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.357 magnum laud/flash/recoil

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MagnunJoe, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. shafter

    shafter Active Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    I've had a similar experience. I was using a 357 magnum on an aggressive bear while in Alaska one night and while my ears rang for a few days I seem to have no loss of hearing. I fired around a dozen rounds.
  2. gspn

    gspn Senior Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Most LEO's never fire their gun in the line of duty. Unless you're firing in an enclosed area it wouldn't cause "deafness". It would ring your ears...and if you do it enough you'll start to get tinitus.

    I wouldn't suppose you'd go blind from it unless you had adapted your eyes for work in the dark. LEO's are driving around at night...headlights, street lights, dash board lights...they in no way are going to be blinded by a muzzle flash because their eyes aren't dark adapted.

    Lots of LEO's miss shots with the 9mm. Recoil probably has less to do with it than stress and practice. Too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
  3. kbbailey

    kbbailey Senior Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    South Eastern Illinois
    I still shoot the hot ones occasionally in all my .357s, but I wear my ears. I keep those foam cheapies in probably every coat and vest that I own. And in the drawer at the back door, and in the pickup, jeep, atv, toolbox, etc etc. I keep the kind with the plastic string between the plugs cinch knotted to the trigger gaurd of my .357 truck gun.
  4. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    It's simple....

    Believe it, accept it, and try to wear hearing protection when shooting all firearms, especially handguns. Your ears will thank you when you're 60.
  5. wheelyfun66

    wheelyfun66 Member

    Nov 13, 2011
    Wear plugs while training......
    Self defense, no plugs are going to be present.....

    No problems, right?

    If you need to fire a .357 mag in a defensive situation, your adrenaline will keep your ears from experiencing pain in the moment....yes, it would not be good for your ears, but a few shots without plugs is not going to deafen someone.
  6. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Senior Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    South-Western North Carolina
    handloads useing RDot under 158gr cast slugs have little flash and less noise.
    as general speaking slower powders have more flash and blast
    I load RDot for my .357 hunting loads under 158gr swc slugs - this is for wild hog/boar.
    have'nt taken one yet but feel good about my pistol haveing shot it into stacked wet cardboard
  7. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    I have serious tinnitus in both ears so I take muzzle blast (and hearing protection) seriously.
    Handloading the .357 allows me to reach the power level I'm after, a 158 grain jacketed bullet doing an honest 1,000 fps out of a 4" revolver without too much muzzle blast. Slower than average powders seem to help.
    SR 4756 looks very promising as a low pressure powder for 158 grain jacketed and plated bullets.
  8. wep45

    wep45 Active Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    when I unleash my S&W N frame model 28 at the range everyone turns toward the WUUAAMP WAAUUMP and the muzzle flash is spectacular.:D
  9. Steve CT

    Steve CT Active Member

    May 19, 2011
    Central CT
    This +++
    I shoot only standard (or stronger) magnum loads in 4" .357, and when I do, everyone on the range knows it. It seems like most of the people around me are a little surprised when something other than .40 S&W or 9 mm comes out (and I shoot both of those too.) The .357 just seems to carry a little more "shock and awe" than many shooters are used to.
  10. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Participating Member

    Jul 18, 2011
    I went into law enforcement after returning from Vietnam, trained, qualified and carried the 357mag for a number of years. The mag saw increased usage after WWII and was very popular beginning in the 50s and 60s, not 70s and 80s as others have conjectured. Many agencies carried Remington 158gr SJHPs, it was a very effective weight for the mag. When the 125s were commercialized, toward the ~mid 70s, many departments retained the 158s.

    Paco Kelly has written about the 158s during his time with the DEA during the 70s.

    Those in law enforcement understand the meaning of hand strength, and we were taught how to grip, squeeze the trigger, fire and reload rapidly. Bill Jordan's training methods were popular and, in addition, we were fortunate enough to be the recipients of world class training.

    Furniture and carpet ameliorate the muzzle blast of the mag somewhat with the 158s, but the blast still unsettles dust in the home.

    There was/is a standard to buck up to when carrying the mag, either you put in the time to be proficient with it or you don't, same as any other carry.
  11. GambJoe

    GambJoe Member

    May 24, 2010
    Richmond TX
    Shooting a 357 without hearing protection would be a bad thing but my understanding is that although you loose some hearing every time shoot (probably even with hearing protection) it a progressive thing that happens over years of and won't be noticeable after firing just one bullet.

    Since I'm not scared of admitting that I'm not a super marksman, I do blink when I shoot. Not all the time but I do have to work on it. Muzzle flash is more noticeable with my 2 1/4" sp then on my 96, but both flash. Would blinking be a good thing in a gun fight at night?

    Like many people, I rarely notice the volume of my own shooting (concentrating to much on not blinking I guess) but someone else shooting can be quite loud. If they were shooting at me well I hope I never find out.
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    I am nearly completely deaf because I was too stubborn to heed the advice of fellow shooters. The very last straw was with .357 mag, and now all I hear 24/7 is this ringing in my ears for the last 15 or 20 years. It doesn't matter what your shooting, it will permanently damage your hearing and eventually completely destroy it. It may be too late for me, but not for someone willing to take a little advice from a deaf person.

  13. DPris

    DPris Senior Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Fortunately the only times I ever had to fire my .357 in uniform it was to kill two dogs and one injured cat.
    Three shots each on the dogs, two on the cat, full-bore .357 loads.
    The muzzle blast didn't even register. The cat was at night, the muzzle flash didn't even come close to blinding me.
    (Fuff, in my part of the country up here in Utah in the 1970s, if you carried a .357 on duty it was because you wanted it to be a .357 Magnum. I can't recall anybody I worked with back in the heyday of the Smith 19s, 27s, and 28s who loaded up with .38+P for the road. And that included one pretty savvy Arizona trooper who worked your northern border and used to come to some of our training classes in St. George. The two FBI agents who put on a shoot for us down there also carried .357 Mags in their Model 13s.)

    Years later I happened to be standing about six feet away from a fellow cop when he fired one shot from his 9mm pistol through the open doorway of a house. We were under a porch overhang extension of the roof, and next to a wall that extended from the garage at the front of the house. In other words, partially closed in on the left, front, and above.
    The shot sounded to me like a very small firecracker going off.

    During moments when your attention is elsewhere (hostile dogs running loose, hostile guy with hatchet in hand advancing), you don't notice the noise.
    Those who've fired a .357 Mag hunting will tell you the same.

    Repeated exposure will cause damage. Extremely close proximity can cause damage.
    Otherwise, the .357 Mag is perfectly survivable from behind the trigger. :)
    I've also done nighttime testing using several .357 loads through a ported 3-inch Ruger GP, some were brighter than others, those with flash-retardant powders were barely noticeable. Even the brightest were hardly blinding.
  14. Water-Man

    Water-Man Senior Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. Georgia
    I began shooting a .357Mag, outdoors, in the 60's and haven't suffered any hearing problems as a result. This is without hearing protection.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  15. YJake

    YJake New Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    Shot mine for the first time ever today (4" 686) with Rem 158gr loads and it's a big pussy cat. The noise was not bad, zero flash in daytime, and the recoil was not noticeable. Even less than my 442 with .38 Wad-cutter loads.

    Maybe in a Scandium J-frame Smith noise/flash/recoil can be an issue?

  16. F-111 John

    F-111 John Active Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    Holt, MI
    I have a Glock 26, a S&W Model 19 4", a Dan Wesson 715 6", and a S&W Model 60 1 7/8". By far the loudest handgun I own is the snubbie Model 60 shooting .38 spl +P loads.
  17. sleepyone

    sleepyone Active Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    The Great State of Texas
    I shot a hog with ONE round of Corbon DPX 125 grain from my 4" 686 Plus last season without my hearing protection, and my ears rang and hurt bad for two hours. I was done deer hunting for the evening and about a dozen hogs ran up on me while I was at my feeder. They were as surprised as me I think. I killed the lead one with a shoulder shot from 21'.

    I had never experienced that kind of ear pain from a gun blast. I learned my lesson after that and wear hearing protection until I get back in my truck. Never know when an animal might run across your path.
  18. farm23

    farm23 Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Mountains NC
    When I hunt or at my range I now use electronic hearing protection, it improves normal hearing and protects my ears. When walking in the woods I don't wear hearing protection but probably should. I have some hearing loss [my wife says it is "selective'] that comes from age, shooting loud guns when young and flying loud airplanes. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube but when I was young we did not really think about hearing loss.
  19. Blue1

    Blue1 New Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    I'm kinda surprised at the sensitivity of some of those that shoot full load .357 Mag. I'm a big, reasonably strong man, but hardly exceptional at 53 years old.

    I have a 6" 686 and while the Mag loads are noticeably louder with more recoil than .38 special, it is hardly unmanageable. I realize this is a heavy revolver, but didn't LEs carry 6" revolvers? Jeez, it's not a .460 or .500 Mag.

    My .45 ACP Scandium-framed and 4" barreled 325 has a noticeably stronger kick than my 686 with Mag loads. Still not a problem with follow-up shots, only a fraction of a second longer than the 686. A little tougher shooting one-handed perhaps, but again, hardly unmanageable.

    In summary, if one can't shoot a 6" (or even a 4") .357 Magnum steel revolver competently, I don't think one is qualified to be an LEO.

    One last comment; hearing protection is absolutely essential. Hearing loss is cumulative and permanent.

  20. Rexster

    Rexster Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    I am not yet retired. I did carry .357 Magnum sixguns in the duty rig from 1984 to as recently as 1997, and still carry .357 revolvers concealed. Yes, they are loud and obnoxious when fired, but so are other cartridges; I think the .40 S&W can be about as bad, and of course, .41 and .44 Mags are worse.

    The few times I have mistakenly fired .357 mags without hearing protection, my ears rang for a while. The one time I deliberately fired a .357 without hearing protection, it sounded like a muted "pop," with no ringing or pain. Such is the effect of body alarm reaction, a.k.a. fight-or-flight. I am not saying that there was no effect on my hearing, but let's keep in mind that the science says it is prolonged, repeated exposure that really does the damage, more so than the occasional, isolated shot.

    Flash? The cheap practice ammo will have a lot of flash. Good duty/defensive ammo has little flash. I qual low light annually, and even the cheap stuff, with its substantial muzzle flash, does NOT blind me, or anyone I know. One time, I drove well out in into a wild area, away from city lights, and after letting my eyes adjust to the darkness, fired several .41 and .357 magnum duty loads. I was not blinded. Magnum flash, of gunwriter legend? Much ado about nothing...

    Recoil? If a service-sized .357 sixgun recoils so much that it interferes with follow-up shots, the shooter is doing it wrong. Yes, there is a learning curve with magnums, but follow-up shots can be made quickly. I cannot address the shooting of light-alloy-framed magnum revolvers, which seems, to me, abusive to the shooter.

    My formerly-stronger wrist and the base joint of that hand's thumb are, today, feeling the effects of recoil, which I mostly attribute to shooting .44 and .41 magnums in the 1980s, with N-frame revolvers that were/are too big for me to hold correctly. I now shoot powerful .357 loads only from GP100-sized sixguns, and milder magnums from the lighter weapons. When I fired .38 +P from alloy-framed, titanium-cylinder J-and L-frame snubbies, I knew that I would never want to shoot magnums in those guns! All-steel, for me, please; thanks.

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