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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I want to get some defensive ammo for my new revolver. I am confused in that people say NOT to use light grain 357 ammo in my K Frame. So is it ok to get , lets say 158 gr. magnums for it? I would have thought heavier bullet would be more damaging so I guess I dont quite understand.

Also, please let me know what you guys carry in your K Frames....I know some people rely on 38 +P's and I thought that I should go with Magnums as that is the reason for buying the gun.. Yes I will practise mostly with 38's but for defense I would like Magnums.

Also, I can get some old stock Black Talons in the 180 gr. range (357)....any thoughts on this ammo?

Thanks
 

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I don't think you could go wrong with any weight of .357 mag.
 

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I have a 686+ with a 3 inch barrel and carry it with the Federal 158 grain Hyrdo Shock ammo for defense.
For target practice I like the Sellier & Bellot 158 grain FMJ rounds.
 

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Actually, the reason S&W discountinued the K frame was that it couldn't stand up to the continued use of Magnum ammo, so practicing with .38's is a good idea.
Any weight of bullet should work fine in a K frame. S&W recommends against using very lightweight bullets in some current production J frame guns.
Regarding bullet effectiveness, It would appear that a heavier bullet would do more damage. However to be effective a bullet has to expand and needs a high velocity to do this effectively. Typically the heavier the bullet, the lower the velocity. Something along the lines of 125gr. bullet seems to work well in most guns.
Black Talons are very effective, I wouldn't hesitate to carry them. They expand reliably and induce massive tissue damage.
 

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I carry a Ruger SP101 pretty much everyday. My preferred carry rounds are Winchester 140 gr. silvertip HP. I know it is an old school round, but it is very effective. I have shot a few hogs with it and I am very impressed at the penetration and expansion of the silvertip HP.

Speer makes some Gold Dot HP for the .357 that you might want to check out.
 

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There are plenty of effective SD .357 mag loads that are < 180 grs. There are plenty of effective SD .38 spl. loads that a K-frame can shoot forever. Why push it? Enjoy your fine S&W for what it is, and practice (practice, practice...) :bier:.
 

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Hi All,

I want to get some defensive ammo for my new revolver. I am confused in that people say NOT to use light grain 357 ammo in my K Frame. So is it ok to get , lets say 158 gr. magnums for it? I would have thought heavier bullet would be more damaging so I guess I dont quite understand.

Also, please let me know what you guys carry in your K Frames....I know some people rely on 38 +P's and I thought that I should go with Magnums as that is the reason for buying the gun.. Yes I will practise mostly with 38's but for defense I would like Magnums.

Also, I can get some old stock Black Talons in the 180 gr. range (357)....any thoughts on this ammo?

Thanks
I'm one of those who shoot only 38 +Ps in my K frame revolvers. I have an L frame and a couple of Rugers that I use for magnum loads.
 

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I don't shoot my K frame much (model 19).

When I want to feel a little concussion on my chest, I get out the 686 4" It loves any weight bullet.
 

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You could look into the Hornady Critical Defense ammo. I do believe it's available in .357 and .38sp. I have some for both of our 9mm's and will be picking up some for my .45ACP and .44Mag soon.
 

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harley2007 I use Federal 125gr critical defense hp or the 130gr low recoil hydro-shoks in my M 66. I found this article soemwhat useful, might help. Ammunition For The Self-Defense Firearm And I haven't heard not to use the 125gr loads in a k frame, if so then maybe I need to make a change.
 

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I split the forcing cone on a nice 3" M66 shooting a steady diet of 125gr. about 15 years back. Remmy 125 sjhp used to be cheap enough to practice with then. Between 4-5000 rounds and about the same in lighter .357 and .38 loads. I'd carry that load again in a K-frame but I'd baby it more in practice.
 

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I did a bunch of reading about ammo and K frame failures, and just bought myself a K frame 65 as a "Project Gun".

It seems the Achielles Heel of the K frame is the flat spot on the bottom of the forcing cone. The problems that lead to the failure are readily debatable, but here's a few I've read:

1: As the round fires, an obviously large amount of pressure builds rapidly. (DUH!) The lighter bullets are shorter, and clear the forcing cone, right as the pressure maxes out. This allows the blast furnace behind the bullet to really dig into the forcing cone. This is WORST with slower burning powders, such as many magnums burn.

2: Lighter bullets accelerate much faster, and hence "hit" the forcing cone at a faster rate of speed with greater force.

3: Heavier (longer) bullets are less likely to "hit" the forcing cone in less than a perfectly zero angle, as their rear stabilizes them.

When we talk 38 Specials, even the hottest ones, none of this can happen, as pressure is greatly reduced, and the bullet starts out well back, and pressure has reduced, before the bullet clears the forcing cone.

For most shooting, obviously shoot a reasonably powered 38 Special load. For Magnums, shoot 158+ grain bullets.

I can't say 100% what, if any of that is accurate, but it's what I've relied on as true.

When my 65 starts to "ride along", it will likely be loaded with Magnum loads with 158 grain bullets of a premium JHP design. Whatever shoots best from Gold Dot, HST, whoever...

But I won't shoot any Magnum loads with the 110 and 125 grain bullets. 38 Special, sure, just not magnums.
 

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FHBrumb, I've heard something similar and it makes sense. The forcing cone split at the lower left.
If I could have a do-over, I'd limit the 125s to familiarization once in a while but I'd still carry them. Particularly, the Remmy version.
 

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I've had a M66 2 1/2" and M13 3" for around 25yrs. An almost max 160 cast SWC 38sp and 145 Silver Tip 357 has worked well in them over the years. The ST shoots to POA in the M13 and very accurate in both. Avgs 1168fps out of 3" and 1150fps out of 2 1/2".(the chambers on the M66 seem a little tighter than the M13's is my only explanation for little difference in velocity?)
 

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K frames will shoot 357's ok just not all the time, practice with .38's mostly, .357's now and then. I carry my 65 with fed. hydrashock 158 gr .357 mag. You won't mess the k frame up by shooting some .357's in it, just don't do it all the time.
 

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Since you practice with .38's (as I usually do) and carry 357's you should be able to shoot any .357 round made in the 66 and have it last a lifetime.

Since it's the "hot" 125's that have given trouble over time, it may be wise to drop back a little on powder charges in your choice of .357 magnum carry ammo. I've done that with my j-frames and they still offer a significant step up from .38+p's.

Can Less be More

I carry the 125 gr. DPX and I can't imagine that you'd ever need more speed than it provides with a very dependable projectile as well. I only get about 1100 fps or so with my snubbie. You'll get a little more.

That's a lot less than the "hot" rounds that shot out the cones on K frames over the years of steady diet. But it's still hot enough to do the job. I'm sure they will give 12" or so of gel. penetration and a good mushroom every time. Who could ask for more?

DPX expense is no big deal because I shoot a 125 gr. reload from Mastercast that matches it's recoil and POI close enough to fire a few for effect every couple of times at the range. They measure their published speeds out of a 6" tube by the way. Their 1290 for the 125gr. matches the DPX pretty close IMO.

A Look at Corbon

amo
 

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I carry 125-135 grain JHP in magnum and +p flavors but stay away from magnum 158s for SD. The chance for a through and through is just too great given that I roam in urban circles.

Currently my carry revolver is a Speed Six 2.75" and is stoked with 135gr Gold Dots. Although I carry a speed strip of 125 gr Guardian Golds when I pack that rig.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I did a bunch of reading about ammo and K frame failures, and just bought myself a K frame 65 as a "Project Gun".

It seems the Achielles Heel of the K frame is the flat spot on the bottom of the forcing cone. The problems that lead to the failure are readily debatable, but here's a few I've read:

1: As the round fires, an obviously large amount of pressure builds rapidly. (DUH!) The lighter bullets are shorter, and clear the forcing cone, right as the pressure maxes out. This allows the blast furnace behind the bullet to really dig into the forcing cone. This is WORST with slower burning powders, such as many magnums burn.

2: Lighter bullets accelerate much faster, and hence "hit" the forcing cone at a faster rate of speed with greater force.

3: Heavier (longer) bullets are less likely to "hit" the forcing cone in less than a perfectly zero angle, as their rear stabilizes them.

When we talk 38 Specials, even the hottest ones, none of this can happen, as pressure is greatly reduced, and the bullet starts out well back, and pressure has reduced, before the bullet clears the forcing cone.

For most shooting, obviously shoot a reasonably powered 38 Special load. For Magnums, shoot 158+ grain bullets.

I can't say 100% what, if any of that is accurate, but it's what I've relied on as true.

When my 65 starts to "ride along", it will likely be loaded with Magnum loads with 158 grain bullets of a premium JHP design. Whatever shoots best from Gold Dot, HST, whoever...

But I won't shoot any Magnum loads with the 110 and 125 grain bullets. 38 Special, sure, just not magnums.
Thanks, this is the most comprehensive data I have seen and concurs with everything else I have seen. I have decided to shoot Magnums NO LESSER than 158's. I will stay with +p and regular 38's for practise with a cylinder full of whatever I decide to carry with each range outing......but I do not want to harm the gun....so nothing smaller than 158's.

Thanks again.
 

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A little bit of a hijack...

I've always heard of the split forcing cone issues with M19's...but do M66's have the same problem? I would assume they do, but it rarely seems to be brought up when discussing the M66...

Just curious...
 

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Cuda, I'm sure the 65 and 66 did fail, but you and I now share a thought. All of the pics, of cracked forcing cones, I've seem were of blued guns.

Maybe Stainless is a little more elastic, and fails less often? I have no idea... Metallurgy (see I can't even spell it right), is not my strong suit.

Harley, all I'm doing is repeating what I've read. I'm not certain if any of it is fact. Some of the people I read from seemed to be posting based on experience. I however, am not.
 
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