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Is the 4 inch 357 Magnum overrated???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Greg8098, Nov 18, 2006.

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  1. Greg8098

    Greg8098 Member

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    I've always heard that the standard factory 125 gr. bullet exits the muzzle at approx. 1450 fps, therefore having a considerable lead over the 357 sig @ 1350 fps. But I now hear that the true velocity from the revolver is actually around 1350 fps :scrutiny: . Anyone know of this??
     
  2. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    First, 100 fps is a marginal difference. You can shoot ammo from the same box that might vary that much. Differences between .357 Mag and .357SIG are also minimal IMO. Same weight, same speed = same thing. The .357 Magnum (9x33mm) uses a much longer round than the .357SIG (9x21mm, IIRC), and since I'm not an expert I won't even pretend to know how that affects wounding capability.

    If you want a .357, then IMHO, it should be all about the platform you want to shoot it from. Small & light, medium size/weight, or big & heavy? Capacity is another factor. Guns chambered for .357SIG usually hold 10-12 rounds. Most guns chambered for .357 Magnum are revolvers, and hold between 5 and 8 in the cylinder. The desert eagle is the only auto I know of chambered in .357 Magnum, and holds 7+1 IIRC.

    .357 Magnum is a helluvalot louder than .357SIG, and the recoil is different. The .357 Magnum has been around for quite a while and has had a long time to prove itself - that's why most people prefer the .357 Magnum.

    As for what the projectile is going to do to a human being, I'm of the belief that once you get above 9mm, it all does the same thing.

    If you're like me and it seems too close to call, just get both. :)
     
  3. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    When we're talking 125gr full-house loads, the best rounds from specialty ammo houses such as Buffalo Bore and Doubletap exceed the 357Sig by a decent margin.

    However, with the 357Mag you have three additional choices:

    * Really light stuff such as the 38+P and even milder. 148gr target wadcutters at 700fps are awesome as newbie trainers.

    * "Mild 357 loads" that still get the job done - see also this thread:

    http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=235134

    * "Superheavyweights" from 158gr through 200gr that are just impossible in autoloaders and give a "critter defense" edge the 357Sig can't match.

    The 4" 357 is "all that" not just because it's the best manstopper around this side of a handcannon, but because it's -=flexible=- as well.
     
  4. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Member

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    The .357 SIG was designed to duplicate the performance of the 125 grain .357 Mag hollowpoint for self-defense or for service purposes. That load was said to be the most effective one-shot stopper in some studies. The .357 SIG makes that load performance possible in a higher capacity semi-auto platform. If that is what you intend to use the weapon for, the semi-auto might be the best choice. I already have a .40, which supposedly is very near the same capability, so the .357 SIG doesn't really interest me.

    I'm new to the .357 Mag., but I purchased the revolvers for the flexibility available. I can carry the 125 gr. load for self-defense, or I can plink with milder .38 special loads or choose a load with heavy bullets to hunt with.
     
  5. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    Jim March is absolutely right... nothing beats the versatility/flexibility of the .357 Magnum revolver, and .357SIG doesn't have heavy loads available for hunting or critter defense. The 158gr. is the heaviest .357SIG available, IIRC.

    My original post was only meant to reflect what differences may or may not exist in conventional SD loads, and in a self defense/CCW application, with 125gr. rounds. Should have been more clear about that.
     
  6. up_onus

    up_onus Member

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    i wonder if 100 fps will make any difference for anything...need bigger? get a rifle or a carbine
     
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Make mine a .357 a revolver, thank you. Versatility is the main reason, but my handloads in 125 grain destroy .357 Sig ballistics. I get 1600 fps from a 4" barrel. That pretty much puts the lid on the .357 Sig, makes about 700 fpe. Those ballistics are what the .357 was originally intended to do before the big ammo companies neutered their loads from fears of liability lawsuits. I like the revolver and caliber as a back country hiking gun with heavy 158 grain SWC loads and as a small game getter with my 148 grain .38 wadcutter load which shoots into an inch at 25 yards out of my Taurus M66 OR my 6.5" Blackhawk. I've killed deer at 50 yards with that 158 grain magnum load from my Blackhawk. I have an even better, flatter shooting load now consisting of a 180 grain Hornady XTP moving at about 1450 fps from that Blackhawk. That one is very accurate right out to 100 yards. It's only 2" high at 50 and dead on at 100 and with the Blackhawk's iron sights I can put them into 4" off the bench at 100 yards.

    You simply can't do all that with the Sig. Yeah, it's a good self defense weapon, but that's ALL it is. If you like the outdoors like I do, the .357 4" revolver is a much more versatile weapon, that is, if you don't wish to own both. I rely on the .38, 9x19mm, and .45ACP with one gun in .380 for CCW self defense, though. My .357s are field guns carried open on a gun belt in a simple uncle mikes camo nylon holster. I gotta admit, though, I often leave the .357s at home and carry my .45 Colt.:D

    And, yep, I have a .357 Magnum 20" carbine and ballistics of the round from THAT gun dwarf any handgun. It's a really cool caliber, especially for the handloader. But, unlike a lot of calibers, you don't HAVE to be a handloader to enjoy the versatility of the guns in this caliber or be able to afford to shoot it. I think it's the first handgun round anyone should get. I know it was my first centerfire, though I had .22s before it.
     
  8. S&W620

    S&W620 Member

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    Personally I feel the 4 inch .357 mag is about as good as it gets. As others have pointed out, the versitility of the platform allows for such range in uses. Here are a few personal examples of how versitile this gun can be.

    1. Took my girlfriend to the range about a month and a half ago for the first time. We have been dating for about 2 1/2 years and she is pretty much an "anti" when in comes to guns and has wanted nothing to do with my hobby. Needless to say I was happy she decided to tag along. After showing her proper safety, grip, stance, etc. I fired off a few stout .357's so she could have a visual of what I was telling her. She had an OMG look on her face because of the noise and such. I assured her she wouldn't be shooting the .357's, just some .38 wadcutters to get her feet wet. After exactly one shot of the .38's out of the Smith she nearly laughed and replied "that's it?". The weight of the gun makes shooting these rounds seem almost rediculously easy. It took about 50 rounds of .38's before she wanted to step up and try the .357's. Needless to say, she loved those too. I am now regretting ever taking her to the range in the first place as I seem to never get MY hands on the revolver any more when we go.;)

    2. Couple of buddies went to the range about six month ago. They are mostly semi auto guys and thought that a .357 was an old man's gun. They were ragging on me about how great their .40's were and that I should get a "real" gun caliber and ditch the .357 and 9mm. It didn't take either of them long shooting Buffalo Bore's 180 gr. round to realize that they had no idea what they were talking about. Ever since both have been in love with the magnum.

    In short is the .357 overrated? No.
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    The .357 is good for a lot of things. I'm picking up a Blackhawk .357/9mm convertible when I'm home on leave in two weeks.

    That said, I also have a 9x23mm. All the defensive goodness of a .357 Magnum, in a high capacity autoloader. :D The only downside is that only two commercial loadings are offered, both from Winchester. They do 1450 fps or better in a 124 JSP or 125 JHP.

    John
     
  10. JMag

    JMag Member

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    Yep, but only when contrasted with the 6" .357...unless you plan on carrying it...maybe.

    :neener:
     
  11. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The bullet configuration between the two rounds is different and according to Massad Ayoob, the .357 125-gr JHP just sort of brings together all the right things to make it work in kind of like a ballistic perfect storm. And, he adds, it doesn't make much difference who makes it. The .357 doesn't need specialty ammo, because the 125 gr. JHP is at the top of the stopping power range for humans.

    The down side of the round is that the bullet itself is rather short, so gases escape prematurely from the cartridge as the bullet leaves the case. The gas flows around the bullet, out the chamber and engulfs the forcing cone, creating a hostile environment for the cone and top strap. With a longer 158 gr. this doesn't happen, and with a 110 gr. it is, of course, aggravated.

    The escaping gas creates a huge fireball which in itself might be devastating to close targets. It also creates a blinding blast which may result in the shooter losing his night vision (if shooting at night).

    Thus, there is some give and take when using this round and it's probably a good reason not to shoot it a lot out of any gun.
     
  12. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    If you want REAL .357 performance out of an autoloader, try the 9x25. It's a necked-down 10mm loading.

    Bullet : 125gr. Gold Dot

    Ballistics : 1700fps / 803 ft.lbs

    And if you REALLY want speed...

    Caliber : 9X25

    Bullet : 95gr. FMJ

    Ballistics : 2000fps / 844 ft. lbs. - 6" BarSto bbl


    http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_24
     
  13. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    You know, I never found any of those funky 9x__mm loads intriguing.

    9x21, 9x23, 9x25, it all sounded kind of... silly to me.

    Now I find myself seriously lusting for one of the rarer 9mm guns.

    9x25 just sounds pretty damn cool.
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've never heard of 9x25. That does sound very interesting. :D Alas, I'm sure they only offer conversions for 10s and if you have a 10mm, why would you want to neck it down???? You can shoot heavier bullets in the 10 and it don't sound like the 9x25 is much of an improvement on the 10 ballistically.

    It is for that reason I don't think much about the .357 Sig. Anything I could do with the Sig, I can do with the .40! Then there's the .40 Corbon....:rolleyes: I'll keep my .45 a .45, thanks. The one thing I can understand is the point that the necked cases feed more reliably, less dependent on bullet shapes. However, my P90 feeds 100 percent and it's hard to improve on 100 percent.
     
  15. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    I believe that the 9x25mm was created by competition shooters to have something with more power and flatter trajectory. I could be wrong, though.

    In any case, if you like fast bullets from an automatic, that's about as good as you'll get without going under .30 caliber.
     
  16. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    I like the .357SIG. I don't know if I like it more or less than .357 Magnum, I like them both a lot. I do like it better than the .40 S&W - it's easier to control for me - but I have to admit that different loads really blur the line for me in terms of what's "best." I really do think that when it comes to quality JHP's, it's pretty much a matter of preference once you go above 9mm.

    .357SIG may not equal what .357 Magnum can achieve, but a 125 grain pill flying at nearly 1400 fps is nothing to sneeze at. When it comes to CCW, I think it becomes splitting hairs somewhat, as almost nobody is CCW'ing 6" barrel revolvers. From a 2" - 4" barrel and factory defense loads, you're looking at almost identical numbers.

    I think more people would like the .357SIG if they tried it.

    In the meantime, I might start a thread somewhere about all these 9x__mm calibers. :D
     
  17. Thek9

    Thek9 Member

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    It's All Good

    Frankly for this guy the difference in grains that matters to me is my go to Sig 229 .40 SAS. Home defense / CCW is Hornady hollow points. I think they are 125's.

    My glove box "Big" Dan Wesson .357 Mag 4" Mod. 15 has quality factory rounds in it. How many grains, fps, don't know, don't care. I know when called upon it will "Git R Done".

    In my wife's night stand is a Ruger GP100 with 38 specials not 357's. While I'm out of town on assignments my advice to her is when threatened and target acquisition / identification is not possible put a round into the ceiling.I will gladly patch the roof and not care how many grains as long is she's safe and the bad guy knows there is a crazy lady with a gun in my house.

    T-Out
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006
  18. 115grfmj

    115grfmj Member

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    My 686+....

    is a 4"er. I launch remington 125gr jsp at 1500fps.....And I have a couple boxs of the Buffalo bore stuff, only it's 180grs at 1450fps:eek: :what: :evil:
    I think that pretty well puts the .357Sig to bed.

    I agree though that it's the flexibility of the 4" revolvers that takes the cake
     
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I'm holding out for the 9 x 31.283 and a skosh.

    Until that guaranteed invasion-stopper hits the streets, I'll stick with the .357 magnum in an honest Colt Python. All this new stuff impresses me as being marketing department wizardry—or wienery, as the case may be.
     
  20. dogngun

    dogngun Member

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    A good quality 4" .357 Magnum revolver with adjustable sights is about the most versatile handgun made. With the various .38 Spl and .357 Mag loads you can shoot in it, you could use it for anything from small game to deer size and even larger animals as well as self defence and target shooting.
    If I had 1 handgun only, that would be my choice.

    I have a 4" S&W Model 586.

    Mark
     
  21. JMusic

    JMusic member

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    My vote also is for the Revolver. I have a 6" Python at my bedside and when on duty I carried a 5" 27. (Probably the best compromise for barrel length).

    Jim
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Hmm, how long is the case on the old .351 Winchester auto rifle round? Wonder how much thump that would have out of a pistol?:D

    That's not so impressive. John Holmes would have laughed at you....:D
     
  23. kmrcstintn

    kmrcstintn Member

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    you DARE question my favorite?!? heh heh heh!!! ;]

    seriously...

    there are many good points as to why this is often a handgun of choice and some moot to good points as to why to look elsewhere...here's why it works for me...

    1) the .357 magnum revolver is my favorite handgun; Smith & Wesson and Ruger are my chosen tools; S&W Model 19 (4" barrel) is my current with a 6" Ruger GP-100 coming in the next 6 months

    2) versatility via example: today, my Model 19 is loaded with Hornady .38 Special hollowpoints for home defense; in @ 1 week, it will be loaded with Magtech .357 Magnum softpoints for deer season as a secondary weapon; I will also carry some .38 Special leadheads in case I have to finish off a wounded animal; this weekend, I will put down some Federal .38 Special +p hollowpoints for accuracy and reliability testing for a new home defense load; I will also put some .38 Special target loads and .357 target loads through it to finish off the shooting session

    3) ammo selection and availability: there is always some type of .38 special loads and .357 magnum loads whereever I go to buy ammo; light target loads to very specialized hunting and defensive loads in both calibers that can be shot from the same handgun

    4) simplicity in design and use: I don't have to manipulate any type of safety lever or decocker mechanism to get it to work; pick up, aim, place finger on trigger, and shoot...KISS, especially in a panic or hightened awareness situation such as home defense or hunting; BTW: keep the finger off the trigger is the safety and use a double action pull if you want to reduce the chance of an accidental discharge if something suprises you

    5) one gun + 2 calibers + multiple uses = a very versatile, useful, and fun platform to use
     
  24. JMusic

    JMusic member

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    Mcgunner, note that I didn't give diameter.:D :evil:

    Jim
     
  25. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    The 4" .357 isn't overrated.
    The 4" .357 revolver is obsolete.
    This occurred when the Sig 239?, H&K USP, and Glock 31 were introduced in .357 Sig automatic caliber.

    A 6" or longer barrelled .357 is the six shot weapon that allows versatility in the game fields.
    The 4' .357 is no longer a reasonable option for serious tactical adventures and the 4" barrelled .357 does not belong in the hunting arena.
     
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