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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 12-14-2013, 08:40 PM
daven59 daven59 is offline
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Bullet weight restriction??? On 360 Bullet weight restriction??? On 360 Bullet weight restriction??? On 360 Bullet weight restriction??? On 360 Bullet weight restriction??? On 360  
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Default Bullet weight restriction??? On 360

I have a model 360 snub nose and love it. The barrel is inscribed "no less than 120 grain bullet"
My question is why is this the case?
I had some 357 mag with 115 grn bullets I had shot in my 686 and thought I could use them until I realized the warning said no.
I also have a mod 638 snubbie and bought critical defense 38 + P 110 grn and hope that the restriction on the 360 is for full power 357 and the + P's are ok?
Please enlighten me!

Also the shop I bought the 360 from said something on the subject but unless I get it in writing its in one ear and out the other.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:11 PM
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Some people have ignored the warning. See this thread: Disappointed with the 340 scandium





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Old 12-14-2013, 10:05 PM
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TucsonMTB is right. Lighter weight .357 mags often use a big charge of slow-burning powder that can cause forcing cone erosion, gas cutting of the top strap, huge muzzle flash, and as shown in the pictures wear on the front of the cylinder. 158gr .357 magnums tend to have these problems to a much smaller degree. However, the trade off is more muzzle rise and recoil with the heavier bullet.

I would think that 110gr .38 spls would not have this problem as they would use much smaller loads of faster burning powders.

You might check with Speer and Hornady to see if they sell "short-barrel" .357 loads for snub nose revolvers. These tend to be mid-range loads with bullets that weigh about 140grs and might be a better option for your snubnose.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:27 PM
daven59 daven59 is offline
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Thanks I read the thread you suggested and learned a lot. Going to get the manuals on both guns out as well. Hope I can use the +P's in both as I have shot all three in the gun to see the difference in power and like the three bears the 38 was to light the 357 was a little heavy but the +P was just right.
The +P was the Magtech gold something or other with a 125 grain bullet.
The other thread had a response from S&W that seemed to indicate that lighter bullets in 38 spl were ok. Just don't know if 38+P is ok?
I have 158g in it now. Could just put the Magtech in it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daven59 View Post
Thanks I read the thread you suggested and learned a lot.
My pleasure, sir. I would hate to see anyone else experience that damage. After reading that post, I vowed to stick with 125 grain Federal +P JHP number 38E in my Titanium cylinder. I am happy to report seeing no cylinder damage after several hundred rounds and it is amazingly accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daven59 View Post
The other thread had a response from S&W that seemed to indicate that lighter bullets in 38 spl were ok. Just don't know if 38+P is ok?
Yeah. I saw that too. Unfortunately, I am a big chicken. After reading those posts, I gave all the 110gr +P 38 special I had purchased to a friend whose revolvers all have steel cylinders. Never fired a single round myself. He was delighted.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:10 PM
daven59 daven59 is offline
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My 360 has a steel cylinder but I'll stick to the +p 125's to be safe and I can shoot the 110+P in my black mod 438(not 638 as I got my numbers mixed up) or my 686 with 6 inch barrel as that gun could stop a truck if you threw it at one.
I loaned my 438 to my nephew for 3 months and am getting it back tomorrow. I can hardly wait. It's 2oz heavier but the grip is shorter than the 360 so it conceals easier for me.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:22 PM
kaaskop49 kaaskop49 is offline
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Hi daven59, don't know if I can be as helpful as TucsonMTB; he is a certified 'J-hound' and one smart dude. I own an early 360SC from 2001 and am not fond of it. With ANY load you try, even if within the accepted parameters, there is the chance of having (don't know the official term) bullet inertia pull-out. Translation: the superlight revolver recoils so heavily that the bullets in unfired rounds in the cylinder pull forward under recoil and may jam cylinder rotation.

While this can occur more commonly with .357 rounds, I have found this problem with some .38Spl JHP loads in this gun. Caution/testing is warranted. Usually the 4th and/or 5th rounds will be affected. The regular .38 Airweight snubs like the 638 do not have this problem, but the 360 and 340 PD versions must be watched when it comes to ammo. There are presently .38 loads for snub noses that I've read are not susceptible to this recoil effect.

TucsonMTB's suggestion of Federal 38E 125gr JHP is correct. That load works well in my 342Ti with titanium cylinder, a close cousin to the 360.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:37 AM
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If you are worried about the Critical Defense rounds being too light, there are other options out there. For one Speer makes good stuff...

They have 135 grain Gold Dots loaded in both 38 Special +P and 357 Magnum labeled as "short barrel ammo".

Based on their projected muzzle velocities, I would guess the 357 Magnum load isn't a "balls to the wall" full power load. This would likely make the recoil "manageable" to some extent.

38 +p Special Gold Dots

357 Mag Gold Dots

Here is a penetration and expansion test video...

Gold Dot 38 Special +P Short Barrel

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Old 12-15-2013, 07:05 PM
daven59 daven59 is offline
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Wow you guys really got me worried. I don't shoot that much these days just to busy and worn out from 3 years of steady 55 to 60 hour weeks. Not complaining as I'm one of the lucky ones. I've shot bot the 360 and the 438 with zero problems. But all bullet weights were over 120 whether 38 38+P or 357 and as I said no problems. My son and a friend also took it to the range and had the same results. But I will be cautious at future outings and use your recommendations. I plan on using the 110 critical defense in the 438 and the recommended higher wt bullets in the 360.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:52 PM
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If your 360 is a steel cylinder then I don't know why they'd require 120gr. My M360J (steel cyl) doesn't have a 120-gr warning on it and I shoot and carry 110gr CD without any issues. YMMV but as far as I know the 120gr issue only applies to the titanium cylinders.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b_san View Post
If your 360 is a steel cylinder then I don't know why they'd require 120gr.
Yep! Mr. b_san nailed it. Titanium cylinders are the only items at risk.

Here is a quote of the appropriate section on page 12 of the S&W manual available at: https://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstor...01-30-2011.pdf

CAUTION:
Do not use Magnum loadings with bullet weights of less than 120 grains - This will reduce the possibility of premature erosion in titanium alloy cylinder
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:44 PM
daven59 daven59 is offline
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Yea that's what I thought. Mine has a steel cylinder. Crisis averted. But you're right why have the warning on the barrel if steel is ok?
Great job everyone.
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