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SP101 .357 Ammo Options?

6102 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  joe/OH

Just bought my first .357 last night - a Ruger SP101. I haven't shot this one yet, but it feels really good in my hand. The double action trigger pull isn't nearly as smooth as my wife's S&W 638, but it's still nice.

If it's not raining too bad when I get home from work (one of the draw backs to your own outdoor range...), I'd like to try a few .357 loads through it. What do most folks here prefer for a defensive round for the .357?
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I use the Golden Saber 125 gr in my Ruger Security Six. Its an old gun but it still shoots straight. From what I have read in other posts you probably want to try a few different loads to see what feels best / shoots best for you. I am sure others around here can give you better advice as they are much more experienced than me and many have the same weapon you do.
Joe - when I packed my SP I used CorBon +P 110 grainers - they were quite hot but better control than mag.

The mags I did use - mostly actually in my M28 when carried were the CorBon 140 grain .357's. They were quite ''fierce'' in the SP!

There is a lotta choice out there - try all you can lay hands on.

Oh and - get busy dry firing - that trigger will smooth out a bit with use. I dismantled my trigger group too and dremel (mop) polished all contact surfaces to a high mirror finish - that helped a bit too.
I'll have to start experimenting with reloads first. I'm a little broke at the moment to start buying gobs of expensive defensive ammo (I didn't stop at just the SP101... too many good deals to pass up!). Plus spending additional funds on ammo is just going to further inflame the wife after I told her I was going to buy 1 firearm but came home with 2.

But wanted to start carrying right away and wasn't sure if the concensus for .357 was light or heavy. I know with the .38 special, 158 gr. LSWCHP are a favorite. I've always been of the 'heavier is better' mentality but I also don't want to worry about over penetration.

BTW - my pockets are big enough to carry the SP101 without much problem on most of my 'carry pants' - but just barely. What a heck of a back up gun for the 1911, eh? :)
Downside of SD ammo is cost yeah - big deterrant to burning up too much to experiment.

I also favor from choice a std 158 weight bullet. The CorBon is an exception I make because they are quite hot.

My own .357 load is 14 grains VV N-110 pushing a gaschecked 158 cast SWC. It is sub max but very controllable. 158's tend to be nearer a gun's natural POI very often - certainly with 38 spl loads.
Hello. My SP101 is currently loaded with 125-gr. Remington Golden Sabers. If interested, click on the link for observations on the SP101 with some of the loads mentioned in previous posts. I've not tried it yet, but Corbon's 110-gr. 38 Special DPX load might be a very decent choice offering good "power" with least until their 125-gr. 357 magnum DPX comes out. SP101 Report.htm

Thank you Mr. Camp! I have to say that this is the article that convinced me to buy this SP101. In fact, I've read all of your articles and have been a closet fan of your website for some time now. It's nice to finally be able to say thank you for all of the excellent information you have published.
.357 Defense Ammo

joe/OH said:
What do most folks here prefer for a defensive round for the .357?
I like the MagSafe and Glaser offerings or the standard for all rounds: the 125gr SJHP name your brand.
Would suggest for .357 Mag, 125's at the bottom end. 140's to 158's(hot loaded with a good bullet)optimal. Control is also a key factor unless you only care about one accurate shot. With my revo,I always practiced and shot,single action. Recocking hammer with off hand thumb. For me,it became very fast. I always hated that long doub act pull.-------
Hello, and thank you, joe/OH. Speaking only for myself, the mid-range Remington 125-gr. Golden Saber offers the most "power" that I can handle as quickly as with the lighter .38 loads. The 145-gr. STHP is possibly more potent, but I did notice a slight loss in speed on repeat shots when shooting falling plates that just wasn't there with the Golden Saber and down.

357 125's were listed in a study of one shot stopping as 96%. While IMO shot placement is more important. In the woods I would use Fed Prem 180 cast cores. In town, in a room, or in a car, the low pressure 38's are easier on the ears. Since you reload, you can have the best of all worlds. I suggest you light load 357 cases for starters, so you don't have to scrub out the cylinder ring that 38's leave behind.
Ruger states that the POA and POI are set using 158gr in the 101's. I have noticed that the 125's shoot a little low in my 101 and the 158's are about spot on at 7-10 yrds, just more recoil.
I carry Remington or Winchester .38 Specials 158 LHP +P most of the time. When I am not carrying them I have the Remington Golden Sabers in .357, but would like to go to a heavier bullet like the Winchester silvertip for example. My gun does prefer the heavier bullet weight, (in fact my GP-100 and my old Ruger Redhawk did too......)
Well, after running several samples of different ammo through, I have to say I really like the 158 grain gold dots. Rapid fire these things are very controllable and hit spot on.

On a side note, I picked up some cheap Remington UMC 125 grain hollow points - OUCH! These things have to be loaded over max. After 20 rounds my hand was throbbing. I shot them side by side with hot hand-loaded 158 grain hard cast and the felt recoil is still worse. I gave them to my Dad to shoot in his 4" security six and they hurt him too.
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