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Author Topic: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum  (Read 5244 times)

RMc

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15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
« on: June 08, 2019, 06:28:45 pm »
This is one of those interesting what if choice comparisons.

The choice is between a 380 autopistol with 15 shot magazines or a 5 shot, 357 snubnose revolver with speed strips and/or speedloaders.

Presuming no other choice is possible, which would you choose for daily concealed carry and why? 
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    Raptor

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #1 on: June 08, 2019, 10:47:21 pm »
    The .380. I loathe heavy recoil and can't shoot snubbies worth beans.
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    coelacanth

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #2 on: June 08, 2019, 10:51:52 pm »
    Ruger SP101 , 3" stainless, Hogue grip.  Very controllable even with full snort loads.  Heavier than a small .380 and less rounds before a reload but has the distinct possibility of a one shot stop and can be successfully employed at contact distance without pushing the slide out of battery.  Dud round- bad primer? Pull the trigger again.   :coffee
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    cpaspr

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #3 on: June 08, 2019, 10:53:03 pm »
    Well, I sorta, kinda made this not-quite-exact choice.

    I went from a Sig P232 with one extra 7-round mag to a Ruger LCR357 (loaded with .38 Spl Speer Gold-Dot SD Ammo) with one speed strip.

    Primary reason was because the snubby could sometimes be pocket carried while the semi never could.  At least for me and my clothes.

    ________

    I can't speak for other snubbies, but I can hit 8" steel plates at 40 yards with this one quite regularly.
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    Kaso

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 02:32:33 pm »
    Of those two choices, I would take the 15 shot .380.

    Why?  The best attributes of a .357 are tied to its one-shot-stop potential - and that relies on both velocity, and delivering accurate shots.  Neither of these are where a snubby shines.  Change the choice to a 6-shot, 4" K-frame, and I would favor the revolver.

    Actually, I would take even a K-frame snub, so long as it had a full length ejector rod.  The choice of a K-frame is less about that extra round, and more about handling.  A K-frame is just that much easier to manipulate and shoot, than its J-frame little sister.

    coelacanth

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 05:09:39 pm »
    The 3" barreled Ruger SP 101 I referenced earlier shoots more accurately for me at all ranges than any .380 automatic I've ever shot.  Last time I was out with it my son and I were shooting at roughly 25 yards, standing, unsupported and were both able to keep our shots ( 5 per cylinder )on a Chinet paper dinner plate with Remington factory .357 magnum ammo - 125 grain jacketed soft points as I recall.   If you haven't tried one you really owe it to yourself to wander over to a range and rent one for an hour. 

    Granted, we were firing single action, slow fire but I would be hard pressed to match that performance with any .380 pistol I've shot with the possible exception one of the old FN-Browning model 55's with target sights or maybe one of the Beretta 85's.  Concealable .380 ACP pistols are not generally known for their wonderful handling characteristics or gilt-edged accuracy.   

    I agree with your K frame assessment.  A 3" barreled, round butt, model 65 is hard to argue with as a concealment piece.  Ask me how I know.   ;)
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    ksuguy

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 05:52:04 pm »
    I've actually had a similar debate between my SP101 and CZ82 in 9x18, even though that is 12+1 in a slightly more powerful round than your hypothetical .380.    Most of the time I carry the SP101.   The CZ82 would probably be a better carry gun since it offers more than double the capacity.  However, I usually just carry the SP101 because it's simple.  It's sturdy, reliable, and there aren't any additional controls to mess with.   Just throw it in a pocket holster and it's good to go.   



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    RMc

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 10:42:23 am »
    Well the responses were divided along the lines of power vs capacity.  :shrug
     
    A few gelded heavies versus a swarm of the stunted corto.    :hmm

    So, does quantity really have a quality all its own in defensive handgun use?   



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    MTK20

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 11:00:18 am »
    Quantity absolutely does have merit.

    That being said, I would probably carry the revolver. Unless the .380 had a decent barrel length to get the fps up, then I'd take the .380. If both have short barrels, then I'm having to rely on projectile mass to do the job. Regarding the weight difference between .38 special and .380, there is no comparison. The .38 wins.

    As noted by raptor, my snubby kicks like hell and the sights are rudimentary, but I can shoot it okay enough. I don't think I'd do significantly better with a .380 in regards to grouping :shrug .
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    cpaspr

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 04:31:50 pm »
    Quantity absolutely does have merit.

    That being said, I would probably carry the revolver. Unless the .380 had a decent barrel length to get the fps up, then I'd take the .380. If both have short barrels, then I'm having to rely on projectile mass to do the job. Regarding the weight difference between .38 special and .380, there is no comparison. The .38 wins.

    As noted by raptor, my snubby kicks like hell and the sights are rudimentary, but I can shoot it okay enough. I don't think I'd do significantly better with a .380 in regards to grouping :shrug .

    See, the initial choice, ".380 w/ 15 vs .357 w/ however much in reloads" is a bit confusing.

    The disparity of power is the first confusion.  As Coelacanth and Kaso both referred to above, the benefit of the .357 is its one-shot-stop potential.  But really, how many people carry a .357 snubby with .357s in it?  I don't.  Recovery time suffers too much.

    .380 vs .38 Special snubby is a more equitable comparison.

    One other aspect to the discussion though, is that for those who downplayed the accuracy of most .380s (justifiably, IMO) the manufacturers are making them as small as possible, to appeal to people who want the smallest possible concealed carry gun.  Such manufacturing parameters are going to come at the cost of lousy sights and horrific recoil, since the gun weighs down in the 9-12oz range.

    My .380 is one of the bigger ones, made and marketed before the current microgun craze started.  It weighs almost exactly the same as my LCR357, empty.  While it has fixed sights, I can actually hit steel plates at 40-60 yards fairly reliably.  But mine are actual 3-dot sights, rather than a gutter across the top of the gun.

    As I said above, .38 Special from a snubby would be a better comparison.

    Ultimately, I think when comparing guns with "barely there" barrels, it does come down to weight of projectile, as MTK20 said.
    Oregon

    Plebian

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 05:53:01 pm »
    Whichever one I shoot better.

    That is almost always the correct answer when it comes down to carry guns.
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    RMc

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 12:06:49 pm »
    The conundrum between the greater power, per shot, delivered by lower capacity firearms with very powerful cartridges and the lower power, per shot, usually associated with a higher capacity firearms seems to be the arms issue of our time.  Yes there are exceptions, usually in much larger and heavier arms.  And yes, shooter recoil tolerance plays a part.

    The 15 shot 380 vs the snub nose* 5 shot 357 is just an exemplar of this trade off.

    *Usually associated with < 2.5" barrel lengths.

    Another example, on a different level, is being played out in with the handguns chosen in areas like the backcountry of Alaska.  There the question often seen in the choice between the higher capacity of many 10mm autoloaders and the 5 or 6 round capacity of big bore  revolvers chambered for the likes of cartridges from the 44 magnum to the 500 Magnum class.  Here the possibility of facing the largest predatory animals in North America, drives the question.

    What say you?




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    sqlbullet

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 01:12:03 pm »
    Due to another conversation at another forum, the first thing that come to my mind today when I read this is what this translates to in actual hits.

    Most people with a gun at close range have a hit rate in defensive situations of 30%.  So, 1.5 hits (1 or 2) with the 357 vs 4.5 (4 or 5) hits with the 380.  And has been said, due to the increased level of recoil management with the 357 it is probably smart to round that down.  So we will round them both down.  1 hit with a 357 or 4 hits with a 380.

    I will take the .380
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    cpaspr

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 09:07:45 pm »
    As regards the .44 / .50 revolver vs. a 10MM auto in Alaska, in light of sqlbullet's referenced ratio I'd probably go with a 10MM with heavy for caliber rounds.

    Those big powerful revolvers shoot big powerful bullets, but do so slowly when recoil is factored in.  Up against a charging bear?  You're only going to get one or two shots.  With the 10MM you might double that.
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    Mikee5star

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #14 on: June 17, 2019, 05:06:49 pm »
    To the OP, my statement is simple, which ever you will actually carry.   For me personally the answer is neither.  One is an anchor that doesn't fit my body well without lots of expense, and the other is an anchor that is in an obsolescent cartridge.  I think that there are better options available.

    As regards the .44 / .50 revolver vs. a 10MM auto in Alaska, in light of sqlbullet's referenced ratio I'd probably go with a 10MM with heavy for caliber rounds.
    Those big powerful revolvers shoot big powerful bullets, but do so slowly when recoil is factored in.  Up against a charging bear?  You're only going to get one or two shots.  With the 10MM you might double that.

    This and my above statement is why my four legged predator carry is a G29 with 220gr cast lead or flat nose bullets pushed to very close to max pressure.

    I had/have a whole variety of "carry" guns.  I have actually carried two of them seriously in the last year.  Looking at them, they fit my hand, have good sights, chamber a "reasonable" cartridge, are thin, and are lightweight.   As much as I love my round guns, they do not fit in my carry routine.  Yes I need to add a snubby if I am to reasonable carry concealed with a revolver, but for the weight and other trade offs I don't ccw round guns. 
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    Roper1911

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #15 on: June 18, 2019, 10:05:56 am »
    15 shot .380
    .357 is more lethal if you look at the numbers.
    but not enough to sacrifice 10 shots.
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    coelacanth

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #16 on: June 18, 2019, 03:37:47 pm »
    The larger .380 ACP semi-automatics like the Beretta 85, the Walther PK .380, the S&W M&P .380 Shield EZ, the SIG P230 and a few others are big enough make the .380 ACP controllable in a rapid fire scenario at short range.  Even those pistols are mediocre at best in terms of accuracy beyond 15 yards.   The smaller .380 ACP pistols sacrifice shootability for concealability.  The smallest of the pistols currently available are uncomfortable to shoot and the concept of aimed fire is primarily theoretical. 

    Those may be acceptable compromises for some but of the two handguns in this mental exercise I will always take the .357 magnum snub nosed revolver for reasons I have already outlined.  The good news is that most of us are not limited to those choices. 
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    GaBoy45

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #17 on: August 17, 2019, 02:00:54 pm »
    As much as I love my revolvers, if limited to the OP’s criteria, I’d probably carry the .380. I wouldn’t feel to under gunned if I could carry XTP or BB’s Barnes loaded .380’s. But I was always pretty accurate with a Beretta 84 I used to own (I miss that pistol).


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    RMc

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #18 on: August 18, 2019, 11:51:47 pm »

    .380 vs .38 Special snubby is a more equitable comparison.

    That is an interesting perspective that, it seems, many share.

    Indeed, one of my earliest recollections of such a comparison in the shooting press was a reference by Skeeter Skelton.  As I recall, he mentioned an undercover assignment in the early 1960s for which he chose to carry a Walther 380.  The reasons given were the FMJ 380 had virtually the same penetration as the heavier lead 38spl from an airweight five shot S&W snubnose and was quicker to reload.
    Alabama

    coelacanth

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    Re: 15 shot 380 vs 5 shot 357 Magnum
    « Reply #19 on: August 19, 2019, 05:42:12 pm »
    There is considerable difference between what was available to the shooter of either round in the 1960's-1970's vs what is available to day.  It doesn't matter if you're running factory ammo or rolling your own the choices are much better in terms of picking a round ideal for your given application.

    Same goes for the guns available then vs now.   I am familiar with both of the handguns referenced by Mr. Skelton and while I learned to respect his opinion on a great many subjects over the years I read his columns and articles, I find myself questioning his judgement on this.  I suspect that the Walther - especially if it was the PPK - was chosen for an undercover assignment more on the basis of its better concealment profile than because of the round it fired. 

    I saw him once and Mr. Skelton was a big man.  Tall, lanky - raw-boned as they used to say - and his hands were huge.  As in palm a basketball huge.   I have no doubt that he found the tiny little S&W, J frame, airweight revolver a chore to reload under stress and it might well have been the deciding factor for him.  I can't imagine him having an easy time with either weapon given the size of his hands. 

    If he'd had the range of choices we do today he might well have chosen differently.
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