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.357 snubbie compared to 9mm with 158gr

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by ithaca_deerslayer, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. On some other threads outside of caliber corner, people have said the balistic difference between .357 snubbie and compact 9mm are merely academic.

    Instead of muddying up those threads (which were about other non-caliber issues), I thought I'd ask:

    How fast does a short barreled 9mm throw a 158gr hunk of lead? And how does that compare to the .357 mag?

    Heck, I'm not even a fan of the snubbie .357 because I prefer .38 special for less flash and recoil, but I don't buy the argument that .357 and 9 are the same.

    Anyone got some numbers or an opinion?

    You snubbie .357 guys are crazy, but you still bring an advantage to the table.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  2. OctoberRust

    OctoberRust Anti-Federalist

    Jun 15, 2011
    Yea, that advantage being lighting their attacker on fire with that big ole flame it throws out at the end of the barrel. :rofl:

  3. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    You're comparing apples to oranges. The only 9mm load I know of for 158 gr. is one by Fiocchi made for suppressed weapons. A better analysis would be short barrels firing the 124 gr. & 125 gr. respectively and the .357 wins hands down for those who can handle it and shoot it well.

    MOST people are better off with a 9mm for two reasons:

    1. .357 Magnum snubbies with full house magnums are difficult to shoot well.

    2. Because of the aforementioned they are going to need more shots.
  4. dkf


    Aug 6, 2010
    The .357mag does lose a good bit of velocity fired from shorter barrels(around 2") The majority of factory loadings for the .357 are not up to max pressures however. I never saw a 158gr. 9mm loading. A 147gr. 9mm is going about 950fps out of a 4" barrel depending on the load. The energies between a factory 158gr .357mag out of a 2" barrel vs a 9mm 147gr out of a 4" barrel are close.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  5. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    I think that, in general, people over estimate the power/velocity loss of a .357mag when using a short barrel.
  6. Gunnut 45/454

    Gunnut 45/454

    Jun 20, 2002
    Since when do compac 9mm's have 4" barrels? Where talking about compac 2.5 -3" barreled guns right. So then your looking at below 900 FPS in the 9mm. I get 950 easy out of my 2.5" SP101 with 158gr 357 Mag loads! I really get a good laugh every time this comes up the 9mm doesn't come close to the 357 mag in any respect nor barrel length.:supergrin:
  7. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    I carry a 2 inch .357 Magnum snubby Rhino revolver. I also have a S & W 642 .38 Special. I get no muzzle flip from the Rhino. 5 shots fast, from the S & W, peeled the skin back in my thumb web.

    I took a 10 year old boy shooting and he shot 30 rounds Of 125 gn Hornady SD HP from the Rhino and wasn't impressed by the recoil. The follow up shots from the Rhino are much faster then the S & W. He wanted to shoot the red dot .22 for fun.

    He shot the Rhino as well as the .22, as the targets showed this.

    I'm carrying the .357 Mag.

    My point isd that you can carry and shoot the snubby's without problems if you choose the gun well.
  8. barth

    barth six barrels

    Oct 7, 2011
    The Free Zone
    I haven't looked at 158 grain.

    But I've got a S&W 640-1 357 2.125" barrel.
    And did some research on 125 grain rounds out of the snubbie.

    Looks like standard 1450 fps with 4" ends up around 1194 fps with 2".
    The surprise was Remington Golden Saber mid range 1220 fps round from 4".
    The Saber 125 gr still runs about 1090 fps out of a 2" barrel!
    (S&W M&P 340 w 1.88" barrel)
    That looks like the sweet spot for the snubbie to me.
    Especially for controlled rapid fire.

    I think of this load as being about a wash with a standard 124 9mm.
    from a short barrel.

    Ruger LC9 3.12" Barrel - Speer GDHP 124 gr 1,081 fps
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Most factory 357mag 158grJHP loads will go 1100fps+ (chronographed from a 2 1/4" SP101). You might find a 9mm/147gr+P that goes 1000fps in a full size gun. The 145grWSTHP will do an honest 1100fps as well. Academic, maybe.:dunno:
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  10. 9mm +p+

    9mm +p+

    Mar 1, 2005
    Old Dominion
    158's only? No comparison, 357 wins that fight hands down, most crono data that I've seen puts 158's out of a 2" 357 at about 1050/1100 fps no 9 will touch that. I carried a 357 SP for years until last summer, number of shots carried got my vote. I now carry a G-19.
  11. I guess you can look at any grains for a comparison, but I'm thinking of 158. I've always thought the .357 throws them heavier and harder than the 9mm.
  12. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

    Feb 15, 2006
    Las Vegas
    I have wanted to do this write-up all week, now is my chance.

    I just did a side-by-side range test with my Kahr MK9 (6+1), K9 (7+1) and my Taurus 617 7shot 357mag.

    I used Ranger 127+p+ 9mm and Remington 125gr JSP 357mag for direct comparison, and a variety of WWB 9mm and 38SP for plinking and target practice.

    I was trying to do an apples to apples comparison using 127 and 125. With the ballistics of these two rounds, I got as close as I could.

    The Taurus 617 with 357mag is a boomer. It weights 28oz, 2.5in barrel, it is fat and harder to conceal than I like. Its cylinder is a little bigger than a SW N frame, but over all, it is an N frame snub nose in size. The grip is excellent and easy to get a good grip on from the draw.

    While I like to shoot it, it is a pain to conceal. Pocket carry is difficult because if it's length and hammer spur did hang up when I tried to pocket draw. Follow up shots are a bit slower than I like, but training would improve it I am sure.

    Multiple target engagement is quick and accurate, but reloading is slow. One of the revolvers cylinders was sticking on the eject, causing a shell to hang up. A slight honing with a fine polishing cloth would fix it. DA trigger was very good, sights are nothing to brag about, but a as point shooter, this in not an issue for me.

    I haven't used speedloaders in years, I could learn to be fast, but the loaded speedloader is still quite large and bulky. But they work well.

    On an important note: Even with plugs and muffs, this is a loud gun. The concussion and flame are impressive. I would not what to anywhere down range when this thing gets shot. If the bullet doesn't kill them, the boom and flame will.

    The MK9 with 127 +p+ is always a fine shooter. The little gun is a fan favorite for a reason. Sights are excellent, (But not used by me) reloading is quick and spare mags can be 6,7 or 8 without an issue. 6+1, 3in barrel, weights 24ozs, with an empty mag.

    It is a boomer with the 127+p+ but easy to control and follow-up are a very fast and accurate. The grip is small, two fingers only, but from IWB or from the pocket, I have trained myself to be 100% reliable. Multi-target engagement can be headshots if I want. Very accurate little gun. I have had this gun for 6 years and it is a daily carry in the summer. I have a lot of experience with it, so my opinion is tainted.

    The Kahr K9 is a great shooter, I should have bought one sooner than last year. I have only put about 1K down the pipe and have yet to carry it. But at the range it always impresses me. The grip is completely different material than the MK9, more "grippy" and sticky, a real PLUS! At 26ozs (with empty mag) it is very light for a 7+1 gun with a 3.5in barrel.

    I actually shoot this gun as well as my old favorite MK9, maybe even better. So freak'n fast, accurate, and 100% reliable. The grip size is prefect for my hand. 127+p+ gave me no issues, recoil was mild and the grip is a full three fingers and easy from the IWB or pocket, but the gun is little long for most pockets.

    This is a perfect gun for IWB, very skinny, completely disappears in the Crossbreed-knock off I have. Just like the MK9, you could forget you are carrying it.

    Reloading is quick and can be 7 or 8rd mags, a big plus.

    My conclusion: The small 6+1 9mm Kahr MK9 offers a tiny, thin package with fast reloads and the option of pocket carry, something the 357mag 7shot is way to big for.

    From a holster, the three guns are more equal, except for the reloading where the Kahr guns shine.

    If I had to pick one only, it would be the MK9 with the K9 a close second. The revolver is going to remain back-up a house gun (G30 13+1 is primary) for now. I like the 617, but I love the Kahrs.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  13. That is a nice write up, but is kinda buried in the caliber corner. Maybe carry issues would give it better exposure.

    I'd be interested in a shooting test between them. Pick the material, like a couple phone books or something. Shoot from each, then compare the results.

    Does the .357 penetrate deeper, and with a larger hole? Does it set the phone books on fire?

    Personally, I like the Kahr PM9, because it weighs less. And the S&W 642 weighs even less (when both are fully loaded). But the Kahr certainly is the more accurate between those two in my hands. By a lot with practical shooting. In extra slow fire, not really that much difference.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  14. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    Samson and a few others did load a 9x19mm 158gr for suppressed SMG use.
    The hottest chrono numbers I've seen ran 940fps from a SIG P210. It's very tough to push the 158gr in the tiny 9x19 case without pressure spikes.

    In comparison, the best 158gr .38sp +P will do 1040fps from a 1 and 7/8 J frame.

    The typical 158gr .357mag runs 950-1100fps in a snubby and the hot loads like Buffalo Bore approach 1250-1300fps.

    The hottest heavy 9mm is also Buffalo Bore 147gr +P+, runs 1135fps from a G26, still behind the .38sp +p 158gr from the same maker in a 3" sp101 at 1145fps.

    9mm strengths lie with light to medium weight (115-124gr) ammo, where it can approximate snubby .357mag sometimes, but the bigger case of the .38sp and .357mag enable them both to walk away with 158gr and up.
  15. Landric

    Landric Supervisor?

    I've done a little bit of testing on this issue. Here are my results, the .357 Magnum used in the testing was a Ruger SP101 2 1/4" DAO, the 9x19mm, a HK P7.

    .357 Speer Gold Dot 125 grain, Ave. 1242 fps, 428 ft-lbs energy
    .357 Federal 357B 125 grain JHP, Ave. 1293 fps, 464 ft-lbs energy
    .357 Federal Hydrashok 158 grain, Ave. 1130 fps, 448 ft-lbs energy
    .357 Handload, 200 grain Lyman 358430 RNL, Ave. 1057 fps, 496 ft-lbs energy

    9x19mm Speer Gold Dot 124 grain (+P), Ave. 1139 fps, 357 ft-lbs of energy

    The often misunderstood and quoted "ballistics by the inch" website's data cannot directly be related to velocities obtained out of revolvers. This is because the TC Contender used in the tests had 1 1/2" of the 2" barrel taken up by the .357 chamber, whereas a real .357 revolver with a 2" barrel actually has 2" of barrel in addition to the chamber.
  16. dkf


    Aug 6, 2010
    I agree .357mag is step above 9mm. The 3.5" and 4" barreled pistols are a popular primary concealed carry gun as are the stubby .357mag revolvers like the Ruger LCR. A .357mag Revolver with a 4" barrel is quite a bit longer than a 9mm pistol with a 4" barrel, I suppose thats why I compared as I did.

    I completely forgot about that when I posted it. My bad.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  17. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    I'll stick with the 357mag any day over a 9mm (yes, I own, load for, and shoot both) I have yet to see a 9mm do what a 357mag can.

    One of my 357mags, an SP101 with the 3 1/16th" barrel is one of the best shooters I own. With the fed/rem 125gr JHP's, this length barrel (3")has had all the press and street creds over a 'long span of years' to satisfy the curiosity of those who wonder "if it works." And plenty of years worth of good results with 158gr as well.

    I also like my 4" Smith 686. I don't own any 9mm in the safe, that will take deer at out to 100yds and hit as hard as the 357mag. My 45acp is EDC "in town." But man that little SP101 in 357mag is a good belly gun, and I got 'total confidence' in it for SD against the largest of felons. Nothing scientific about this post. I just have seen to many nasty wounds made by the 357mag.

    A closing thought as well, is that add to even that little SP101 3", my 180gr Hard Cast hand loads, and it too, becomes a really nice little packin gun in the woods for cougars and such. I would not depend on a 9mil for that, although it can, yes. 'But,' not as ideal as a handful of hard hiting 357 mag HC.

    FWIW.. :wavey:

    Good shooting !

  18. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    HST 147+P achieves an honest 1050 fps from a Glock 19.

    Even if the 158gr 357 can hit 1100 or more from a 2 1/4" barrel, that is only 11 gr and 50 fps more than the 147 9mm. Close enough to call them the same.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  19. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  20. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Probably reffering to me hoss... sorry ! 3" ain't much different when your talking 35fps per inch. ;)

    Carry on.