Someone can explain to me the 357 Magnum "struck by lightning" myth??


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saturno_v
May 5, 2008, 09:59 PM
This is what i read about the good old .357...
Someone described that people hit by the round seems to react like being "struck by lightning".....it is a myth or reality???

What that exactly means?? Can someone descibe this particular "reaction" by people hit by a .357 slug??

Thanks!!!

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markmc753
May 5, 2008, 10:09 PM
Sure. But it is more fact. You see, a bullet with the exact diameter of .357 traveling at a velocity of between 1250 and 1500 fps at an elevation between sea level and 5000 feet has the remarkable effect of synthesizing and envelope of highly excited, positively charge ions around it that create static friction as the envelope travels along the bullet's trajectory. Upon impact, this electrical energy along with the energy of the round itself are dumped into the target.

SaxonPig
May 5, 2008, 10:16 PM
Don't believe the hype about knock-down power from handguns. No pistol is powerful enough to really knock a man down from the bullet impact. He may react violently due to bone splintering or a muscle contraction but the slug doesn't have the hitting power to physically affect a man.

DPris
May 5, 2008, 10:33 PM
I think Mark has it.
In fact, I've never seen it put quite so well in my entire life.
Denis

kentucky bucky
May 5, 2008, 10:40 PM
You guys are joking ........aren't you?

MCgunner
May 5, 2008, 10:46 PM
In it's hottest loadings from a service weapon, energy can kill. It ain't all about what the bullet touches. But, it is still very minimal in a handgun. In a RIFLE length barrel, though, it can kill like a .30-30. It puts up energies in the 1200-1400 ft lb range in the hottest loadings from a 20" rifle barrel. I hit a deer last year with a .30-30 from a Contender at about 90 yards, pushing over 1100 ft lbs on impact. The bullet passed through rib/lung high behind the shoulder and about 3" below the spine. It dropped so fast I didn't see it drop due to the recoil of the gun and I didn't have time to look around the scope before it'd fallen in the grass DRT. I'm convinced it was pressure wave damage to the spinal cord that produced such a quick kill. When you get up over 1000 ft lbs, things like that can happen. They won't necessarily happen, but can. But, in handguns, from 4" revolvers, a good .357 load is only making about 600 ft lbs, so it's not really a lightening bolt. :rolleyes: I've killed deer with the caliber and none went more'n about 25 yards, though. It's pretty effective on medium game. Good to actually shoot and KILL things with a gun to see just how well it works. I won't do the deer the disfavor of shooting 'em with a .45ACP or 9x19, .357 is my minimum for hunting. Out of my 6 1/2" Blackhawk my load 158 grain load makes 760 ft lbs and my 180 XTP/JHP makes 785 ft lbs at the muzzle. That's plenty for a quick, humane kill on a whitetail out past 50 yards where energies have dropped into the range of a 4" service revolver at the muzzle. So figure for yourself how effective a 140 JHP is on a lighter skinned human.

wuchak
May 5, 2008, 10:55 PM
Sure. But it is more fact. You see, a bullet with the exact diameter of .357 traveling at a velocity of between 1250 and 1500 fps at an elevation between sea level and 5000 feet has the remarkable effect of synthesizing and envelope of highly excited, positively charge ions around it that create static friction as the envelope travels along the bullet's trajectory. Upon impact, this electrical energy along with the energy of the round itself are dumped into the target.

Yup. That's why it's also know as "Thor's Hammer". Pretty exciting to shoot them in the dark.

FieroCDSP
May 5, 2008, 11:24 PM
What they're talking about is the mass/energy ratio that makes the bullet so damaging. You can say that a 44Mag is the most deadly, but you might simply be buying into hype. You can read several Terminal Ballistics papers and never understand anything said in it except one thing: Shot placement is still key.

A 9mm to the COM or head is more likely to be deadly than a 44 to the gut.

The Bushmaster
May 5, 2008, 11:53 PM
Mark...Can you repeat that again without lookin'??

HammerBite
May 5, 2008, 11:59 PM
Sometimes when shooting .357s at night we will turn off the range lights so we can see the streaks of St. Elmo's fire going to the target.

Rexster
May 6, 2008, 01:05 AM
Do you mean what Mas Ayoob quoted DPS troopers as calling the "lightning bolt" effect? Keep in mind that "myth" does NOT mean something is totally untrue. I have seen footage of people hit with various handgun rounds, and often, they don't even flinch. I have seen a person hit with the 125-grain JHP "Classic" silver-box load by Federal, and the myth was true at that particular date and time. Total cessation of forward movement; total change in demeanor; blood flowing like water hoses; a slow turn to his right; a slow, staggering, dead man's walk for 39 feet. Others standing to the side saw the pink mist effect, from the exit wound. We found pieces of bullet jacket in the red plume on the pavement. The entry wound was impressive. Exit was in his armpit area, with so much blood, it was difficult to see.

Down here in Texas, the .357 is no myth. Texas DPS went to the .357 SIG for a reason. The .357 magnum has worked for Texas peace officers for a long time, and the 125-grain load made it work much better. Mas Ayoob, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow did not invent this cartridge's reputation. I am sure there have been failures with this load, and even learned of one first-hand, from a co-worker who saw it happen. I still carry this load in my GP100 sixguns.

Jim March
May 6, 2008, 02:03 AM
Yes, they're kidding about the "actual lightning" :rolleyes:.

But, a good 357 round is a hell of a good stopper.

Buffalo Bore and Doubletap compete for the title of "most thermonuclear ammo". Both have 125gr 357 JHPs that can hit 1,600fps from the better (read: faster) 4" barrels, such as the newer S&W tubes and most Rugers. That's almost 800ft/lbs energy.

I shot one of these monsters at a bowling ball at 20 paces. Gun was a Ruger New Vaquero 357, 4.68" barrel. Split that thing in half, sent pieces of the concrete innards back past my feet. The guy I was shooting with who owned the ex-ball said that he'd never seen a handgun do that to a bowling ball ever.

The projectile was a Gold Dot "high speed variant", which would very likely expand and hold together at that velocity. This is a serious manstopper of a load, one of the nastiest available.

However.

The 357 earned it's killer rep in the '70s when most hollowpoints didn't expand. Due to raw speed and energy, the 357 did most of the time despite primitive JHP designs. The Remington "full house" 125 is an example of that breed, still in use because it works despite being primitive as a stone axe. During that same period, there wasn't as much projectile development on the 41 and 44Mag, so despite their higher energy numbers the 357 was considered (rightly at the time) the better manstopper.

Today, there are some very good 44Mag JHPs out there that would probably hit even harder than even the best 357s like that Doubletap 125 that flattened that bowling ball.

But...the best 357s leave the 9mm+P, 40S&W and many other slugs in the dust.

Fast Frank
May 6, 2008, 02:38 AM
I think the point behind the lightning comments is that "It wouldn't have been any more dramatic if he had been struck by lightning".

No, a .357 magnum isn't lightning.

But it DOES seem to have a dramatic effect on those that it touches.

It's a figure of speech, and not to be taken literally.

Kinda like when you say "Bite Me"... you don't expect them to actually put their teeth on you, do you?

Nematocyst
May 6, 2008, 02:51 AM
...the best 357s leave the 9mm+P, 40S&W and many other slugs in the dust.Ah, now we're getting down toward the truth,
said the owner of .357 mag in revolver and carbine.

FFrank's got a handle on it, too.
Lightning is a metaphor.
It's all about metaphor.

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/lightning-gallery-18.jpg

McCall911
May 6, 2008, 03:04 AM
.357 Magnum...

I don't know about lighting bolts, but I just know the .357's exit wounds tend to be exceedingly nasty: A guy (intoxicated) turned his foot into hamburger with a .357, a suicide literally blew his brains out with one, to name just two which occurred on my shift (at different times, of course.) Both these incidents occurred with revolvers.

So, yeah, I opine that the .357 Magnum is at least effective as a self-defense round.

pinkymingeo
May 6, 2008, 05:14 AM
What I gather from available data is that handguns are better for self-defense than throwing small rocks. If you can pitch a really big rock it might work better, but they are, of course, tough to carry and conceal. A central nervous system hit will stop your target cold, whether you're using 22lr or 44mag. A hit in any other location and you must wait for blood loss-induced shock to disable your assailant, and that can take a while regardless of caliber. On the other hand, maybe you'll get lucky and lightning will strike.

Dan-O
May 6, 2008, 06:40 AM
Rent or borrow one and shoot it a few times. It ain't no joke.

batmann
May 6, 2008, 03:33 PM
Cool reponse markmc753, now I/m confused--LOL
A .357 is no better no worse than any handgun round without proper bullet placement.
If you go with a .357--get a GOOD 125 gr hollow point. Fastest is not allways bestest.

markmc753
May 6, 2008, 03:47 PM
I was joking... BUT shoot a hot 357 round out of my S&W 360pd and it will feel like a bolt of lightening struck your hand :)

Lashlarue
May 6, 2008, 04:07 PM
357 magnum was the first of the high powered loads, and I can differentiate the distinctive crack it makes when fired.No other cartridge sounds the same.45acp is distinctive also ,but it makes a lower pitched boom.44 magnum is loud but doesn't have crack sound the 357 has.And although I own several 9mm's they simply sound wimpy!Let the flaming begin. Actually I prefer carrying the 9mm, it's like having a silencer when compared to larger calibers.

McCall911
May 6, 2008, 04:47 PM
44 magnum is loud but doesn't have crack sound the 357 has.

I agree. The .357 has a very sharp report which I find unpleasant.

The reason I have fairly substantial hearing loss today is because of my stupidity in shooting quite a few .357 Mags (couple hundred?) without hearing protection in one session. :banghead:

The Lone Haranguer
May 6, 2008, 05:36 PM
Especially when fired from a short barrel (the 2 1/4" in my Ruger SP101, just the report from the Remington SJHP sounds like a thunderclap. The blast wave will also blow a paper target around from 15 feet. Whether all this noise is actually pushing the bullet faster I can't say.

redneckrepairs
May 6, 2008, 05:43 PM
Its not limited to the .357 . If you have ever hit your " funny bone " on your elbow you can understand the sympathetic nerve reaction . Most if not all Officers know that if you smack someone hard enough in the right spot on one leg with any form of baton the other leg will also fold . Its the same principal and not one i would choose to rely on for stopping power .

Gordon
May 6, 2008, 06:00 PM
Don't know about the phancy reaction stuff but: 33 years ago
when I put a couple 110 grain Supervels from a 2.5" model 19 from 20 feet away into a jacked up Jamaican drug dealer holding a .380 PPK on me he dropped(and let go of the gun) and howled ! One was in upper thigh near hip and one just left of center thru the lower belly. What a nasty looking wound (entrance no exit!).
Guess I forgot to say "drop the gun" so he gave me a lot of crap testimony, playing the race card,from his wheel chair during his trail. He actually was deported rather than imprisoned, judge felt sorry about his colostomy bag ect!

James T Thomas
May 6, 2008, 06:18 PM
You may have to do a search at "Snopes," but I believe the 357 magnum "Struck by Lightning" myth was the forunner to today's "Global Warming" -theory.

But remember, it is all backed up by scientists and proveable data.

-And, and, all of the police brass at the time nodded their heads in approval so that the men on the streets would have great confidence.

Evocatii
May 6, 2008, 09:11 PM
Photo credit to fbi.gov

tipoc
May 6, 2008, 09:18 PM
It's B.S.

As someone else said already, it's a metaphor. Hit someone in the head a good whack with a baseball bat and it will be "as if they were struck by lightning". As always how a person reacts on being shot depends on a lot of factors. Sometimes it's as if they were "struck by lightning". Sometimes not.

The .357 can be a good defensive round but it is not known as Thor's Hammer. That's the .45 Colt ain't it? Or is it the .44 Spl ? I forget now. :)

tipoc

PotatoJudge
May 6, 2008, 09:31 PM
Redneckrepairs, I'm gonna be the despised equivalent of a grammar nazi and point out that it's the somatic and not the sympathetic nervous system you're describing. You're right though in that the autonomic nervous system has a huge effect on how a person reacts to a gunshot.

Anybody know how the hammer is back on the revolver in Evocatti's pic?

Grump
May 6, 2008, 09:36 PM
According to some light fiction I remember from the early years of American Handgunner, the "Thor's Hammer" appelation sprung from an IPSC shooter named Taylor who was transported back(1) in time to some pre-literate era Norsefolks who watched him drop attacking Cro-Magnons or similar lower life forms using his trusty M1911 Gummint Model.

Not quite being edumated 'nuff to understand that some things can travel faster than the eye can see, they interpreted the roughly hammer-shaped object and its "thunder", and the cycling slide and recoil, as the shooter throwing his hammer at the attackers and catching it on the return flight.

Their language and resultant attention to some sounds was such that Ys and Ls were difficult and tended to disappear in speech. Thus "Taylor" became "Ta-orr".

The rest, of course, is history. Or myth. I get confused.

(1) At the moment of time- (and I might add, space-) transport, the hero of the story happened to be fully outfitted in his competition kit. It was a bit chilly for him until he scored some furs from the locals.

How's that for being cursed with a [sometimes-] good memory!

Grump
May 6, 2008, 09:40 PM
Potatojudge:

It's the basic firearms muzzle flash photo flash-bang technique.

Known to only a few of the most select cogniscenti, it involves a dark room (-no- any place!), flash photography, and a shooter who yanks the trigger after the flash has fired.

Works OK even with flashbulbs, most crisp and stunning in detail with the modern strobe (Thank you, Dr. Edgerton!).

Katana8869
May 6, 2008, 10:15 PM
I don't know about lightning but the .357 leaves some of the nastiest hangun wounds I have ever seen. The one that most sticks in my mind was a headshoot that I took on a feral dog about 15 years ago. This was a 125 gr Remington SJHP out of a 6" S&W Model 19. The dog was some kind of bulldog mix and probably went about 100 lbs. The bullet hit him in the side of the head and left about a 3" exit wound on the opposite side. The pressure inside the cranium blew both eyes out of their sockets. Nasty stuff.

I agree that with most hangun rounds,including 9mm and .45acp you are just punching a hole, but the .357 just seems to me to have a more vicious effect on whatever it smacks into.

zxcvbob
May 6, 2008, 10:27 PM
Someone has been looking at too many Extreme Shock ammo ads. :cool:

http://www.extremeshockusa.com/gfx_splash/top_2.jpg

DPris
May 6, 2008, 10:50 PM
I still think Mark has it.
Denis

2ndamd
May 6, 2008, 11:26 PM
I will opine for a moment about the absolute awesome stopping power of the 125 grn .357 magnum JHP from Federal or Remington.

It is legendary! It is what all other handgun calibers aspire to be when stopping a threat is concerned. There have been thousands of shootings with these two rounds. Quite simply they work.....very well. The .357 magnum is as close to a rifle power caliber that you can get. They are great.

But, I'd take an 870 with 00 buckshot or a slug if I had the choice.

The muzzle blast is huge, many can not handle the recoil or more accurately the sonic BLAST or concussion of the BLAST for any long period of time. They only hold 5-8 rounds....or 9-10 in your Marlin. The round lost its favor for these reasons.

Now the 40 short and weak is posting some good numbers in the one shot stop area. But, the 9mm 115grn +p+ JHP from Federal model # 9BPLE has been used in over 1000 shootings that qualified for a one shot stop study and it produced a 93% one shot stop. It is very mild in recoil and concussion to the 357 mag, and the guns can hold alot more rounds. Like double or triple. Of course this mean you are suppose to be able to stop more attackers and not miss 15 shots in-a-row :) Some LEO still need to practice basic marksmanship and save their spray and pray. Keep your head and hit your target.

There are alot of great handgun defense rounds out there. And I just sold all of my 357 revos & levers to get more autos before the Assault Weapon Ban 2.0 comes back via McCain or Hitlery or Hussain Obama. Stocking up on ammo and high capacity magazines. Having said that I personally believe in the 125 grn .357 mag bullet's legendary stopping performance which all other handgun rounds are judged by.

When Ed and Evan did their one-shot stop study they only looked at torso hits. But there are many other shootings that occured where a torso hit was NOT obtained. This 125 grn jhp rounds from Federal or Remington actually stayed with a very high one shot stop even when a solid torso hit was NOT made. The other handgun calibers fell off significantly with no torso hit.

Point being. Torso hits count more. Thus, get the round that you can shoot well under stress. If you slightly miss the torso but manage to hit the target "somewhere" Then, a .357 magnum 125 grn round from Federal or Remington will have a higher percentage of stopping the threat that other hangun rounds.

Now, if I slightly miss? I will keep shooting the threat with my Federal 9BPLE 115 grn +p+ JHP. I mean I have 33 rounds in the magazine :)

This post was meant to be informative and fun and not meant to start a caliber war.

God Bless all you gun owners!

Always good to see DPris checking in!

The Bushmaster
May 7, 2008, 11:30 AM
Evocatii...All that flame and the hammer is still in the full cock position...Hummmm...

geologist
May 7, 2008, 02:54 PM
Evocatii...All that flame and the hammer is still in the full cock position...Hummmm...


It's the long time exposure needed to capture the muzzle flash. I took this photo with a time exposure of 0.5 seconds.

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i155/pbgeologist/Img_0862.jpg

Feanaro
May 7, 2008, 03:55 PM
If you look closely at the picture, you can see the hammer in both the cocked and fired position.

hoptob
May 7, 2008, 04:27 PM
Agree. The picture was taken in the dark with front curtain flash and long exposure. If they did it DA the picture would have looked more realistic.

Good catch, Bushmaster!

Mike

Vern Humphrey
May 7, 2008, 04:52 PM
My experience has been (on two occasions) that the target is gone before you get the sights back on. Of course, these cases were both "center-punched."

Confederate
May 7, 2008, 07:03 PM
You see, a bullet with the exact diameter of .357 traveling at a velocity of between 1250 and 1500 fps at an elevation between sea level and 5000 feet has the remarkable effect of synthesizing and envelope of highly excited, positively charge ions around it that create static friction as the envelope travels along the bullet's trajectory. Upon impact, this electrical energy along with the energy of the round itself are dumped into the target.
Yes, but it should be added that the diameter of the bullet must be exactly .357 (+/- .0005) or the static envelope doesn't form exactly as it should. Some specialty bullets have actually been known to create worm holes that transport the bullet through an indefinate measure of time and space, which is one reason they should be avoided. Specialty bullets for the .357 theoretically can pass through one's intended target and kill a person living in a completely different time and place. In fact, I know of several cases where police investigators have not been able to find any trace of the bullets. I have a friend who knows a guy who's brother worked with a guy who used to work for the Park Police. He said this might have been the case with an alleged suicide at Fort Marcy Park in Virginia a number of years ago. In this case not only did the bullet mysteriously vanish, so did photographs and all sorts of material evidence. Even the body changed position from one part of the park to the other. It was weird.

It's best to use standard .357 mag ammo, if only to avoid worm holes.

BTW, how does one react when "struck by lightning"? Wouldn't the person making the comparison have to have seen someone struck by lightning? I've seen people struck by white lightning, and it wasn't pretty. Still, he wasn't complaining....

ratgunner
May 7, 2008, 07:22 PM
I remember a peace officer who was shot by a .357 mag. while wearing a vest.He said it was like getting hit with a sledge hammer.:what:

tipoc
May 7, 2008, 07:30 PM
It is legendary! It is what all other handgun calibers aspire to be when stopping a threat is concerned.

Jeez and I thought that was the .45 acp, or maybe the .45 Colt, or the .44 Spl. I forget which. I'm so easily confused.

But not so confused as not to know that one shot stop percentages are often B.S. and to be taken with a dose of salt at best.

I have to go now and talk with my ammo and see what else they aspire to. "American Idol" perhaps.

tipoc

jad0110
May 7, 2008, 08:59 PM
What I gather from available data is that handguns are better for self-defense than throwing small rocks. If you can pitch a really big rock it might work better, but they are, of course, tough to carry and conceal. A central nervous system hit will stop your target cold, whether you're using 22lr or 44mag. A hit in any other location and you must wait for blood loss-induced shock to disable your assailant, and that can take a while regardless of caliber. On the other hand, maybe you'll get lucky and lightning will strike.

Its not limited to the .357 . If you have ever hit your " funny bone " on your elbow you can understand the sympathetic nerve reaction . Most if not all Officers know that if you smack someone hard enough in the right spot on one leg with any form of baton the other leg will also fold . Its the same principal and not one i would choose to rely on for stopping power .

IMO, these two posts explain it best so far.

In regards to the second quoted post, I did see one theory recently that stated that though the pressure wave itself (hydrostatic shock) of a bullet traveling at typical handgun velocities has little or no impact on most of the tissues in the human body (inelastic tissues such as those of the liver and brain excluded), that pressure wave can - in theory - disrupt nervous system signals and cause sudden, involuntary reactions in the person shot. Thus, the theory concludes that higher velocity handgun rounds (such as 125 grain 357 mags of at least 1450 fps) have a better chance of distrupting nerve impulses and stopping the threat.

That may be true, or maybe not. I'll take shot placement and penetration over that theory any day. I am a better shot with 38+P, and good loads offer good penetration, so I'll stick to that in my 686 for now.

Dan-O
May 7, 2008, 09:52 PM
tipoc,

you have never shot a .357, have you?

PotatoJudge
May 7, 2008, 10:03 PM
Looks like tipoc owns a couple of real classy N frame 357 mags.

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=277018&highlight=357+magnum

Dan-O
May 7, 2008, 10:13 PM
Ooops. Guess he has. I would have to agree that the one shot myth is kind of silly, but you will have to admit, shooting .357 from a short barreled, and light gun can be a bit punishing on the shooter. Like others have said, shooting .357 rounds will blow a paper target around out to about 15 feet.

Tipoc, my apologies.

2ndamd
May 8, 2008, 12:01 AM
Jeez and I thought that was the .45 acp, or maybe the .45 Colt, or the .44 Spl. I forget which. I'm so easily confused.

But not so confused as not to know that one shot stop percentages are often B.S. and to be taken with a dose of salt at best.

I have to go now and talk with my ammo and see what else they aspire to. "American Idol" perhaps.

tipoc

LOL!
You are a serious gunny when you start talking to your ammo.

No flame war here. Just reporting on actual street shootings. To each his own. Hence my carry gun of choice is now a 9mm +p+. EEK!!!!!

aryfrosty
May 8, 2008, 02:13 AM
I am a serious believer in the .357mag round. If you want serious muzzle flash try Remington 125 JHPs. They put a plume of flash out for about 5 feet at night. I have seen failures...even failures which accomplished the intended result. I talked to a destraught man for over 2 hours one evening, trying to talk him out of the Python he was holding and he went ahead and shot into his mouth. WW 158 JCP . He did what he wanted to do but with minimal damage to his head. Lots of blood. Enough damage to end his pain. Put that one in whatever column you're of a mind to.

Dksimon
May 8, 2008, 02:16 AM
Dont know anything about how it compares to being struck by lightning but i sure as heck wouldnt want to get hit by one!

McCall911
May 8, 2008, 03:11 AM
If you want serious muzzle flash try Remington 125 JHPs. They put a plume of flash out for about 5 feet at night.

A good friend of mine, an ex LEO who helped me work on my hearing loss, said that the good thing about Magnums in general is that if the bullet doesn't stop the attacker, the muzzle flash will set them on fire!

:D

(Of course, he was only joking...)

Nematocyst
May 8, 2008, 03:17 AM
... if the bullet doesn't stop the attacker,
the muzzle flash will set them on fire!< ... chuckles slightly,
then with more gusto ... >

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h18/ao1911/357_fire.jpg

AZ SIG Shooter
May 8, 2008, 03:57 AM
Is it possible that the huge report and muzzle flash from these guns coming downrange toward you in enclosed or close range encounter could "help" the round stop someone? I'm thinking it could have a similar effect to one of the so-called flash-bang grenades they use now.
I do remember from the 1970's reading constantly about the startling effects of that 125 grain loading.

McCall911
May 8, 2008, 04:30 AM
Is it possible that the huge report and muzzle flash from these guns coming downrange toward you in enclosed or close range encounter could "help" the round stop someone?

I've never thought of it seriously, but maybe it could. I just know I'd hate to be downrange of either the bullet or the muzzle flash!

:eek:

:uhoh:

Rexster
May 8, 2008, 06:24 AM
AZSig, yes, absolutely. My fellow LEO nyeti, who is a noted LE trainer, and sometime gunwriter, has posted on another forum that the .357 snubby is a "hand-held flashbang." I have used the term "sound and fury" to identify the same concept; let off a stunning explosion in someone's face, and cause simultaneous damage to his anatomy, and the effect is magnified.

Of course, the flash, bang, sound, and fury are visible to the shooter, too, but the shooter can prepare for it ahead of time, through training. I do not recall the flash at all from my shooting incident, but distinctly recall the "instant black hole," so I was paying attention. Then again, my shooting occurred in reduced light, not total darkness. FWIW, the load was Federal Classic 125-grain JHP; as available as fresh ammo in June 1993. The stuff from the early to mid-1980's flashed much brighter.

Nowadays, some of the .40 stuff seems to flash as bright as the .357 I shoot, which simply means that the flash retardants in today's gunpowder have leveled the playing field.

If you want a low-flash magnum load, the 145-grain Winchester Silvertip is good, and it also is not loaded to the firewall, so is less violent in recoil. The flash is a dull orange flame, even in total darkness. The Border Patrol and some Texas LEOs shot quite a few people with the .357 Silvertip, with good results. Through the mid-1980's to about 1990, my duty sixgun was an S&W M58 .41 mag, and I used the .41 175-grain Silvertip load, which also had the dull orange flash at night.

Rexster
May 8, 2008, 06:36 AM
A few more thoughts: If I have one or two opponents at close range in reduced light, I like the idea of the sound and fury of the .357 magnum. If in an extended gunbattle in real darkness, I would rather have less recoil, sound and fury, and something like a 1911, a true battle pistol, or one of my personally owned duty SIG P229s, really come in handy then.

cherryriver
May 8, 2008, 04:28 PM
As much as I like my two-inch small frame Colt Magnum Carry, and as well as I have shot it from time to time (a five-yard six-shot "Bill drill" from the holster on an IDPA target, down one, in under three seconds, minor power ammo, timed and witnessed by a Glockaholic buddy I beat that day), I'd always thought I'd not care to have to use it in a fight indoors.
The concussion is intimidating outdoors; I always promise myself I'll try it indoors but never do.
In a bedroom hallway, it buggers the imagination. Talk about "light around the body"!
Instead of a reload, I think I'd be reaching for a fire extinguisher.

Edited to add: I also recall back around '72 that a friend of mine's partner put a half-dozen of those Remington 125s into the torso of a gigantic, drugged up Native American in a tenement hallway while said druggie was preparing to use a bayonet on my friend. The miscreant was not slowed, but Bobby managed to deflect the bayonet, and it still took four of Chicago's finest to stomp the thing out of the guy's hand.

Gordon
May 8, 2008, 10:26 PM
"'72 that a friend of mine's partner put a half-dozen of those Remington 125s into the torso of a gigantic, drugged up Native American in a tenement hallway while said druggie was"
Maybe 82 but NOT 72. In 1972 you only had the 158gr LSWC or LHP .357 or a full jacketed Hiway master . In 1972 the hot .357 ammo was 158grain Norma JHP that did not expand on less than buffaloe!Lee Jurras of Supervel started full production loading light 110 grain semijacketed HP .357 ammo commercially in 1973 . This was the "hot set up" in the middle 70s up until 1979 or 80 when Remington came out with the 125 semijacketed HP.

aryfrosty
May 8, 2008, 11:12 PM
My riding partner and I started carrying 1911s in 1974 and we could buy surplus mags for $3.00 and hardball 230 gr for $5.00 for 50. We looked like crazy and found no .45acp hollow points from Atlanta to Chattanooga and actually paid a gunsmith to turn cavities in the jacketed semi-wadcutter 185gr .45acp rounds for a while. We could find Super-Vel later in the 70s in .357mag, but still no .45acp JHPs in our area. I look back on those days and laugh at what we thought we knew. Gordon, We didn't begin to see 125 gr Remington flamethrowers until the early 80s as well. 1980 I believe. Regards;
Al

Downrange
May 8, 2008, 11:41 PM
Love my 686 and lil Marlin. One day I was out on the front porch and spotted a huge goundhog over on the side of the hill about 300 yards away, nonchalantly munching on the grass growing between two giant holes he'd dug. Just for giggles (and because there are livestock elsewhere in that field that might break a leg in his holes) I grabbed my Schaf's little leather v-bag and a handful of Rem. 158 JSPs, and took a seat with the gun resting in the bag on the porch rail. Now 300 yards is pretty far for this rifle, and I really had no idea how much hold-over I needed on the little shotgun scope I had mounted on that Marlin, but the ground was dusty, so I figured to get some feedback from the clouds getting kicked up. Turns out I was holding too high, about three feet being right, and after a couple of ranging shots, I was surprised that Mr. Groundhog was still standing there looking around like "what's going on." I swear he actually ducked when the third round cracked over his head, just six inches high. I concentrated on the fourth and was rewarded by this really loud "whump" which was the sound of the round impacting. He managed to crawl about four feet before he collapsed, and lay still, but that day I really fell in love with that little rifle.

Big Boomer
May 9, 2008, 12:33 AM
Did someone say lightning? Or was that just thunder I heard??

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l84/forestpriest/357Fireball.jpg

If that's thunder what the hell is this?!?

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l84/forestpriest/Fireball460SWMagnum.jpg

McCall911
May 9, 2008, 05:15 AM
This was the "hot set up" in the middle 70s up until 1979 or 80 when Remington came out with the 125 semijacketed HP.

Ah, yes! That brings back memories.

That would have been 1979, because that was the year that I bought my first .357 Mag, a Dan Wesson Model 15-2, plus a box of 125-grain Remington hollowpoints. This was at or around my 27th birthday on September 10 of that year, and the total cost OTD was right at $250.

MCgunner
May 9, 2008, 08:43 AM
Those who dis Mr. Marshall and Mr. Sanow's work tend to be big bullet fixated and go to any lengths to "prove" that energy and statistics are irrelevant. Those who quote the "one shot stop" numbers tend to understand how statistics works (the only form of math in college I did decent at as it involved no Calculus) and are open minded as to the use of the stats when comparing the effectiveness of various calibers and don't read the stats too literally. It is a comparative thing, not literal.

I'm not sure why the big bullet guys care. I mean, the latest +P JHP .45 loads like the Speer gold dot 200 grainers put up impressive 90+ percentage numbers in M & S's stats. It's right up there with the .357 in its best loadings. Even the 9mm 115 +P is quite effective, though that might be the big bore guy's complaint. They just hate to see the non-American 9mm being effective at anything other than shooting rats. Or, maybe its that they have to justify .45 ball because that's all their 1911 will feed and it's down in the 60 percent range in the stats? Whatever.

If you can shoot it, yes, the .357 is VERY effective, one of the absolute best calibers for killing humans from a concealable handgun. However, the BG ain't gonna let you put your ear plugs in first, be aware of that. And, it is also somewhat barrel length dependent. Now, those stats are likely for 4" service guns, don't recall, but I think they separate out snubs now. I haven't read any of Sanow's stuff in a long time. It's interesting, but I just don't live by it. :rolleyes: I carry what I carry and I make sure I can use it effectively. I have .357s, but I find a subcompact 9mm auto a lot easier to put in a pocket and I ain't shootin' no Smith 12 ounce snub with a truly effective .357 rounds. IMHO, that gun is a .38 special with a long chamber.

I will say this, rather than carry a 1911, I think a lighter 4" K frame is easier to carry, though not quite as flat, and I'd far rather have 6 hot hollow point rounds out of a M13 than 7 .45 hardballs out of a 1911.

To each his own, though. If you feel your .45 or your .357 snub is the "hammer of thor" and worth the discomfort to carry, go for it. That's an individual decision. I know what works for me. That's all I really care about. I have a healthy respect for the .357 magnum's ballistics because I've seen what it can do in the field. But, even my little SP101 isn't quite as easy to carry as what I have on me 24/7, a pocket sized 9mm loaded with 115 grain JHPs at 1262 fps. I can shoot that gun very well, to, quite practiced with it even out to 25 yards on smallish targets, let alone gunfight range.

Cosmoline
May 9, 2008, 12:48 PM
Upon impact, this electrical energy along with the energy of the round itself are dumped into the target.

Oh come on. You're talking about a small amount of STATIC electricity. This is not going to do bupkus to anyone--anymore than the aforementioned st. elmos' fire. Just looks cool. The reason the .357 (or any other bullet) stops people and drops them is because it makes a jagged laceration through vital parts of their body and either shuts down the CNS or causes the circulatory system to dump blood, thereby causing shock as the cells starve for 02. It's biology boyos, not electricity nor magic zaps from the heavens.

The .357 can be a good defensive round but it is not known as Thor's Hammer. That's the .45 Colt ain't it? Or is it the .44 Spl ? I forget now.

I used to call my FN-49 Thor's Hammer. I think 8x57JS qualifies more than any handgun. And yes I am ritually kicking myself for having let it go after getting such a bargain on it. (kick kick)

Big Boomer
May 9, 2008, 06:09 PM
I must apologize to the OP for ALL OF US because seems a simple rib jabbing has started into 357 blasphemy.

357...it'll kill ya just as dead as most other bullets, some better, some worse.

It's a piece of lead, and/or copper moving through the air faster than you can throw it. When it hits soft targets is changes shape as it encounters resistance, wow...so do all other bullets. :cool:

The 357 has a typically different shape oh the metplat, this has said to explain certain differences in performance. Basically it has a wider and flatter front section.

2ndamd
May 10, 2008, 01:27 AM
Well said mcgunner.

Marshall still writes about how he too, was a big bore fan. His researched lead him to be more appreciative of the medium bores for two legged predators.

jad0110
May 10, 2008, 03:12 PM
I will say this, rather than carry a 1911, I think a lighter 4" K frame is easier to carry, though not quite as flat, and I'd far rather have 6 hot hollow point rounds out of a M13 than 7 .45 hardballs out of a 1911.

Interesting, thanks for posting that MC :cool:. The only large gun I carry is a 5" 1911 right now. Good to know that a 4" K Frame (or 2.75" Ruger Security/Speed/Service Six) is at least as doable. Carrying a 5" 1911 isn't at all hard to do for me, given a good belt and holster.

For the record though, my 1911 loves hollowpoints, particularly 230 grain Federal Hydra Shoks and 230 grain Remmington Golden Sabres. Just gobbles 'em right up.

I like both big and medium bores for defense, and heck, I'm not above using small bore ... beats throwing rocks.

Shot placement and penetration.

dogngun
May 10, 2008, 03:54 PM
I started shooting .357 magnums in the 1970's, when they were police issue revolvers, back before the great switch to auto pistols.
I hate shooting that round in anything other than a large steel frame revolver with at least a 4" barrel, and I prefer a 6" barrel.
I have shot lots of .44's, and .45's ,but the .357 mag is very hard for me to shoot well-it is really uncomfortable.
With the 125 grain JHP, any brand really, it is a very effective defence round, and a nasty SOB on both ends.

I love to read posts from guys who want to buy a Scandium frame 2" revolver and shoot magnums out of it. I really wonder how many of these guns see more than one trip to the range before they are either sold or loaded with .38 Specials.
Reminds me of all the bargains in used .44 mags you could find a month or so after a new Dirty Harry movie came out.
Get one and shoot it.
Lightning?

mark

sgt127
May 10, 2008, 07:09 PM
My poor old hands can't take ANY .357 Magnums, even in a K frame anymore, they just hurt. But, ballistically, I'm pretty happy with the .357 SIG in a Sig P239 (DAK). Its pretty much a flat revolver with a great trigger that doesn't hurt to shoot.

Gordon
May 10, 2008, 07:50 PM
Actually my 520 NYSP overrun S&W is VERY controllable with 125Grain Remington SJHP ammo in rapid fire. My favorite fighting revolver if I had too really . I have trained with (but never carried on duty)twin 4" model 15's left and right with 4 speed loaders that can bring to bear quite rapid firepower with .38s.
IMHO the .357, with 1400+ fps quick opening loads , delivers a lacerated entrance wound that lower velocity can't. I think that kind of wound hurts real bad and kinda shuts down most bad guys. This is just my experience and has no science behind it.:cool:

slylikea_fox
May 12, 2008, 02:52 PM
Now this might be slightly off the .357 topic but I do remember reading an article sometime back about a military test using a small caliber rifle at very high velocity. In the test they had shot a mule and the closest thing they could describe to what happened was electrocution. I'm not sure where at on the net I had read this but it sounded similar to the original question being asked. Maybe someone else could add or elaborate on this if I have forgotten something or told it wrong.

Rexster
May 13, 2008, 12:01 AM
sgt127, I am getting there myself, especially with my right hand. Though largely a lefty, I did best with big, heavy DA sixguns in my right hand, and shot a lot of magnums from DA revolvers, over time. I now must use .40 ammo for duty, in a DA autoloader, and went with the P229, though I still carry .357 ammo in my SP101 backup snubbies. I use a gentle .22 K-frame sixgun for most of my practice, as it translates well to both the SP101 and P229. I may well convert my P229s to .357 when I retire, as I own my duty weapons.

Confederate
May 13, 2008, 06:20 PM
This is one thing I've never understood about Massad Ayoob. In his book, In the Gravest Extreme, he calls the .357 "overrated," but since that time he's written countless articles talking about how great the 125-gr JHP is. Anyone know the story on that?

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh198/jriler/SW66.jpg

Jim March
May 13, 2008, 06:46 PM
"In the Gravest Extreme" was written in 1980, at a time when ammo simply wasn't as good as it is today.

That alone is plenty of reason for Mas to have had a change of heart.

tipoc
May 13, 2008, 08:26 PM
The .357 is over rated and 125 jhp is a good round. Both were true in 1980 and both true today.

Think, most law enforcement agencies went from the .38 Spl. and .357 20 or so years ago. This means that the number of shootings with .357 declined greatly. Yet this has had no effect on "one shot stop percentages" (leaving aside the accuracy of those claims). Think it through and it does not add up. The 98% effectiveness figure is based on info well over a decade old yet does not vary. Something does not add up there.

The .357 is over rated, it is a good round for many tasks but it is by no means the "best". It can be "the best" for any number of individuals who like it though.

.357 comes in many loads. Different loads can perform different tasks. Personally I prefer a 158 gr. bullet at about 1100-1200 fps from a snubby or 4" barrel this load works best for me for self defense. For hunting a 158 gr. round at 1300-1400 fps from a 6" tube works for me on game I would use the .357 for, coyotes, smaller deer and smaller hogs.

I don't try to get the .357 to do what a bigger bore does better with less muzzle blast and recoil.

tipoc

Nematocyst
May 14, 2008, 04:04 AM
The .357 is over rated...Still trying to decipher "over rated".

Compared to what or whom?

Who decides "over rated"?

Sources? Multiple sources?

The Janitor
May 14, 2008, 05:05 AM
I remember a peace officer who was shot by a .357 mag. while wearing a vest.He said it was like getting hit with a sledge hammer.

I remember being at work when an idiot got hit with a sledge hammer. He said, "oough", and dropped on all fours to catch his breath. I think what you have from that cop is a "fishing story".

Back to topic. A friend of mine was shot 3 times with a .357 mag. Not sure the load or gun, but he got one in the flank and two in the lower back. He is dead now. If he were still alive today, he would attest to the lethality of it..Or would he?

The point is, .357 is a damn strong pistol round, and the ability to chamber 38spl makes it all the more versatile. You take a pinch of powder, about 150 grains of lead, mix it all together in a brass pipe, and top it off with a dash of overkill. You can handle anything from deer to domesticated felines. You can even get birdshot rounds. Plus you have the safety advantages of a revolver over a pistol round. I wouldn't want anything less than a 6" barrel in a .357, for velocity, accuracy, and balance/recoil control. Aesthetics too, of course.

If I could only own two handguns, one would be a 6" 357 revolver.

Nematocyst
May 14, 2008, 05:28 AM
If I could only own two handguns,
one would be a 6" 357 revolver.I'm with you 100,
but I like 3".

(My other .357 mag
is a carbine.)

The Janitor
May 14, 2008, 05:43 AM
(My other .357 mag
is a carbine.)

hmm..A carbine .357 eh? What sort of performance do you get out of that? I've really been debating on trading in my rarely-used Mini-14 on a lever-action rifle. .357mag rifles are on my list to research.

Nematocyst
May 14, 2008, 05:48 AM
It's a Marlin 1894C (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/1894centerfire/1894C.aspx).

Disappointingly little time to shoot it so far
(own a business :uhoh:), but very decent accuracy to 75.

And the length, weight, simplicity, speed and history are great.

I also own levers in .22 (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=261635) and .30-30 (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=258000).

Welcome to THR, by the way.
There's a bunch of us lever lovers around here.

Love is a lever gun. ;)

slabsides
May 15, 2008, 07:31 PM
Early .357 loads did kill like lightening. I recall an anecdote from my time in Germany: A military investigative agent was attacked in the street in the nighttime in Berlin. Witnesses in a nearby restaurant heard three sharp explosions...three dead assassins were collected. Agent was carrying a .357 personal weapon. A .45 would probably have done as well with the same skillful shooter. Probably. But it made me a believer in the .357.
I don't think much of the round fired from a snubby, though.

Vern Humphrey
May 15, 2008, 08:14 PM
We should remember there is a similar myth about the .45 ACP, "If you hit a man in the finger you'll knock him down."

The .357 myth was deliberately fostered by Smith and Wesson -- specifically by Douglas Wesson, then president of S&W. He hunted with the .357, killing a lion in Africa and a Polar Bear in northern Canada. He did all he could to build up the awe people felt for the .357.

To be fair, it was an awe-inspiring cartridge. Nothing else like it existed at the time. I can remember the old "Dick Tracy" cartoons, where "Magnums" were things of such extreme power that the police only used them in special situations -- like having to shoot through an engine block.

A lot of people grew up reading stuff like that, and the legend fed on itself.

tipoc
May 15, 2008, 09:14 PM
Thanks Vern for some clarity and perspective.

Seems in the last month or so on at least three forums there has been a rash of pro .357 threads likening it to "The Hammer of Thor", "lightening bolts", "The best cartridge Ever", "The 98% Stopper" etc. All just recently. There must have been a couple of articles in a gun mag somewhere, or a history channel special.

The .357 is a very good round. Versatile because of it's many loadings and the different size guns and types it can be chambered in.

Skeeter Skelton said if he had only one gun it would be in .357. He also said that he could not beat the .44 Spl. for killing game with a Keith bullet at 900 fps or so.

Elmer Keith said that if he could only have one gun and only one round to shoot it would be the .44 Spl. He said the .44 Spl was the ideal police round and self defense round and this was after he had helped developed the .44 Magnum and the .41 Magnum.

The point is that what's best for one shooter don't fit all. And that more than one round can stop a fella or a 300 pound hog.

Dan Wesson took a lot of game with the .357. He was an expert and outstanding shot. He also said afterwards that some of it was a stunt and better rounds were available for some game he had taken with the .357. He was honest about it.

The .357 is a good round. One of many. For some it may be the best, but no round is the "best" for all.

A little Skeeter...
http://www.darkcanyon.net/MyFriend_The357.htm

http://www.darkcanyon.net/The_44Special_A_Reappraisal.htm

tipoc

Erik
May 16, 2008, 01:42 AM
Well, I'll chime in with the opinion that the .357 magnum was a great round, certainly one of the greatest, and remains at least a good round, be it on the range, in the fields, or the alleys.

That cannot be said of most cartridges, even some of the greats.

ranger335v
May 16, 2008, 06:37 PM
Nothing said about firearms effect is always true, nothing is always wrong. Too much depends on both what's hit AND the mental attitude of the target. Some folks lie down easy, some don't.

I remember a story in one of the gun magazines published in the late 60s in which a Texas cop would often fire a couple of shots into the ceiling when encountering raging a bar fight. That had always stopped the brawl until the last night. One of the angry drunks charged the cop with a knife. He was hit 3 times in mid-chest with a .357 but continued on to fatally stab the cop before he expired. Both men were dead within seconds. The story stuck in my mind.

Ammo and bullets have improved a lot since then but they still won't kill every time with lightening-like hits in every situation, even with good hits. Only a Central Nervous System hit - in the head if possible - can do that and even then a double tap is good insurance.

tipoc
May 16, 2008, 07:15 PM
Not even lightning always works "like lightning".

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/061201.html

http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/PrevGuid/m0052833/m0052833.asp

"approximately 30% of persons struck by lightning die"...

So why expect the .357 to do so? Even with lightning it comes down to shot placement and that trumps caliber.

tipoc

icebones
May 17, 2008, 02:42 AM
it sounds possible, i have heard of static build up on airplane fuselage, caused by friction of the atmosphere, so its plausible that a bullet could build up a electric charge.

an interesting idea for a new mythbusters episode maybe?

its not that i dont believe you guys but i have to see to believe.
gonna have to try this .357 St. elmo's fire tomorrow night,
ill keep a look out for ball lightening too:cool:

icebones
May 17, 2008, 03:27 AM
for a few kicks, i actually posted this .357 magnum St. elmos fire on mythbusters. too bad most of the people on that forum are IDIOTS who know NOTHING about firearms.

a guy actually argued with me... he said that a .50 caliber means the bullet is 50 inches in diameter.:what:

another guy said something like "if a .357 magnum does it than so will other calibers"

i like shooting at night, but its into a hillside so no stray rounds will cause danger, and i live miles away from the neighbors, but i have to admit, i never fired a .357 mag at night...

man growing up in california and watching movies to learn about guns must be sad...

tipoc
May 17, 2008, 11:39 AM
Icebones what "sounds possible"? And what is the reference to static electricity?

Bullets don't build up electrical charges. The only person here who mentioned this was joking. The .357 in some loads has a heck of a muzzle blast, but this is gas and powder burning not St. Elmos fire. That early post about building up electrical charges and such is a joke meant to make folks smile not a theory.

tipoc

icebones
May 17, 2008, 03:25 PM
yeah i know,

thats the bad thing about typing, with written words its hard to pick up on "sarcasm":D


bit for centuries st elmos fire has been reported on ship masts, and more recently aircraft wing tips.
st elmos fire is a coronial discharge created by grounded object in an atmospheric electronic field (ie just prior to an thunderstorm)

this would be near impossible to study, but if an aircraft wingtip can become ionized, then a bullet flight could also be ionized. not that this bullet would leave a streak of electricity or anything, but it could carry a very small weak static charge.

or maybe not...i dont know



the whole "stuck by lightening" thing may be due to the .357magnums ammount of muzzle energy when compared to other handgun rounds. could hydrostatic shock be a factor?

tipoc
May 17, 2008, 05:38 PM
Someone early on explained it...it is an analogy. A batter in the box can be hit by a fastball and fall down "as if struck by lightning", a parent can be told their child has died and react "as if struck by lightning", a person can get whacked in the head by their pet monkey and ...etc.

It's just an analogy. It's been used for the .45 Colt, the .45 acp, the .38 Super, etc. It has no specific meaning. It has nothing to do with static electricity, hydrostatic shock, or any particular property of the round at all. It's just another way of saying that in some loads it's a very effective self defense caliber. That's it.

Likely some character on a video game, Grand Theft Auto maybe, said it and it's making the rounds now. Who knows and I figured out only now that I don't care. I'm a bit slow sometimes.

tipoc

Z71
May 18, 2008, 11:07 AM
Just shoot a little Ruger SP101 in .357 mag with full power 158gr loads!

You may come to understand the "like lightning" analogy!

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