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Old June 1, 2009, 06:47 PM   #1
ninjatoth
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Snubs .45acp Vs .357 Magnum?

I was just wondering what you all thought about which one of these guns would be better for self defense.I am naming the .45acp and the .357 magnum because they are so ballistically similar in foot lbs energy(around 400FPE in a snub)yet are so different in slug weight and velocity.What are the pros and cons of each caliber?I am not an expert at all,and I do really want to know from experienced people which round is better.
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Old June 1, 2009, 07:15 PM   #2
azsixshooter
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My vote is for .357 Magnum.

You might want to consider some other things too:

With the .357 Mag if you have to resort to scrounging ammo on the street or from friends you can use .38 Special, .38 +p, .38 +p+ or .357 Mag. If you want to shoot less expensive ammo, ie- plinking, you can load up with .38's. For self-defense you can load a nice 125 grain SJHP or something and for hunting you can carry some kind of full house 180 or 200 grain hard cast bullet like what Buffalo Bore or Corbon offer. Or load something for yourself. Not sure if snake shot is available for .45 ACP or not, it probably is. It definitely is for .357 Mag, but I grew up in Michigan and never saw a Michigan Rattler. My uncle and cousins lived out in Howell across from this wetland/swampy area and they were always back in there bowhunting and they said they saw rattlers in there. We have them here in AZ

Do you already have any other guns in either caliber? That could affect your decision either way, maybe you want something different or maybe you'd want to be able to use the same rounds or loading dies for each gun. Or maybe you might have a spouse or child who might someday be called upon to defend the castle gates. Maybe it would be nice to have access to some lighter recoiling .38's to shoot out of a .357 Mag.

I'm sure I can think of many other reasons to select .357 Mag, but that should give you something to think of and I know others will add more. Personally I don't really get the .45 ACP in a revolver platform idea, but I know there are a lot of guys who love that round and if they already have dies or something for it and don't want to retool for a more traditional revolver cartridge I guess it makes sense. Or if they just want to keep one cartridge across several guns. I have a friend who is talking about doing that. As a staunch member of the .357 Mag fan club I'll be giving him a good talking to as well Maybe I'll point him to this thread too depending on how it turns out.

As always, good advice when selecting a new gun or cartridge is to try and fire each as much as possible. As many different power level loads as you can from as many different potential platforms as possible.

Good luck in your qwest, I hope you get a .357 Magnum! You won't regret it!
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Old June 1, 2009, 07:17 PM   #3
KyJim
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(1) A .357 magnum can be loaded to a lot higher energy levels than a .45 acp
(2) Energy is not everything. The .357 mag's velocity insures expansion in hollow points and penetrates more than adequately. A .45 from a short barrel is pretty iffy to expand.

Having said this, I would not mind carrying a .45 acp snubby.
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Old June 1, 2009, 07:29 PM   #4
ninjatoth
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Quote:
Do you already have any other guns in either caliber? That could affect your decision either way
I actually just got my first handgun in January and it is a .357 snub 2".I did alot of research on ammo ballistics and found the .357 to be about as good as it gets in a small gun,but with all the research I failed to notice that the 600 foot lb readings were from 6" barrels,and my 2" shaves 1/3 of that energy off,and I actually have a gun that isn't really any more powerful than a hot 9mm or .45acp.Either way,I think I made the right choice being so unexperienced,I don't need to fool with moon clips,I just go buy a box of ammo and load and shoot,keep it loaded with .357s at night and hope I never need to use them
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Old June 1, 2009, 07:31 PM   #5
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a .357 is easier to conceal than a big old .45


but I love my .45 just as much as my .357's


then the last two guys make good points.


maybe one of each?
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Old June 1, 2009, 10:06 PM   #6
treg
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If your talking about a revo to conceal - small frame revo's are available in .357 magnum but not .45 ACP., therefore, much more likely to be with you when you need it.
For non-concealed SD I'd lean towards the .45 ACP revo using .45 autorim cases. If moonclips were neccessary (full or 1/2) then the .357 would get the nod.
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Old June 1, 2009, 11:05 PM   #7
Lost Sheep
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45, but not by much

Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim
(1) A .357 magnum can be loaded to a lot higher energy levels than a .45 acp
(2) Energy is not everything. The .357 mag's velocity insures expansion in hollow points and penetrates more than adequately. A .45 from a short barrel is pretty iffy to expand.

Having said this, I would not mind carrying a .45 acp snubby.
All true. And I use both (one at a time) for personal protection. But I do expect more reliable effect from the 45 ACP than from the .357.

Getting both expansion and penetration is iffy with any bullet from a short barrel unless you are willing to put up with a lot of muzzle blast. The .45 caliber bullet is, in effect, already expanded.

Even better than the 45 would be a 500 S&W loaded to 800 fps. Certainly not easily concealed, but it shootls like a .22 rimfire and hits even harder the the 45.

I am a firm believer in the "big bullet" theory.

In Marshall and Sanow's studies, the 125 grain expanding 357 slug has the same statistics on one-shot stops as the solid (non-expanding) 45 ACP. And it does it with less blast, flash and recoil.

Lost Sheep

Just my personal stand (and subject to change). Everybody is entitled to draw their own conclusions from the evidence.
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Old June 2, 2009, 12:53 AM   #8
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+1 to the one of each suggestion
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Old June 2, 2009, 05:15 AM   #9
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I concider my SP101 and officers model interchangable.I wouldn't sell one, esp one that I know shoots well, to get the other.also if your looking at a 45 acp revolver you are looking at a much bigger gun even the 5 shot taurus cyl is huge in compairison.
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Old June 2, 2009, 08:20 AM   #10
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.45 auto revolver reloads with moon clips, faster or as fast as an automatic. Can use 45 GAP in it as well as 45 auto rimmed. Recoil isn't as great, but harder than conceal.
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Old June 2, 2009, 11:19 AM   #11
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I could be happy with either caliber but the 357 is available in a smaller and more concealable gun so it would get my nod. Just MHO :Bill
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Old June 2, 2009, 12:40 PM   #12
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I got a .357 beacuse my father in law told me the .38 ammo is cheap to shoot,but I bought the gun before I checked out ammo prices.The .38 ammo isn't a whole lot cheaper than the .357:barf:.and I got a snub for home defense,not concealing.I just thought a snub would be impossible to be taken away from me in a struggle,and my house is pretty small.longest shot I would ever have to take would be 20 feet
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Old June 2, 2009, 12:56 PM   #13
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Years ago Big 5 was selling Speer Lawman .38 (+p I think) for $6/50! I bought as many as I could afford. It sucks ammo costs so much now. We are going to lose a lot of new shooters to the game if they see the current prices/unavailability and think it's going to be like this forever or get worse.
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Old June 2, 2009, 01:06 PM   #14
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:barf::barf::barfur local sporting goods store has an ammo shelf about 30 ft long with ammo on both sides,but since January,it is all but gone with signs saying "sorry we are on order",and all they had were like 5/50rnd boxes of magtech .38 158 LRN,and they were like $15.50 a box,and that's about as cheap as .38 ammo comes around here(exept for the remanufactured stuff which is only about $2 cheaper)
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Old June 2, 2009, 06:48 PM   #15
jim n iowa
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I carry a Kimber Ultra ll, it will fit in your back pocket of your jeans, it has a 3" barrel. A .45acp is a very good stopper, jhp,swc or ball, this gun will handle all, OFB. Colt makes a Defender 3", similar that will probably need some throat work.
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Old June 2, 2009, 07:43 PM   #16
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I have Both....sorta.........

Actually, I have a Ruger SP101, .357mag. and a Taurus 450, .45 Colt. Both with 2" barrels.
(I do not have a .45acp Snub.)
Both are 5 shot Snubs. I have carried them both. Both are Reliable.
Both are Stoppers.....For anyone or anything, I'm likely to encounter.
They weigh pretty close to the same and are adequately powerful.

But for one fact, I would equally carry either of them.
The Taurus is W-i-d-e-r, by a bit, as in fatter, through the cylinder.
As such, it does not conceal as well. It also has a bigger, softer grip,
which adds to the problem.

I do carry that old .45Colt Taurus, once in a while, though.........
Just because "I Like To".
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:30 PM   #17
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45 vs 357

The 45 vs 357 mag argument always makes me grin - as if either wouldn't be sufficient for a human target in a self-defense situation. Both calibers are the upper end gold standard for self-defense. Anything more powerful than these is frankly dangerous to innocent bystanders, and these two rounds can be pretty dangerous to innocent bystanders if the shooter doesn't have good control with target acquisition and following through with hitting their target. I suspect both may very well overpenetrate anyway at close range. It's like comparing a BMW to a Mercedes Benz - both are more than adequate. From what I've seen, the effects of both 45 and 357 mag in hollow point in gelatin are basically the same. I would flip a coin and carry either one into a gun fight. The real question is which is a person more accurate with?
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Old June 17, 2009, 06:57 PM   #18
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I have both and with full HD loads I can control the recoil on the ACP better. The frame on the ACP is bigger/heavier but if your not going to carry it shouldnt be a problem. If your going to carry, use the 357 (I have a Model 60 SW)
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Old June 17, 2009, 08:36 PM   #19
OldShooter
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45 v 357

I don't know anything about 357 and I'm not voting here. I just want to report on a gun I shot today.

A friend just picked up a Colt Night Defender. 3" barrel I think. We shot a bunch of ball ammo through it, no problems, smooth operation and very comfortable. Mag holds 7 rounds, get your whole hand on the grips, easy to control. I'm guessing it's thinner than a wheel gun of similar caliber. I think it would make a fine CC gun even IWB.
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Old June 17, 2009, 10:11 PM   #20
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My 21 ounce Millenium Pro shoot 185 Golden Sabres very comfortably. My 357 experience is with a Model 19 4" and 66 2.5". Both were uncomfortable and loud. 2nd shots took a lot longer than the .45.
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Old July 8, 2009, 10:08 PM   #21
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.357 magnum FTW
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Old July 8, 2009, 10:26 PM   #22
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I'd vote for the 357, partly because of the gun's thickness, but also no messing with moon clips. I don't carry speedloaders, instead speedstrips which fit easily and comfortably into pants pockets. Requiring an extra piece to keep your bullets ready to fire is in my mind unsettling for a defensive weapon, and has all the drawbacks of a speedloader, while being more crippling should your rounds free themselves from the moonclip. 357 goes out of the box into the cylinder, the only limiting factor is your degree of experience loading the weapon.

Looking at numbers on Speer's site, the 45 will have more momentum, but less energy (comparing the short barrel variants of their Gold Dot, subtracting 100fps from the 45 round since its test length was 4"). I can't draw a clean conclusion on what that means to your target, but I can say my 357 hits my hand much harder than any .45 I've ever fired (never bruised my palm with a 45). And conservation of energy, being the fickle beast it is, says that means it's hitting the target harder. *shrug*

Also I get to use the word magnum more frequently, which truly is its own reward.
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Old July 8, 2009, 11:08 PM   #23
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The numbers I'm coming up with are below, Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel if you're curious, "correcting" for a 2" barrel on the .45

http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx

.45ACP 230gr 720fps, 265Ft.Lb. (23.7 Lb.ft/s)
.357mag 135gr 990fps, 294Ft.Lb. (19.1 Lb.ft/s)

10% less energy for 24% more momentum. Don't know what that means exactly for terminal ballistics, but I still vote for 357
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Old July 9, 2009, 02:23 AM   #24
.351winchester
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IMHO, a .45 ACP DA revolver one of the very best choices for a HD handgun, something like a 325 Nightguard or 625 JM (though a .44 Mag loaded up with .44 Spl. or ProLoad's lite police load would be a more versatile choice particularly to any type of outdoorsman; and a lot simpler than having various loads for .41 Mag, 10mm, or .45 LC for a non-reloader at least, though a 625 in .460 Rowland/.45 ACP would make a hell of a utility revolver too).

A .357 is extremely violent and debilitating to the senses of the shooter, that's even before we consider a short barrel and a darkened indoor environment, or possible medium to small frame weapon something more likely to be CCW'ed. The .45 is comparatively low pressure and mild. Moon clips were mentioned, and a valid point as a positive IMO. Like the idea of a revolver-reliable and with any any type bullet profile. Just like a pump shotgun (or even Trapper length revolver ctg. carbine), something about the fact of being a designated HD weapon, I want as little chance of malfunction possible. And prefer control over a heavier hitter of comparable potential that demands longer shot-to-shot recovery time (I think for instance even big guys could benefit using a 20 ga. vs. a 12).

Both rounds have decades of street cred as manstoppers, as much as a handgun can have. Different principles in cartridge design, both solid choices.
Plenty of loads out there for .45 out of a short barrel and the selection is wide open without the issue of a feed ramp favoring certain bullets. I have also read, whether true or not I dunno, the amount of freebore between a seated bullet and start of rifling in a revolver, raises velocity to where say a .45 bullet fired from a 4" wheelgun is the same as from a 5" automatic. Do not know if this is true or not. I do know todays bullet technology is phenomenal and there has to be more than one reliable expander from a snub .45 ACP (think of how popular micro 1911s and baby Glocks, XD's Kahrs and the like are right now in .45.)

Maybe it's not manly to say, but I think what a gun does to you can be almost as imortant as what it does to the opponent. I can tell you an 11 oz. .357 is not something I'd ever do good work with probably even if filled with .38 +p, cause I could never get into training with such a punishing weapon.

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Old July 9, 2009, 05:48 AM   #25
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I believe Marshall/Sanow lists .45 ACP ball ammo as less effective than the infamous 'FBI' load - the .38 +P 158gr LHPSWC from a 2" snubby. The latter is my choice here - loaded in 2" 10, 4" 64, & 642. I also have speedloaders and moonclips loaded with it for my .357Ms in the safe, so anything here in .38/.357M could be 'forced' into HD use.

Given the choice between a S&W 325NG or 327NG for HD, I am afraid I would go with the increased capacity of the 8-shooter - and load it with the aforementioned +P .38's. Their soft lead HP is a known quantity, opening reliably at lower velocities. The lowered velocity, and fragile nature of the soft lead - particularly the Remington R38S12's, means less neighborhood collateral damage, too. You are responsible for the entire flight path of any & all projectiles you launch in any situation, even a home invasion, etc.

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