Sort of agree with the exception of the end comment.gunsandrockets wrote:The best I can do is relate my own experience with a Taurus .357 magnum snubbie.Figs and Bacon wrote:I recently traded my Buckmark for a short-barrelled Ruger SP101. I'm wondering what the advice is for ammo that I should use for self-defense? I know that .357 has more power (and I can play Dirty Harry!) but its recoil is also pretty strong. Would .38+p be a better alternative? What say you, ZS?
I chronograph tested a variety of .357 magnum loads, most importantly with a large variety of bullet weights from 110 grains up to 158 grains, including one troublesome box of Corbon 125 grain hollowpoints. The short story is, the maximum velocity out of that 2-1/4 inch tube didn't vary much no matter what load I fired, approx. 1100 fps maximum. So in essence the difference in energy provided by the different loads was wholly dependent on bullet weight, the heavier the bullet the more energy, maxing out at 400 fpe with the 158 grain load.
Now mind you that is more punch than even a +p .38 special can dish out with a much longer barrel. But the price paid is very stiff recoil and enormous muzzle blast. The recoil was so stiff it broke my two-handed weaver grip with every shot. It was actually faster to fire the revolver one-handed because I didn't have to pause to reacquire my grip.
If I had to do it over again, I never would have bought a .357 magnum pistol with such a short barrel. (in those days the SP-101 was pretty new and wasn't even offered yet in a 3 inch or 4 inch barrel like it is today) And back then we didn't have the valuable resource, ballistics by the inch, which reports very detailed ballistic information. http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/
The .357 magnum is very dependent upon a long barrel and tight cylinder gap to deliver its famed performance. 4 inch barrel absolutely the minimum, otherwise don't even bother. And my own preference is for at least a 6 inch barrel.
I think of .22magnum verses .22lr with this debate. Out of a two inch barrel, you get tons of blast, and flash but not a significant amount of performance when compared to +P .38 rounds of the same weight. a .357 may squeeze out a bit more speed, but its usually 150fps or less. From a 4" barrel or longer, its a different story. If it was the SP101 with the 3" barrel it might be worth it, but with the 2" barrel, I wouldn't worry too much about .357 unless you like the BOOM factor.