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Best .357 Magnum Defense Loads?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by LouisianaGunner12, Mar 15, 2013.

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  1. LouisianaGunner12

    LouisianaGunner12 Member

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    I've been carrying my 686 4" loaded with .38 Special +P, but I'd like to move up carrying .357 Magnum ammo in it. I practice a lot with .357 anyway, so it would be smarter.

    I'd like to carry a load that isn't so hot that follow up shots are difficult, but not the watered down "short barrel" loads either (not any better than .38 +p, IMHO). A 125 grain, 1450 fps load would be preferred, but not the "barn burner" loads. Something with the stopping power that the .357 Mag is known for.

    .357 carriers, what ammo do you use? What would be a reasonable load for a 4" 686?
     
  2. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    Right now seems a poor time to be choosy. Honestly, if it's a 125gr jhp, it'll do. Get what's on the shelf.
     
  3. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Winchester Silvertips 145gr. STHP are very good intermediate rounds.
     
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Not sure if you know what you want. The 1,400 to 1,450 fps 125 gr JHP IS the maximum full power load from the big ammo companies and has the reputation as the no. 1 stopping power handgun round from a 4" service revolver. Frankly any .357 mag JHP load is more than adequate for self defense. Personally I use the Remington Golden Sabers which is loaded to a medium velocity of 1,200 + fps that is a lot more potent than any .38 spl load or any other .357 mag 125gr JHP loaded to full power but expect lots of muzzle blast and flash.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I agree, I really like the 145gr Winchester Silvertips too. It's even my favorite load in my M640.
     
  6. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    The 38+p loads are a good balance of power,shot recovery ,flash & somewhat easier on the ears . Indoors the noise is precieved to be `bout the same.

    I load my SD ammo with a HP 358156 that weighs 152gr. over 4.8 gr CLAYS.
    in a 357 case , they chrony at 1100-1150 fps, they do very well in soaking sand.

    102_0371.jpg
     
  7. Arizonagunrunner

    Arizonagunrunner member

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    If you dont want to use the master blaster 125's from Remington or Federal, then I would say use the Remington 158 grn sjhp in the green /yellow box.
    This is an awesome round in itself. It is less in recoil and still will get the job done.
    Silvertips are a good option also.
     
  8. ssyoumans

    ssyoumans Member

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    125's are a hoot to shoot, but do give that Magnum blast. If you are looking to reduce that somewhat, then the advice above on the 140gr bullets is a good choice. I haven't tried the Silver tips yet, but the Hornady 140gr XTP do just over 1300 fps from my 3" SP101, that's over 529 ft-lbs. 6" runs 1425 fps. These are full power loads.

    Buffalo bore makes a 'standard load' using a 140gr bullet as well with just a little less blast and velocity. They ran 1200 and 1330 fps from the 3" and 6".
     
  9. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    I personally like the heavier grain bullets. I'm in the process of developing my own load with 140gr Hornady JHPs. Until then I carry the Remington 158gr SJHPs.
     
  10. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Let me tell you my experience with the Winchester 145gr SilverTips, as I used them for deer hunting for a few years. First deer I shot was hit in the spine and went down, which allowed me to walk up and finish it off. With the 2nd deer, I was in my tree stand in the morning when I heard another hunters shot. A deer approached me with a bad hind leg and proceeded to lay down beneath me about 25 feet away. I figured I would put it down for the hunter who had shot it, and shot it in the back angling down into the chest with my 6" M686. At the shot, the deer got up and hobbled off. Couldn't believe it. Anyways, in the afternoon I was hunting nearby with my shotgun when a limping deer comes along. So, I shot it and took it home. Field dressing it showed that it had a mushroomed .357 caliber bullet in the fat and gristle which never penetrated into the chest cavity. I quit hunting with them after that. YMMV, but the lack of penetration with that load turned me off from ever considering using it for serious work. Just MHO.

    Don
     
  11. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    I've had the exact opposite experiences hunting hogs with the Silvertips.
     
  12. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    I'm a silvertip fan, myself. That's what's in my model 13 currently. I am reminded, however, of a quote attributed to Clint Smith roughly along the lines of "if it's hollow on one end and says '.357' on the other, you're probably OK".
     
  13. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Yes, a good load for a 13.
     
  14. nathan

    nathan Member

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    I load mine with Monarch 158 gr SJP bought from Academy. That should be enough to blow through 14 inches of flesh and bones at 7 yds or closer.
     
  15. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    I don't know. They're making animals, two and four legged, tougher these days, aren't they?:rolleyes:
     
  16. LouisianaGunner12

    LouisianaGunner12 Member

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    Thinking of trying the Speer 125 grain loads. Anyone have experience with those?
     
  17. Zonamo

    Zonamo Member

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    You might want to look at Buffalo Bore. Their "watered down short barrel load" shows their 125g JHP at 1,445 fps from a 4" Mountain Gun, just what you asked for.

    I prefer their 158 grain load which I can confirm is dead on for velocity when put over the chrono in my own guns, just like everything I have ever bought from them. And it really is low flash, controllable recoil as advertised. The only thing I would caution on is (at least on my last order) they used a semi-jacketed hollow point for the 158 grain instead of the JHP shown in the picture if that is something you would object to.
     
  18. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Actually it would NOT be smarter at all. I use 10x25 and my fav defensive load is Federal 180gr JHPs at about 1100fps which is about equal to .40S&W loadings.
     
  19. critter

    critter Member

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    In a self defense situation, my idea is that I DO NOT want a pass through, but as much 'energy dump' as I can get. Therefore, I'd use light, fast, JHP's made by a good manufacturer. I'd have to think that, absent armor or some such, that you'd get plenty of penetration to be effective-QUICKLY-which is what you want.

    I've used them on small vermin and seen what they do.
     
  20. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    I keep my 4-inch GP100 loaded with .357 Golden Sabers.
     
  21. LouisianaGunner12

    LouisianaGunner12 Member

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    I'll order some, if they're in stock. Seems like everyone's out of stock on all calibers these days. Like Texan Scott said, now's not the the time to be choosy but oh well.
     
  22. Torian

    Torian Member

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    The 158 bonded gold dots are my choice. Outstanding performer. TNToutdoors did some great ballistic testing on them on youtube.
     
  23. PlaneJain

    PlaneJain Member

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    Why would someone use a hollowpoint on a deer anyways? Soft point, I repeat, SOFT POINTs all the way. Save the hollowpoints for bad guys and varmints
     
  24. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Here is some data that might help you.
    It's the muzzle energy from a 4" barrel:

    Rem. Golden Saber 125g = 413 ft.lbs.
    Blazer 3542 JHP 158g = 464
    Win. PDX1 125g = 487
    Fed. Hydra-shok 158g = 494
    Sellier & Bellot soft-point 158g = 500
    Fed. Hydra-shok 130g = 511
    Corbon JHP 140g = 525
    Speer Gold Dot 158g = 535
    Rem. P&R 158g = 535
    Win. Silvertip 145g = 535
    Win. Super-X 158g = 535
    Corbon JHP 125g = 544
    Rem. P&R 125g = 583
    Rem. UMC 125g = 583
    Win. Super-X 125g = 583
    Speer Gold Dot 125g = 584

    The data is from the various maker's websites.


    And just for a comparison, here are some .38 Special +P muzzle energy numbers, from a 4" barrel:

    Speer Gold Dot 125g = 248
    Win. Super-X 125g = 248
    Win. Silvertip 125g = 248
    Fed. Hydra-shok 129g = 258
    Win. PDX1 130g = 260
    Rem. Golden Saber 125g = 264
    Win. Super-X lead semi-wadcutter HP 158g = 278

    I hope this helps.

    Easy
     
  25. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Muzzle energy is merely a calculation involving bullet mass and velocity. Have to laugh when guys say "I want the bullet to not exit so that it expends all the muzzle energy". When dealing with flesh and bone, it's all about penetration and destruction. If a bullet fails to penetrate, it fails, period, and it doesn't matter what the E=1/2mv^2 number is. Just MHO.

    Don
     
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