158 gr .357 magnum SD rounds?


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Guy B. Meredith
December 9, 2013, 04:28 AM
I am using a 4" K frame and am looking for a "big and slow" self defense round that won't eat up the forcing cone and top strap. Slow being relative, of course.

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Steve C
December 9, 2013, 04:53 AM
Typical 158gr semi JHP loaded by the Federal, Winchester or Remington will work fine for SD but expect a healthy dose of muzzle blast and recoil since they all run about 1,240 fps from a 4" barrel at the muzzle. This ammo usually isn't difficult to find and usually comes in boxes of 50.

If you want smaller packages using a more premium bullet, Federal makes their Hydra-shok in .357 mag using a 158gr bullet as does Speer in the Gold Dot and Hornady in the XTP.

19-3Ben
December 9, 2013, 07:36 AM
Steve is spot on. I'll add that Streichers has 158gr. Speer Gold Dot in 50 (http://www.policehq.com/Products/CCI-357GD#.UqWpvRaKzww) round boxes.

I like carrying a heavily loaded .158gr load in the woods with my Security Six. Mine has always been a 158.gr Gold Dot loaded by Double Tap (which they no longer load) or Buffalo Bore. Out of a K frame I'd be a little more hesitant.

As an aside, the forcing cones tend to get eaten up by lighter loads like the 125gr. .357mag. Not sure what a heavily loaded 158gr. load would do.

eldon519
December 9, 2013, 09:33 AM
The Winchester 145 gr Silvertip gets a decent amount of respect. There are also reduced power 125gr loads like the Golden Saber. I'd be careful picking a 158 without careful research. Many of them are meant for hunting and some are just old school designs that don't expand as reliably as newer designs. In either case, over peneteation is very likely. I saw a gel test in denim where a 158 gr Hydrashok failed to expand well and had 30+ inches of gel penetration. That's about twice what you want it to do for SD on humans.

BSA1
December 9, 2013, 11:03 AM
You are correct about 125 gr. magnums being hard on K-frames but how many of them do you intend to shoot over the time you own the gun?

Another choice would use the old FBI load; 158 gr. SWC.

As always you should test fire ammunition from your gun into test media (layers of clothing over water barrel or jugs is a good poor man's test media) before making a final decision.

scythefwd
December 9, 2013, 11:35 AM
30".. I'd not say it's twice what you want, I believe it's barely twice the minimum recommended.. It is a bit excessive, but thats picking nits.

460Kodiak
December 9, 2013, 11:40 AM
I carry those 158 gr Speers. Accurate ammo and hot enough it should expand from my 3" bbl guns.

mnhntr
December 9, 2013, 12:05 PM
any 158gr lswc is usually loaded like a target load and is also very effective as a SD load and in some cases better than JHPs.

eldon519
December 9, 2013, 12:13 PM
Recommended is 12" minimum for FBI. 30”+ is enough to go through two people. I'd consider that excessive. I can't think of a situation for SD where that is desirable. If nothing else you are dealing with significantly more recoil than necessary to get the job done.

Maybe a missed what the OP is trying to defend himself from, but I am assuming humans.

Guy B. Meredith
December 9, 2013, 12:52 PM
At what distances are the gelatin test loads fired?

The intended use is against people with evil intent at combat distances and I want to make sure the intended target is the only one going down. I am also concerned about the number of hopped up perps that need some serious damage before they notice.

Okay, maybe an extra moonclip of high penetraters for dealing with huge mobs of screaming hopped up gangsters where a twofer might be more useful with six rounds in the cylinder. :eek:

I have done some target shooting with .357 Magnums and some of my hand loads that reached over 1,300 fps and can attest to the fact that these feel very brisk in the K frame. I also discovered the K frame delivers higher velocity than my 686+ and 5" 627. It really grabs the shooter's attention.

The intent, though, is to be competent so I want something the K frame can handle as a steady diet. In the end it might just be a very hot .38 spl??

19-3Ben
December 9, 2013, 01:02 PM
Many of them are meant for hunting and some are just old school designs that don't expand as reliably as newer designs. In either case, over peneteation is very likely. I saw a gel test in denim where a 158 gr Hydrashok failed to expand well and had 30+ inches of gel penetration. That's about twice what you want it to do for SD on humans.

But that's also Hydrashoks. Not really fair to taint modern ammo with an expansion failure in a 20+ year old design. The lack of reliable expansion is something that was known in Hydrashok, 9BPLE, etc... that were all as good as it got back in those days. Clothing clogged them up and prevented them from expanding. These days technology has greatly increased the reliability of SD rounds. Granted, they can still fail, no doubt about it. The newer generation of ammo (Gold Dots, HST, Ranger T, and some others) happens to be more reliable because it does benefit from another decade of advancement and understanding of the dynamics involved.

Long story short, your info about 158gr. loads not expanding is kind of like the accepted "truth" that 147gr, 9mm does not expand. It's info that applies to dated ammo. Try the same tests with a 158gr. Gold Dot and see what happens. I haven't personally tested the expansion of it, but there are enough tests out there to prove its reliability well enough for me.

19-3Ben
December 9, 2013, 01:05 PM
In the end it might just be a very hot .38 spl??

If you're going to shoot in volume, this may be best. Of course, if you plan to shoot high quality defensive ammo in large volume, you're going to spend a serious chunk of change.

Vodoun da Vinci
December 9, 2013, 01:15 PM
I'm running some Hornady .357 XTP hollow points in .38
Special handloads and they are awesome....excellent penetration and massive expansion even at moderate velocities. The engineering and construction of SD hollow points really is better than it was 20 years ago.

I'd not hesitate to use my .38 Specials with the XTP's for SD and can see no reason they would not perform as well if not better out of a .357. I think one could get penetration in excess of 15" with expansion to .50" without pushing the absolute limits of the .357 magnum. This would result in very capable SD rounds with less flash and recoil than commonly associated with full house 158 gr. .357 magnum loads.

I do not know if a comparable factory round is being produced but I'd be surprised if it isn't. Shop for rounds using the Hornady XTP hollow points in 158 gr. The 125 gr. are pretty awesome as well and perform unbelievably well out of a .38 Special without massive recoil and flash to drive them to deep penetration and massive, controlled expansion.

VooDoo

Water-Man
December 9, 2013, 01:23 PM
Winchester Silvertips 145gr. STHP.

eldon519
December 9, 2013, 02:16 PM
Ben, that was sort of my point amigo. Not sure what you are missing. Research your load carefully. The first sentence you quoted from me was a caveat warning against outdated designs (like the Hydroshok). Unless something has changed, Federal and Winchester stopped updating their premium law enforcement lines in .357 magnum. So while there are great advances in HP technology, they aren't necessarily making their way into .357s as commonly as to other center fire calibers. That is why you still see things like Hydrashoks, Silvertips, generic SJHPs, etc on the market. The .357 magnum has someone frozen in terms of development. You are correct, the 158 Gold Dot is not a bad round though. If I was set on 158, that is what I would use.

hardluk1
December 9, 2013, 02:28 PM
If you want big and heavy , also slow for 357 there's several 180gr hp brands out there remmy, federal, winny and corbon . Go to ammo seek to find some.

ArchAngelCD
December 9, 2013, 04:02 PM
I wouldn't call a 158gr bullet @1235 fps slow but I guess it could be called slower than a 125gr bullet @1450 fps.

If you're looking for a good round at lower prices I suggest the 158gr SJHP Remington .357 Magnum load still sold in 50 round boxes. I like the "rose peddle' bullet they use because it reliably expands. Nothing wrong with the offerings from Federal and Winchester either. The Speer Gold Dot ammo is also good but that's where the price starts going up. (sold in 20 round boxes)

zxcvbob
December 9, 2013, 04:11 PM
I carry a .357 for SD -- loaded with hot .38 Specials. Less muzzle blast, faster to get back on target, and faster reloads (because the empties are shorter)

87hurricane
December 9, 2013, 06:27 PM
I cooked up some nice +p .38 special rounds using 125gr XTPs that I keep in my Model 10 for HD. I'd have no problems running these in a .357 either, as they work very well.

JTMcC
December 9, 2013, 08:25 PM
I shoot a lot of 158 gr. XTP's, with enough Unique to drive them about 1170 fps.
Out of a 2 1/2" Colt.

J

TwoWheelFiend
December 9, 2013, 09:49 PM
I'd just shoot Buffalo Bore's .38 special FBI load. Big heavy slow and will shoot just fine out of your .357

Guy B. Meredith
December 10, 2013, 02:22 AM
Thanks for all the input. I now have some serious(ly fun) product evaluation to do. Any ol' excuse to get to the range, you know.

buck460XVR
December 10, 2013, 10:40 AM
Blazer aluminum cased 158gr JHPs are an anemic round when fired from a full sized revolver, but I have found them to be accurate @ SD/HD distances and reliable. Might be a good option for a K-Frame.

valnar
December 10, 2013, 11:58 AM
I really miss the Fiocchi 148gr JHP .357 rounds. Can't find them anymore.

460Kodiak
December 11, 2013, 01:53 AM
Barnes also makes some solid copper HPs. They are supposed to be for hunting but they would probably be good. 140 gr

gamestalker
December 11, 2013, 02:51 AM
I have been feeding my K frames tons of full house magnums of every weight for years, and I haven't seen any sign of forcing cone damage yet. I run full house hand loaded JHP 110 gr., 125 gr., 140 gr., and 158 gr.. And it's actually the 110's and 125's that have been labeled as the forcing cone destroyers, which S&W performed extensive testing that pretty much proved other wise.

As for strap damage, all revolvers will get a certain amount of gas cutting to the top strap. I've never seen it continue cutting beyond the initial stage.

GS

19-3Ben
December 11, 2013, 12:32 PM
Ben, that was sort of my point amigo. Not sure what you are missing.

No missing anything and not disagreeing with you. Just clarifying and elaborating.
It is a real pity that most of the ammo makers aren't developing new .357mag loads, and especially not in 158gr. The Gold Dot is the only one I can think of in that weight. All the others I can think of (Barnes XPB, Hornady FTX, Winchester PDX1) are all in the 125 grain range.

gamestalker
December 12, 2013, 12:25 PM
It sounds as though you need to think about reloading. There are far more bullet weight options, and power levels one can choose from if reloading. XTP's are offered in 110, 125, 140, and 158. I don't know about factory offerings though, I haven't bought factory in ions.

GS

460Kodiak
December 12, 2013, 07:31 PM
It is a real pity that most of the ammo makers aren't developing new .357mag loads, and especially not in 158gr. The Gold Dot is the only one I can think of in that weight.

I'm pretty sure 158 gr is a really common weight for a lot of ammo companies to load their .357 ammo in. It's just that they tend to market their 125 gr loads for SD.

http://www.black-hills.com/handgun_calibers.php
https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=20
http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=326
http://www.hornady.com/store/357-Mag-158-gr-XTP/

Just a few exapmles. Are they new loadings? No I don't think so. But 158 gr loadings are out there.

If you only meant "new" loadings, then nevermind.

Hickok44
December 12, 2013, 10:32 PM
125's are the way to go

460Kodiak
December 13, 2013, 09:49 AM
125's are the way to go

Sometimes.

eldon519
December 13, 2013, 10:12 AM
I don't know for sure if Speer is still updating .357 ammo including the Gold Dots. It is probably safe to say that some of the Short Barrel stuff is updated, but Gold Dots as a brand have been around at least 20 years. I am sure they continue to update and revise Gold Dots in the modern police calibers, but I'd be surprised if that 158 has changed a lot recently. That is why you find HPs with the latest and greatest advancements that will demonstrate greater expansion and penetration with less recoil. For instance the few modern .357 125 hps that I am aware of are all mid-velocity loads that still get better expansion/penetration than their old school full power equivalents.

MagicD
December 13, 2013, 10:21 AM
It always seemed to me the ballistic advantage of the .357
over 9mm was heavy bullets since from a 4 inch or less barrel 125 Gr and below are a few hundred FPS faster than a 9.
When you add in flash,ear splitting noise modern bullet design and 6 round vs 10 and up rounds for SD advantage for 125 gr and lower ?

Vodoun da Vinci
December 13, 2013, 10:38 AM
I have reloaded and researched a lot of .38 Special and .357 mag loads for many years and built on the data my Father in Law worked with in these calibers. For me, 158 gr. lead and Unique are classic .38 and .357 loads.

158 gr. .357 bullets driven hard out of a 4" or 6" barrel will stop pretty much anything and if there is such a thing as "knockdown power" or a "one shot stop" in a hand gun (there isn't) the 158 gr. .357 is very close to that.

I had to shoot a feral dog that was part of a pack that had decided to chase me down while on the Farm walking the woods one day long ago....what one single round of 158 gr .357 magnum hollow point did to that poor mangy Shepherd mix (pushing 100 lbs of dog) pretty much stunned me.

One shot stop with prejudice I'd call it out of a 6" barreled Dan Wesson at about 25' or so. I'm a big believer in 158 gr. .358 mag and in .38 Special it is nothing to sniff at either. I prefer the 158 gr but load 125 gr. for my Wife's LCR so it doesn't sterilize us with recoil.

VooDoo

boom boom
December 13, 2013, 11:16 AM
You might like Hornady 140gr. XTP
http://www.hornady.com/store/357-Mag-140-gr-XTP/

Schutzen
December 13, 2013, 12:46 PM
When the Kentucky State Police carried .357's (K Frame Smiths), they used the 125 load. The 125 gr JHP gave them very good stopping power. I never met a KSP Trooper who felt under powered with that load. They may have felt out-gunned by automatics, but never under powered.

I use the 125 Golden Sabers in my SD .357. ( house gun).

mdauben
December 14, 2013, 11:17 AM
I use the 125 Golden Sabers in my SD .357. ( house gun).

Personally, I don't care for the GD .357 loadings at all. At a rated MV of only 1220FPS they can easily be matched with 9mm +P loads, in guns that have more rounds and are easier and faster to reload.

When I carry a .357 (and I do) I want a load that will throw a 125gr pill at least 1400+ FPS. Some of the specialty loads from makers like BB which can exceed 1600 FPS are IMO even more attractive.

Hanshi
December 14, 2013, 04:44 PM
I prefer lead HP 158 grain loads or 158 grain JHP loads (factory or handloads), for the most part. I've killed deer with both the 158 JHP and 125 grain JHP loads and the deer dropped about as quickly with one as with the other, which wasn't far, by the way.

06
December 14, 2013, 05:21 PM
Like the XTPs in both. It is my wife's HD and my side arm when hunting. She is getting a 32 S&W long for Christmas--her choice--not mine. Have her 4 boxes of ammo and about 100 cases so she is set to plink her little heart out. Now I can get my 357 back--lol.

lobo9er
December 14, 2013, 06:15 PM
I know this is white noise and has been said before but for me unless in the woods I load up gold dot 38+p's, usually in my 357's. Just me of course. I think the less bang and flash and recoil is an advantage. And in the woods any 357 158 gr will do, but I like gold dots or corbon 200 gr hunters if I can find them.

eldon519
December 14, 2013, 06:42 PM
As far as expansion and penetration goes, the mid-level Golden Saber and the Corbon DPX 125 gr loads are some of the best. They both only go about 1200 fps as stated. It does seem contrary to logic to go with loads that don't do what the .357 is typically thought of as doing best, but if you go with a more powerful load with more recoil and less performance, are you really helping yourself with anything? Slower follow up shots?

kvtcomdo
December 15, 2013, 07:25 PM
Winchester Silvertips 145gr. STHP.
love that round but almost impossible to obtain at present.

recommend looking at Buffalo Bore:

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=104

Great load for your suggested parameters.

481
December 17, 2013, 10:40 PM
This-

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=111

-could also be a good option.

JohnBT
December 18, 2013, 07:32 PM
"125's are the way to go"

"Sometimes."

____________

I bought a box of Black Hills' 125gr @ 1450 and let a group of 4 12- and 14-year-olds shoot it in my 4" '67 Python.

That's some brisk ammo, but they shot it well.

Lucky Derby
December 19, 2013, 05:08 AM
125's are the way to go
Not in a K frame.

Drail
December 19, 2013, 05:13 AM
158 grainers are your best choice - because 125 grainers are for girls.

amd6547
December 19, 2013, 11:39 AM
"...Originally Posted by Water-Man
Winchester Silvertips 145gr. STHP.
love that round but almost impossible to obtain at present..."

The last time I actually saw some of this ammo for sale was about five years ago...other than some scalper priced boxes on gunbroker.
Winchester still lists it in their catalog, but only seems to make a small run per year.
Sad, as it is a great 357 load, highly regarded by those who have shot it.

In my 3" GP100, I go back and forth between Hornady 158gn XTP and Critical Defense 125gn FTX. If my 357mag is loaded for SD use, it's 357mag all the way.
I have no problem controlling recoil with magnum loads in the GP.

km101
December 19, 2013, 11:35 PM
For a heavy bullet I like the Speer Gold Dot in 158 grn. or the Federal Hydra-Shok in 158 grn. They both give good penetration and expansion.

In a light bullet load, the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grn is excellent.

Just my $0.02. YMMV

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