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View Full Version : LCR in .38 Special or .357 Magnum?



MadMax17
09-18-2011, 07:13 PM
Hey all,

Looking for a good BUG, and I think I've settled on the Ruger LCR, but just wanted to get everyone's opinion on .38 Special or .357 Magnum. I'm thinking .38, as I would imagine the .357 magnum would be pretty uncontrollable in such a small pistol, but that's just my guess. Any opinions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Max

Wheeler
09-18-2011, 08:21 PM
I have an LCR in .38 Spl +P. I personally wish I had held out for the .357 Mag version to make use of the longer ejector rod. I would still carry .38's as I don't believe your gaining much advantage shooting .357's out of such a short gun.

WDW
09-19-2011, 12:32 AM
I'd get the .357 and only shoot .38's
1. Longer ejector rod
2. Built heavier and you'd probably never have to worry about it wearing out
3. Even less recoil

TNWNGR
09-19-2011, 09:33 AM
Iíll go against the trend here and recommend the 38 Special LCR instead of the .357 Magnum. My methodology is, one is slightly smaller and lighter than the other. What this equates to is less weight in your pocket or on your ankle. A BUG is meant to be with you all of the time, regardless of climate or outerwear, itís quibbling to be sure but it makes a difference.

TCinVA
09-19-2011, 10:41 AM
DocGKR can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe .357 loads offer any better ballistics out of small revolvers than good .38 +P loads, so there's no real terminal ballistics advantage to buying the .357 revolver. If the .357 LCR is bigger, that would be a deal breaker to me.

MadMax17
09-19-2011, 12:39 PM
According to the Ruger website, the .357 model is 17.1 oz, while the .38 model is 13.5 oz

TNWNGR
09-19-2011, 03:26 PM
According to the Ruger website, the .357 model is 17.1 oz, while the .38 model is 13.5 oz

Thanks Maxer :-) I knew it was a noticable weight difference but not how much it was.

ADKilla
10-05-2011, 04:46 AM
DocGKR can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe .357 loads offer any better ballistics out of small revolvers than good .38 +P loads, so there's no real terminal ballistics advantage to buying the .357 revolver. If the .357 LCR is bigger, that would be a deal breaker to me.

Absolutely right. No distinct ballistic advantage offered by the .357 mag except a bigger blast and harder to control recoil, plus it's heavier. Go with a .38 Special +P loaded with either the hard to find 135gr Gold Dot Short Barrel or the 110gr DPX as recommended by Doc GKR for .38 snubbies.

DannyZRC
10-05-2011, 09:55 AM
http://www.snubnose.info/docs/38-snub_vs_357-snub.htm

At least as far as velocity/ME go, .357 is giving you more bang.

whether the projectiles correctly utilize this energy, or the terminal effects are any different/better is beyond the scope of my understanding, but there is definitely more bang.

Long tom coffin
10-05-2011, 04:18 PM
DocGKR can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe .357 loads offer any better ballistics out of small revolvers than good .38 +P loads, so there's no real terminal ballistics advantage to buying the .357 revolver. If the .357 LCR is bigger, that would be a deal breaker to me.



Actually, you are completely correct. This was a raging subject on RugerForum, with the contenders being a bunch of SP101 users who were arguing over which was better for CCW'ing .357 magnum loads, the 3 1/16" or the 2 1/8". After a bunch of testing was done it was determined that a .357 fired out of the 2" or less barrel offered less acceptable ballistics out of the shorter barrel than .38's out of the same. 3 1/16" SP101 was discovered to be the bare minimum acceptable for .357 magnum usage, and then only really with the heavier 158 and 180 loads. Even with the 110's and 125's, too much propellant was escaping in barrel blast for the rounds to reach advertised velocities.


If you want a snub, get it in .38. Anything else is a waste of money.

MadMax17
10-06-2011, 12:47 PM
Actually, you are completely correct. This was a raging subject on RugerForum, with the contenders being a bunch of SP101 users who were arguing over which was better for CCW'ing .357 magnum loads, the 3 1/16" or the 2 1/8". After a bunch of testing was done it was determined that a .357 fired out of the 2" or less barrel offered less acceptable ballistics out of the shorter barrel than .38's out of the same. 3 1/16" SP101 was discovered to be the bare minimum acceptable for .357 magnum usage, and then only really with the heavier 158 and 180 loads. Even with the 110's and 125's, too much propellant was escaping in barrel blast for the rounds to reach advertised velocities.


If you want a snub, get it in .38. Anything else is a waste of money.

Long Tom,

Thanks for the insight from the Ruger discussion. What would you say then about gettng the LCR .357, but only firing .38 +P through it?

ADKilla
10-06-2011, 03:44 PM
What would you say then about gettng the LCR .357, but only firing .38 +P through it?

If you want the extra four ounces of weight, then go for it.

MadMax17
10-07-2011, 05:41 PM
Apart from the extra weight, is there any reason not to get a .357 model and fire .38's from it? I can't remember where, but I read somewhere that firing .38s out of the larger .357 cylinder causes the .38's to be less effective due to gas escaping or something like that? Is there any truth to that?

Again, weight aside...

DannyZRC
10-07-2011, 06:04 PM
all revolvers have gas leakage after the bullet leaves the chamber and passes through the forcing cone.

the mechanical disadvantage of firing shorter cartridges through a revolver cylinder is the longer distance the bullet jumps,("Bullet Jump" being the term for uncontrolled bullet acceleration before the rifling is engaged.)

MadMax17
10-08-2011, 03:03 PM
all revolvers have gas leakage after the bullet leaves the chamber and passes through the forcing cone.

the mechanical disadvantage of firing shorter cartridges through a revolver cylinder is the longer distance the bullet jumps,("Bullet Jump" being the term for uncontrolled bullet acceleration before the rifling is engaged.)

Would the "bullet jump" from a .38 round fired from a .357 cylinder cause the .38 to reach unacceptable ballistics?

DannyZRC
10-08-2011, 11:23 PM
No, the only realistic concern with shooting .38 out of a .357 is the buildup of combustion byproduct in the chambers ahead of where the .38 shell case ends (.38s are shorter in length than .357s). If you get a lot of this buildup (a lot), you can experience overpressure when you go to shoot .357 out of the gun again.

even this concern is more esoteric than real, but it's good policy to shoot 357s first if you practice with both, and to clean the cylinders after firing .38.

If you only shoot .38 out of a .357, you can ignore all this... but clean your gun anyway, because it loves you!

MadMax17
10-10-2011, 12:12 PM
Sounds good, thanks for the advice everybody! Think I'm going with the .357 model.

RickB
11-18-2011, 03:56 PM
I put a cylinder-full through a .357, and can't imagine the abuse on the receiving end is much worse that what the shooter experiences. I'd rather have a .38 and actually shoot the thing for practice, than have a .357 that I never want to shoot.

DocGKR
11-19-2011, 12:29 AM
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19914

JonInWA
11-19-2011, 11:38 AM
Color me obtuse, but given the above discssion, and DocGKR's very detailed link, If I wanted a lightweight, fielded, effective BUG, I'd personally choose one of the Glock subcompacts-probably the G26 in 9mm, or, if I wanted closet to .357 Magnum performance, I'd go with using something like Winchester 127gr +P+ cartridges in the G26, or by going with a G33 in .357 SIG.

I'm no expert, but I believe that tests have demonstrated significant issues arising with the ultra-lightweight S&W snubs, along the lines of the transmitted recoil impulse wrenching bullets from the cartridge casing, essentially tying up the gun after the first round.

Don't get me wrong; I like revolvers, but my interest level is for those with 3-4 inch barrels, and I'm unlikely to prefer a revolver for back-up use. As an earlier poster recommended, I think it makes a tremendous amount of sense to stick with the same platform for both primary and back-up guns.

Best, Jon

TGS
11-19-2011, 12:25 PM
Color me obtuse, but given the above discssion, and DocGKR's very detailed link, If I wanted a lightweight, fielded, effective BUG, I'd personally choose one of the Glock subcompacts-probably the G26 in 9mm, or, if I wanted closet to .357 Magnum performance, I'd go with using something like Winchester 127gr +P+ cartridges in the G26, or by going with a G33 in .357 SIG.

I'm no expert, but I believe that tests have demonstrated significant issues arising with the ultra-lightweight S&W snubs, along the lines of the transmitted recoil impulse wrenching bullets from the cartridge casing, essentially tying up the gun after the first round.

Don't get me wrong; I like revolvers, but my interest level is for those with 3-4 inch barrels, and I'm unlikely to prefer a revolver for back-up use. As an earlier poster recommended, I think it makes a tremendous amount of sense to stick with the same platform for both primary and back-up guns.

Best, Jon

Jumping the crimp (http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?933-Jumping-the-crimp&highlight=jumping+crimp) is only a problem with extremely lightweight guns using specific bullets with light crimps.

Long tom coffin
11-26-2011, 01:09 AM
Long Tom,

Thanks for the insight from the Ruger discussion. What would you say then about gettng the LCR .357, but only firing .38 +P through it?


From my own personal experience? I liked the .357 LCR better. It was heavier in the pocket but on the range, my follow up shots were definitely faster. The shot timer doesn't lie.


I would also, highly recommend a set of CT laser grips. If you can't afford them up front, save for them, buy them off someone at someplace like M4C, or do whatever else you have to to get them. They are a nice addition on most guns, but IMHO they are golden on BUG's like LCR's or
J frames. I will never own a small revolver with out CT grips on it, ever again.

Long tom coffin
11-26-2011, 01:18 AM
all revolvers have gas leakage after the bullet leaves the chamber and passes through the forcing cone.

the mechanical disadvantage of firing shorter cartridges through a revolver cylinder is the longer distance the bullet jumps,("Bullet Jump" being the term for uncontrolled bullet acceleration before the rifling is engaged.)

Unless your revolver is suffering from excessive endshake, then yes, a nominal amount of gases and particulates will escape from the gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone. But these amounts are minute and really have no effect on bullet performance. Again, that's provided your endshake isn't excessive.

However, that's not what I was referring too.

When the .357 was designed, it was designed around certain bullet weights and commonly accepted barrel lengths. The charge load inside the casing was optimized to work within these parameters, and to a certain extent this is still the case today. The shorter your barrel, the less time the charge has to burn while propelling the bullet inside the barrel, and the more of it will escape out the front of the barrel as the bullet escapes. If you are looking for a examples, go get a hot 125 gr round and shoot it out of a snub. For your hand's sake, I would recommend and SP101. Witness the massive barn burning fireball at the end of your barrel. Then fire that same round out of a 5-6" barrel and witness the lack of same.

The corollary to that is since the gas spends less time propelling the bullet inside the barrel and spends more time escaping out the barrel end, you will see drastically decreased ballistic performance and velocities. In the case of the aforementioned 125 gr out of a 2" or less barrel, we are talking about a significant loss of fps.

MadMax17
11-26-2011, 11:27 PM
From my own personal experience? I liked the .357 LCR better. It was heavier in the pocket but on the range, my follow up shots were definitely faster. The shot timer doesn't lie.


I would also, highly recommend a set of CT laser grips. If you can't afford them up front, save for them, buy them off someone at someplace like M4C, or do whatever else you have to to get them. They are a nice addition on most guns, but IMHO they are golden on BUG's like LCR's or
J frames. I will never own a small revolver with out CT grips on it, ever again.

Yeah, I went with the .357 model and got CT laser grips and am very happy with it. I figured the Hogue Tamer grips were so essential in keeping the lighter .38 special version shootable, by my taking them off and adding the CT grips (non-negotioable), I was entering hand-cannon realm. I've been extremely happy firing .38 out of the .357, and actually enjoy the weight increase.

Long tom coffin
12-02-2011, 11:23 PM
Yeah, I went with the .357 model and got CT laser grips and am very happy with it. I figured the Hogue Tamer grips were so essential in keeping the lighter .38 special version shootable, by my taking them off and adding the CT grips (non-negotioable), I was entering hand-cannon realm. I've been extremely happy firing .38 out of the .357, and actually enjoy the weight increase.

I would concur with all of the above. When I first got my LCR, just for S&G I loaded it up with some 158 gr .357 ball I had laying around (magtech, I think), and fire it with the hogues on. I was actually surprised with it. You definitely know you have just set off a .357, but it wasn't the kind of agony inducing experience I thought it would be. I wouldn't call it pleasant, but it wasn't horrific either. Still, not something I would do on a regular basis. Hogues may be fugly, but they are undeniably effective. I have a hogue on my SP101 and I can put Buffalo Bore through that without problem. I later tried the same stunt while I had the CT's on, and the results were significantly different; more along the lines of "I just got hit on the hand with a hammer". Still, I have found the 135 GD's I load it with to be very pleasant to shoot with the CT's on. The LCR is a very ergonomic little revolver. I wish ruger would spend more time putting out crafty stuff like that as opposed to 1911 knock offs.

MadMax17
12-03-2011, 12:34 PM
I would concur with all of the above. When I first got my LCR, just for S&G I loaded it up with some 158 gr .357 ball I had laying around (magtech, I think), and fire it with the hogues on. I was actually surprised with it. You definitely know you have just set off a .357, but it wasn't the kind of agony inducing experience I thought it would be. I wouldn't call it pleasant, but it wasn't horrific either. Still, not something I would do on a regular basis. Hogues may be fugly, but they are undeniably effective. I have a hogue on my SP101 and I can put Buffalo Bore through that without problem. I later tried the same stunt while I had the CT's on, and the results were significantly different; more along the lines of "I just got hit on the hand with a hammer". Still, I have found the 135 GD's I load it with to be very pleasant to shoot with the CT's on. The LCR is a very ergonomic little revolver. I wish ruger would spend more time putting out crafty stuff like that as opposed to 1911 knock offs.

Where do you find the Speer 135 gr GD's? I've been unable to find any, so I've been using Cor-Bon 110 Gr. DPX...