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  #1  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:43 PM
DPmax DPmax is offline
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Ruger LCR .38 or .357




I apologize for this post, I never thought I'd start one of these "which one should I get" threads, but here I am...

My next purchase will be Ruger LCR. The revolver fit my hand well and was easy to manage including "shooting from the hip".
I have trigger time with the .38 version, including +P rounds, however I have yet to be able to track down a .357 LCR to try out.

I'd like to hear some opinions on the .357 version.
Does anyone have experience with both calibers of LCRs?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:55 PM
hi-powered hi-powered is offline
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I would have

I have the .38 spec. w/ctc and would have bought the .357 mag. if I could have found one about two years ago!

A little more weight and a little more choice in ammo would have been nice.
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:13 PM
400cor-bon 400cor-bon is offline
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get the 357, you can always run 38 SPL or 38 + P in it
more options = better
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:35 PM
BenR BenR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 400cor-bon View Post
get the 357, you can always run 38 SPL or 38 + P in it
more options = better
I agree, and I would add that if you so choose, you could chamber a .38 Special to get back on target very quickly, and then follow up with a .357 Magnum. That said, I believe that enough practice with the venerable .357 Magnum will allow the experienced shooter to get back on target efficiently.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:54 PM
grendelbane grendelbane is offline
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I may be outnumbered here, but I will state my opinion anyway.

The LCR is a great revolver, I have a .38 Spl LCR, and I love it.

I don't want a .357 LCR. There are several .38 Spl +p loads on the market designed to give good performance from a short barrel. You should practice with what you carry, and how many people will actually practice with .357's in a gun of this size and weight?

I have great admiration for Ruger's ability to make a revolver this size and weight that handles the .357 Magnum cartridge. I just have no desire to own one.
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2012, 04:26 PM
Houser Houser is offline
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It does not answer your question, and I do have experience with the .38LCR and other makes in snub .357's, but personally I would not bother with a .357mag in this style of handgun.

Here's my reasons:

1. No advantage in the extra size and weight (although very little in this example) which does not add to comfort and concealability in a carry gun.

2. No real advantage in velocity or power shooting a .357mag over a .38spcl +P designed for short barrels since the magnum round with its powder charge needs more barrel to develop those increases.

3. No advantage in the extra recoil which makes the magnum slower to get back on target with.

4. No advantage to the extra muzzle flash from all of that unburned powder which can be blinding if shot in a dark environment.

5. No advantage in the extra percussion and loudness which can hurt ears even if it isn't recognized in an adrenaline fueled shootout, and which gets worse in confined space (ie. car, house, etc.).

6. No advantage in the extra price of the .357mag.

Having said all of that, I like the LCR's in any flavor for current production snubs, and obviously others like them well enough for Ruger to keep making them.
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  #7  
Old 04-04-2012, 04:38 PM
Ithaca45 Ithaca45 is offline
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I agree with the previous post in that you will see no real advantage in the 357 LCR. I have the 38 LCR with the XS front sight and really like it. Just my .02 cents.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2012, 04:43 PM
HT77 HT77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Houser View Post
It does not answer your question, and I do have experience with the .38LCR and other makes in snub .357's, but personally I would not bother with a .357mag in this style of handgun.

Here's my reasons:

1. No advantage in the extra size and weight (although very little in this example) which does not add to comfort and concealability in a carry gun.

2. No real advantage in velocity or power shooting a .357mag over a .38spcl +P designed for short barrels since the magnum round with its powder charge needs more barrel to develop those increases.

3. No advantage in the extra recoil which makes the magnum slower to get back on target with.

4. No advantage to the extra muzzle flash from all of that unburned powder which can be blinding if shot in a dark environment.

5. No advantage in the extra percussion and loudness which can hurt ears even if it isn't recognized in an adrenaline fueled shootout, and which gets worse in confined space (ie. car, house, etc.).

6. No advantage in the extra price of the .357mag.

Having said all of that, I like the LCR's in any flavor for current production snubs, and obviously others like them well enough for Ruger to keep making them.

I agree with most of this. I often like to pocket carry a Smith 638 with +p ammo and see no advantage in carrying a lightweight snubby in .357 mag. During those times I am carrying a smaller weapon and I do not feel comfortable with just a .38 special +p round I go with a Glock 33 in .357 Sig instead of shooting a .357 mag round in something that is just too small and light to get the most out of the round imo.
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  #9  
Old 04-04-2012, 05:17 PM
PolymerMan PolymerMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 400cor-bon View Post
get the 357, you can always run 38 SPL or 38 + P in it
more options = better
+1

I agree. If you buy a .38 spl you will always have to use .38 spl loads no matter what.

They do have .357 mag loads for short barrel guns, Speer Gold Dot SB loads and Buffalo Bore. They are designed with flash suppression and powder designed to burn within a short barrel.

Get the .357 mag version and you can choose. Even if you go with .38 spl +P for carry for all the time like everyone else said, you can opt for an occasional .357 load just in case. Secondly, the gun designed for .357 is going to have a significantly increased lifetime if you stick with standard .38 and .38 +P loads.
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  #10  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:19 PM
Houser Houser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolymerMan View Post
+1

I agree. If you buy a .38 spl you will always have to use .38 spl loads no matter what.

They do have .357 mag loads for short barrel guns, Speer Gold Dot SB loads and Buffalo Bore. They are designed with flash suppression and powder designed to burn within a short barrel.

Get the .357 mag version and you can choose. Even if you go with .38 spl +P for carry for all the time like everyone else said, you can opt for an occasional .357 load just in case. Secondly, the gun designed for .357 is going to have a significantly increased lifetime if you stick with standard .38 and .38 +P loads.
Just a couple of observations.

First:

In a 4-inch test barrel, the regular Speer Personal Defense Gold Dot 125gr is rated at 1450fps/584FP in a .357mag; and at 945fps/248 in a .38spcl +P.

In a 2-inch test barrel, the Speer Personal Defense Gold Dot Short Barrel 135gr is rated at 990fps/294fp in a .357 mag; and at 860fps/222fp in a .38spcl +P.

So the difference in velocity and power in the shorter barrels, even in a specialized load, is not nearly the same as from the longer barrels, and the increased recoil, flash and noise are still disadvantages.

Some may find this difference "significant" and worth having a 2-inch snub, but as much as I love shooting .357's in my several Colts and S&W's chambered for that round, I don't see it in a 2-inch snub.

Second:

As for durability, a lightweight snub isn't really designed for a lot of target use, but instead more of a "carry a lot and shoot little." Even so, I would not worry much about wearing out a .38 LCR shooting +P's, as over 10,000 rounds have been documented without ill effects, and there are a lot of mid frame revolvers which could not claim that.

http://www.americanrifleman.org/Arti...cid=18&id=1660

Of course, if somebody did manage to shoot one loose, there's always Ruger's excellent customer service.
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  #11  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:07 PM
MikeyB MikeyB is offline
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Owning a S&W 360 .357 mag I say get the .38 and shoot +P. The only gains with the .357 is a much more massive fireball.
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  #12  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:28 PM
PolymerMan PolymerMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Houser View Post
Just a couple of observations.

First:

In a 4-inch test barrel, the regular Speer Personal Defense Gold Dot 125gr is rated at 1450fps/584FP in a .357mag; and at 945fps/248 in a .38spcl +P.

In a 2-inch test barrel, the Speer Personal Defense Gold Dot Short Barrel 135gr is rated at 990fps/294fp in a .357 mag; and at 860fps/222fp in a .38spcl +P.

So the difference in velocity and power in the shorter barrels, even in a specialized load, is not nearly the same as from the longer barrels, and the increased recoil, flash and noise are still disadvantages.

Some may find this difference "significant" and worth having a 2-inch snub, but as much as I love shooting .357's in my several Colts and S&W's chambered for that round, I don't see it in a 2-inch snub.

Second:

As for durability, a lightweight snub isn't really designed for a lot of target use, but instead more of a "carry a lot and shoot little." Even so, I would not worry much about wearing out a .38 LCR shooting +P's, as over 10,000 rounds have been documented without ill effects, and there are a lot of mid frame revolvers which could not claim that.

http://www.americanrifleman.org/Arti...cid=18&id=1660

Of course, if somebody did manage to shoot one loose, there's always Ruger's excellent customer service.
To me, that is impressive. What I highlighted in red.

Buffalo Bore has a 158 JHP loading, flash suppressed that boast 360 Ft-Lbs with a 1 7/8 inch barrel.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=105
Quote:
Item 19E/20-158gr. Jacketed Hollow Point, bullet @ 1,100fps from a 2.5 inch barrel. It is designed to mushroom, yet hold together and penetrate deeply-roughly 13 to 15 inches in human tissue.

S&W mod. 340PD 1-7/8 inch barrel -1,015 fps (361 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66 2-1/2-inch barrel -1,097 fps (422 ft. lbs.)
Frankly, I have a Scandium S&W360PD with the titanium cylinder and it weighs somewhere around 12 oz., maybe 14 oz loaded. To me that is awesome power in a pocketable package; to carry such a light weapon and be able to deliver 290 foot-pounds of instant incapacitation if my life depended on it is exactly what I want.

Frankly, I have collection of pocket guns ranging from a Rohrbaugh R9, Kahr PM9's... etc and I've played with the kinetic energy numbers and a J-Frame .357 stoked with the right ammo will beat any of the pocket sized 9mm. Once you get to pocket size guns, with 3 inches of barrel or less in an semi-auto or 2 inches or less in a revolver, the maximum kinetic energy is going to be in that ball park from 250 to 350 foot-pounds max. So to me, it's better to maximize the potential power that a cylinder designed for a magnum pressure can offer.

Of course, it's better to carry a full size gun, but the conceal carry laws for civilians really don't give us the option of carrying a revolver with a 4 inch barrel or a compact semi-auto with 4 inch barrel.
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  #13  
Old 04-04-2012, 08:03 PM
Houser Houser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolymerMan View Post
To me, that is impressive. What I highlighted in red.
My regular carry guns are either an Ed Brown Executive Carry in .45acp Winchester Ranger 230gr Bonded or an old Colt Agent in .38spcl with Hornady Critical Defense 110gr regular pressure. Ask me which I would prefer if my life depended on it.



Now, I love the outdoors and have several handguns to tote. For field use I much prefer one of my 4-inch S&W L-Frames, or if I am in a silly mood one of my 4-inch Colt Pythons, all of which with magnum 158gr jhp's are good to "minute of coyote" out to about 100 yards or so. I would not want to have to use one of them inside of a Walmart for personal defense though for fear of over penetration.



Now, I do have a couple of S&W K-Frames with shorter barrels which I do like for carry, but again I would rather go with a good 125gr .38spcl +P for social use. The only time I would maybe go with a magnum in these, and we are talking about .5 to 1-inch more barrel and a more controllable frame size than a lightweight snub, is if I was carrying in the field to put down a larger critter, but a .357mag in any length and bullet weight is a little on the light side for even smaller bears.



So, for me, in a little snub the .38spcl +P is about all a pocket size is geared for.



I love them all, and will add that one plus to the extra size and weight of a lightweight .357 snub is the extra control even with .38, but again it is not quite as small and light as the .38 which is what small and light is all about.
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Last edited by Houser; 04-04-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2012, 08:33 PM
baccusboy baccusboy is offline
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To the poster who suggested loading both .38+P and .357 in the .357 LCR...

DO NOT do this.

The reason is that, given the light weight of the LCR, it has a tendency to cause .38's to "jump crimp" when firing .357's if you mix the two. There was another post on this issue (either on this site or another) where this happened. If you don't know that that means, basically, the speed of recoil/power/inertia from the .357's literally pulls the bullets out of the .38's, which are not often crimped to handle such, and can cause your cylinder to lock-up/malfunction. Due to its light weight, you should not dual-load both .38's and .357's in the .357 LCR. Go with all one or all of the other, but don't mix!
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2012, 09:42 PM
1911GISS 1911GISS is offline
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Lcr357

I have the LCR357 and its not a range gun,but ok to shoot every so offen...

I just shot it last weekend and shooting 158g 357 target ammo is not fun,but for me i can shoot it fairly well... Now shooting 125g HP is alot better,but not cheap either..
Is the 357 better than the 38, Kinda...as was posted you get two guns in one.
I have installed a Hi-viz sight for mine and it alot better sight picture than the blade that came with it... IMO i should have gotten the 24/7 sight...

Carrying it in a holster you wouldnt even know your carry a gun,in my case that is... The houge grips are great for this pocket gun...

If you really want a Bug Gun get the 357, but the 38 will do you just fine..
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2012, 12:15 AM
DPmax DPmax is offline
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Thanks to all who replied, lots of great info.

I do like the idea of having one gun that could do either caliber (one at a time as baccusboy points out).
Since its main purpose is to be a lightweight pocket gun I'm going to do some, um, fondling, of both calibers at my LGS. If the extra weight of the .357 isn't very noticeable I'll go with the .357
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2012, 06:09 AM
GKC GKC is offline
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I have had both, and prefer the .357 version, even though I only loaded it with .38s. The extra 3 oz doesn't feel any different to me, in terms of carry. I like the option of the higher power round if I want it...plus, the gun is built a little stronger, and less prone to flame cutting, which some have experienced in the .38 model.
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  #18  
Old 04-05-2012, 06:30 AM
MStarmer MStarmer is offline
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I'd get the .357 just because of the flexibility of so many choices in ammo. Plus the huge flamethrower effect will impress your friends! .

I have a 340pd and it's fun to throw one magnum load in cylinder when your friends shoot it.
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  #19  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:24 AM
BenR BenR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baccusboy View Post
To the poster who suggested loading both .38+P and .357 in the .357 LCR...

DO NOT do this.

The reason is that, given the light weight of the LCR, it has a tendency to cause .38's to "jump crimp" when firing .357's if you mix the two. There was another post on this issue (either on this site or another) where this happened. If you don't know that that means, basically, the speed of recoil/power/inertia from the .357's literally pulls the bullets out of the .38's, which are not often crimped to handle such, and can cause your cylinder to lock-up/malfunction. Due to its light weight, you should not dual-load both .38's and .357's in the .357 LCR. Go with all one or all of the other, but don't mix!
That is an excellent point that I had not considered because I am used to carrying heavier stainless pieces. The issue with crimp jump never entered my mind. As with anything, do proceed with caution.
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  #20  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:28 PM
jakeg823 jakeg823 is offline
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I'd go .357.

That being said, I just sold mine. It was fun, but I just couldn't hit with it. It was a fun gun, and for defensive purposes the .357 is a great choice, but I like to SHOOT my guns....and I like full power loads....and it's just not meant for that.

Look at the sp101 instead...almost identical in size, bit heavier, but much more sturdy and fun to shoot



My fiancÚ loves her SP. I sold my LCR to finance a big boy revolver, but we found a house instead....... so now I get to put that off a while
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  #21  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:39 PM
BenR BenR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeg823 View Post
Look at the sp101 instead...almost identical in size, bit heavier, but much more sturdy and fun to shoot
I agree. I've been known to carry an SP101 DAO in a DeSantis Nemesis in my front pocket or IWB or OWB in a Silver Dollar Pancake from Simply Rugged. I replaced the factory front sight with a tritium Meprolight. A fine setup. The SP101 is built like a small tank and handles full-house .357 Magnum loads nicely.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:24 PM
jakeg823 jakeg823 is offline
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Simply Rugged are some of the finest rigs I've ever found. I hate to see the silver dollar pancake go with my LCR more than I did the LCR ha....

Been looking into dot sights for my fiance's SP, I didn't realize Mepros were available.....definitely my favorite night sights. I think she'd also like the XS sights. She says she can't see the front sight....yet she hits like a beast with that gun....so I don't buy it.
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  #23  
Old 04-07-2012, 08:29 AM
BenR BenR is offline
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You want Meprolight ML-10992.
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  #24  
Old 04-07-2012, 12:09 PM
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I own a S&W 642, a Ruger LCR 38+P and a 3" Ruger SP 101.

I agree that there is something to be said for the flexibility of shooting two rounds out of the same gun, but to make it pay off, you have to have enough gun.

I felt that the added weight and barrel length of the 3" SP was the better way to go in terms of a 357 carry gun.

For the record, the gun that leaves the house in my pocket most often is the S&W 642.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:55 PM
jakeg823 jakeg823 is offline
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Thanks!
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