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J-frame 38.spl, .357 mag, .44 spl.

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by SickShot, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Would like some thoughts on the above calibers for EDC/ BUG carry and any gun and ammo comparison pix.

    I have the LCR 38spl and really like it and am contemplating a LCR 357, but then I started reading about the .44 special.
  2. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    44 Spl is a heck of a neat little ctg. but it can be a handful in a small gun. I had a Charter Arms Bulldog once upon a time and it was pretty cool pushing those big ol' home cast bullets with a mild charge of Unique. It was a 250gr SWC bullet(that I'd use for my 44Mag) and with the load I used it was probably 650fps or so. At 15 yards you could actually tell there was a lag between pulling the trigger and the bullet hitting the target,LOL.
    Between the 38spl and 357mag in a small snub nose revolver I tend to go for the 38spl. especially if it's an Airweight or Alloy frame gun. Yes, you do get more power out of a 357Mag even in a snub but you'll get a lot more muzzle blast and flash too, not that great in a life and death situation. I'd stick with a good +P 38spl load in a snub nose, that'll give you more power but still keep it reasonable.
    I have a 642 S&W and it's not left my side since I picked it up about a month ago. It's so light weight and with the hip grips it tucks into a wasteband and disappears.
    My vote is for the 38spl in something like a 442/642. JMHO, YMMV.

  3. Thanks TN.Frank!

    I'm falling in love with the snubbie. My only hang up is I don't practice with it. I practice plenty with semi-autos but just not enough range time with my Ruger LCR .38spl.

    One question: If the J-frame is primarily going to be used up close and personal on a perp, either on the ground or in the belly, why worry about muzzle flash?

    The .44 spl intrigues me.
  4. Chup


    Feb 11, 2008
    N. Ohio
    I carry the SP101 IWB and a LCR357 in the off hand pocket. Some times I will add a 442 in the mix. The 357 Guns are like having Two Guns because you can use 38 ammo or 357 ammo. From what I see in my area, not a lot off shops carry a choice of 44 special SD ammo. 38+P and 357 is a lot easier and more affordable to come by. As far as muzzle flash, most of the better, if not all, SD ammo has low flash powder and is not that bad in low light. The Sp 101 and LCR 357 are Two Snubs that make shooting and practicing with 357 a reality. The LCR's Tamer Grip take the sting out of the recoil and most people find the stock grip on the SP101 works well also. After years of shooting 357 Snubs I practice with and carry 357 125g. 357 ammo. Sorry I can't do pictures, I don't have any Grandchildren to teach me how.
  5. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    If I was going with a .44, I'd get a magnum for 2 reasons.
    1, like Chup said, it's like 2 guns in one because you can use .44 special or .44 mag. (as Dirty harry did "I use a light special. With a gun this size and weight it has no more recoil than .38 out of a .357." - Magnum Force).
    2, I'm not impressed with the manufacturers of the smaller .44 specials, unless S&W has started. Taurus and Charter Arms are not high on my list of favorite gun makers. May as well get a 2"-3" model 29 and a good OWB holster.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  6. One theory is that muzzle flash in low light can sorta blind you and make it harder for you to see after that.

    As far as practise goes, muzzle flash and big BOOM might make it less likely for you to enjoy shooting (for others it has the opposite affect).

    I don't know about all magnums, but I shot a deer in thick pines over my head, sort of like being indoors. .44mag handgun, no hearing protection, and it was LOUD! Ringing loud.
  7. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    That shouldn't be a theory among people who carry guns. We have guns, we have night, we should be shooting at night at least a little.

    I've night fired with guns ranging from .38 spl, 9mm, .357, .40, .45 and .44 mag. in almost full dark. I've also done it for many, many rounds with others firing the same on both sides of me with up to .357 mag. Muzzle flash was never an issue.

    Same for rifles and machineguns up to .50 BMG. I've just never had muzzle flash become an issue from the shooter's side of the gun. of course, with the rifles and machineguns using military ammo, the lack of muzzle flash is amazing - I mean standing a few feet away in dead, pitch dark where you'd struggle to see your own hand.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  8. I usually blink when I shoot.

    Obviously bright lights challenge your night vision.

    This can all be tested to see if in general it is true. And, as you suggest, an individual can go shooting different types of ammo at night to see if it affects them.

    It is a theory.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  9. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    I like all 3 chamberings. The .38 and .357 can be had in the smallest frame sizes. I see nothing wrong with a revolver chamberes in .44 spl. Sure the magnum option would be neat. If all the gun will ever be used for is protection and range time .44 spl is plenty.

    S&W made some 5 shot L frame 44 spl's. Check into the model numbers 296, 396 and 696.
  10. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    There'd not be as much problem in that case. I'm using mind for HD and I'd hate to have a lot of muzzle flash and blast in a small hallway. Either way if you can find a 44spl for a decent price I think it'd be worth getting into, they a lot of fun to shoot. That big ol' round is uber cool IMHO and pokes a big hole in whatever you hit.
  11. writwing


    Jan 23, 2008
    How is muzzle flash NOT an issue when you are blinded and deaf from a 357???
  12. slumpmaster

    slumpmaster Amateur

    Mar 18, 2002
    NE WA
    In my experience, Bren is correct. I have the opportunity to shoot in the dark once or twice a year for the past ten years (mainly .40, 5.56, 12 gauge). Muzzle flash is really not such an issue when you are behind the gun, and your eyes adjust more quickly than one may think. Also, ammo manufacturers have been known to put some thought into propellant content, and there are some relatively "low flash" loads out there. Federal's "Classic" line comes to mind.

    If you have a place where you can do a night shoot for familiarity, I highly recommend it.

    To the OP, I would go for the .38+p, for a few reasons. First, ammo is affordable and available everywhere. Second, it is reasonably powerful and effective at SD ranges. Recoil is more controllable, guns/holster choices are more common. Finally, since .38 snubs are a dime a dozen, relatively speaking, I wouldn't be upset if I had my CCW languishing in an evidence locker. A .44 of high quality is going to be harder to replace.

    Best of luck.
  13. themiller


    Jan 10, 2010
    my .44 bulldog is fun, and is NOT too hot to shoot. I usually take it out and run a cylinder through it every time I go shooting...

    It did have a timing problem when I first got it (used) but I think that was just the PO not addressing an issue and pawning it instead of getting it fixed (CA fixed for free, shipping included).