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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you may know, I recently aquired my first snub nose revolver. A Wiley Clapp SP101 Novak. I'm also a reloading noobie and have been developing several loads for my various revolvers. Last week I decided to tinker with some Berry's plated bullets for use in my 4" GP100. I put together some .38 +P test loads using increasing powder charges to determine what worked best BUT instead of my normal 10 of each, I worked up 15 (10 for the GP and 5 for the SP).

Chronograph data was enlightening as was feel when comparing loads between the two platforms. Across the board all loads felt like kittens in the GP and like lions in the SP. Also, the 2 1/4" SP suffered a 150 fps reduction (on average) in velocity compared to the longer 4" GP.

... while none of this data is earth shattering or even surprising it is a stark reminder of what we give up in comfort and performance in the sake of concealability and carry comfort.
 

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Nothing like firsthand experience to solidify something that you've read or been told.

As I read your post, however, my mind immediately wants to clarify that even though we do give up some velocity or performance - the 150fps you noted - "slugs from snubs ain't no slobs." My wife picked out a meat doe a few years ago over 30yrds out with her 2 1/4" SP101 and Hornady Critical Defense factory fodder.

Guys definitely take the small size and light weight of snub 357mags for granted. While the all-steel models like the 85, 60, or SP101 are relatively well behaved, they sure don't mind their manners as well as the mid and large frame models like the GP100, Redhawk, Tracker, 686, 66, or 27. The 357mag, while a class behind the major hunting cartridges like 44mag, can make a 1.5lb revolver buck plenty hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As you say Varminterror, snubs ain't no slobs. This posting is simply an observation and reminder of the differences between platforms when firing a given load. What is lost in performance can be redeemed with an appropriate load and a well placed shot.
 

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Something I have noticed, is how much felt recoil can be absorbed by a well designed grip. I recently bought a Taurus 617. Its a 2" stainless 7 shot 357. Its built on what Taurus calls the Compact Frame. Comparing it to my 2" SP101, its actually shorter in length, because of a shorter barrel, and the same heigth, due to a small grip. It does have a larger diameter cylinder, because of the 7 round capacity, and is taller from the bottom of the trigger guard, to the top of the top strap, but it basically is the size of the 2" SP101. It weighs 28 oz, which is on the heavier side for a small snub. It came with a thin, 2 1/2 finger factory grip. Felt recoil was pretty harsh with this grip. I bought a Hogue MonoGrip, and felt recoil was noticeably softer. This is probably due to a full 3 finger profile, and a better hand fitting design. I then bought a Pachmayr Diamond Pro grip, and felt recoil is almost pleasant. The Pachmayr is a large, thick, soft grip. It has a finger "hook" design at the bottom, for your pinky finger, and this really helps with recoil control. It also is designed to hold your middle finger below the trigger guard so that it doesnt get slammed during recoil. The Pachmayr wouldn't be a good grip for a concealed revolver, because its large, and sticky, but is great for a service/home defense weapon.

I have a Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 Special. It came with a well designed three finger grip. Since I carry this gun, I ordered the Charter Arms factory Combat grip. Its a 2 finger grip, that exposes the metal backstrap. That was a step in the wrong direction, as far as felt recoil is concerned. I then ordered a Pachmayr Compact Presentation grip, and the reduction in felt recoil was dramatic.

Powerful magnum cartridges fired from a small, light revolver, that has a small, poorly designed grip, can be unpleasant, and downright painful. Swapping to a well designed grip can make a dramatic difference, and you don't necessarily have to go to a large, bulky grip. The Pachmayr Compact Presentation grip is a fairly small grip, and in the case of my Bulldog, made a big difference
 

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I'm surprised you saw a 150fps difference from 1.25" of barrel with .38 Specials? I see that with magnum rounds, but not that big a difference with specials (though I don't do a lot of chronograph testing with the SP101).
 

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The nature of the respective beasts.

The vel difference will depend on the two specific revolvers , but 150 is well within the norms.
 

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I agree with BigFoot44. There can be a fair amount of velocity variation even between 2 identical revolvers. So, it is possible part of the difference could be due to the individual example of each type.
 
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