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Old May 5, 2012, 11:14 AM   #1
mjblucci
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Does anyone like shooting .357 in the M&P360?

I keep looking at the Smith & Wesson m&p360 as my most likely choice for concealed carry. I think it's comfortable in the hand, light weight, I prefer the spurred hammer even though every shop owner pushes for the covered hammer m&p340. I see their point but what I like about the 360 is the option to go single action if I have the chance. I'd still train to shoot double action a lot more than single. But what really concerns me is that most reviews on this weapon say it's too light and hurts to shoot .357 out of. I'd of course start training and carrying with .38 special and eventually work up to +p and then to training and carrying .357 in the gun. But what I'm asking is, does anyone on this forum feel comfortable shooting .357 in this gun? It seems odd to me that (IMHO) the best revolver makers in the world made a gun that nobody would shoot with the round it was made for. Any feedback is appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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Old May 5, 2012, 01:17 PM   #2
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They're not fun nor pleasant to shoot with full house .357mag loads but not impossible. Of course, it makes no sense to beat yourself up when you don't have to. Lots of folks practice with .38s and finish a range session with a cylinder or two of .357 to remind themselves how they "feel".
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Old May 5, 2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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Old May 5, 2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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What suffers the most is follow up shots. One of the more effective ways to train is with two quick shots to the center of mass, for most people the 360 takes the quick out of the equation. With .38's (+P or standard pressure) quick follow up shots are more easily and effectively achieved. I've also read that a .357 out of such a short barrel loses significant velocity and come down to hot loaded +P round levels (this is just what I've read on his forum and abroad, please correct me if I'm wrong).

I've always wanted a 360 (The PD is my crush) but have always wrestled with the decision. The cost and the factors above has always made me pass them over. I did own a 342PD and really regret getting rid of it. As much as I loved it, the 342 was a bear to shoot. Compared to the Airweight series, the Airlites are down right uncomfortable to shoot. It's amazing what just 4oz will do when it comes to felt recoil. There was also the issue of bullet pulling that can lock up the gun if your not careful.

A little over a year ago my wife offered to buy me a new gun for my birthday. I spent nearly a month trying to decide between the 637 and the 360PD. In the end, I went with the 637 and used the left over cash for a set of CT's and some ammo. You might want to consider that factors above and then take a good hard look at the 637. You can start now!

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Old May 6, 2012, 12:40 AM   #5
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The 360 PD was never meant for full time 357 use, at least thats what S&W told me after my second frame. There is no such thing as a fast follow up with those and magnums. It is a great carry gun and shoots nice with +P or +P+ 38's, but so does a 642 at half the cost.

The individual barrel will cause more difference than a short barrel for velocity. My 640-1 shot 145 WW silvertips at 1250 FPS. That is not bad in anyone's book. The short barrel loads and Golden Sabre are more like 3/4 mag load and are much more comfortable in the small guns.

I either carry Cor-Bon DPX or WW 125 grain magnums in my snubbies.
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Old May 6, 2012, 07:39 AM   #6
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I shoot and carry a S&W 340 M&P, and while .357 magnum is not the most fun in the world....it certainly is not the monster that many on the internet make it out to be.

Start out with .38, work up to .38+P, and eventually .357 mag, and you will get along just fine with the j-frame.

I have found that the optimal round for me is the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr .38+P

I also have some Gold Dot in .357 magnum, and my accuracy and follow up speed is perfectly acceptable at 5 to 7 yards.

The j-frame is not my favorite gun to shoot, but while in a crowded room last night, with a tightly packed crowd of uber-liberals......arguing about gun control....my J-frame was the perfect concealed weapon!


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Old May 7, 2012, 08:39 AM   #7
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Thanks to everybody for the input. I also looked at the model 60 and I did check out the model 637. I even looked at smith and wesson's 22lr and .22wmr snubbies. The price on the 637 is a very large factor in the possibility of sticking with a .38 revolver, but I'm all about having options that give me the most bang for my buck. So I'd most likely be more motivated to buy a single/double action 5 shot .357mag that has the most various abilities and function. The model 60 being heavier might draw my attention as a more controllable firearm but does anyone think the 7 or 8 ounce difference in weight will change the felt recoil of the gun? I know a stainless steel gun will be tough enough. I dont really know about the strength of scandium frames either. Any ideas?
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Old May 7, 2012, 09:08 AM   #8
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Absolutely!

The model 60 is much more shootable.

If you want a .357 snub that is shootable, look at the Ruger sp101.
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Old May 7, 2012, 09:23 AM   #9
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7 to 8 oz. does make a difference when shooting lightweight 357's. I won't shoot anything lighter than my Mod 60 with a 3 inch barrel. And the I'm using my watered down reloads or Remington Golden Sabers, a mid load 357 factory round with a 125 gr HP.

For pocket work I went with the Mod 638 and a set of CT lasers. The 3 in. mod 60 is used on the belt. The 357 is a great round but to enjoy shooting I think staying in the 25 oz or so with a steel gun is where I draw the line on that round.

Whatever you decide on get something that you will shoot. It's highly unlikely you will ever use the gun for self defense and will enjoy the range time with something you can shoot.
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Old May 7, 2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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Everything that has been said I need not repete. I have a 638 for carry, if I feel I need a .357 I get out my Ruger SP101, all steel.

TBS, if I felt the need for close to .357mag out of my 638 .38 +p, I'd load it with +P short barrel buffalo bore 158g LSWCHPs. 1000fps

But I settle for GDHP 135g SB +Ps.
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Old May 7, 2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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I think the ruger sp101 is the snub nose I tested out at the range. It was a little jumpy to shoot but it had good weight to it. And didn't Hurt my hand until I was done with about 100 rounds of Remington 125 gr. .357 in fact my hand was more fatigued and shaky rather than painful ...however the trigger pull left something to be desired with the sp101. I prefer the trigger pull on a smith and wesson. Gosh I miss my 686-3 it was nowhere near concealable but it had a great smooth trigger.
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Old May 7, 2012, 04:07 PM   #12
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I found a used S&W 60-14 in my LGS about a month ago. It handles very well with the 38+P ammo I like to load it with. I did run a cylinder of 357 thru it and it was really accurate, but dang it was like getting hit with a hammer in the palm of my hand. So I now keep it in the nightstand in place of my Colt Trooper MKIII. It's a lot easier to see the sights on a SS gun than a blued one at night. YMMV.
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Old May 7, 2012, 08:16 PM   #13
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the M&P360 is my choice for carry. Fits my pocket with a Mika holster and is much lighter and smaller than other choices mentioned.
In recoil tests I did, the Remington GoldenSabr 125gr .357mag was the best for my carry. But don't try to use any full power .357mag, like Federal AmericanEagle .158gr. Can't control the recoil and it will hurt.
For practice just use .38spec. I also reload .357mag cases with a .38spec load for practice.
Just shoot one cylinder of your .357mag carry ammo at practice to be familiar with the results.
og
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Old May 7, 2012, 08:26 PM   #14
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Does anyone like shooting .357 in the M&P360?

Bring one round; I'll provide the full-tilt ammo, and we can discuss it after...

*popcorn*
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Old May 8, 2012, 07:28 AM   #15
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The difference in weight between the model 60 and the 360 will be very noticeable. However, that same weight that makes shooting more comfortable will also make carrying it less comfortable, depending how you carry.
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Old May 8, 2012, 10:27 PM   #16
Walklightly
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...however the trigger pull left something to be desired with the sp101.
Mine was pretty heavy, I switched to the 9lbs hammer spring with no mifires, trigger is pretty nice now.

I did shoot an Air lite with the Titaniam cylider once, OK I took two shot with .357s.
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Old May 10, 2012, 02:20 AM   #17
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I have the M&P 340 which is about 2 ounces heavier than your 360PD. I do not enjoy shooting magnums, even Speer Short Barrel, out of this revolver. I load 4 158 grain .38 +p and a 158 grain .357 magnum in the 5th chamber. I practice mostly with reloads simulating the +P recoil and then a cylinder, or two, of reloads simulating the magnum recoil. I really do not enjoy shooting 50 rounds of this combination. I prefer my 6-1/2" S& W 629 and .44 magnum by comparison.
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Old May 10, 2012, 11:46 AM   #18
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If you do decide to go with a 360, you should practice with what you intend on carrying. So many times I hear people say, "just fire off 5 rounds to get the feel of the .357". I doubt that a cylinder per session is going to familiarize you with such a potent round, unless you practice every day. I also never understood the 4 rounds of .38 and one .357 method but to each their own. If people don't intend on carrying the .357's, why spend the extra money?

As for the frame strength, I haven't anything about cracked frames on the .357's Airlites but I have seen and heard a few about the .44 mags.
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Old May 10, 2012, 10:15 PM   #19
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The 5th chamber is .357 magnum to let me know I've shot my 5 shots. I have great trouble reloading this little J-Frame. So rather than fuss with reloading, when the .357 magnum goes off, and I will notice it, I drop the J-Frame and draw a BUG I sometimes carry, a compact 9mm.
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Old May 11, 2012, 01:10 PM   #20
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Yes, the lighter .357 M&P J's are a handful when loaded with full-power Magnum ammunition. I've known large, strong guys who didn't want to finish shooting a cylinder load of Magnum rounds after firing 1-2 rounds.

I tried an assortment of Magnum loads in my first M&P 340. I found some which exhibited bullet pull (jumping crimps) when tested as recommended in the manual, and some which didn't.

While I used Magnum ammunition for qualification the first time, and demonstrated I can make fast, accurate hits shooting "doubles" & "triples" out to 10-11 yards, I typically don't carry Magnum ammunition, not do I routinely practice with it.

I usually use +P loads for practice/quals (sometimes standard pressure, depending on availability), and carry the same +P loads. At present I carry either Winchester's new 130gr +P RA38B (same thing as the 20-rd commercial box PDX1, but it comes in a 50-rd Ranger box) or Speer's 135gr +P GDHP. Shooting 50 or more rounds of either starts to take a toll on your trigger finger, though (pounding against the trigger guard under recoil). I've also carried & used Remington's 125gr BJHP +P and their 158gr LHP +P upon occasion.

I look at my pair of M&P 340's (1 w/lock & 1 w/o) as sort of "improved" 642's (I have a pair of 642-1's). Stronger scandium aluminum frames and a better sight (XS standard size dot night sight & a nicely shaped rear U-notch). The use of an aluminum yoke and sleeved barrel makes it a bit lighter than my 642's, too.

The fact that my M&P 340's came chambered in Magnum was more of an unneeded "extra" for my desires. I'd have been satisfied with it coming in just .38 S&W Special +P (like the LAPD SKU model).

If I want to shoot Magnum loads I'll get the SP101 DAO out of the safe.

I've fired the even lighter PD Magnum J's, but I don't care for the titanium cylinder. Really light in a pocket holster, though.

Personally, I think the ultra light Magnum J's are really pushing the practical boundaries of the human/gun/ammunition interface.

I've met a gun who was proud of the fact that he'd fired several hundred Magnum rounds through his PD, and he was anxiously planning to order a M&P and exclusively use Magnum loads. Good for him. He's young, large and strong ... and apparently enjoys the experience.

Now, I grew up learning to shoot Magnum handloads through Ruger revolvers, and my idea of a pleasant afternoon was shooting a few hundred stout Magnum handloads through my Rugers. I still find shooting a 2 1/2" M66 with assorted full-power Magnum loads to be a relaxing range experience, and expect it to shoot accurately out to 75yds.

I don't, however, "enjoy" shooting 125gr, 130gr, 145gr, 158gr & 180gr Magnum loads through the M&P 340.

Besides, owning and using more than half a dozen J-frames, I've found I can wring great accuracy out of them, along with good controllability & recoil management for rapid shot strings, using the +P loads I've found to work well in my J's. Using the +P loads gives me a slight edge during quals & practice drills when it comes to recovery & controllability compared to using Magnum loads.

I don't make blanket recommendations when it comes to guns & ammunition, though. Not for other folks. I prefer to have them try whatever gun/caliber/ammo choice they're considering out on the firing line ... and let them decide for themselves.

Try one and see what you think, and decide for yourself.

You might also consider shooting one of the Magnum-rated steel J's, too, and consider the weight against both carry role and shooting experience.

Just some thoughts.
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:20 PM   #21
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I have never seen the point in these ultra-light snubbies in 357 let alone 38+p. They are small and light and great for carry but if you can never feel like you control the gun they lose their whole reason to be IMO. Everybody seems to agree that they are no fun to shoot (quotes like "hitting your hand with a 2x4", etc. don't inspire me to want one). I love snubbies but I like mine with a little more heft. You can get something like a SP-101, even K or L frame S&W snubbie at 25 ounces plus that you can shoot all day and really get good at. That to me is the point of the gun and the goal - not just being able to hide it easily.
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Old May 11, 2012, 05:09 PM   #22
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Another consideration is the relative cost between the regular Airweights rated for +P and the Ti/Sc guns chambered in Magnum (or the M&P's with their PVD treated stainless cylinders and Sc frames).

The MSRP for the 442/642 is about $450 ... the M&P 340/60 is about $870 ... and the 340/360PD is about $1020 ... and the 60/640's running between-ish.

You can buy a couple of holsters and a fair amount of ammunition for the difference between an Airweight and an Airlite. More range/practice time, too.

Personally, I wouldn't carry one if I couldn't shoot it safely, controllably, accurately & rapidly. Maybe someday I'll reach that point. Dunno. (Aging and some physical conditions, injuries & ailments make shooting harder recoiling handguns increasingly difficult, if not impossible, right? Especially for some folks who were "Magnum enthusiasts" as younger shooters. I'm pushing 60 as it is.)

I know one large (1200+) LE agency that was exploring issuing 5-shot J's to its officers as secondary/BUG guns. Last I heard, after some range testing & evaluation it was felt that standard pressure 148gr wadcutters might be a preferable load (being considered against +P loads) due to the much improved shooting/scoring demonstrated by some folks involved in the evaluation. Dunno what became of the program, though, as I got distracted by other issues since the last time I spoke with someone who was involved.

I don't know what LAPD is authorizing/issuing to its folks who bought the .38 Spl Only M&P 340 variation, but I'd not be surprised if it's probably one of the newer +P loads. NYPD uses the Speer 135gr +P GDHP. (Although I've read that their duty/authorized ammunition contract is scheduled to be up for bid this year, and Winchester was reported as being interested. Anybody hear anything further?)

I think folks ought to shoot what they can shoot best in the little J's, taking into consideration they might have to do so under the stressful and difficult conditions involved in an unexpected shooting situation.

I do.

I can do well with Magnum loads ... but I can do even better, recovery-wise, using +P loads. The difference between going from standard pressure up to +P isn't as noticeably different, for me, like it is going from +P up to Magnum. That matters to me.
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Old May 11, 2012, 08:42 PM   #23
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If you do not see any value in a light weight .357 magnum pocket revolver, ignore them. No need to bash them, or folks that buy one. Personally I view the light weight pocket revolver to be a benefit when at 'Grab the belt buckle' distances are involved. I see no need for the little revolver to be accurate for bullseye shooting. I also think 980 fps with a 158 grain bullet is preferable to a 135 grain bullet at 850 fps.

It comes down to different strokes for different folks. If the light weight .357 magnum revolver does not float your boat, then don't buy one. I do find it a handfull to shoot and not as pleasant as a N Frame 627.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:30 AM   #24
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Hook686: I've heard of people carrying "4+1" like that, but most carry the .357 round first. Their logic is that the Mag load is the initial "get-offa-me" shot and the 4 .38's are the controllable followup shots. The noise & flash of the Mag round is also useful as a "call for help"....according to them....

....thinking about it, the practice almost makes sense....
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