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I used to have a glock 23 that I equiped with a 357sig barrel. After shooting quite a bit of high performance DoubleTap Ammo loads in both, I found I preferred the 40. I really don't believe there would be much difference in terminal performance on a bad guy---I doubt he would be able to tell the difference. I find that all things being equal, I prefer the larger diameter, heavier bullet.
You might want to check out the loads offered by Double Tap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Gents,

Had the opportunity to spend time with my FN Hi-Power .40 S&W and a EFK Firedragon .357 SIG barrel. Here are my observations.
General Comments: The day was sunny, but not warm. Odd for Oregon this time of year. About 55 degrees. The FN Hi-Power had been shot previously, but was basically new. The pistol itself was totally box stock including still having the magazine disconnect/safety installed. Springs were heavy, but stock. A Buffer Technology buffer was used. Magazines were stock FN/Browning/Mec-Gar with the "mouse-trap" spring arrangement and Pachmayr pads installed. My shooting was abysmal. All groups were well centered and could be covered with the palm of my hand...this shooting at speed from 7 to 15 yards. Not what I normally expect to see...the results of not enough trigger time and a reminder that marksmanship skills are "perishable".
The .40 S & W was the original chambering for the gun and was a proven performer. I shot some handloads 170 gr SWC's, PMC factory, 165 gr Ranger LE loads, and some Federal 180 gr Hydra-shock. Interestingly, I had 2 FTF's. One with PMC and the other with the Ranger LE load. No reason, but both were identical with the round not even started up the feed ramp...I've never seen or had that happen. Wierd. Accuracy was good. Recoil managable. Failure to stop drills were fast and accurate. Even more when I slowed down, just a bit.
The .357 Sig: I was able to test the SIG round compliments of "Twoguns", as he had loaned me his EFK Firedragon .357 Sig Barrel. A word about the barrel. The quality is obvious from the package. Machining and polishing are excellent. The bore is incredibly smooth. Good product, IMHO.
There were no failures of any kind in 100 rounds of Winchester White Box 125 gr FMJ's. Cycling was butter smooth from the stock .40 Magazines. Accuracy was every bit as good or better from than the .40. A 10 round group, fired standing, with two hands, was 1 1/2" center to center (at 15 yards) about one and a half inches high and one inch to the right. VERY acceptable. Recoild impulse was snappy, but very managable. Although I had no timer it was obvious to me that I was getting back on target more rapidly with the SIG round.
The Down Side: I had previously pm'd Twoguns about component/ammo availability in our area (Salem, OR). Frankly, it sucks big time. The only ammo available anywhere was the Winch White box 125 gr FMJ's from Sportsman's Warehouse. There was no brass available or any type of self defense ammo. So, a decision to switch to the Sig round would mean reloading AND buying good self defense ammo by the case, IMHO. Not a good situation, but not insurmountable. My military background tells me to carry what is most available. To me that's 9mm or .45 ACP. But to be truthfull we carry the ammo we'll need in most cases and that will not have a bearing on the situation. Just make sure you carry enough...right, "Twoguns"?
Overall, my initial impression of the round is positive. Other than the availability issue. It provides more power that the hot 9mm's and is very controllable. Is it a .357 Magnum? NO, but it does put a decent bullet weight on target with respectable energy and that's a good thing.
Overall, I think Chris and Twoguns may be onto something here. Is it enough to drop my other guns/calibers and rush screaming to the .357 SIG? No, but again, it may be a darn good option for someone looking for a new pistol and caliber for self defense. I like it well enough to where I'm going to order a barrel and keep testing the round.
Kind Regards,

Wes
 

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Mr. Wes,

I am glad to hear you did not find your test a total waste of your time sir. I do understand the problems caused by lack of reloading components or factory ammo locally. That is certainly something to consider. But as you noted, these are not insurmountable problems either. I pick my chosen carry round, in the 357 Sig it is the 125gr Gold Dot. Then I find reloading components that will allow me to closely duplicate my carry load.

As I don't find an abundance of reloading components at reasonble prices locally, that means I simply order most of mine from vendors I deal with often. Then I just wait for them to show up so I can load my rounds. That allows me to practice much more, and at the same time use a round that is as close as possible to my chosen carry load.

I do like a nice large chunk of lead going downrange. I always have and always will. But given my medical situation, I have found I have had to make many choices I might not have made 20 or even 10 years ago now. I do shoot the 357 Sig rounds better than I do a good 40S&W carry load - better in terms of tighter groups, faster recovery time back to target, and less felt recoil for me.

So to me it is simply a better choice. Is it "the" magic bullet, no sir. I am not really sure such a creature exists - or I would be carrying it and singing its praises. But for me it provides a great deal in a round I want to trust my life to, so while not "the" magic round, it comes pretty darn close for me. I reckon it will do me well, at least until I find something better - if I do.

I do find it curious that you had 2 FTF with the 40 but none with the 357 Sig. Although you did only have 100 rounds to play with. I have been lucky with my FN 40, I have yet to have the first malfunction of any type in either 40 or 357 Sig. Hopefully it will stay that way.

If you have the chance to do some reloading with the caliber, please share your thoughts on that with us too.

twoguns
 

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Hi there Wes,

Thank you for the report and comparative testing in your HP.

I really believe that testing two calibers in the same platform handgun will usually give you a "significant feel" the likeness and difference in the same handgun platform. I've found that to be the case with the .40 vs. .357 SIG in my since departed Glock 23!

Based on your excellent report, I can sympathize with you on the ammunition availability issue.

What I have done in my particular case, is order the 125 grain Gold Dots from www.midwayusa.com and have started to load my practice ammo. My previous experience tells me that when I become competent in loading one caliber or another, I can often duplicate the carry load. Harvesting brass and finding bullets is not an issue as long as a major supplier has them both. Midway also lists seasonal runs of "once fired" grade 1 and grade 2 brass.

Its worth the extra effort in my opinion, if I really want to shoot and practice with a particular load. I personally find the lower recoil impulse, higher velocity and downrange terminal performance worth the effort of reloading the .357 SIG.

Wes, again, thank you for sharing your findings with us. It is always great to have the extra objective experience recorded here for all to see.

Please let us know what you decide to do.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
Gents,

Just an update. I had the chance to spend some time with the FN Hi-Power and .357 Sig Firedragon barrel conversion. Several hundred more rounds went downrange and I like what I see. Recoil is subjective, but is very manageable. Accuracy is as good as the H-P in .40 (very good indeed). It's a keeper, IMHO.
I like this so much I ordered my own new barrel from EFK and can return my "loaner" barrel to it's rightful owner.

My just leave the FN in .357 SIG. That way I have a BHP in 9, .40, and the FN in .357 SIG. Does it get any better?

OK, TWOGUNS, but the SIG 226 is going to have to wait for now. Got raped at tax time and not even kissed...

Wes
 

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Mr. Wes,

Sorry on the tax time, I truly think most of us understand exactly what you mean on that one too, lol. But I feel reasonably sure that Sig will still be up and running when you are ready to give in to "Sigitis" ;) .

I am glad to hear you ended up being impressed enough to decide to order a barrel. As you have time, please keep sharing your thoughts on shooting these calibers. I still need to get back out in the desert with my shooting buddy and do some more chorongraphing with more of my reloads. Eventually I will be shooting more reloads using the Speer 125 GD, and some 125 JHP Zero loads.

Unfortunately, the delivery within 4 weeks from point of order with Bar-Sto has already proven to be far too optimistic, by about a second 4 week period now. But I am looking forward to receiving that barrel as well, so I can try the 357 Sig out in my 75B 40. I am holding high hopes on that combination, and hope I will not be disappointed. But only time and Bar-Sto will tell on that one, lol.

But I will continue to post chronograph data comparing the 40 and 357 in various platforms, as I have the opportunity to obtain more data.

Shoot well and shoot often.

twoguns
 

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Hi, Wes--
Check out this website:
http://www.georgia-arms.com/shear.htm
I'm not tooting their horn particularly, but I had been buying their 147-grain .38 Super (now unhappily discontinued), and I notice they have three .357 Sig loads available. Gold Dot is $20 and change for 50 rounds, so no savings there, but they also sell a 125-grain hollowpoint for $16.50 per 50, and hardball for $11.50, so if you were to order three blocks of 100, say, in hardball, with UPS ground added in, it comes to about $13 per 50 rounds, which is not unreasonable for range ammo. Not having shot any, though, it's a pig in a poke. Good luck.
Best, David
 

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Mr. David,

(Not Wes yet, lol) but thanks for the link. I realize they are loading the ammo, but their prices do not look bad either.

Since you used their 38 Super loads when available, I am just curious. Did you ever compare their GD with a factory GD to see if they appeared to be close. If not, no biggie really. But I am curious to hear your thoughts on how consistent and accurate you felt their 38 Supers were for you.

Thanks in advance,

twoguns
 

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TwoGuns---
I can't really answer the question accurately. Intuitively, I think the 125-grain JHP factory Gold Dot in .38 Super is the best round for the gun. The reason I fooled around with the Georgia Shear 147-grain was the heavier bullet, which they rated at a MV of 1200 fps, which may be overly generous. I found no difference in felt recoil or sight picture recovery, and had no malfunctions with Georgia Arms ammo. Moot point, since the load's no longer available. I recently ran across the Win Super-X 130-grain FMJ, which is both cheap and suitable for the range---for carry, I'd stick with the JHP. But basically, I think GA makes a good product. Of course, you get what you pay for, and the Shear line is pricier. I've never bought any .38-40 or 45 ACP, for instance, from GA, which would give me a better basis for comparison with Black Hills or PMC (or Hydra-Shok, for that matter). Most of us prefer to practice with what we carry, but the economics get in the way. I can shoot 200 rounds of .45 230-grain FMJ for about sixty bucks; if I shot 200 rounds of Hydra-Shok, it would cost me another hundred bucks. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
All the best, David
 

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I've had excellent experience with Ga Arms ammo, for quite a long time. Nice people to deal with.

BTW, they do volume pricing as well, so consider picking up 1000 at a time. They've always let me mix loads to get the price break.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Mr. Pat,

Thanks for you feedback on both their round and the pricing suggestion. If I run out of brass and need a fresh supply I will take a long look at their offerings. But I think it is always a good thing when our members can offering real world feed back on vendors.

twoguns
 
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Gentlemen:

I have more than passing acquaintance with all of the above loads and guns. I have killed more animals than most hunters will ever dream of, with more calibers than most hunters will ever own, and I can tell you categorically that WHAT you shoot them with doesn't matter a DANG compared to WHERE you shoot them!

The .357 SIG is not a magic bullet. The .40 S&W is not a magic bullet. The 10mm is not a magic bullet. The .45 ACP is not a magic bullet. NONE of these cartridges, if loaded in your SD&CC weapon, if directed ineffectively, are worth a [edited for language].

I study and teach use of deadly force in LE situations. Given that you're using modern service-quality ammunition, the only indisputable truth I've come across is that rifles are much better gunfighting tools than pistols. Other than that, it's all hooey.

Here's what one of the best in the business (Dr. Gary K. Roberts) has to say about the caliber wars:

"When comparing well designed duty handgun ammunition, there are minimal differences in penetration depths and temporary cavity effects, as noted below in the gel shots by Doug Carr:

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"As you increase bullet size and mass from 9 mm/357 Sig, to .40 S&W, to .45 ACP, more tissue is crushed, resulting in a larger permanent cavity. In addition, the larger bullets often offer better performance through intermediate barriers. For some, the incremental advantages of the larger calibers are offset by weapon platform characteristics. As is quite obvious from the photo above, NONE of the common service pistol calibers generate temporary cavities of sufficient magnitude to cause significant tissue damage. Anyone interested in this topic should read and periodically re-read,
 
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