Ruger lcr .357 or .38 any thoughts...?

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by billc, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    I have read a lot about this revolver in both the .357 and .38 and I was wondering if anyone here on Martialtalk had any info. I might not find on the gun sites...

    I am thinking of picking one up now that Illinois will be implementing concealed carry. It will be a while before anyone can carry here so I thought I would start looking for a weapon that can be carried...
     
  2. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    A .357 magnum in a light weight snub nosed revolver isn't going to be very pleasant at all, since it will be murderous on your hand.

    The only snub nosed revolvers I can recommend using a full fledged .357 magnum on, are the all-steel ones, such as the S&W 60 or 640, as well as the Ruger SP-101.

    That being said, a Ruger LCR in the .38 Special is a fantastic pocket gun, since it's the best competitor to Smith and Wesson's excellent J-frame snub nosed offerings, and on equal footing.

    I would recommend getting one, and using Speer's excellent 130 grain +P Gold Dot hollowpoint that was designed for short barrels. It will say on the box that it's either the SB version, or that it's for shorter barrels. This is a load designed to expand more reliably at slower velocities.
     
  3. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

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    The .357 will also take .38s, but I went with a .38.

    As Gren pointed out, even a .38 is unpleasant to fire from a snubbie. I've got no desire to shoot .357 magnum from anything but a nice, large, heavy platform.
     
  4. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Thanks Grenadier and zDOrn I appreciate the advice. From what I have read and seen about the LCR it seems like a good pistol to own. Thanks again.

    Any advantage to getting the .357 and just using .38 +p instead of the .357?
     
  5. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    All that you're going to do is add more weight to the gun (a LCR is specifically designed for light weight and easy concealability).

    The short 2" barrel doesn't really allow the .357 magnum to reach its true capabilities.

    Remember, the .357 magnum is a high pressure cartridge, and uses slower-burning propellant powders to get an optimal burn. The .38 Special is a low pressure cartridge, and uses faster burning powders to get an optimal burn. You lose more punch with the .357 magnum, when you chop off those two inches of barrel length.

    In these cases, bullet design is more important than squeezing out every last bit of velocity. This is why I recommended the Speer Gold Dot short barrel-optimized loads in the .38 Special +P. It will do the job just fine, if you do your job of placing the shot. Ballistics for this round out of a short barrel are pretty impressive, and in all honesty, there wouldn't be much difference between using this vs. a full house .357 magnum load, in that short barrel.

    While all .357 magnum revolvers can also shoot .38 Special loads, doing this on a consistent basis isn't an ideal thing, since you'll have lead buildup in the cylinder where the shorter rounds' tips are. This won't be much of a problem if all you're using are the .38 Specials, but once you try to put a .357 magnum cartridge in there, you may notice that it becomes more and more difficult to put the cartridge into the cylinder all the way.

    Sometimes the lead buildup is so bad that it takes a long, dedicated scrubbing to get it out. Not fun at all.

    If you're going to get a .357 magnum, I
     
  6. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Thanks Grenadier. I appreciate the info. It seems like the .38 may be the way to go...
     
  7. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    if you are looking for a self defense gun, that is small and easy to conceal, I would look at a 380acp/9mm kurtz, or a full boat 9mm auto. wheel guns are difficult to conceal well. in a lot of jurisdictions if they can see you are carrying a weapon its called "flashing" and a crime! where you are I see the cops playing stupid games that way to keep the politicians who do not want guns in the hands of honest people! So I would say in your case the ability to conceal the weapon well and still get it out is more important then most other factors. also auto-loaders reload faster. I would go with the largest bore diameter you can afford and conceal well. I would also NOT go smaller then .32acp. also in some guns it is inadvisable to use +P ammo... some will not take the pressure in the chamber!! that will if it happens result in serious injury or even death.
     
  8. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Thanks Chinto.
     
  9. Kframe

    Kframe Black Belt

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    Ok, revolvers are my thing. Given the choice between the two, I would always go for the .357mag. The reason is, that it can chamber both the .38 and .357. Allowing you to tailor loads to specific situations. In town? .38spc+p hollow points. In the Michigan wilderness with blackbears a possibility? Load up Buffalo bore .357 hardcast flatpoints, or equivalent home cast. If you like carrying .357 for sd then the.357 flavor would allow you to practice with the more affordable .38spc.

    Ill say this tho, im not a fan of alloy or polly framed revolvers. Their lightness is a drawback. Your recovery time between shots will be longer then on a steel framed snub. Ya steel(not that scandium or titanium stuff) will be heavier but its not a burden to carry. I am just not a fan of the sharper recoil, so I use only steel.

    Either way, both will carry well in your pocket, just make sure you run a lot of ammo and reloads up to the power of your carry ammo so you can feel the recoil and recovery time between shots. Which is why I would likely never buy a LCR. If I have to pull it in self defense, I want my time between accurate shots to be as fast possible. I can do that quickly with steel frames, not poly.

    MY EDC is a Smith and Wesson m15-3 revolver with a 4 inch barrel. It is not at all hard to carry or conceal. I do not know your shooting history, so I respectfully suggest that you try shooting some scandium framed snubs side by side a steel framed snub. You will notice a difference.

    Also suggest you look in to some kind of aftermarket sights, as snub sights stink on ice. Instinctive point shooting works as well.
     
  10. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Thanks, Kframe. I appreciate the info. and the perspective on using snub nose revolvers...
     
  11. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm going to have to strongly disagree here. The J-frame sized revolvers (Smith and Wesson, Ruger's LCR, or even Taurus' offerings), used in even a cheap 15 dollar Uncle Mike's pocket holster, will disappear into the front pants pocket of a pair of comfortable cargo shorts. They're also some of the few firearms that can be comfortably carried on an ankle holster or belly band.

    I do agree that you can get subcompact 9 mm / .380 ACP semiautos that conceal exceptionally well, though. Ruger's LCP, Sig's subcompact P-series, etc., all fit the bill quite nicely.
     
  12. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Grenadier,

    Which way would you go...six for sure or a subcompact semiauto...?
     
  13. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    if I were allowed Id carry a revolver over a semi auto any day. Internal hammer I can shoot from the pocket of a coat without being afraid that the fabric will bind up the slide. No stove pipe or double feed or weak wrist failure to feeds. But Im not allowed so I carry a Sig P229
     
  14. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    The J-frame sized revolvers are going to be 5 shot cylinders.

    I am comfortable using either a J-frame size revolver, or a subcompact semiauto. With the proper pocket holster, either will be easily concealed in the pockets of a pair of looser fitting shorts, which is quite handy during the hot summer months. I still prefer the J-frame, though, since it feels like a natural fit in my hands. Also, the ability to shoot with a less than ideal grip gives you a bit more margin of error.

    When using a small firearm like this, the 9 mm will have a bit more advantage in terms of punch, since the 9mm is a higher power round compared to the .38 Special (or .38 Special +P), and that almost all quality 9 mm subcompact firearms are locked breech mechanism types, meaning that you'll actually have a good bit less recoil than a straight blowback semiauto (such as most .380 ACP).

    This isn't quite as much of an advantage as it used to be, though, since there are now premium hollowpoints designed to work optimally in a shorter barrel, such as Speer's Gold Dot SB series.

    The bottom line is this, that you should try both the small revolvers, as well as the subcompact semiautos, to see which one you can shoot better. What is optimal for one person may be different from another one's tastes.
     
  15. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    Thanks again Ballen and Grenadier.
     
  16. Kframe

    Kframe Black Belt

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    If something affordable is what your after, have a look at the Bersa line of pistols. Very robust and reliable. They are very concealable, and even have a 15shot .380acp. Very affordable quality guns. Stay away from Tuarus they are affordable but apparently don't have any QC. Nice designs but they let far to many lemons out. I had a pt945 which apon firing would eject the baseplate and rounds from the magazine in the firearm.123
     

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