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Why .357?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by skwab, Sep 22, 2010.

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  1. skwab

    skwab Member

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    Just reading some of the threads and I noticed several of you all mentioning that you had autos in .357. Never having shot an auto .357 - what's the advantage over 9mm, .40 and .45?
     
  2. Demitrios

    Demitrios Member

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    Oh boy. . . you just opened up a can of worms.

    The IDEA is that the velocities gained by the .357 SIG will penetrate car doors, clothing, etc. better than other rounds. I've seen testing done by your average Joe that would suggest this is true however the FBI denounces that claim as false so. . . I have no idea what makes it advantageous.

    This link might be helpful http://intrencik.com/357sig.htm.
     
  3. gofastman

    gofastman Member

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    same size but higher speed than a 9mm, better barrier penetration, etc
     
  4. dovedescending

    dovedescending Member

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    .357 is an awesome round, from revolver, auto, or carbine? Seems like a good enough reason to me.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Nothing, as far as I am concerned, but I know folks who just love the .357 Sig.
     
  6. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    If I recall correctly, there was a long-standing belief (true or not) that the 125gr .357 magnum JHP from a 4" barrel typical of service revolvers would defeat intermediate barriers such as auto body, windshields, etc quite effectively.

    I believe the push behind an auto that replicated the ballistics of a 125gr .357mag JHP was to achieve the same barrier-penetrating characteristics.

    I honestly believe that though a .357sig will out-perform a 124gr-127gr 9mm +p/+p+ when it comes to barrier penetration, I don't believe it would be by much... not enough, IMO, to justify the lesser magazine capacity.

    Personally, I like the .357sig and just about any other bottle neck pistol cartridge. However, I simply feel a 124gr +p 9mm is plenty enough for most people (including myself). If I need more penetration, I'll grab the M1 Carbine.
     
  7. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    If it penetrates barriers so much better than a 9mm, why would one want to use it for a home defense round? Especially if you have kids sleeping in rooms nearby. Besides, the 357 Sig is an oddball caliber that is harder to find than 9mm and more expensive. I just don't see it's value.
     
  8. oldbanjo

    oldbanjo Member

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    Today I carry a SP101, but that's only because I prefer revolvers. I've shot many holes thru auto's with my Browning High Power 9MM. My S&W MD36, unless straight on, would rickacha off.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That would be the .357 Magnum revolver cartridge.

    The one the OP is asking about is the .357 SIG auto pistol cartridge.

    It is a 9mm bullet, in a necked down .40 S&W case.

    Not the same thing, a tall.

    rc
     
  10. ET

    ET Member

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    There are reasons that folks love this round:

    1: The bottle necked round feeds more reliably than a standard round. You won't read threads about 357sig rounds jambing. This is because you are feeding a small bullet (with a larger casing) into a large chamber.

    2: You are pushing a 9mm size bullet with 40s&w power. Small bullet + more powder = more speed. It is why rifles out-perform pistols.

    3: Why 357sig over 9mm+p+? Because a 357sig gun is designed to shoot 357sig rounds. Most 9mm handguns are not designed to shoot +p+ ammo.

    Yes, 357sig is more expensive that 9mm or 40s&w, but you don't have to continually fire it at the range. Practice with it enough to be comfortable with how it shoots, then use 9mm for target practice. It's what I do. I practice with either 9mm or 40s&w then carry 357sig. I do all of this using my Glock 27 by the way. I use 9mm, 40s&w & 357sig barrels and mags to achieve this.
     
  11. skwab

    skwab Member

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    Didn't mean to open a can of worms but I appreciate the replies! So then are pistols designed to shoot the .357 round reinforced to handle the extra power? And let's say I were to purchase another auto - should I opt for the .357 or .45?
     
  12. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    Besides the reliability advantage (if you buy in to that) of a bottle neck cartridge, what does a 357 Sig offer that a 125 or 135 grain 40 S&W doesn't?
    And for the record, I have owned both and no longer have either.
     
  13. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    I think you are confusing the .357 magnum revolver round with the .357 sig for autoloaders.

    If I were buying a new autoloader and those two .357 sig or .45 acp were my only choices I'd pick........

    the one I shot the best
     
  14. gofastman

    gofastman Member

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    higher sectional density?
     
  15. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    The 40 has the higher sectional density.
     
  16. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Evidently .357 SIG can penetrate certain barriers that other calibers have great difficulty with, but what I think the FBI and other representatives from law enforcement are saying is that its terminal performance (in gelatin) after passing through the barriers in their tests is not necessarily superior even to that of 9mm. Obviously none of their barriers, as tough as they are (especially auto windshield glass), are quite as difficult to penetrate as three .05" thick sheets of steel, otherwise they would have come to a different conclusion. So basically, what they're saying is true, too, based on all of the published ballistics test results that I've seen, which typically include a single sheet of steel rather than three.

    Other service calibers can, too, and apparently with approximately equal terminal effectiveness afterward--unless really heavy barriers are involved, I guess.

    What I wonder is whether it is deflected about the same or less than 9mm when it encounters angled barriers such as windshields. Both .40 S&W and .45 ACP appear to significantly outperform 9mm in this regard, staying pretty much on target, and it would be reasonable to assume that this is a result of their bullets being heavier and/or larger. The question is whether additional speed has the same benefit for .357 SIG--maybe, maybe not.

    That seems to make sense, although there are plenty of dead-reliable autos in the other service calibers, too. My M&P40 hasn't ever jammed with over 2000 rounds through it, so it's not a huge concern for me. It certainly doesn't hurt, though, and may give some peace of mind to those who have had numerous jams in various pistols over the years (one reason revolvers are still popular, obviously).

    One would expect so, and I'm sure that news would get around if there were any exceptions. Generally they're the same guns as those chambered in .40 S&W (sometimes with slightly different recoil springs), which are usually a bit heavier than their 9mm counterparts (unless the gun was first designed for .40 S&W).

    I don't know, do you want superior penetration of some barriers--above even the already quite stringent standards of the FBI test protocols--or do you want to sacrifice some capacity in order to make bigger holes? .40 S&W sort of meets them halfway with regard to barrier penetration and hole size, by the way, and many pistols can shoot both .40 S&W and .357 SIG with a simple barrel change (although some may require different magazines and/or recoil springs).

    Although there is a theoretical basis for this, it has yet to be proven, in my opinion.

    I think that .357 SIG would definitely out-penetrate these .40 S&W loads in many hard types of barriers, given its smaller contact surface area. In soft, wet media such as flesh, there probably isn't as much difference, although I prefer heavyweight .40 S&W loads for deeper penetration into this type of media.
     
  17. REAPER4206969

    REAPER4206969 Member

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    I'm getting a lot of use out of this lately.

     
  18. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Yeah, that too (speak up! ;)).

    Nope, a 135 grain .40 S&W bullet has the same sectional density as a 135(.355/.4)² = 106 grain .357 SIG bullet, and obviously a 125 grain .40 S&W bullet's sectional density is even lower. At equal sectional density, .357 SIG will always have greater velocity, which means that it's inherently a better penetrator of hard barriers (soft, liquid media are a different matter) by virtue of being small (or rather narrow). .40 S&W is somewhat more powerful than 9mm and should be able to match it in this regard despite being wider, depending on the specific loads being compared, but it can't match a smaller-diameter version of itself in .357 SIG. And although .45 ACP may be marginally the most effective against people per se, it's definitely the worst at penetrating hard barriers. Not that any of this usually matters much, however, because all of these calibers have loads that can pass the fairly stringent FBI barrier penetration tests.
     
  19. easyg

    easyg Member

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    Why the .357Sig?

    When one looks back on handgun calibers certain rounds standout for their effectiveness...

    The 125g .357 magnum round, fired from a 4" barrel, has a very well deserved reputation as a "man stopper".
    From all accounts this particular round was, and is, very effective at quickly stopping human aggressors.

    So, someone got the bright idea that it would be great if you could make a comparable round designed for an autoloader.
    And from all accounts the 125g .357Sig, when fired from a 4" barrel, does in fact come very close to the same performance as the 125g .357 magnum fired from a 4" barrel.

    It's true that some 9mm+P+ loads can compare to the .357Sig, but those hot loads are usually more expensive than most .357Sig ammo, and those hot 9mm loads are very punishing to the 9mm handguns themsleves.
    The vast majority of 9mm handguns are not designed for a steady diet of hot 9mm+P+ ammo.
    However, .357Sig handguns are designed to shoot .357Sig ammo for years and years.

    It's also true that the 9mm offers greater magazine capacity over the .357Sig, but typically only by a few more rounds.
    And if you live in a state that has a 10 round magazine limit, the .357Sig really out shines the 9mm.
     
  20. ElectrikKoolAid

    ElectrikKoolAid Member

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    I feel "barrier penetration" is not a necessary criteria for a personal defense round.

    Law enforcement, yes. Joe Citizen, No.

    The cost of this ammo makes it prohibitive for plinking too.

    Therefore I think this is a "solution" in search of a "problem", while capitalizing on the historical reputation of the "357 MAG".

    YMMV.
     
  21. REAPER4206969

    REAPER4206969 Member

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    Next time you go out, look at all the people in and around cars/walls/doors/glass/Etc. and that are wearing heavy clothing.
     
  22. skwab

    skwab Member

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    Hey everyone - thanks for the replies - it's an interesting discussion for sure. It seems there's a lot of talk about 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP, but not as much about the .357 Sig so this info has been great.

    Just out of curiosity, I've never shot 357 Sig - is the recoil as snappy as .40 (I have 2 .40s so I've shot it regularly) or is it a little more subdued?
     
  23. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Out of a similar handgun, .357 SIG is lighter but even snappier than .40 S&W, which helps some folks but hurts others. I guess it's like shooting a 125 grain .40 S&W load, but more extreme because of higher pressure (necessary with the smaller-diameter bullet), and the blast & flash are far more pronounced, too. In comparison to a medium-sized, steel-framed revolver shooting standard factory .357 Magnum loads, felt recoil is about the same or harder, but the blast is less noticeable, partly because of the lack of a cylinder gap. It's hardly unmanageable for me, but I still prefer shooting 180 grain .40 S&W loads because they're not as loud and bright (neither snap nor recoil bother me, but excessive blast does a bit--imagine shooting without hearing protection in an emergency defensive situation :uhoh: ).
     
  24. Runningman

    Runningman Member

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  25. Seven For Sure

    Seven For Sure Member

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    I like the caliber. I'm waiting for a full wadcutter shaped HP: .355 meplat, 130-135 gr. bullet should be possible with the same OAL of a 125 gr. bullet to get a bit more weight at close to the same speed and a projectile that will grab almost anything at almost any angle. A .355 meplat fed through a .401 chamber should feed fine. That to me in addition to the extra velocity of course is what makes it better than the 9mm +whatever despite the 1-2 rd. capacity loss. I see the caliber as waiting to be perfected.

    The 9x25 is also a great caliber, I like it better than the 357auto except for the fat guns it's chambered for. A short 9x25 with small primer would be better because the neck is longer without sacrificing case volume. Starline might make a batch if there was enough interest.

    Most bottleneck calibers have done fairly well if they're not based on 45ACP. The ACP guys are stubborn and pretty well satisfied for good reason.
     
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