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Thread: Airlite backup: .38 vs. .22 Magnum

  1. #1
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    Airlite backup: .38 vs. .22 Magnum

    Hi!

    I am considering switching my non-permissive environment /summer carry from a S&W 340PD to an 351C Airlite.

    Seven low recoiling rds. sound much better than five heavier recoiling ones.

    Has anybody gone this route too? Any thoughts? Is the .22 Magnum a good enough caliber? Is it reliable in the 351C? No ignition problems?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    22 LR would be better as the magnum needs a long barrel to achieve any advantage (think slow burning powder). Not to mention muzzle blast.

    One could argue 5 full 38 wadcutters might be better than 7 22's.

  3. #3
    Lives to Enable Revolvers Stephanie B's Avatar
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    If I was going into this on a "clean-sheet" basis, I might look hard at a .32 LCR.
    Everything exploded and the blood began to spill.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter jandbj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie B View Post
    If I was going into this on a "clean-sheet" basis, I might look hard at a .32 LCR.
    In a perfect world, the unobtanium 432. LCR is weighty in .327

    That said, I sometimes carry a 351c with a front night sight, and I won’t sell my 43c either. And I’ve owned a slew of 442/642’s and LCR’s.

    @jetfire & lucky gunner have done some good articles on the mouseguns that are worth reading.
    Last edited by jandbj; 04-22-2021 at 08:42 AM.

  5. #5
    I have had enough light primer strikes with rimfire that I am wary of them for self defense. Having 8 instead of 5-6 shots in a revolver might mitigate that somewhat. I would load either CCI Velocitors or another high energy 40 gr but performance out of a short barrel is still marginal. The nice part for 2021 is that practice ammo is available and relatively cheap.

    Some good gel test data at https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/poc...-results/#22LR.

  6. #6
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    I use a 351c for that application. The magnum has no advantage and several disadvantages in such a short barrel.

    New kid on the block:

    https://www.federalpremium.com/rimfi...punch-rimfire/
    Semper Paratus,

    Steve

  7. #7
    For what it's worth, favorable thoughts by Greg Ellifritz on the .22 Magnum snubs:

    https://www.activeresponsetraining.n...-the-22-magnum

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by overton View Post
    Hi!

    I am considering switching my non-permissive environment /summer carry from a S&W 340PD to an 351C Airlite.

    Seven low recoiling rds. sound much better than five heavier recoiling ones.

    Has anybody gone this route too? Any thoughts? Is the .22 Magnum a good enough caliber? Is it reliable in the 351C? No ignition problems?

    Thanks!
    Everything is a trade off.

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    For size comparison. 340PD, 2” NAA black widow, P32AT.

    I’d personally probably go to the P32 if I wanted low recoil and more rounds in a smaller package, but if you’re married to revolvers in that role that’s a limiting factor.

    The 2” black widow is very easy to carry and doesn’t look like a gun. It has a real grip and real sights and the 2” barrel in WMR is actually decent enough you can get the Gold Dots to expand.

    See my gel test bullet extraction below:

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    Shorter than 2” barrel has spotty expansion for the ammo, but with those wimpy rounds you’re just punching holes anyway.

    The single action of the black widow can be an issue, but if you’re talking about a “notagun” role it might suffice. I sometimes pocket carry a 1” NAA PUG as a noisemaker.

    I did test to see if I could shoot the NAAs faster and came up with Cowboy stylez.

    Pointing at cardboard things....

  9. #9
    I'd be curious how they do respectively as contact shots. If you think of the J-frame as a cheat code for contact distance engagements, that changes the equation a bit. I've thought that a Centennial J-Frame in .22 Mag with a ClipDraw might be a really good solution for a lot of folks. The carry version of a sock-drawer gun, if that makes sense.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter LtDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overton View Post
    Hi!

    I am considering switching my non-permissive environment /summer carry from a S&W 340PD to an 351C Airlite.

    Seven low recoiling rds. sound much better than five heavier recoiling ones.

    Has anybody gone this route too? Any thoughts? Is the .22 Magnum a good enough caliber? Is it reliable in the 351C? No ignition problems?

    Thanks!
    I think the .22 Magnum is good enough. I prefer .22 Magnum over .22 LR for self defense purposes because in my experience .22 Magnum is of higher quality and has fewer failures to fire that plague .22LR. Extra velocity in a short barreled .22 Mag isn't a factor in my decision. .22 Mag also offers bullets that are better (Gold Dots and Critical Defense are good examples) than you're going to get in a .22 LR.

    Keep in mind that the rimfire S&W J frames will have heavier trigger pulls than centerfires. This is required for reliable ignition. My 43C has a noticeably nicer trigger than my 351c.
    The first indication a bad guy should have that I'm dangerous is when his
    disembodied soul is looking down at his own corpse wondering what happened.

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