The Never Ending "125 gr. vs. 158 gr." Discussion

This is a discussion on The Never Ending "125 gr. vs. 158 gr." Discussion within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm leaning towards honing in on 125 gr. .357 Mag for my 2 1/4" SP101 as the "best" carry load possible, but the 158 grainers ...

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Thread: The Never Ending "125 gr. vs. 158 gr." Discussion

  1. #1
    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    The Never Ending "125 gr. vs. 158 gr." Discussion

    I'm leaning towards honing in on 125 gr. .357 Mag for my 2 1/4" SP101 as the "best" carry load possible, but the 158 grainers might make sense, too, in a short barrel.
    I wonder if a short barrel doesn't maximize the speed of the 125's and since it would maximize the speed of the 158's then maybe over penetration wouldn't be a problem and a "better" choice for a short barrel.
    Many discussions seem to gravitate towards 125 gr. as the ultimate, but just wondering the latest thoughts (to include the use of the full-power 125's, like 357B, in a short barrel).
    Thanks.
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    The early SP101's were built on a .38spl frame and cylinder and as a result will not take 158gr .357 rounds. Mine is one of these. It says "125gr bullet" on the barrel on the right hand side. Needless to say if yours does too, stick with the 125gr. 158gr .38 loads fit fine. In an August 2007 article of Guns Magazine, Massad Ayoob gives his vote to the 125gr .357 load.

    BTW Speer makes a 135gr load in .357 designed for short barrel personal protection. That might be worth checking out.
    Last edited by GunnyBunny; February 6th, 2009 at 05:27 PM. Reason: .
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    This winter?!?(it's 70 today) I've been carrying Buffalo Bore 158gr .357 short barrel in my 2" 640. It's supposed to be a Gold Dot at over 1000fps out of a snub. Don't know if it's the best, but I bet it'll put a hole in someone.
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    Only my view but I shun the lighter bullets in both .38 Special and .357 Magnum, preferring to use 158 grain bullets almost exclusively. I like the +P 158 grain .38 Special ammunition for self defense. I only have large .357 Magnum revolvers and hand load them with 158 grain bullets and near max charge weights of 2400 or H 110. I don't tote the .357 Magnum for concealed carry purposes but suppose a .357 Magnum stoked with full power 158 grain loads would be effective household defense.

    The 125 grain JHP is likely really good as a stopper but it seems to have a certain "conventional wisdom" aura about it that is repeated "ad naueam" both in print and across forum land until one could suspect that it is overrated. No sense in becoming hung up on "125." It isn't magic. It is certain that some other bullets of different weight can perform just as well as some brands of 125 grain bullets.

    Texas varmints and critters go down for the count with 158 grain bullets.

  6. #5
    New Member Array txoilman's Avatar
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    Just split the difference like I did...WW 145 grain Silvertip....It has worked for 25 years....The factory is shipping out their run from late last year at this time....145 grain at 1200+ from a snub...and flash suppressed, too...woo - hoo.

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    125 Golden Sabers for me.
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    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    I have the 125 GDHP right now. open to something new if some one convinces me that there is a better load out there!
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    Member Array GotSig?'s Avatar
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    I am currently toting around the speer SB 135gr stuff, only thing is its not that much hotter then the 38+p, no where near a full house 357 load. I feel safe with it but im going to start looking into the Cor-Bon 125gr DPX round, full house 357mag power with reported near 1200 fps out of a sp101 with .70 expansion. Its not cheap at a $1.80 a round(midway usa).
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I've got a 2 1/4" SP101 and I load it with 125 Grain SJHP's from Remington.

    I also use the same load in my 3" and 4" .357 Magnums. I figure that while the shorter barrel will not make full use of the bullet's potential, a .357 magnum still has more "punch" than a 38 Special out of the same gun.

    I'm a one load man when it comes to my .357 Magnums and self defense.

    Biker

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    Senior Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    For some reason I prefer the old Keith style 158gr semi wadcutters in both 38Special and 357s. They have proven to be accurate and with modern loadings can be very effective.

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    Member Array Bart's Avatar
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    How about this difference, 125 gr JSP vs. 158 gr. JHP ? -357 mag. 4 in.barrel
    Last edited by Bart; February 21st, 2009 at 12:12 AM. Reason: ADD

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    Member Array GiddyUpGo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecup View Post
    For some reason I prefer the old Keith style 158gr semi wadcutters in both 38Special and 357s. They have proven to be accurate and with modern loadings can be very effective.
    Hmmmm... I like the way you think.... I have that mold on order.
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    I think that a .357 is a hugely powerful handgun and 125 or 158 will make the BGs go splat. As long as you pick a quality bullet in either weight you'll be fine AS LONG AS YOU DO YOUR JOB (and put rounds on target).
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    Yeah atctimmy, accuracy is most important. The vaunted "125 grain" .357 load won't make up for the lack of it and a 158 grain bullet "put in the good stuff" has as good an opportunity to take the fight out of an assailant as does the 125 grain load.

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    Member Array Derrin33's Avatar
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    I just bought my SP101 2 1/2" today. I also bought a box of Magnatech 125gr JHPs. I picked the 125gr baised on what I have read. I honestly think they will both do the job.
    God Bless America!!

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