So here's something I was wondering recently:
While perusing various forums across Ye Olde World Wide Web... I see the overall sentiment towards short barreled magnum revolvers is something akin to the following:
"Are you crazy? You are robbing that poor magnum cartridge of almost all power! So much unburned powder! Useless! They beat up the guns, and you get no benefit from it!"
Ok, maybe not so dramatic, but it does seem that the prevailing 'knowledge' leans away from shorter barreled magnum revolvers, seemingly particularly the .44 Magnum.
Looking over Ballistics By The Inch, one would have to agree, those velocities sure do drop off mighty quick, especially once you get down around 2"-3".
Being a magnum fan, I have to ask - Why is it that those that are particularly vocal about the .44 magnum needing at least a 4" barrel also the ones who like a good 2.5" S&W Model 19/66? : )
Are there magnums better suited to snub nosed revolvers? The energy/velocity dropoff seems to be quite consistent across the board.
Or do people tend to turn a blind eye to their pet caliber(s)?
I remember those arguments back in the 1970's. They were based on the fact that Magnum powders are, or were then, slow-burning. I tried developing Magnum loads with WW231 and Bullseye, with no success, never achieving velocities comparable to WW630 (I think that was it) or Unique. Pressures were too great with the fast powders.
I never tested my specific loads by barrel length, but at least one shooting magazine did, by lopping off an inch at a time from the barrel of a pistol. The velocity drop-offs were significant, but I don't think it got down to a point where a .38Spl load was equal to a .357Mag load.
Bottom line, a Magnum load would always out-perform a non-Magnum load, so my 2-1/2" M-66 is loaded with Speer 158gr Magnums.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
-- H L Mencken
One just has to use the correct(to them) ammo for the task at hand. One can easily use lighter loads for casual shooting they the real stuff when in the bush of AK.
For some, the fireball at the range is what they want. That may be the high end load out of the short revolver. The recoil gives the shooter a 'kick' too.
The general idea with the 'Ruger Alaskan' models is easier, compact carry while out & about. Of course it lacks a little FPS over the longer barrel, but it's easier to carry.
The closest thing I have is a 45 Colt Redhawk with a 4.2" barrel, somewhat of a compromise. Even with that I'm more than happy to shoot modest loads most all the time.
The bottom line may be, we don't all have to like or shoot the same stuff.
You can't convince my hands that there's no advantage to shooting .357Mag over .38Sp out of a 2" barrel. My hands have come back black-and-blue after a day's shooting the Magnum load out of a snubnose. Compared with that the .38 feels like a .22. And I usually shoot +P.
The ballistics charts I've seen indicate a difference of at least a couple hundred FPS between the two loads. Gel tests show more impressive wound channels as well.
But don't believe me...here's what the Lucky Gunner has to say about the matter...
.38SP vs. .357Mag
|Age Quod Agis|
I have three magnum revolvers, two .357 in 4 inch and one .44 in 7.5 inch, and would like a short .44.
For me, magnums have one advantage over the "special" version of each cartridge, or as lucky gunner points out, even a good semi auto cartridge, and that is the ability to drive a HEAVY bullet fast, obviously at the expense of significant recoil.
Human targets don't need magnum power; a .38 special load, or a .44 special load can be loaded with a bullet that has adequate penetration and expansion in thin skinned, light boned 120 to 240 pound animals. But big or tough animal targets may need the penetration that comes with the heavy bullets and the additional velocity of a magnum round. A 15-20% increase in velocity coupled with a 10-20% increase in bullet weight means significant increased penetration in big, tough animals. Obviously, the magnums also truly pull away from the specials when barrel length is increased, but for purposes of short, easy to carry guns, they still have a place as a woods gun that the special chamberings can't match.
We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled. - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012
This is me shooting .357 magnum in slow motion from my Colt Lawman III snubby. Like kkina said, hell of a lot more kick than 38 special:
.357 magnum snubby slo-mo
I have never been in a gunfight, but I believe that the "follow up shots" thing MAY be a bit over rated. This is a "get off me" gun. I am not concerned with 25 yard head shots. I am speaking of j frames.
|The Quiet Man|
I have. It is not.
The ability to make rapid, accurate shots has nothing to do with range. It has to do with the fact that single handgun wounds, regardless of caliber, tend to be very poor stoppers unless a vital organ is hit.
|fugitive from reality|
In the event you are involved in a use of deadly force scenario, you may not even notice the magum level recoil. Even if you do that's why you train. Training is the way.....
'I'm pretty fly for a white guy'.
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