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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am still agonizing over the best choice for 357 carry ammo for my 605SS3. LEO friends (one of whom was a range officer) tell me that the ultimate choice is a big, slow bullet. This equates to a) stopping power; and, b) reducing the possibility of collateral damage downrange from the target.

I have made the decision to carry premium ammo and have Fed Hydra Shoks in 158 gr and Speer GDHP in 130 gr. The latter is the slower bullet at 990 fps. Ballistics make the .357 the better choice over .38, from my research on the subject.

So, .357 owners, weigh in. If you're using yours for a carry weapon, what are you loading and why? I'm not asking about practice rounds; I mean the rounds you're counting on to save your life.
 

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My 357 isn't up to speed yet but in full power I'd be carrying one of the permium 125gr loads (with Federal being my first choice but wouldn't argue with Rem. or Corbon) or maybe Win.'s 145gr Silvertip. Plus there's the Gold Dot short barrel stuff but I don't know if its full power or medium power. In medium power loads I'd try Win. 110gr JHP, Corbon's DPX (great, but expensive) as well as Rem.'s Golden Saber (don't recall the weight) and I'm sure that there's more out there. Another load that I'd trust is Corbon's Powerball but once again, I don't know if its full power or a reduced load (but still more powerful than a 38 +P). Once I shoot the thing more I'll decide what I want to feed it. Or it might get traded off on something else. As a side note, I don't mess with 38 +P+ as I'd rather just shift up to 357 and I do have a box of the stuff around here somewhere (Win. 110gr JHP +P+ as I recall).

The medium power loads offer more effect on the target than 38 +P's but with the reduced recoil are faster on the follow-up shot(s). Plus they're easier on the shooter. For some, age and/or arthritis prevent comfortable use of heavy recoiling loads. For others, they don't have the time or desire to work up the tolerance required. I used to shoot alot more magnum than I have for a few years. Both with my last 357 (4" Smith M13) and my current snubbie I didn't have the tolerance to empty the cylinder with the full power stuff. I used Win 110gr for a social load. If I start to shoot lots of magnum again that may change.

You may want to re-think the 158gr JHP's, especially in a short barrel. I've heard that the heavier stuff (158gr & 180gr) was engineered more for hunting. Yes, they might work just fine with a 6" to 8" but I'd look at other stuff for the short tube. The results from actual shootings agree with this from what I've read/heard.

The full power 125's are know to expand and or fragment inside the target so excessive penetration shouldn't be an issue. With the heavier bullets (especially from a shorter barrel) you might just blow on through.

Steelheart
 

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QD, what do you consider heavy reading? It a good thing that this is the internet otherwise some of our members might have to downgrade their carry guns from all the homework you send home with them!

And I forgot to add to the above (thought about it after I hit Post):
IF you are talking about a load to deal with things with fur, teeth, claws and a bad attitude then I would recommend the heavier bullets in full power load. I'd look at the heavy hunting loads from Corbon or Buffalo Bore. After that I'd look at what the main stream US makers have, like Federal's 180gr Cast Core or if Winchester loads a Nosler Partition in 357. My recommendations in the above post are for anti-personnel/anti-dog etc.

Steelheart
 

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Come on Steelheart. :) You, other staff, and myself have authored so much of the replies to stuff like this one could fill a semi truck with the .357 mag and .38 Special stuff.

And to repeat all of that every time somebody comes in here with that kind of subject is just too much for the carpal tunnel syndrome these old bones are beginning to deal with. ;D :D :) So I make the guy who started this and his responders deal with this. :D
 

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I don't mind repeating it as some newer members might also be new to forums in general. The idea to read over previous posts or to use a Search function might not have occurred to them. Or if they have been on other forums, the search function might not work worth garbage. I can think of a couple off hand that I wander through like that.

I'm also thinking that this thread might fit better in the Factory Ammo section.

Steelheart
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies. Yes, I've read other ammo posts til my eyes bleed; that's why I tried to restrict the topic to premium carry loads. Sounds like I'm beating this to death and I apologize for that.

Steelheart, I've started to pay more attention to velocity over bullet weight. Following the advice I referred to in my initial post, it would seem to me that the perfect load for urban defensive carry would be subsonic and 158 gr. Disagree?

Where is the dividing line between medium and full power?
 

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I carry my own 140 grain JHP Speer bullet handloads, so I guess I don't count.
 

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In my .357 magnum snub the only real prerequisite I have is that the load be a hollow point. Lately I've developed a second prerequisite........the load must be on sale at a cheaper price than all of the rest!!!!!!!!! :)
 

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In a snub I think the medium power rounds would be perfect, if you're willing to put up with the recoil.

When I owned a 4" M19, pinned and recessed, I carried Federal 125gr SJHP. This round has yet to be beat. However, since K-frames cracked their forcing cones with these loads, I practiced with slightly heavier loads.

I do believe that you'd be best served by a 158gr +P or +P+ LSWCHP from any snub however.

Josh <><
 

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I practice with 125g. 357mag ammo in the Three 357mag. Snubs I carry. My carry load is Corbon 125g. 357mag. The guns are a 617 DAO Taurus, SP101 DAO Ruger, and a 605 Taurus. I have no problems with handling, follow up shots or hitting what I aim at. I'm not talking trick or pro shootting, just informale stay comfortable with my carry gun shootting. To get comfy with a 357 snub you gotta shoot it a bit.
 

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My D.W. is a "car" gun. (no CWP, yet) In it, are Cor Bon 110 gr JHPs. I keep a speed-loader of WWB 125 gr JSPs, and 2 speed-loaders of Federal .38 Special 110 gr Hydra-shocks handy. When I get around to using up the WWB 125s, I'll switch to a heavier weight for that speed-loader. Something a little more appropriate for 400+ lb, 4 legged critters.
 

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MakeMyDay said:
Thanks for the replies. Yes, I've read other ammo posts til my eyes bleed; that's why I tried to restrict the topic to premium carry loads. Sounds like I'm beating this to death and I apologize for that.

Steelheart, I've started to pay more attention to velocity over bullet weight. Following the advice I referred to in my initial post, it would seem to me that the perfect load for urban defensive carry would be subsonic and 158 gr. Disagree?

Where is the dividing line between medium and full power?
Subsonic loads in most calibers don't work out to be the best performers. The exception is with the large calibers (think 44, 45 etc) when it doesn't seem to matter, like 230gr hydra-shok's in 45 auto (here big and slow works great). The subsonic 9mm's had issues and the subsonic 40's weren't the best of the bunch either.

There are/were two main theories as to what works best for halting attackers with handguns. Big and slow vs small and fast. They each had their supporters and detractors. And each had the calibers that seemed to work best with their theory. Big and slow tended to like big bores as they worked well with their theory. Small and fast liked smaller bullets moving real fast (like 357 magnum, 9mm +P and +P+ etc). Much of this has been reduced by updated bullet designs. Both theories work well and some calibers they both can apply, like 40 S&W. But to apply the wrong theory to a given caliber will only reduce your chance survive a violent encounter.

I prefer to reference the data accumulated by Evan Marshall. Some attack him as his data can't be reproduced in a lab, they're street results. Talk to enough people and record what's worked. Others, who haven't read his work or communicated with him, don't like his "one shot stop" idea. Its not a tactical philosophy, it a unit of measure. You shoot until the threat goes away. If his ideas didn't make sense, some people wouldn't be so against him would they?

Basically, if its worked in the past its likely to work again in the future. If all else is equal, use the better load. The load you use is one of the few things we can control in a violent encounter. If you chose to carry a subsonic 357 load thats your choice, but I feel that there are much better loads both full power and reduced power out there in that caliber.

If you look at the velocity figure for various loads you should be able to tell which ones are full power and which ones are reduced. I know that the Winchester 110gr JHP is a reduced power load and Federal's 125gr JHP is a full power load, just for a couple of reference points.

And just to muddy the waters some more, the new premium loads are better performers even when its not the traditional bullet weight for the caliber. For example, the older 9mm 147gr loads weren't the most effective while the latest ones will work decently.

If you'd like to look around a forum where there are many people who are involved with ammo performance to include local, state and federal LE, some military, various national level firearms trainers and not to mention a couple of ammo company reps try http://www.stoppingpower.net/

Steelheart
 

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Steelheart is correct and MakeMyDay, no apology is needed. What was said by us staff is true. This is a number one top of the list question that needs to be addressed over and over. We'd FAQ this, but for the fact things change to rapidly to be able to keep a FAQ updated constantly.

So there is no single best answer to this and a lot of research and virtual ink is going to be spilled to give you useful info. Needs to be for moral and ethical reasons.

The links provided give some of the multitude of good loads that are available and the reasons why the users chose what they did. Narrow the field down by plotting these out and see what meets your needs.

Most of us do not need, nor do the attackers, magnum power level to stop such goings on.

+P ammo in the .38 Special loadings in the 125 gr-158gr. loadings is all that is needed for most defense situations. 158 gr. loadings should be the lead semi wad cutter with the hollowpoint nose. 125 gr.loads should be a JHP type.All have excellent track records in the real world out on the street stopping results. Testing in labs means nothing except how the bullet might react in flesh. The lab is not real world or have all the possiblities covered as to what can and will happen in real world and time.

Shot to shot recovery times are quicker and less recoil are advantagous to this way of doning thing.

Then there are the magnum loadings that split the difference. Speer 135 gr. loads, and any of the several 125 grain reduced , or lite loads hit with magnum power, but at reduced recoil and muzzle blast. Federal and Remington make these 125 gr. low level offerings.

Then there are the 110 gr. JHPs that can offer magnum performance and less muzzle blast and recoil than the full power heavier bullet weight brethren.

These make more sense for snub magnum revolver owners than the full bore 125gr-180 gr. offerings.

Power level isn't needed for the most part.Short barrels do not let the powder burn efficently or get bullet velocity up to high levels.

There is a level of diminishing returns. Very slight muzzle velocity gain with much increased muzzle blast and recoil.

One other thing has been left out. The user in general. How do you handle recoil and muzzle blast? Out of a 4 inch barrel or longer .357 mag performance is easier for the shooter to handle. All that noise and flash is further away from the face and ears.

Close up can be another story.Disorienting this can be to anyone. In a defense situation is not the time to find out this is the case( won't be wearing hearing protection) when fractions of seconds or seconds will count.

One may be able to tolerate a few magnum rounds out of a snub revolver. Practice sessions are going to be quite a few rounds and then there is the "moment of truth" in a real world defense situation to consider.

Shooting a lot of mag loads out of a short barreled gun can be fatiguing and wearing. If you can handle it then there is no problem.

Split the difference with either the +P .38 Special load or the reduced power .357 magnum offereings in 110gr-125gr. JHPs. Less expensive, plus less wear and tear on you and the gun in the long run.
These all work in the real world and do it well. These have real world track records going back decades.

Speer, Remington, Federal, and even Hornady make excellent products.

I have +P. 38 Specials 158gr. LSWCHPs in my Taurus 65 and 85CH. There are several boxes of Wichester 110 gr.JHP and Remington 125 gr. low recoiling .357 mags in the gun locker if the power level needs to go up. Doesn't break the bank account either.
Remington standard 125 gr. JHP in .357 magnum is only 1220 feet per second. Their other .357 magnum loadings are the real screamers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Mods, thank you both for your intelligent and detailed answers. The first thing I will do is take some .38 +p to the range... haven't shot that with this weapon.

I do have a clearer idea of the loads I should be trying, which is what I set out to learn.
 

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Marshall/Sanow is a big can of worms on most gun sites. I agree, the stats are better than shooting goats, jello, etc, and I tend to reference the M/S data when comparing load results. I don't live by 'em, but I figure if a load breaks 70 percent in their data, it's worth carrying and if it breaks 80 percent it's a good load.

However, far more important than how high in M/S stats a load ranks is how accurate and shootable it is in the gun and in the case of autos, how reliable it is. So long as the load ranks over 70 percent in the M/S data, preferably 80, and it's accurate an reliable, hey, go for it. But, obviously my handloads aren't on the street, no stats for 'em. But, if they perform over the chrony similar or better than M/S ranked loads, I'm good with it.

I don't know if there's a .357 load that ain't decent, tell ya the truth. I shy from the heavy stuff, too much penetration for self defense uses, but tend to go with 158 or less JHPs. I'm pretty confident that a 140 grain JHP Speer bullet at 1335 fps will do the job in my little SP101 and it's not bad on recoil, though it has a helluva flash/bang. The 125 grain stuff just doesn't live up to expectations in the little gun. I could go with a faster burn powder, but the 140 performs so well, I ain't worried about it.

About the ONLY thing M/S data really proves to me is that .22, .25, and .32 ain't for me and .380 is really marginal. And, no FMJs in 9 or .45 for me. Beyond that, any service caliber has loads that I'll carry and be confident in. I really don't understand a lot of the caliber war stuff other than the big and slow guys. They have to justify the 1911 even if they have to make up "science" for their big/slow bullets. They have to show that a wonder nine is a pip squeak not to be relied upon so they can argue against a gun with twice the firepower in an equal size or smaller gun. That's where 90 percent of the arguments including the M/S data trashing comes from, the 1911 fanatics. They have invented some REALLY hilarious formulae and pseudo-science to support their caliber/platform above any and all others. When men are carrying phazers in the 24th century, they'll still be justifying their .45s. No death ray can equal a big bullet, ya know, and God's second son, JMB, invented the 1911 after all. You can't argue with God. ::)
 

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I have a Ruger .357 Security Six and I really think you have to try diff. ammo and see what works for you and your firearm. You need to feel confident that when you need to place a shot well, react quickly that you, your firearm and ammo will all come together like a well oiled machine. If the load is so hot you can't put that bullet on paper or get a decent grouping it will do you no good in the field under stress.

I'd say try many diff. loads, mark the targets for that load, swap loads and targets. Study the targets after and how you felt while shooting. Then narrow it done to a few and repeat the process. Post the results here I'd like to know what you pick.
 
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