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.357 Magnum Too Much Recoil?

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

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  1. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    Smith357 Member

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    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 Member

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

    Slamfire Member

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    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 Member

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

    shiftyer1 Member

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    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 Member

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    No.
     
  12. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    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.

    Dan
     
  13. Mick_W

    Mick_W Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. whalerman

    whalerman member

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    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 Member

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    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

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    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 Member

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    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

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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

    PS
    bergmen
    "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
  21. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    I prefer +P 158gr LHPSWC's for self defense - like the softish Remington R38S12 load for my snubbies (840+ fps from my 642) - and harder GA Arms versions for my longer revolvers (995 fps from my 6" 66). The lighter/faster .357M rounds are tougher on the firearm - even causing more topstrap erosion. While a 158gr LHPSWC is lod at 995 fps - it's a boom - no supersonic 'crack'.

    Stainz
     
  22. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I'm a retired L.E. officer of 25yrs experience and a NRA "Highmaster" shooter. I've shot several million rounds (no exageration), of .38spl, and several thousand rd's of .357mag.

    A lot of "casual" shooters will experience "issues" with the recoil and muzzle blast of the .357. Especially indoors or in dark alleys, the blast can be deafening and the muzzle flash blinding.

    Winchester greatly helped this with the 145gr SilverTip load. I carried it for many years. It solved the problem with "flash" with a flash retardant in the powder. (The new Alliant PowerPro 300 makes this available to the reloader...). Also, the velocity of the 145 was slightly reduced from the "potential" velocity for recoil reduction.

    Let me assure you however, that under the "excitement and duress" of an actual confrontation and firing in self-defense", you'll remember little if any recoil, and will only "casually" remember the muzzle flash and blast.
    BTDT.....

    You may even wish that you'd have had a .454Casull, after the fact......Even wished that I'd have had a 10ga instead of a 12ga, once.....

    If I was still "on the job", I'd still prefer the .357mag, given a choice. I didn't have a choice, so I carried the issued Glock .40.
    It was "ok", just no where near as accurate as the Mod 686 I reluctantly turned in.
    I still carried the 155gr Winchester Silver Tip. Based on the deer I shot with it, it would do an equally good job as the .357mag.
     
  23. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    My hats off to a guy who has shot several million revolver rounds. Heck, it would take over 200 rounds per day every day for 25 years to add up to just 2 million. I wish I had the time and money to be that dedicated.
     
  24. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    The original question was, "Does the typical 125gr load have too much recoil/blast to be effective?"

    My answer is, YES! 125gr loads, in my experience, have a much louder CRACK, more recoil and torque to the wrist than heavier stuff. In fact, I'll use the words obnoxious and uncomfortable to describe 125gr loads.

    Just for grins, I've let others shoot my GP100 with 158gr and slip a couple of 125gr in. To a person, all have said they did not appeciate the joke. I told them it was a test (and it was) to see if others have the same experience as me - dislike for 125gr.

    Keep mine on the heavier side, please. In fact, I have a 180gr load I've worked up that I really, really enjoy for a range load. Probably not the best HD load, though.

    Q
     
  25. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    A lot of "casual" shooters burn through a million revolver rounds over time. I bet you may have CPE, if you count all rounds, unless you do only centerfire
    a brick a week of 22 rimfire, 50 weeks a year is 25,000.. You do that for 40 years, that's a million, not even counting centerfire, a few thousand a year
    (and everybody I know that owns a 357 has shot a few thousand 357s thru 'em over time)

    I think I am some shy of that in over 40 (more like 50) years myself; a couple of million is impressive though

    even us 'casual' shooters never remember recoil/blast when shooting at bambi afield
    but not all of us 'casual' non-professional non-competitive folks have bulletproof eardrums, go figure :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
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