Best .357 magnum load?


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ReconTech
January 16, 2004, 04:12 AM
Ok, used the search feature and didn't come up with much...so, here it goes...

I've always shot winchester Ranger SXT in all my weapons, including duty weapons...so how does that do in .357 Magnum...

I just got a Ruger GP100 6" full lug barrel, so I wanted to get a really good defensive round for it.

Any threads that someone can point me to doing .357 magnum load comparisons?

thanks

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stans
January 16, 2004, 06:49 AM
If you believe in the writings of Marshall and Sanow, then the 125 gr JHP from Federal or Remington are the top "stoppers" in the 357, or any handgun caliber. I think it is far more important to select ammo that is accurate in your particular gun and that is controllable. I think just about any 125 gr to 158 gr JHP is going to do the job. When I lived in an apartment, I kept my home defense 357 loaded with 110 gr JHP's because I was concerned about the possibility of the bullet over penetrating walls. Now that I am in a house, I rely upon 125 grain loads at the moment.

Zeke Menuar
January 16, 2004, 12:24 PM
I have a 4" M686 which my wife has adopted as her go-to gun. She prefers the old discontinued Federal Nyclad 158gr+P LHP load. I still have three boxes of the Nyclad left over from when I carried a revolver. Less flash and recoil. Shoots pretty good in a heavy gun like the 686.

ZM

jc2
January 16, 2004, 05:52 PM
Winchester 180-grain Partition Gold.

Brigrat
January 16, 2004, 06:59 PM
if not the partition gold above, go with the Winchester Silver tip 145gr. both are excellent. the 125's suffer from inadequate penetration out of shorter barrells, but out of a 6 incher, you probably wouldn't have a problem at all.

Rob96
January 16, 2004, 07:46 PM
I like the Remington 125gr SJHP and the 145gr Winchester Silvertip.

Nightcrawler
January 16, 2004, 07:47 PM
I've never been a fan of light-for-caliber bullets in any cartridge. I haven't shot a lot of .357 Magnum, but I'd stick with the 158+ grain loads, unless overpenetration was a serious concern. (Then a 110 or lighter even might be more appropriate, as light bullets at high velocity often break apart.)

From what I've heard, the 125s offer a lot of excess flash and noise, too.

In any case, though, it's hard to go wrong with a .357. :cool:

P95Carry
January 16, 2004, 08:01 PM
I'm with Nightcrawler here ... 100%.

Gordon
January 16, 2004, 10:44 PM
Another vote for 180 Partition gold, IF the quarry weighs over 100lbs or so. The 125grain sjhp rem load is great for the lighter stuff.;)

cheygriz
January 17, 2004, 12:34 AM
The 125 GR JHP loads from Federal, Remington and Winchester have been proven on the street as the single most effective .357 load available for over 25 years.

Bulldozer
January 17, 2004, 07:43 AM
Winchester 145-grain Silvertip makes for a great defense round. I also like a handloaded 158-LSWC-HP exiting my 3-inch SW-66 tube at a shade under 1,000 fps.

Nightcrawler
January 17, 2004, 10:10 AM
The 125 GR JHP loads from Federal, Remington and Winchester have been proven on the street as the single most effective .357 load available for over 25 years.

Proven HOW? "Proven" implies some kind of scientific test was done. "Scientific" and "Marshall & Sanow" don't belong in the same sentence.

I'm not saying the 125 grain loads don't work, but I'm willing to work a 158 grain load works just as well with less noise and muzzle flash.

pwrtool45
January 17, 2004, 01:16 PM
I think that particular .357 load is "proven" in that you don't/didn't find professionals turning away from it in droves due to its insufficient terminal performance (like with 1st gen 147gr 9mms). Now, most agencies have dropped it for various autoloaders, but that decision wasn't made based on terminal effectiveness. So long as the revolver is loaded with full-power .357s (not .38s) and the hits are more or less solid, I don't think you'll find any commonly used load to be a poor performer. The cartridge is a pretty good match for the <=250lb thin-skinned animal. There are some individual cases where it didn't work, but there are individual cases where even the mighty 12 bore and buckshot combo didn't work.

I use 125gr rounds in my 4" .357s (145gr Silvertips in my 6"). Inadequate penetration is very dependent on your purposes. It was a popular police load for a time, and there weren't any cries (that I remember) about inadequate penetration. Even if there had been, I don't need 14-16" in 10% b. gel though 4 layers of denim. There's a difference, to my way of thinking, between service ammo and defense ammo.

FWIW, I use modern 147gr ammo in my 9mm. I'm not a die-hard energy dump/light bullet/high velocity devotee.

DBR
January 17, 2004, 11:30 PM
ReconTech:
For your 6" Ruger, I think you should consider either the 158gr Remington SJHP or the Winchester 145 Silver Tip. From a longer barrel lighter bullets may fragment and not offer adequate penetration.

Lord Grey Boots
January 18, 2004, 03:21 AM
I notice a real difference in felt recoil (and blisters) between 125 grain and 158 grain loads.

I usually stop at 50 or so 158 grain full power .357 rounds.

I can shoot 125 grain full power loads out of a SP101 all day.

Gabe
January 18, 2004, 03:32 AM
Heard some good stuff on the Winchester 180 partition gold. It's a hunting round designed for putting down 200 lb animals very quickly and many believe it to be a very effective manstopper as well.

You might look up Wound Ballistics Review for the technicals. I remember it to have shown comparable expansion and penetration to 45 caliber 230 grain gold dots. It was the only 357 loading I've seen with that much expansion. Most others underexpand and overpenetrate.

MK11
January 18, 2004, 10:39 AM
I would say the 125 grain .357 mag got a good endorsement by Texas DPS, which didn't think the .45 ACP performed as well as their old revolver round and subsequently switched to the .357 Sig to try to get that peformance back.

However, out of a six inch barrel, the 158 grainers make a lot of sense.

Snowdog
January 18, 2004, 11:14 AM
the 125's suffer from inadequate penetration out of shorter barrells, but out of a 6 incher, you probably wouldn't have a problem at all.

This is a common fallacy that I was once guilty of as well.
125gr JHPs from a .357magnum will generally not penetrate as deeply from a longer barrel than a shorter one. Why? One word: fragmentation.
Out of a snub, I wouldn't have any questions concerning adequate penetration from the 125gr JHPs as they will typically stay together, but I would be hesitant about recommending them for revolvers with 6" barrels or greater if penetration was a requisite. Driven to velocities approaching 1600 FPS from a 6" tube, these slugs tend to lose mass through severe fragmentation, possessing too short a shank to drive deeply afterwards.
They'll leave one hell of a wound, but penetration will not be among its virtues.

I use Winchester's 145gr Silvertip JHP for all my revolvers with 4" barrels or greater. It's no superstar in terms of terminal performance, but it is consistant.
IMO, just about any quality JHP will work well for defensive work.

cxm
January 18, 2004, 04:23 PM
Aren't the M&S statistcs generally viewed as being pretty well discredited these days? I believe the Firearm Tactical Institute did an extesnive report on the short comings.

FWIW


If you believe in the writings of Marshall and Sanow, then the 125 gr JHP from Federal or Remington are the top "stoppers" in the 357, or any handgun caliber. I think it is far more important to select ammo that is accurate in your particular gun and that is controllable. I think just about any 125 gr to 158 gr JHP is going to do the job. When I lived in an apartment, I kept my home defense 357 loaded with 110 gr JHP's because I was concerned about the possibility of the bullet over penetrating walls. Now that I am in a house, I rely upon 125 grain loads at the moment.

riverdog
January 18, 2004, 06:31 PM
I tend to favor the controlled expansion Gold Dot and XTP 158 gr bullets. They should expand well at the low end and they don't blow up at the high end. The XTP has an advertised operating range of 700-1400 FPS if that is helpful. That velocity envelope is optimum as an advertised 1250 FPS load should still be doing 1000 FPS or more at 100yds. With heavier bullets penetration is generally very good. No scientific basis for my decision, just what seems right and feels good.

I have fired these through my Ruger KGP-161 and S&W M-28 and found them to be very controllable and accurate.

YMMV.

Sean Smith
January 18, 2004, 11:14 PM
Might want to consider one of the "medium" Magnum loads like the 125gr Remington Golden Saber. Modern bullet, decent velocity (1,220 ft/sec from a 4" barrel) and less blast and kick than the 1,450+ ft/sec thumpers. Though from the big Ruger those would probably be no big deal, either. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to go with the Pro Load 125gr Gold Dots @ 1,500 from a 6" barrel.

tbige
January 19, 2004, 08:31 AM
Stans: How did you like the 110's, if you don't mind telling me, and why did you switch to the 125's? I'm tempted to give the 110's a try largely because I don't care for the flash-bang of the 125's. The 110's any better on that score?

Quantrill
January 19, 2004, 09:22 AM
Try the "old" Keith standard .357mag. load. Lyman #358429 (168gr SWC hard cast) over 13.0gr of 2400. I know Keith loaded it hotter than that, but that is a good place to start. This load has worked for a lot of people for a lot of years. Quantrill

Dave T
January 19, 2004, 11:01 AM
Talk about a lack of consensus. Everything has been suggested from 110g JHPs to 180g Partition designs, and everything in between. The 125s were discussed, both hot and mild; 145g was suggested; the old stand-by of 158g was represented; we even had a vote for 168g cast SWCs. Is there another bullet weight/design that can be tossed in to completely confuse the issue or is it a muddy as it can be made now?????

tbige
January 19, 2004, 11:10 AM
Muddy enough for me; all I want is someone to tell me the factory round that yields least flash-bang-recoil at a reasonable price. And here I thought that was an easy question.

pwrtool45
January 19, 2004, 12:28 PM
Sure thing, Federal used to catalog a 140gr SJHP at around 1,360fps (or thereabouts). (Also had around or the exact same ME as the 125gr SJHP load, for whatever that's worth). Better barrier penetration than the 125s with less tissue penetration than the 158s. Great compromise load. Hornady still loads a 140gr XTP JHP round, but it's been nerf'd.

Always glad to add complication. :D

I think you'll find that the general concensus is to just use whatever floats your boat. If you want reduced flash and bang, try any of the full-power 158gr loads. Hydra Shoks and Gold Dots are available. The 145gr Silvertips aren't as hot as other loads, but they're not medium-velocity rounds, either. Again, whatever floats your boat. The caliber isn't dependent on exotic bullets, and those that are out there work fine due to the higher-velocity nature of round. They haven't, by and large, had to be redesigned because they weren't expanding, then redesigned because the previous redesign expanded too much, the redesigned because they wouldn't expand in the 4-layer denim test, then redesigned...ad nauseum.

IIRC, Wal-Mart carries Silvertips. (Or they used to, anyway). Those come in boxes of 50. Head on down to Wally World and buy a couple boxes. Problem solved. ;)

RWK
January 19, 2004, 01:13 PM
Georgia Arms manufactures a new, Gold Dot, 158 grain, 1250 FPS load that seems like a great compromise: Fast (1250 FPS), but not overwhelming; 158 grain; Gold Dot bullet. What more could one ask for?

Brian Williams
January 19, 2004, 01:58 PM
I have found that the PMC 158 gr JHP and JSP are some great preformers for me. Not to much flash and bang but using the ever SWAG dirt test the bullets opened up and did not go to deep.

grendelbane
January 19, 2004, 07:42 PM
I like the heavier bullets myself. Starting with the 145 gr Silvertip, and going up.

Are the stobor you are referring to found on the planet Haven, or somewhere else?

tbige
January 19, 2004, 08:35 PM
grendelbane: Could you compare the 145 to the 125 for me in specific terms of flash, noise and recoil?

grendelbane
January 19, 2004, 09:01 PM
OK, keep in mind this is totally subjective.

I feel like the 125 grain rounds kick more, and have more flash.

Makes sense to me.

The 125 grain loads kick almost as much, if not more, than the 145 gr silvertip loads.

Both are loud!!!!!! Hearing protection required.

I a currently experimenting with 147 grain bullets in 357 SIG, and, for what I do not know how to describe, but will call 357 SIG +P.

I will know more next week.

tbige
January 19, 2004, 10:12 PM
grendelbane: Many thanks...confirms what I've thought. Anxious to hear about results of your "project."

sgt127
January 20, 2004, 06:46 AM
I've always kinda figured ammo selection and motor oil had alot in common. If you get good ammo from a reliable company in a decent caliber, you will be doing pretty well. Then its up to you to put said bullet where it needs to go.

If you pick a good quality motor oil from one of the decent oil companies that is appropriate for your engine, you will be doing pretty well. Then its up to you to change that oil when it needs to be changed.

At best, every ammo out there is a compromise. The one that will make it through the windshield and hit the bad guy, may overpenetrate in the next shooting when the bad guy is only wearing a T-shirt. The one that has explosive mushrooming may not make it to the spine on a wierd angle shot.

For every pefect load out there, someone can show you that it failed miserably. Find a load that you can control, that is accurate in YOUR gun in YOUR hand, shoot a few things with it, wet newspapers, mud etc. Look at what it did and, if you feel comfortable with it, go for it.

At work, I have to carry a Glock 35 with the issue Corbon 135 gr. I'm OK with that. Off duty, I carry either a Kahr PM9 with non +P winchester 115 gr white box HP (because they run well, are cheap and I don't like +P out of that little gun) or a Ruger SP-101 with 125 gr Federals. As much horsepower as I can get out of a little package...(Actually I'm waiting on a S&W 696 as we speak. Gotta appreciate the big bullets too....)

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