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Old 02-03-2013, 07:06   #19
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glock39's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tyler, TX
Posts: 374
Originally Posted by lawman800 View Post
What do you guys think of a lever gun in 357/38 so that I don't have to stock up on another caliber? The logistics is a concern as well as the fact that the 30-30 ain't exactly the cheapest ammo either.
I had considered a 38/357 rifle as well, but decided that the more expensive 30-30 was a better choice. Anyone with more experience, please feel free to correct me on any of the following. I'm basing this on Internet research, not experience.

The 38+P loads out of a rifle look like they have about the same velocity as a 357 out of a 3 inch pistol. Much improved, but not the same as a full size 357 pistol. Some 357 rifles will apparently feed 38's flawlessly, but some will double feed the shorter 38 cases and cause a nasty jam. The 30-30 only has one case size.

The 357 pistol loads out of a rifle get a tremendous boost in speed, perhaps too much. Apparently deer hunters don't like them because a hollow-point pistol bullet that's designed to open up at 1500 ft/sec can completely fragment and not penetrate properly at 2000 ft/sec. I'm frankly not sure how that translates into use on thinner skinned bipedal predators.

Some 357 loads are specifically designed for rifle velocities. But it you then fired them out of a 3 inch pistol, you'd have the opposite problem. Would a bullet designed for 2000 ft/sec work properly at less than 1500 ft/sec out of a smaller 357 pistol? So is your ammo really interchangeable between the rifle and pistol?

The 30-30 factory loads are all designed to operate at about 2000 ft/sec out of a rifle barrel. Some of the 30-30 hollow-points apparently don''t have any more penetration (at least through ballistic gelatin) than many pistol bullets, but have a lot more kinetic energy than any pistol.

For hunters, plinker's and those who hand load, the 357 rifle is wonderfully versatile. For self defense, pretty much any 30-30 factory load should work predictably (as they were all designed for rifle use), and there are both hollow-points and longer range options available. If you hand load, then you can make quiet and/or low power loads for small game.
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