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.357 mag or. 38Spl

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by JEEPX, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. I need some advice from the collective.
    I recently picked up a Smith Model 19 w/ a 2.5" barrel.

    I do not know what type of self defense ammunition to use.

    I have a Smith 586 6", Smith 686 6", Smith 686 + 4", and a Model 19 4". If I carry them on my property or put them on the night stand I use. 357 mag 158gr Gold Dots.

    In the short barrel 642 and 442, I use 135gr +p Short Barrel Gold Dots.

    The 2.5" Model 19 might be. 357 magnum, but it still has s short barrel.

    Which of the two above loads would be best?
    Will a .357 magnum load even expand out of a 2.5" barrel?

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  2. 9mm +p+

    9mm +p+

    Mar 1, 2005
    Old Dominion
    Try it with both,see which you are more comfortable with. A 158 out of a snubby may/may not expand, I'd suggest getting yourself some 125/357 goodness for home defense.

  3. glock_19guy1983


    Sep 8, 2002
    Its gonna boil down to whether you can control the .357. A hit from a 38spl +p is better than a miss from a .357
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  4. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Regardless of bbl length, you always get more vel out of the 357mag vs 38sp+P, but you also get more blast & recoil. I like the 145grWSTHO in my shub 357mags. Well above any 38sp+P & recoil & blast are manageable. IF I do go 38sp+P, it's almost always the 158grLHPSWC, always expands or deforms some.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  5. Fred,

    So in a revolver such as the 2.5" Model 19, the ability to use. 357 magnum is down graded because of noise and blast.

    Do the. 357 mag load's even expand out of a 2.5" barrel?


    Can you tell me what the acronym after 145gr stands for.

    Sorry for the questions. This is my first short barrel. 357 magnum.

    My concern is this. If am better off with .38spl from the short barrel, then I wasted my money. If this is the case, I would sell it and find a 3rd Issue Colt DS.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  6. robhic

    robhic WOLVERINE!!!! Platinum Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    In his book "The Snubby Revolver" by Ben Lovette (recommended by Mas Ayoob) he said his favorite load for short barrel guns was a 110gr or 124gr LEAD-NOSED HP +P bullet in .38spl. He says the FBI and other agencies using the short barrel guns found that to be the best all-round load.
  7. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

    Sep 5, 2010
    With a snubby revolver you might as well use .38 +p the end result is probably the same.
  8. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005

    fredj is correct. You will absolutely get more velocity out of the same bullet weight with .357 vs .38+P.

    It's a matter of the terminal ballistic effect vs the increased muzzle flash and blast
  9. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    There are lots of .357 loads that will work fine in the 2.5" bbl.

    A nice compromise might be the Rem Golden Saber 125gr .357 load, it's loaded to medium velocity (approx 1150fps) and uses a good jhp design that will penetrate and expand fine, without the extra boom and recoil.
    The .38sp 135gr Gold Dot would also be great and will reload easier with the shorter brass.
  10. I really do appreciate the help.


    The 125gr load will not cause damage to the K frame?

    I have always been told not to use the 125gr loads in K frames
    I do realize that I will not be putting a steady diet of them through the 19. Just enough to get comfortable with the load.

    I guess fear of messing my revolvers, is why I have always used 158gr loads in my K frames.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  11. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    People say excessive use of light/fast loads in a K-frame can lead to cutting of the top strap. I think the saying goes "If your revolver is a Ruger, don't worry about it". If you don't use a lot of them you should be okay.
  12. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    Thet problem is a bit more complicated than that (light bullet magnum loads in a "K" frame) but it generally jams up a thread when brought up. Thanfully, for me, I can say that I agree with Fred on the 158gn LSWCHP +P. No problems for the gun and the funny thing, to me, is that those "simple" bullets are not too hard to please when it comes to what will make them expand.
  13. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    It's actually Ed Lovette and he mentioned this round as when it was first introduced in 1972 they simply had no better at that time. Today I think we do: the Speer 135 gr. +p Gold Dot.
  14. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
  15. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    These days I'm partial to the Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWCHP +P, but that Gold Dot round is pretty darn good. So good I ordered a case of 500 last year.
  16. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Not even close, not by 250fps min. Any decent 125gr JHP in a 357mag will still be clocking 1250fps+ in a 2 1/2" snub. The 145gr Win Silver Tip HP does 1175fps in my M66, You can't sniff that w/ a 38sp+P in any bullet wt in a 6" gun!
    SO yes, even in short bbls, the 357mag is a better round than any 38sp+P. You will pay for it in blast & recoil, but the horse power is there if you can handle it. Today, you are probably better off w/ a midsize 357sig. Smaller gun, more ammo & better balistics w/ less recoil. I love the 357mag snubby, but they are not the best tool for most CCW IMO.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  17. The best load the one that works best for you. With what do you get the best grouping with at the range? Use that.
  18. I want to say Thank-you for the help.

    I think I am going to try the Remington .357 mag 125gr Golden Sabres.
    I think this will be a good starting point.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  19. I agree the golden sabers are a good choice. The article below has good info:

    "Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway."
    -- John Wayne
  20. robhic

    robhic WOLVERINE!!!! Platinum Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Thank you, I stand corrected. :supergrin: I don't know where I got Ben from. I just finished reading the book by ED LOVETTE!

    And very good book it is.