February 25, 2009, 11:31 AM
Join Date: March 17, 2006
Location: Parts Unknown
Fictional Marshall & Sanow "One-Shot Stop" statistics
The .357 Magnum, in Remington or Federal JHP, 125 grains, is unquestionably the most effective handgun cartridge in existence. Its proven ability to produce one shot stops exceeds that of any other round, including more powerful cartridges such as the .41 Magnum and .44 Magnum.
If there is any downside to using the .357 Magnum for self-defense, it would relate to the blast and kick of full power loads. Controllability is extremely important in follow-up shot placement, and self-defense requires that shots be fired rapidly and accurately.
For those uncomfortable with the buck and roar of full-load .357 Magnum rounds, there exist a variety of lower recoil cartridges that are equally well suited to self defensive purposes. Because the .357 Magnum is such an incredible manstopper, little is lost by "downgrading" to more temperate ammunition.
The following cartridges are recommended for those who desire to reduce recoil of the .357 Magnum cartridge. Rounds are listed in decreasing order of recoil severity:
Winchester "Silvertip" JHP 145 grains 85%
Remington "Golden Saber" JHP 125 grains 84%
Federal JHP 110 grains 90%
Remington "Medium Velocity" JHP 125 grains 83%
Cor-Bon JHP 115 grains NA
For 2.5-inch and 3-inch short-barreled Magnum revolvers, the last two recommended cartridges represent excellent self-defense rounds. These cartridges are ideal for snub nose revolvers like the Smith & Wesson Models 66, 19, 65, and 13; the Colt King Cobra; the Ruger GP100 and especially the small frame Ruger SP101. Ammunition manufactured by Remington, Federal, CCI or Winchester in JHP, 110 grains, is also a good choice for use in snubbies or by those sensitive to recoil.
If recoil from a .357 Magnum revolver is still perceived to be excessive, considering carrying the .38 Special Cor-Bon +P+, JHP, 115 grains. This lighter round packs plenty of stopping power (83%). Its use may encourage accurate placement of multiple shots in a self defense situation due to its reduced kick when compared to the .357 Magnum.
Note that a .357 Magnum revolver can shoot both .357 and .38 Special ammunition. A .38 Special revolver can only shoot .38 Special ammunition.
For those owners of a Taurus or Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver that is still equipped with factory wooden grips, consider installing recoil-absorbing, ergonomic rubber grips. The difference in control afforded by these grips is enormous, and greatly aids rapid and accurate shooting.
For self defense, never carry soft points, semi-wadcutters, or any 158 grain or 180 grain JHP ammunition. These types of .357 Magnum cartridges are better suited to target shooting and hunting. The kick of the heavier bullets is correspondingly severe, possibly inhibiting follow up shots and accuracy when used to defend against aggression.
For practice, the all lead bullets are acceptable, but there are better choices, as the shooter will quickly discover when it is time to laboriously clean the lead fouling from the gun.
When selecting .357 Magnum cartridges for self protection, an individual can't go wrong by choosing JHP, 110 to 125 grains, made by any of the top five manufacturers
45 ACP Caliber:
One Shot Stopping Success: 63-94% (Actual)
Self Defense Rating: Best
Federal "Hydra-Shok" JHP 230 grains 94%
Remington "Gold Sabre" JHPP 230 grains 93%
Cor-Bon JHP 185 grains 92%
Remington +P JHPP 185 grains 91%
CCI/Speer "Lawman" JHP 200 grains 88%
Federal JHP 185 grains 87%
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