LCR 357 vs 38 follow up shots

Discussion in 'The Snubbie Club' started by B-One, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. B-One

    Millennium Member

    First argument:
    Stopping power of the .357 from a snub is greater than .38 +p. I really don't think that there is a definitive answer on this. Most sources I see show about a 200 FPS difference between the two given the same bullet. My sense is that if there is an advantage, it is marginal at best.

    Second argument:
    Follow up shots with the .357 are more difficult and slower because of the greater recoil, thus one is better with the .38 special. I can test this and that is exactly what I just did.

    With the trusty shot timer on my Android, I was able to time the difference between the first and last shot (total of five) from my LCR. I used the LCR 357 for both loads. I decided to use Remington ammo since it is cheap and readily available. I used the .38 special 130 grain fmj load and the 125 grain jhp .357 load. My shots were all from 5 paces and in order for a trial to be counted all shots needed to be on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Average was for 3 trials and of note the first trial for each was tossed due to my throwing a round off target for each. While I had the 125 grain +P loads available, I figured that I would use the standard pressure .38 vs the .357 because the difference between the two would theoretically be greater.

    Average for the .38 special from first shot to last was 0.67 seconds.
    Average for the .357 from first shot to last was 0.72 seconds.

    The difference between the two for me today at 5 yards was 0.05 second.

    Would the results have been different at longer ranges? Possibly, but I didn't test this.

    Was either more or less accurate? My only measure was whether the shots were on the paper or not. My rational was that an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper was about the size of a man's chest.

    Should I have done more trials? More trials would have been a ton of fun, but I think three of each was enough. Interestingly, my best .357 trial beat my worst .38 special trial.

    Would these results be common for most shooters?
    I suspect that the results here will be more common for revolver shooters that shoot more than they would be for those that shoot less.

    I really don't care what I carry in the gun. As I stated earlier, I think that the difference between the .357 and .38 is marginal at best. I will be happy with any hollow point that goes boom. I simply undertook this exercise to see if the .357 recoiled too much for fast and accurate follow up shots. I don't think that 0.05 seconds is a huge difference in time for follow up shots.

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    #1 B-One, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  2. What kind of gun were you using?The difference will be greater if your shooting a LCR 357 compared to a GP-100.

    And yes, I believe the difference will become greater with the longer distances. Shooting fast is not good enough if you are not hitting what you're aiming at. If your target is close, well, that's great, but if you target is at 25 yds, and you actually have to use both of your sights. Well, I believe this would also make the time differences greater. Maybe not by too much, but maybe enough to get you hurt.

    Additionally, I do believe the 357 is a much better caliber then the 38, and the numbers back that up with shooting statistics. That's not to say a 38 won't get the job done. Compare the energy levels of all loads within both calibers. Compare them to other calibers as well. The numbers never lie.

  3. B-One

    Millennium Member

    I really didn't want tbis to be a "stoppkng.power" debate. Here are some numbers for your consideration: The numbers given to justify caliber x or bullet y grossly overstate any action difference.

    However, if I really perceive a significant difference between the 357 and 38 (and I don't) , fast and functionally accurate follow up shots at 5 paces shouldn't deter me from choosing the 357.

  4. I believe he said it was an LCR
  5. Great test, thanks for sharing.
    It looks like you used a full house .357 and an anemic .38. If you had used a +P 38 the times would have been even closer. If you have the time and inclination, try the test again but this time use a smaller target area like the circle on a F.A.S.T. target. Resolve to keep your shots inside the circle. You can print up a FAST target using 8.5 x 11" paper. Then try it one handed.
    Just to reveal where I am on the views on 'stopping power' have me preferring to use a quality 38+P like the 135gr +P Gold Dot over a .357 load.
  6. B-One

    Millennium Member

    I toyed with using the +P ammo I had, but I suspected that the times would be closer as you have stated. When one is talking 0.05 seconds, I really suspect that I am close to being within the margin of error. For me I think that the limiting factor at this range, with this target, with the ammo in question is the speed at which I can pull the trigger. If I were able to stroke the trigger quicker, I think my speed with the .38 specials would have been faster than the .357, but I have no real way of knowing. I postulate that my ability to recover from the recoil of both loads is quicker than my ability to stroke the trigger.

    I could take the test in a lot of different directions. I checked out the FAST target you mentioned and think that using it would be as valid a test as any other. One I considered was firing from a 1 handed retention position on an IDPA target at near contact distance. I think that the one I will try next is to use my LCR 22 to see if my postulate about my ability to quickly pull the trigger in the above paragraph is correct.
  7. Yeah I'm also limited in the speed that I can pull the DA trigger. I've thought of attempting to increase the speed through speed dry firing but I'm not certain the extra .05 or so that I would gain in shot split time would be worth it from a practical self defense point of view.
  8. Just curious, what would your times be with a semi-automatic? 9mm, or anything.

    I like using standard sheets of paper for rapid fire drills as well. Just the right size and obviously very easy to do and frugile on the wallet.
    #8 cowboy1964, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  9. B-One

    Millennium Member

    That would be interesting! One would need to have identical guns that fired different rounds (Glock 19 vs Glock 23 maybe). If my theory about trigger being the limiter is correct, I would speculate that since the trigger is easier to actuate on an auto than a DA revolver that the times would be different, but I wonder by how much.
  10. Actually the velocity difference between a 38+p 125 JHP and a full power 357 125 grn is about 500 fps. Consider this the 38 load is about 850 FPS the 357 load is about 1250-1300 fps from the same gun usually.
  11. This is what I have seen. Since I like Snub Revolvers best and can handle them as well or better than my G26. I carry my SP101 and LCR357 every day with Corbon 357 Ammo.
  12. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Try shooting the .357 Magnum loads in that snubbie in low light conditions and then report back to us.
  13. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    .357 Magnum is best utilized in long barrel revolvers, it's all about case capacity for more gunpowder and it's benefit is velocity.

    If one wants best performance from a snubbie, better to go with a heavier bullet. The .44 Special will be a better chambering IMO.
  14. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Typical 125gr .357 (Hornady CD) chrono'd 1200fps from my LCR, Rem Golden saber 125gr +P .38 does 860fps from my S&W 442.
    Using Buffalo Bore +P .38 158gr does 1012fps in the 442 while PMC 158gr sjsp .357mag does 1024fps from the LCR....recoil feels slightly sharper from the J frame because of the smaller grips and exposed backstrap, but I suspect recovery would be really close.
    #14 Berto, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  15. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    How about flash and blast in low light?
  16. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Both loads (BB and the PMC 158gr) don't actually exhibit that bad of flash, though the mag had the signature 'boom' to it.
    The Rem GS +p actually had more noticeable white flash than the Horn CD .357 125gr...but again, the boom was there much more so with the mag.
    Honestly without hearing protection in enclosed spaces, a big bore is going to hose you just like a +p or magnum when they are shot in a snubby.
    I'd be happier shooting my 200gr Blazer Gold Dots in the steel Taurus 431 over magnums or BB .38sp in Airweights, but toting one is very different vs the other.
  17. Agreed.

    Like being blinded by flash bulb.

    Almost any pistol fire in no light/low light conditions will temporarily blind you. Not to mention deafen you if you don't have plugs in.
  18. I've been finding that when it comes to these calibers the best ones for SD don't slow you down much but can still expand and penetrate.

    That seems to be very hot .38's and mild .357's.

    Basically when you get to 9mm and 9mm +p bullet weights and velocities (as fired from 4-5 inch barrels) the bullet has a good chance to perform how we want it to.

    One of the newest and possibly best .357 magnum loads available now is the Hornady Critical Duty .357 magnum 135 load. I'm looking forward to a snubbie test of this ammo! Medium-loaded with a high quality bullet and low-flash powder.
    #18 Ron3, Mar 31, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015

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