Need Help With Ammo Choice


February 10, 2011, 11:26 PM
Hi Guys:

I have a Smith and Wesson Model 60 Pro (357) and currently keep .38+P Hornady Critical Defense rounds loaded in it. However, being old fashioned as I am, I was thinking this round (110 gr) is a bit too light. I was wondering what people carry in these guns.

I like the CD rounds as they are less likely to clog in thick clothing (winters here have been brutal lately).

Any suggestions are appreciated.


If you enjoyed reading about "Need Help With Ammo Choice" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 11, 2011, 11:44 AM
Also, does anyone have experience with the Winchester PDX1 ammo?

This looked like a nice option for defense.

February 11, 2011, 05:13 PM
It is IMO too light. .357 loads of 125 gr. and less produce a LOT of blast and flash and will cause wear to be accellerated on a snub. The bullet is leaving the cylinder so fast that the rapidly expanding very hot gases will erode and cut grooves in the forcing cone and the top strap. This will cause the metal in the forcing cone to become very brittle and lead to cracks. I have seen this time after time. I have personally ruined a GP 100 by feeding it a steady diet of very hot 125 gr. loads. It will be needing a new barrel to bring it back to shape. With barrel lengths under 3 in. you should stick to 140 to 158 gr. loads at moderate velocities. It is of course possible to launch a light bullet at very high velocities but all you will be accomplishing is wearing out the barrell and forcing cone long before it should have worn. I am sure you've heard the arguments concerning the two schools of thought on defensive loads - light and fast or slow and heavy. Believe me when I say that slow and heavy will do the job on a bad guy and more importantly will allow you to enjoy your gun for many more years. Leave the 110 gr. flame thrower loads to the kids who like to show off at the range.

February 11, 2011, 05:17 PM
heavier bullets lose less velocity in shorter barrels. 158gr is a great bullet and what S&W sights they're revolvers in with.

February 12, 2011, 12:25 PM
Drail, I have no doubt that you are right, but who in their right minds shoots full power loads, all the time? Yes, it is very importand to practice with the ammo you intend carry, but there needs to be a limit because of the wear and tear on the gun, the wrist, and the wallet.

It seems to me that once you get over the 500 ft/lbs of energy mark, bullet weight on a human target will not matter.

I personally varry my defensive loads quite a bit for different settings. If in a densly populated urban environment, I use the 110 gr CD 38 specials mentioned earlier. They will be plenty to deter an attacker, reduce the risk of over penetration, and will be less likely to cause colateral damage if you miss. Most people see a gun pointed at them and suddenly become a marathon runner. If your attacker is on drugs, well then follow up shots will be very important with a low power load.

In a town setting, with a lower population I carry 125 gr .357 CD ammo. If a small towner is coming at you, there is a good chance they are just plain nuts, or real real angry with you. They are not likely some cowardly, idiot gang banger who thinks they are hard core. Townies only come after you if they really mean business. I know, I live in a very small town.

For home deffense or for the woods, I use 140 gr Leverevolutions, or 158gr Speer Gold Dot HPs. Heavier is better for penetrating muscle and bone on an angry animal. There are a lot of mountain lions here.

I know this logic may seem a bit backwards, but it makes sense to me.

I guess the bottom line is this. Don't limit yourself by having one cartridge you use for carry or defense. You own a revolver, and the beauty of revlovers is that they usually shoot a variety of loads. Take advantage!

February 12, 2011, 02:47 PM
Well, the O.P. said he has a S&W MOdel 60 Pro series .357 .... which means it's a 3" Bbl. Len. I have a Model 60 .357 Mag with the
3" Bbl. and it is like the Pro series 60 in that it has an adjustable
rear sight. so the point of what S&W sights in their snubbies for
is a moot one.

.357 Mag is a bit brutal imo in the J-frame 60 I currently have
Double Tap .38 Special +P 125 gr. Gold Dot JHP rated at # 1,125 fps
from a 4" Bbl. - much more controllable for follow up shots than
full house .357 Mag. I'd like to get some 158 gr. SWC loaded to 950
fps in .357 cases for a FBI+ Load.

I have also read of the 110 gr. bullet load in .357 mag cutting
the underside of the top strap and messing up the forcing cone. fwiw


February 12, 2011, 10:43 PM
I load all my snubs with the GD 135 gr short barrel.

February 13, 2011, 06:17 PM
Personally the only snubby that I would feed a steady diet of SAMMI spec hot loads is the SP101 (mine is stoked with 125 grain Remington R357M1 SJHP which do 1200+ fps from my 2.25" barrel) other than that they're fine to carry in most modern .357 wheel guns.

February 13, 2011, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the replies! Hinton, I have been looking for those Gold Dot 135 gr .357s made specifically for short barreled revolvers but cannot come across any local gun shops or online stores that have them in stock.

If you know of any, please advise.

Thanks again!

Also, for reference, Randall is exactly correct in his description of my Revolver.

February 15, 2011, 12:37 AM
I carry either the Speer 135gr .38 Special +P short barrel round or the FBI Load in my revolvers. (both longer and short barrel revolvers)

February 15, 2011, 07:57 AM
I just happened on to a small store that had 4 boxes so I bought them all. Midway has the for 22 bucks but you would need to place on back order.

If you enjoyed reading about "Need Help With Ammo Choice" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!