Best ammo for 357 Magnum???

This is a discussion on Best ammo for 357 Magnum??? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Hamour The original question was "What is the best .357 Mag ammo?" To me the most effective "general" use .357 ammo remains ...

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Thread: Best ammo for 357 Magnum???

  1. #16
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    Hamour:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamour View Post
    The original question was "What is the best .357 Mag ammo?"
    To me the most effective "general" use .357 ammo remains the classic 158 gr Remington HPT.
    You get expansion and penetration from 4" bbl revolvers up to 18" carbines.
    Specific bullets might work better for a specific task, but for one bullet to work for all you can ask your .357 to do, the 158 gr pills are the most versatile in a very versatile cartridge.
    Not meaning to be argumentative or anything. Just for the sake of spirited and informative discussion:

    This IS a "defensive carry" discussion. I assumed that we were talking about carry ammo. SnubMan apparently meant "best" in that sense as well.

    I don't think that anyone here carries an "18" carbine.

    When we talk about "specific bullets for specific tasks", we are talking here about self defense "carry" ammo.

    Were I loading my .357 for another task than shooting perps., such as hunting or defense against bears, I would probably choose another bullet as well.

    DoubleTap .357 Magnum
    125gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1600fps - 12.75" / .69"
    158gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1400fps - 19.0" .56"

    19" of penetration is way too much penetration. The 19" of penetration is the result of the second figure representing a lack of adequate expansion. That, coupled with the extra weight, results in excessive penetration as I indicated in my previous post.

    The figures for the 125 gr. represent near optimum performance for the caliber concerning "stopping" the threat without endangering bystanders any more than necessary

    The speed for the 125 gr. round results in far more energy delivered to the target than the admitedly heavier 158 gr. round delivers. The superior expansion percentage coupled with the ideal penetration depth figure results in all of that greater available energy going right where you want it and not somewhere you don't.

    These results are the results of extensive testing in ballistic gel by Double Tap.

    Again - I'm posting just for the sake of informative discussion. This is the way I see things, anyway.

    MARV

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  3. #17
    Member Array SnubMan's Avatar
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    Hey all,
    Good discussion thus far --- I guess there was some confusion as to what I meant by "Best ammo for 357 Magnum". My EDC is an S&W M&P 340 (j-frame revolver .357 - 1 7/8'' barrel) --- It sounds that Double Tap would be the best ammo selection for personal defense against human attackers. BUT do you think that the 125gr bullets would still have adequate penetration out of such a short barrel or would a heavier bullet be better. If anyone has a test data (actual - numbers) that would be fantastic! Thanks all! --- On a side note, I guess I want to avoid any ammo marked "low recoil" right??? B/c it is probably a very weak cartridge then???

  4. #18
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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Magnum

    I like the Federal or Remington 125gr for K frame or larger .357s. They have a lot of blast and noise and such, but they are proven. I personally like the fact that they expand and throw off fragments down the wound path. The 125gr Gold Dot stays together and while it expands big, it does not have that effect by design. I was disapointed in the 158gr Hydra Shok when it was used a a hunting bullet (for tiny FL deer at close range) It fragmented totally and actually under penetrated. Not what I expected from a 158gr .357. For smaller guns, or for those that want more than +P .38 but can't (or choose not to) handle a full power 125gr .357, please look into the 125gr Gold Saber. It is a very soft shooting medium power .357 load. Great for the smaller .357s. Second choice for a medium load would be the 145 Silvertip. Penetration from the .357 is not a problem. There is plenty of energy.
    Last edited by Superhouse 15; July 16th, 2008 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Typo

  6. #20
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnubMan View Post
    Hey all,
    Good discussion thus far --- I guess there was some confusion as to what I meant by "Best ammo for 357 Magnum". My EDC is an S&W M&P 340 (j-frame revolver .357 - 1 7/8'' barrel) --- It sounds that Double Tap would be the best ammo selection for personal defense against human attackers. BUT do you think that the 125gr bullets would still have adequate penetration out of such a short barrel or would a heavier bullet be better. If anyone has a test data (actual - numbers) that would be fantastic! Thanks all! --- On a side note, I guess I want to avoid any ammo marked "low recoil" right??? B/c it is probably a very weak cartridge then???
    StoppingPower.net Forums - test Bed

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  7. #21
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    A year or so ago the info I had was that the Win 145 gr ST was about the best ammo these days. That is what I carry in the .357.

    Regards,
    Jerry

  8. #22
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    BUT do you think that the 125gr bullets would still have adequate penetration out of such a short barrel

    Yes

    or would a heavier bullet be better.

    No

    Biker

  9. #23
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    Superhouse 15 (and anyone else)

    I like the 25% more energy that the Speer 135gr. for "short barrels" in .357 format has over the regular .38 135gr. for short barrels. The bullet is meant to expand at lessor speeds than the other Speer bullets. They were developed for use with the .38 and only then was more powder added to them via the .357 cases.

    Out of the .38+p they perform perfectly. But out of the .357 with it's extra speed (only 990fps) they do funny things. They offer more energy - yes. They penetrate OK, but they do it without the nose section which has broken off.

    Speer says that this is to be expected because they were developed specifically for the .38+p shells. They say that the remaining base will continue to remain intact and continue to penetrate because the bullet is "bonded".

    I like the concept of a deeply hp tipped round that will expand at those lessor speeds.. (I don't like being kicked by full house loads any more than the next guy.) But really, this sounds like it's not ideal.

    Superhouse - you commented that you liked the idea of the bullets leaving fragments behind as it penetrated. Would this mean that you believe that the results of these special "short barrel" bullets behaving this way would be OK or even beneficial to some degree?

    Speer comes right out and says that the 135 gr. is being "overdriven" (to use their term) when shot in the .357 format.

    I lost confidence in the round when I discovered these things and started to go for the "full house" loads and bullets which behaved more standardly even at the expense of recoil etc.

    Anyone have a few thoughts? Anyone do some testing with the 135gr. Speers in .357 format? I've read somewhere that people are finding that they do indeed loose their nose when penetrating - when moved at close to 1000 fps.

    If someone had good results - perhaps I could have my confidence restored.

    Either way - it seems like poor practice to simply load a bullet that they know is being "overdriven" compared to the speeds that it was designed for - just to get another 100+fps and be able to call it a .357 magnum.

    I guess it was too much trouble to make a nose somewhere in between the design of the regular .357 bullets and the ones designed for the .38.

    Doesn't this seem like shabby pracitice for an outfit like Speer?

    Any thoughts???

    MARV

  10. #24
    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin Knox View Post
    Not meaning to be argumentative or anything. Just for the sake of spirited and informative discussion:

    This IS a "defensive carry" discussion. I assumed that we were talking about carry ammo. SnubMan apparently meant "best" in that sense as well.

    I don't think that anyone here carries an "18" carbine.

    When we talk about "specific bullets for specific tasks", we are talking here about self defense "carry" ammo.

    Were I loading my .357 for another task than shooting perps., such as hunting or defense against bears, I would probably choose another bullet as well.

    DoubleTap .357 Magnum
    125gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1600fps - 12.75" / .69"
    158gr. Gold Dot JHP @ 1400fps - 19.0" .56"

    19" of penetration is way too much penetration. The 19" of penetration is the result of the second figure representing a lack of adequate expansion. That, coupled with the extra weight, results in excessive penetration as I indicated in my previous post.

    The figures for the 125 gr. represent near optimum performance for the caliber concerning "stopping" the threat without endangering bystanders any more than necessary

    The speed for the 125 gr. round results in far more energy delivered to the target than the admitedly heavier 158 gr. round delivers. The superior expansion percentage coupled with the ideal penetration depth figure results in all of that greater available energy going right where you want it and not somewhere you don't.

    These results are the results of extensive testing in ballistic gel by Double Tap.

    Again - I'm posting just for the sake of informative discussion. This is the way I see things, anyway.

    MARV
    Sorry I did not reply right away.

    First of all I am not looking to argue but to do as we have done and exchange views and opinions.

    As I looked at my self defense needs, the .357 was my cartridge of choice for 3 types of weapons.
    1- A short barreled easily carried revolver. specifically a S&W Scadmium framed pocket rocket.
    2- Large framed 6" barreled revolver for bedside use and automobile carry. Specifically a S&W Mod 28 Highway Patrol, 6"
    3- A self defense carbine, capable of home and ranch use, also easily carried in a pickup truck. Specifically a Marlin 1894 in .357

    Of the weapons I have chosen and become familiar with, the 158gr Remington HPT fills most needs.

    I have never shot any one, but have dispatched numerous animals around the house that range in size from 60LBS to 120+ lbs. Examination of wounds shows that the bullet is expanding rapidly but holding together well enough to produce large exit wounds. The classic requirements for rapid blood loss and resulting incapacitation.

    I "carry" a carbine in defense of home or property when use of a long gun would be indicated by the situation. In these cases carry does not have to be concealed, thus the ability to drive heavier bullets to higher velocity should not be ignored.

    The longer barreled heavy revolver is not concealed either but is carried in a car for around town driving, or holster when moving about my property. From the bedside extra weight and length is not an issue but an asset. Again the Remington 158gr hpt works well as defensive from this platform.

    In the smaller revolver the 125 gr will have better velocity but will it penetrate better? Probably not. I do know for a fact that after bullet placement, penetration is primary, then expansion. For my self defense I want to know that my bullet will penetrate to the vitals in any circumstance.

    In the end I trust the 158gr loading to perform reliably under more circumstances with more varied weapons platforms than the 125gr hpt.

    Let it be noted that I do not feel that the 125gr hpt is an inadequate round, far from it. It is an excellent choice, as would be any .357 mag loading.

    I have enjoyed the discussion.

    PS: Marv if you have bear problems, might I suggest a .375 H&H mag, using 300 gr nosler partions. I think the .357 might be light for that use.

    Take care

    Hank

  11. #25
    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    158 gr. Black Hills and 158 gr. Buffalo Bore (although it's really tough to go wrong with any .357 Mag).
    Freedom of speech does not excuse one from freedom of thought.

  12. #26
    Member Array Marvin Knox's Avatar
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    Hamour

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamour View Post
    Examination of wounds shows that the bullet is expanding rapidly but holding together well enough to produce large exit wounds. The classic requirements for rapid blood loss and resulting incapacitation.

    In the smaller revolver the 125 gr will have better velocity but will it penetrate better? Probably not. I do know for a fact that after bullet placement, penetration is primary, then expansion.

    In the end I trust the 158gr loading to perform reliably under more circumstances with more varied weapons platforms than the 125gr hpt.

    I have enjoyed the discussion.

    PS: Marv if you have bear problems, might I suggest a .375 H&H mag, using 300 gr nosler partions. I think the .357 might be light for that use.

    Take care

    Hank
    Hank,

    It's that first part about large exit wounds that bother me about the 158 gr.. My application is different than yours, obviously. That's exactly what I DON'T want.

    I carry primarily in large crouds to protect guest speakers from around the world from harm. I also patrol an area where children's events are happening. I may have to fire in a croud of 2-3000 men, women and children.

    Of course, I carry other places and have the gun at home as well. I carry a 340 M&P like SnubMan does.

    Penetration is, of course a prime consideration after bullet placement. But I maintain that the .357 is by it's very nature adequate for penetration in a human target. The problem, as I see it, is over penetration. This is prcisely where the rapid expansion of the 125 gr. bullets is desirable.

    I don't live in the country any more. I only wish I did. I envy you. If I did, the 158 gr. would be my primary choice as well.

    I used to carry a kit gun when flying the bush in Alaska. It wasn't a .357. It wouldn't be my first choice now as it wasn't my first choice then. I will say that we had more trouble by far with black bear attacks than we did with the dreaded grizzly bear. A .357 would be not a bad choice for them - but not, of course, the 1st choice.

    I've enjoyed the discussion as well. And, again, no argumentative attitude was meant by my post to SnubMan about the superiority of the 125 gr. bullets for carry.

    God bless you! Shoot a wild hog for me.

    MARV

  13. #27
    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    I guess Marv that is why the .357 is so great. It can be made to work well in so many situations.

    Here is my son on hog patrol the other night


    and his reward


    He says keep them pistol calibers and he will use the .308 or 30-06

  14. #28
    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Nice swine!

    And, I use plain-Jane Remington 125grn SJHP's in my GP-100. When I've tested them vs. denim-covered waterjugs, they have expanded nicely, and would usually pentrate into the third jug.

    I'm not a Silvertip fan; when I did the same test, they would usually fragment badly and stop in the 2nd jug.
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  15. #29
    Member Array vanilla_gorilla's Avatar
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    When I'm toting one of my .357s, I stoke it with the Winchester 145 grain Silvertip.
    I'll take a .45 and a large side of JHPs, please.

  16. #30
    VIP Member Array Nick's Avatar
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    I picked up a GP100 today primarily for home defense. Thanks to all for the excellent advice on .357 ammo. This is a great forum.
    "To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them."
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