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View Full Version : What's so bad about a 125 grain .357


ep2621
June 30, 2011, 09:46 PM
After reading the thread about an all purpose .357 revolver and all the talk about 125 gain loads, I've become curious. I have a S&W 7 shot 686-6 and the only ammo I've ever fired out of it are Remington 125 gr jsp.

So, what's the deal with the 125 grain ammo?

jglsprings
June 30, 2011, 09:49 PM
They remind me of my ex wife. They are loud, kick like a mule and bark like a rabid beaver...

But, I digress.

They are reputed to be hard on K frame S&W revolvers and in a J frame Smith they are like a hand grenade going off in your fist.

I love 'em.

P.S.

Your 686 will shoot them all day long...

shootniron
June 30, 2011, 09:51 PM
A lot of people on this forum have never shot much. They are internet experts that talk a much better game than they play. To the inexperienced shooter, that muzzle blast can be overwhelming. If these guys think the 125gr 357 is bad, they better not try the full house .44mags and .454's.

SwampYankee
June 30, 2011, 09:52 PM
Flame cutting. Look it up.

shootniron
June 30, 2011, 09:56 PM
A k-frame can take a lot of 125's before flame cutting will ever become and issue. Most people under normal circumstance will never have a problem with it. I have shot more than my share in k-frames and never had a problem.

The larger problem for a lot of folks is the fireworks.

KyJim
June 30, 2011, 10:12 PM
The problem with 125 gr. .357 magnums was in the K-frame SW .357s like the Model 19. The real problem was that the forcing cone in these guns was already "thinned" at the bottom. Here's a pic of my Model 65 showing this:
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x223/KyJim_photos/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20K-Frames/SW_Model_65-3_DSCN1611-1.jpg
The theory is that the lighter 125 gr. bullets exited the cylinder so fast that more hot plasma, unburned powder, etc. hit the forcing cone and weakened it over time, causing it to crack. This was usually after extensive shooting of lighter bullets. The K-frame magnums were originally designed with the 158 gr. bullet in mind. While flame cutting did occur, I've never heard of a K-frame magnum becoming inoperable due to flame cutting. This is more of a sign of how much a gun has been shot. The gun above has some "normal" flame cutting but it can't be seen because of the lighting.

The L-frames were developed to replace the K-frame partially because of the forcing cone issue but also because shooting a lot of magnum loads could cause excessive end shake. The L-frames have a re-designed forcing cone. The J-frames also have a re-designed forcing cone which does not protrude as much, presumably protecting it better. There is no problem with shooting 125 gr. loads out of them (of course shooting a lot of rounds through any gun will cause wear).

Rampant_Colt
June 30, 2011, 10:19 PM
I was shooting those HOT Remington UMC 125gr JSP .357 Mag loads at the local range, and in addition to flat primers, they knocked the Ruger medallion off one of the grips on my Vaquero! They're even hotter than my hottest 125gr handloads using 2400 powder. The R-P UMC 180gr SP .44 Mag load is another blazing HOT load--especially when using a ported barrel in an indoor range

S&W 686s will safely handle a steady diet of hot .357 loads without concern. My friend has a high-mileage police trade-in 686 with a stretched frame and cylinder gap that measures around .007-.008 that still shoots accurately. Just don't stand near the cylinder when he's firing.. ;) The forcing cone is still in good condition.

ep2621
June 30, 2011, 10:20 PM
I know what flame cutting is.:) I just don't know why/if it's worse in the 125s.
The .357 is the smallest caliber revolver I own. In my .460 and .44 the heavier grain bullets seem to be the hardest on the gun.
I find it odd the lighter grain 125s are harder on the gun than heavier loads.

I made this post before reading KyJim and Rampant Colt's posts.

ep2621
June 30, 2011, 10:23 PM
Thanks everybody.
Very educational.

GP100man
June 30, 2011, 10:30 PM
The 125s shot in moderation will harm no firearm more than the other .

Here`s the cause of excessive wear in any revolver shooting a "steady" diet of 125 gr. bullets of any type not just Remingtons!

Look at the difference of the lengths of the oglives (noses)out to where the shoulders reach full caliber dia. Now compare it to a 158 gr. bullet .

The base of the 125 gr. bullet is at the cyl. gap or just encountering the forcing cone at PEAK pressures thus submitting the areas of concern to more than ussuall hi pressurized carbon laden ,heated pressure . Since the short bullet gives more room for more powder !!!!

& from the time the hammer breaks the sear it all takes what 35 milliseconds ??? or so to happen ???

This is how it was explained to me as best I can remember !

MLeake
June 30, 2011, 10:34 PM
shootniron, some of us shoot a few hundred rounds a week, have .44's at home with which we often use BuffaloBore ammo, and yet we still don't like the fireball or sonic crack that goes with the .357 125gr loads.

My .44's put out less fireball and noise than a Federal 125gr.

If you like that sort of thing, then whatever floats your boat.

Deja vu
June 30, 2011, 10:50 PM
I shoot about 1 box of ammo a week in my S&W 640-1 (J-frame) Other than to the finish I have not seen any wear and most of the time I shoot 110 grain loads through it cause that is what my local wal-mart has for cheep.

I have shot as heavy as Buffalo bore 180 grain in it but the lighter bullets are more pleasant to shoot (as far as recoil) in my opinion.

MLeake
June 30, 2011, 10:57 PM
Deja Vu, Wal-Mart cheap ammo won't achieve nearly the pressures or velocities we are discussing.

My first experience with a hot 125 was almost 23 years ago. I had a Ruger GP100 4" with the interchangeable front sight inserts; I don't remember if I had the red or yellow in at the time.

I'd been shooting a mix of 158gr .38 and .357 range ammo at one of the Shoot Straight ranges in central Florida. Decided to switch over to a Federal 125.

First thing I noticed was that it was a lot louder than the 158; second thing I noticed (about at the same time, really) was that I had a little bit of flash effect on my vision. Last thing I noticed was that my front sight insert had blown out of the gun. Little anchor piece of plastic had broken off.

I put in the other sight, and it didn't break while I shot the rest of the 125's. Sight was probably just getting to that point, and it may have been coincidence.

However, my buddy, and the shooters in the adjacent lanes, all noticed the difference in noise and pressure when I switched over.

I have some Remington 125's at home; got a good price for them. They are 22 years newer than the stuff I was shooting at Shoot Straight, and yet they still put out more flash and bang than their contemporary 158's.

As I've noted in other threads, I'm just not a fan of 125's loaded anything like hot in less than a 6" barrel. Too much noise, too much unburnt powder.

teumessian_fox
June 30, 2011, 11:34 PM
The 125 grain bullets driven to maximum velocities used large charges of relatively slow-burning powders. Handloaders know the powder types as WW296 and H-110, among others. The combination of slow ball-type powders and the short bearing surface of the 125 bullets allows prolonged gas cutting of the forcing cone and top strap area, accelerating erosion and wear.

Borescope studies of rifle, machine gun, and auto cannon chamber throats shows a lizzard-skin-like texture due to this gas cutting damage, called "brinelling". The results of brinelling are fine microcracks that weaken the surface of the steel, and further promote erosion. In machine guns and auto cannons, barrel life is measured in terms of "useable accuracy", and round counts that determine this are based on group sizes at engagement ranges.

In the K-frame magnums, the forcing cone dimensions combined with the barrel shank dimensions results in a relatively thin shank at the 6 o'clock position, where a machine cut is made to clear the crane. This is usually where the forcing cone cracks. The L and N frames use much beefier barrel shanks and do not have this cut. S&W intended the K frame magnums to be "carried much and fired seldom" service arms, designed to fire .38 Specials indefinitely, with light to moderate use of .357 Magnums. You notice that S&W has discontinued production of K frame .357 magnums, no doubt due to product liability issues and a couple generations of K frame magnum experience.

Wildalaska
July 1, 2011, 12:02 AM
S&W intended the K frame magnums to be "carried much and fired seldom" service arms, designed to fire .38 Specials indefinitely, with light to moderate use of .357 Magnums.

I just rebought a Model 19-4 after a hiatus of about 25-30 years (Pinned and Recessed, overall 96% plus in the original box with all papers) and the gig with those is gonna be the same that I learned 30 years ago (see statement above).

I rarely shoot full bore loads, I see no need whatsoever to do so. Just like my S&W Mtn Gun with full bore 44s, it sucks to shoot hot loads.... I still have the same moonclip loaded with Corbons in there that I have had for the past 6 years or so.

If I fire 5 -10 hot loads a year, thats a lot. You can shoot a 19 forever with .38 wadcutters and I challenge anybody to tell me you why a civvy NEEDs to shoot more than a half a box of hot stuff a year out of his gun.

I dont do jackrabbit starts either :)

If its a good shooter I may make the 19 my regular carry gun, for as often as I bother;)

Wildandiwouldratherrunaheavy38sploadfordefenseanywayAlaska ™©2002-2011

shootniron
July 1, 2011, 12:51 AM
MLeake

I, like you, shoot very little full bore ammo. I have no real need for it and it isn't really pleasant in most platforms. My comment was more about those that shoot a few rounds and experience this violence and then exaggerate it's abusiveness to the shooter and to the guns they are shooting it in. We all know that fed a steady diet of full bore ammo that even the best guns will be damaged, but most quality guns will shoot more of the full bore stuff than most of us are willing to put through it and not be a lot worse for wear. When I was younger, I have put a considerable amount of souped-up handloads through some k-frames and they stood the punishment better than I did. Nowadays , I really only shoot softball loads whether shooting at the range or hunting with the exception of my SD ammo (which is factory only). However, I do think that the more big bore handgun shooting you have done, the less abusive to the senses the hot loads are. I used to shoot some .44mag 255gr gas check hard cast bullets in my Contenders that would make my arms hurt up to my elbows, matter of fact I still have an even 50 count of them in an old Remington box at my bench that I will never shoot. These rounds in the 10" Contender make the 125gr .357 seem like a fairly docile load even in my snub model 19. And, I agree with you, someone else can do all of that they want, but I have had my fill.

MLeake
July 1, 2011, 01:27 AM
shootniron, I've also never seen a K-frame forcing cone crack or topstrap flame-cut (at least, not cut deeply enough to worry me). But I have friends who have seen them; from what I've been told, those were generally the result of hot-rodded loads, going for old school velocities in the 1500-1600fps range with 125's, and hotter with 110's.

Looking through last year's Handguns annual, no major manufacturer makes factory ammo that hot. Most of it is in the 1400's, with one or two just reaching 1500.

I personally like K-frames, and have 3 K-frame .357's, but I mostly shoot .38+P through those, or very light .357, in 158gr at 1000-1100fps flavor.

Thing is, between the All Purpose .357 post and the one on Model 13 (HB), the OP of those posts has made it clear he wants a 4" gun that he can both carry and shoot an unlimited volume of very hot 125 through. And, of course, he's never owned a revolver...

I suspect once he tries this, he will change his preferences, but you never know. I have friends who really like shooting loads that, quite frankly, tear the skin off my hands.

(I work out a reasonable amount; my fingers are currently blistered from a diet of Captains-of-Crush 140lb grip strengthener... stupid thing has abrasive billet aluminum handles... point being, I'm not all that pain sensitive or weak.... but I don't dig pain and blood for pain and blood's sake. The grip training is for grappling; I'm into aikido and aikijutsu.)

Anyway, several of us advised him against K-frames because of what he says he intends to do. Otherwise, a K-frame would be one of my top picks.

old bear
July 1, 2011, 04:32 AM
They remind me of my ex wife. They are loud, kick like a mule and bark like a rabid beaver...

Sir, I believe that we were once married to the same woman...

Try some Fiocchi 125 gr. JSPs, they are loaded to different (hotter) specs and I think you may see and feel a difference.

I have several hunderd rounds of the Fiocchi 125Gr. JSP that I only shoot in my N frame. Very hot ammo.
I also have 50 rounds of gas check 158Gr SWC ahead of 14 gr of Herco. 2400. I have not shot any of this yet, but when I do it will be N frame only.

shortwave
July 1, 2011, 05:48 AM
Sir, I believe that we were married to the same woman

I would have thought the same but my x went from a light,fast 125gr to a grouchy, cannon ball with an attitude from hell. :eek:

Guess she over-heard me talking about the 'big and slow' ammo I like and thought I was talking about the women I prefer. :o

At any rate, I don't care much for the lighter,faster 125's. Give me the bigger,slower 158's anyday.

PawPaw
July 1, 2011, 06:00 AM
Back in the day my SW66 saw a steady diet of hot 125s. I was a rookie cop in the '80s and my beat was a rural area. The 4" M66 was standard carry back in those days. My gun probably got a thousand rounds per year of hot 125 ammo. I shot a lot, and I wanted to practice with what I carried.

During the mid 90s I noticed top strap cutting from that ammo. My forcing cone looked okay (although I didn't examine it with a loup), but my top strap was starting to erode.

I don't shoot that revolver with magnum loads anymore. It's been retired and is fed target/plinking ammo when we're at the range. I have moved on to a plastic fantastic for duty work and my other revolvers are more for big bore, heavy bullet work these days.

Deja vu
July 1, 2011, 06:54 AM
Sorry for being a little slow here but are we talking about ammo such as Buffalo Bore?

a. Item 19D/20-125gr. Jacketed Hollow Point = 1707 fps From a 6 inch barrel?

I have shot a bit of this ammo in my j-frame but not a steady diet... the ammo is way to expensive. Or are we talking hand loaded ammo or Old ammo back when the 357 magnum was more hot than it is now?

spacecoast
July 1, 2011, 07:28 AM
Remington is far from the hottest commercial loads you can get. Try some Fiocchi 125 gr. JSPs, they are loaded to different (hotter) specs and I think you may see and feel a difference.

micromontenegro
July 1, 2011, 07:57 AM
125 grains, for .357Mag, is kind of a "sweet spot" bullet weight for which you can usually achieve hotter loads (fpe) than with any other weight. So again, usually 125 grainers will be the highest intensity loads.

Before I discovered bullet casting and age-related wisdom, I shot a whole lot of 125s in my Pythons, and they are very OK more than 25 years later, thank you very much. But nowadays they are loaded with .38 Spl. I do keep some 148 gr semi wadcutters loaded to moderate magnum levels around, but I just never seem to use them.

Webleymkv
July 1, 2011, 07:59 AM
As has been mentioned, the durability issues with 125gr .357's is really only an issue with S&W K-Frames due to the flat area on the bottom of the forcing cone. No other S&W revolvers have that flat area and thus do not exibit the same issues. S&W K-Frame magnums include the models 13, 19, 65, and 66.

When the first Combat Magnums were introduced back in the 50's, there were no 110 or 125gr .357 factory loadings, the most common back then was 158gr LSWC. Durability issues with the K-Frame didn't really present themselves until the light, fast 110 and 125gr loadings came into vouge for police work in the 70's and 80's. The S&W L-Frame, which is the frame size of your 686, was specifically designed to have a full-thickness forcing cone all the way around so as to alleviate the issues with light, fast bullets. Your revolver will not be harmed by 125gr Magnums.

Tom Servo
July 1, 2011, 11:05 AM
During the mid 90s I noticed top strap cutting from that ammo. My forcing cone looked okay (although I didn't examine it with a loup), but my top strap was starting to erode.
Some slight flame cutting happens over time. It usually reaches a certain point, then stops.

saltydog452
July 1, 2011, 11:24 AM
Maybe the recess in the top strap is for reliability.

Kinda like a 1926 44 Spcl, maybe its a place for goo to accumulate and let the revolver work as designed.

Maybe it isn't all bad.

What do you think?

salty

Water-Man
July 1, 2011, 12:06 PM
I still have a supply of Federal 357B and always enjoy shooting some whenever I take out my GP100. To me, it's what a 357mag is all about.:)

roaddog28
July 1, 2011, 05:46 PM
All the responses have explained well what a full power 125 gr "flame thrower" will do to any revolver. Most people won't shoot enough of them to wear out a revolver. But this round is harder on any revolver no matter what brand. From the S&W K frame to a S&W N frame. Same with any Ruger and Taurus. If your a experience revolver person this round can be controlled and be fairly accurate. Personally this round is not as accurate as a 158 gr magnum traveling a 1250 fps. The 125 gr will shoot sometime two inchs lower that the 158 gr. I am one that likes accurately in ammo. For most 357 magnum revolvers with a 4 inch barrel the most accurate rounds are the 158 gr. I would rather shoot the 158 gr rounds and take care of my revolvers than shoot the 125 gr rounds and beat the revolver up. Don't get me wrong I do shoot the 125 gr rounds but not that much.

Regards,
Howard

spacecoast
July 1, 2011, 07:36 PM
For most 357 magnum revolvers with a 4 inch barrel the most accurate rounds are the 158 gr. I would rather shoot the 158 gr rounds and take care of my revolvers than shoot the 125 gr rounds and beat the revolver up.

I agree, a 158 gr. JHP backed by 16 grains of H110 is a very sweet load in my 6" 686 and still produced enough flame to be impressive.

Deaf Smith
July 1, 2011, 08:57 PM
My 3 inch GP100 is set up for 125gr .357 JHPs. I use the Wal-Mart Remeington 125s and they are quite accurate. At 25 yards firing SA they will place all the shots in the head a IPSC target. And that's with me standing on my hind legs and firing two handed.

So for SD that is the load I prefer in my GP, but critters the size of deer I'd go to a heavier slug.

Deaf

ep2621
July 1, 2011, 10:23 PM
Lots of good information. Thanks.
The main reason I shoot the 125 grain bullets is because that's about all they sell locally. I feel better now knowing that my 686 will handle these rounds. My wallet would probably give out before the gun.

Chesster
July 1, 2011, 10:41 PM
If I need a .357 for social work, the WW or Fed has usually been my choice in 125gr HP. I found the Rem to be a bit much with the fireball and that is not a good thing in a shooting situtuation at night.

Rifletom
July 1, 2011, 10:57 PM
Liked the the 125's from Hornady Custom XTP's right up until I shot them at an indoor range. Big muzzle flash, and recoil was more than I would have thought with 125's. But, they were accurate. However, doing some loading, I've found that with 158gr swc, and 5.0gr Unique[in my Blackhawk], this is an easier round to fire: more accurate, a lot less muzzle flash and I think it would hit harder.
These are my thoughts, what do you guys think?

secret_agent_man
July 1, 2011, 11:04 PM
The 125 grain full house 367 MAG is obviously overloaded beyond reasonable engineering limits. That said, it has been highly successful against mammalian bipedals, and that's very hard to argue against.

But take a look at the 125 grain Barnes bullet 357 MAG loadings offered by Corbon and Buffalo Bore. They are downloaded due to a lower parachute effect, but penetration should be right up there with the wrist breaker rounds.

The trade off there is a possible lessening of the hydrostatic shock factor, at least with those who subscribe to it.

Then go get some 158 grain HP's and chill. You are in good territory there, it has been rumored over the years to have been the preferred 357 load of the Texas Highway Patrol for years before the bottom feeders crawled out from the muck at took control of the humans.

Mike_Fontenot
July 2, 2011, 01:34 PM
Whenever the muzzle energy is the same, a heavier bullet will have a higher muzzle momentum, and therefore more recoil. I've never fired any 125gn .357's in my gun, for comparison to 158gn .357's, but I HAVE fired 125gr and 158gr .38+P's (both from Federal, in otherwise similar cartridges), and the 158gr cartridges had noticeably more recoil than the 125gr cartridges.

When I was choosing a .357 carry-round for my S&W360sc 1-7/8" scandium/titanium .357 snubby, I concluded that the best round for me was the Federal "Hi-Shok" (NOT "hydra-shok") 158gr JHP cartridge. I believe that the 158gr bullet accelerates slowly enough that essentially all the powder has been burned before the bullet even leaves the case. There is very little flash, and minimal possibility of flame-cutting and/or erosion of the titanium cylinder. The powder they use is very fine ... very fast burning ... and there is a surprisingly small volume of powder in the case (probably occupies well less than a quarter of the space available behind the bullet). The bullet also exits fast enough (about 1100 f/s) to expand to about 0.6" in wet newspaper.

I also chose the above Federal round because it hasn't ever exhibited any "bullet-pull" in my super-light gun (about 11oz empty), which is a frequent problem when shooting high-powered cartridges with heavy bullets in very light guns.

Mike Fontenot

stevieboy
July 2, 2011, 07:41 PM
I could probably just say +1 Roaddog and leave it that but I'm in a chatty mood tonight.

I LOVE to shoot .357s from my N-frame Smiths. Over the years I've discovered that these guns perform best with 158gr. Magnums. I've fired 158gr. rounds from several manufacturers: Mag-Tech, Winchester, Fiocchi, and they all perform reasonably well in my guns. The big Ns handle the recoil quite well, the noise is -- well, of Magnum quality -- but not intolerable, and the 158s seem to produce optimal accuracy.

125s have been a different story. First of all, as Roaddog points out, the POI is significantly lower with these rounds than with the 158s. About 2" at 10 yards, substantially more than that at 25. So, firing them requires the gun to be sighted in and the sights then have to be reset yet again when one switches back to 158s. Second, these rounds are LOUD, probably 50% more so than with 158s. I'm not sure why this is so, but they definitely will rattle your fillings. I fire almost exclusively at an indoor range and I get unhappy looks from fellow shooters every time I fire the 125s. Third, these rounds definitely produce flame cutting. Both of my Ns showed definite flame cutting after only a couple of boxes of 125s.

Now, as a defensive round the 125s may be of unparalled quality in .357. But, for any other purpose, not so much. These days I'm sticking with 158s.

shurshot
July 3, 2011, 07:44 AM
I used to shoot 125's all the time, 20 years ago. No fun these days, compared to 148 wadcutter .38's or .22's.

223 shooter
July 3, 2011, 09:19 AM
Like the others have mentioned the 158s usually give me better accuracy in a variety of 357s. Even in my 10" Contender where flame cutting is not an issue I still like the 158s. The 125s are stoked with a larger volume of powder and in a short revolver barrel there is that flame thrower effect - it might be impressive to some but does not really seem to do a lot for accuracy. Not that 125s cannot be accurate , I've just had better results with 158s or even 140s.

kraigwy
July 3, 2011, 09:48 AM
After reading this thread I dug out my old service revolver. A model 28 I carried most of my 20 years in LE. I didn't notice any flame cutting or any other damage.

Granted I carried 150 LSWC (yes reloads) but shot mostly 125 grn Winchesters. Our issued ammo.

(I liked the SWCs because they worked better on moose, which we had quite a problem with).

Anyway as a range officer I had access to an unlimited supply of the 125 stuff and I shot a heck of a lot of it over the years. Didn't hurt my Model 28 or my Model 27 I use to bring to work to play with.

We were suppose to have monthly qualifications for the shift, so one or two nights a month, I would set in the range waiting for officers to show up, you get bored so you shoot, and shoot I did, tons of that hot 125 grn 357 stuff.

I didn't see any adverse affects on any of my guns. Personally I wouldn't worry about it, anyway, now I have to buy my own bullets so I don't shoot anything but cast bullets.

Webleymkv
July 3, 2011, 10:11 AM
Second, these rounds are LOUD, probably 50% more so than with 158s. I'm not sure why this is so, but they definitely will rattle your fillings.

I suspect that this is because there is more powder still burning after the bullet has left the barrel (the same reason that the 125's have more flash than the 158's). Even though they still work very well, most .357 Magnum loadings on the market are rather dated as compared to the common semi-auto calibers that are more popular now. Ammo makers haven't seen much need to change these loadings because they already worked extremely well to begin with. The .357 Magnum cartridge has been traditionally loaded with slower burning powder in order to achieve the greatest possible velocity from long barrels (the popularity of .357 Magnum snubs is a fairly recent development) because the most common uses for a .357 Magnum for years were home defense (CC wasn't legal in post parts of the country until 10-20 years ago), police duty guns, and sporting uses none of which favor a short barrel. Given the same powder, a heavier bullet will burn more before the bullet leaves the case because it requires more pressure to move the heavier bullet than the lighter one. This is graphically illustrated when the velocities of full-power .357 Magnum ammo is compared in short barrels. Most ammo makers list their 125gr magnums at 1450fps from a 4" barrel and their 158's at 1235fps from the same barrel length. When fired from a snub, however, the 125's are usually clocking in the 1200-1250fps range while the 158's are usually running 1100-1150fps.

Sharpsdressed Man
July 3, 2011, 11:25 AM
If I recall, a study of actual police defensive shooitngs gave the 125gr JSP .357 the best results against other JHP, etc, ammo of the period. Better than the 158gr loads. Ammunition has seen some improvements since then, but so has the .357 ammo with all bullets. I think any advantage the 125gr loads might have over the 158gr loads would be slightly better close range shock effect, and flatter trajectory, giving a slightly better point blank range (say 75-90 yards instead of 60-75yds for the 158gr .357 loads). I'm just guestimating, but it represents the slight difference in drop and impact of the two rounds. Under 50 yards, the difference would be minimal, and with today's bullets, the recipient probably would not know the difference.

Dave T
July 3, 2011, 10:07 PM
Any one else wonder why it is S&W quit making the K-frame in 357 Magnum...then brought out the J-frame in that chambering? Seems kind of counter intuitive.

Dave

KyJim
July 4, 2011, 01:17 AM
Any one else wonder why it is S&W quit making the K-frame in 357 Magnum...then brought out the J-frame in that chambering? Seems kind of counter intuitive.For one thing, the forcing cone is different in the J-frames. Not "thinned" at the bottom. Also, they don't protrude as much from the frame.

Frame wear might be a different thing, though. You don't often hear of people putting a lot of .357 rounds through their lightweight J-frames. I guess it's just too unpleasant. :) I suspect that even those with steel frames (Model 60) probably don't put a lot of .357 rounds through them. It would be interesting to hear from those who have.

Missionary
July 4, 2011, 08:34 AM
Good morning & Happy Independence Day !
I guess if I ever had to make a choice between 158´s & 125´s I would not choose the light weight one. I know no one who goes out pig hunting or steel shooting with 125´s because the police reports state the 125 is "more sucessful" in shootings. Maybe it is just a case where the officers involved use the 125´s & practice more often with 125´s because that is what the department uses. Recoil of the 158´s is very managable with practice.
When it comes to the actual reports the difference in one shot stops does not show me any big significance. If I ever have to shoot through a car door or winshield I sure would hope my revolver is stuffed with 158´s. As of yet I know no one who deer hunts with the 125´s so something tells me I will stick with 158´s and not be too concerned which ever way trends seem to lead.
Mike in Peru

seeker_two
July 4, 2011, 10:19 AM
The 125gr JHP's were supposed to be the bees'-knees best one-shot-stopper of all handgun rounds as reported by all those "experts" in the gun magazines...

...but I've never seen or read of any instance where the 125gr. rounds did anything better than the 158gr. HP's (lead or jacketed) did....and the 158gr. rounds did it with less noise, flash, and recoil....

....I don't always shoot .357Mag.....but when I do, I prefer 158gr. ammo.....[/most interesting Blackhawk-owner in the world] :D

44 AMP
July 4, 2011, 02:19 PM
Personally this round is not as accurate as a 158 gr magnum traveling a 1250 fps. The 125 gr will shoot sometime two inchs lower that the 158 gr. I am one that likes accurately in ammo. For most 357 magnum revolvers with a 4 inch barrel the most accurate rounds are the 158 gr.

Higher velocity bullets will strike lower on the target at a given range than heavier slower ones, quite true. This is because of the design of the handgun (grip lower than the line of the bore), and has nothing to do with the accuracy of the round. You find this in every caliber where more than one bullet weight and velocity is offered.

While you say most 4" .357s are more accurate with the 158, I can't verify that, as I have not shot most of them. My 6" guns don't seem to care much. Each gun is an individual, and there is a certain specific combination of bullet weight (or even brand) and speed that will shoot a smaller group than others. Some guns are fairly tolerant in this regard, others are not.

Flame cutting is a self curing problem. As metal is eroded, the increasing distance from the hot powder gas reduces the effect, and eventually, it stops. I have never seen or heard of a topstrap flame cut to the point where it was dangerous or unserviceable. There is plenty of steel left for safety & strength when the flame cutting "burns itself out". It is unsightly, but does not render the gun usless or unsafe.

Cracked forcing cones, on the other hand are a different matter. True, it was found to be a problem on the K frames, and not all K frames, even those fired with large amounts of 125gr ammo failed. But enough did that S&W eventually discontinued the Model 19 and 66.

Other models and other makes of .357 never had a problem with their forcing cones like those two did.

125gr JHPs became standard for antipersonnel work beacuse, a) they do work, and b) The results of Marshall and Sanow's huge study of shooting data reported the 125gr .357 load to have the highest percentage of one shot stops. This convinced a lot of people.

The 125JHP bullet is optimised for use against people, and when shooting larger game animals does not perform as well as the 158gr, in terms of penetration through heavy bone or thick hide. It can be used quite successfully, but proper shot placement, (avoiding heavy bone and raking shots) is needed to ensure best bullet performance. Deer, bear, and hogs, (even in the same weight class) are not built the same as humans, so care is needed to ensure a good clean kill when using a bullet optimised for stopping humans. The 158gr is a better choice for general duty hunting under most circumstances.

roaddog28
July 4, 2011, 06:42 PM
While you say most 4" .357s are more accurate with the 158, I can't verify that, as I have not shot most of them. My 6" guns don't seem to care much. Each gun is an individual, and there is a certain specific combination of bullet weight (or even brand) and speed that will shoot a smaller group than others. Some guns are fairly tolerant in this regard, others are not.


All of my 4 inch 357s shoots POA/POI if I do my job with 158 gr magnums. I have S&Ws and Rugers. I do have one 6 inch 357 model 19 that does not seem to be as sensitive to the 125 gr verus 158 gr.

Flame cutting is a self curing problem. As metal is eroded, the increasing distance from the hot powder gas reduces the effect, and eventually, it stops. I have never seen or heard of a topstrap flame cut to the point where it was dangerous or unserviceable. There is plenty of steel left for safety & strength when the flame cutting "burns itself out". It is unsightly, but does not render the gun usless or unsafe.


I agree that flame cutting will stop. But I don't like abusing my revolvers shooting the 125 gr "flame throwers". Its like taking a blow torch and cutting a small groove in the top strap of my revolvers. Like I said in my first post, I do shoot some 125 grains one in a while but not much.

Regards,
Howard