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Old March 10, 2013, 07:26 PM   #1
M1Rifle30-06
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Best .357 Magnum Ammo for Self Defense?

I know this has been discussed before but I can't really find a definitive answer. Perhaps there is none?

Anyway, I recently bought a Smith and Wesson model 19 4 inch blued. Pre-lock and pre-mim of course, pinned barrel and recessed chambers. I love this gun!

Over the past month I've shot about 2000 rounds of .38 Special practice ammo and a few hundred rounds of various .357 Mag. I feel confident in my abilities with it now, so I'm ready to start carrying it. I know it's not the smallest or lightest carry gun, but I've carried bigger and heavier.

Anyway, I want to carry it with a .357 mag load that is really suitable for home defense and concealed carry. I don't want it to be so powerful and hard recoiling that follow up shots are difficult, but I don't want the watered down loads either (then I might as well just use .38 +p's). What is a good decently powerful but practical self defense load? Such as 125 grain 1450 fps load, but with lower flash and recoil?
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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The Remington 125 JHP is the classic bad guy stopper, but any will do.
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:59 PM   #3
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I have both Remington 125gr Hollow points (Green and white box) and Critical Defense 125gr.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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My 66 is always ready with Critical Defense.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:08 PM   #5
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Speer gold dots 135 grain. There is a chap on YouTube named TNoutdoors that has been testing a lot of the various handgun loads. His result with this one is certainly top notch.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
The Remington 125 JHP is the classic bad guy stopper, but any will do.
When I think of classic bad guy stopper in .357 I think of the Federal .357B. Now that is some stout ammo, and loud as hell too. My left ear still rings to this day when I let one off without hearing protection out of a snub (that wasn't a joke either, my left ear really does still ring from it and it was almost 3 years ago). Would not recommend for use in J frames.
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:36 PM   #7
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Full power 125 grain .357s are the exact load that gave K-frames somewhat of a reputation for fragility. Use a 158 grain load as much as you want. Use the 125s with more caution. That is the load which gave birth to the L-frame. Be kind to yourself and your gun. Remember, they are not making any more pre-lock, pre-MIM, pinned and recessed Model 19s. Just MHO.
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:41 PM   #8
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My 2" SP101 runs with Critical Defense at all times.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:31 AM   #9
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I think the Remington 125gr Gold Saber is a good solid performer. Slightly less than a full power 125. I also worry about the 125gr full power load, I prefer Federal, and I don't feed my K frames a steady diet anymore.
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:54 AM   #10
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I think a 357 mag FMJ target loads would be effective especially targeting the high center chest your going to have a good chance of hitting some dense bones or lower ribs eviscerating a lot of flesh due to bone fragmentation splintering upon impact a sternum shot would be ideal and devastating think of all the bones there a big dense cluster of the body's bones are up there . But yes to the OP 357 JHP Cartridges are strongly advised because of the overpenetration factor.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
The Remington 125 JHP is the classic bad guy stopper, but any will do.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/609...oint-box-of-25


"Technical Information

Muzzle velocity: 1220 fps
Muzzle energy: 413 ft. lbs."

These specs from MidwayUSA's website shows the 125 grain Remington Golden Saber going only 1220 fps. That doesn't seem any better than a 9mm +p. Isn't 1450 fps sort of the beginning of "magnum" territory?
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:36 AM   #12
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I am aware of the dangers of shooting too many hot 125 grain loads, that's why Ive mainly been practicing with .38's. When I practice with .357's, it's 158 grain Blazer loads (not too hot). I only plan on occasionally shooting the 125 grain loads through the 19, and carrying them.

When I want to run my 1700 fps 125 grain .357 loads I use the old GP100
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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I think this is the Remington 125 grain JHP referenced above (the "classic" load):

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/322...oint-box-of-50

Here is the above referenced Federal (the other "classic" load):

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/125...oint-box-of-20

These are the classic, screaming .357 magnum 125 grain JHPs most people are talking about when they mention the manstopper .357 ammo in 125 grain JHP. Winchester also has a similar load. The idea is, jacketed hollow points with soft lead on the front, at a really high velocity.

I don't know if you'll be successful in finding anything similar with lower blast and recoil. The blast, report and recoil are stunning. Maybe Gold Dots from Buffalo Bore, Underwood, etc. might have a lower flash. For me, it's hard to disregard decades of real life shootings by police and I stick with the classics.

There are a lot of other great .357 defense loads, though. Good luck, and just be sure to use some really good hearing protection.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:50 AM   #14
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My vote goes to Speer GoldDots in any weight any caliber.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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Any JHP, JSP, or hard cast lead. I hate seeing these BEST threads. There is no BEST it is shot placement and quality ammo that counts.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:13 PM   #16
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If you can't get the job done with about any HP or SP on the market don't go around blaming the ammo. There is no doubt that caliber and cartridge choice matter but within the parameters of ONE certain cartridge using EXPANDING types bullets the odds you are gonna live or die on the differences are pretty small. IMO, "Designer" ammo vs. plain jane ammo is like designer jeans vs. Wranglers. They both cover your butt but one cost more to do it.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:39 PM   #17
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I'm a firm believer in 150-158 grn LSWCs in 357s and 38s.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:48 PM   #18
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I run 158gr XTP's in mine. Black Hills I think is the name on the factory boxes.

For those worried about "overpenetration".... I have handloaded that bullet to around 1250 ...... and from near contact distance out of a 6" barreled Colt Trooper, it will not pas through a 2 1/2 year old whitetail's chest. I even tried 4 times ....... no exits.
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:16 PM   #19
M1Rifle30-06
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Quote:
I think this is the Remington 125 grain JHP referenced above (the "classic" load):

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/322...oint-box-of-50


Ah ok. That makes much more sense.


I've shot the Hornady Critical Defense .357 and it's a pretty tame round (fast follow up shots) but online reviews/tests tend to show it having much lower velocity than advertised
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:35 PM   #20
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.357magnum rounds...

This topic has been discussed at length many many many times.

Read over a few older forum posts & you'll find a top .357magnum round for your needs. If you want a good list, here are a few brands;
Speer Gold Dot 110gr JHP, Speer Gold Dot 125gr JHP, Hornady 125gr JHP, Corbon DPX or PowRball. The Remington Golden Saber 125gr JHP, the Federal 125gr JHP, the MagSafe .357magnum load, Glaser Silver Safety Slug, Buffalo Bore .357magnum defense rounds, Winchester Ranger T .357magnum.

Some gunners put down frangibles & exotic rounds but for magnum revolvers, I feel they have merit.
Recoil muzzle blast & flash are the big issues but many top firms like Corbon, Remington, Hornady, Speer, etc have improved designs.

CF
www.shopcorbon.com www.natchezss.com www.buffalobore.com www.sgammo.com www.grafs.com www.cabelas.com
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:33 PM   #21
M1Rifle30-06
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I think I'll just buy a box of ammo of each manufacturer and get out the chronograph and see which 125gr/1450fps load is most comfortable for me.

Of course with the ammo shortage there might be a problem with that
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
I can't really find a definitive answer. Perhaps there is none?
You've answered your own question. I don't get hung up on best. Most any quality bullet will work. With barrels 4" or longer 125 gr bullets have a good reputation. I'd use heavier bullets from a snubbie.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:51 PM   #23
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They are all good. I would go with the hottest .38 Special +P's you can find; either 158 grain soft lead hollowpoints, or 125 grain half-jacket HP's.

If I had to pick a .357 factory load to carry in a model 19, it would probably be Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 135 Grain JHP's. (even without a short barrel)
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:00 PM   #24
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I believe that than any good brand 357 mag hp will do the job. The issue with the super hot loads is the 2 and 3rd shot IMHO.

Question is, what can you find on the self.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:18 PM   #25
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Critical Defense
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