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Old 03-10-2010, 08:30 PM
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Default .38 vs .357 for stopping power...

Hello,

I'm on the fence about whether or not to stay with my Model 457 .45ACP as a carry gun...which even as a compact 3 1/2" 7 shot semi-auto, is still a serious hunk of steel to carry on a belt unless its hanging in the shoulder holster I made for it.

Currently the above mentioned gun is on its way to S&W for a repair since it was not functioning correctly 100% of the time.

And, I'm wondering if I should just return to "keep it simple" and get a carry revolver. If I stumble on a .44 special Model 696, there would be no question. I made a compact slide holster for this gun for a man and basically fell in love with the gun while I had it in my possession.

But, if I go to a revolver, I'm likely to go to either a .357 Model 65 or a .38 Model 64 with a 3 inch barrel. I just located a 65-5 in a pawn shop for $430. And so, the question comes up:

In the hopefully not going to happen but never-the less could happen one day scenario, if you hit an assailant center mass ONE TIME with either a .38 JHP or a .357 JHP will you get a significant difference in stopping power from the .357...or, will the .38 do the job just fine?

BTW...are both the Model 64 and 65 +P guns?

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsleatherworks View Post
Hello,

I'm on the fence about whether or not to stay with my Model 457 .45ACP as a carry gun...which even as a compact 3 1/2" 7 shot semi-auto, is still a serious hunk of steel to carry on a belt unless its hanging in the shoulder holster I made for it.

Currently the above mentioned gun is on its way to S&W for a repair since it was not functioning correctly 100% of the time.

And, I'm wondering if I should just return to "keep it simple" and get a carry revolver. If I stumble on a .44 special Model 696, there would be no question. I made a compact slide holster for this gun for a man and basically fell in love with the gun while I had it in my possession.

But, if I go to a revolver, I'm likely to go to either a .357 Model 65 or a .38 Model 64 with a 3 inch barrel. I just located a 65-5 in a pawn shop for $430. And so, the question comes up:

In the hopefully not going to happen but never-the less could happen one day scenario, if you hit an assailant center mass ONE TIME with either a .38 JHP or a .357 JHP will you get a significant difference in stopping power from the .357...or, will the .38 do the job just fine?

BTW...are both the Model 64 and 65 +P guns?

Thanks!
Both are +P. Well 65 is a .357 mag and can shoot .38+p and the 64 is .38 which can shoot .38 +P as well.

I always reference this with cartridge selection. Notice his first comment that placement is essential and therefore training is the most important variable in the equation.

Ammunition For The Self-Defense Firearm

By the way I am by no means an expert there are guys on this forum who could probably write books on .38 special +p vs. .357 magnum.

Last edited by SirIsaacNewton; 03-10-2010 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:46 PM
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I wouldn't want to be shot with either and I certainly don't feel under gunned with a 38 special. The 357 is more potent but well placed 38 special rounds will also do the job. In the summer I carry a model 36 in 38 special and I'm fine with that.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:09 PM
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I agree with the importance of shot placement. There was a recent homicide in a trailer park in my town where there was a physical altercation between two card players where in the course of the fight one man pulled a .25 auto from his pocket and placed it in contact with his opponents chest killing him with one shot. You've probably heard the joke about the .25 that if you shoot someone with it and they find out about it they will be really mad. In this case it was a one shot stop.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:43 PM
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I would buy the 3" Model 65 as it can shoot either the .38+P- or a variety of .357 cartridges. (I think you mentioned the 65 had a 3" tube in another post - right?).

Good luck with your decision, ... and you can't really go wrong with either revolver choice.

Jerry
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:55 PM
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Bob,
The 357's stopping power with 125 grain slugs is nothing short of spectacular. It comes in at the top of most studies.

However, there have been great strides made in the last few years as far as 38 carry ammo is concerned. While even the 38+p's are well below most 357 loads in terms of energy, the power of the 357 comes with a price. The magnums will generally be flashier, and slower to follow up with additional shots.

I feel well armed with either.

There are many postings on this very subject in the ammo sub-forum.

P.S. If weight is your main concern, you won't be saving much, if any, with a K frame.

Eric
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:02 PM
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The .357 Magnum is still king of the one shot stops. The 45 ACP, and everything else, is no better than second place. My 340 is loaded with +P 38's most of the time and I'm fine with that. The automatics are locked in the safe and revolvers rule around here.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbandit View Post
The .357 Magnum is still king of the one shot stops. The 45 ACP, and everything else, is no better than second place.
'It comes in at the top of most studies.'


Gentlemen, I respectfully take exception with these statements. The referenced article paraphrases Mas Ayoob's work, at best. Mr. Ayoob is careful to caveat the .357s prowess with the fact that it has been used in a statistically overwelming number of shootings and therefore garners the top spot principally by virtue of that fact. His stated preference is for the .45 ACP, also a proven manstopper (just not as widely utilized). Don't get me wrong, the .357 is certainly effective and proven to be so, but the .44 Magnum is not 'second place' to it in killing power (though it's rarely used in cop & robber shootings where most of the data comes from). You must keep in mind that cops carried and used .357s from the late 30s through the early 80s - it became as ubiquitous as the .40 is today.

For the OP, I would recommend you consider an alloy or polymer framed .45 ACP (a sig or smith, if you like DA autos; maybe a Kahr?). If the simplicity of a revolver is really the issue, look into Model 625s, 325s, or 22s in .45. If you have already made up your mind, get the Model 65. It can shoot both and .38 Spl has come a long way (still not a .45 ACP or .44 Spl). If a 696 is really what you want, don't wait to stumble onto one - go find one (Auction Arms.com or Gunbroker.com, etc.). signsrup is correct about the weight - if the 457 is too heavy, the Model 65 will probably be also. Consider the 396 NG - a lighter 5-shot .44 Special. You might be able to find a deal on a used one on Gunbroker (or here). On a budget? look at the Charter Arms Bulldog. JMHO
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:38 AM
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Default 38+P Speer short barrel load

The above round is what I carry in my J frame. I used to think that I had to use 357's in a two inch barrel. I then found the gel testing for the above load. It penetrates 11 inches through all barriers except for dry wall which is 10 inches. I don't think I'll ever have to shoot through dry wall so I say 11 inches through any barrier that I would come up against. The above round has also had excellent street results in LAPD and NYPD. It also is a pleasure to shoot from my 642. 357's out of a J frame does not allow for quick follow up shots. I had this experience with my old M&P360 that I sold. I train with double taps, and would not count on any one shot stops. I think you should consider an airweight J frame with the 38+P's above because you would seriously cut down on your carry weight.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:12 AM
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If you want sure stopping power, carry a Louisville Slugger. Handguns are notoriously unreliable for self-defense, but they conceal better than a big rock. Arguing over "stopping power" is silly. A handgun is good for slowing or discouraging an assailant so you can make yourself scarce. The data show you can't expect anything better.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:33 AM
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I found a neat site that helps address this.
Ballistics by the inch
On this site they compare velocities of different calibers and loads from multiple barrel lengths. If you look at 9mm and 357 from a short barrel the velocity is about equal, but 357 is much faster from longer barrels as powder is not burned up in short barrels, resulting in lots of flash and muzzle blast. 357 and 9mm are close from a snubby, but 38 special is somewhat lower in velocity, and thus energy. That being said 38 special is a very effective cartridge, when loaded with newer bullet styles, and powders.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:54 AM
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Default hmmm

I think that you can get more power than you need out of a 2 inch .357. Double tap lists a 125 to 1425 which is plenty.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:11 AM
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Either the 64 or 65 will serve your needs. I have both, and shoot and carry the 64 more......probably due to its bobbed hammer being easier on my coat liners.

The only place 38 special isn't deadly is on the internet. Good luck with your decision! Regards 18DAI.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:12 AM
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Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. Practice practice practice. I think your question depends on you, your abilities, which is more comfortable for you to shoot, etc etc. Some folks aren't comfortable with the .357. It can be harder to get back on target for a 2nd shot and downright painful to shoot. But you don't need me to tell you all this. The one benefit I see in the .357, is the ability to shoot both .38 and .357. My opinion, which is worth what you're paying for it, is that a well placed hit with a good .38 self defense load is a decent carry round.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:37 AM
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If I were to carry here is my choice. M65 3 inch loaded with LSWCHP +P 38 special in either Winchester, Remington and Buffalo Bore. This round is rated one of the best in self defense rounds. The M65 can shoot 357 or 38s so if you have to have a 357 round I would recommend Remingtons Golden Saber 125G HP. This is a medium power round that has less recoil than the full house 357 round. I am not a light weight revolver fan. The M65 is strong enough and also will have less felt recoil than the light weight revolver. How much is the M65 or the M64? You might look around again in the used market. A Ruger Speed Six 2 3/4 barrel is actually stronger than the S&W 65. Its a 357 revolver so you can shoot either 357s or 38 specials. I believe the strongest small revolver on the market is the Ruger SP101. Again, a 357/38 revolver that is steel but smaller than the M65 K frame Smith. A lot of gun experts agree that the Ruger SP101 is stronger than the Smith K frame. I hope this helps in your decision.

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Old 03-11-2010, 11:59 AM
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I carry 357 mag, 38 special, 357 Sig, and 327 mag. My wife likes the 327 mag and 38 special. I reload and shoot often. I have done my own basic penetration testing. I would not want to be hit with any one. I feel comfortable carrying any of them. Today they make bullets specific for the application and this really helps.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:02 PM
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Ah, the never-ending saga of what is better. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy! Even a major league baseball player can go to the Hall hitting .300!
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:08 PM
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If someone is trying to kill you, why would you not want to defend yourself with the most powerful weapon available?

Don't count on any handgun, of any caliber, to guarantee one shot stops. Too many variables to rely on just one bullet.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
if the 457 is too heavy, the Model 65 will probably be also.
Quote:
If weight is your main concern, you won't be saving much, if any, with a K frame.
This.

Also the 457 will carry better as it's 'flatter' and will hug the body better.

Me thinks you just want something new, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you had and what you're going to.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:55 PM
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The 64 and 65 are both great defense revolvers. Never count on anything to achieve the one shot stop myth.It happens,but it's foolish to count on it with any caliber of handgun. Placement and repeat hits are in your best interest.
It's personal preference,revolver or auto,but these days my wheel guns are mostly relegated to the backup role unless I'm feeling particularly frisky and invincable. I will,however,not turn down a good buy on a revo like the one you mentioned.
As someone else suggested,a lighter alloy frame .45 would probably solve your discomfort issues with carry,and there are many acceptable ones on the market that will give you a lifetime of good service with proper maintenance.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:35 PM
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I agree and disagree with some of the statements made by our illustrious members in this thread. In any event here is my two cents:
I've carried concealed for the past 35 years during which time I was involved in ballistics study and experimentation. Unquestionably at longer ranges a higher velosity cartridge like the .357 has a distinct advantage over .38 or even the .45. As it relates to self protection, however, FBI statistics gathered from state and local law enforcement sources indicates that the average distance in a self defense shooting is 17'. With that said, a higher velosity round gives up its advantage simply because the speed does not allow the bullet to perform at the optimum level that it was designed for (expansion and transfer of kinetic energy). A 38 special or 38 special + P will undoubtably perform at it optimum level at a distance of 17'. Accordingly, either .38 may be a fine choice for self defense. Another distinct advantage, as previously mentioned by others in this thread, is the comfort level with carrying a smaller piece. Personally I have found that my 338PD Air Lite Ti is a joy to carry. However, if you want to emulate what the FBI hostage rescue and SWAT teams current use you will be choosing a 45ACP as they abandon the .357 and .38 years ago. Their current service gun comes from Springfield Armory (I know - boo!) and has a special serial number starting with CRG which stands for "close range group." I tend to lean toward a wheel gun as I want it to go bang when I pull the trigger and not worry about clearing a stove pipe. So at the end of the day the deciding factor may well be carry comfort and what caliber you are the most proficient with.

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Old 03-13-2010, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsleatherworks View Post
Hello,

I'm on the fence about whether or not to stay with my Model 457 .45ACP as a carry gun...which even as a compact 3 1/2" 7 shot semi-auto, is still a serious hunk of steel to carry on a belt unless its hanging in the shoulder holster I made for it.
The 457 is not a hunk of steel but is an alloy framed semi-auto that weighs about the same or less than an 3" model 65. Fully loaded there might be a small weight advantage to the 65 because it shoots lighter weight bullets but it would be close.

I like revolvers for self-defense because I think that the snubbies can clear the holster and put lead on the target slightly faster than a semi, mostly because of the shape of the grip. I carry a Model 640 .38 special on most days and I think that covers me adequately for my level of risk. I do own a model 457 and I may carry that at times also but it has to fight for second place with my model 3913 which is slightly slimmer and lighter.

You really have to pick one and stick with it and practice with it until you have a good deal of confidence in the gun. Everyone of these weapons that have been mentioned are more than adequate to protect you if it comes to that.

Bill
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
As it relates to self protection, however, FBI statistics gathered from state and local law enforcement sources indicates that the average distance in a self defense shooting is 17'. With that said, a higher velosity round gives up its advantage simply because the speed does not allow the bullet to perform at the optimum level that it was designed for (expansion and transfer of kinetic energy). A 38 special or 38 special + P will undoubtably perform at it optimum level at a distance of 17'.
Pure BS. Bullet performance relies on a combination of weight, velocity and design. The .357 amassed an incredible reputation amongst street cops who's agencies carried it back in the late '70s when 125 gr. loads such as Federal and Remington offer hit the streets. The best .357 loads are absolutely ferocious at close range and lack nothing in energy delivery, or performance. In a podcast on proarms.podbean.com , veteran street cop and multiple gunfight winner Keith Jones goes into detail about the success his agency enjoyed when they switched from the .38 to the .357 after they geared their training to help their officers master the sharp crack and recoil of the .357. It was of interest that on average, more perps stopped when hit marginally with a .357, had to be shot less times, and ultimately more of them lived. IIRC, no officer had to shoot a perp more than twice to end hostilities. As others have said shot placement is the biggest factor and YMMV. I would also guess that the average police shootout is at ranges common to civilian CCW.

When top flight service calibers are mentioned, .38+P ain't one of them. It's more commonly compared with the greatest manstopping round, by far, of all time, the .380. Do I believe the .38+P is better than a .380? Sure, but at the same time, the comparison isn't made for no reason.

Has .38+P improved with bullet technology? Sure. Is it the best for most people? Probably and because most people will not put in the range time to master the .357, or perhaps for physical reasons cannot. Each of us has to decide which camp we fall in. In the end though, the .38+P ain't a .357.

Now .357 vs. .45? I don't think that there is a huge reason to expect one to out perform the other from standard service length barrels, given the better loads in each caliber are being used. However, a 3 1/2" .45 ain't standard length, the .45 is notorious for difficulty expanding from short tubes, and that's aside from the reliability issues that class of guns tends to display. Lighter, 185, or 200 grainish bullets may solve any expansion issues by boosting velocity. Myself, I would use a 5" gun, or switch calibers.

For a .357 gun (and I would get a .357 even if the plan is to run .38s) I would get an L frame for worry free use of 125 gr. .357 ammo. If you intend to use .38s, then a K frame would have the benefit of lighter weight and a lower bore axis.

As far as comfort goes, I don't base what I carry on comfort, I base it on "what is the biggest most powerful thing that I can conceal". I advise others to do the same. The weapons you have with you at the time are what you will be forced to fight with. If one chooses not to follow my advice, that's fine. It's a personal decision.

Good luck deciding.

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Old 03-14-2010, 10:27 PM
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I have no problem with using a .38 for daily carry, and have for quite awhile. .357 is awesome and well proven....but the .38 Special is 100 years old and has a proven track record when placement is accomplished.
Ask the many cops who carried a 4-inch Smith for many years.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
The only place 38 special isn't deadly is on the internet.
+1
.38 Special was "stopping" people for decades before everyone was told it was not good enough to do that.
.357 came along and allowed LEO's greater ability to shoot through car doors.

That is not likely to be your SD situation.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:38 PM
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I'm going on memory, and that is a risky thing to do for a man of my age-- but here it goes.

Several years ago I watched a police cruiser video of a South Carolina Highway Patrolman in a gunfight with a drug runner. The bad guy survived a total of 6 hits from the officer's .357 revolver. He returned fire from his pocket .22 (or .25) handgun. The round entered the inner aspect of the officer's arm, about midway along the bicep. The bullet struck the bone and traveled into the chest cavity, severing his aorta. I could hear the officer dying as he called dispatch for help. He was dead before backup arrived.

There are several lessons to be learned from this horrid event. One is that the bullet must destroy, or disrupt something that the body considers vital to its existence. Eliminating blood flow to the brain, or destroying the central nervous system seem to be the most effective way to stop an individual.

If you have a round that will penetrate deeply enough to reach something vital, then accuracy is the most significant variable that should be of concern to you.

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Old 03-15-2010, 01:17 AM
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I carry a .38sp S&W442 jframe with 158gr Lead SWC HollowPoints.
It carries VERY comfortably in Arizona clothes (shorts/casual shirt).
I LOVE the little Jframe for ease of carry and reliability.

That being said, I'd like to upgrade to a 640 Jframe in .357, but then I'd probably end up carrying the same .38 158gr LSWCHP's in it anyway.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:21 AM
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There are some schools of thought that feel a Heavy/Slow bullet is more effective than a Lighter/Faster bullet...having something to do with effective transfer of momentum. The 45acp falls into this category.


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Old 03-15-2010, 05:09 AM
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357 or 38?

I have an issue with muzzle blast inside a home. I used to have 357 revolvers around the place here and one day realized it was not a good idea. The muzzle blast fired inside a building could damage your hearing. Because this, I went back to my 45 pistols and a lone 38 revolver inside the bedroom. I don't believe my wife can handle a pistol so I left the revolver there for her benefit.
Shot placement is king, and besides, I never seen anybody not fearful of a little 38. The cops been taking out bad guys for decades with the special.
All of a sudden a special is inadequate? Hardly.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:32 AM
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whw references the Trooper Coates shooting, where the trooper hit the bad guy 5 out of 6 rounds with 125gr .357mag ammo from a 4" duty revolver, but was still killed by this bad guy since he was able to return fire.

Momentum means nothing in pistol bullets, neither does kinetic energy, various power factors, etc. Only hitting the bad guy in a vital structure means anything in real life.

Kieth is someone I talk to on occasion, and we have had long conversations on this and other subjects, and Evan Marshall is a friend of mine as well. Both will tell you that the "one shot stop" is not a tactical philosophy, it's merely one unit of measurement, Evan will advise that one should "shoot to slide lock" when defending yourself (assuming the bad guy is still up and dangerous).

In my personal experience, I know of dramatic one shot stops with the 125gr .357mag Remington load we used to carry back in the wheelgun days, but I also know of failures to stop with the same load, and have been party to an incident where a .45 through a bad guy's chest dead center resulted in a total failure to stop for several minutes.

If I had to choose between the 64 or 65 I'd get the 65 for the greater availability of ammo due to being able to use both .38 and .357 ammo.

At my job the 124gr +P 9mm has been working rather well on bad guys for a long time, so I quit worrying about internet and older rumors to the contrary.
The mid-range loads such as the 135gr Gold Dot or Remington Golden Saber are still hotter than a +P .38, but noticeably more controllable than full house loads, and ballistically very similar to our 9mm +P duty ammo with a proven track record, those would be my first choice for defensive ammo in a 3" .357 revolver.
Past that the 158gr +P LSWCHP, the 135gr Gold Dot, or the Cor BOn DPX are excellent defensive .38 loads.

Frankly, for defensive use you are better armed with your .45, but I carried a K frame wheelgun for duty and defensive use for years so I can't say it's a bad choice.

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Old 03-15-2010, 09:07 AM
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Dear On The Fence,

I understand you are undecided about continuing to carry your 457 due to weight, possibly bulk and less than 100% function. You are inclined to go "simple" w/ a revolver. You would jump on a 696. You are considering a 64 or 65.

Your big issue is one shot stopping power for a solid center of mass hit. You ask is there a significant difference in stopping power... will the .38 do just fine?

JMHO, but buy 65. It will do fine w/ .38 JHP. With the .357 Mag. it will most assuredly be a handful, but it that floats your boat, get a paddle and get going. But personally I would lean to simply buying the 64 or 65 based on which one gave the best value in terms of price and condition. Whichever revolver you buy, get to the range and practice with it until you are able to get good solid hits center of mass at a distance of 3-7 yds. This may not satisfy internet scenarios predicated upon engaging multiple waves of gangs attacking in 30 sec. intervals. If you commonly are at risk for such encounters, your going to need a lot more than any pistol can offer. But for any sort of real world encounter, a 64/65 stuffed with .38 Special +P 125 gr. JHP will be extremely effective. Sincerely. brucev.

BTW...are both the Model 64 and 65 +P guns?

Thanks![/QUOTE]
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bubbajoe45 View Post
'It comes in at the top of most studies.'


Gentlemen, I respectfully take exception with these statements. The referenced article paraphrases Mas Ayoob's work, at best. Mr. Ayoob is careful to caveat the .357s prowess with the fact that it has been used in a statistically overwelming number of shootings and therefore garners the top spot principally by virtue of that fact. His stated preference is for the .45 ACP, also a proven manstopper (just not as widely utilized). Don't get me wrong, the .357 is certainly effective and proven to be so, but the .44 Magnum is not 'second place' to it in killing power (though it's rarely used in cop & robber shootings where most of the data comes from). You must keep in mind that cops carried and used .357s from the late 30s through the early 80s - it became as ubiquitous as the .40 is today.

For the OP, I would recommend you consider an alloy or polymer framed .45 ACP (a sig or smith, if you like DA autos; maybe a Kahr?). If the simplicity of a revolver is really the issue, look into Model 625s, 325s, or 22s in .45. If you have already made up your mind, get the Model 65. It can shoot both and .38 Spl has come a long way (still not a .45 ACP or .44 Spl). If a 696 is really what you want, don't wait to stumble onto one - go find one (Auction Arms.com or Gunbroker.com, etc.). signsrup is correct about the weight - if the 457 is too heavy, the Model 65 will probably be also. Consider the 396 NG - a lighter 5-shot .44 Special. You might be able to find a deal on a used one on Gunbroker (or here). On a budget? look at the Charter Arms Bulldog. JMHO
I have to agree, I fall on the side of larger bullets. People talk about 38/357 expanding, if they expand, and I think modern, high performance bullets will expand most of the time, they expand to the size that 44 / 45 bullets start out at. If the 44 / 45 expand….well.

I also think that low pressure 44SPL / 45acp rounds are much easier for follow up shots. I too try to practice double taps. If one is good two is better.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:12 PM
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Some good advice here . Get the gun you like to shoot and carry , invest in some great gunleather .
We all remember the first rule of gun fighting
1. Have a gun
Some forget the second rule .
2. You must have fancy grips . Okay , not really a rule , but sound fashion advice .
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:34 PM
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357 or 38?

I have an issue with muzzle blast inside a home. I used to have 357 revolvers around the place here and one day realized it was not a good idea. The muzzle blast fired inside a building could damage your hearing. Because this, I went back to my 45 pistols and a lone 38 revolver inside the bedroom. I don't believe my wife can handle a pistol so I left the revolver there for her benefit.
Shot placement is king, and besides, I never seen anybody not fearful of a little 38. The cops been taking out bad guys for decades with the special.
All of a sudden a special is inadequate? Hardly.
+1 Inside the house it is .38 or 45acp for me.

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Old 03-15-2010, 07:44 PM
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Momentum means nothing in pistol bullets, neither does kinetic energy, various power factors, etc. Only hitting the bad guy in a vital structure means anything in real life.
There are many folks who would disagree with the statement that Energy and Momentum mean nothing.
Sure, shot placement is NUMBER ONE, but why ignore the PHYSICS of the situation?

Sure, compared to a .50cal Barrett, ALL PISTOLS rank about the same, so why not just carry a .25auto if Momentum and Energy mean nothing in pistol bullets?

My feelings are that I want AS MUCH cross sectional area (caliber) and mass (bullet weight) as I can get, and still have a gun that I WILL carry (so that it's actually ON HAND when needed).
Sure, I want a MINIMUM volocity of around 800fps+, but There's a reason I carry 158gr's in my .38 instead of 125gr's.

I would rather hit them with a SLOWER moving freight train, than a FASTER moving ice pick, for (what will ALWAYS be debated as) one shot "stopping power".
Momentum (and frontal area) DOES mean something...it DOES have differing effects on how much DAMAGE is actually DONE to that "vital structure".
That's why they designed EXPANDING bullets to begin with. Larger FRONTAL AREA = more "vital area" damage/shock.

Why not stack as many variables in your favor as possible...and still have a gun that's light enough that you WILL carry. (.50 Barrett's a little BIG for CCW, but you get the idea, and the same variables still apply). It's just a matter of degree. But, since we'll argue about the difference between 125 grains and 135 grains...why not just stack ALL the variables you can in your favor.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:53 PM
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My instructor was a die hard revolver guy who said you should buy a 357 magnum this way you have the option of standard 38,38+P,or 357 Magnum.That being said you should get the 357.Reading about the evolution of 38 special ammo from marginal stopping power with thru and thru wounds with standard 158 grain lead round nosed to the hollow points with rapid expansion and a larger wound tract with modern +P carry loads.The disadvantage of 357 loads were muzzle flash,recoil,and more time taking follow up shots if needed.I think you would be fine using Speer 135 grain Gold Dot ammo.......Mike
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:36 PM
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I have no experience shooting humans....but have a had a lot of experience shooting pigs and cattle with hand guns. Shot placment is key...a .22 will kill a large pig with one well placed shot....miss the spot and the pig will act as if nothing happened.
A friend who had no experience shooting animals decided to shoot and butcher his cow. He choose a .25 auto...he placed the muzzel between the eyes (should have been in the middle of the forehead to do the job) at the shot, the cow became very much alive and not in a good mood. My friend grabbed the cow by the horns with one arm and was shooting the cow in the head as they went around and around the door yard...his wife was screeming and the adrenulin was flowing. I ran for the house and retrived my .357 that I was used to shooting and could hit well with it. The cow had drug my friend into the barn and he was holding on for dear life. I told him to let go and get back...which he did. One shot from the .357 between the horn and the eye and that cow dropped like a rock and never moved. The .357 never failed me once ...but shot placement was the key. The .25 auto just did not have the penetration power on the cows skull. I have shot a pig that was popping its teeth at me and would not give me a premium shot, it was going to charge and its snout was up....so I put a bullet right down the snout and followed it up with another through the brain. The pig went down with the round in the snout but was not dead...second round finished it. For me, its about shot placement and having enough penetration to hit the vitals....brain or spine and they are done right now....heart or lungs and you may still have some fight left in them even though they are dying...they can still hurt you. I expect humans will react the same way when hit with a round. Spine or brain and its instant stop....heart or lungs...and it will kill them but it may or may not be instant. just my .02
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:43 AM
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:17 AM
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I like the idea of the .357 Magnum and have long felt that a 4-inch or 6-inch .357 Magnum would be the very best all-around handgun.

Strangely though, even thought various .357 Magnums are kept around here, I make scarce use of the cartridge. It's the .38 Special that gets the call when personal defense is needed. Some Remington +P 158 grain lead SWC ammunition or the equivalent handload and I'm happy.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:52 AM
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There is no doubt that a .357 magnum JHP will perform as well or better than any .38 and as well or better than almost any other handgun round given the same shot placement.

That said a .357 will also be harder to conceal and harder to shoot than a comparable .38 and shot placement is more important than caliber. That is the reason I keep a 6" 357 under the bed but carry a 2 inch .38.

A few other random comments:
1. For a .357 you want 125g JHPs, for a .38 most experts say to use 158gr LSWCHP +P, preferably with swaged lead bullets vice cast. The .38 need a softer compund to expand well due t its lower velocity. If you hand load take a look at power pistol, that powder can give you low-end .357 velocities at 38+p pressure with a 158gr lead bullet.

2. Personally I think 3" is long for a carry gun ... some people carry full size 1911s or beretta 92s but I would go for a 2 inch revolver every time.

3. A.357 handgun will have a longer cylinder and overall length than a .38 with the same frame and barrell length. Therefore if you aren't going to carry with .357 rounds go with the .38 over the .357.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:10 AM
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Only thing I would add is a .452 bullet always makes a big hole.
And I love a .357 revolver.
Placement of shot IS the main concern......
A hit in the CNS with any bullet will disable any critter or rat no matter how many legs it has...
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:23 AM
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Lots of excellent info here but I can only go on personal experience. During my 30 yr. LEO career I had the unfortunate experience to be involved in more than one duty related shooting, every time using the .38 +P FBI round. It just works, but shot placement is king and do not count on a one shot stop, that is pretty much a myth.

In retirement I continue to carry a J frame .38 w/confidence, you could do a lot worse.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:30 AM
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So, back to the OPs original question.....

There can be lots of debate over the question of .38 special vs. .357 Magnum, and their relation to .45 ACP as a defence weapon. I won't continue the opening of Pandora's box with my opinions on which is best and why. As you can see, there will be a lot of opinions and analysis. I am very fond of .45 ACP, but I don't see that it has any big advantage over .357 in performance, size, options or anything else to restrict yourself to it.

Here's sort of a simplisitic view of it, in the Army we used to say "K.I.S.S" (keep it simple, stupid) and often that really works. With that idea in mind, I would opt for the model 65 for the simple fact that you can fire either .38 special (to include +P) or .357 magnum through it, and so have your choice of two cartridges and still stay at least equal (or more, considering your point of view on the comparison) with .45 ACP. I think that sounds like a good price for a 65 that you have found, too. Plus, I really like K-Frames and Model 65s

Seriously, I think the 65 would be a good do-all and not a compromise. Nothing wrong with the 64 or 457, but the 65 would give you "best of both worlds". And remember it's JMHO.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:25 AM
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I'm going on memory, and that is a risky thing to do for a man of my age-- but here it goes.

Several years ago I watched a police cruiser video of a South Carolina Highway Patrolman in a gunfight with a drug runner. The bad guy survived a total of 6 hits from the officer's .357 revolver. He returned fire from his pocket .22 (or .25) handgun. The round entered the inner aspect of the officer's arm, about midway along the bicep. The bullet struck the bone and traveled into the chest cavity, severing his aorta. I could hear the officer dying as he called dispatch for help. He was dead before backup arrived.

There are several lessons to be learned from this horrid event. One is that the bullet must destroy, or disrupt something that the body considers vital to its existence. Eliminating blood flow to the brain, or destroying the central nervous system seem to be the most effective way to stop an individual.

If you have a round that will penetrate deeply enough to reach something vital, then accuracy is the most significant variable that should be of concern to you.

Good Luck,
whw
WHW, I also viewed that video during a training session about 15 years ago. The perp was a rather large guy. Not a drug runner but a DUI suspect, IIRC. The weapon was a .22 magnum deringer. Six shots from the Troopers .357 hit the mark. The perp was down and the trooper was standing near the back of his cruiser calling for backup when the perp got off the fatal shot while laying on the ground.

Just goes to show that no guarantees with any caliber.

Last edited by KLYDE; 12-13-2012 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Old cop View Post
Lots of excellent info here but I can only go on personal experience. During my 30 yr. LEO career I had the unfortunate experience to be involved in more than one duty related shooting, every time using the .38 +P FBI round. It just works, but shot placement is king and do not count on a one shot stop, that is pretty much a myth.

In retirement I continue to carry a J frame .38 w/confidence, you could do a lot worse.
And here's just another example of widely-varying results. My 'similar screen name retired brother badge wearer' had the experience he related. I had another. We were both in LE for 30 years.

In 1982 I was involved in an incident where a deranged individual that I was serving an arrest warrant on attacked me with a butcher knife. Quickly deciding that I really wanted to go home that day, I did my best to not let him succeed. But, I had nowhere to go, as there was nothing but a flight of stairs behind me.
Duty weapon was the S&W M66 4" and the issued/approved round was the S&W-brand (yep, THAT dates me) .38 Spl. +P 125 gr. JHP.
Two rounds in the sternum had all the effect of tossing cotton balls at him. Two more followed. Still coming. (yes, it was indeed like a bad dream...) As he turned slightly, #5 struck left bicep.
I was getting worried.
#6, and 'last' I figured, was just over bridge-of-nose.
That was the only one that worked and ended the attack.

I found out much later that inside the rented room was a loaded Mauser 98k 8mm rifle.
Also, many years later I got a chance to see the recovered bullets that were retrieved during autopsy. They were all perfectly expanded and could have been in an ammo advertisement. #6 was partially fragmented.

SO - for many years I would not carry a .38 Spl. on 'my time'. I violated policy and toted either a .357 or 1911 .45.

My life is much less exciting now, and yes, I do carry a .38 occasionally, with Speer GD's.

There's very few hard and fast facts about what will work and with what regularity. Just too many variables.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:55 AM
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Try this with your CCW choice: Put a standard size paper plate out to about 3 yards. Load your weapon w/your chosen defense round then empty the gun at the target, shooting as fast as you can. If all your rounds stay on the plate you're in good shape w/respect to follow-up shots and your ability to defend yourself

One shots stops are mostly a myth and you continue shooting until your attacker falls, and then reload and keep a close eye on him until help arrives.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:50 AM
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Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. Practice practice practice. I think your question depends on you, your abilities, which is more comfortable for you to shoot, etc etc. Some folks aren't comfortable with the .357. It can be harder to get back on target for a 2nd shot and downright painful to shoot. But you don't need me to tell you all this. The one benefit I see in the .357, is the ability to shoot both .38 and .357. My opinion, which is worth what you're paying for it, is that a well placed hit with a good .38 self defense load is a decent carry round.
What he said.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:52 AM
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What he said.
Oops - sorry - what SHE said....
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:14 AM
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One very important factor that no one has, to my knowledge, mentioned so far is penetration. I have never had to, hope I never have to and never expect to have to shoot another human being. But I think that for most of us, if/when that situation presents itself, the last thing we would want to do is injure or kill an innocent bystander in the course of defending ourselves. High-penetration rounds like magnums can do that.

Imagine you have an intruder in your home who has given you reason to fear for your life or the lives of your family. With a high-velocity magnum round, you will have one chance to subdue that intruder because in a dark, closed-in environment, one shot with a .357 or .44 Magnum will leave you deafened and blinded by its muzzle blast and flash. And if that bullet did not hit something very solid in that intruder, it will have passed through him/her and into and perhaps through whatever is behind him/her.

Roll that image around in your head for a moment.

A chronograph is a valuable tool for handloaders - I cannot begin the count the benefits I gain from mine. But they are also valuable to gun owners who do not handload because chronographs cannot be swept up by the romance, emotion and excitement surrounding magnum cartridges. Running high-performance handgun cartridges fired in a short-barreled firearm like the typical handgun, particularly the snub-nosed ones so much in vogue today, over a chrono will leave you feeling quite vulnerable and used when you see how short they fall of their advertised muzzle velocity.

More practical handgun rounds like the .38 Special and .45ACP live up their ratings and in actuality, some can come pretty close to the magnums in barrels of four inches or less. And they do it without nearly as much chance of over-penetration in the longer handgun barrels and with far less muzzle blast and flash, thus allowing better follow-up shots if needed.

Let's face it, there probably aren't many of us without a law enforcement background who could enter into such a confrontation without a huge case of the jitters and yips. Under such conditions, placing one shot perfectly likely isn't going to happen. Accordingly, placing all your eggs in that one over-penetrating basket may not be a wise move.

Ed
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:28 AM
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Assuming that you can shoot the short barreled .45 ACP well, at say even 7 yards then you should be able to handle the recoil of a short barreled .357 Magnum. I would get one of the short barreled K frame .357's because you can shoot either .357 or a .38 Special +P from it. As far as one shot stops, its like someone telling you to buy a deer rifle in a certain caliber because he dropped a deer in its tracks with it. I have shot deer with 16 gauge slugs before and had them collapse on the spot and run off, neither were hit any hit any worse, one had a hole through both lungs and the offside shoulder was busted and it ran 50 yards, the other dropped with a hit in the spine and a blown up right lung. Both died and were equally well hit. To try and buy a caliber because one shot put some guy down instantly doesn't mean if you needed it the guy you happen to shoot is going down any faster. It's like the stock market, past results don't guarantee future outcomes. That being said, I am a huge fan of the .357 Magnum but I have no problem with a .38 Special +P. My advice to you is to use whatever one you shoot the best. As Bill Jordan once said, "Speed's fine but accuracy is final!"
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