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Best .357 Magnum Defense Loads?

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

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  1. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Yes, a bullet must penetrate deep enough to reach vital organs and vessels.
    But over penetration accomplishes nothing except endangering things beyond the intended target.

    If penetration is all that matters then folks would be carrying full metal jacket rounds instead of hollow-point rounds and soft-tip rounds or semi-wadcutter hollow-points.

    Take the 9mm Para FMJ rounds for example....
    It never had a problem with penetration.
    In fact it would often over-penetrate the target and pass clean through, but it was not a greater "man stopper".
    But the 9mm performs better as a hollow-point.

    The old 158g lead round nose .38 special would penetrate plenty too, but it was notorious for not stopping the bad guys.

    Energy is certainly not the only thing that matters, but it definitely matters.
    All other things being equal, high energy rounds tend to perform better than low energy rounds when it comes to quickly stopping humans.


    Easy
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  2. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    KE has little to do with predicting incapacitation times in service calibers. The energy dump myth is just that, a myth.

    Through and through shots can cause rapid incapacitation, best exemplified by hardcast WFN bullet designs, plus, one doesn't need to load past 1100fps to do so - 357/180WFN/1100fps. Makes for a great trail carry or for hunting black bears, and it's not high on the KE charts.
     
  3. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    Factory 125s/158s will both do the job if the need arises. 158s are in the same sectional density group as the 10mm/200gr. Back in the day nearly all the agencies in the state I worked in, 357s, carried Remington 158gr SJHPs, as did the DEA. Figure the Remington 125gr SJHP through a 4" as a 12" penetrating bullet, factory Speer 158gr Gold Dots 20+".

    Given the rural, isolated area that I live in, I load Winchester 158gr JHPs to 1437fps. It's good for about 19.5" of penetration, excellent for any angle of fire on large 4-leg/2-leg vermin. Interestingly enough, increasing the MV of a 158gr Nosler JHP to 1480fps, more energy, the bullet expanded wider than the Winchester 158JHP, therefore decreasing penetration to 15.8".

    I tried Hornady factory personal defense 125gr FTX, it's rated at 1500fps, but through an 8" barrel. I found that velocity rating to be very misleading because I was chronographing only 1290fps out of a 4" Dan Wesson. The same Dan Wesson that chronographed 1456fps with Remington's 125gr SJHP. This Remington ammunition is my go to town carry.
     
  4. golden

    golden Member

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    Several choices

    LOUISIANA,

    My choice for my .357 magnums are the 110 grain jhp loads. WINCHESTER makes a WHITE BOX version of this load that is pretty mild by .357 standards. My agency used to issue the 110 jhp loads, usually REMINGTON or FEDERAL to officers carrying the S&W model 13.
    For officers carrying the RUGER revolvers or the S&W 686, they issued the REMINGTON 125 grain jhp.
    It only took one shot to notice the difference on the range, with much more muzzle blast, recoil and a flash that could be seen on a bright summer day when using the 125 grain jhp.
    The 125 grain loads had a great reputation in the many gunfights that they were used in. Still, I prefer the less noise, less blast and less recoil of the 110 grain jhp for my own shooting. I found the recoil to about the same or less than the 158 grain +P .38 Special loads.

    Jim
     
  5. fxstchewy

    fxstchewy Member

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    I think for indoors i would want/like the Buffalo Bore 158 38 +P, shoots like a low end .357 and has low Flash powder.
     
  6. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    I looked up some old records on the Winchester Silvertips.

    I read that they penetrated 16.4" in calibrated gel but I don't remember the source. This was out of a S&W 686 4".
     
  7. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

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    I use Buffalo Bore 180 grain hard cast LFN-GC (lead flat-nose with a gas check) for .357 carry.

    I made this choice based on three criteria: accuracy, bullet weight, and penetration. Recoil is negligible in a Gp100 and I imagine it wouldn't be an issue in a 686.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  8. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I don't worry too terribly much about which round I put in my .357. Currently it has Hornady 125gr XTP JHP. I've also carried Buffalo Bore 125gr and 158gr JHP, and Buffalo Bore 125gr Barnes JHP, and Federal C357B, and Remington 125gr SJHP, and various .38spl loads, and and...I wouldn't mind having any of them in it.


    Tony_the_tiger: Our ideas of "negligible" are apparently quite different if you consider a Buffalo Bore .357 magnum to have 'negligible' recoil, even in a full size GP100.
     
  9. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

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    Haha Warp... I've punished myself by training with a S&W 442 (.38 special) and a S&W 296 (.44 special). Both always leave a lump on my hand, and after prolonged use can cause some bleeding. These days, I've learned to shoot a few cylinders full and leave it at that. Grip positioning and technique can mitigate the risks of shooting with J and L frame revolvers, but it takes some doing.

    The Gp100, on the other hand, is wonderful to shoot. However, I perceive 125 grain full-power rounds to have comparable recoil to the 180 grain loads I am using. Both are stout, yet nothing compared to the lightweight guns. Like most things in life, there are trade-offs. The lightweight J frame enhances comfort of carry and ease of concealment. The sacrifice is recoil, sight acquisition, power, and ammo capacity. The Gp100 and 686 are beautiful, highly engineered, and can shoot loads I wouldn't dare to shoot in a lightweight gun. The trade-off is they are a pain in the butt to conceal and are not very comfortable for prolonged carry. Truth be told, I'm on a Remington 870 kick right now for home defense... but I understand its limitations in regards to concealability!

    One of the best things about the .357 caliber selections are their versatility. The S&W 686, for example, has several excellent ammunition choices for carry that will match nearly anyone's defense, target, collecting, or hunting needs. Whether it is light and fast, heavy and fast, heavy and slow, hot, cold, warm, or somewhere in between, what matters most is that the shooter has practiced with their ammunition selection to verify accuracy and reliability.

    The original poster specifically asked about 125 gold dots, so here is brassfetcher's gelatin video of that round:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7w4M-LNXuQ

    On a related note, I must say I agree with Don (USSR), whom posted previously:

    This is my personal sentiment as well. Yet, you'll note the Speer Gold Dot in Brassfetcher's video penetrated through the gelatin block.

    Hollowpoints, at times, will not penetrate to the vitals. At other times, they will penetrate completely. The benefits of hollowpoint bullet designs, in my opinion, are outweighed by their unpredictability. #Trooper Mark Coates, RIP.

    Firearm safety rule #3 is to know your target and what is behind it. If a hollowpoint fails to expand it will likely behave like a full metal jacket...

    Hence the benefit of a hot hardcast wadcutter - it is already expanded to full caliber or near it, it will consistently and reliably penetrate the target, and there are no misconceptions about how the bullet might behave.

    For more thoughts on bullet selection, see pages 12-14 of this FBI report.

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf

    RE: Ammunition Selection Criteria

    At the end of the day, I've found that I am most comfortable with hardcast lead for the time being. However, I am not advocating this for everyone. I hike very often, and I make my selection based on that and the other environments that I choose to legally carry in. So that is what I have been training with, and Buffalo Bore has been getting the nod. I have also carried gold dots, dpx, xtp, golden sabres... and a variety of brands that have performed very well for me and for others.

    I encourage the original poster to try a few different loads and test them for reliability, accuracy, recoil, style, theoretical behavior, manufacturer loyalty, or any other criteria they set, and I am glad they have chosen The High Road as a venue for learning and discussion regarding our shared interests in firearms.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  10. 1madss

    1madss Member

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    Are the low flash powders really lower in flash?

    I had picked up a couple of boxes of the BB short barrel 158g jhp(19E) to give them a try to see if there is truly a noticeable difference in flash or not. I bought them to use in a 3" M13 for HD/SD but have not had a chance to try them yet. I thought I would shoot a couple of cylinders loaded alternately with some Magtech 158g that are advertised about the same velocity. Hardly scientific, but with the cost/availability right now it will have to do.
     
  11. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I disagree.. common/traditional 158 grain .357 and 240 grain .44 mag soft points are almost too stout to use on deer and way to heavy built for defense. I consider those two to be essentially a solid.
     
  12. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    If you're going to carry 357 Magnum, then I think it's better to go with the hot rounds. You have only six shots, so they may as well "speak with authoritay!"

    If you're going to go with a 125 grain bullet at 1200 FPS, you may as well switch to 9x19mm and go with one of the hotter loads. Standard pressure Speer Gold Dot 124 grain JHP chronographed at 1125-1150 FPS from my Glock. Hotter loads are available that can get to 1200+ FPS.
     
  13. S.B.

    S.B. Member

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    I know my memory has faded and times they are a changin' but, two Detroit LEOs determind long ago that 125 grain Rememington hollow points stop most gun fights faster and with only one shot, faster than any other ammo going.
    Steve
     
  14. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Prove it.

    A boxer can kill a man with one punch because the boxer transfers (dumps) the energy of his punch in to the body of his opponent.
    Energy dump is not a myth.
     
  15. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Simple. How many law enforcement cops survived being shot because they had body armor? They absorbed all that energy but in most cases little actual damage was done to their body. Energy dump does not tell the story. That energy must do something useful to work. If I shot you with a 147 fmj 9mm through the heart and the bullet kept going through you, you are most likely gonna die. Now what if that was a 147 hollow point that stopped short of your heart and expended all that energy into you. What good did all that energy dump do?
     
  16. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Quote:
    The energy dump myth is just that, a myth.

    It's not any "energy" mathematical calculation that a punch by a boxer may deliver that could concievably kill someone; it's trauma, and only if delivered in the right place. Now, instead of a boxing glove, deliver the same amount of thrust with a sharp, pointed object with the same mass. I'll take the punch any day.

    Don
     
  17. Warp

    Warp Member

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    USSR hit it: Key word is trauma.
     
  18. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    Trauma that overloads the CNS or destroys the heart and lungs' ability to provide the brain and muscles with oxygenated blood. Profuse bleeding that causes the BP to drop to a point where the body can't function.
    These are things that stop an animal, 2 legs, 4 legs, or no legs.

    The Buffalo Bore .38 +P lead SWCHP is a very good choice.
     
  19. LouisianaGunner12

    LouisianaGunner12 Member

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    Doesn't the speed of the bullet help cause more trauma, though?
     
  20. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    Not necessarily. It can, but shot placement and bullet design are more important.
    Velocity helps expansion, to a degree, depending on bullet type and construction.
     
  21. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

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    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf

    In some hollow-point designs, increasing the velocity decreases the penetration. You also have to be careful with highly engineered bullets such as gold dots, which are designed to hold up within certain parameters but, in some calibers, tend to fragment if pushed beyond their limit, very much like lead foster slugs.

    In my experience, FMJ full metal jacket ball ammo and round nose ammo performs much differently than LFN lead flat nose or SWC semi wad-cutter ammo. The latter tend to create a larger wound channel and crush through material whereas the former tend to create a smaller wound channel and bounce off things.

    Revolver owners are fortunate to have a selection that is independent of feeding/extraction issues common in semi-automatic pistol designs, which gives us more variety in ammo shape.
     
  22. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Maybe. Maybe not.


    Shot placement is king, penetration is queen, everything else is just gravy.
     
  23. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I've seen what I've seen and I think velocity is a prime/disparate contributor..
    I think current convention holds that "hydrostatic" shock is essentially true in even marginal calibers.. meaning that even a high speed 9 or so will burst blood vessels in the brain with a center mass hit.
     
  24. Warp

    Warp Member

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    That isn't my take on the 'current convention' at all.
     
  25. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    That's just fine.
     
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