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Old September 9, 2012, 09:43 AM   #18
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,167
Other than making a lot of noise you are only getting 38 Special perfomance from those short barrels. A 9mm in a comparably sized gun will actually hit harder and not be such a distraction to the shooter.
Sigh, the old ".357 from a short barrel is just a loud .38" myth that refuses to die. If we look at the data from Ballistics by the Inch (and bear in mind that they measure their barrels by the semi-auto method), we see that from a 3" barrel (actually closer to a 2" revolver barrel) that all of the 125gr .357 Magnum loadings are running at least 1250fps while none of the 125gr .38 Special loadings could even break 900fps from a 3" barrel. Likewise, the Cor-Bon 125gr and Speer 124gr couldn't break 1250fps until fired from a 5" barrel while the Federal Hydra-Shok 124gr only made 1250fps from a 17" barrel.

With heavy bullets, the .357 Magnum's edge widens. Both of the Federal 158gr loadings were over 1100fps and the Cor-Bon 140gr load and Federal 130gr Hydra-Shok were just shy of 1200fps from 3" barrels at 1172fps and 1194fps respectively. No .38 Special loads heavier than 135gr were tested and even then, none could break 1000fps regardless of weight. In the 9mm, the 135gr Federal Hydra-Shok required a 6" barrel to break 1100fps and the 147gr Hydra-Shok couldn't make 1100fps from any barrel length.

The only way you're going to get a .38 Special or 9mm to meet or exceed the ballistics of a .357 Magnum are to either cherry pick the most powerful .38 Special and 9mm Boutique loadings against the mildest .357 Magnum loadings or to compare the 9mm and .38 from long barrels against the .357 Magnum from short barrels.
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