How many types of 38/357 rounds do we really need?


December 9, 2010, 12:31 AM
What different categories of 38/357 ammo do you use? It seems like there is a plethora of shelf ammo for these calibers, everything from traditional wad cutters and cheap FMJ for target shooting, to specialty 357 hollow points (why would you ever want a hollow point 357?).

Here is what I use...

First up is target ammo:

I tend to use .38 American eagle FMJ 130g in my SP101 for target because it is cheap. I use .357 fiocci truncated cone 147g ammo for my GP101 (again because its cheap).

Next we have home defense ammo:

Federal .38 Nyclad

Last but not least, for mountain lion/bear defense camping I keep:

Federal .357 cast core vital shock 180g (talk about a hand-full to shoot!).

What kind of specialty rounds do the members on this board tend to use?

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December 9, 2010, 12:33 AM
(why would you ever want a hollow point 357?).

Why wouldnt you for self defense? Thats the best thing for two legged critters.

Owen Sparks
December 9, 2010, 12:38 AM
The free market will decide what "we" need.

December 9, 2010, 12:47 AM
Well, I used handloads mostly when I was shooting 357.

A 148 grain wadcutter load for bullseye matches shooting about 770-800 fps;

A 158 grain SWCL load going about 850 fps;

158 grain JHP going about 1300 fps;

and for home defense a good 125 grain JHP load or a 110 grain JHP load, whichever was available and most reasonably priced.

December 9, 2010, 12:59 AM
Enough to where Wal Mart doesn't run out. :p

December 9, 2010, 01:01 AM
why would you ever want a hollow point 357?
How else am I going to get the .357 to reach its full potential in a thin-skinned bipedal varmint?

It doesn't sound like you reload. I bet you'd really wonder at the variety of loads that people handload for these two calibers!

December 9, 2010, 01:07 AM
I bet you'd really wonder at the variety of loads that people handload for these two caliber

My guess is that 45 Long Colt is the only one with more variations.

December 9, 2010, 01:52 AM
why would you ever want a hollow point 357?

...because the 125gr JHP .357 Mag loading still has the best stopping track record based on real street use

I personally use:

125gr JHP for general defense (mag)
135gr JHP for snubbies (spl)
140 JHP for defenseive work in 1:14" twist barrels (mag)
148gr wadcutter for target work (spl)
158gr SWC for Stock target work (spl)
158gr FMJ for distance and carbine work (mag)

December 9, 2010, 03:16 AM
Ah it seems I forgot the carbine loads. Can't leave out the good ol' lever actions.

I never knew the .357 defensive round was so popular. All of the .357 magnums I've shot would be too much for me in a dark hallway, which is why I use the .38 nycads. But thats just what I prefer.

I guess what I'm getting at is what other special shelf or hand loads people use for their own purposes.

For example, why a 125gr jhp for defense and yet another 135hr jhp round for snubbies?

FYI I stopped shopping at walmart a long time ago because they are always out of every handgun loan I'm ever interested in.

December 9, 2010, 09:59 AM
The only .38/.357 ammunition which I buy is self-defense ammunition. I have the Federal .38 Special 158gr. LSWC-HP +P load in all of my .38s and .357s.

For competition, I use a lead 147gr. HBWC over 2.7-2.8gr. of Bullseye.

For competition practice, I use a Penn or Laser Cast 147gr. lead DEWC over the same charge of Bullseye.

For self-defense practice, I use a Penn or Laser Cast 158gr. LSWC over a charge equivalent to the Federal FBI load.

Lucky Derby
December 9, 2010, 10:12 AM
Why a .357 hollowpoint?
Because the 125 grain SJHP .357 has the best one shot stop record of ANY handgun load.
At least it did in years past and I am willing to bet it it still at least in the top 4 or 5.
While your choices are fine choices, do not presume they are the best choices for everyone in every situation.
The beauty of revolvers, and in particular .357 magnum revolvers, is the ability to use such a wide variety of ammo.
From light target and small game loads- to the 180 grain cast cores you mentioned. Good SD and HD loads at full power, or downloaded versions for those who are recoil sensitive.
I want more choices, not less.

Hondo 60
December 9, 2010, 10:34 AM
From the OP - I use .357 fiocci truncated cone 147g ammo for my GP101 (again because its cheap).

As far as I know there no GP101, am I missing something?

I make 158gr LRN & 125gr HP ammo.
It depends on what flavor of the day I want to use.

December 9, 2010, 10:59 AM
I carry and shoot S&B FMJ 158gr. It's easy to clean up after and it will in one side of a car and out the other. Haven't tried it on a dumpster yet.

December 9, 2010, 11:47 AM
For defense: .357 Buffalo Bore 125 gr jacketed hollow point
For serious practice at the range: .357 Magtech 158 gr jacketed lead point
For fun at the range: .38 Special Mastercast 148 gr wadcutter

It's my only centerfire, so the more different loads available for this excellent cartridge, the better.

December 9, 2010, 11:51 AM

Vern Humphrey
December 9, 2010, 12:10 PM
why would you ever want a hollow point 357?.
Well, there might be an NVA lieutenant shooting at you with a Browning Hi-Power. I was glad I had my .357 loaded with hollowpoints that day!

December 9, 2010, 02:56 PM
Don't forget the 38 shotshells for mice in the shed

December 9, 2010, 06:10 PM
I reload for both my .38 and my .357, and only keep three bullet types in stock, 148gr. DEWC for practice, and 125gr. and 158gr. JHP for defensive use.

December 10, 2010, 11:24 AM
We need more. A 177 caliber saboted dart for one. A good flare, some fishing rounds, and chainshot.

December 10, 2010, 04:28 PM
I need .357 hollowpoints for self-defense, and this includes dark hallways. Flash? Modern premium defensive JHP ammo is loaded with flash-retardant powder, anyway. As for the blast and concussion, if I am ready for it, that is an enhancement added to the hole(s) that the bad guy has to deal with. Gunwriter Darryl Bolke, a retired LEO and firearms trainer, referred to a particular .357 snubbie as a "hand-held flash-bang." He opined that the muzzle flash and blast effect, at short range, had much to do with the reputation of the .357 in law enforcement.

I am one of those LEOs who carried the 125-grain JHP .357 Mag in its heyday, and have not stopped carrying it in back-up and personal-time weapons. Once, I was in the batter's box when I saw what it does to an armed opponent. Yes, I perceive a continued need for .357 JHPs!

.357 Mag 125-grain JHP, by Federal or CCI-Speer - defense, 4"-6" revolvers.

.357 Mag 145-grain Winchester Silvertip JHP - defense, snubbies.

.357 Mag 158-grain Gold Dots - all-around use, for any weapon, snubbie to lever rifles, if the usual ammo is in short supply.

.357 Mag 180-grain Federal Castcore - kept around in case the few small shy Texas black bears ever get bigger and braver, and for specialized erect bipedal targets. (Keep in mind I still wear a badge.)

.38 - 125-grain Nyclad - Airweight and earlier steel .38 snubbies.

I don't feel a need to use specialized ammo for mountain lions, based on advice from a friend who has some experience with the big kitties. What works against humans works against the kitties.

December 10, 2010, 04:58 PM
I could get by with 2 if I had to.......XTPs in 140 gr and 180 gr. But I love all the options out there.

December 11, 2010, 01:01 PM
When you look at the factory loaded market in .38/.357 offering, you notice that there is quite a selection.

When you start to reload, you realize that you personally can make 10x as many combinations as is available in factory fodder.

When you start to cast your have reached a new plain of existence all together. I cast a 125 grain round flat bullet and push it at around 600 fps. In the same gun, I load a 205 grain wide flat nose bullet at 1200 fps. I have an order in for a 88 grain flat nose that will also cast a 80 grain hollowpoint. I have seen a 230 grain full wadcutter mould that I have thought about purchasing just for the heck of it.

December 11, 2010, 07:04 PM
I cast & load mine & I have 7 different SWC mold designs !!!

December 12, 2010, 09:48 AM
TwoNiner, .357 hollow points are very important for a number of reasons. The .357 is a powerful round, and upon impact you want that round to mushroom thus decelerating it. During my CCW class, it was emphasized that a round can travel one mile-and that accounting of any round fired is important to include accuracy if one has to defend against an attack. A .357 can go right though the walls of a house and either hit another house or bystander. You want that round to stop.
Mushrooming creates a shock wave also giving the round more knock down power.
There are hollow point and hollow points. I like Hornady because they are consistent in their mushrooming and don't fragment.
I cannot emphasize practicing at the range and weather permitting firing 300+ rounds per month. Hopefully one never has to defend oneself against an armed attacker but if that happens you need to be accurate and cool headed.

December 13, 2010, 12:30 AM
The beauty of the .357 is number of choices you have in ammunition.

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