YAY! A Caliber war...sort of. Not really.


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Amadeus
August 16, 2007, 02:42 AM
Back in the early to mid 1990s I remember frequently reading gun rags in which the .357 125 grain JHP was regularly declared to be the top fight stopper among handguns. No comparison was really made to the .45. Though that caliber was never questioned either. But there seemed to be a sense of awe among the gun writers when writing about the 125 grainer.

Yet today, the gun boards are strewn with people who declare that they would not look at, carry or even throw a gun in the toilet unless it's chambered in something beginning with a .4-. So what happened to my beloved .357, 125gr JHP? Can it still stop an assailant with one hit to center mass? Has it been forgotten? Did we decide it's no longer as effective when compared to the .40? Was it just shelved in favor of the high-cap .40/.357sig? Has .45 just gotten better? Or is the .357 125 grain JHP still out there, quietly and confidently pulling duty as the venerable defensive round touted so wildly in all those Peterson publications?

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TnShooter83
August 16, 2007, 02:48 AM
Nope it's still up there in the top.
But it's also one of the largest lengthwise.

Most people I know prefer the .357 for home defence.
But for carry it is just BIG.

ugaarguy
August 16, 2007, 05:15 AM
Can it still stop an assailant with one hit to center mass?
Can it? Sure. So can a 22 LR center mass that happens to find an artery.

Will it? Who knows. Too many variables to deal with. Never count on one shot to stop a fight. Be ready to keep pulling the trigger until agression ceases. Keep in mind that handguns are for portability. They are marginal at best when compared to rifles & shotguns - and even long guns can, and have, failed to stop agression with but one shot.

mjrodney
August 16, 2007, 05:31 AM
It likely has less to do with the caliber than it does with the firearm it's used in.

These days the pistol is more prevalent than the revolver, so the discussions on caliber tend to move to the pistol calibers (i.e., 9mm versus .40S&W versus .45ACP versus 10mm).

The .357mag hasn't lost any power over the years, but the number of folks who rely on it are fewer today.

the pistolero
August 16, 2007, 09:40 AM
Can it still stop an assailant with one hit to center mass? Has it been forgotten? Did we decide it's no longer as effective when compared to the .40? Was it just shelved in favor of the high-cap .40/.357sig? Has .45 just gotten better? Or is the .357 125 grain JHP still out there, quietly and confidently pulling duty as the venerable defensive round touted so wildly in all those Peterson publications?

I don't see why the .357 Magnum would have lost any of its effectiveness. If I had to guess why fewer people seem to be raving about the .357, it would be the capacity issue. But I would definitely not feel undergunned with six rounds of it, although a Glock 20 with 15+1 rounds of 10mm would be just dandy...

mavracer
August 16, 2007, 09:47 AM
are you crazy, you can't hit a BG with less than 6 rounds ya gotta have 15.
SPRAY AND PRAY.you know.

ok sarcasim off. yes its still the same viable caliber it always has been,maybe even better with new bullet tech. that allows simalar performance with reduced recoil( golden saber/gold dot ).many of us even feal ok carring a 5 shot 357

Papaster
August 16, 2007, 11:03 AM
Yup. More of a wheel gun vs. auto question here. Look back in that era, and you'll find most the discussion between guns was "Colt or S&W?" not "Glock or H&K/Sig/SA?" This is just an semi-auto culture now. Yes, they had the venerable Colt 1911 available to them, but most didn't yet carry one. And you'll still find a remnant (perhaps even a resurgence?) of those carrying revolvers for SD. My father-in-law carries a 7 rnd .357 mag and swears by it. It's his first choice. Second to this is his .45 ACP Kimber or his .40 Glock. .357 has all the power it always has, just not a competitive platform from which to fly, as it once did.

Noxx
August 16, 2007, 12:21 PM
The .357 is great, and it's still my nightstand gun. I think TN pegged it, it's a long round, in a big lumpy package. Around the house it's not an issue, but IWB the autos have a big edge.

DawgFvr
August 16, 2007, 04:29 PM
Interesting...I do it opposite. I cannot even imagine firing a .357 inside my home...my eardrums deserve better and the flash would be a bit much. Nope...I keep my 10 + 1 .45 ACP on the night stand at home. I carry revolvers when I'm out and about...

TimboKhan
August 17, 2007, 02:30 AM
I cannot even imagine firing a .357 inside my home...my eardrums deserve better and the flash would be a bit much. Nope...I keep my 10 + 1 .45 ACP on the night stand at home

I actually don't know what the decibel max for both (or for that matter, either) cartridge is, but it seems to me like this is splitting hairs. Of course, I am not implying that you are making a mistake by going with the .45 because it is obviously an excellent choice, as much as to say that if the only reason you are doing so is noise and flash, it seems like that might be a pretty thin reason. In any case, I have either a .45 OR a .357 next to my bed, so I don't really have a dog in this fight.

JackCrow
August 17, 2007, 02:52 AM
I'm a big fan of .357 and yes the 125gr. is alive and well. Personally I don't like it as much as 158gr because it seems (through my guns at least) that the 125gr recoils more, I don't know why. Furthermore, I find that the 158gr tends to shoot more accurately for me.

I also agree that the seemingly lessened coverage of the various .357 rounds are due to the gun culture being more semi-auto focused.

As to the decibel question, I have a kinda funny story about that. A friend and I went shooting at an indoor range. I took my M-19 because I hadn't fired it in awhile and I had some rather hot reloads. All up and down the lane people were shooting 9mm semiautos almost exclusively. I rolled my target down the range, loaded up the Smith and fired, compared to the pop of the 9s it sounded like a howitzer! Everyone leaned back out of their stalls and looked at me, it was like something out of a comicbook! :D

Some of the folks drifted down to talk to me and I let some take a turn with it. We were all laughing and joking about it and had a great time.

So yeah, I think you may find the .357 is gonna "speak" pretty loud, especially in an enclosed space! :what:

40SW
August 17, 2007, 09:35 AM
Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!!, stopping power threads are fun, NOW!!, According to Marshall and Sannow, it has been reported, OH!!!, Had you there for a second!!:neener::neener::neener::), now we will not be measuring fuller indices today or shooting at dead cows, but I will be honored to solve the stopping power debate once and for all.

Simple formula.:
(any round greater or equal to .380ACP)+(center mass hit)+(your shot hits first)= you win.

Any questions.
but seriously, when you deal with cartridges like the 9x19, .40SW, .45ACP, .357 MAG, .357SIG, etc, with the proper load and bullet, a center mass hit is going to end the fight, IN MOST CASES, obviously there are so many variables to say it with certainty, but in most cases, its true.

lance22
August 17, 2007, 11:12 AM
IDIOTS! Only the .88 magnum 'll stop em cold! If it even whizzes by them they become instantly vaporized by the ripping vacuum of that massive load - in front it's like a bulldozer and behind it it's like a star imploding on itself. If they take a center of mass hit the kinetic energy sends a shockwave through their body so massive that the ensuing explosion will scatter their debris over an area of 27 square miles. The perp's head will shoot up so fast that it'll go into orbit.

I called BearClaw Holsters, Bullman, and Mitch Rosen saying that I wanted a holster for my .88 magnum but those [deleted] hung up on me. They're not man enough I guess. The guy at Gander Mountain told me he's heard of it but they don't have them in stock. He even spent some time helping me look for it in the Uncle Mike section.

Listen to an expert describe the .88 magnum (http://eightyeightmagnum.ytmnd.com/).

Amadeus
August 17, 2007, 12:26 PM
IDIOTS! Only the .88 magnum 'll stop em cold!

Don't mock the mighty double 8. I carried an .88magnum for a while. It concealed great under a Hawaiian shirt, two sweaters, and a down parka. I had to switch something smaller though because the 88 was setting off metal detectors....... across the street.

Mat, not doormat
August 17, 2007, 01:04 PM
.88 Magnum? For some reason this reminds me of Wile E. Coyote dropping a piano on the Roadrunner. Maybe it the association of .88 with 88 keys. But at any rate, if you can't find the vaunted .88 Mag, maybe you could CCW a piano. That's a weapon that takes a real man to use. It's even featured in the media, just think, you too could use the weapon of choice of cultural heroes like Liberace, and Elton John.

Ok, now that that's over, we can get back to the essential debate of big and slow vs. small and fast. With that in mind, which do you think would produce a better one-hit stop? A 125 grain bullet traveling about 1500 fps? Or the aforementioned 7,563,150 grain piano accelerating at 32 fps/s? Then there's also the question of capacity. As long as we're talking handguns, and not rifles or pianos, there isn't a lot of shock taking place. We're just making holes for goblins to bleed out of. The more rounds you can carry, the more holes you can make. Consider 5 or 6 holes, vs. say 20 holes, with a CZ SP-01.

~~~Mat :evil:

Amadeus
August 17, 2007, 02:09 PM
I find that the 158gr tends to shoot more accurately for me.

Could you be flinching when shooting the hotter recoiling 125 grainer?

littlegator
August 17, 2007, 02:32 PM
Thanks lance22, that was hilarious. Like the part about them hanging up on you. By analogy, I stopped trying to force my .50 BMG into my nightstand to protect the family and just got a German Shepherd to sit in there instead. Yep, she's a good dog. I used to put an Austrailian Shepherd in there, but I wanted more stopping power. Once you get used to the greater kick and the louder bark, you are fine.

Seriously, sounds like a revolver/pistol issue, wherein tupperware seems to be getting the most news these days.

Amadeus
August 17, 2007, 02:48 PM
So ... it seems that the consensus is that the 125 grain JHP .357 has not lost any of its effectiveness, just some sex appeal what with all those integral-light rail, plastic and aluminum rackin-bangers eating up fancy new catridges.

Mat, not doormat
August 17, 2007, 03:12 PM
Fancy new cartridges? FANCY NEW CARTRIDGES? Just a minor point of order, here, but .32 ACP, .380 ACP, 9x19MM, .38 Super, and .45 ACP are ALL older than the .357 Magnum. The only new cartridges I can think of that have made much of a splash are the 10MM and .40 SW.

Fancy new cartridges, indeed. Hmph.

~~~Mat

mljdeckard
August 17, 2007, 03:32 PM
Guilty.

I have had two friends acquire gorgeous 4 and 6" K-frames, and they are a DREAM to shoot, bone stock. Full-house, .38s, no problem.

But if you as me, or them, for that matter, "Ok, it's a great-shooting gun, fantastically accurate, probably the perfect man-stopper, why isn't it your CARRY gun?" we would all respond that while we love it, we don't have the time, patience, or ammo budget to REALLY learn to use it correctly. I'm already very proficient with my 1911, I don't want to stop at zero and start all over again with a bobbed .357, learning to rapid-fire it. Or, I would like to, but I'll do it after I can break 100 clay birds in a row, put 100 .22s through a quarter at 100 meters, and do an el-presidente in ...well..., faster than I can do it now. I suppose Todd Jarrett makes it look sexier than Jerry Miculek.

But at the same time, I extend greater respect to the man who carries a 5-shot .357, because it's much more likely that he knows how to use it.

Mat, not doormat
August 17, 2007, 03:57 PM
But at the same time, I extend greater respect to the man who carries a 5-shot .357, because it's much more likely that he knows how to use it.


Umm, why's that? .357 snubbies are among the hardest guns out there to shoot well. Especially the new lightweight versions. Most people class them as "carry a lot, shoot a little," guns. Seems to me that it's much less likely that he knows how to use it, not more. Besides, there's no venue I know of where people can compete with them. Most people think they know how to use a gun, until they enter their first match. Competition sharpens gunhandling skills like nothing else I know. (usual caveat, go elswhere for tactics.)

It seems to me that the guy who goes to the trouble of hiding a big ol' honkin' Government Model, because that's what he shoots in matches on the weekend is a lot more likely to know how to use it than the guy with the "carry a lot, shoot a little," j-frame in his pocket.

YMMV,
~~~Mat

jbauch357
August 17, 2007, 05:07 PM
Long time .357 mag fan here, and until a week ago my carry pistol was a 2 1/4" SP101 .357 mag. Like has been stated many times - it wasn't exactly an easy pistol to shoot accurately and punished the hands during practice.

I converted over to a G26 and am very happy with the decision. I now have twice the quantity of ammo, the pistol is more comfortable to carry and is easier to conceal. Also with double-tap ammo in it I'm pushing 1400fps with a 125gr gold-dot, so I'm not worried about running a "weak" 9mm round...



Of course I still carry my GP100 .357 mag with 200gr hard cast rounds while in the woods. It's hard to beat the punch/penetration of a hot loaded .357 when you are up against large animals...

Geno
August 17, 2007, 05:25 PM
Autoloaders and big mags are all the vogue. The .357 Mag fits neither.

Frankly, I would be no more scared looking down the barrel of a .357 Mag, than a .40 S&W or .45 ACP, nor any less scared by looking down the barrel of a Mark II in .22LR. Guns don't kill, but fools putting bullets into someone's body does! Center of mass doesn't even make a reliable stop. Many people die not of shooting but of shock. To that end, even a plastic (fake) gun can kill if a person believes that they have been shot and that they should die.

If you think I am being a smart posterior, enroll in an Advanced Tactical Shooting course and read the research. So, if a .22LR will kill, how much less lethal might be the .357 Mag.

It is nothing more than affinity. Contemporary affinity goes to autoloaders with big mags.

Amadeus
August 17, 2007, 05:52 PM
.32 ACP, .380 ACP, 9x19MM, .38 Super, and .45 ACP are ALL older than the .357 Magnum. The only new cartridges I can think of that have made much of a splash are the 10MM and .40 SW.


You're forgetting the .45GAP and .357SIG.

2TransAms
August 17, 2007, 05:57 PM
For better or worse,light and handy is the way to go now. Higher capacity and smaller rounds is the order of the day. Most people will opt for 15+1 of 9mm rather than 7+1 of .45 or six rounds of .357. The same thing has happened in rifle calibers,with any and all AR rifles and clones in 5.56x45 being the hot items right now.

I'm not saying if it's good or bad,I'm just saying that's the way it is. Capacity is king,and (fun science fact!) you get the most capacity with smaller rounds.


2TA(who has a Kimber TLE and a S&W 19 by the bed)

Mat, not doormat
August 17, 2007, 07:34 PM
You're forgetting the .45GAP and .357SIG.


No, I'm not. Are you forgetting the "made much of a splash," portion of the statement? :D The GAP and SIG rounds might be nice rounds, but I'd be willing to bet that (Leaving the .38 Super out of the discussion) the users of any one of the "old timey auto," calibers far outnumber the users of both the GAP and SIG together. I've got a feeling that in a few years, both will wind up on the same shelf with .30 Luger and .38/200.

~~~Mat

texas bulldog
August 18, 2007, 11:17 AM
Amadeus:

methinks you would get a much different picture of the love that remains for the .357 magnum if you posted this in the revolver forum. personally, .357 revolvers serve for both my carry and nightstand guns, and i am not overly concerned about the relative lack of capacity.

Archie
August 18, 2007, 01:39 PM
Essentially, there's been a shift in shooters. Forgive my bluntness, but most people simply can't shoot well.

Law Enforcement agencies have reduced firearms training distances - in the '70s and '80s I carried a revolver and had to qualify out to 50 yards. Now I'm issued an 'eighteen convulsive snatch special' and only qualify to 15 yards. Other agencies have done the same, claiming these are 'realistic' ranges. The reality is, the marginally trained troops can usually qualify at these ranges.

Real citizens follow the trend. Actual shooting skills are decreasing in general. Not long ago, I read someone in a firearms forum saying how he was doing pretty good at 5 yards, but at 8 yards his rounds were all over. Eight yards? One could die of smoke inhalation or powder burns at that range.

Please understand, I'm not disparaging or making fun of that person. One must start somewhere, no one is born a shooter; it comes with training and practise. However, low expectations and standards produce low end results.

NRA Bullseye is losing popularity. Why? Two reasons, it's not as much fun as running across a firing area shooting randomly and it requires too much work. There is a great deal of effort involved in firing a pistol one handed at 50 yards. That effort pays off later in all other forms of handgun shooting, but it's hard and requires work.

A six shot double action revolver using the 125 grain .357 Magnum load is still a substantial man-stopper. Nothing is guaranteed, but that round works a whole lot better than most others. The trick is, one must actually deliver a 'hit' with that round. Details, details, details...

This isn't intended to be primarily insulting or a random flame attack. But I see a serious lack of marksmanship among newer shooters in general. Nor do many newer shooters realize how poor their skills really are. I must finally point out, marginal skill levels do not improve under stress. If you think your groups are bad at eight yards now, try it with your life in immediate danger.

jaholder1971
August 18, 2007, 04:14 PM
The .357 Magnum 125 grain semi jacketed hollowpoint is The benchmark for self defense IMO.

I know Topeka PD carried S&W M66's for about 15 years before they switched to M5906's back in 1995 or so. Of all the officer involved shootings that I remember were one shot stops with this round, and of those all BG's had their tickets punched.

They've since changed from 66's to 5906's, later a few Sigma .40's were offered and now they've migrated over to Glock .40's.

Schwebel
August 18, 2007, 04:46 PM
I think polymer framed guns are the reason for the .357's decline in popularity. It will always be an effective man stopper, but what has changed in the past 20years? ,...the auto's, the wheelies are still pretty much the same. Auto's are lighter, can fire very high pressure rounds, have high capacity,less recoil, and more reliable than they used to be. Before the advent of polymer guns, other than the 1911, there really wasn't anything that delivered the firepower,simplicity,durability,and reliablitly of a .357 mag revo. That being said, I'd still take a 4in 686 .357mag over a Glock 9mm any day of the week for SD.

JLStorm
August 18, 2007, 04:50 PM
Sadly, considering the OP lives in PRK, he might as well stick with the wheel gun since semi autos will probably be outlawed in the near future....:fire:

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