What bullet weight for 357 mag self defense loads?


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Balrog
December 11, 2012, 11:13 PM
In a 4" barrel revolver, whats best for killing bad guys, 125 or 158g?

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beeenbag
December 11, 2012, 11:17 PM
125 is probably most recommended for defense. In the woods bumming around, I'll take the 158s.

Gryffydd
December 12, 2012, 12:42 AM
This should probably be phrased as "what's best for stopping a threat". The goal is not to kill, though that may or may not be a side effect of the topping.

The answer though is... It's hard to say. Lots of other variables and the difference is probably miniscule.

481
December 12, 2012, 01:36 AM
Even though I am a "heavy-for-caliber" sort of guy, the Federal .357 125 gr JHP @ 1450fps is what I'd carry for serious social purposes.

9mmepiphany
December 12, 2012, 03:35 AM
The .357 Magnum round with the best street record for stopping power is the 125gr JHP. Besides the bullet leaving the barrel at an impressive clip, it also make a very impressive crack on the tail of the fireball and flame shooting out the barrel.

I personally prefer the Speer 140gr JHP, because it is more accurate out of my Python and has a bit less flash out of my 2.5" M-66

scotjute
December 12, 2012, 04:15 PM
I prefer the 158 grn bullets. Slower velocity, but should provide better penetration. In addition they are easier to shoot and seem to be more accurate to the way I aim.

BigJimP
December 12, 2012, 06:25 PM
158 gr is my choice...in defensive ammo ...and I use Federal Hydra Shok JHP in 158grain....when I carry a revolver.

and I reload and practice with a 158 gr from Montana Gold ...a JSP bullet. Its a good bullet as well...and I get about 1130 fps....out of all of my 4" revolvers in .357 mag.......either in a model 19, 66 or 27 ....and up around 1150 fps out of a 686 or model 27 in 6" ....

19-3Ben
December 12, 2012, 07:50 PM
I am a fan of Speer's 158gr. gold dot. I have some loaded by DT, and some from Speer.
They are very accurate for me out of both my Security Six, and my Rossi M92.

7.62 Nato
December 12, 2012, 07:58 PM
I prefer the 158 gr SJHP. If I thought I needed more penetration it would be the 158 gr. JSP.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
December 12, 2012, 08:04 PM
158g LSWCHP

2zulu1
December 12, 2012, 08:07 PM
Lots of excellent ammunition choices for the mag and the 357 doesn't need current state of art bullet designs to be effective. All one needs to do is choose desired penetration depths for their needs.

Here's a link to LE ATK bare gel data comparing 125/158gr Gold Dots. Sectional density of the 357/158gr correlates to the 10mm/200 gr while the 357/140 compares to 40/180 and 45/230.

http://le.atk.com/ammunition/speer/handgun/compare.aspx?compare=53920%2C53960

Thompsoncustom
December 12, 2012, 09:06 PM
I would say 125gr for people. Underwood's Gold dots are moving at 1600fps and 711lbs which should do the job.

1 old 0311-1
December 12, 2012, 09:20 PM
The old FBI load is STILL tops: 158g LSWCHP

oldbear
December 12, 2012, 09:25 PM
158Gr. LSWC. If you reload or have someone who will reload for you try 14.5Gr's of 2400 with a CCI primer.

9mmepiphany
December 12, 2012, 09:59 PM
158g LSWCHP
You're shooting a non-gaschecked lead bullet in a .357Magnum :eek:

The old FBI load is STILL tops: 158g LSWCHP
There is no FBI Load of the .357 Magnum using a LSWCHP (lead semi-wadcutter hollow point). The original FBI loading they used in the 30s used a 158gr SWC moving at 1500fps, because they believed they needed to be able to stop cars by cracking their engine blocks...this wasn't a hollow point bullet

I think you guys are referring to the FBI .38Spl load...also known as the Chicago Load

7.62 Nato
December 12, 2012, 10:10 PM
"I think you guys are referring to the FBI .38Spl load."

Is there a "magnum" version of this ?

9mmepiphany
December 12, 2012, 11:43 PM
Nope, the FBI never had a .357 Magnum loading issued...even in the 30s, they were personally owned

Pushing soft lead at magnum velocities isn't usually a good idea if you are planning to shoot much

ArchAngelCD
December 13, 2012, 02:26 AM
I like the Winchester 145gr Silvertip ammo but if I had to choose between the 125gr and 158gr .357 Magnum it would be the 158gr load.

USSR
December 13, 2012, 09:10 AM
You're shooting a non-gaschecked lead bullet in a .357Magnum:eek:


Yep, do so all the time. Gas checks are totally unnecessary for the .357 Magnum when you are using the right alloy.

Don

brnmw
December 13, 2012, 09:42 AM
I use to carry the Black Hills .357 Magnum
125 Gr. Jacketed Hollow Point
Velocity 1500 FPS
Energy 625 Ft. Lbs.

When I carried .357 Mag. years ago.

RaceM
December 13, 2012, 12:24 PM
158gr JHP

BBQLS1
December 13, 2012, 12:41 PM
158gr JHPs are my choice.

Hondo 60
December 13, 2012, 12:50 PM
Weight means extremely little!
What bullet weight are you most proficient with?

Even a tiny 22lr is deadly when you hit the brain, heart or central nervous system.
So the real question is your accuracy.

My gun loves 125 gr HPs.
I am most proficient with my own reloads using an HSM 125 gr plated hp.
So that's what I carry.

(don't get started with the reloads/factory carry ammo, that's quite a few whole other threads)

9mmepiphany
December 13, 2012, 02:34 PM
Yep, do so all the time. Gas checks are totally unnecessary for the .357 Magnum when you are using the right alloy.

Don
With an alloy driven at that velocity, are you getting reliable expansion?
Are you encountering shoot-through?

Bikewer
December 13, 2012, 03:26 PM
When my old department decided to actually issue the .357 (everyone carried one anyway...) the 125 grain loads were issued as well. They had done a lot of research on police shootings and decided they were the most effective....
Don't recall the details, however.

I was around when the "Super Vel" rounds and components became available, and carried 110 grain reloads for some time... A nasty little slug.

Rexster
December 13, 2012, 03:49 PM
I don't think the term "killing bad guys" is very high road!

Identical would tracks, assuming adequate penetration to reach the important bits, would probably be about equally lethal, regardless of bullet weight.

The legendary reputation of the 125-grain JHP, to make bad guys stop doing bad things,
seems well-earned. The sound and fury may have something to do with it; a psychological "stop." It may be that only the really serious shooters, who train seriously, have tended to carry this load, and are therefore placing their shots better. Perhaps the higher velocity imparts some degree of "shock" to the nervous system of the living target.

I have seen the entrance would of a Federal 125-grain JHP, which did cause a rather dramatic stop, resulting in a fatality, and it seemed bigger than bullet diameter, and it did NOT close. Every handgun entrance would I have seen in nearly 29 years of big-city policin' has mostly closed behind the bullet, except for this one. I have never seen what I knew to be an entrance wound caused by a 158-grain .357 bullet.

The 125-grain JHP is still my antipersonnel load of choice, in my heavy GP100 revolvers. I use Wnchester 145-grain Silvertips or Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel in my snubbies and lighter revolvers. If I needed to refresh my ammo supply, however, and only 158-grain Gold Dots were available, I would use it and not worry. (This seems to be easiest to find, locally.)

PBR Streetgang
December 13, 2012, 04:18 PM
Take a look at the Buffalo Bore 180gr .357 round,,,,,1300fps out of a j-frame snubbie....

Godsgunman
December 13, 2012, 04:23 PM
I'm still in the "testing stage" for my .357 carry load. Right now I am testing WW .38spl+P 158gr SJHP and Fiocchi 148gr SJHP .357. I tested them using 2 medium sized pumpkins and 3 milk jugs of water to hopefully capture them (I know not extremely scientific, but fun :) ). Recovered the .38 in the 1st jug but the .357 went clean through everything and wasn't recovered. The damage to the pumpkins was impressive though. So I guess I don't have a solid choice yet but I do like the idea of a heavier bullet. I have heard the 125gr loadings can be somewhat harsh on the gun is that true or false?

PBR Streetgang
December 13, 2012, 04:27 PM
My hook at S&W says the lighter magnum rounds should not be shot thru the scandium guns on a regular basis.

19-3Ben
December 13, 2012, 05:41 PM
Take a look at the Buffalo Bore 180gr .357 round,,,,,1300fps out of a j-frame snubbie....

For self defense, you are advocating a hard cast bullet designed for maximum penetration and zero expansion?

Ric
December 13, 2012, 05:46 PM
125 for defense
158 for hunting

Bubba613
December 13, 2012, 07:07 PM
It's the 125gr SJHP. Both Winchester and Remington still load it. The round killed many K-frames in its time.

My own choice is the Winchester Silvertip 145gr for the 6-shot k frame. Very controllable, little flash. It doesnt do as well in the j-frame though. The 125 SJHP is probably my most hated loading.

USSR
December 13, 2012, 07:30 PM
With an alloy driven at that velocity, are you getting reliable expansion?
Are you encountering shoot-through?

Here is the bullet I am casting.

http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/general/websize/44%20mold%20002.jpg

Weight is 165gr with a 20:1 alloy. The key to expansion in cast bullets is to seriously reduce or eliminate any antimony. Sure, tin is expensive, but if you want expansion and not fracturing, you use it. I use the max load data for the 170gr 358429 bullet (I have that mould as well) with 2400 powder as listed in the Lyman 49th Edition. 1500fps with a heavy bullet load in a .357Magnum revolver is pure fantasy within SAAMI pressure specs. Lyman lists 9 loads for the 358429, and all clock at less than 1300fps, and that's using a Universal Receiver with no cylinder gap. While I have killed 2 deer with the .357 Magnum, I recently switched to the .45 Colt which IMHO is a much better deer round.

Don

jhvaughan2
December 13, 2012, 08:24 PM
I've seen enough hogs killed by 158g that it is ok by me.
As to 125, I have never believed that in a self defense situation shooting clean through someone is of any particular value.

JEB
December 13, 2012, 11:30 PM
in my .357 i use a 158gr jhp because it has fixed sights and that is the weight that shoots to POA. if i had adjustable sights i would most likely use a 125gr jhp if it proved to be accurate enough. even still, i am compleatly comfortable with the 158gr load.

45crittergitter
December 19, 2012, 06:29 PM
+1 for the 125 JHP.

richardKatts
December 19, 2012, 07:07 PM
http://www.mouseguns.com/amball.htm

http://www.brassfetcher.com/index_files/357Magnum.htm

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs3.htm

mdauben
December 19, 2012, 07:08 PM
125 for defense
158 for hunting

+1 on these choices.

zxcvbob
December 19, 2012, 07:28 PM
I use hot-loaded .38 Specials -- 158 grain. They are easier to shoot, not as loud, and almost as effective as .357's. I think 2 hits with a .38 might be better than 1 hit with a .357 (I have no data to support that), and it's easier to get 2 hits on target.

148 grain solid wadcutters at 1000 to 1100 fps make an interesting .357 load. Little sledgehammers, they are.

camsdaddy
December 19, 2012, 07:35 PM
I'm curious. I have shot 158gr in my sp101 and my k frames. I have never shot a 125. How does recoil compare all else equal 125 vs 158

joneb
December 20, 2012, 01:30 AM
post #35 brings up a good point, what are the sights regulated for ?
I have a Ruger Sec. Six. that has adjustable sights so I can regulate the sights to the load.
I carry this gun mostly for 4 legged threats so I load 158gr bullets mostly for this gun.
If I were carrying a short barrel .357 mag. for two legged threats with fixed sights I would load 125gr for 2" barrel 140gr for 3" and file the front sight if needed.

PabloJ
December 20, 2012, 02:01 AM
In a 4" barrel revolver, whats best for killing bad guys, 125 or 158g?
Depends on what type of gun you own. For example, if you have one of those small ultralight S&W guns bullet weight is specified on the barrel. Apparently if weight is not as they suggest momentum of recoil force can force bullets out and jam the firearm.:eek:

Sport45
December 20, 2012, 03:20 AM
Here is the bullet I am casting.
http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/general/websize/44%20mold%20002.jpg


Nice looking bullets! I wouldn't be afraid to use them in .357mag either.

Most store-bought 158gr SWCHP bullets I've seen were swaged, not cast. I would not advise anyone to use them at .357mag velocities unless they really enjoy scrubbing lead out of their barrels.

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