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Old February 6, 2013, 12:15 AM   #1
freenokia
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Thinking about buying an Airweight 357 mag J-frame

How does their size compare with the 38spl j-frames?

Should I port it?

What will I gain with the 357 over the 38 in the short barrel?
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:39 AM   #2
therealtwitch
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Size wise the cylinder is slightly longer but overall the size diffreance isn't noticeable.

What you gain by going .357 is a few hundred feet per second and a sore hand.

Porting is personal preference. Personally I do t like porting.

In the end it's nice to have the extra thump if you ever needed it. Buy you probably won't be putting a lot of full house .357 through it. I carry a 640-1 and it thumps your hand pretty good. So the lighter gun will hit harder. Even still I may get a 340 as I dislike that my 640 has a 2" barrel instead of the 1.875"
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:50 AM   #3
Redhawk5.5+P+
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What you gain by going .357 is a few hundred feet per second and a sore hand.
I agree, that's why I bought a less expensive .38 +P J-frame for carry, and I bought a steel frame Ruger SP101 3" .357 if I feel like carry something that won't hurt to shoot .357s.

Point? Buy two guns.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:03 AM   #4
Shadi Khalil
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Look at the M&P line from S&W; at least you get a steel cylinder. As for the porting I would pass. The last thing you need on a .357 snub is more flash and velocity loss.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:14 AM   #5
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A .357 is certainly a step up over a .38, however, if I wanted an Airweight, I'd stick with a .38 and carry +P if I wanted a little extra power.

357 can be pretty brutal out of a small light gun and you will likely practice with .38 any way.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:00 AM   #6
twobit
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The Ruger LCR is a very good gun also. The S&W's are good. Don't get me wrong. I've liked all the S&W revolvers that I have had. Also in that small a frame I prefer a .38.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:06 AM   #7
bossman
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I only shoot .357 magnum out of steel guns, no Airweights for me. And I would never port a snubbie for any reason.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:46 PM   #8
Silent Bob
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Technically there are no aluminum .357 Airweights, .357 Mag j-frames in the S&W line-up are either steel-frame or scandium/titanium Airlites.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:26 AM   #9
rodfac
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Plus one on Shadi's comment...a port on a short barreled revolver is down right painful...Rod
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:34 AM   #10
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Have a 13 ounce M&P 360 .357 but never intended to shoot .357 other than downloaded .357. A 158 grain RNFP "Cowboy" round works well. The 340 and 360 are probably the most powerful revolvers ounce for ounce. Porting will blind you at night and you can't use shot shells. Not worth it for me.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:38 AM   #11
FlyFish
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What you gain by going .357 is a few hundred feet per second and a sore hand.
Every time I see this question come up, I'm reminded of my shooting buddy who, in an all-time exercise in poor judgment, went to the range and handed his lady friend his scandium .357 snubby (S&W Model 360? not sure) with full-house loads. On the first shot, the gun rotated back in her hand and the hammer spur punched a hole in the web of skin between her thumb and index finger that required a couple stitches to close. Sore hand indeed. They're no longer together - he swears the incident had nothing to do with that, but I'm not so sure.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:45 AM   #12
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You need to shoot one before you buy one.

You might not like the fireball, blast, and the recoil.
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Old February 7, 2013, 11:32 AM   #13
Silent Bob
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"You might not like the fireball, blast, and the recoil."

And the jackhammer like vibration pulse that enters your hand and leaves you feeling as if the nerves in your hand have been damaged afterwards.
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Old February 7, 2013, 01:22 PM   #14
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Technically there are no aluminum .357 Airweights, .357 Mag j-frames in the S&W line-up are either steel-frame or scandium/titanium Airlites.
You're correct about the Airweight part, but you forgot about the M&P series, which have scandium alloy frames with steel cylinders.
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Old February 7, 2013, 03:28 PM   #15
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What will I gain with the 357 over the 38 in the short barrel?
Not much, the .357 needs at least a 4" barrel to take full potential of the load. You get the extra recoil, muzzle flash, noise, and slower follow up shots for only a marginally faster round.

I used to carry a S&W model 60 in .357, I sold it and picked up an older 640 in .38. Best choice I ever made. I wouldn't recommend the .357 in a snub for anyone, especially the airweight .357's.
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:48 PM   #16
therealtwitch
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I love my 640-1 but I agree with above and would love to find a 640 in .38. There's something about all steel
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:49 PM   #17
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I am not particularly recoil sensitive and have fired handguns in most calibers. I have carried and shot .38 snubbies for years using +p ammo with no problems. I had to have one of the Smith 340 M&P's when they came out. What a great idea! A lightweight .357! Not for me. Even the mildest .357 load was like holding up my hand and letting someone rap it with a pool cue. I fired exactly 20 rounds through it and went back to carrying +p .38's. I finally sold it to someone who just had to have it. He still carries it but with .38's. I have regressed to a Colt Cobra loaded with Hornady XTP 158 grain non +p. It's more accurate for me, holds six, and follow up shots are quicker.
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:42 AM   #18
jj320
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Go with a S&W 60 or Ruger SP101 and shoot 38 spec +p or just spec the frame weight will take some of the recoil and you have the option of 3 calipers to shoot. sorry was reading the other posts and forgot the op was for 357 air weight . ill blame it on the old age

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Old February 9, 2013, 12:41 AM   #19
Redhawk5.5+P+
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"You might not like the fireball, blast, and the recoil."
I didn't know all .357 had fireballs.
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Old February 9, 2013, 07:39 AM   #20
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Have an M&P 360 and a Ruger LCR .357 and yup, neither are fun to shoot with .357s; the Hogue grip and the extra weight of the Ruger do help but the Smith is easier in the pocket. I got mine at a way discounted price otherwise I would probably have just gotten a 637/8.

Usually just carry .38s; have a few boxes of Gold Dot short barrel .357s but they really don't give you that much extra omph over .38. Unless you "have" to be able to shoot .357s you'd save a lot of money with a regular airweight, and I agree it's best to try one out first if you can since it's really not that pleasant (I think my snub .44 is less painful to shoot than the super light .357s)
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:03 AM   #21
lowercase
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Should I port it?
I have a ported snub. The ports are absolutely the worst feature of the gun.
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:20 AM   #22
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I agree with the theme of the post here. I sold my M&P 340 and kept the 642.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:01 PM   #23
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Try one before you buy it.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:07 PM   #24
BRE346
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Love a 642

I loved it so much that I put a laser on it.
But practice finally became too painful and I traded for a 60-4.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:11 PM   #25
Glenn Dee
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Of course this is just my opinion based on my own experiences.

Fighting a "J" frame sized revolver is a bit different than a full sized revolver or even any autoloader. While many people are capable of great accuracy at distance... thats not the J frame sized revolvers forte'. J frames are up close and personal desperation guns.

The J frame is in it's environment when within contact distance. I dont know if anyone has fired a J frame with porting... I have. You seriously risk setting yourself, or something else on fire when firing it. One of the better features of a J frame revolver is the ability to shoot through a purse, a pocket, a bag, almost anything... With the porting it may catch afire. IMO Porting seriously negates one of the J frame's most valuable tactical advantages. I honestly dont have a clue to any advantages there are to having any revolver ported.

Many of us have become addicted to the whole light weight craze. A light weight gun is to be carried a lot but shot very little. Not to preserve the gun... it's just that shooting them is uncomfortable to most people. Another negative of the light weight it can get lost... you dont have the weight pulling at your body to remind you that the gun is there. An example is a friend of mind who switched to a scandium gun and carried in IWB. He used a public bathroom, and put the gun in his pocket. After finishing his business he washed up and walked away... I'll never forget the look of panic he had when he realized the gun wasnt in his waist band. Light weight gun's = out of sight out of mind. I carry a light weight J frame from time to time... I'm not knocking them...I'm just suggesting that they have their issues.

AS far as I know (and I could be wrong) the .357 gives optimum performance out of a barrel of between 4 and 6 inches. a .357 fired from a 2" barrel may not have much of a return in power for the loss of control in the hand gun. But I'm not a ballistics guy.

My recomendation for a "J" framed revolver would be ... well a J framed S&W revolver in stainless steel, or carbon steel. Or the Ruger SP series is IMO as good, and in some cases maybe better. The Colt short barrel "D" frame steel revolvers are a tad bigger but again just as good.

Again just my opinion... but a gun is a tool. The J frame is a fighting gun. A tool designed to get someone or someone's up off of you. A tool to allow you to put some distance between you and up close harm. The J frame is made to make contact shots. The J frame is made to hide easily. The J frame is made to work every time.
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