Speer Short Barrel 158 Grain 357 Mag GDHP?


Gary A
October 13, 2007, 04:45 PM
Stopping by my local gun shop today, I picked up what I first thought was a regular box of Gold Dot 158 .357. It turned out to be something new – 158 Short Barrel GDHP, product code 23960. Looked on Speer’s LE website and 2007 catalog and found no reference. Does anyone have any specs on this new load?

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Jim March
October 13, 2007, 05:16 PM
It's VERY mellow - more like a very hot 38+P loaded in 357 cases. Some data I've seen says that in 357 snubbies, it's barely breaking 1,000fps.

Which makes sense since it uses the same projectile as the 38+P version, with a huge gaping hollowpoint. Drive it too fast and even a Gold Dot can come unglued.

Now for the good news: it's exceptionally accurate. If I was doing hostage rescue, this would be THE top ammo I'd grab for. It did 2" groups at 25yds in my gun (4.68" Ruger New Vaquero) and the recoil felt only marginally more than the 38+P version I shot in the same session (which grouped 3" at 25yds). At that time I still had the stock checkered plastic grips, and shooting some Doubletap 125gr @ 1,600fps in the same session was downright painful (and grouped 5"...). The 135gr "357s" were pussycats by comparison and *remain* the most accurate load I've fed that NewVaq.

They may not be "power kings" but expansion failure is highly unlikely. They're a good urban defense load and superb for any situation where overpenetration is a bad thing.

You do need to check accuracy and "where they print" issues in your gun. But Gold Dots tend to be accurate, big JHP cavities tend to be accurate, and moderate power tends to be accurate, across all loads and calibers. These may be right smack in a lot of gun's "sweet spots".

Don't take 'em into the woods and expect to stop a bear though :).

Gary A
October 13, 2007, 07:36 PM

As an update to my reply on another forum, I may have solved the mystery of the 158 Gold Dot Short Barrel loads. There was a thread on this forum back in April of this year addressing the very same issue - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=274073. A fellow purchased the same box as I and asked about it. Apparently it turned out that the product code I mentioned - 23960 - is Speer's Personal Defense 158 loading spec'd at the normal 1235 fps from a 4 inch barrel. Apparently, the Short Barrel Box was used in error but was stamped correctly with the product code and bullet weight. The fellow contacted Speer and they were replaced with 135 grain offerings. Since I was actually originally shopping for standard 158 grain loads anyway, I'm just gonna consider them 1235 fps loads and treat them as such unless and until I find out something different. I may call Speer but it ain't a biggie. I'm gonna know as soon as I touch one off whether they are full or reduced loads. If it were a coin I might be worth something someday, but it's just a mislabeled box. I appreciate the feedback.

October 14, 2007, 09:59 AM
How do you think this round shapes up vs the 125 gr Golden Sabre in .357? Right now I'm carrying the FBI round in my 3" bbl SP 101 just beacuse it seems to shoot better to POA than the lighter .357 round (although the Winchester 145 gr Silvertip shoots closer to POA its a bit stouter :scrutiny:).

If Speer was putting out what seems like a FBI round on steroids, in 158 gr weight I think it would be worth a look for CHL (although I would keep the FBI round for when I have the SP 101 for home defense - I imagine ANY .357 round indooors would be - unpleasant).

Gary A
October 14, 2007, 10:44 AM
Shootist - I have not shot very many of the 135 .357s and not side-by-side with the Golden Sabers, but my impression is that they are similar in recoil. I agree that a 158 version would be very interesting but that is apparently not what I have. Mine are definitely a more stoutly built hollowpoint than the 135s so they are I'm guessing designed to open up at a higher velocity and from a longer barrel. I have shot more of the .38+P in the Speer 135 load and am extremely impressed with that load. Man, a 158 with the short barrel hollowpoint that did around 900 fps +/- from a 2 inch barrel would be nice.

October 14, 2007, 12:08 PM
the golden saber's are a little hotter than the 135 gold dots.I use them in my 340 M&P and the wife has them in her 3" model 60.they chronoed 1140 fps from her 60.

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