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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got a .357 Magnum with 2 inch barrel, is this a good hand gun for carrying personal protection? So far I love the size and other things about this gun. My thinking is that fire the correct ammo and go to the range once a month. Any comments out there about the gun ? Good & bad new is welcome.
 

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Hello: It would help if you'd include what Make & Model your revolver is.
 

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Hi Deepsee,

As a user of the .357 Magnum cartridge for defensive purposes since the 60's I have a few comments for you about using your new .357 Magnum revolver.

First, the .357 Magnum cartridge generates an unusually sharp report, which will be an absolute monster in a two inch revolver, so make sure in your range training that you use a good set of MUFF type hearing protectors. Try to stay with the ones rated at 29 dBa or better. Plugs won't do it for you here. Peltor makes a very good muff in this range for roughly $20. I think they're called the Ultimate 10.

Secondly, recoil in a .357 Magnum is very sharp and and it is absolutely imperative that your pistol have a good, hand-filling set of grips on it. I frankly wouldn't shoot a .357 with a minimal set of grips, or what we call "small grips." I was an LEO and during rapid double action firing of Magnum cartridges with the large factory S&W grips, the first three rounds raised a blister near the base of the thumb of my shooting hand, and the second three rounds popped it. So until you see how your grips fit you, putting a band aid there will save you some grief.

Third, if you are going to use the revolver for defensive purposes, sure, go ahead and learn to shoot it with one hand for emergencies. But my recommendation is to develop a good, solid two hand hold, as your two inch revolver is somewhat of a wildcat when rapid firing Magnum ammunition. The two hand hold will increase your control of the gun tremendously and thereby increase your accuracy.

A real hazard with .357 Magnum revolvers is the potential to injure yourself badly by getting your support hand near the front of the cylinder where hot gasses and other harmful stuff blasts out from the barrel/cylinder gap with great force. The .357 Magnum is especially bad about this because of its great power. So when you develop your two hand hold, make sure to keep your support hand well to the rear of the cylinder, preferably enclosing your shooting hand, but in no case do you ever want to allow it to creep up near the front of the cylinder. Again, very dangerous.


I suppose you are aware that you can fire .38 S&W Special ammunition in your .357 Magnum revolver. If I were you I would start out by practicing with the .38 load, and gradually move into using the Magnum rounds as confidence and proficiency improve.

The .357 Magnum is one of the all time great pistol cartridges and is highly regarded as a defensive round by law enforcement. Your two inch revolver will take good care of you, but unless you are a very experienced shooter it will be a challenge to learn to use it effectively with Magnum ammo. So I'd plan initially to go to the range more often than once a month. Weekly is better in the beginning and the interval after that will be a purely individual thing. Go as often as you need in order to stay good with the gun.

Pardon the long winded answer and best wishes,

Jerry
 

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Hello,

The shorter .357 I happen to shoot regulary was a S&W M19 2 1/2" ("Combat Magnum") with small boot wood grips. A nice piece but a pain to shoot with full power ammo, so I shot mainly .38 on practice and some .357 to keep the taste alive. I fired also a S&W M65 with a 4" bull barrel. It tames the magums much more easily, recoil and report are really manageable. I had some experiences too with a Manurhin MR 73 4". Due to extremly high strenth steels, this revolver is about the same weight (970 g.) as the short M19. On fire, it beats similarly, with less report.

In my experience, a .357 weighting less than 1000 g. is a pain on long training sessions, except if you get very good absorbing synthetic grips that fit well your hand.

Bye.

L.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have always wondered whether a 357 magnum out of 2" barrel truly generates enough in improved ballistics over say a 38+p to make it worth the additional recoil and such. Having said that I believe that a 110 grain magnum out of a short barrel should do well for defensive work. The 125 grain was the cats meow for a while but it generated so much flash and recoil that many folks were put off by it.

By the way a look for boot grips, either in rubber or wood. They can offer you a nice compromise between recoil management and concealment.
 

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With the exception of my ancient and inherited Chief, all my S&W K frames are 357 but I generally only carry them with +P LHP 38 SPL ammo. When the barrel is 2.5" to 4" I just don't think the extra speed is worth the blast. But, the 357 is one of the very best stopping power records in the Marshall Sanow reports. I generally stick to 38 SPL unless it requires 357 Mag. The exceptions for me are the L/Nframes and the Pythons. They make shooting full power 357 a joy even in 4" barrels. The flash and noise are still there but the recoil is flat gone.
 
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