Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk....357 mag / .38 +P (real world advice and data).357 mag / .38 +P (real world advice and data)
Previous
 
Next
New Post
11/13/2016 12:39 AM
 

I want to preface this conversation with a disclaimer: I am NOT looking to beat the dead horse. I've read through numerous posts on this forum alone about back country pistols, the 10mm cartridge, .41 mag's capabilities, .45 ACPs possibilities, ect... There's no arguing the facts. Long guns are superior, and there are several calibers that perform better than the .357 mag and certainly .38 +P. I'm not looking to argue about caliber inferiority. Additionally, I readily admit that the following scenario is less than ideal and the firearm chosen pushes the limits of what most would consider “practical” outdoor self-defense… However, I simply want to hear from those with real world experience, firsthand knowledge and solid evidence related to .357 mag/.38 +P cartridges out of snub nose revolvers. 10 points to Gryffindor for those that have primary source documentation; pictures/ ballistic data.

With that said, here's the scenario... IF the Ruger LCR .357 mag was your selected backwoods carry gun, and you needed to maximize the capability of the cartridge you carried, what would you carry? In this scenario, the LCR is being carried in an HPG Original-pattern Snubbie kit bag, which is only fitting given its size. Most likely, two 5-round speed strips will be carried in the Snubbie (as if reloads really mattered). This is not meant to be the "go anywhere, do any job" gun. You won't be traveling to Alaskan grizzly country or taking it in on an African safari. The potential predators you will be dealing with are black bears, cougars, bob cats, and feral hogs. Additionally, the human element is semi-prevalent and deserves consideration. However, you're much more likely to run into a gopher tortoise or armadillo than any of the aforementioned. (Have you figured out the AO yet?)

According to Ruger's own website, the barrel length is 1.87", the cylinder holds five rounds and the gun weighs in at 17.2 oz. At just over a pound, magnum rounds are going to be difficult to produce rapid follow-up shots, and mildly painful at best to be liberal about the matter.

A few companies and cartridges come to mind. Lehigh's .38 +P 140gr Xtreme Penetrator and Buffalo Bore's .38 +P Outdoorsman 158gr hard cast seem promising as they find the balance between power and practical accuracy. Both companies make .357 mag offerings, but at the cost of slower follow-ups and possible reconstructive surgery on your hand. What is your advice and experience pertaining to the given scenario's restraints?

 
New Post
11/13/2016 7:10 AM
 
This may not be an answer you are exactly looking for. But my experience with having owned a S&W 637 Airweight and firing .38 spl +P out of it. I would recommend just choosing the load that you can make the best and consistent hits with. Because it doesn't make a difference if you have a +P hardcast in there or a target wad cutter. If you can't hit anything with it, it's useless. And making good hits with a snub-nosed is a bear on the range, let alone under stress and in a hurry. I would pick one of those two rounds and buy a bunch and practice, practice, practice. Me personally, I would rather hit with 5 FMJ low power rounds, than miss with 5 hand breakers. I don't own my snubbie anymore, but since that is what you are rolling with, I would shoot the hell out of it. Just my 2 cents, which don't count for much.
 
New Post
11/13/2016 10:15 AM
 

I can't give you any ammo advice, but I do own an LCR in 38sp (and it is lighter than the 357) and a few cylinders of my carry load, the 130gr +P Gold Dot, leaves me ready to shoot something else.  No injuries, totally manageable, just a handful.  More managable than the same load out of my S&W 3in 360 Kit Gun (Scandium).  That is a lighter gun but I think the LCR's grip manages recoil better, because it is wider.

When the LCRx comes out in 357, I'll be buying one.

 
New Post
11/14/2016 1:21 PM
 
I've shot Magnum loads in a 14 oz J-Frame and while the shot to shot recovery time was challenging, I didn't suffer any particular discomfort from shooting just a cylinder full at a time.

If you're main priority is face shooting animals at close range, ANY powerful load will do in that defensive setting. However, in a general purpose application I would be most concerned with finding something that shot to POA before worrying about the specifics of the load itself. YMMV
 
New Post
11/15/2016 5:36 PM
 
Having shot short barrel low flash 158grn 357 buffalo bore ammo out of a LCR and various other 38 ammo out of the same, I 'd say shot what you are most accurate with. Find the ammo that you can be consistent with under pressure. Practice, practice, practice .....I'll be saving the 357 ammo for a sp 101 and gp 100.
 
New Post
11/27/2016 6:47 PM
 
Well, it's a snubnose revolver with 5 rounds. How effectively can you put rounds on target at what range, even with regular rounds? Maybe even load like 3 rounds of regular ammo and put 2 rounds of the heavy duty, hardcore deep-penetrating ammo last. If it comes down to using those last two rounds, it will probably be point-blank anyways.

Also, with your listed potential threats, what is going to be the most common you will face? Bears followed by the hogs. (And don't forget two-legged predators too) Attacks by cats are rare. If you look at it that way, penetration is going to be a key thing (though not as much as with grizzlies) and you will also probably be shooting at a very-close range with bears at least, if it comes to that.

Just some ideas to chew on I guess?
 
New Post
11/29/2016 1:15 PM
 
"The potential predators you will be dealing with are black bears, cougars, bob cats, and feral hogs. Additionally, the human element is semi-prevalent and deserves consideration. However, you're much more likely to run into a gopher tortoise or armadillo than any of the aforementioned."

Before switching to 10mm, I frequently carried a Ruger SP101 .357 for woods activities in Colorado. The snub really is an exercise in compromises. The potential animal threats you listed are tough, penetration will be paramount. A good hard cast load will cover all of the potential threats listed, but is accompanied by significant recoil. I'd recommend sticking w/ either hard cast, or something like the Hornady XTP, that will emphasize deep penetration rather than rapid expansion. A great source for either load ishttps://www.underwoodammo.com/357-magnum/.
 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk....357 mag / .38 +P (real world advice and data).357 mag / .38 +P (real world advice and data)