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Old August 23, 2012, 02:28 AM   #1
dreamweaver
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federal 357 hydra shock???

Just picked up some 357 158gr for a 4" Python.
I always thought 158 was pretty much standard for 357, but when i went to check the reviews, I see a lot of hype for the 125gr federal.
one source even stated that the 158 should only be used as a hunting round!
am I wrong in wanting to use this ammo for self defense?

thanks
tom
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:43 AM   #2
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No, you are not wrong. Practice with what you have and make sure of your target.

When I purchase ammo, I prefer the 158 grain bullet in my .357 Mag. When I reload, I use it also.


Don't forget, reviews are based on someones opinion.
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Old August 23, 2012, 09:57 AM   #3
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I am also a fan of the 158gr load in .357... much less flame cutting and flash than the lighter bullets. However, there's not near as many choices with the heavier bullet.
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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could be wrong but I thought 180 gr was the hunting load for .357...federal made something like vital shok
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Old August 23, 2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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If I had to use a .357 in self defense, I'd rather have 158gr in it than 125gr. The more mass you can throw at your target, the better in my opinion.
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:37 PM   #6
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Meh, wouldnt worry about the classification all that much. Hunting/Self Defense.....same thing right?
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Old August 23, 2012, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Hunting/Self Defense.....same thing right?
Right up until you clean and process the carcass.
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Old August 23, 2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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Up to a point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smit
Hunting/Self Defense.....same thing right?
One could argue 'hunting' requires a bit more penetration and 'self-defense' wants to avoid too much penetration.

For instance, I do not think highly of full charge 300 grain .44 Magnum loads for a self-defense load in an urban setting. Or a trailer park.

However, in .357 Magnum, the heaviest bullets weights are available in configurations suited for self-defense. Being a traditionalist, I rather like the Winchester Silvertip load for .357 Magnum - a 145 grain bullet. Federal website lists a 158 jacketed HP suitable for self defense.

One must point out the 158 grain bullet loads have more physical recoil than the lighter loads - however the lighter loads have more blast and are 'sharper' - quicker - in recoil than the heavier loads. Still, I can shoot them adequately in a 2.5 inch model 19 revolver.
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Old August 23, 2012, 09:15 PM   #9
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A 158 grain bullet will leave a nice ragged exit wound out the back.

If the guy tries to hide behind a couch or car door you can still get him good with the standard 158.
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Old August 24, 2012, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
For instance, I do not think highly of full charge 300 grain .44 Magnum loads for a self-defense load in an urban setting.
As you can see from the replies everbody has an opinion. You will develop yours I am sure. I smile at the one above, as the 'Jello Shooter' experts at:

http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bi...=000917#000000

found the 300 grain XTP to be the best .44 magnum round for personal defense:


Quote:
The load with the clearly superior performance in BOTH the handgun and carbine was the Hornady 300 gr XTP, with 20+ inches of penetration, consistent expansion in excess of 0.70” and superb weight retention.
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....ght=.44+magnum
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Old August 24, 2012, 09:56 PM   #11
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I have read as much as I could find about the 357 as a self defense round. The reason the 125G JHP was picked as the NO.1 Stopper is the combination of expansion and penetration. I "think" the 158G was considered to penetrate too much and not expand enough. This would cause the bullet to possibly pass through the intended target and hit someone else. I no of a person that shot himself in the head behind the ear. He used a 4" 38Sp. with 158g ball. The bullet went through his head through the bedroom wall and was found in the next room.
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:21 AM   #12
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Any particular reason for Hydra-shok? Do they not make 357 in HST?

Hydra-shok is considered a poor performer compared to HST as far as I have seen in ammo reviews. Maybe the 357 round is different though.
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Old August 26, 2012, 08:17 AM   #13
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First of all, you aren't wrong for wanting to use that ammo. The reason 125's are more popular than 158's for self defense is simple. They expand more and don't over penetrate as much. Penetration is great for hunting where feet of penetration is sometimes needed but a human torso just isn't that thick and stopping the threat quickly counts so excess penetration is wasted energy that could have been used to do damage to the threat.
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Old August 26, 2012, 03:37 PM   #14
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Guns nuts (especially internet warriors) and gun writers will endlessly hash it out over the latest, greatest loads for each caliber. That doesn't take anything away from the devastation caused by a premium .357 Mag HP, now or 25 years ago. The 158s work very well and are a little less savage to shoot. Don't worry. AT ALL.
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Old August 26, 2012, 05:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Or a trailer park
In the trailer parks around here, they're liable to be using hunting rifles. We've got some rough trailer parks in this area.

I've always used 158 grain bullets in the .357 magnum. If I shoot 'em, I want them to stay shot.
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Old August 26, 2012, 06:03 PM   #16
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Ultimately, you want about 13" penetration and 1.5 expansion rate. Defense is all about "stopping power", right? No, not right, stopping is only to set up the kill shot. Semper Fi, Marines.
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Old August 26, 2012, 06:43 PM   #17
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I think that 158gr bullets are a fine choice for a .357 Magnum. They don't seem to be a hard on guns (specifically S&W K-Frames) as their lighter, faster counterparts, they don't have quite so offensive flash and report, and they are most likely to shoot to factory-regulated sights. As to the Hydra Shoks specifically, they should be fine from your 4" Python, but I'd be hesitant to use the 158gr version in a shorter barrel. The reason is that the Hydra Shok is a relatively "tough" bullet that needs a bit of velocity to expand and, from a snubby, it simply doesn't have enough speed. The 158gr Hydra Shok displayed very lackluster expansion in the FBI tests when fired from a 3" barrel with penetration that could be measured in feet rather than inches.

http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/357magnum.htm

For a 158gr snubby load, I'd prefer the Federal Personal Defense JHP (C357E), Winchester Super-X JHP (X3574P), or Remington Express SJHP (R357M2) as all of those loadings use semi-jacketed bullets which are better able to expand at snubby velocities due to their soft lead noses.

http://www.federalpremium.com/produc...un.aspx?id=106

http://www.winchester.com/Products/h...es/X3574P.aspx

http://www.remington.com/comparison.aspx?remove=true
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Old August 26, 2012, 07:41 PM   #18
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Thin skinned less than 50 yards
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Old August 26, 2012, 09:42 PM   #19
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Trends come and go. You'll be fine with just about any .357 magnum JHP from 125 gr to 180 gr from a four inch barrel. Sure, some may be a bit better than others, but this is a caliber that you have to work at to screw up. I personally prefer 158 gr. bullets myself on the rare occasions that I carry a .357.
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Old August 27, 2012, 12:55 AM   #20
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A different opinion

My opinion differs a little bit.

In short, a 158gr Federal Hydra-Shok .357 Magnum from a Colt Python should work just fine for defensive work. Some other brands/types might work better, however.

The original Hydra-Shok round dates back to the late 1970's before Federal bought them up. The FBI tests took place in the mid-1980's and Federal redesigned the H.S. bullet slightly in 1992 to improve performance.

Remember there are three things you want;
  • Accuracy. Your fancy gun or ammo is worthless if you can't make hits.
  • Shot placement. You have to put the bullet where it does the most good.
  • Penetration. The bullet has to penetrate deep enough to reach and penetrate the vital organs.
Expansion is icing on the cake. If you get the best accuracy out of a .357 Magnum 158gr jacketed LSWC-HP round and can shoot it well at combat speed, it's a better choice than any fancy JHP that won't stay inside a 4" circle at 25 yards.

The preference for the 125gr JHP came about in the late 60's to early 70's. Especially after Remington introduced their 125gr Semi-Jacketed hollow point (SJHP). It quickly established a reputation with police officers as a man-stopper. It was one of the first .357 rounds to reliably expand from 4" and 6" service revolvers¹ at combat distances. In addition, it did not recoil as much as the older 158gr JHP ammo, so accuracy on follow-up shots was much improved. Consistent performance with lower recoil is why many police used it.

Some rural police and highway patrol units during that time use 158gr jacketed soft point ammo because they encountered bad guys in automobiles most of the time. The down side was that the JSP rounds routinely failed to expand (or maxed out around 0.49") and over-penetrated like an FMJ round.

Pick up a box of Winchester/USA .357 magnum JHP ammo and look at the bullet. It's a half-jacketed JHP with an exposed lead core and hollow point. This was "state of the art" in 1975. A box of Remington/UMC .45 ACP JHP often carries the same bullet from the 1970's that has an exposed lead tip with a hollow point that looks like it was made with the end of an Allen wrench.

¹ At the time, Remington's published data showed the 125gr JHP velocity at 1590 fps. But that was from a 7.5" non-vented test barrel. Actual velocity is much closer to 1425~1450 fps.
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:00 AM   #21
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I've been watching Federal loads for a long time. I think there's a rule of thumb that applies: if the Federal ammo is loaded for police use in common police calibers, it'll be loaded plenty hot. Otherwise, relatively speaking, it'll be a wimp.

The 357Mag is no longer considered "police ammo" in the US. I would not trust my life to Federal stuff most of the time. Right now their best stuff is the HST series in 9mm+P, 40S&W and 45ACP. Anything else...no. Sorry.

On top of that the Hydrashock is outdated. The Gold Dot slugs are currently the most high-tech JHPs available in 357Mag and 38+P. The Winchester Ranger-T series and the Federal HST is slightly better tech than the Gold Dots BUT they're not available in 357 or 38+P...and the Gold Dots are not at all far behind anyways.

I'm carrying 125gr Gold Dots loaded balls-out in my 357Mag.
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:45 AM   #22
stormyone
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Quote:
Just picked up some 357 158gr for a 4" Python.
I always thought 158 was pretty much standard for 357, but when i went to check the reviews, I see a lot of hype for the 125gr federal.
one source even stated that the 158 should only be used as a hunting round!
am I wrong in wanting to use this ammo for self defense?

thanks
tom

Sounds like you've been reading that Chuck Hawks ammo article that's been circulating on the Internet for 15 years. It's total crap. My advice - do the opposite of what Chuck says and you should be all right.
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Old August 30, 2012, 01:29 AM   #23
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I like the 125 grain but shoot all.
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:16 AM   #24
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for hunting, like deer, coyotes, etc. take a look at Federal Fusion 158gr. It has excellent penetration and expansion. Made especially for hunting. Recoil will not be too bad in a Python.

Last edited by oldgranpa; August 30, 2012 at 09:26 AM.
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Old August 31, 2012, 09:49 PM   #25
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I have a ton of 125 gr Remington Golden Saber for my Colt Python and my new Rossi "Mare's Leg" Ranch Handgun!
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