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Old March 20, 2013, 09:45 PM   #1
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How much .357 do you shoot through your .357?

I grew up on semi-autos and almost everyone I know IRL is in the same boat. Very few of my friends shoot revolver but I'm fascinated. I've been studying up for my first foray into wheel guns and looking around the forums, I've noticed that a lot of people mostly run .38 special or +p through their .357 magnum revolvers. Is it mostly an issue of recoil or price per round? What do you shoot through yours and why?

Is there any benefit to keeping your revolver dedicated to one size or the other? If you are mostly going to shoot .38, are you better off getting a dedicated .38 revolver or just running them through a .357? Do any of you use a .357 just for .38 rounds? How much does gun weight and barrel length factor into this? Someone suggested lightly loaded .357 as an alternative. Does anyone have any experience with that? I don't load my own so can you reliably buy them that way?

From the most basic to the most complex, I'd love to hear your experience as I wade into the wonderful world of wheel guns. Thanks so much.
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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I only run .357 through my 357 as I have a .38 to run 38s through. If you will shoot it alot then cost may be an issue or re-coil effects. My 2 cents.
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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Part of the appeal to me of a .357 was the versatility it offered. Being able to run .38's through it helps aleviate the cost of ammo, and I can hand my 6" GP-100 to my ten year old daughter loaded with .38's and it makes her feel ten feet tall.
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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How much does gun weight and barrel length factor into this?
Quite a bit. The .357 magnum really needs a 4" barrel or longer to gain it's full potential, which is why I stick to .38+p in snubs. As far as weight, the airweight .357 snubs are novelty pieces to me, they are just not practical. I can put more .38 special rounds on target faster and more accurately out of a snub than I can with a .357 round in the same gun. The slight edge you gain with 100-200fps faster does not make up for that, for me at least.
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Old March 20, 2013, 10:47 PM   #6
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My 686 has only seen .357's. My catch is that I reload so not only is it generally cheaper than purchased ammo, but I can load that .357 super hot or I can load it down to .38 special levels, or anywhere inbetween. If I had to use manufactured ammo, I'd mostly use .38 simply due to price, but that's just me.
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Old March 20, 2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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It really depends on the size of gun you are looking at. If it's a lightweight snub, then most people are going to tell you that a .357 is unnecessary, and will kick too hard in your hand. If it's a bigger gun like a GP100, then .357 is a good option to have.
Oddly enough, I just picked up some .357 CCI Blazers at a local shop for $4 less a box than the same brand and weight of .38 +p ($21 vs. $25 a box). I don't know if that's just a result of the current price fluctuations or what.
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Old March 20, 2013, 11:24 PM   #8
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I have a 686 that i shoot a lot of 38 sw and 357 both but i reload and purchased lead bullets when it was cheep 500 for 25.oo and i bought lots shooting the 38 at bullseye gets you back on target sooner with the lighter loads i love bullseye !!!
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Old March 21, 2013, 12:03 AM   #9
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Before I started handloading I shot about 80% .38 spl.
Not many light .357 loads out there. I guess there are some cowboy loads, but they're rare.
Get a .357 and shoot whatever you want or whatever you can find.
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Old March 21, 2013, 03:21 AM   #10
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I almost never shoot 357 ammo in mine. Never have, probably never will. I'll do it once in a while for grins and giggles, but that's about it. I'm just punching a hole in a piece of paper so I don't need the noise and recoil. Call it 98/2, 38's to 357 and that's probably low.

I almost never buy factory ammo. I just buy virgin 38 brass and reload everything. When I started reloading years ago, I had a stash of 38 brass I'd picked up, and just never got in the habit of shooting/buying 357.
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Old March 21, 2013, 04:29 AM   #11
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I shoot both, but mostly 38's for practice rounds. I have a S &W Model 686- Plus 6”.
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Old March 21, 2013, 04:38 AM   #12
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I used to have a .357 and a 38 spec, but I ended up selling my 38 to a friend, so now all my shooting is through the .357 (S&W Model 19-3). I shoot mostly .38s for range, but i keep .357's loaded for HD- it's my wife's nightstand gun.
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Old March 21, 2013, 06:11 AM   #13
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100%, I don't think I even have any 38 special brass, I have 2 .357 revolvers.

My range loads are cast, gas checked bullets loaded to full power.
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Old March 21, 2013, 06:55 AM   #14
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I have a lot of 38 brass so that is what I shoot. If I could exhance most of it for 357 brass and just load it light I would.
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Old March 21, 2013, 07:04 AM   #15
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I've never put a factory .357 round through any of the dozen or so .357 revolvers I own. My handloads are all in .357 cases, but vary from full-house .357s to the equivalent of .38 Special target loads, with the majority being the latter by far.
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Old March 21, 2013, 09:00 AM   #16
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I've got several .357mags, and shoot .38spl almost exclusively. Why? My shooting consists mainly of match shooting & practice, and since there's no need for .357mag power, .38spl is the better tool for that.

Also, my main match (IDPA) gun, a 4" L-frame 686, has 70k+ rounds through it. Competition is tough enough on guns, so there's no need to accelerate wear and tear with 35 kPSI ammo when 17kPSI will do.

Yeah, then there's recoil and muzzle blast. I'll usually shoot 200-ish rounds per range session. A few .357s are fun, but beyond that, it gets old quickly.

I don't download .357mags because I'm still dealing with a relatively long case, making quick reloads trickier.

A .357mag revolver is more versatile than a dedicated .38spl, which is why the former are often more expensive (more demand). OTOH, I certainly wouldn't rule out a nice .38spl revolver if it's in good condition and priced fairly.
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Old March 21, 2013, 10:24 AM   #17
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Right now I'm between buying a 627 Pro Series and the nifty 686 Plus Pro Series with 5" barrel. Both look to be great guns and either should be nicely heritable for generations to come with proper maintenance. (I have a separate thread here on the comparison between those guns if you want to cash your two cents.) I'm not opposed to getting a separate .38 revolver once my budget recovers from this purchase.

Do you really need special deep cleaning with the .38 in a .357? With my semi-autos, I usually look for cleaner rounds and a jacket to begin with. I imagine I'll be doing the same with the revolver. I also won't be passing nearly as many rounds through it as some of the above posters. I'm an enthusiastic but casual shooter that gets to the range every other weekend or so.

I suppose I'll pick up a few boxes of different .38 and .357 to see how they feel once I make the above choice. In the meantime, please keep these posts coming. Your experienced insights are very helpful.
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Old March 21, 2013, 10:27 AM   #18
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This was my first revolver to buy brand new, and the only gun I had at the time suitable for hunting, so its digested mostly full house .357 Magnum cartridges. I was in the Army when I bought the gun and had no place for reloading, so had to depend on factory stuff for the first couple of years I had the gun.

Today its mileage stands at just over 17,000 rounds fired, mostly .357 Magnum handloads. Didn't look quite like this when bought in 1958.

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Old March 21, 2013, 03:11 PM   #19
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I only run .357 through my 357
.... Same here ... Only I load the .357 rounds 'down' to 158 SWCs running around 1000fps.... Need more, I go up in caliber. Never load .38 brass in my .357s.
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Old March 21, 2013, 03:25 PM   #20
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Shooting 38's in a 357 will leave a ring of crud in the cylinder that you need to clean out.
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Old March 21, 2013, 03:35 PM   #21
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70% - .38spec (paper) 30% - .357mag (water jugs)
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Old March 21, 2013, 03:48 PM   #22
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Not much. I only have three .357s, a Ruger Vaquero, S&W 28, and a Ruger SP-101. None are bad as far as recoil. I just can't find any .357 for a price I'm willing to pay. I'd shoot a lot more of it if it was more affordable
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Old March 21, 2013, 04:33 PM   #23
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100% for me. I have only a Ruger Security Six, and have discontinued the use of .38's. I handload, and 158gr JHP's are the the majority of my loads.
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Old March 21, 2013, 07:06 PM   #24
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Mr Wright

You not only have very cool revolvers, but the pictures are always top notch.

Every time you post, I want, right then, to go find an all night Ruger store! And there are none.

Durn your hide, sir.
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Old March 21, 2013, 07:11 PM   #25
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I shoot ZERO 38's out of a 357 since I shoot them out of 38 spl revolvers.
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.357 , .38 special

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