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Old November 18, 2012, 11:24 PM   #1
uradaisyifudo
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snub .38 vs .357 vs .9mm etc

With the shorter barrel length, how do the various rounds deliver downrange/ballistically? There is a lot of powder behind a .357 vs .38 vs .380 but with the shorter barrel does that powder get to make the difference it could? I understand the bullet weight/length factors in there too, so where does that happy medium lie? This is kind of a bang for your buck question only I have to figure with the. 357 in a snub nose you get a whole lot of bang for your buck Just maybe not the best overall performance downrange given the reduced barrel length.

I'd appreciate your insight.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:39 PM   #2
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There are now "short barrel ammunition" loadings in all three calibers (not .380, but 9mm luger)... so that'd be the place to start. Currently, Speer and Buffalo bore make the largest selection. I've used the 9mm in a Kahr.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:43 PM   #3
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Lots of information to review at Ballistics by the Inch.
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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It makes sense they would make hotter rounds for shorter barrels, same reason you don't want to reload rifle cartridges with pistol powder! The link to the ballistics site is also interesting, leaving me with more gun research Thanks
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:38 AM   #5
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Holy smoke, bang and flash Jim, that was interesting and maybe demonstrating my naivite about pistol rounds, but reading those charts, it appears the 9mm outperforms the 357 in terms of muzzel velocities pushing similar grain sized bullets up until the barrel reaches 5 or maybe 6 inches (they both appear to outperform the .38 which made more sense). I'll need to spend some more time with side by side comparison when I can cut and paste into a spreadsheet (geeks with guns). All the same pretty eye opening.
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Old November 19, 2012, 01:05 AM   #6
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^ I don't think so
BUFFALO-BARNES HEAVY 357 MAG 125 gr. BARNES XPB 1448 fps - S&W mod 66, 2.5 inch barrel
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Old November 19, 2012, 03:24 AM   #7
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The charts do illustrate that 9mm isn't the "weak" round that a lot of people seem to regard it as.

9mm corbon 115gr JHP chrono's out of my 5.35" Glock 34 at: 1400fps/500ft-lbs.

which means my 5.35" glock 9 is on par with a 3" .357 mag.

I think 9mm gets a bad rep due to it's lighter loadings being very light (as little as 200 ft-lbs). So when you say "9mm ammo", it's quite a range of power levels you're talking about. And also due to an unfortunate fad in the late 80's involving 147gr subsonic 9mm, which simply proved to not be a very effective stopper.

out of a same-length barrel though, .38, 9x19mm, and .357 should show a steady progression in firepower. with the slowest 9's being very similar to a .38, and the fastest 9's being close on the heels of the most common .357 defense loads.

I think .38 and 9mm suffer a bit in short barrels, especially the .38. While .40/.45/.357 have enough punch to get away with a short barrel and still be effective.
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Old November 19, 2012, 04:14 AM   #8
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I like 357

it was enjoyable to read the thread.
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:30 AM   #9
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9mm is the better choice in smaller guns. The 357 was originally desiged for 158 gr loads @ 1500 fps from 6" barrels. If you want to carry a gun that large and heavy you can get some pretty impressive power. Along with impressive recoil and blast.

A 2.5" 357 is about the same overall size as a 4" 9mm. With common 124/125 gr loads the 9mm equals or beats 357 from the shorter barrels with 2-3X more ammo and far less blast and recoil. The really hot loads some refer to have recoil and blast that is off the charts, not recommended, especially in 2-3" guns.

Even from 4" barrels the 357 is usually only 50-100 fps faster. There is a reason revlovers have become obsolete in LE circles.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:11 AM   #10
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^ As usual you have it wrong. We have been over this again, and again where you kept saying the same thing about 10mm and the .357 and I proved that a 4" to 5" .357 S&W had more energy than any 10mm factory gun. What 9mm factory gun puts a 125 grain bullet north of 1450 fps? A 2.5" revolver will and that would be similar to a 4" Glock if we play pretend and ingore the listed barrel length. And revolvers have a cylinder gap which more than compensates for the barrel measurement difference. Put the .357 in a semi-auto and it will smoke what ever even more. Where you all get your facts? Let's keep it real

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Old November 19, 2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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"...which means my 5.35" glock 9 is on par with a 3" .357 mag."
No sorry
3 inch S&W J frame
125gr. Jacketed Hollow Point = 1476 fps
From Buffalo Bore
Energy of 605 foot-pounds for a 125 grain bullet at 1476 fps
The 9mm is a good choice, but just don't get all excited and pretend it is something it is not, i.e. a .357 mag. Just be happy that is is a good choice for self-defense.

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Old November 19, 2012, 02:09 PM   #12
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What makes this an easy choice for me is I shoot my 3" model 13 or my 2" sp101 better than I do my Glock 19. In my case 38 special trumphs 9mm in a snub
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Old November 23, 2012, 05:16 PM   #13
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One thing to be aware of though, is that .357s kick much harder in the small guns than .38 or 9x19. If it kicks too hard is an individual call.
A 25oz SP-101 is the smallest I'll go with .357 magnum.
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Old November 23, 2012, 05:35 PM   #14
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"A 25oz SP-101 is the smallest I'll go with .357 magnum"
I had a 27 ounce 3" SP101 and liked it but it was too light for me to shoot .357 comfortably and too heavy to make sense as a .357 light/.38 Special. I now have a .357 LCR which is 17 ounces and is comfortable for me with mild .357 and max .38 Special loads. Better trigger but no hammer. I like a hammer. Many have no problem with hot .357 in the SP101, but not me.
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Old November 23, 2012, 06:28 PM   #15
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.357s in the SP hurt! That's why it's the minimum. For steady .357 shooting, K-frame is as low as I'll go. I think I've shot some 158gr magnum, but that was thru a 6" HB revolver.
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Old November 23, 2012, 07:01 PM   #16
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The psi for the 9mm is the same as the 357 at 35,000 psi. The 9mm +p is even higher at 38,500. Do not be deceived by these numbers. The case capacity is why the 357 outperforms the 9mm +p.

I get 1750 fps from my 6" 357 with 125 grain bullets. I use Laser hardcast with Accurate #9. You are not going to even come close to this with a 9mm. There is not enough case capacity to handle the volume of the slower burning powders. To match this velocity the 9mm you would need a faster burning powder, that creates more pressure, putting it over the safe zone of 38,500.

There are exception to all these rules with a revolver or auto built to handle higher SAAMI pressures. For example: The Blackhawk and Redhawk 357s could be loaded to blow the doors off any argument if need be. The case capacity has the final say!
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Old November 24, 2012, 08:19 PM   #17
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The case capacity has the final say!
My Dad alway's said "There is no replacement for cubic inches".
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Old November 24, 2012, 09:17 PM   #18
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I would like to add all of my 9mm self defense ammo that lists fps shows 1200 fps +/- and it is all 115/124gr. the 124 gr stuff is close enough for me at about 1200 if it does what it says. I m happy with the 200 so fps difference for the 15+ rounds i get per load. We all know that case capacity takes over in a big way especialy in the heavier bullet weights of the same diameter. the 30.06/.308 and so on. Happy with the 9mm for all the bullets i get but a .357 it aint.
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Old November 24, 2012, 10:10 PM   #19
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I get that there is more powder behind a 357, but with a shorter barrel, that powder doesn't have the opportunity to deliver the punch it could with a longer barrel (rifle cartridges shot via pistols being the prime example). As I understand it some rounds are manufactured with faster burning powder to work better with shorter barrels. All the same, they can really only make powder so "hot" and still safe, so at some point, as the barrel gets shorter, the larger cartridge must provide only diminishing and marginal returns with some of that powder not burning before the bullet exits the barrel and not contributing to the bullet's velocity...right? I was never trying to indicate a 9 mm has anywhere near the powder capacity of a 357, it doesn't, but as the barrel gets shorter, it stands to reason that the extra powder in a 357 delivers less punch...OR maybe the powder wizards have it worked out so that it does, I am still learning.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:27 PM   #20
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All of these post make me wonder if maybe my wife wasn't born a man (if she was her surgeon was incredible). She shoots her snubby .357 with a 125gr bullet at 1300fps all day long. And yet I keep seeing these male mammals post about how the 357 is too brutal in a snubby.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
I get that there is more powder behind a 357, but with a shorter barrel, that powder doesn't have the opportunity to deliver the punch it could with a longer barrel (rifle cartridges shot via pistols being the prime example). As I understand it some rounds are manufactured with faster burning powder to work better with shorter barrels. All the same, they can really only make powder so "hot" and still safe, so at some point, as the barrel gets shorter, the larger cartridge must provide only diminishing and marginal returns with some of that powder not burning before the bullet exits the barrel and not contributing to the bullet's velocity...right? I was never trying to indicate a 9 mm has anywhere near the powder capacity of a 357, it doesn't, but as the barrel gets shorter, it stands to reason that the extra powder in a 357 delivers less punch...OR maybe the powder wizards have it worked out so that it does, I am still learning.
All good points uradaisyifudo.

The cartridges themselves should never be up for debate, but what they are fired out of is definitely negotiable.
A two inch revolver is going to lose roughly 150 fps over a 4" revolver. To compensate and reduce muzzle flash I use a faster burning powder in my snub, but this will not increase velocity because the faster burning powder reaches the pressure ceiling with less powder (the pressure is more concentrated). There is no velocity increase but it does reduce muzzle flash, noise, and save money in wasted powder.

The advantage of a longer barrel with a slower burning powder is the pressure is less concentrated and distributed down the barrel. This allows for more powder which in turn increases velocity.

When I first started reloading this old guy took me out on this concrete slab with 5 different types of powder. He pored them out evenly in 5 rows about 10 feet long and lit them up. Just like you see in the cartoons . The faster shotgun powder reached the finish line far before the rifle powder.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:59 PM   #22
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OkieCruffler, sounds like you got a keeper!!
I'll cheerfully let her have the light magnums, though.
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Old November 25, 2012, 12:30 AM   #23
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I'm not going to pretend that I enjoy recoil that a man's wife can take "all day." Good for you I guess.
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Old November 25, 2012, 01:13 AM   #24
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A lot of these caliber wars talk fps, energy, etc. But they leave out bullet design. Look on YouTube TN outdoors does a lot of well done testing. If you notice Speer gold dots in 357 will clock in at 9mm +p ranges out of a three inch barrel. However, they expand to 0.75, whereas a 9mm is lucky to pull 0.6ish on the expansion. Revolvers are not restricted by bullet shape to feed like an automatic. The trade off is you get 1/3rd the capacity. That is why law enforcement has gone to automatics.
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Old November 25, 2012, 01:30 AM   #25
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All of these post make me wonder if maybe my wife wasn't born a man (if she was her surgeon was incredible). She shoots her snubby .357 with a 125gr bullet at 1300fps all day long. And yet I keep seeing these male mammals post about how the 357 is too brutal in a snubby.
My wife was so tickled by the sP-101 fireball that she would shoot all my 125 grain Federal Mag loads up, if I didn't hide some.
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