357mag, 125gr JHP vs 158gr SWCHP?


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Okiecruffler
August 2, 2008, 09:40 PM
Was just loading some 357max rounds today with my 158gr SWCers and got to thinking. For decades the 357mag loaded with 125gr JHP's has been considered by many to be the closest thing to a perfect defense load. And we all know that the old FBI 158gr SWCer 38special load is held in high regard. So would a 158gr SWCer in a 357mag best the 125gr load? Do people avoid the 158gr load due to recoil? I must admit I've run some thru a snubby and they were unfriendly. Anyhow, just food for thought.

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VA27
August 2, 2008, 10:25 PM
Back when the revolver was King and the 357 was Prime Minister, everyone thought the 125gr was THE round. And it was.

The ONLY problem with the 158gr back then was that no one made an expanding bullet that actually worked out of a 4" barrel.

That has changed now and the GoldDot, GoldenSabre, HydroShok 158s work just fine out of 4" barrels.

They are a handful out of the flyweight snubbies, but the K-frame and SecuritySix sized guns handle the 158 just fine with a little practice.

Since the new generation of 158s came out I've given up on the 125s in my full size guns. (though they do push 2000fps out of a carbine!)

I had a friend whose life was saved by the 125 used by the bad guy. He answered a call to a break in at a shoe store and caught the guy in the act. The perp fired one shot at him that passed through a box of shoes and hit him high on the sternum. It stuck in the bone and didn't penetrate any further! He said if the guy had been using 158s he'd have been dead right there.

We old guys know that accuracy and penetration win, but you gotta have both!

Okiecruffler
August 2, 2008, 10:55 PM
Well I was just thinking, and I know this is comparing apples to oranges, but while I would never consider using the 125gr bullet for hunting, I have no reservations about my home cast 158's. Seems like they worked pretty well out of 38 snubbies back in the day.

machinisttx
August 2, 2008, 10:56 PM
What you're shooting them in is going to make a difference. S&W K frame magnums will NOT hold up to a steady diet of 125 grain and lighter bullets---they will crack the forcing cone. You need to stick to heavier bullets in these guns if you intend on shooting many of them.

If you're shooting them in anything else, the 125 grain SJHP is probably the best stopper out there, with the 158 grain SJHP right behind it.

Lou22
August 2, 2008, 11:13 PM
If the 158gr is plain lead, I wouldn't shoot full-power .357 loads with it because of leading issues. Any full-power .357 load I'd use would be jacketed. I'd use the 158gr semi-wadcutter in .38 special only. I prefer the 125gr jacketed for self-defense in .357.

Lou

Virginian
August 2, 2008, 11:23 PM
This is like S&W versus Ruger. Everybody has their mind made up as soon as they read the post. In my 357s I run 125 gr. SJHPs or Glasers for defence. In my 44 Specials I run Glasers and Gold Dots for defence. I practice with all kinds of other stuff that will never hurt my guns or bankrupt me. I hope I never need to touch off a Glaser, or a Remmie 125 SJHP, or a Gold Dot until they get old and need replacing.

Okiecruffler
August 2, 2008, 11:45 PM
My 158's are hard cast and gas checked, I can run them very hot without seeing much leading. You should see what they'll do in the max. I like the 125jhp for defense as well, never seen anything that makes it unattractive. Was just wondering how it became the standard.

Boulder
August 3, 2008, 12:08 AM
When given the choice, I will always prefer the 158 over the 125.

Cocked & Locked
August 3, 2008, 12:14 AM
What Boulder said

dispatch
August 3, 2008, 01:07 AM
Repeat--158 grain

VA27
August 3, 2008, 10:25 PM
I saw a lot of 125s go down range from '76 'til the late 90's and I NEVER saw one cracked forcing cone. I'm not saying it's never happened, but it's not something that I let keep me awake nights. If you like 'em, use 'em.

I like the 158's cast or jacketed. For special stuff I like the 180gr bullets, too. Cast or jacketed, makes me no difference.

The leading bug-a-boo is highly over hyped, too. Jeepers! It's not the end of the world, it's just a little lead! Learn how to clean your gun, for cryin' out loud! Some people are just not happy unless they have something to carp about.

MCgunner
August 3, 2008, 11:11 PM
My 158's are hard cast and gas checked, I can run them very hot without seeing much leading.

Yep, mine are from a Lee mold and I push 'em near 1900 fps out of a 20" rifle barrel with no leading problems what so ever.

I saw a lot of 125s go down range from '76 'til the late 90's and I NEVER saw one cracked forcing cone. I'm not saying it's never happened, but it's not something that I let keep me awake nights. If you like 'em, use 'em.

The muzzle blast is significant from hot 125 grainers, causes forcing cone erosion. I've had a forcing cone on a M10 crack, though, shooting 148 Wadcutter at the time! K frame forcing cones are notorious. Need to keep the lead buildup down on 'em. I never worry about my Ruger or Taurus forcing cones. The frames give enough room for enough beef, especially the Rugers.

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