Snubby-.38 spl.+P or .357 for SD?

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by Python, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    I would like to know which round would be most effective for personal defense from a 2" snubby between the Gold Dot .38 spl. 135gr. +P "short barrel" round and a 158gr..357 round. I'm aware that shot placement is most important as well as the ability to recover from muzzle flip & recoil to stay on target. Because your life depends on it, which round would you choose, and why? To be specific as to my choice of .357 magnum here, it is the Blazer aluminum round. I chose the Blazer round because it seems to be loaded to less pressure making it "easy to control" when fired from my M60 S&W. Thanks.
  2. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Of the two, I would choose the .38 special Gold Dot.
    But mid range wadcutters would probably be as good or better than either of your choices.
  3. easyflow

    easyflow New Member

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    I would prefer 38+p I have been recommended hornady.Ive read many things about .357 that even with hollow points it could possibly keep going straight thru causing unwanted backdrop tragically.
  4. wvugunnut

    wvugunnut New Member

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    38+p gold dot is the way to go in my opinion. I own a snub nose like yours and while .357 may be a touch better on the ballistics charts in real world sd you want the bullet to stop on/in target.
  5. carver

    carver Moderator

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    As a carry gun, I would choose the .38. As a home defense gun, I would choose the.38 again. You mentioned recoil as a factor, and the .357 has it in spades. Add to this problem, the fact that the .357 is known for it's ability to over penitrate. Now fire up that snubie .357 in a dark room! The mussle flash will leave you blind for more time than you want in a SD situation!
  6. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    I agree that for home defense that the .38 GDHP is best due to the fact most conditions would occur at night time and within closed walls. Both the muzzle flash & deafening sound of the .357 would be a negative. As for the .357 Blazer aluminum round, like I said, it is loaded to lower pressure very close to that of a +P. Although the Blazer is still more powerful than a +P, the recoil is very controllable fired from a snubby. Over penetration of HP .357 ammo is extremely rare, even more so when fired from a snubby. Even if one did pass through the body of a BG, I seriously doubt that it would have enough energy left to penetrate and harm anyone else. I feel confident loading the .357 Blazer 158gr. HP in my snubby for PD, even in "public places". On a personal note, HP ammo (stopping power) is for up close & personal situations and public places only. Any situation other than home defense or up close and personal defense in public places, all of my rifles and revolvers are loaded with 158gr. JSP.
  7. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    I'd also vote for the .38 +p.

    Although when I carried a .38 Special, I actually went with the reduced recoil Federal Hydrashoks.
  8. jbmid1

    jbmid1 Active Member

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    I'm quickly becoming a big fan of the .357 round. If my life depended on it I would go with the best chance of a first round kill. With practice, your follow-ups will still be within
    fractions of a second of the less powerful round. And if you have a large opponent, or one supplented with chemicals, or wearing protection of any kind, they will laugh off the first couple of .38 shots.
  9. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    I actually made this decision a few months back. I have a pair of Ruger SP101s and I was testing ammo between .38 +P and various .357 loads. I found the .357 Blazer aluminum to be a very controllable load, hardly more difficult to shoot than a .38 +P. As I prefer heavier bullets, I chose this load as the standard defensive fodder for both Rugers. It doesn't hurt that it's cheap and widely available either. I buy quite a bit of ammo from these folks - good prices, reasonable shipping, and great service...

    http://palmettostatearmory.com/1317.php
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  10. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    Good points.
  11. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    That's what I'm talking about. :cool:
  12. Python

    Python Former Guest

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    I've heard that there is no difference in the velocity/performance of the GDHP 135gr. .38spl. +P Short Barrel round whether fired from a 2" or a 4" revolver. Can anyone confirm this?
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  13. user

    user New Member

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    I'd always go with a .38 rather than .357, because the added flash/bang/recoil doesn't buy you all that much in an increase in effectiveness (unless, of course, you are attacked by a cast-iron engine block). A standard .38 special (i.e., not +P) has enough kinetic energy at fifty yards to be able to shatter human bone. I suggest, therefore, that it will be effective at normal defensive range. Besides which, the perceived recoil from any cartridge in an itty bitty gun like you're talking about, OP, will be more than I want to deal with, and I absolutely hate shooting a .357 out of a snubnosed revolver. People say they practice with .38's and carry .357's but as I see it, you won't get a second shot at all doing things that way - if you need the gun in an emergency, after the first shot, you'll be blind, deaf, the gun will be up in the air from the recoil, and your hand will hurt. I think you should practice with what you carry. And, if you carry .38's, carry them in a gun chambered for .38 (it's a tenth of an inch shorter, anyway).
  14. ozo

    ozo Active Member

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  15. Inthewind1976

    Inthewind1976 Member

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    My primary carry gun is an Airweight Smith and Wesson in 38S. I have always shot a LOT over the years, with 38 Spec ammo, especially back when my ONLY handgun was a 6" 357 and I was a poor college student barely able to purchase $5 for 50 RNL 158's - Ahhhh, to have THOSE ammo prices again these days! Ive never felt "under gunned" with 125 JHP +Ps (which I admit I fire sparingly in my 37 because it was made "pre +P not due to recoil, but because I dont want to wear out my favorite carry gun!).
  16. Boris

    Boris Former Guest

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    The only problem I can see with the allready low speed of the 158 is it being even slower from a 2". I found a video on that load being tested in water alone. One thing I learned about a pure water test is it is hard on projectiles and I use it for an extreme expansion test to see how well a round will stay together.

    The kind of expansion I see in this video and seeing it in the past then shooting live critters with that ammo always gave me worse results. Add in thick layers of clothing you might encounter and there will be no expansion.

    The lack of expansion will mean over penetration.

    I would look for a round designed for performance from a shorter barrel, then learn to handle it.

    That kind of performance would be a no go for me from anything other than a 4" or longer barrel...

    The muzzle flash is also huge in the daylight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKth7C15YAc&playnext=1&list=PL9D1337E5EB504399
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
  17. user

    user New Member

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    The .357 will make a neat hole clean through the ordinary human in that context. If it happens to hit the heart, brain, or an artery, it will be effective. Of course, you could say the same for a .22LR. I think the +P in the .38 is more than useful. Ordinary Federal HST or equivalent will do just fine. We're not talking long range shooting, right? And the average .38 will kick out enough kinetic energy at 50 yards to crush a normal femur, so I'm pretty sure it will be "effective" at normal defensive range. All +P will do in a snubby is give you a bit more recoil. Not more effective. I think, for reasons stated above, the .357 will actually be less effective.
  18. graehaven

    graehaven Active Member

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    The .38 +P is more than adequate.
  19. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

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    I'd go with the .38 Special +P simply because of the lower recoil.
  20. jbmid1

    jbmid1 Active Member

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    That looks like good stuff Ozo. Bigger is usually better, unless it's going extremely fast and shatters on contact.