Penetration & Lethality of my .357 Load - your opinions


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chrisf8657
April 3, 2013, 04:27 PM
Hello Gents -

I have a .357 Magnum loaded with 158 grain Remington SJHP bullets under 14.8 (debating on reducing to 14.5) of 2400 powder.

What kind of Lethality on human targets, as well as penetration on other areas, do you feel this load is?

IMPORTANT:
I am not interested in people stating it will over-penetrate. That's what I want incase I face glass or auto bodies.
Furthermore, these are a small batch of SHTF rounds (Government ain't here to help scenario). I carry factory ammo for self-defense right now, FYI.

Thank you

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silicosys4
April 3, 2013, 05:03 PM
What penetration do I FEEL your load has? Do we get any hints at all, like what length barrel you are shooting it out of, what fps its going, etc?
You can shoot it through some wet newspaper or water jugs, and get some starting data. Shoot them through an old car door you got at a junkyard, then you will know for sure how your loads do. If you want penetration in your .357 handloads, ditch the hp's and go with a hardcast swc over the same charge out of a rifle.

Short answer: I'm 99.99% sure either factory or your reloads penetrate better than you'll ever need, but better safe than sorry, I suppose.

ljnowell
April 3, 2013, 05:09 PM
the 14.5gr load of 2400 under a 158gr LSWC has been a standard load as long as people have been reloading. Skeeter Skelton preached that load and thousands others. On this forum we had a poll once and a large majority of loaders used the 14.5 load.

Basically, it will kill darn near anything that needs killing here in these United States. Not that I would take it brown bear hunting, but it will kill what needs it.

45lcshooter
April 3, 2013, 05:17 PM
Shot placement is key. I would imagine that a 357 round will go through a car door being that today's cars are plastic. A girl T-boned me, she was in a 2007 Honda Civic and I was in my F-250 Crew Cab Power stroke pickup. When I stopped, all she did was push my rocker panel under the truck, the front of her car was like hitting a chicken on the road feathers all over the place, but in the is case, it was plastic and Styrofoam all over, bumper was in 3 different pieces. And the kicker was this was a slow accident, 20mph.

I've been a firefighter for 10yrs, I know how "well" today's cars are constructed. What a joke. I'm proud that the only plastic on my truck is on the inside.

Its bad when wearing rescue gloves(just like mechanics gloves) you punch a Cadillac door and you dent it and can see your knuckles. Fun while practicing cutting up cars for training.

Short story unless its a government vehicle that has armor, your going through the door with anything bigger than a 22lr.

It will penetrate just fine.

kingmt
April 3, 2013, 05:31 PM
Through a car for your probably going to jail. Good luck.

USSR
April 3, 2013, 06:09 PM
If penetration is your concern (as in you want it), then don't shoot HP's. I would be shooting my hard cast 170gr SWC bullet.

Don

Anmut
April 3, 2013, 08:35 PM
Any min load .357 is a lethal round past 100yds for sure. Lethal through glass and metal? You betchya. Good for any EOTWAWKI scenario? Absolutely.

Steve C
April 3, 2013, 08:47 PM
Your load should be a little faster than the typical factory 158gr load. I use 14.0gr of 2400 behind the same bullet and the average velocity from my 4" S&W 66 is right at factory published 4" ballistics.

Here is the Marshal/Sanow data for 158gr bullets (http://handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp?Caliber=5&Weight=158) which shows a 14.7" penetration from the factory Remington 158gr JHP. Percentage is one shot stops with center mass hit vrs total number of one shot center mass hits and not lethality.

Jesse Heywood
April 3, 2013, 09:06 PM
As silicosys4 said, you can do your own testing on penetration.

Test 5: Penetration, Expansion And Weight Retention
Any rounds meeting all criteria for reliability, consistent velocity, accuracy, and controllable recoil are then fired into water. According to Ed Sanow in Handgun Stopping Power, the book he wrote with former Detroit Police detective Evan Marshall, water generates the same results, vis-a-vis penetration and expansion, as 10-percent ordnance gelatin. It just slightly overstates expansion and penetration.Take the expansion and penetration results in water, delete 10 percent, and you know what a bullet would do in gelatin. Water also correlates very well to what a bullet can be expected to do in living tissue, especially lungs. Even large police agencies using sophisticated gelatin techniques for ammo testing often doublecheck with water as a failsafe.

Before we go further, we should make it clear our water testing gives only a rough estimate of penetration to the nearest 3 inches. This is not a protocol that will tell you, "Ah, yes, precisely 8.3794 inches of penetration." It's more like, "Ah yes, 9 inches." Or 12, 15, etc.

If you want to check our results at your range, gather a number of empty gallon milk jugs, at least three per load to be tested. Fill with water and cap them. Line them up in a row, 10 feet from the gun muzzle. Ask the permission of range personnel before doing any of this, of course. Some people who water-test bullets actually build "water boxes" to hold the jugs in a row, but it's not really necessary.

Carefully align the gun so the bullet will travel through the bottom "fat" part of every jug. Fire the gun. Water will fly everywhere. (This portion of the ammo testing is done on an outdoor range, for obvious reasons.) The bullet will wind up inside one of the milk jugs. A gallon milk jug measures 6 inches from front to back. If the bullet is inside jug 2, you've got a hole in the front but no penetration in back, count that as 9 inches of penetration (6 inches for the first milk jug, then figure half the second jug equals another 3 inches). If you have a hole in the back of jug 2 where the bullet whacked and penetrated, but the bullet is still inside that jug, count that as 12 inches of penetration. And so on.

Uncap the jug, pour the remaining water and bullet out into your hand. Voila! You have an expanded and recovered bullet. Take a plastic trash bag with you to the range and carry away the shredded milk jugs, to keep the range clean. The only sign you were there will be a bit of water on the ground that will swiftly evaporate. At Gun Tests, our prejudice is that, for a self-defense load, we would prefer the bullet come to rest in jug 2. Stopping in jug 1 would equal 6 inches or less of penetration (about 5 1/2 in gelatin), which could translate into a failure to reach vital organs on an oblique shot, especially if an arm or other barrier was hit first. We could live with having the bullet stop in jug 3, though that would be toward the deep end for our preferences. If the bullet totally penetrates all three jugs, it is dangerously over-penetrative for self-defense and dangerous to innocent bystanders. The only situation in which we'd want to see the bullet travel beyond jug 3 is if we were testing rounds for hunting and deemed more penetration desirable than would be appropriate for an antipersonnel load.

The recovered bullet is measured for expansion with dial calipers, and on an electronic scale for weight retention (i.e. how much of the bullet is left after penetration and expansion).

Source: http://www.gun-tests.com/performance/ammotest.html

zxcvbob
April 3, 2013, 09:15 PM
You should be shooting JSP's or cast bullets, not SJHP's.

Hard cast DEWC's are interesting from a .357 -- little sledgehammers.

35 Whelen
April 3, 2013, 10:56 PM
I wouldn't obsess over how good it may or may not be, That's a hoss of a load. Can't imagine any human being taking too many of those bullets. If I were you, I'd use the time I spent worrying over how well or poorly the load may perform, to practice.

Oh, and by the way, Skeeter's load was 15.0 grs. of 2400, not 14.5. Yeah, yeah, I know, 2400 is "hotter" than it used to be...

35W

ljnowell
April 3, 2013, 11:02 PM
Oh, and by the way, Skeeter's load was 15.0 grs. of 2400, not 14.5. Yeah, yeah, I know, 2400 is "hotter" than it used to be...

Skeeter listed that as a "heavy 357 load." The one I was talking about is below, which I was wrong, he had 13.5 gr, loaded in a 38 case with the bullet seated out long and crimped in the lower groove as noted below:

my friend presented him with a double handful of my favorite handloads, made from a recipe of the 358156 hollowpoint bullet held in its lower crimping groove by a Remington .38 Special case. The powder charge was 13.5 grains of 2400 fused with CCI Small Pistol primers. A few hours after loading up with these homebrews, the cowboy tumbled a running buck with a single shot through the spine at 50 yards.


http://darkcanyon.net/MyFriend_The357.htm

Black Butte
April 3, 2013, 11:11 PM
That's what I want incase I face glass or auto bodies.


Why do you want the ability to shoot people in their cars? You're only justified in shooting someone if you are in fear for your life or great bodily harm.

zxcvbob
April 3, 2013, 11:36 PM
Why do you want the ability to shoot people in their cars? You're only justified in shooting someone if you are in fear for your life or great bodily harm.

Are they trying to run over you? I think that might qualify.

Black Butte
April 4, 2013, 12:18 AM
Are they trying to run over you? I think that might qualify.

Nope, because even if you managed to shoot the driver, the momentum of the vehicle would still represent a continuing danger. In this case, simply getting out of the way represents the best course of action.

zxcvbob
April 4, 2013, 12:43 AM
Nope, because even if you managed to shoot the driver, the momentum of the vehicle would still represent a continuing danger. In this case, simply getting out of the way represents the best course of action.


http://abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/7608-police-defend-killing-of-baptist-pastor#.UV0EyKJO-So

david_r
April 4, 2013, 12:58 AM
I think your load has the kind of lethality that is lethal. If you want more penetration, shoot JSP or some WC variant. Too bad you can't get the FMJ TC bullets Fiocci uses.

Maybe he wants the ability to shoot people from within his car. You guys read too much into this stuff :rolleyes: He's already stated it's his zombie load.

ArchAngelCD
April 4, 2013, 01:50 AM
Why do you want the ability to shoot people in their cars? You're only justified in shooting someone if you are in fear for your life or great bodily harm.
The OP specifically asked everyone to stay on topic but some people just can't help themselves, can they?

silicosys4
April 4, 2013, 02:05 AM
You are basically looking for big game hunting loads. Plenty of loading data for that. Heavy hard cast bullet with a blunt profile to resist deflection. No round noses or hollowpoints. A semi wad cutter, as a full wadcutter tends to tumble after a certain distance.

Black Butte
April 4, 2013, 03:09 AM
Zxcvbob, using the police as an example is not supportive in this instance because the police have a duty to pursue whereas a private citizen has a responsibility to avoid.

gamestalker
April 4, 2013, 12:21 PM
I've never done any formal testing with ballistic gel, but I have used the shoulder bones of game animals, deer and javelina on occasion. But the more often used method I have employed is lining a card board box with a trash liner, water soaked rolled up denim packed tightly into the box, then filled with water. I usually use two 16" boxes together, sometimes just one. When the box starts to lose most of the water I plug the holes with a piece of tape from the inside of the box. I have tested H110 / 296 charged .357 mag. loaded with HP 110 gr, 125 gr, and 158 gr. XTP's, Sierra's, and Gold Dots. The Gold Dots and XTP's perform the best with full expansion and penetration out of my snubby's and 4" Taurus 608. I didn't care for the Sierra's though, they separated very badly.

I've also tested 9mm and 40 cal. in this manner too. I know it isn't a formal penetration test per say, but it at least gives me some idea as to how well the projectile holds up.

GS

buck460XVR
April 4, 2013, 07:00 PM
Hello Gents -

I have a .357 Magnum loaded with 158 grain Remington SJHP bullets under 14.8 (debating on reducing to 14.5) of 2400 powder.

What kind of Lethality on human targets, as well as penetration on other areas, do you feel this load is?



How do they shoot outta YOUR firearm? In order for them to be lethal, you first need to hit what you're aimin' at. That would be the justification for playing with the powder charge. Tinker with your load till you find the charge your weapon likes best. You certainly have all the penetration you need for SD/HD using 158g JHPs with any published load over 13 gr of 2400.

GooseGestapo
April 4, 2013, 08:46 PM
I carried the factory Remington 158gr H.P's back in the '70's and early 80's in my .357's as a police officer and later a Conservation Officer. I found that the 158gr H.P's performed satisfactory. I later switched to the 145gr SilverTips as they had significantly less flash, which at night was noticeable.

I had the occasion to shoot a rabid dog with the 158gr HP's. (factory- chrono'd 1280fps from my 4" S&W's, or about like the 14.5gr of #2400). A broadside spine hit didn't completely penetrate a ~55lb dog... so, extrapolate that to a human.... Probably won't penetrate the torso, and exit the clothing on an adult male. (dog was intentionally not head shot as lab's wanted intact brain for testing...). No, we didn't touch the dog!!!!, I used a shovel to push it into a wheelbarrow, which we used to put the carcass in a truck and hauled it to the lab.... Later confirmed to be rabid....

I now use cast SWC's, but I'm retired, cast, and occasionly hunt pigs, though not as much as when I first retired in the mid '00's. I shot a pig with a cast 165gr SWC over 14.0gr of #2400, it was just under the hide but had classic mushroom and retained ~90% weight. (180lb pig... 20yds).

I bought 500 Remington JSP's about 9yrs ago and occasionally load some in .357mag, though most have been shot from a .35Rem and recently a .358wcf.
For your purposes, I believe that you will find the 158 JSP's more satisfactory as they will give nominally better penetration.

FWIW; in 1985 I investigated a homicide/hunting accident (alledged). The victim was shot at ~2' with a T/C Contender w/14" bbl in .44mag. The Remington 240gr JHP impacted the victim in the right torso, transited the liver, exited the left kidney and was found imbedded in his t-shirt adjacent to his left kidney. Total penetration was ~12", and bullet expanded to approx 7/8" diameter. Later determined to be accidental but not a "hunting" accident as it occured at a hunting camp.....

Impact velocity/distance makes a great deal of difference in expansion and expansion limits penetration....
Wonder why I didn't carry the 125gr Winchester JHP's that were the rave at the time?!!!

rcmodel
April 4, 2013, 08:55 PM
A broadside spine hit didn't completely penetrate a ~55lb dog... so, extrapolate that to a human.... That sounds like the same ammo company that loaded the .38 Spl ammo that wouldn't shoot through auto safety glass at 2' and 90 degrees to the glass in another thread today.

rc

BSA1
April 4, 2013, 09:58 PM
M.D. Smith lists the following 158 gr. JHP or JSP load;

2400 14.8 gr. 1,265

2400 15.2 gr. 1,535 max

So your load is safe and within published data.

As others have already commented you should base your load on which one shoots well from your gun, you can shoot accurately and gives you the desire performance based on your personal tests from your gun.


http://www.reloadammo.com/357loads.htm

gamestalker
April 4, 2013, 10:09 PM
Oh ya, I forgot about mule deer that have been taken with those H110 / 296 Gold Dot loads posted above. One of my Sons took a mule deer with a head shot using those, and it went through and through. I don't remember where the other mule was shot, I think it was a lung shot, and I do believe it was a through and through also, not sure though. But both deer hit the ground dead, never took a step.

GS

Certaindeaf
April 4, 2013, 10:13 PM
It sounds like you'll be in good shape against glass spined dogs.

GooseGestapo
April 5, 2013, 09:24 AM
quote "It sounds like you'll be in good shape against glass spined dogs."

HUH???

I don't know where you come up with something like this from what I wrote. I simply stated that the bullet didn't exit the stocky, well built dog. (beagle/pit bull cross?)

The dog was body slammed to the ground and didn't even kick.... Statement was to the effect that the bullet expanded to the point that it didn't exit.... Not a "weak" round at all....

re: bouncing .38's. Yeah, I assisted in a homicide investigation where a rival dope dealer shot another dope dealer in the head with a mod. 36 w/158gr LRN. Victim had a synthetic fabric head-wrap on his head and was playing basketball when perp walked up to him and popped him. At the hospital ER, the attending after "pronouncing" him, pulled on the head wrap and removed the bullet, still trapped by the fabric. He placed the wrap w/bullet in an evidence bag and handed it me so we could send it the the crime-lab. The problem is with the 'launch platform'. A mod 34/60 2" snub only runs around 650fps.... About like the infamous .38s&w loads of military "Phillipine Moro Campaign" infamy...

fwiw; back in those "bad 'ole days", we didn't like the factory SWC .357mag ammo(lubaloy coated like .22lr) as they often over penetrated and didn't put perps down like the heavy (heavier than 125gr JHP's) JHP's....
And the wheels of the bus go round and round, .....,.....

chrisf8657
April 5, 2013, 09:51 AM
Thank you to many answers some have posted I will look into some of the good links you provided. I failed to mention it is for a 4 inch 686.

I still don't understand how some failed to see where I plainly said the load was for a SHTF situation (i.e. extreme break down in law and order) - btw I like the one poster who said "It's his zombie load"...LOL...hell i'll just pluck them with a .22 when the Walking Dead come to my house :)

USSR
April 5, 2013, 10:57 AM
Jacketed HP's out of a handgun can do some funny things. I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again. Used to hunt deer with my 6" S&W 686 .357 Magnum. Selected the Winchester 145gr SilverTip HP round. Killed 2 deer with it with the classic "thru the ribcage" shots. Well, one morning I was hunting out of my tree stand when I heard a shot and a deer came limping up to me and lay down under my tree stand. I figured I would dispatch it for the guy who shot it. So, I aimed at the back, angling down into the chest cavity. At the shot, the deer got up and ran off. I was astounded, as I felt good about the shot. In the afternoon, I was on the ground in a nearby area hunting with my shotgun, when a limping deer came by and I shot it. Dressing the deer out revealed a perfectly mushroomed .357 SilverTip bullet that failed to penetrate beyond the heavy fat and gristle above the back. Needless to say, I quit using that round for deer hunting and have zero faith in jacketed HP's for penetration. If you must use a jacketed bullet, I recommend a softpoint. I still shoot HP's, but they are cast HP's where I control the alloy used and thus am able to ensure penetration. Oh, and I moved up in caliber to the .45 Colt.

Don

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