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Fritzderkat 02-25-2011 04:54 PM

.38/.357 Mag for self-defense
Fresh to the forum, I have an old question (likely for many of you) regarding which load is preferable for self-defense for a S&W Model 60, 3-inch barrel, chambered in .38/.357 Mag. I've owned this revolver for several years, previously owned a Ruger SP-101, and am well practiced if not hugely proficient when at the range and firing at distances from 7, 15 and 20 feet to 25 yards. I've fired all available calibers and can manage the .357's adequately; that is, until repeated firing starts notching a bloodied notch in the web between my thumb and index finger on the right hand. This has led me to wearing a weight-lifter's-style glove, which effectively takes care of that. My main question, however: What do most of your prefer as a common self-defense load? I understand that if out in the wilds, the .357 may be preferable, but in suburban and urban areas, might most of you favor the .38+P? To me, the advantages in recoil and follow-up shots is obvious; I'm wondering if the stopping power I would sacrifice is sufficient enough to make me lean more toward the .357. I appreciate your opinions and responses. Thanks.


gadrooning 02-25-2011 05:19 PM

This of course is a personal choice. But for me I am comfortable carrying a 38 +p revolver. I personally carry an S&W airweight during the summer. In the winter I will carry a 45 because of the extra layers of clothing. I feel the 38 might be a little under powered going through a thick jacket, sweater, and shirt, well coming from a snubby anyways. If I was carrying a model 60, I think I would opt for the lighter grain hollow point 357 mag over any 38+p.

stalkingbear 02-25-2011 05:26 PM

If I was in your shoes I'd check out a good 110-125 gr .357 load, use it for defense, and practice with .38s.

BlackWidow 02-25-2011 06:19 PM

In a real situation, a hot .357 round wouldn't beat up your hand too badly, but you need to think about how it might affect your accuracy or ability to deliver quick follow-up shots.

If you can control the gun better using .38 +P, then that's what I'd use.

orangello 02-25-2011 06:21 PM

Have you considered some of those squishy rubber grips to help on the recoil?

I only really use my revolver for target shooting, but it sits with some Blazer .357 JHP's in the safe at home.

oldcoptn46 02-25-2011 06:56 PM

I carry a S&W Model 65-3 (round butt, 3in.) sometimes, I keep Hornady Critical Defense 357 MAG 125gr in it. I guess the +P would be okay but I think the 357s will stop the fight quicker.

blitzen25cat 02-25-2011 08:39 PM

The 38+p with 125 gr.jhp should be sufficient for self defense as shot placement is key. I practice with and carry a Colt Detective special with Pachmayer grips and feel confident if a problem should arise. Just practice and stay proficient. What ever works best.

HKSlinger 02-26-2011 12:31 AM

All I can do is speak for myself when I say, I have a .357mag. because I feel comfortable with the ability's of the cartridge. Being able to run .38spl. through it is incidental. I wouldn't feel as well armed among the wolves with a .38 as I would with the mag..

freefall 02-26-2011 02:40 AM

I like a 110 gr HP in my SP101. It shoots to point of aim, the 125s shoot a little high. In .357. I like the chamber to be full of cartridge case.

Fritzderkat 02-26-2011 04:38 PM

Thanks for the input. The diversity of opinion is about what I expected. Keep 'em coming, if you like.

I've found Rem Golden Sabers in .357 and .38-P (125 grain hollow points) both to be accurate at the distances I've been shooting.

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