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180 grain 357 and short barrel

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by lobo9er, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    All right I had a thought. !80 grain out of a 3inch sp101 wont use all of its powder so I've been told. so, will this generate a "45 acp effect" heavier bullet (for a 357) moving slower (for a 357) leaving more kinetic energy with the target, instead of wasting energy passing through a target? not sure if that made sense. Fired some 180 grain today which lead me to this, and was awesome. If I win the lotto or become a reloader I would pllnk with 180 grainers all day instead of 38's.
  2. DPris

    DPris Well-Known Member

    I don't think it makes much sense. :)
  3. DWFan

    DWFan Well-Known Member

    A 125gr bullet at 1150 fps generates 367 ft/lb of muzzle energy.
    A 180gr bullet at 950 fps generates 361 ft/lb of muzzle energy.
    The 125gr load will have a "sharper" recoil due to the additional powder and quicker bullet acceleration. The 180gr however can retain its velocity for a longer distance.
  4. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    but those #'s would have been out of a 6 inch test barrel right? so the 180 grainer would be moving alot slower out of a 3 inch barrel. someone told me that a 357 out of a short barrel doesnt use alot of its powder so the bullet moves closer to 38's speed. so i'm thinking 180 grain or even 200 grain out of a short barrel would be moving slower therefore giving less chance of penciling through a target. (Or not.) i was just thinking the 45 acp claim to fame is that it is a large bullet moving slow (in the bullet world) so that it wont pass through a target leaving a target with all of its kinetic energy right? or I'm off my rocker. :)
  5. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    If anything, you've got it backwards. The heavier bullet will have more momentum. So it will penetrate a lot deeper, and in fact still retain a lot of its initial energy when it punches thru the other side.
  6. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, I'd say, if you are accurate with it and the blast or lack there of makes you feel that it is a good option, then carry it. The only flaw I see is if it is a hard cast bullet, then yaa, it might just make a nice .357 hole through your target, which might make it bleed out, but not make for an immmediate stop to the threat. Maybe Winchester 180 ammo loaded with the 180 partition might work well. Given that the media is reporting that a gajillion people are overweight, using a heavy slow bullet might be the way to go.

    I'm not saying this is the case, but it seems like "the magic bullet" is less important than the fact that you actually carry your gun and are able to hit what you want with it. I know we've all heard this numerous times, but I think it's worth repeating.
  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    It's counter-intuitive, but my understanding is that a heavier bullet for a given caliber will have more penetration, while the lighter/faster bullet will have more rapid/reliable expansion. Thus, a 180 is more likely to have the momentum to continue through the target. A 125 is more likely to have the energy to violently expand the projectile and have a chance at a TWC/BPW/"shock" effect beyond mere hole-punching. Different people have different views about the likelihood/reliability of the latter, so some want penetration uber alles. That's one reason why different, rational people will choose different bullet weights.

    As I understand it, there is also an additional factor with short-barrelled guns. The bullet simply doesn't have as much time in the barrel, so the time that the energy of the gunpowder combustion can exert force on the base of the bullet is reduced. (That's why longer barrels generally mean higher projectile velocities.) A heavier bullet, by virtue of being slower, gives the gunpowder more time to act on it as it travels. Thus, a heavier bullet can end up with more momentum than a lighter bullet with the same gunpowder behind it. Then there's the whole science of powder selection, which I know nothing about...
  8. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    Am I wrong with my idea of how a 45 acp works? I'm still learning so gotta ask stupid questions.
  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    There is nothing magical about a .45. It "works" the same as any other bullet.

    Bear in mind, though, that it is heavier-for-caliber that penetrates better. That's because, all else being equal, a wider bullet will penetrate less. (Think about it. Imagine a nail and a coin of equal weight and hardness. Which will penetrate better - the nail end-on or the coin face-on?) This is all quantified in things like sectional density and, to some degree, ballistic coefficient. But the concept is straightforward.

    A 185 .45 is relatively light for the caliber. So it will have a greater tendency to stay in the target, expand violently, and stretch tissue (perhaps to the point of tearing). A 230 .45 is relatively heavy for the caliber, so it will move slower in the air, but with a greater tendency to keep going within the target medium.

    There is nothing you can do to make a .357 bullet terminally perform exactly like a .45 performs. That doesn't mean they can't have the same effectiveness, just that they'll do it differently. If you make a .357 heavier to match .45 weight, you will increase sectional density and make it more penetrative. If you keep the weight the same and increase caliber, you will make it less penetrative. Make sense?
  10. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    180 XTP out of my 2.25" SP101 gave me 1300 fps/662 ft lbs. The heavier the bullet, the slower it accelerates, and the more of the peak pressure it catches. That load is 13.8 grains AA#9 under a Hornady XTP/JHP 180 grain. This load only clocks 1400 fps/785 ft lbs from my 6.5" Blackhawk. I hunt deer and hog with it and it's deadly way past 50 yards. It groups 4" at 100 yards from the bench. I will not hunt those animals with my .45ACP, not enough umph.

    Look at Buffalo Bore if you want similar performance from a short barrel in a heavy load and you don't handload.
  11. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    Alright I guess I was mixed up. I thought the heavierand slower the more of a chance a bullet has a chance to stay with a target and not pass through. but.. it makes sense that a heavier bullet will keep on keep'n on
  12. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Well-Known Member

    Check to make sure your 180gr loads don't keyhole. If the rifling twist is to slow they will.

    200 gr loads tend to do just that.

    Now for self defense that may not be so bad but for longer range shooter it is.

  13. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Well-Known Member

    I had the same idea and I'm going to do some testing with my chrono soon. Currently I have a slow burning H110 in my 180 grain loads but I'll make some with HS6 and see if it's better.

    Heavier bullets are usually less effected by shorter barrels as a general rule so we'll see.

    I"ll be using a 3" SP101 as well.
  14. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Well-Known Member

    For penetration you need sectional density (mass divided by area). heavier bullets in a given caliber will generally penetrate deeper if construction is the same AND they are properly stabilized (meaning they spin fast enough)

    Knockdown and transfer are generally associated with frontal area. 45ACP has lots of frontal area and, in ball form, will penetrate well. Expanding bullets...here's where the arguments start...penetration vs frontal area / fragmentation / expansion. Entire books have been written and bar fights started on this subject.

    Me...I like big, wide slugs that go through things, I shoot 45ACP ball for defense and seirra 220FPJ 44 mags for hunting (the jackets come off but the lead stays intact). Next gun will be a 50 S&W that I plan to use some of my lead supply casting bullets for.
  15. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    I'm a fan of the Federal 180gr CastCore cartridge. I've used it in my short SP101 and 6" Model 28. A hole at each end of the wound channel = more hot blood coming out and more cold air going in.
  16. Missionary

    Missionary Well-Known Member

    If I was going this way for a defense situation then I would be launching a 180 -200 soft cast grainer so it would open up all it could. A fast powder like Unique or ACC #5 should get good velocity without a huge fireball like 296.
    The old 38S&W with a 200 grainer was figured to do the same.. but never had enough velocity to really thump hard enough. One of the reasons the caliber.41 Short Colt came along was to put into a medium frame revolver a fatter bullet with slightly more weight and a larger case capacity with BP.
    The 44 Special with a 240 grainer at 900 fps is a known fight stopper. No reason a 180-200 grainer in .357 at 900 fps would not also be a good option.
    Mike in Peru
  17. 788Ham

    788Ham Well-Known Member


    Per post #7, you're saying the shorter barreled revolver doesn't get to use all of the combustion given a longer barreled revolver? When that bullet jumps from the cylinder, across to the forcing cone and then into the barrel, thats all the faster that bullet is ever going to go. The gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone allows the burnt powder and gases to escape, thats it! The bullet isn't going to gain speed like in a rifle barrel. This is why a lot of revolvers have had such a problem with the frame getting eaten away from around the forcing cone, too much heat and flame from higher pressures and hotter powders being used.
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    If you can get the bullet stabilized in the air, and doing loopy-loops within an inch or two of penetrating a soft target, you are golden. (heavy British .38S&W loads were supposed to do that; also Russian AK-74's)
  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    Really? So one expects velocities to stay the same or fall as barrels get longer in revolvers?
  20. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Well-Known Member

    As a general rule the longer the barrel the higher the velocity until all the powder is burned, then the pressure starts dropping and in time bore friction will be greater than the pressure thus the velocity will the actully drop as the barrel gets longer.

    This happens when you get such as .45 ACP in 16 inch barrels. 12 or so inches is about optimum.


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