9mm 147GR HP vs. 357mag 125gr HP

9mm 147GR HP vs. 357mag 125gr HP

This is a discussion on 9mm 147GR HP vs. 357mag 125gr HP within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi all, I wonder which would ( you consider) actually be better out of a short barrel gun performance wise, would it be a 9mm ...

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Thread: 9mm 147GR HP vs. 357mag 125gr HP

  1. #1
    Member Array gregcheck's Avatar
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    9mm 147GR HP vs. 357mag 125gr HP

    Hi all,
    I wonder which would ( you consider) actually be better out of a short barrel gun performance wise, would it be a 9mm 147gr HP out of a 3" barrel or a 357mag 125gr HP out of a 2.25" barrel ? Which do you think would offer better penetration out of the two? PLEASE take into consideration I am only talking about " Decent " self defense ammo, not the super hot stuff from B.B. or Underwood, DT, just standard pressure ammo no +P or +P+ stuff. My thought is the 9mm out weighs the 357 by a few grains and on the other hand the 357 mag does have a good track record, but then would the 357mag still have the " magnum" power out of a 2.25" barrel... let's hear your thoughts
    G


  2. #2
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    I see the various factory 147 grain 9mm loadings to be closer kin to the factory +P 158 grain lead SWC .38 Special loadings than I do to the 125 grain .357 Magnum which is a different breed of cat. I'd have to give the nod to the .357 Magnum factory 125 grain load if it is configured to give the kind of performance the Remington 125 grain .357 load traditionally gave.

    The 9mm 147 grain load I've tested over the chronograph screens proved to be a bit of a plodder; something less than a thousand feet per second. Despite that fact, if I were to carry 9mm it would be stoked with the 147 grain stuff rather than any load featuring a lighter weight bullet.

    Penetration is bound to be roughly the same unless one considers some last extra inch of penetration to be of vital importance. Penetration is inexact anyway with too many variables to enter into the equation.
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    Member Array gregcheck's Avatar
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    Hi BMC,
    Thanks for the insight, I wasn't sure how much the short barrel would hurt the performance of
    the 357 125gr hp round. I'll have to try to do some testing " on things" between the two of them
    G

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    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    As B. stated the 357 is the clear winner of the 2 you listed. The Remington 125 357 will still do @ 1250-1300 FPS from a 2 1/2" barrel, there will some variations because of the specific barrel, temperature, humidity etc.

    The 147 grain standard pressure 9mm is a good 38 special load, It was a dismal failure on the street.
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    Distinguished Member Array Glock2201's Avatar
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    I like 9mm but I think the .357 mag is far ahead as far as ballistics go. I think the recoil on that small of a gun is going to be quite a bit more with the .357 which will make follow up shots better with the 9mm

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    I own a couple of 9mm guns but I carry .357 Sig. I think all the people that carry a 9mm squat to pee and can't handle a real gun and they probably have lace on their panties too. For goodness sakes be a man.

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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    The .357 Mag with Hornady 125 gr HP XTP bullet will give you about 600 ft lbs POI energy at 1300 fps.

    The 9mm with Hornady 147 gr HP XTP bullet will give you closer to 295 ft-lbs energy at 975 fps. (too heavy a bullet for much stopping power w/o +P+)

    For a 9mm (non +P) the most ft-lbs energy commercially made is Fiochi 115 gr FMJ at about 375 ft-lbs energy at 1200 fps.

    When I was issued a 9mm Sig in LE we were issued Speer Gold Dot LE 124 gr +P GDHP. Like Hornady Critical, they also make a 'DUTY' grade for penetrating intermediate targets like auto-glass, doors. etc, that are not needed for Self Defense Ammo.

    Gold Dot LE +P GDHP "for short barrels" and Hornady Critical Defense, etc, have thin copper jackets to allow for max expansion in firearms with 3 inch barrels and shorter, to add to the energy transferred.

    After 40 years in LE and too many Forensic-Ballistic classes in college, I like to carry at least 450 ft-lbs of energy per round which can be attained easily enough with +P ammo and lighter bullet weight configured to penetrate & expand. I carry 9mm+P, .40S&W, .357Mag (Cor-Bon 110 gr) & .45acp+P and all are loaded to 450 ft-lbs 'Minimum'.

    I don't know of any 9mm (non +P) that would deliver a full 300 ft-lbs energy out of a 3 inch barrel. Perhaps that is why I do not own any sidearms that are not +P rated.

    When I was issued full-size Glocks, we were issued Gold Dots and Win Ranger T-Series (both with LE use on the box, which only designates a full duty load as opposed to target grade ammo). Also, I have 40 years of 'double-tap' training I will not live long enough to break.

    This is just my training, experience, & decisions here.... there may be other right answers.
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    It depends on what you mean by 'performance.'

    .357 magnum velocities will vary widely depending on which ammo you shoot- some loads lose 250-350 fps going from a 4" barrel to a 2.25" barrel. Some only lose 100 fps or so.

    Assuming you're using modern 147-gr. 9mm ammunition and not older bullet designs that tended to underperform, the 9mm will see less velocity loss from a 3" barrel. The 147-gr. HST I carry in my M&P Shield clocks at about 950-975 fps.

    Too many factors in penetration against a human being, but gel-wise, the numbers don't really add up. You can find gel tests here: Pocket Guns and Gear: Ammo tests

    A Speer Gold Dot 125-gr. 357 magnum from a S&W 686 with a 4" barrel penetrated 14.25" with impact energy of 549 ft/lbs, average expansion of about 0.6".

    But on the other hand, a Federal HST 147-gr. +P from a Kahr PM9 with a 3" barrel penetrated 15.5" despite impact energy of only 300 ft/lbs, and expanded to about 0.61". The non +P load would penetrate slightly more and expand slightly less.

    So velocity and kinetic energy don't actually correlate well with penetration, which is dominated more by momentum than either of the aforementioned factors.

    Given the apparently equal performance, I have been going the 9mm route because of the increased controllability, higher capacity, and ease of reloading.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that a 3" automatic barrel is not the same as a 3" revolver barrel, they're measured differently. An auto is measured muzzle to breech and therefore includes the length of the chamber, and a revolver is muzzle to forcing cone. So, a 2.25" revolver has 2.25" of threaded barrel for the bullet to travel down, while a 3" 9mm auto has about 1.9" of threaded barrel.

    With that in mind, check out ballisticsbytheinch.com (ALL measurements muzzle to breech) for good data. My read is that .357 suffers a significant loss of velocity out of a 2.25" barrel, but still easily beats 9mm out of a 4" in terms of muzzle energy. However, that's accompanied by serious recoil and muzzle blast. My concern with a heavy 9mm would be whether there's reliable expansion.

    Personally, I load my .357 LCR with .38 +P, because the recoil with .357 is a bear to control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamRudolph View Post
    It depends on what you mean by 'performance.'

    .357 magnum velocities will vary widely depending on which ammo you shoot- some loads lose 250-350 fps going from a 4" barrel to a 2.25" barrel. Some only lose 100 fps or so.

    Assuming you're using modern 147-gr. 9mm ammunition and not older bullet designs that tended to underperform, the 9mm will see less velocity loss from a 3" barrel. The 147-gr. HST I carry in my M&P Shield clocks at about 950-975 fps.

    Too many factors in penetration against a human being, but gel-wise, the numbers don't really add up. You can find gel tests here: Pocket Guns and Gear: Ammo tests

    A Speer Gold Dot 125-gr. 357 magnum from a S&W 686 with a 4" barrel penetrated 14.25" with impact energy of 549 ft/lbs, average expansion of about 0.6".

    But on the other hand, a Federal HST 147-gr. +P from a Kahr PM9 with a 3" barrel penetrated 15.5" despite impact energy of only 300 ft/lbs, and expanded to about 0.61". The non +P load would penetrate slightly more and expand slightly less.

    So velocity and kinetic energy don't actually correlate well with penetration, which is dominated more by momentum than either of the aforementioned factors.

    Given the apparently equal performance, I have been going the 9mm route because of the increased controllability, higher capacity, and ease of reloading.
    IMHO, equal penetration doesn't mean equal performance. If the .357 loses twice as much kinetic energy with similar penetration, it did more damage along the way.
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    Is their a specific reason for this comparison, out of curiosity? IMO,the .357 will penetrate better than the 9mm, but I still prefer the 9mm. It is softer recoiling, easier shooting, and easier to find. All the pnetration in the world is for naught if you cant hit the target
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    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    I don't think it matters much in the real world. I know I can fire a 6+1 rounds of 124gr+P from my cm9 quicker that 3- 125hr 357 from a snubby. I may be throwing 150 to 200 fps less but in the 9mm cartridges we use for defense but its more about rounds on target accurately than a one stop stopper assuming both use a quality bullet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array bigpapa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patri0t View Post
    The .357 Mag with Hornady 125 gr HP XTP bullet will give you about 600 ft lbs POI energy at 1300 fps.

    The 9mm with Hornady 147 gr HP XTP bullet will give you closer to 295 ft-lbs energy at 975 fps. (too heavy a bullet for much stopping power w/o +P+)

    For a 9mm (non +P) the most ft-lbs energy commercially made is Fiochi 115 gr FMJ at about 375 ft-lbs energy at 1200 fps.

    When I was issued a 9mm Sig in LE we were issued Speer Gold Dot LE 124 gr +P GDHP. Like Hornady Critical, they also make a 'DUTY' grade for penetrating intermediate targets like auto-glass, doors. etc, that are not needed for Self Defense Ammo.

    Gold Dot LE +P GDHP "for short barrels" and Hornady Critical Defense, etc, have thin copper jackets to allow for max expansion in firearms with 3 inch barrels and shorter, to add to the energy transferred.

    After 40 years in LE and too many Forensic-Ballistic classes in college, I like to carry at least 450 ft-lbs of energy per round which can be attained easily enough with +P ammo and lighter bullet weight configured to penetrate & expand. I carry 9mm+P, .40S&W, .357Mag (Cor-Bon 110 gr) & .45acp+P and all are loaded to 450 ft-lbs 'Minimum'.

    I don't know of any 9mm (non +P) that would deliver a full 300 ft-lbs energy out of a 3 inch barrel. Perhaps that is why I do not own any sidearms that are not +P rated.

    When I was issued full-size Glocks, we were issued Gold Dots and Win Ranger T-Series (both with LE use on the box, which only designates a full duty load as opposed to target grade ammo). Also, I have 40 years of 'double-tap' training I will not live long enough to break.

    This is just my training, experience, & decisions here.... there may be other right answers.

    Interesting, thank you.
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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    The .357 in 125gr hp has always been a solid performer over the years. The autopsies I attended where the .357 was involved usually had much more dramatic wound channels than 9mm. (Bear in mind most of these involved older version Federal 147 gr Hydra-Shok's and not some of the newer bonded bullets.) The agency I worked for had mixed results with the older 147 gr Hydra-Shoks. As a side note we had several shootings (common during narcotics search warrants) where pit-bulls had to be dispatched. None of them were able to be dispatched with a single 9mm shot. (We didn't have that problem with the .357 or in later years the .40 with 180 gr Hydra-Shok.) YMMV.
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    I think the .357 mag, even in the short barrel will give you more down range "whomp". In fact, there is ammo designed to maximize short barrel performance for both .357 mag and .38 special. Now, you might get get a better follow up shot with your 9mm but the .357 mag is going to give you more power @ the receiving end. Even the lighter loaded Remington 'Golden Sabre' 125 grn JHP will give you more terminal performance than a +P .38 Special. Just my .02

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