.357 Magnum Too Much Recoil?


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BluedRevolver
September 3, 2011, 12:17 AM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?

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KAS1981
September 3, 2011, 12:25 AM
I've fired 158 grain .357 out of my 2" SP101. It had more wallop than .38 for sure, but it was far from unmanageable. I don't have any reservations about leaving those rounds in there for self defense.

Dunno about muzzle blast, never fired it in the dark. Didn't notice anything at all in broad daylight (obviously).

BluedRevolver
September 3, 2011, 12:25 AM
i have a 6" s&w 686 and am thinking about using it for home defense and maybe keep it in the truck, that's why I'm asking.

MedWheeler
September 3, 2011, 12:28 AM
Depends on your given defense environment. It's probably a little better for the street than for inside a small apartment at 3AM, but certainly not unmanageable. I've shot countless 125-grain SJHP Magnum-loads from four-inch revolvers, and had no recoil issues. However, none was fired indoors, in the dark, and sans hearing protection..

KAS1981
September 3, 2011, 12:29 AM
A 686 has quite a bit more heft to it than my Ruger. I'd say you'd be fine.

Smith357
September 3, 2011, 12:40 AM
Only you can determine what load is right in your hand, Something I can tolerate may be too much for you or vice versa. A lot of felt recoil can be adjusted with grip styles. I put a set of custom wood grips on my 4" 586 and shooting magnum loads was downright painful for me. I also tried Pachmyer Decelerators, while comfortable to shoot were just butt fugly, so I switched back to the stock target grips.

pikid89
September 3, 2011, 12:41 AM
125's are a blast to shoot out of my 4" 686...a 6" should be even easier

SlamFire1
September 3, 2011, 12:45 AM
125's are more controllable in your pistol than 158's.

The muzzle blasts are awesome. You will get big fire balls out the end of your muzzle.

125's should be an excellent self defense round.

Super Sneaky Steve
September 3, 2011, 12:52 AM
A 6" gun would be unweildly in a truck.

shiftyer1
September 3, 2011, 01:53 AM
While I haven't fired alot of .357's in the dark I have fired a few cylinder's full here and there. I can't remember ever noticing a big muzzle flash, I was always firing at a critter at the time so maybe that has something to do with it? Just didn't notice it maybe? I guess I have a project for tomorrow nite, guess i'll fire a couple rounds and pay attention.

ArchAngelCD
September 3, 2011, 02:28 AM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?
No.

bergmen
September 3, 2011, 02:48 AM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?

Yes. The muzzle blast alone keeps me from seriously considering a .357 as a regular carry revolver (even though I have one listed on my CCW license). This can permanently damage hearing and cause pain that could compromise a defensive situation (in my opinion only).

I once fired my .45 auto without effective ear protection. It would have been more comfortable to have two ice picks jammed in my ears. My ears rang for days after that and I can almost guarantee that I suffered permanent damage. At my age (62), I cannot afford that anymore.

Who here has fired a .357 revolver with no ear protection and can tell us that it was tolerable? I am interested if it is possible.

Dan

Mick_W
September 3, 2011, 03:07 AM
Have a 2.25" sp101 and I love shooting .357 out of it, I can get all 5 rounds off in about 2 seconds on group fairly well. It is one of my bedside guns. My 6" .44mag has more recoil on some hot loads and can shoot just fine with that as well.

for instance me firing my 629 with some decently hot loads. muzzle flash is fairly big. And yeah I know I am a fairly big boy.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z1/mikku00/th_100_0536.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/albums/z1/mikku00/?action=view&current=100_0536.mp4)

whalerman
September 3, 2011, 03:37 AM
I don't enjoy shooting .357 ammo out of much of anything. But you're not going to be doing that very often. Shoot the hot stuff enough to be familiar with it then have it ready for HD. Hopefully, that won't be a necessary use. If you need it it will be there. There are also some low kicking .357 loads out there to choose from.

357 Terms
September 3, 2011, 07:17 AM
I would never want to shoot a full power 357 in my hallway! I have a 45 for that , and even then I might damage my hearing. I have forgotten to wear hearing protection a couple of time at the range, my 357 plinking loads are med. reloads and they rang my ears pretty good. The only thing I can say in favor of using the 357 as home defense is that I hunt with a 6.5in Blackhawk and have never hurt my ears shooting it at game in the field!...dont know why or how thats possible?

1911Tuner
September 3, 2011, 07:23 AM
The short answer to the question is...probably. The .357 Magnum is a great cartridge, and I enjoy it a lot. Is it a good defense round? Absolutely. Is it a practical defense round? Not so much unless the gun is big and heavy enough to absorb its recoil.

Bearing in mind that the .357's original intent was as an outdoorsman's cartridge, and the gun that was wrapped around it was a big N-Frame. When fired in a medium-framed revolver like the K-Frame Smith...it approaches an unmanageable level unless equipped with large, hand-filling stocks. That works well, but the downside is that the gun becomes much less concealable. When it's chambered in a smaller revolver, these issues are even more pronounced. Even when fired with some of the excellent grip designs, it's right on the point of diminishing returns.

I have a personal yardstick that I use for determining the suitability of a gun/cartridge combination for concealed carry and personal defense. It assumes a near worst-case scenario...but since these things often have a way of going sideways...I feel that it's a better test than assuming an ideal situation.

If I can't keep 6 rounds in an 8-inch circle at 10 feet in 3 seconds due to losing my grip on the gun under recoil...I step down to a lower power level. It's been demonstrated that fast, multiple hits from less powerful rounds are more likely to stop the fight than one, even at twice the energy level...and because losing control of the gun in a frantic, high stress situation is more likely to produce errant shots...for me, the trade-off is worth it.

As much as I want to stop the immediate threat before me...I don't want bullets skipping off to parts unknown, and possibly taking out kindly old Aunt Betsy, as she pushes her shopping cart across the parking lot at the Piggly Wiggly a block away.

Kendal Black
September 3, 2011, 07:51 AM
It's loud, but with the heft and muzzle-forward balance of a 6" full sized revolver, the recoil is not bad at all if you hold on tight. Muzzle flash will depend on which ammo you use; manufacturers are in some cases advertising reduced flash. You may want to shop around and see if they are on the level about this.

It has been a while since I fooled with the numbers, but the way I remember it is this. From guns of equal weight, the amount of recoil scales to the weight of the bullet, times the velocity, so the amount of force involved in firing 125 grains at 1450 is like that of firing 250 grains at 725, and people in cowboy hats do that all the time.

If I'm misremembering about the recoil correlation I am sure someone will be along in a moment to correct me! (Oh--and for more precision you should probably add the weight of the powder charge to the weight of the bullet, since that conserved mass is coming out of the end too, but that's trivial and negligible in this instance.)

1911Tuner
September 3, 2011, 08:19 AM
Pretty well nailed it, Kendal...except for one small point.

Many people automatically equate recoil with muzzle velocity. While it's closely related, it doesn't really provide all the information.

Recoil is no more than backward acceleration of the gun, or...in the case of the autopistol...the slide. That comes as a response to the forward acceleration of the bullet and powder mass. The higher the rate of acceleration, the higher the recoil forces. This is due to the force requirement to achieve that rate of acceleration. Since even the slowest pistol-grade powders achieve peak pressure/force within a half-inch of bullet movement, so recoil/backward acceleration goes.

With a really quick powder like Bullseye or HP-38, peak pressure/force and acceleration can occur before the base of the bullet even clears the case. Depending on the barrel length and powder burn rate...bullet velocity can actually be higher at some point in the barrel before it exits.

ColtPythonElite
September 3, 2011, 09:09 AM
I have no problem with the .357 with hot 125 grainers as far as control goes. I shoot them by the thousand.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 09:26 AM
1911 and KB said it best, but to more or less echo that

No, felt recoil itself is really not a big deal for most folks out of an all steel 6" revolver (although it can wicked bad out of much smaller lighter guns)

Unless you have Godzilla hands & arms, muzzle flip will slow you tad on follow ups, split times between shots, though not drastically so, unless you are into speed competition, so whether or not that matters is very much is up to your own judgement. I would not really worry about it, but some do, slower is slower, but it will cost you accuracy if you don't slow it down and that can certainly matter.

but.. it's an outdoors round, too much NOISE and FLASH for indoors, especially so in low light

Fired indoors, at home, within confines of typical room size at home without ear protection you can do your hearing permanent damage, no kidding. Been there, done that. Some claim the adrenaline rush under stress will protect you from that, but I wouldn't bet on it. The damage is just not always all that short term apparent, but it does not go away when your ears finally stop "ringing". The temporary 'ringing' and partial deafness will last for minutes, not seconds, perhaps many minutes depending on environment.

Even if you choose to dismiss the ear damage potential, there is no denying the FLASH. Fired in very subdued light, low light, it's just awesome. You vision will be temporarily impaired, count on it.

This you can try at home or elsewhere, preferably outdoors at dark-thirty, when there is very barely enough light to sight by, or after dark only if guaranteed a safe backdrop. Throw a few rounds rapid fire, "see" for yourself. Have a friend safely observe off from the side whilst you do this (with a dark background view), and friend will probably be surprised that you still have eyebrows. (my friend was)
You just never see all that in broad daylight.

so.. I do not suggest 357 for in home, at home, for those reasons. I am ok with 38+P, and even that is more than loud and flashy enough, but it's as far as I choose to step down

PS
bergmen
"Who here has fired a .357 revolver with no ear protection and can tell us that it was tolerable?"
yeah, me.. ONCE.. outdoors thank gawd, in a small creek bank with real high steep sides, enclosed but for no ceiling... don't do that to yourself
ears rang for a couple of hours after
at about dark-thirty, yeah, it sure enough will impact your vision briefly, not good for fast follow up shots, no
357 Terms
"have never hurt my ears shooting it at game in the field!"
the difference between the great open outdoors and 'in-the-hallway' is so extreme, it's hard to believe, unless you have done it

Stainz
September 3, 2011, 09:44 AM
I prefer +P 158gr LHPSWC's for self defense - like the softish Remington R38S12 load for my snubbies (840+ fps from my 642) - and harder GA Arms versions for my longer revolvers (995 fps from my 6" 66). The lighter/faster .357M rounds are tougher on the firearm - even causing more topstrap erosion. While a 158gr LHPSWC is lod at 995 fps - it's a boom - no supersonic 'crack'.

Stainz

GooseGestapo
September 3, 2011, 09:46 AM
I'm a retired L.E. officer of 25yrs experience and a NRA "Highmaster" shooter. I've shot several million rounds (no exageration), of .38spl, and several thousand rd's of .357mag.

A lot of "casual" shooters will experience "issues" with the recoil and muzzle blast of the .357. Especially indoors or in dark alleys, the blast can be deafening and the muzzle flash blinding.

Winchester greatly helped this with the 145gr SilverTip load. I carried it for many years. It solved the problem with "flash" with a flash retardant in the powder. (The new Alliant PowerPro 300 makes this available to the reloader...). Also, the velocity of the 145 was slightly reduced from the "potential" velocity for recoil reduction.

Let me assure you however, that under the "excitement and duress" of an actual confrontation and firing in self-defense", you'll remember little if any recoil, and will only "casually" remember the muzzle flash and blast.
BTDT.....

You may even wish that you'd have had a .454Casull, after the fact......Even wished that I'd have had a 10ga instead of a 12ga, once.....

If I was still "on the job", I'd still prefer the .357mag, given a choice. I didn't have a choice, so I carried the issued Glock .40.
It was "ok", just no where near as accurate as the Mod 686 I reluctantly turned in.
I still carried the 155gr Winchester Silver Tip. Based on the deer I shot with it, it would do an equally good job as the .357mag.

ColtPythonElite
September 3, 2011, 09:53 AM
My hats off to a guy who has shot several million revolver rounds. Heck, it would take over 200 rounds per day every day for 25 years to add up to just 2 million. I wish I had the time and money to be that dedicated.

Quoheleth
September 3, 2011, 10:06 AM
The original question was, "Does the typical 125gr load have too much recoil/blast to be effective?"

My answer is, YES! 125gr loads, in my experience, have a much louder CRACK, more recoil and torque to the wrist than heavier stuff. In fact, I'll use the words obnoxious and uncomfortable to describe 125gr loads.

Just for grins, I've let others shoot my GP100 with 158gr and slip a couple of 125gr in. To a person, all have said they did not appeciate the joke. I told them it was a test (and it was) to see if others have the same experience as me - dislike for 125gr.

Keep mine on the heavier side, please. In fact, I have a 180gr load I've worked up that I really, really enjoy for a range load. Probably not the best HD load, though.

Q

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 10:17 AM
A lot of "casual" shooters burn through a million revolver rounds over time. I bet you may have CPE, if you count all rounds, unless you do only centerfire
a brick a week of 22 rimfire, 50 weeks a year is 25,000.. You do that for 40 years, that's a million, not even counting centerfire, a few thousand a year
(and everybody I know that owns a 357 has shot a few thousand 357s thru 'em over time)

I think I am some shy of that in over 40 (more like 50) years myself; a couple of million is impressive though

even us 'casual' shooters never remember recoil/blast when shooting at bambi afield
but not all of us 'casual' non-professional non-competitive folks have bulletproof eardrums, go figure :rolleyes:

GooseGestapo
September 3, 2011, 10:20 AM
Sometimes 5-600rds a day.
Ever shot a 1500 match x2 ? (300rds).
And then, a 48rd Service revolver match, Semi-auto service match, Semi-auto "Distinguished" match (60rds), Revolver "Distinguished" match (another 60rds), And "off-duty" revolver match, another 48rds.

Just a single days matches runs to 564rds. And then add the 120rds for "team" matches. Now we're up to 784rds. Doesn't count the shotgun or patrol carbine matches......

Now you know why I've worn out several presses, several PPC revolvers. and several semi-auto's. (Haven't been able to wear out my S&W Perf. Ctr auto's however...). I'm on my 3rd barrel on my S&W mod10 I won at the 1994 NRA "Nationals" (1st place "Master" Class, got bumped to "high-master".)

And, add in the 2-3x a week practicing, you understand why I got "burned" out on bullet casting and started using Precision Delta swaged bullets for the revolvers and Remington "bulk" jacketed bullets for the SA's.......

Since retiring, I've gone through only 110,000 primers, however. That's how I keep up with the "round" count. (last 6yrs). I "only" have 30,000 Small pistol primers on hand at the minute.

Now, you know the secret to "winning" National level matches and "setting" National records.
Just like my violin teacher and band director in highschool taught me.......
Practice, practice, practice.
Till you "get it right"......

jmr40
September 3, 2011, 10:35 AM
Buying a chronograph was eye opening for me. I made the decision to go 9mm over 357 mag after looking at actual velocities. From a 4" barrel most 125 gr 357 ammo is actually getting 1300 fps or so (sometimes less). The velocities printed are usually from longish 8" or so test barrels with no cylinder gap to contend with. Real world velocities are often quite a bit slower. I can get an honest 1200 fps with 124 gr 9mm ammo with a lot less muzzle blast and recoil. Not to mention 3X as many rounds.

I still own 357's and as 1911 Tuner pointed out it is a better choice in a long barreled outdoorsmans gun shooting heavier bullets.

Kendal Black
September 3, 2011, 10:39 AM
http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

The above link gives the noise levels of various popular guns and cartridges; the .357 Magnum is right on up there!

Bear in mind that (IIRC) decibels is not a linear scale but a log scale, so a small increase in dB represents a big increase in noise. +3 dB is double the sound energy, but the ear's response isn't linear to this, so +10 dB, more or less, is perceived as twice as loud. (I googled around for that last bit, http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHNV_enUS400US400&aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=decibels+twice+as+loud )

Anybody know which number you look at, +3 or +10, in estimating long term hearing damage? If all we are asking about is how much noise distraction from the shot, I would think it is the +10 (perceived) level.

What I mean is, the table of gunshot sounds lists the .357 as 8 dB louder than .38 Spl. and 4.5 dB louder than a 9mm. So you wouldn't perceive it as twice as loud as either, but what would your audiologist say?

valnar
September 3, 2011, 10:44 AM
From guns of equal weight, the amount of recoil scales to the weight of the bullet, times the velocity, so the amount of force involved in firing 125 grains at 1450 is like that of firing 250 grains at 725, and people in cowboy hats do that all the time.

Hmmm. That might be a good rule of thumb, but I think a 125gr .357 going 1450fps has a lot more kick than a 230gr .45ACP at 890fps from a similar weight gun. The math still works out the same. Sure, the bullet may not be quite double the weight, but the speed is more than half the .357's velocity.

The cowboy shooters is the empirical example. They can shoot their .45LC cowboy rounds one handed, but I'd like to see them do that multiple times with a .357

BullfrogKen
September 3, 2011, 10:50 AM
I've fired 9x23 in the shoothouses at the club without hearing protection before. It's uncomfortable. But I have hearing damage from my time in the Infantry already.

It didn't incapacitate me. It didn't make me deaf. It did make the next few days uncomfortable.


I've gone to the club's indoor range and did some studies on muzzle flash in low light conditions a few years back. The only time my vision was affected to the point I couldn't see for a few seconds was when I turned the lights completely off and it was pitch black. In light conditions like that, I really can't see the target and what's beyond it to safely make a shot without a flashlight anyway.

The muzzle flash from a magnum round is a lot less intense than a flashlight. If it's dark enough that your eyes need time to adjust to see again, you really ought to be using a light source to identify your target and what's beyond it anyway. If there's enough ambient light to identify your target and what's beyond it, your eyes won't suffer from the effects of the muzzle flash.

Stainz
September 3, 2011, 10:54 AM
Wow. I'm impressed. At $30/1k primers alone - that's $3,300 worth of primers alone.

Now, back to the original question - re the use of 125gr .357M in defending one's self. I always go back to it's original design requirement - to make it through a car door in return fire at fleeing felons in the thirties. It was proven to be a great hunting round then, too. Police often carried .32 S&W - .38 S&W, with the hottest, the .38 Spcl, few and far between. That changed - the .38 Special became king. Even the FBI carried the +P 158gr LHPSWC in their snub .357 M's (19's). It is a proven man-stopper - and won't pop your eardrums. It's my choice.

Disclaimer: The closest I've ever come to being to being a LE type was in the USN - as SP. I am a plinker - I have owned and shot a myriad of cf revolvers, from 7.62 Nagant to .454 Casull. As I age, I find solace in .38's - and wimpy .44's & .45's, and, gasp, even .22 LR's. I am no stranger to competition - and - not much good, either - my wife beats me at SPC!

But - I am also pragmatic enough to know that I am responsible for every inch of travel of any round I discharge anywhere - including in my home and car. For that reason alone, I would not shoot a 125gr .357 Magnum in defending myself unless at a charging beast in the woods - and then I'd rather have my .44 Magnum or .45 Colt. I vote no - but YMMV.

Stainz

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 10:57 AM
I am no expect on audiology, Kendall
(I do have bionic ears now, but they don't work when the batteries go dead)

This I believe - most hearing damage is not one-event, it's most often cumulative
absent hearing protection; you can eventually do yourself long term damage even with rimfire stuff
The LOUDER the load, the faster the cumulative damage happens. I myself would doubt that any one shot fired from any handgun would ever blow your ears out all at once.

bottom line
if the BG is trying to kill you, shoot him, don't hesitate
whether you hear about it later or not, you can at least read about it later

but.. do thyself no great harm on purpose
wear hearing protection every little chance you get

PS
My hearing loss is at least partly genetics, aided and abetted by industrial noise, etc., etc.
Shooting probably did not help me any, but aside from one stupid moment that most surely did not help me any, I am pretty serious about saving what little I have left
(and muzzle flash will not 'incapacitate' you, or 'blind' you.. but it will not help you with that 2nd or 3rd shot either)

LTR shooter
September 3, 2011, 11:02 AM
.357 Magnum Too Much Recoil?


The recoil of 125s out of a 6" 686 is very manageable. It's the muzzle blast that is excessive. I read where shooters have shot bunches of rounds of 125s at the range. In a defensive situation there are no earplugs used. I have a six inch 686 myself and rarely shoot the 125s.

PO2Hammer
September 3, 2011, 11:07 AM
Muzzle blast/noise bother me more than recoil, so I'm transitioning my collection from .357 to .44 spl.
I have pretty bad tinnitus in both ears (from the Navy and working in factories), so I no longer shoot magnum anything.
The .44 spl is very easy on the ears and there is no muzzle flash.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 11:16 AM
and that's all I am saying here guys
"easy on the ears and there is no muzzle flash."
(or I presume 'easier' and 'minimal' vs. none)

you don't have to go full hot/fast mag 357 to get effective stopping power
you can go to slower velocities, you can go to bigger/heavier/slower bullets and calibers
your choice, lots of choices

jrb_pro
September 3, 2011, 11:18 AM
Just keep an AK-47 or a 12 gauge for home defense (the former choice if over penetration is completely a non-issue). ;)

PO2Hammer
September 3, 2011, 11:25 AM
you don't have to go full hot/fast mag 357 to get effective stopping power
you can go to slower velocities, you can go to bigger/heavier/slower bullets and calibers
your choice, lots of choices
True. If I had to use a .357, I would pick a 158 JHP, a little less noisy, a lot less flashy, and I won't complain about deeper penetration.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 11:39 AM
I shoot k-frames, so I backed off hot 125s long ago, only occasionally shoot some 158s at range 'just because'
(my one near dark moment was with 125s, enough to convince me it was a little more 'help' than I really needed)
38+P is what I choose for me, but not saying everybody else should choose same

PS
I ain't going near the FAQ flashlight topic
some do, some don't, I don't, that's all

Kendal Black
September 3, 2011, 11:52 AM
Quote:
From guns of equal weight, the amount of recoil scales to the weight of the bullet, times the velocity, so the amount of force involved in firing 125 grains at 1450 is like that of firing 250 grains at 725, and people in cowboy hats do that all the time.
Hmmm. That might be a good rule of thumb, but I think a 125gr .357 going 1450fps has a lot more kick than a 230gr .45ACP at 890fps from a similar weight gun. The math still works out the same. Sure, the bullet may not be quite double the weight, but the speed is more than half the .357's velocity.

The cowboy shooters is the empirical example. They can shoot their .45LC cowboy rounds one handed, but I'd like to see them do that multiple times with a .357

The perception is the reality, sometimes. The full tilt .357 is such a rambunctious critter when you touch it off that people get an exaggerated idea of what it is and does. All that noise! All that flash! Sometimes the brass sticks in the chamber, even--a frequent complaint. So it must be a real doozie, though the record tells us it is, in fact, a pretty good defense cartridge and sorta marginal for deer (where legal).

What I am driving at is that if people think they have a tiger by the tail they may well think they are being kicked harder than they are. Similarly with the noise factor. If what I posted above is not far in error, the .357 Mag should be perceived as less than half again as noisy as a 9mmP. Will your perception change if you are expecting a howitzer sound effect?

valnar
September 3, 2011, 12:00 PM
Kendal, Myself and others on this forum have fired thousands of .357Mag & 45.ACP or .45LC rounds in our lifetime. I've never seen anyone argue their recoil is similar regardless of noise or flash. I don't doubt there is a math formula where you can plug in weight & speed and come up with recoil, but I don't think it is as linear as you believe.

sixgunner455
September 3, 2011, 12:24 PM
I wouldn't use the 125 gr .357 as a defense load. In fact, I wouldn't use it at all. I use 125 gr .38 Specials and 158 gr .38 Specials as a street and home defense loads. I use 158 and 180 gr .357 loads as large animal defense loads when hiking, camping, or hunting. My .357 is my "go-to" when outdoors. When I am back at home, though, I swap out the magnum HC loads for .38 Special hollowpoints.

shockwave
September 3, 2011, 12:38 PM
Here's my answer to the OP's question: I was reading this thread, and remembered that my 686+ was loaded with .38+Ps. I got up, and swapped them out for .357 SWHPs.

Sure, might be a bit disorienting in the dark, might damage my hearing, but better that than enduring 14 hours of a home-invasion rape and torture-fest. For HD, there's no reason to go small. My primary is the Mossberg 500 but if necessary I'll grab the S&W.

The last time I had a serious bump-in-the-night situation, I had choices - could have gone for the shotgun, a .38spl or a 9mm. Instinctively, under stress, I went straight for the 686. There's just something about that gun that feels right.

Kendal Black
September 3, 2011, 12:42 PM
Kendal, Myself and others on this forum have fired thousands of .357Mag & 45.ACP or .45LC rounds in our lifetime. I've never seen anyone argue their recoil is similar regardless of noise or flash. I don't doubt there is a math formula where you can plug in weight & speed and come up with recoil, but I don't think it is as linear as you believe.

If I'm mistaken, it seems a pretty widespread mistake. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recoil
http://www.handloads.com/calc/recoil.asp
http://www.chuckhawks.com/handgun_recoil_table.htm

valnar
September 3, 2011, 01:32 PM
I humbly stand corrected. So it must be other external factors like powder charge, muzzle blast (as you say) and perhaps the bore axis of the revolver.

Kendal Black
September 3, 2011, 01:48 PM
Valnar, I'll go along with all that! The 1911's bore axis is lower, cowboy guns have those lovely plow handle grips, and so on. So, yeah, there are more factors at work here.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 01:51 PM
I agree again with Kendal

I have always myself believed that perceived recoil is very different than felt recoil
Magnums out of air weight snubbies, that is real deal felt recoil, no doubt about it
but "perception is everything", as they say

Humans are supposed to react to LOUD sudden noises and they do, survival instinct. 357 felt recoil out of a full size full weight gun is just not all that stout.

But there is a NOISE threshold that cannot be denied, you can only train yourself through it; that is the flinch factor, easily observed with a snap cap mixed with 5 live in a cylinder. It's the noise that will move your hand when the noise isn't even there, if/when you don't have you mental focus right.

Owen Sparks
September 3, 2011, 03:52 PM
The thing that bothers me about the .357 is not the recoil but the NOISE!

sw282
September 3, 2011, 06:44 PM
Want to see a REAL muzzle blast. Find some old SUPER VEL ammo in 357 mag. The 110grs are most common. They will light the sky up !!!

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
September 3, 2011, 07:01 PM
I've read all this hype about the recoil from the mighty 357 mag. I think it is
a bunch of hooey and I have never shot one. I just bought one and I am
almost 70 and I bought the baddest factory I could find. 125 gr Buffalo Bore
and their 180 grain. Both their heavest loads, When I do shoot this in about
2 weeks I will report back form experence. OH, I know you don't think I know
what I am talking about. Well we will see. The revolver is a old Ruger Service
Six in 2.75 barrel. This ought to be fun. But before you think I am nuts, let me
tell you I have shot thousands of rounds thru my old Ruger Blackhawk with
short 4 3/4 barrel of 300 gr. bullets at 1350 fps. and lots of 44 special in a
light 19 oz. Bulldog 200 gr. bullets at 1250 fps. So what's so bad about a
little bitty 125 gr bullet at say 1300fps . You talk about blast and noise. You
have seen nothing yet until you touch off 29 grs H-110 in a 4 3/4 barrel.
Well we shall see.

Warp
September 3, 2011, 10:20 PM
A lot of "casual" shooters burn through a million revolver rounds over time. I bet you may have CPE, if you count all rounds, unless you do only centerfire
a brick a week of 22 rimfire, 50 weeks a year is 25,000.. You do that for 40 years, that's a million, not even counting centerfire, a few thousand a year


Somebody who shoots 500+ rounds a week every week for 40 years is not a "casual" shooter. That is a lot of rounds.

Some day I hope to be able to shoot in my backyard after reloading in my basement. Some day...

Super Sneaky Steve
September 4, 2011, 02:32 PM
You guys are fussing over problems that are easily overcome with this type of ammo here.
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=107

BB makes a few kinds of ammo like this for your .357 and they address the sound, flash and recoil.

The 125 grain JHP .357 magnum is the best man stopper. Others come close but there's only one best and this is it. With this new ammo you guys don't have anything to complain about anymore.

Jaymo
September 4, 2011, 02:42 PM
I have shot a .357 full house 125 grain HP in a bedroom once.
It's not something you want to do. It's not something I'd ever repeat.
I was deaf for about a half hour after, and had ringing in the ears for a couple of days after.
The muzzle blast from a hot .357 is much worse than from a .38, .44 special, or .45 acp.
My .357s don't get used for HD anymore. My .44 special is better than a .38 and has much less painful/damaging blast than a .357.
I wouldn't use 7.62x25 for HD for the same reasons. Loud, high pitched crack when it goes off.
Sound is much different in a house than outside. Outside the sound waves travel and dissapate. Indoors, they echo off walls.
I have a .45 caliber precharged pneumatic rifle that sounds like a car tire blowing out when it's fired or dry fired indoors.
Outdoors, it just makes a "sprong" sound that isn't very loud at all.

The Lone Haranguer
September 4, 2011, 06:34 PM
It is excessive in a small-frame revolver, but OK in a revolver with some weight to it, e.g., the Ruger GP100 or S&W 686. Heavy use of it in the medium-frame S&Ws has been known to crack barrel forcing cones.

DenaliPark
September 4, 2011, 10:47 PM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?
Yeah, I do! Further, it's not going to be running along at 1400 fps out of your six inch .357, likely it will be clipping along at 1500 +... In my estimation you're better off with a +P 158 gr .38 spl, a very proven performer that isn't supersonic, and it won't deafen, or blind you nearly as dramatically as will a .357 magnum loading in a closed environment...

kludge
September 4, 2011, 11:55 PM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil

no, not even out of my SP101

and muzzle blast/flash

inside, yes

to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?

.38 SPL+P out of a 6" will do fine though. I prefer 158gr loads, or 140gr XTP. Also I would trust .38 SPL standard pressure loads from Buffalo Bore.

.357 135gr Gold Dot "Short Barrel" is good too, it's not full tilt ammo.

(FWIW Remington 125gr SJHP runs 1425fps out of my 4" guns)

Brett Byers AKA Slow
September 5, 2011, 12:13 AM
In a 6" weapon no problem at all...less weight, shorter barrel = more recoil and blast volume but manageble recoil still IMHO

Owen Sparks
September 5, 2011, 12:53 AM
Jeff Cooper said that the .357 Magnum is not really itself when the barrel is shorter than 6 inches. To really milk it for all it is worth find a lever action in .357 with a 20" barrel.

Black Butte
September 5, 2011, 01:12 AM
Not enough recoil. Go with a .44.

Warp
September 5, 2011, 01:17 AM
Kinda hard to carry a rifle most places though

napjerk
September 5, 2011, 02:01 AM
Thousands of cops used them for decades.

armsmaster270
September 5, 2011, 02:13 AM
I like 145 gr Silvertips

FoghornLeghorn
September 5, 2011, 02:27 AM
the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains)

I think that's way overkill for a self-defense load, unless you're talking about defending yourself from a bear.

Man is a thin skinned creature and a hollow point only needs about 1000 fps to open up. A 38 +P round should be fine.

rich642z
September 5, 2011, 02:57 AM
Somebodies been drinking scared of recoil koolaid.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
September 5, 2011, 06:04 AM
Well, I finally shot my first 357 Sunday. I have a Ruger Police Six with a
2.75 barrel. Factory grips. I shot the 125 gr heavy Buffalo Bore. This should
be going around 1450 from my barrel. I'm almost 70. I had my 44 Bulldog along
also. Now I can see what all this hype is first hand. I thought the 357 was
medium on recoil. It was a little loud, but I have shot a lot louder. Shot my
Bulldog also and it was louder and sure had more recoil. Trouble with a lot of
people now days, they don't know how to shoot a handgun that recoils. I
remember about 45 years ago a fellow wanted to shoot my Ruger 45 Colt with
my handloads. I began to tell him how to hold it, and he told me right off that
he was used to shooting 357 magnums and he knew all about how to shoot.
Well I just let him have at it. Well when the 300 grain bullet started moving
at 1350 fps down that short 4 inch barrel, it came right back at him and hit
him right smack between the eyes. Seemed he didn't know about shootin big
guns as he thought. Anyway if you know how to hold them, they don't kick
and will not hurt you. Old Elmer Keith taught me many years ago. You all have fun now. Phil

1911Tuner
September 5, 2011, 07:29 AM
Somebodies been drinking scared of recoil koolaid.

I don't think it's an issue with being afraid of recoil. More a question of being able to adequately control the gun for followup shots, which is more important in a defensive revolver than one used to hunt with. The level of control with a given gun/load combination will, or course, vary with the individual.

TonyT
September 5, 2011, 08:46 AM
I am much more concerned with the noise from a supersonic 357 Mag than the recoil - you will be temporarilly (at least) deafened after shooting one in close quarters without hearing protection. I prefer the subsonic 45 ACP.

teumessian_fox
September 5, 2011, 03:22 PM
Somebodies been drinking scared of recoil koolaid.

What an absurd post. The greater the recoil the greater the time to get back on target. That's the name the game.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
September 5, 2011, 03:43 PM
That's right. Gives you more time to think about the second shot. Remember
the second mouse gets the cheese.

wlewisiii
September 5, 2011, 03:46 PM
Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?
No, though I prefer 158 gr. SJHP or LSWCHP.

snakyjake
September 5, 2011, 06:03 PM
I'm not sure how much I trust specialized round to reduce recoil and flash. Can't help to think what I have to give up in order to get that.

snakyjake
September 5, 2011, 06:14 PM
When I considered the different ammo selectons (38+, 357), I considered some scenarios that I think a 38+ was tactically better...for me.

I asked myself these tactical questions:
What if I have to shoot with my off-hand? What if I need to shoot around a corner? What if I can't get the proper grip and stance? What if I was inured?

As the research shows, placement and number of bullet holes matter. As long as the ammo meets FBI requirements, I consider the tactical advantages to meet those goals.

Another tactical advantage I give myself is where I conceal my gun. It's hard to beat a coat pocket. Can't do that with a big heavy gun.

Jake

22-rimfire
September 6, 2011, 09:36 AM
Based on my outdoor nightime plinking with a 357 mag, I'd say, it has too much flash and recoil for a practical home or self defense caliber.

As a new shooter, I felt it also had too much recoil to be a pleasant round to shoot often. But with practice and experience, the recoil is managable.

In terms of recoil in geneal, if you think the 357 has high recoil, then shoot 44 and 41 mags (or larger) a while and then go back to the 357 mag. That is what I did and shooting the 357 became very managable.

Jaymo
September 6, 2011, 09:30 PM
Funny thing, my Taurus 44 Mag 4" and my Ruger Redhawk .44 mag 7.5" kick less than my Taurus 65 and Ruger Speed Six .357s did.
Of course, they weigh more. Then again, they're shooting a more powerful cartridge.

kwhi43 loads his .44 specials up to .44 mag pressures. His Bulldog is definitely going to kick more than his .357. He uses real man loads in that Charter.
Hot loads from a Charter Bulldog .44 are fiesty. The gun only weighs 21 ounces.
I prefer rubber grips and .44 special +p loads in my Charter. I'm a big sissy.
I have the utmost respect for kwhi43 being able to shoot loads that hot in his Charter.
Mine kicks enough with standard pressure to make me dislike the wood grips.

chrt396
September 26, 2011, 03:10 PM
125's are more controllable in your pistol than 158's.

The muzzle blasts are awesome. You will get big fire balls out the end of your muzzle.

125's should be an excellent self defense round.
That's the fun! Using some 2400 powder..and shock and awe begins at the range. I love those 12 inch fire blasts coming out of the muzzle. Even better on a 41 magnum!

Waywatcher
September 26, 2011, 03:24 PM
A year ago, my answer was yes, and I loaded .38+P

Then I started doing weights, pull-ups, push-ups, etc.

The answer for me now is definitely, "No, not too much recoil." At defense ranges, I can get the gun back on target as fast as I can roll the trigger. My last try at the range was 6 rounds Rem 125 SJHP .357 at an IPSC target at about 6 yards. Starting from low ready, all six were As and the total time was about 3 seconds--about 0.50 second splits. (I was timed)

Tony_the_tiger
September 26, 2011, 11:20 PM
.357 recoil is negligible in a medium to large frame revolver (686, gp100).

.357 noise is epic. .357 flash depends on brand and powder.

Would I use it for self defense?

Are you feeling lucky :evil:?

lobo9er
September 26, 2011, 11:46 PM
Who here has fired a .357 revolver with no ear protection and can tell us that it was tolerable? I am interested if it is possible.



the 1st time it was bad but it got a lot easier everytime after ;)

I gotta ask what self defense round is there that wouldnt be mind jarring loud in a house, in the dark, after being awake for only moments? A 22lr out of a pistol with a short barrel is pretty blarring in a inclosed area.

bsms
September 27, 2011, 01:00 AM
Goodness! My home defense gun is a Ruger Alaskan...2.5" barrel 44 mag. Y'all need to buy some of them, and go shoot 18-24 rounds off before switching to a nice, mild .357 S&W Model 60.

You WON'T complain about the recoil of the .357!

Tony_the_tiger
September 27, 2011, 01:17 AM
You'll likely have permanent hearing loss, but you'll be alive.

TexasBill
September 27, 2011, 05:08 AM
In my young and stupid days, I spent a whole afternoon at the range shooting .357 Magums from an S&W Highway Patrolman without hearing protection. A few days later, my hearing was mostly restored but even though I seldom fired even a single round without protection afterwards, I still have tinnitus.

Cut to the chase: your ears don't care about the stress or excitement of the situation; they react to the physical sound and a hot load in an enclosed space, like a room in a house, is going to overload them. You may not notice it immediately, but the damage will have been done.

Your 6-inch 686 should be fine with Magnum ammo and the recoil shouldn't be too bad. I always preferred the N-frame Smith & Wesson reolvers but I had more than a few K-frames. I never found the .357 Magnum to be truly objectionable until they started making lightweight, small-framed revolvers in the caliber. Just because materials technology has advanced to the point that they can make a 13 oz. revolver the will handle a Magnum round doesn't mean it's a good idea. A Model 60 or an SP101 is the lightest I will go and even those are pretty snappy. And it's definitely more than I want for an inside-the-house round. A .38 Special +P or even a good .38 Special will do what I need at the ranges available in my home.

Tony_the_tiger
September 27, 2011, 07:34 PM
IMHO, this is where.44 special shines. Greater performance than a .38 special but with comparable noise.

Drail
September 27, 2011, 08:12 PM
If .357 recoil is too much for you then your gun is way too light or you need to get to the gym.

Deputy25
September 27, 2011, 10:05 PM
I had to use a .357 loaded with Remington 125 JHP to defend myself indoors in 1988. My hearing never recovered, but I'm 23 years older than I would have been without that .357.

dashootist
September 28, 2011, 01:19 AM
I hated 357 when I had my 4" 686 because of recoil was too much for me to control. I now shoot a Taurus 608, which is a ported 6" N-frame size with 8 shot, and I love to shoot 357 now. The big heavy frame soaks up the recoil, and I can make multiple shoots very quickly. My advice is to get a big N frame type revolver for 357. That's what they were designed for originally. The first S&W 357 was a N frame. I shoot it so much now that I've gotta quite good at it. I'm not trying to brag; just saying if I still have my 686, I would not be shooting much and still have poor skill.

golden
September 28, 2011, 03:23 AM
BLUED,

I have used both the 110 grain and 125 grain JHP rounds in my revolvers. I prefer the 110 grain rounds.

The recoil, flash, noise and muzzle blast are reduced. The tradeoff if that the 110 grain load is SLOWER than the 125 grain round which is a higher pressure load.

I was issued both rounds and could choose to carry either. At home, I preferred the 110 grain load. The recoil is about the same as a .38 Special +p load and the flash is much smaller.
When I qualified with the 125 grain load, the range officer could clearly see a fireball when I fired on a bright, August day in Florida! I really noticed the added recoil in my 681.

Jim

788Ham
September 28, 2011, 01:57 PM
I just shot my new SP 101 .357 yesterday, and some .38 Spl. +P's, 3" barrel. I was amazed at how the "heavy feel" of the barrel made it manageable to shoot with .357 158 gr. and the 158 gr +P's weren't bad at all. It had a snap to it alright, but as far as being uncontrollable, not in the least. I'm glad I got this 101, now I can carry again, won't have to carry the 6" Snake anymore.

Warp
September 28, 2011, 04:24 PM
If .357 recoil is too much for you then your gun is way too light or you need to get to the gym.

I don't think going to the gym will make much of a difference.

rich642z
September 28, 2011, 11:39 PM
What recoil? We don't have no stinkin recoil. Only recoil I have is 2 hours after having some 15 dozen bowels of hot sauce laced mexican chilli with grilled onions in it.































other wise,I have very hardly any recoil with my hot loads from my Ruger GP's or any other Ruger revolver in .357 and barrel lengths of 2.25,3 and 4.2 inch barrels.

Warners
September 29, 2011, 11:48 AM
I have a 6" 686 that I took with me as a side arm while hog hunting this past July in Texas. I was shooting the Buffalo Bore rounds through it, so it doesn't get much stouter than that. I found it to have LESS recoil that my 1911 .45 ACP with average loads. Not bad at all.

Having said that, I had to use it to dispatch a hog that my son shot and injured, and I wasn't wearing hearing protection (out in the woods....I have since bought electronic muffs), and man was that thing LOUD! I shot all 6 rounds and my ears were ringing the rest of the day....had a slight headache and just felt out of sorts for a while. It was MUCH louder than when I shot the 30-30 or 30-.06 rifles; I'm pretty sure that had a lot to do with how far away from my ears the rifles were, but man was that .357 LOUD!


Warner

TonyT
September 29, 2011, 08:27 PM
It's the muzzle blast not the recoil which has caused me to get away from the 357 magnum for a carry piece. I prfer either a 9mm with 147 gr. PD loads or a 45 ACP.

bukijin
September 30, 2011, 11:41 AM
Depends if you are accurate with it. I am MUCH more accurate with .38+P than .357 so that what I load in my home defense revolver (SW 627).

rich642z
September 30, 2011, 03:21 PM
What is this about muzzle farts??????

Rexster
October 1, 2011, 03:07 PM
The short answer, for me, is that a 6" L-frame, with just the right grips/ stocks in place, loaded with .357 Magnum premium 125-grain defensive ammo, would be a fine weapon, with quite tolerable, controllable recoil, irrelevant flash, and an exhilarating blast. Even the lighter Model 19 or 66 would still be fine. Indeed, my latest duty sixguns, as late as 1997, were a 19 and 66. (I believe in spare weapons.) I carried larger-framee sixguns before the 19 and 66, including a GP100 I used to fire a decisive defensive shot. I don't know if my incident figured into anyone's stats on stopping power, but it sure made an impression on me. (It was not a surprise; I had already read of the stats and studies, but local reputation was also important. The 125-grain .357 was already King of the Street at that time.)

Keep in mind that the flash and blast are worse on the bad guy's end! A flash-bang that punches a hole; what's not to like, from a defender's viewpoint? That being said, I may choose something else for a dedicated indoor weapon to be used in tight spaces; this is where I like .45 handguns.

Recoil is complicated; much depends on the fit of the weapon. The original, pre-Hogue
GP100 factory grip is a somewhat better equation for my hands than any K or L grip I have yet found. This is more for comfort during sustained fire; I would have no problems using an S&W K or L for the few shots involved in a defensive scenario, though my Model 19 is kept loaded with 145-grain Silvertips these days. (125s are still my load of choice in the heavier GP100, which is the size-weight equivalent of the S&W L that is the topic at hand.)

Lastly, be wary of the "truck gun" concept, if it means leaving the weapon inside the vehicle. Burglaries of vehicles are the LEADING reportable crime in my area, which is typical of all urbanized areas of the USA. The harvest of firearms taken from vehicles is huge around here during such times as the rodeo, when country folks leave their guns in their trucks at hotels. Hidden is not enough, and NO place is safe. Please, do more than just hide the guns, and keep in mind that the large screwdrivers and small bolt cutters typically carried by car burglars can make short work of cheap security measures. I am not parroting anything; I wear a big-city PD badge. I not only respond to the scenes, but see the cautionary notices on the computer screen, of weapons stolen from vehicles, or along with the vehicles, from throughout the area. Sorry for drifting from the subject, but I feel strongly about this.

wperez
October 1, 2011, 11:23 PM
The 357 with hot loads has a BIG muzzle flash. Try the new Hornady 125 grainers Critical Defense they are supposed to have less flash

wperez
October 1, 2011, 11:28 PM
Rexster is 100% right, he hit the nail right on the head

wperez
October 1, 2011, 11:47 PM
bsms if you are going to use a 2" .44 magnum indoors for self defense better have handy some ear muffs and practice to put them on with one hand while you reach for the gun in question. Hearing damage is easy to get and there is no cure for it. Hearing aids help but there is no comparison to your God given hearing ability, plus the tinnitus will be a constant tormentor day and night

788Ham
October 2, 2011, 01:10 AM
AMEN to that Mr. Perez!

soonerboomer
October 2, 2011, 05:38 AM
.357 Mags are no prob! I really don't know why so many say they bite too hard. I'd rather shoot full powered .357 Mag loads in my Ruger SP101 than .38+P loads in my S&W 642.

Warp
October 2, 2011, 12:16 PM
.38+P in a 642 doesn't even have mentionable recoil, IMO, until you get into Buffalo Bore or equivalent loads.

stevekozak
October 2, 2011, 01:33 PM
I don't have anywhere near the experience that Rexster seems to, but I agree with everything he says in his post above. Recoil is a complicated thing with many variables. Those that say .357 have little recoil are wrong. It has substantial recoil. Depending on the gun it is shot in and grips used on said gun it may be more or less comfortable. A person's strengh has nothing to do with the recoil that is present. Wheither a person finds the recoild managable, or not is an entirely different variable. I find full power .357 loads in my 4 inch 66 to be managable, but not pleasant. I can hit what I aim at with it, but don't like to shoot them very often, prefering to primarily practice with .38s. If that makes me a wussy, then give me a a teeshirt with a big W on it and I will wear it proudly!! :)

bangaway
October 2, 2011, 06:28 PM
The .357 with 125 jhp is one of the best one shot man stoppers out there. It makes a big exit hole from one's back. Key word is exit. You are responsible for all you hit with your gun. Your kid or mine in the next apt. or two blocks away. Choose your ammo you live with it. Is 21 yards or less where most, 90%, shootings are done? I use upside down 148 gr. hollow base wc in .357 at 850 fps. Kills 140 pound goats one shot only one hole. Have fun and bangaway.

Warp
October 2, 2011, 06:36 PM
Missed shots are far, FAR more of a liability than over penetration on one that hits. IMO the issue of over penetration is blown out of proportion considering the average hit ratio is 18-20%

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