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Old 03-30-2007, 01:06 AM   #1
elb
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.357 Sig, .357 Mag, .40 S&W GDHP, 9mm Win Ranger

This post was originally to be comparison of chronograph and wetpack results of my FN Hi Power with a .357 barrel and my 4 inch S&W Model 19 (.357 Mag). I also intended to throw in some 9mm Win Ranger 127 +P+ (RA9TA) and .40 S&W Speer GDHP and Win Ranger 180 gr also. However, I got home late and ran out of enough light for the chronograph to work properly, so only got speed info for the RA9TA. I did commit mayhem on wet pack with the two .357s, and the .40 S&W Speer GDHP 155gr, so I will write about that, throw in some pictures, and maybe I will get to chrono'ing the .357s tomorrow.



I obtained an EFK Firedragon .357 Sig barrel for my .40 FN-HP and had been itching to try it out. In researching this, I had seen some discussions about the relative merits and demerits of the .357 Sig round, whether it was all noise and flash, was it really like the .357 Mag round etc. I thought it would be fun to get as nearly identical ammo in .357 Sig and .357 Mag and compare them out of my Hi Power and my Model 19. Also, this is my first foray into the world of wetpack, so I wouldn't make any life-dependent decisions on what I show you here, but it was fun for me. My calipers and scales are packed away someplace, so I don't have measured expansion and retained weight and all that -- this was basically just a trial run for fun.



Range Set Up



I set up my chronograph at 10 feet, and the wet pack at 21 feet. Past issues of the San Antonio Express-News and the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise were soaked in my horse's water tub (not to worry, they have several) for about 24 hours, then mounted on the mobile wetpack carrier. See picture of the highly instrumented test range below....





Highly Instrumented Test Range. By next week it will be tilled and be my Highly Fertilized Garden.





The launch platforms





I didn't realize the barrel from EFK Firedragon was longer than the regulation .40S&W, but I guess it provides a visual clue that it is in the gun (aside from the stamping on the chamber).



.357 Matchup



The closest I could come to identical ammo in both the Hi Power and the Model 19 was some Hornady ammo I got at Cabela's: .357 Sig 124 gr JHP/XTPP "Custom", and .357 Mag 125 gr JHP/XTP. The ammo boxes claim muzzle velocities of 1350 and 1500 fps respectively. Unfortunately, I had already run out enough light to operate the chrono, so I only cranked off two rounds of each into the soggy paper to see what would happen.



I have seen some discussion at this website about he noise and flash of .357 Sig and have had others tell me about it. Therefore I doublechecked my earplugs and safety glasses, took a manly twohanded grip on my HP, and let'er rip with the 124 gr fireballs of death!



Men cursed! Women fainted! Children screamed! Dogs howled and ran for home! My neighbors called the sheriff's office to report Iran had set off a nuke in our neighborhood!



Well, actually, no.



It didn't seem any different to me than the .40 S&W - spunkier than the 9mm, but not anything drastic. The pistol worked fine, fed the second round, and I sent it downrange too. I looked over my shoulder to check the horses' reactions (they were about 35 yards behind me), and they mostly appeared annoyed that I was fooling around instead of feeding them.



I followed this up with the .357 Mag 125 grainers. Now THOSE babies had some kick and bark to them! It has been quite awhile since I had fired off my magnum revolvers, I had forgotten what it was like. Definitely a step up in the attention-getting department.



When I compared the expended bullets, I could not tell the difference between them. The two .357 Sig rounds had penetrated to 12 inches and 10 inches; the Magnum versions had each done 11 inches (actually, the second round had ended up ramming into the first one, putting a dent in each).



Here's a picture of the ammo in question:





Sig rounds on the left, Magnum rounds on the right -- the ones on the bottom are flipped over so you can see the base. The only way I can tell them apart is the magnum rounds have gouges in them where they ran into each other.



Speer 155gr GDHP in .40 S&W



I fired four rounds out of my Hi Power - penetration in the wetpack was 10.5 inches for three of them, and 12 inches for the fourth one. I actually fired these after shooting my 9mm - the extra shove from the .40 reminded me I have DeQuervain's Syndrome in my right wrist (means my wrist hurts when I hammer on things with my hand, or vice versa). Think I will stick to 9mm for extended shooting. Here's a pic:





Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point 155 gr .40 S&W



Winchester Ranger 9mm Luger +P+ 127gr SXT



This is what I typically carry in my 9mm Hi Power - it is reliable for me, and has a good reputation. I like Speer's GDHP in 124, standard and +P also, but I recently came across a good buy in the Ranger stuff, so I have a fair amount on hand.



This was actually the first rounds I put into the wetpack, so there was still enough light for the chrono to work. Unfortunately, I got too close to the edge, and one of the rounds went out the top and I did not recover it.



I measured the four rounds at 1227, 1210 1220, and 1234fps. Average velocity was 1223fps, standard deviation of 9 fps, but with only 4 rounds I don't think the SD really means anything.











I did get more interesting looking bullets with this ammo - the famous "talons" are very prominent.



I'll update this with .357 velocities one of these days. In the mean time I hope you found this at least mildly interesting.



elb







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Old 03-30-2007, 09:05 AM   #2
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Howdy ELB,



I agree, thanks for your efforts and update to this point. We are looking forward to the remainder of your efforts when you have the chance (tips my hat).



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Old 03-30-2007, 10:22 AM   #3
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ELB,



Thanks for the write-up and pictures. I couldn't find the penetration depth for the 9mm round. All in all, it looks like the results of the four different rounds you selected were very similar.



Great instrumentation!



Bruce
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:58 PM   #4
elb
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fnhpsfs,



You couldn't find the 9mm depths cuz I forgot to put them in. Dang.



Two went 8 inches. One went 12, but I think this was fluke -- it was near an edge, where the paper is not packed as tightly. I would discount it. The fourth one was apparently to close to an edge, it penetrated a few inches, then exited out the side.



Rained this morning, so no chrono. Gotta go to work now, maybe if clear this evening I can post some updates.



elb
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Old 03-30-2007, 02:13 PM   #5
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ELB,



It would be great to see the 9mm Ranger ammo shot into the wetpack in the middle, to put to rest the question about the odd 12" round. Does moisture content change the density of these very much, ie, would it be too dry to shoot into the same wetpack this weekend? It seems like for a comparison all rounds should hit fairly close to the same place in the same pack on the same day.



The 8" depths, if accurate, are significantly shallower . This makes sense, I suppose, but I was sort of hoping that it would be closer, so we could build a hypothesis like this:



"modern defensive loads make the caliber-wars insignificant when defending ourselves against soggy newspaper"



Or something like that. ???



By the way, I too own an SFS-equipped hi-power, as you may have surmised from my highly encrypted screen name "fnhpsfs". Mine is the 9mm version.



Great stuff!



Bruce



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Old 03-30-2007, 06:42 PM   #6
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Howdy ELB,



I think I know what happened on the extended barrel for your HP, as the same thing happened to me as well. I ordered the 357 Sig barrel for my FN HP, and a Sig P226 9mm conversion barrel at the same time. I got my order like the next day which was a real surprise. Even thought we are in the same state, that still surprised me.



I was scratching my head when the P226 barrel fit flush with the slide, like a factory barrel, and then discovered the HP barrel was extending the same basic amount as your does. When I spoke to Frank, the owner, he explained I had been shipped a barrel he had made for a customer in Canada.



According to him any barrel he ships to a customer in Canada has to be made 3/16" (if I remember correctly) longer so that it will extend from the slide. I just decided it was not a problem for me, as I was very happy with the accuracy it was giving me. I also decided it would be a good visual reference as to which barrel was installed.



I sent you an pm, then decided other folks might be wondering about the extended barrel as well. I am looking forward to part two of your report when you have the time sir.



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Old 03-30-2007, 10:37 PM   #7
elb
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Twoguns - thanks for the info, I had wondered about that.



fnhpsfs - yes, I recognized your handle, both my Hi powers are FNs with the SFS installed.



I doubt if my wetpack will be "too dry" - it rained cats and dogs here today. It may be too wet, and turn into a big pile of mush. If so, onto the compost pile. However, that will delay my experimentation, as that was the last of my newsprint, and I'll have to save up some more.



I too would have rather seen a little more penetration by the 9mm, but I am not too worried about it. One, this being my first time out with the soggy newspaper, I see several things I could have done better to improve consistency; Two, newsprint is at least two big steps removed from "the real stuff" anyway, so I am not staking too many decisions on this; and Three, RA9TA has a pretty good real life history.



I believe "ol granpa" stated either here on this site or on his KTrange pages that he estimates newsprint penetration to be about 2/3s of ballistic gelatin. (Hopefully he will jump in here to confirm/deny as appropriate). If so, that would make the RA9TA penetration to be around 12 inches in gelatin. Over at Evan Marshall's site (http://www.stoppingpower.net/forum/t...rchTerms=RA9TA), he records a gelatin shot of 14.5 inches thru four layers of denim out of a Glock 26. So I think the RA9TA is more than adequate for penetration into anyone attempting to do me severe harm.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:28 AM   #8
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Hi there ELB,



Thank you for the great report and comparison testing.



Most particularly thank you for validating a point that I had made earlier about the .357 SIG:



I

Quote:
have seen some discussion at this website about he noise and flash of .357 Sig and have had others tell me about it. Therefore I doublechecked my earplugs and safety glasses, took a manly twohanded grip on my HP, and let'er rip with the 124 gr fireballs of death!



Men cursed! Women fainted! Children screamed! Dogs howled and ran for home! My neighbors called the sheriff's office to report Iran had set off a nuke in our neighborhood!


You are right. It isn't really a bad round to shoot at all and your description that it is "snappier" than a 9mm is about the same experience that I have had with both factory and reloaded ammunition.



By the way, I do kind of like the look of the .357 SIG 3/16" longer barrel in the HP. Twoguns makes an excellent point that it is a good "visual reference" to which is mounted in the handgun.



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Old 03-31-2007, 09:59 PM   #9
elb
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Thanks Mr. Stephens for your encouraging words.



The sun came out today, so I dashed off to the rental store to get the rototiller; but before ripping up the garden I got a few more chrono shots in. I was using the same wet pack I used two days ago -- it rained heavily yesterday, wetpack was still quite wet today, but was starting to lose its shape a bit. Again, the penetration depths reported below don't have a lot of precision to them.



Hornady 124 gr JHP/XTP .357 Sig from My FN HPS-SFS



1362, 1362, 1354, 1366. Avg Vel 1361, SD=4



Penetration depths for last two rounds = approximately 10.5 and 10.5 inches. The first two rounds exited the wet pack. Expansion looked good for the two bullets I recovered



I found that POI was quite a bit higher than POA. I had not noticed this yesterday. For my first shot I aimed about four inches from the top of the wet pack, fired, and was surprised to see the air filled with fine confetti -- there was a lot of it! I walked down to the wetpack, and there was a furrow in the top about 1.5 to 2 inches deep all the way from front to rear. I aimed a bit lower the next time -- and got the confetti effect again. I had just made the furrow deeper. Next two shots I aimed even lower, and this time the wetpack contained the bullets. It appeared my POI was about 2 inches high. ???





Hornady 125 gr JHP/XTP .357 Magnum from My S&W Model 19 Revolver



Velocities = 1344, 1316, 1348, 1350. Avg =1340, SD=14.



I was surprised to see that the .357 Mag was slower than the .357 Sig. Not by a lot, but definitely a bit slower. Granted the Mag bullet is 1 grain heavier than the Sig, but I didn't think that would make much difference. ??



Penetration was 9.5, 10, 10.5, 10.5. NOTE - you can't correlate with the velocities above -- I shoot four rounds, record the speeds, then walk down and dig out all four rounds at once, so I usually can't tell which one hit first, last, etc.



Expansion looked good (consistent and even).



Mr. Model 19 definitely wins the roar and flash contest. I put my dog on the front porch (quite some distance away) when I do inherently risky stuff, like bush-hogging, hooking up trailers and backing them around, shooting, etc. For the .357 Sig, he laid on the porch and looked worried, which is what he does anytime I make him stay more than 6 inches away from me. When I cranked off the first .357 Mag round, he got up. At the second he moved to the other side of the porch. At the third round, he moved to the other side of house and stayed there.



I wonder if the cylinder/barrel gap contributes to the much louder report?





Speer 155gr GDHP from My FN HPS-SFS



Velocities = 1212, 1211, 1186, 1207. Avg= 1204 SD=11



Penetration = roughly 9 or 10 inches for three of them. One bullet apparently struck a previous one, acquired a "half-round" shape that inhibited expansion, went off at an angle, and penetrated a few more inches, probably about 15. Took me five minutes to find it, and I had to pretty much tear apart the whole wetpack to do so.



POI on this seemed a bit high too -- I have not put my .40 Hi Power thru its paces like I have the 9mm. Will have to exercise it further, I think.



"CSI" Notes



The four types of bullets are noticeably different when expanded. The Speer GDHPs have distinctive "striations" (I think that's the right word) or lines extending from the center radially to the outside -- and of course, the gold dot in the center. The two Hornady rounds look very similar, except that the Sig bullets appear to be expanded slightly more, and peeled back farther towards the base, than the Magnum rounds. Unfortunately, I don't have my calipers handy to check this. It also appears the .40 GDHPs are a bit more expanded than the other bullet types, which makes sense since they are bigger to start with. The 9mm Rangers have the 'talon' petals, and certainly look wickeder (izzataword?) than the others.



So in summary



Hornady 124 .357Sig JHP/XTP - 1361 fps avg, approx 10 inches penetration

Hornady 125 .357Mag JHP/XTP - 1340 fps avg, approx 10 inches penetration

Speer 155gr .40 GDHP - 1204 fps avg, about 10 inches penetration

Win Ranger 127 9mm SXT - 1223 fps avg, about 8 inches penetration



The 9mm doesn't have quite as much penetration, but as I noted above, it seems to be adequate to me, and in the same space as 10 of the .40s and .357s (or only six of the .357 Mags) I can carry 13 or 15 of 9mms.



Plus the 9mm HP seems just a tad more maneuverable and trim than its slightly bigger brother. However, I do like being able to shoot several calibers of ammo (including .22) out of essentially the same gun.



I'll conclude with a picture of the bullets:







Hope everyone found this entertaining at least. Next: Barriers!



elb



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Old 03-31-2007, 10:39 PM   #10
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Hello and again, thanks. Your efforts are appreciated and I think of benefit to the folks here.



FWIW, while the XTP appears the more "sedate" expander of the bunch, I would not ever underestimate it. I've shot deer and coyotes with it in .45 ACP, 9mm, 45 Colt and 357 Magnum and it does the trick very nicely. I have not seen a human felon that was popped with one but I'd expect similar results with a good hit or hits.



Best.



PS: The ones I have been able to recover look very much like the ones in the photographs above.



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