WCs are great for self defense of two legged threats. Mostly due to the controllable in my j frames and the distance if I did have an threat come into my personal space.

    But with four legged threats, only possible way for an instant stop is a CNS shot or a major disruption to the skeletal system. Or punch a hole all the way through and wait for the blood to be pumped out. It might be chewing on you head until the last, so I would want something with more weight, power, and expansion if possible. Cause a cougar or pit doesn’t know it should stop and lay down and die once it’s been shot. So I want a 357mag at least, my 10mm or 41mag usually.

    I load most of my 357s to be about 38+p loadings anyways. That way I can keep my 38s loaded with just WCs and not worry about it.
    I'll be needing that for squirrels and such.....

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    I never load a full house 357 magnum or anything close, us mostly target load 38 special for everything.

    One test I did today was: milled out primer pockets of 38 special brass for large rifle primers. Got the best standard deviation ever with the load been using for 35 years.

    TC Encore rifle 6 ft/s
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    The original intent of the 1/10th of an inch longer .357 case was to take advantage of Keith's hotter .38 loadings in stronger, modern handguns with a cartridge that would not fit into and damage the older, weaker, tail-end-of-blackpowder-era revolvers.

    Obviously, that extra 1/10th inch gives us more room to take those hot loads even further. Given that we can greatly manipulate how a bullet penetrates or expands based on bullet design and alloy or jacket composition, and that even hot .357's won't really be fast enough to make much of an enlarged, rifle-like permanent cavity by means of sufficiently rapid hydrostatic displacement, I think the .357's advantage is mostly going to be in flattening trajectory. I don't think anything shot with a 175 grain non-expanding flat point would be able to tell what case and load data it was fired with.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Scrounge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cargo View Post
    In your neck of the woods I can understand your viewpoint on that. The most dangerous things we have in our woods are hogs, gators, snakes and criminals.
    I'm pretty sure for hogs and gators, I'd want at least .357 mag loads, and wouldn't turn down something throwing 12g slugs. A .22LR will work on most critters IF placed correctly. A 30mm cannon shell from a GAU-8 won't do the job if you miss. If you can't shoot it accurately, for whatever reason, it won't matter what you use. Pick what you can handle and shoot accurately, and then as powerful as you can manage without decreasing your accuracy. I like the .45acp, personally, but I know a guy who emptied a magazine from the GI 45 he was carrying as a duty weapon into a German wild boar with no noticeable effect. It ran him up a tree, and tore his guard dog to shreds. I wouldn't bet on a feral pig being any less tough than that boar.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy 358429's Avatar
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    Is it okay that I am curious where the boar was struck? If he struck the mad boar 7 times in the head and was still charging, I'd want a gatling gun in 454 casull instead!

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy 358429's Avatar
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    A 38 special loading I really like is 3 grains red dot with 172 grain keith bullet in 38 brass. It's a light easy load for target. Shooting at the small orange plastic thing that looks like a caltrop, rolls and jumps when you strike it. Recoil and report are minimal and hits are easy even at some distance. I would not hunt boar with this load, however the boar would not be safe from me, if that is all I had.

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check