What .357 magnum bullets for SD?

What .357 magnum bullets for SD?

This is a discussion on What .357 magnum bullets for SD? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I am new to reloading, and just starting to assemble components. I have been doing some research online, and I think I have pretty much ...

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Thread: What .357 magnum bullets for SD?

  1. #1
    Member Array funklab's Avatar
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    What .357 magnum bullets for SD?

    I am new to reloading, and just starting to assemble components.

    I have been doing some research online, and I think I have pretty much settled on a 125 grain bullet. I will be pushing it out of my 3" revolver at around 1300-1400 fps, but I am open to other opinions on what speed/weight combination is the most effective.

    Pretty much I want to get opinions on what 125 grain projectile has the best ballistics at those speeds for self defense. If I do go with 125 grain bullets, I will probably buy the cheapest copper plated 125 grain bullets to shoot for fun (loaded to the same specs), so I am willing to pay a little more for the bullets that I will carry. They're not going to be shot very often, but if I need it, I want the best projectile there is.

    So let me know. Would you go with Speer Gold Dot 125 gr? Golden Saber? Hornady XTP? Magtech?

    Do you think I should go with a different weight bullet?

    Open to any and all suggestions.

    Thanks,

    funk


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array shooterX's Avatar
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    Federal product #357B has a long time reputation for real world results. I also like corbon DPX offering, and buffalo bore "tactical" 125 gr. load.
    "Don't start none, won't be none!"

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    They are not always available, but when they are I consider the Winchester 145gr Slivertips to be a very good choice. I am referring to the slugs for reloading.
    Last edited by Guantes; June 13th, 2010 at 02:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Member Array REDTAIL's Avatar
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    Black Hills factory new ammo in 357 125 gr JHP a great SD ammo

  5. #5
    Member Array funklab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    They are not always available, but when they are I consider the Winchester 145gr Slivertips to be a very good choice. I am referring to the slugs for reloading.
    They're silver! What are they made out of? I know I said I didn't care about the price (and really I don't), but those things are more expensive then loaded ammo!

    Guantes, I remember reading online that the consensus seemed to be 125 grain bullets were the best projectile against humans, why do you think a 145 grain bullet would be better.

    BTW I also am referring to slugs for reloading. Bullet in the proper sense of the word, not a loaded cartridge. I could not find any of the other suggestions for sale (as bullets), they seem to be all loaded ammunition.

    Does anyone know of a head to head study of .357 bullet (slug, not loaded ammo) expansion/penetration characteristics?

  6. #6
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    My suggestion for what it is worth, go with the cheapest cast bullets that you can for target work. Shoot as often as you can, learn trigger control and front sight view. Buy good SD ammo for your gun, to be only used for SD, I do not use my .357 for SD work, but used to like Federals, a long time ago. The difference that the hand loaded ammo and the good SD ammo will be minuscule at the short distances used for self defense, if you want to use jacketed bullets , that to is fine, just get as cheap of jacketed bullets as you can. Go out and shoot lots of paper, buy lots of painters tape, and get to where that gun becomes an extension of you. One other thing, at least for me, I do not load my practice ammo near as hot as the SD rounds, let your muscles learn the proper shooting "stance", in a SD situation, you will not notice the recoil.
    A hand gun is like a fire extinguisher , I wish to use neither, but have both on hand in case of need ; both are personal protection devices that serve the same purpose . ie safety of you and your family.

  7. #7
    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Midway (and others) sell the silvertip bullets as components. They are not silver, and are not much costlier than any other quality bullet. The reason others are probably steering you towards a heavier bullet is your 3" barrel length. To get the velocity you are craving, muzzle flash WILL be an issue. Big and slow(er) will give you more energy at the target.

    YMMV,

    Terry

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    They're silver! What are they made out of? I know I said I didn't care about the price (and really I don't), but those things are more expensive then loaded ammo!

    Guantes, I remember reading online that the consensus seemed to be 125 grain bullets were the best projectile against humans, why do you think a 145 grain bullet would be better.

    BTW I also am referring to slugs for reloading. Bullet in the proper sense of the word, not a loaded cartridge. I could not find any of the other suggestions for sale (as bullets), they seem to be all loaded ammunition.

    Does anyone know of a head to head study of .357 bullet (slug, not loaded ammo) expansion/penetration characteristics?
    While the 125gr have been that standard for years, I have also used 110gr with success. In more recent years there has been a trend to the slightly heavier, 145gr, slugs. They are also well regarded in loaded ammo and rated high by Ammo Lab and others.

    I think either, a good 125 or 145 using quality slugs would do well for you if loaded to upper level 357 specs. There are some 140gr slugs (SJHP), Remington, IIRC, that can be had quite reasonably for practice.

  9. #9
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    I like more bullet weight than 125 grains in the .357 Magnum. My revolvers seem to shoot them more accurately than they do the 110-125 grain bullets. The .357 Magnum has enough horsepower to make effective use of the 140-158 grain bullets. The 125 grain bullet weight in the .357 Magnum has an internet reputation that is out of proportion to its effectiveness in my view. Its reputation is the result of sustained repetition rather than true performance. 125 is no magic number and some other .357 bullets of different weights can perform as well as some 125 grain bullet offerings. Good hits are most important anyway.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Whatever you shoot best, really. Popular are 125 and 158 weights but either will do the job. Do some load development with a couple different bullets and try them out.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exsimguy1 View Post
    To get the velocity you are craving, muzzle flash WILL be an issue.
    YMMV,

    Terry
    This is true. Having been a fan of 3" - 3-1/2" revolvers since first purchasing my 27-2, 3-1/2" new in the 60's and more recently a GP100, 3", .357 and loading hot for them. Muzzle flash can be significant.

  12. #12
    Member Array glock45's Avatar
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    I'm thinking about the Montana Gold 125 gr bullet for reloading. I reload .357 for an SP101 2.25" and I load .38 special for a S&W 642 with a 1 7/8". I mostly practice with the .38 loads out of both.
    Just a suggestion, buy factory ammo for SD. Practice with a load that mimics the recoil and POI of your SD ammo but only use factory ammo for SD. For SD I use Double Tap 125 gr bonded defense or Corbon 148 grainers.
    G21SF, G30, G36, Ruger SP101 DAO, S&W 642

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array RebelRabbi's Avatar
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    Here's some data I compiled this year. The first load was fired into Clay Modeling Blocks, the wound volume is measured by water displacement in the permanent cavity.
    Bullet Type: DPX Barnes Copper Bullet
    Caliber: .357 Magnum
    Bullet Wt.: 125 Gr.
    Mfg by: Cor Bon / Dakota Ammo
    Model of Gun: S&W 340
    Bbl Length: 1.875”
    Class: Undercover / Back Up Revolver
    Wound channel by volume of water: 1360 Ml

    Commentary: This load exhibited clearly superior performance in the Undercover / Back Up Revolver comparisons.

    This second set of data is from BullettestTube recovery, the conversion would be Ballistic Gel equivalent. I am convinced that these are the two BEST loads for the snub 38/357!

    Bullet Type: DPX Barnes Copper Bullet
    Caliber: .357 Magnum
    Bullet Wt.: 125 Gr.
    Mfg by: Cor Bon / Dakota Ammo
    Model of Gun: S&W 340
    Bbl Length: 1.875”
    Class: Undercover / Back Up Revolver
    Actual depth of BTT Penetration: 9”
    Penetration converted to Ballistic Gel: 12”

    Commentary: This load exhibited clearly superior performance in the Undercover / Back Up Revolver comparisons.

    Bullet Type: GC-SWCHP All Lead
    Caliber: .38 Special +P
    Bullet Wt.: 158 Gr.
    Mfg by: Buffalo Bore
    Model of Gun: S&W 340
    Bbl Length: 1.875
    Class: Undercover / Back Up Revolver
    Actual depth of BTT Penetration: 9”
    Penetration converted to Ballistic Gel: 12”

    Commentary: The Buffalo Bore Load is a semi-custom premium load that also displayed optimal performance from the Undercover / Back Up Revolver

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    I am new to reloading, and just starting to assemble components.
    Uh, maybe it's just me, but I don't think it's a good idea to carry reloads for SD. Especially if you're new to reloading.

    so I am willing to pay a little more for the bullets that I will carry.
    So buy quality factory loads. Don't try to save a few bucks on ammo that you will rely on for your life.

    Open to any and all suggestions.
    Think about the legal ramifications. Having to defend reloads in court is just another thing to worry about if you do end up shooting someone.

    I have friends that are absolute experts at reloading, been doing it for decades. They say "Do not carry reloads for SD. Carry quality factory ammo."
    "Be justified. Blood may be easily wiped from the sword.
    It cannot, however, be put back from where it came." --Quicksabre

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    This thread isn't about whether or not to carry handloads for defense, so please leave that discussion out of it.

    Also sorry, but no one is an "expert" at handloading.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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