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Old September 27, 2013, 10:15 AM   #1
DavidB2
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.357 ammo question

I have a new .357 mag. Ruger Blackhawk in 4 5/8 inch. Seems like the two most common rounds used for .357 are 125 and 158 grains. Other than the speed difference in the 125 grain rounds for .357; what is the biggest difference in the 125 and 158 grain bullets? Is there a big cost difference? Does the 158 round have more recoil being a heavier bullet? I am not a big fan of stout recoil; so I ill probably shoot target rounds until I can take it as a back up for the woods. Thanks for any feedback.
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Old September 27, 2013, 10:37 AM   #2
Ryu825
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Idk about the price difference but when I go to the range and buy ammo, their reloads are a couple bucks cheaper than the factory ammo for most calibers. .357 on the other hand is a steal at $20 a box compared to the average factory target ammo price of around $30. The reloads are 124 gr. and yes they have less recoil than 158 gr. ammo. Makes noticeably less noise too. The recoil is different enough for me to be able to make all six shots without re-gripping with 124 but that's much harder to do with 158 which I usually end up re gripping a time or two. Maybe I'm holding it wrong or something but it does answer that question. I've also heard people who hunt with their 357 use 158 soft point bullets but for sd they use 124 hollow points. Don't take my word for that one as it is hearsay but it does make sense to me.
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Old September 27, 2013, 12:52 PM   #3
Sevens
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It's difficult to determine, before shooting, which load will have more "felt recoil."

Free recoil energy is a number than can be calculated, but it's only a number. Felt recoil is much more subjective, it's the entire picture that the shooter experiences when he drops the hammer. It can be wildly influenced by many, many factors, and the only real way to get the answer is to shoot them and FEEL them and determine at that point what you think.

One of the differences that is common is the blast experience, which can be larger with a lighter bullet load. The concussion coming from the flash gap (between the cylinder and forcing cone at the rear end of the barrel) and the blast coming from the muzzle add to the experience of "felt recoil", and the blast often feels more stout from a lighter bullet load. And then, shoot the SAME load on an indoor range (where before you'd only ever shot outdoors) and the close quarters may make the entire experience seem two-fold.

If you are certain that you simply do not care for or handle recoil all too well, consider that the revolver you own is a bit of a firecracker! However, being a .357 Magnum... it can safely and happily digest any/all/every .38 Special load on the market. And .38 Special, even the hottest available, runs at around half the pressure of the .357 Magnum, so it may almost feel like shooting two totally different handguns.

Differences in 125gr and 158gr .357 Magnum rounds?
One difference you may see is that the two loads hit in a slightly different spot on the target. Windage should be the same, but the elevation is often different between the two. At 7 yards, you probably won't see it. And if you aren't a particularly good shot, you may never get a good handle on it. But if you put the revolver on a solid rest and shoot a good distance (say, 15-20 yards or more), you should notice an elevation different in where they hit on target. This is something -FAR- easier to notice when comparing .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads than it is when comparing 125 vs 158gr loads in .357 Magnum.

Another difference that has been noted -- the 125gr .357 loads tend to be more "harsh" to the revolver itself. I've heard it explained as the result of the SHORTER 125gr bullet exiting the face of the cylinder more during the absolute peak of the burning inside the cartridge, allowing far more flame & blast to smack the bottom/inside of the top strap of the revolver.

It's LONG been a topic of discussion that 125gr .357 Magnum loads "beat up" revolvers more so than 158gr .357 Magnum loads, but this is an issue with a lot more discussion (and vigor) than it is with hands-on evidence and proof.
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Old September 27, 2013, 04:20 PM   #4
BigJimP
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I find the 125gr bullet in .357 mag to be a little snappier...in terms of recoil / and it depends on what brand of ammo you're buying but most of the 125gr ammo in .357 mag is up around 1400 fps or faster...in terms of velocity / where the 158 gr ammo is around 1235 fps...

I keep my reloads in .357 mag ....with 158gr JHP Montana gold bullets...around 1200 fps ...which I find, in a S&W N frame ( 4" gun ) to be very manageable in terms of recoil / easy to shoot ...and same with a K frame ( Model 19 or 66 in a 4") ...

I reload ....so I don't track retail ammo prices ....but they vary a lot depending on where you buy it, by the box, by the case, etc....

I suggest you try a brand like MagTech ....and get a box of 158 gr and a box of 125gr and see which one you prefer. Then buy a case...
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Old September 28, 2013, 12:15 AM   #5
JERRYS.
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recoil is a subjective thing, different people experience different results.

generally light fast bullets cause a snap and twist, while heavier slower bullets cause what many describe as a push backwards.

for woods carry as you stated the heavier loads will give you better penetration.

the best experience you will get is to buy a box of each and fire a cylinder of each. you will then see which you prefer recoil wise. then you can see what type of grouping your chosen load gives.
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Old September 28, 2013, 02:34 AM   #6
IdahoG36
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I've found that 158 gr 357 mag rounds have more felt recoil than 125 gr. For SD applications, I use 125 gr jhp. When I'm up in the woods, I use 158 gr.
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Old September 28, 2013, 12:35 PM   #7
Buzzcook
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Mass times velocity squared. M x V^2

The speed of the bullet is the greater determinant for energy. The weight of the bullet makes a difference when the velocity is close.

To a degree acceleration also makes a difference. A faster burning powder will have more felt recoil than slower.

There is a formula for recoil, I just don't have it in my head.
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