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.357 Magnum Too Much Recoil?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BluedRevolver, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Well-Known Member

    Do yall think the typical self defense .357 magnum load (1450 fps, SJHP, 125 grains) has too much recoil and muzzle blast/flash to be a preferred self defense round out of a 6" revolver?
  2. KAS1981

    KAS1981 Well-Known Member

    I've fired 158 grain .357 out of my 2" SP101. It had more wallop than .38 for sure, but it was far from unmanageable. I don't have any reservations about leaving those rounds in there for self defense.

    Dunno about muzzle blast, never fired it in the dark. Didn't notice anything at all in broad daylight (obviously).
  3. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Well-Known Member

    i have a 6" s&w 686 and am thinking about using it for home defense and maybe keep it in the truck, that's why I'm asking.
  4. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    Depends on your given defense environment. It's probably a little better for the street than for inside a small apartment at 3AM, but certainly not unmanageable. I've shot countless 125-grain SJHP Magnum-loads from four-inch revolvers, and had no recoil issues. However, none was fired indoors, in the dark, and sans hearing protection..
  5. KAS1981

    KAS1981 Well-Known Member

    A 686 has quite a bit more heft to it than my Ruger. I'd say you'd be fine.
  6. Smith357

    Smith357 Well-Known Member

    Only you can determine what load is right in your hand, Something I can tolerate may be too much for you or vice versa. A lot of felt recoil can be adjusted with grip styles. I put a set of custom wood grips on my 4" 586 and shooting magnum loads was downright painful for me. I also tried Pachmyer Decelerators, while comfortable to shoot were just butt fugly, so I switched back to the stock target grips.
  7. pikid89

    pikid89 Well-Known Member

    125's are a blast to shoot out of my 4" 686...a 6" should be even easier
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    125's are more controllable in your pistol than 158's.

    The muzzle blasts are awesome. You will get big fire balls out the end of your muzzle.

    125's should be an excellent self defense round.
  9. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Well-Known Member

    A 6" gun would be unweildly in a truck.
  10. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    While I haven't fired alot of .357's in the dark I have fired a few cylinder's full here and there. I can't remember ever noticing a big muzzle flash, I was always firing at a critter at the time so maybe that has something to do with it? Just didn't notice it maybe? I guess I have a project for tomorrow nite, guess i'll fire a couple rounds and pay attention.
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

  12. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

    Yes. The muzzle blast alone keeps me from seriously considering a .357 as a regular carry revolver (even though I have one listed on my CCW license). This can permanently damage hearing and cause pain that could compromise a defensive situation (in my opinion only).

    I once fired my .45 auto without effective ear protection. It would have been more comfortable to have two ice picks jammed in my ears. My ears rang for days after that and I can almost guarantee that I suffered permanent damage. At my age (62), I cannot afford that anymore.

    Who here has fired a .357 revolver with no ear protection and can tell us that it was tolerable? I am interested if it is possible.

  13. Mick_W

    Mick_W Well-Known Member

    Have a 2.25" sp101 and I love shooting .357 out of it, I can get all 5 rounds off in about 2 seconds on group fairly well. It is one of my bedside guns. My 6" .44mag has more recoil on some hot loads and can shoot just fine with that as well.

    for instance me firing my 629 with some decently hot loads. muzzle flash is fairly big. And yeah I know I am a fairly big boy.
  14. whalerman

    whalerman member

    I don't enjoy shooting .357 ammo out of much of anything. But you're not going to be doing that very often. Shoot the hot stuff enough to be familiar with it then have it ready for HD. Hopefully, that won't be a necessary use. If you need it it will be there. There are also some low kicking .357 loads out there to choose from.
  15. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Well-Known Member

    I would never want to shoot a full power 357 in my hallway! I have a 45 for that , and even then I might damage my hearing. I have forgotten to wear hearing protection a couple of time at the range, my 357 plinking loads are med. reloads and they rang my ears pretty good. The only thing I can say in favor of using the 357 as home defense is that I hunt with a 6.5in Blackhawk and have never hurt my ears shooting it at game in the field!...dont know why or how thats possible?
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    The short answer to the question is...probably. The .357 Magnum is a great cartridge, and I enjoy it a lot. Is it a good defense round? Absolutely. Is it a practical defense round? Not so much unless the gun is big and heavy enough to absorb its recoil.

    Bearing in mind that the .357's original intent was as an outdoorsman's cartridge, and the gun that was wrapped around it was a big N-Frame. When fired in a medium-framed revolver like the K-Frame Smith...it approaches an unmanageable level unless equipped with large, hand-filling stocks. That works well, but the downside is that the gun becomes much less concealable. When it's chambered in a smaller revolver, these issues are even more pronounced. Even when fired with some of the excellent grip designs, it's right on the point of diminishing returns.

    I have a personal yardstick that I use for determining the suitability of a gun/cartridge combination for concealed carry and personal defense. It assumes a near worst-case scenario...but since these things often have a way of going sideways...I feel that it's a better test than assuming an ideal situation.

    If I can't keep 6 rounds in an 8-inch circle at 10 feet in 3 seconds due to losing my grip on the gun under recoil...I step down to a lower power level. It's been demonstrated that fast, multiple hits from less powerful rounds are more likely to stop the fight than one, even at twice the energy level...and because losing control of the gun in a frantic, high stress situation is more likely to produce errant shots...for me, the trade-off is worth it.

    As much as I want to stop the immediate threat before me...I don't want bullets skipping off to parts unknown, and possibly taking out kindly old Aunt Betsy, as she pushes her shopping cart across the parking lot at the Piggly Wiggly a block away.
  17. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Well-Known Member

    It's loud, but with the heft and muzzle-forward balance of a 6" full sized revolver, the recoil is not bad at all if you hold on tight. Muzzle flash will depend on which ammo you use; manufacturers are in some cases advertising reduced flash. You may want to shop around and see if they are on the level about this.

    It has been a while since I fooled with the numbers, but the way I remember it is this. From guns of equal weight, the amount of recoil scales to the weight of the bullet, times the velocity, so the amount of force involved in firing 125 grains at 1450 is like that of firing 250 grains at 725, and people in cowboy hats do that all the time.

    If I'm misremembering about the recoil correlation I am sure someone will be along in a moment to correct me! (Oh--and for more precision you should probably add the weight of the powder charge to the weight of the bullet, since that conserved mass is coming out of the end too, but that's trivial and negligible in this instance.)
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Pretty well nailed it, Kendal...except for one small point.

    Many people automatically equate recoil with muzzle velocity. While it's closely related, it doesn't really provide all the information.

    Recoil is no more than backward acceleration of the gun, or...in the case of the autopistol...the slide. That comes as a response to the forward acceleration of the bullet and powder mass. The higher the rate of acceleration, the higher the recoil forces. This is due to the force requirement to achieve that rate of acceleration. Since even the slowest pistol-grade powders achieve peak pressure/force within a half-inch of bullet movement, so recoil/backward acceleration goes.

    With a really quick powder like Bullseye or HP-38, peak pressure/force and acceleration can occur before the base of the bullet even clears the case. Depending on the barrel length and powder burn rate...bullet velocity can actually be higher at some point in the barrel before it exits.
  19. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    I have no problem with the .357 with hot 125 grainers as far as control goes. I shoot them by the thousand.
  20. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    1911 and KB said it best, but to more or less echo that

    No, felt recoil itself is really not a big deal for most folks out of an all steel 6" revolver (although it can wicked bad out of much smaller lighter guns)

    Unless you have Godzilla hands & arms, muzzle flip will slow you tad on follow ups, split times between shots, though not drastically so, unless you are into speed competition, so whether or not that matters is very much is up to your own judgement. I would not really worry about it, but some do, slower is slower, but it will cost you accuracy if you don't slow it down and that can certainly matter.

    but.. it's an outdoors round, too much NOISE and FLASH for indoors, especially so in low light

    Fired indoors, at home, within confines of typical room size at home without ear protection you can do your hearing permanent damage, no kidding. Been there, done that. Some claim the adrenaline rush under stress will protect you from that, but I wouldn't bet on it. The damage is just not always all that short term apparent, but it does not go away when your ears finally stop "ringing". The temporary 'ringing' and partial deafness will last for minutes, not seconds, perhaps many minutes depending on environment.

    Even if you choose to dismiss the ear damage potential, there is no denying the FLASH. Fired in very subdued light, low light, it's just awesome. You vision will be temporarily impaired, count on it.

    This you can try at home or elsewhere, preferably outdoors at dark-thirty, when there is very barely enough light to sight by, or after dark only if guaranteed a safe backdrop. Throw a few rounds rapid fire, "see" for yourself. Have a friend safely observe off from the side whilst you do this (with a dark background view), and friend will probably be surprised that you still have eyebrows. (my friend was)
    You just never see all that in broad daylight.

    so.. I do not suggest 357 for in home, at home, for those reasons. I am ok with 38+P, and even that is more than loud and flashy enough, but it's as far as I choose to step down

    "Who here has fired a .357 revolver with no ear protection and can tell us that it was tolerable?"
    yeah, me.. ONCE.. outdoors thank gawd, in a small creek bank with real high steep sides, enclosed but for no ceiling... don't do that to yourself
    ears rang for a couple of hours after
    at about dark-thirty, yeah, it sure enough will impact your vision briefly, not good for fast follow up shots, no
    357 Terms
    "have never hurt my ears shooting it at game in the field!"
    the difference between the great open outdoors and 'in-the-hallway' is so extreme, it's hard to believe, unless you have done it
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011

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