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Old May 3, 2019, 10:15 PM   #151
Mike Irwin
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"so after 6 pages, my statement seems to holds true for John Q citizen. the 38spl only guns are impractical for ccw, home defense..... but they are practical for manufacturers because they are cheaper to make."

I've been carrying a handgun for almost 30 years.

Virtually the entirety of that time my preferred carry handgun has been a snub nose .38 Spl.

I find them extremely practical for CCW and home defense.

Not sure how you're coming to your conclusion, but I don't agree with it in the least.
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Old May 29, 2019, 03:35 PM   #152
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Supply and demand. The invisible hand is at work in the firearms industry. If no one wanted to purchase .38 Spl revolvers any longer, the production and subsequent sales would abruptly end. The market seems to have a wide variety of .38 Spl revolvers available, which indicates a healthy consumer demand. I love the round.

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Old May 29, 2019, 04:40 PM   #153
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They are just a lot of fun to shoot !

Exactly how much is a great day at the range shooting with a S&W model 64 38 special with a Millet SP-1 red dot sight and accuracy tuned and target trigger job by Clark Custom Guns worth....
It's Priceless !
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Old May 29, 2019, 07:38 PM   #154
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I have a 357 Magnum revolver that I shoot 38 Special and 38 Special +P in but it just doesn't feel right. It is like using a sledge hammer to drive a tack or a 3/4 ton truck to haul a bag of mulch. It is overkill.

Therefore, I bought a new 38 Special revolver Sunday so I would have a tool adequate for the task at hand and not more. I am glad I bought another revolver I don't really need.
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Old May 29, 2019, 09:11 PM   #155
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I like the .38 special round. in a gun designed only for that round it is Less practical than one chambered in .357 magnum. better?
I can say OK to that but it's a conditional OK.

Because what if I want a gun chambered only in 38 Spl. because I want to shoot only 38 Spl. out of it. Then it's practical for me to buy the gun I want and less practical to buy the gun I don't want..

If I want a gun in .357 then I'll get one. I have a couple actually.

I'll add that this is an odd kind of thread.

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Old June 1, 2019, 05:16 PM   #156
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Practically- I bought a Ruger LRCX 3" in .38 Special. Why?

I like the light weight.
I like the price- I won't feel bad if I fall in to the creek with it.
I like the low recoil for a trail gun/ plinker
If I want more power, I have a .44 magnum so I laugh at your puny .357
I like the 5 round chambering- the box of ammo is neat and tidy when subtracting by fives!
I like that it doesn't shuck my empties on to the floor, in to the grass, somewhere in the gravel or lost in the bushes.

Still working on loads for it, it's not pretty but therefore I won't feel bad when it gets honest wear marks on it.
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Old June 1, 2019, 10:27 PM   #157
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I still regret having sold my smith model 15 many years ago. Not sure what the heck I was thinking.
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Old June 2, 2019, 08:07 AM   #158
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In Ruger's line, the only .38 Special-only gun currently cataloged is the LCR. While the LCR is available in .357 Magnum, the .38 Special version is both roughly 10% lighter and, more importantly, substantially less expensive (MSRP is $90 less for the .38-only version). Of all Ruger's other DA revolvers, which all have steel frames, no .38 Special-only version is cataloged.
I'm surprised no one caught this...

The SP101 is still made in .38spl with a 2.25" barrel (model 5737). While it is true that the GP100 is no longer made in .38spl, it was until fairly recently, and the SP101 certainly is still made.



As for the OP's argument (and continued argument despite all everyone had to say), of course there is good reason to continue making (and buying) .38spl chambered revolvers.

Sure, if you only plan to own one revolver, you'll likely shoot magnum rounds on occasion, and you want a medium frame revolver, you are better off buying a .357mag because it is a little more versatile. For the rest of us (how many at TFL only have one revolver), there are plenty of good reasons for .38spl chambered guns.

Like many have said...

.38 revolvers are usually less expensive than the corresponding magnum. If you won't really shoot magnum much, or at all, why spend the extra money? It simply makes no sense.

.38spl revolvers are usually lighter (when not comparing apples to oranges). This isn't just true with small J-frames. The S&W K-frames in .38 tend to be a couple ounces lighter than the same size magnum, and they are small enough to consider carrying (so the weight makes a difference).

Carbon build up. Shoot a lot of magnums and you will get carbon build up. Regular cleaning may not be enough, you may need to get special cleaners for carbon, or use methods like some have described here that are more intensive. You may not let it get to where it makes it hard to chamber a magnum cartridge, but it does mean extra cleaning and an extra step if you shoot .38spl out of a .357mag revolver.

Many people seem to think that .38spl is more accurate out of a dedicated .38spl. The idea is that the extra distance the bullet is traveling before hitting the rifling will harm accuracy. I haven't seen the idea tested. Even if one or two people did with their personal revolvers, it would be hard to come to a definitive conclusion due to possible variances revolver to revolver. It would need to involve quite a few guns to really be conclusive. However, it makes some sense, and true or not, it is a commonly held belief. If true, it certainly would be a good argument for dedicated .38spl revolvers.

Rules. There are still some security companies and correctional departments that issue revolvers. There are more (and some police departments) that allow them. Many that do allow them, do not allow magnum revolvers. While it may be the weakest argument for a dedicated .38, if an individual happens to fall under regulations that limit them to non-magnum revolvers, that's a great argument for that person to get a dedicated .38spl.

If you want a small frame revolver, especially a lightweight, .38 is often the way to go. For most people, .357mag is too much even in a steel framed small frame revolver, and definitely in a lightweight. Sure, some may be able to shoot it, some may not even mind the recoil that much. However, the excessive recoil in such a small and light gun means much slower follow up shots. If you are going to shoot mainly (or only) .38 anyway, the drawbacks of the .357mag chambering are good reason to go .38 only. For the steel guns, the price may be similar (at least if you are buying Taurus), but they will be much heavier. If you are buying Taurus, you no longer have a 5-shot .38 v. a 5-shot .357mag as your choice, they now have the 5-shot magnum and 6-shot .38spl in almost the same size (I would rather have the extra round of controllable .38 than the more power, but slower follow up shots, through the magnums). In a lightweight gun, the materials and manufacturing processes to allow it to shoot magnums is going to make the gun significantly more expensive. Sure, a scandium .357 will be a little lighter than the aluminum 442/642, but the 15oz 442/642 is as light as I ever want to shoot when shooting .38spl defensive rounds.

If you are in any way a collector, some seriously classic guns were made in .38spl. If you want a model 10, it will be a .38. If you want a Colt Police Positive Special, it will be a .38 (or .32). Even new production, I wouldn't mind a new S&W M10 just because it has a heritage that goes back to the original model 10s and prior to that the Military and Police revolvers.

If you own several guns, given that .38 may be more accurate, and certainly given some of the historical significance some designs have, why not have dedicated .38 revolvers and .357mag revolvers.
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Old June 2, 2019, 11:21 AM   #159
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Many people seem to think that .38spl is more accurate out of a dedicated .38spl. The idea is that the extra distance the bullet is traveling before hitting the rifling will harm accuracy.
Yes, that horrible "long distance jump" .38s need to make out of a .357 chamber....personally, I think its bunk. We aren't talking about firing a .45colt from a gun cut to also shoot .410 shells here.

people will often cite the difference in the case lengths, .38 and .357, and yes, its 0.135" difference (max length specs). So, that's a big jump, right??

Except, it isn't. First off 0.135" isn't all that big a difference, but more importantly, the bullet jump ISN'T 0.135"!! its 0.04" inches, less than 1/3 of the usually quoted 0.135".

Look at the COAL lengths. .357 is 1.590" .38 Special is 1.550". That's only 0.04" difference in the max LOADED length of the two rounds. I don't see how the difference the bullet had to jump to reach the rifling can be any more than the difference between the length of the loaded rounds.
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Old June 2, 2019, 11:43 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
Yes, that horrible "long distance jump" .38s need to make out of a .357 chamber....personally, I think its bunk. We aren't talking about firing a .45colt from a gun cut to also shoot .410 shells here.

people will often cite the difference in the case lengths, .38 and .357, and yes, its 0.135" difference (max length specs). So, that's a big jump, right??

Except, it isn't. First off 0.135" isn't all that big a difference, but more importantly, the bullet jump ISN'T 0.135"!! its 0.04" inches, less than 1/3 of the usually quoted 0.135".

Look at the COAL lengths. .357 is 1.590" .38 Special is 1.550". That's only 0.04" difference in the max LOADED length of the two rounds. I don't see how the difference the bullet had to jump to reach the rifling can be any more than the difference between the length of the loaded rounds.
However, I have found that I had a more difficult time getting accurate "powder puff" target loads when using .38 Specials in my .357 guns (S&W). I don't know why or if my experiences were typical.
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Old June 2, 2019, 11:49 AM   #161
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
Yes, that horrible "long distance jump" .38s need to make out of a .357 chamber....personally, I think its bunk. We aren't talking about firing a .45colt from a gun cut to also shoot .410 shells here.

people will often cite the difference in the case lengths, .38 and .357, and yes, its 0.135" difference (max length specs). So, that's a big jump, right??

Except, it isn't. First off 0.135" isn't all that big a difference, but more importantly, the bullet jump ISN'T 0.135"!! its 0.04" inches, less than 1/3 of the usually quoted 0.135".

Look at the COAL lengths. .357 is 1.590" .38 Special is 1.550". That's only 0.04" difference in the max LOADED length of the two rounds. I don't see how the difference the bullet had to jump to reach the rifling can be any more than the difference between the length of the loaded rounds.
I think is likely true that jump distance is not a big concern for accuracy, at least with the average factory ammo.

I fired some 38 Short Colt ammo through a 357 revolver and it produced one of the better groups at 25 yards. At least for that ammo in that gun, jump through the long cylinder did not degrade accuracy.
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Old June 2, 2019, 12:18 PM   #162
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My Winter coat pocket carry is a 38 Special. A Ruger LCR 38 SPCL +p to be exact. Why, over the 357 Magnum? Because with today's bullet technology, and cartridge performance I am not giving up enough in terminal ballistics to make up for the two additional ounces of the Magnum model for easier carry. I have no problem with the recoil of the lighter revolver either. Even when shooting the hotter +P rounds.
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Old June 2, 2019, 01:20 PM   #163
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Yes, that horrible "long distance jump" .38s need to make out of a .357 chamber....personally, I think its bunk. We aren't talking about firing a .45colt from a gun cut to also shoot .410 shells here.
Yeah, I'm not sure I believe in it either. I think most of the differences people see will be normal gun to gun, loading to loading, and even lot to lot variances. Still, enough people do believe it, that it is one (of many) factors for the continued demand for, and thus continued manufacture of, guns chambered in .38spl only.
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Old June 2, 2019, 02:48 PM   #164
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I just seated some 148 g .358 soft wadcutters long... wondering if that jump made a difference... compared to a deep seat... over the usual 231 load.

The long seated wadcuttters seemed to have slightly worse accuracy. At least it was not better.

I would attribute the decrease in accuracy to increased “rattling around” space in the cartridge compared to a deep seated wadcutter that is making the powder more geometrically uniform in its internal distribution.

Then again, I did some tests long ago with .454 cassul cases with 17g of 2400 under a 240g hard cast shooting after pointing at the ground (powder forward) vs after pointing at the sky (powder back) and vs shaking the gun vigorously horizontal (powder flat) and couldn’t tell much difference in point of aim or accuracy. As I had shot my chrony, my tests were crude... yet I was well protected from wild chronographs for decades. Still am. Word gets out.

So... effects of shooting lighter .38 special loads in a longer case may be insignificant practically... but there is no theory that says shooting a cartridge with extra room for powder to scatter about inside is MORE accurate.

I think the more people that rail on about how .38 special is “obsolete” the more I like it. And... I am keeping my eyes open for that “obsolete” old .32-20 from back in the days of the days when the model T’s kept spooking the carriage horses.
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Old June 2, 2019, 02:53 PM   #165
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I guess it depends on the gun you're talking about. I have 1 M64 (38 Special) and a M65 (357 Mag) and there is virtually no difference in size and weight. So with the 65 I can shoot 38 or 357, not true with the 64.
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Old June 2, 2019, 03:29 PM   #166
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But if you want more power, get a .44 Magnum... quit yer popgun ways!
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Old June 2, 2019, 06:03 PM   #167
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There are plenty of people who don't need or WANT a .357-myself included.
The .38 Special is really about all the pistol that most people can handle effectively-and that's both my AND Bill Jordan's opinion.
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Old June 8, 2019, 03:24 PM   #168
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s&w 642 in 38 special +p is what I picked over a decade ago for a pocket gun. Range had a lot of rentals. The 357mag snubby was a lot lighter, so even with 38 special it felt like more recoil.

People can decide on if they want to reload 357 to 38 special levels or carry 38 in a 357, I wanted the 642 cause at most I was going to carry 38 special +p in it.

Back then ruger had sp101 snubbies, but very heavy and while I had owned some previous I considered them too heavy for 38 special, fine for 357 magnum.

There are more snubbies around today and that could have changed my choice.

These days with more pocket 9mm available I recomend that to folks. Even with small magazines many people have never shot a revolver so a slow magazine change is better than speed loaders or speed strips.

I do like some of the 4 inch police trade ins for 300 bucks a year or two ago, seems a lot are now at 400.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, 38 stuff has its uses.

But as always, this can depend on you. One thing about the 38 stuff is a load or two of snake shot might be useful for woods work.
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Old June 10, 2019, 12:48 PM   #169
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I dunno if I have previously responded to this thread. If so, twice don't hurt.

Despite the OP's opinion, I am perfectly content carrying my 12oz S&W 9mm titanium cylindered Airweight 637-2. Enough so that I have three of them. They go bang every time I pull the trigger, which isn't always true of semi-autos.
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Old June 10, 2019, 02:27 PM   #170
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My Personal Opinion

S&W's worst mistake was falling into every revolver should be a magnum. Even worse than the safety lock.
J & K frames should have stayed as 38SPL.
38SPL comes with better bullets now, no one carries 38 lead round nose 158 grain ammo for selfdefense.
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Old June 10, 2019, 06:52 PM   #171
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S&W's worst mistake was falling into every revolver should be a magnum. Even worse than the safety lock.
J & K frames should have stayed as 38SPL.
Glad that is just your opinion.... I own J and K frame magnums, would not have them if they were not.
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Old June 10, 2019, 09:05 PM   #172
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Let's use my wife as an example. She has rheumatoid arthritis. She will *never* shoot a .357 Magnum, especially not in a small frame revolver. .38 Spl is her ceiling. Why should she buy a .357 Magnum revolver and *never* shoot .357 Magnum ammo through it? All she needs is a .38 Spl, and it makes sense for her to buy one and carry that.
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Old June 11, 2019, 01:47 AM   #173
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In America, "more is better," "bigger is better."
In many cases it's not.
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Old June 11, 2019, 08:23 AM   #174
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Nanuk, I'm happy for you.
I stand by my statement though. 38SPL is a fine round and those smaller framed guns never needed to be 'Magnumized'
Now talking S&W 681 the Ultimate Combat Magnum strikes a much better balance between size and power.
If one wants a real magnum the 'N' frame is the only way.
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Old June 11, 2019, 08:45 AM   #175
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Quote:
Nanuk, I'm happy for you.
I stand by my statement though. 38SPL is a fine round and those smaller framed guns never needed to be 'Magnumized'
Depends on the purpose. Self defense, Ill take a magnum any day over a 38 special. the 38 is marginal for that role. The K frame is the perfect revolver size. My 3" model 13 has untold thousands of magnums thru it.

Quote:
Now talking S&W 681 the Ultimate Combat Magnum strikes a much better balance between size and power.
Great pistol for a duty belt, a little heavy for CCW these days. Though as a young cop I carried my 6" 686 on/ off duty concealed in Texas.

Quote:
If one wants a real magnum the 'N' frame is the only way.
Why? N frame is no stronger than the L frame as far as the 357 magnum is concerned. The L frame weighs the same (or maybe a smidge heavier) but allows for the same grips as used on a K frame.

I get it, you do not like magnums. I do, after seeing people shot with 38's and magnums I will pick magnums for that role. 38's are fine for practice or for the recoil adverse. But they are not "fine" for self defense or we would not have the magnum.
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