357 Mag Home Defense Round for 6" Barrel


Matt 357
June 13, 2010, 10:46 PM
There is much discussion about home/self defense rounds for snubbies. I hear some rounds are optimized for shorter barrels. How about the longer barrels? I have a 6" GP100. Heavier gun. More manageable recoil. A bit more fps. What is a good round for a big gun?

I live in a cinderblock house. Neighbors have same. So overpenetration is not a significant factor. Right now I have 158 grain Remington Express for home use.

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June 14, 2010, 05:10 AM
I would say any quality ammo is going to work and then some.

Short barrels are the tricky ones because they loose fps create more flash and noise. Long barrels really don't have those issues to deal with.

I wouldn't be so sure about the overpenetration though, I would just assume that a .357 would go through cinderblock with out much problem.

June 14, 2010, 08:23 AM
but a year or two ago a gun mag (Guns and Ammo?) published pictures of several different 9mm brands being fired. There was a huge difference in flash. Maybe get a bunch of brands and test them for usability.
Good luck.

June 14, 2010, 08:41 AM
Remington 125 gr SJHP. Just works eliminating need for anything fancier.

June 14, 2010, 09:57 AM
Right now I have 158 grain Remington Express for home use.

That'll work fine.

The really hot stuff produces tremendous muzzle flash-not a good thing indoors in low light. I use 158 gr. Hornady XTP's loaded to 1,300 FPS from a 4" gun for that purpose.

Matt 357
June 14, 2010, 10:05 AM
Next time I'm at the indoor range, I'll see if they will turn off the lights at the firing line for a little while if all the shooters agree. I'm sure the other shooters would be curious about muzzle flash of their rounds.

I wonder if there is any data on 357 vs cinderblock. It might make it through, but doubt it could do much damage to anything on the other side.

June 14, 2010, 10:11 AM
My 6" Ruger GP-100 round:
125 gr Hornady XTP JHP
17.5 gr of 2400 w/ mag primer.

June 14, 2010, 10:25 AM
I live in a cinderblock house. Neighbors have same. So overpenetration is not a significant factor. Right now I have 158 grain Remington Express for home use.
You might want to rethink how safe a high velocity .357 Magnum round is against cinder block.

June 14, 2010, 10:40 AM
You might want to rethink how safe a high velocity .357 Magnum round is against cinder block.


Hollow cinderbricks offer little resistance to projectile with enough energy to do more than bounce off.

June 14, 2010, 12:05 PM
Don't know how much difference it would make when they are stacked in a wall with mortar, but I recently saw a single hollow cinder block blown to pieces with a .357.

June 14, 2010, 12:17 PM
How about these: http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=21
I know its not a "short barrel" but Ill bet the reduced recoil and flash would be a big benefit- if you can bring yourself to pay their rediculous prices.

June 14, 2010, 12:43 PM
Personally, I'd still say stick with a good JHP .38spl+p round. IMO, .357 is not an ideal HD round - too loud, too much muzzle blast and flash, more recoil so follow up shots are harder to keep on target. Out of a 6" barrel, a good 125-130gr .38spl+p round will definitely get the job done, and give you a much more manageable round to work with.

June 14, 2010, 07:29 PM
Take a look at the lighter grained defensive loads. A full house 158gr .357 round can easily pulverize brick/block's. A good round that pushes through 12-14" of ballistics gel would be ideal. The high velocity, coupled with it's lighter weight, is the way to go. Keep those 158's for camping/outdoors.

June 14, 2010, 07:36 PM
What you are using will work fine. I prefer just about any 125 JHP for those purposes.

Bill B.
June 14, 2010, 09:49 PM
357 Mag Home Defense Round for 6" Barrel

When you say Home Defense I would want a good heavy +P 38 Special load such as the FBI Load from a .357 mag. JMO ..........

June 15, 2010, 02:06 AM
another vote here for 38+P JHP , any common bullet weight will do

if you have not shot indoors/in dark with 357, yes you need to "see" it
enlightening :what:
at least as impressive if standing safely to side, watching someone else do it
can make you wonder why a lot of us don't have singed eyebrows

but do it with your earmuffs on, unless you really enjoy saying "sorry, what did you say?"

June 15, 2010, 11:51 PM
Years ago I saw a magazine with a gorgeous blond on the cover. She was standing in partial darkness with a brand new stainless Ruger 6-inch Security-Six in her hand. She heard something outside trying to get in and, not wishing to be inhospitable, met this housebreaker coming through the window. She didn't strike up a conversation, but she did show him her Ruger and, it bein' late and all, excused herself. Worried that he might not find his way home that late at night, she insisted that he call the police (using her phone) and see if they could help him get situated.

He gave her the sob story...he was just trying to feed his family (he was out of work and all), but she would hear none of it and later she discovered that he had a rather lengthy criminal record, much of it foisting himself on sweet young things like herself. And the language he used! My, my!

She used a Federal 125-gr JHP and didn't talk to the bad guy at all. I think her choice of ammo was superb.


Ruger Security-Six

Charles Davis
June 16, 2010, 10:57 AM
Hi all
In my handguns, I shoot wad cutters for practice. For defense loads, I carry Winchester silver tips in my S & W.357. In my Colt snubby, I use the "Buffalo bore" ,38 specials for snubs. The load is apparently based on the old FBI 158 grain load, A recent magazine review got 1000 FPS muzzle velocity in a snubby w/2 3/4 barrel that should produce good expansion and stopping power. In fact, it was close to the .357 snubby load. The .357 produced more flash, and recoil but little more power. You need barrel length for the .357 loads to work well.
I have a .40 S & W that I load with (155 Grain) Winchester silver tips also.
For a carry round, cost is not that important to me.

June 16, 2010, 12:19 PM
158 gr Federal Hydra Shock, (any 158 gr Federal/Remington will do) though I have a friend that swears by Winchester Silver tips (think those are 145gr) in his SW 686. It was his duty load when he worked armed security.

June 16, 2010, 01:36 PM
What shoots the best outta your gun? What are you using now? .357 has enough velocity that the type of bullet used is secondary to which one you are most comfortable shooting. Regardless of design or brand, 3 shots in COM is gonna make for one dead BG.

Marvin KNox
June 16, 2010, 02:15 PM
I don't see any need for anything stronger than a good top rated .38 spl. +p.
You will be ringing extra speed out of the bullets by virtue of the 6" barrel. That's what stepping up to .357's is all about in the first place.

A fast stepping +p will be much more manageable with less flash and bang as well.

Something like the 135gr. Speer Short Barrel +p's would be getting up around the speed of their .357 rendition by using a 6" barrel.

Speaking of .357's - I shoot a little snubbie and I do go with .357's to make up for the loss of velocity because of the short barrel. I go with the lighter .357's for obvious reasons and they still get me extra speed over the .38's.

They are much more manageable in the light guns than hotter .357's would be and yet they open up and penetrate very well. You'd get even more velocitiy and performance with the 6" barrel with even less recoil, flash and bang than folks who choose these rounds for the little light weight snubs.

I choose the DPX. One box will do for a lifetime for bedroom use. Therefore a few extra dollars of cost is no valid objection IMO. You don't need a bunch of range time with them since we are talking in-home distances. Any round you choose will hit about where you aim it at bed room distances.

Golden Sabre's are good as well.

It seems to me that the 6" barrel would allow you to reap the benefits of manageable ammo while getting top performance as well - as compared to the many who shoot shorter barrels.

You'll have the best of both worlds. Why give up one of the components in the self defense ammo equation by going to anything above low to medium .357's? There would be nothing to be gained and a whole lot to loose IMO.

Practice, on the other hand, would be with the lightest rounds available if it were me. :)

Matt 357
June 16, 2010, 03:22 PM
I was thinking the extra barrel length would help with velocity. 38+P is probably the way to go. I have also shot Blazer 158 grain 357s. They are pretty mild as I mentioned in another thread. So that might be an option. No idea about muzzle flash on that round. It would be cool if someone did comparison testing of muzzle flash on various ammo. Youtube video?

When I hit the range, I am using reloads 180 gr XTP with H110 powder. I have no problem with recoil. The biggest issue is the round from a 6" barrel close quarters (<20 ft) that would be effective.

June 16, 2010, 03:37 PM
The man has a 6" bbl, it will do fine with standard Remington 125 (or 158) SJHP. It might blow up a cinder-block but will be pretty spent after that.

You can easily over-think a thing and for the love of Mike if confronted with a gunfight in the wee hours, simplify your priorities.

The Remmies are;
1. reliable and consistent
2. less than the most expensive wiz bang widget of the month
3. powerful
4. accurate
5. SJHP, meaning that they have lost most of their terrible effectiveness after cruising through a cinderblock.


June 16, 2010, 09:52 PM
There is cinder block, and concrete block. Same size, but different strength. Moreover, any block or brick gains strength when is is mortared together with other blocks/bricks. I saw an article about this once upon a time. A cinder block, sitting alone, shatters quite easily.

No ammo change is necessary when using a 6" sixgun, except that using loads specifically tailored to short barrels may actually lose velocity due to friction after all the powder is burned. (IIRC, Speer Gold Dot short-barrel ammo is good for up to 4".) As expensive as short-barrel-specific ammo is, I can't see anyone buying it without a specific use for it. When I move to a more rural area, and start using my 6" GP100 more, I will load it with whatever I would use in my 4" sixguns for the same task.

June 16, 2010, 10:05 PM
Honestly, coming out of a 6" barrel, I would use 38 +p's. Over penetration is a serious problem with full house loads coming out of a 6" barrel.

June 17, 2010, 12:57 AM
Another vote for Rem SJHP 125 grain loads. They well be fast enough they will blow up on cement pretty well but will make a huge hole in flesh out of a 6" barrel. I KNOW, I've seen it several times. Usually vote for .38+p loads , but out of a 6" those old full throttle scallop Remmys rock!

June 17, 2010, 05:24 PM
Touch off a defensive 357 round in an enclosed room in the dark or low light and you'll be changing your mind about defensive loads in a hurry... not to mention what they will do to your hearing and eyesight.

38 spl lswchp +p is the way to go...

June 18, 2010, 04:11 AM
A defensive shot's sound will be mitigated by auditory exclusion. Been there, done that. There may indeed be some damage, but I would rather be deaf than dead. Moreover, an ND inside a small room, which amounted to a live fire when I meant to be dry firing, did not deafen me, and the ringing was gone within a day. This was with a Winchester Silvertip. Thankfully, I had obeyed the other rules of safe gun handling, so a disposable item took the hit. (Always dry fire AT something that will absorb a hit.)

In particular, the Winchester Silvertip is a low-flash .357 load.

Good, modern defensive ammo is loaded with flash-retardant powders. Don't base an opinion on muzzle flash, based on old ammo, or inexpensive practice ammo. I have "qual'ed" at night, I fired my one defensive shot at night, and have test-fired various duty loads in a rural area with virtually no ambient light. Good ammo will not blind the shooter.

June 18, 2010, 04:19 AM
Winchester Silvertip 145gr. HPs. Less flash and recoil than the 125gr. and less penetration than the 158gr..

Matt 357
June 18, 2010, 11:17 AM
Not too worried about flash. I know it is coming and could blink. BG doesn't know and could be temporarily blinded. Flashbang.

If the 38+P is effective and less chance of losing hearing, I am leaning toward the 38+P.

June 18, 2010, 12:14 PM
Take a look at Buffalo Bore .38spl +P 158gr LSWHC-GC

June 18, 2010, 01:21 PM
Next time I'm at the indoor range, I'll see if they will turn off the lights at the firing line for a little while if all the shooters agree. I'm sure the other shooters would be curious about muzzle flash of their rounds.

Yeah, not too much liablity in that scenario...

Red Cent
June 18, 2010, 07:39 PM
First two rounds would be.....
"The bullet design can produce large shallow wounds in flesh while failing to pass through structural barriers thicker than drywall or sheet metal. The rapid energy dump creates high stopping power and the wide wound cavity destroys a large amount of tissue, making the Glaser a deadly round when it strikes a target's torso. At the same time, the fact that it only penetrates at most a few inches, means it will not pass through the target when hit center-mass, nor will it pass through a standard wall. These qualities make it less likely to strike unintended targets, such as people in another room during an indoor shooting. Also, when it strikes a hard surface from which a solid bullet would glance off, it fragments into tiny, light pieces and creates much less ricochet danger. .......comes in two forms, 'blue' and 'silver', the latter having greater penetrating power due to the use of No. 6 birdshot rather than No. 12."

The next four would be....
"158gr Jacketed Hollow Point Hydoshock. The choice of law enforcement agencies nationwide. Federal's unique center-post design delivers controlled expansion, and the notched jacket provides efficient energy transfer to penetrate barriers while retaining stopping power. The deep penetration of this jacketed bullet satisfies even the FBI's stringent testing requirements."

The Glaser is devastating at room distances.

June 20, 2010, 12:29 AM
"Life is too short to argue with stupid people and drink cheap booze. SASS #29170 "

much as I want to agree with your post (re: Glaser), just can't help it.. it is a real fine choice for VERY carefully defined and constructed scenarios, it is.. but 38+P JHP it ain't.. and 357 mag JHP it ain't.. and dress rehersals have limits...
boutique ammo is a choice, not a requirement
Glaser don't make white box, but either of the other in white box will do at inside house range, what any boutique ammo can do for you if/when needed to do

but whatever personal perspectives we might have about that, I sure do like your sig line, friend
(NO, quoting it here does NOT, NOT, NOT imply I think in any way you are "stoopid", just means I like your sig line) :D

June 20, 2010, 12:40 AM
Buffalo Bore warns that a full .357 indoors WILL cause permanent hearing damage and muzzle flash is extreme as is the possibility of overpenetration. BB suggests .38 +P instead. See their site as they give good narative on their products and what weapons they use for testing. Worth the trip.....

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