Best 158 Grain 357 load

This is a discussion on Best 158 Grain 357 load within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am looking for a 158 gr load to use outdoors. I have a new S&W 620 with a 4" barrel. I have bought several ...

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Thread: Best 158 Grain 357 load

  1. #1
    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    Best 158 Grain 357 load

    I am looking for a 158 gr load to use outdoors. I have a new S&W 620 with a 4" barrel. I have bought several boxs of Buffalo Bore 158 gr. 38 +P. I will use these for personal and home defense. Out of a 4" barrel these hit with alot of authority! I also have some 180 grain hard cast I use at night while fishing. There are Mountain Lions where I night fish and that is why I carry them. But the recoil is pretty stout also. I also have some areas where i night fish that I am much more likely to run into two legged problems or wild dogs! I am looking for 158 gr load that might be able to handle everything or be a close compromise?

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    I carry Federal-Premium Hydra-Shoks in my .357mag.

    Maybe look into some PMC Gold Starfires- those are pretty good.

    Or maybe some of these... Federal Premium - Handgun Details They look pretty nasty.
    DanielC and grouse like this.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Best 158 Grain 357 load
    "Best" is always going to be debatable. I load up my 357s with Speer Gold Dot or else Buffalo Bore 38 +Ps.
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    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmhawth View Post
    "Best" is always going to be debatable. I load up my 357s with Speer Gold Dot or else Buffalo Bore 38 +Ps.
    How is the muzzle flash on the Gold Dots? I will be using them at night mostly!

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    Member Array kmagnuss's Avatar
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    I drink the Buffalo Bore kool aid. I run them in everything I own. Pistols, anyway.

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    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmagnuss View Post
    I drink the Buffalo Bore kool aid. I run them in everything I own. Pistols, anyway.
    Whats not to like about the 38+P? 1160 fps and 474 ft. lbs out of my 4" barrel. Less recoil and flash also X 7

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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alarm Guy View Post
    How is the muzzle flash on the Gold Dots? I will be using them at night mostly!
    With 357 Magnum loads I think muzzle flash is the nature of the beast. I don't find the Gold Dots to be excessive.

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    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmhawth View Post
    With 357 Magnum loads I think muzzle flash is the nature of the beast. I don't find the Gold Dots to be excessive.
    I am afraid you are right about the flash! BB also has a new 38+P Hardcast load that looks interesting! I see a 44 special/mag in my near future also, LOL

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    Only handloads are used in the .357 Magnums around here. The heavier charge weight of 2400 listed in the link below has worked great in Smith & Wesson revolvers of several different frame sizes from K through N along with the Colt Python. That charge weight of 2400 has been worked up with both jacketed hollow points and cast lead semi-wadcutters. It exceeds 1400 fps by a smidgen from my favorite .357 Magnum, a 6-inch Smith & Wesson Model 27 and the big revolver soaks up recoil nicely. Work up the load for yourself and always take any forum advice with a large grain of salt.

    .357 Load Question | Elmer Keith Members Area

    H110 is another that yields really great velocities for 158 grain jacketed bullets with apparently reasonable pressure levels, at least as discerned by observation. The maximum charge weight for H110 as published in the 1978 Sierra manual gives slightly lower velocities than the 2400 load but nothing on the receiving end will be able to note the difference between the two loads.

    A too-dark photo of the Model 27 in full recoil from a 158 grain JHP loaded with 2400, being fired by our youngest son a a target up on the side of a hill at 165 yards. The bullet gets there quite quickly and is pretty flat shooting too.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    Member Array Alarm Guy's Avatar
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    They have the Federal LE 158gr. available at Ammunition to go right now. Does anyone have any experience with that. Thanks for the info bmcgilvray! I may learn how to reload yet? Seems like fun.

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    I don't have a 357, but from what I have seen from the Buffalo Bore 38 Special ammo, if your looking for maximum energy and reliable ammunition it's hard to go wrong with the Buffalo Bore. I just wish they made standard pressure 40 Caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alarm Guy View Post
    They have the Federal LE 158gr. available at Ammunition to go right now. Does anyone have any experience with that. Thanks for the info bmcgilvray! I may learn how to reload yet? Seems like fun.
    Current Federal ammunition may not compare with some from a few years back. I did a chronograph test of factory Federal 158 grain jacketed soft point .357 Magnum ammunition that gave an average velocity of 1437 fps for 10 shots. In digging back through handloading notes kept, it's noted that this was done on May 28th of 1984 and that was a little more than a few years back. Perhaps it was a warm day in late May here in Texas and the ammunition had sat in the sun. A box of Remington 158 grain jacketed hollow point factory loads registered 1372 fps for 10 shots on January 30th of 1983. Temperatures were bound to have been considerably cooler in January. A 6-inch Smith & Wesson Model 27 was used on both occasions.

    I've not tested .357 Magnum Buffalo Bore but their +P .38 Special ammunition yields every bit of the velocity they claim for it so their .357 Magnum ammunition is likely pretty rip-roaring as well.

    Despite all the hoopla over the 125 grain bullet in the .357 Magnum, I really like the 158 grain bullet weight better or even a bit heavier as may be had in some cast bullet configurations. I'll leave the lighter weight bullets to lesser cartridges like 9mm. I'm sure the 125 grain weight bullets are fine but don't think they are "the answer" as much as their internet reputation suggests.
    shooterX and 40Bob like this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    I don't think you can go wrong with the buffalo Bore loads for .357 or .38 spcl for that matter, 3 out of 4 of my smith revolvers eat buffalo Bore ammo, soon to be all 4.
    "Don't start none, won't be none!"

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I am with bmcgilvray on the newer loads being lower powered. The ordinary loads in .357 and 44 mag of today are much tamer than those we used to shoot in the late sixties and early seventies. One of the reasons for it that I have been told of is liability. Back in those days a 357 was built on a much larger frame. Then the lighter weight alloy frames came out and it seems were not as well suited for everyday shooting with those loads.

    I even remember letters being sent to a local police dept in the late sixties not to use their newer light weight 357's for target shooting using full house loads. It said to use them with either 38 special rounds or use their older heavier frame guns to qualify with. The newer guns were not meant to be shot so much as just carried.

    I believe these new so called extra power loads that are sold today such as buffalo bore are nothing more than what used to be the standard load we used to shoot. They are probably fine in the heavier older style handguns but I have serious doubts about the longevity of the newer lighter framed guns fed a regular diet of these loads.

    Some of us used to use lighter loads in certain small framed guns not because we couldn't handle the recoil but because we knew the firearm would not last using hot loads. I think many have forgotten that over the years. They believe that if it fits that is all that matters.
    Which is why I believe the manufacturers started downloading them to begin with.

    EDIT: Some loading manuals even acknowledge this fact by listing different maximum loads for different firearms of the same caliber.

    Michael
    Last edited by mlr1m; May 8th, 2012 at 01:29 PM. Reason: I made an oopsie
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    Good point, mir1m.

    That's one of the main reasons I am uninterested in stunted 5-shot .357 Magnum models from any manufacturer. A .357 Magnum revolver ought to have the capability to roundly thrash all other comers of the .355/.357 bore diameter tribe in power delivered to the target and that just isn't practically achieved with comfort and long life with "undernourished," lightweight, shrunken .357 Magnum revolvers with snub barrels. The .357 Magnum cartridge shouldn't have ever been so limited. Tiny .357 Magnums are a stunt in my view.
    shooterX likes this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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