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Ballistic Overlap...

2584 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  jimhigginbotham
Hello. A while back I noticed .45 GAP making its debut into the shooting world. Having chronographed bullets in flight from various handguns in different calibers and action types, I noticed very similar characteristics to the degree that there is more than a little overlapping in performance.

For example:

Browning 9mm Hi Power:
Corbon 125-gr. JHP +P
Average Velocity: 1312 ft/sec

S&W Model 28 .357 Magnum w/6" bbl:
Federal 125-gr. JHP
Average Velocity: 1358 ft/sec

The .357 beats the 9mm, but also has a bit longer barrel.

From a 6" bbl FN Hi Power Competition, I got 1348 ft/sec from the Triton 125-gr. JHP +P, which is darned near the same velocity.

S&W Model 58 .41 Magnum w/4" bbl:
Corbon 170-gr. JHP
AVerage Velocity: 1333 ft/sec

Colt 10mm Delta Elite w/5" bbl:
Winchester 175-gr. STHP
Average Velocity: 1288 ft/sec

These two are pretty near equivalent on the receiving end, I'd think.

Comparisons can go on and on, but I sort of think we have
enough different cartridges to choose from. (Of course, with that thinking nothing new and maybe better would come along, but at the same time it appears to me that we're just duplicating terminal ballistics from different "packages."

I can understand the desirability of perhaps ballistically equivalent rounds that are physically smaller for use in a wider variety of handguns, but other than that, it appears to me that the bases are pretty well covered.

What do you think?

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Mr. Camp,

I've told people in the past that the loads I carry in my 9mm are, for all intents and purposes, the same as a .357mag, but I have almost 3x the capacity.

I go on to say that the .357mag is more versatile, but for defensive use, I find no real difference.

Since people tend to respect the .357mag and look down upon the 9mm I use this as an illustration to my theme: Pick something .38spl or above and be happy.

Above .38spl it's just so much nitpicking (fun though it is

Josh <><
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I'm with you 110% on this subject, this is kinda one of the reason's that I have NOT yet got that .38 Super that I was talking about not to long ago, Plus, I don't want to add another caliber that don't really offer much more power than what I already have, especially a expensive one to shoot... But, Dang-It, I don't know how long I'll be able to resist that .38 Super, the funny thing about it thow, if it wasn't in a 1911, I would have never even looked at it twice!

I'm sorry if I drifted from the topic, but this was the only way to express myself with-out just saying, make mine 9mm, .45ACP, .38 Special, .357 Mag. & all my .40S&W's that I'm still kinda leary of.

Take Care,

This has always amazed me. I have long questined the rationale behind the .357 Sig (not running down the round but I just don't see that much difference between it and several good 9mm loads).

Oddly enough, while most folks find the Federal 125 to hit 1400+ out of a 4" revolver, two boxes I purchased recently ran a good bit under 1300 in my 4" 66 which is rather tight and usually gives good vel.

OTOH the Winchester 127 +P+ clocks just over 1300 from my Browning P-35.

To make a long story short.... no I don't see any difference except that I can deliver from 7 to 8 shots per second accurately with the browning and 4-5 with the magnum (on a good day ;)).

Back to the Sig, you know if you blew that case out straight and put in a 165 to 180 gr. bullet you might just have something there

Press on,
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Hahahahhahahahhaha! That last part kind of got me!

I've noted that in recent years the .357 loads do seem a bit lighter from the factory. I don't know if that's due to concerns over excessive recoil in the lightweight J-frame size .357's now or what, but it simply narrows any gap between them and the hotter 9mm loads.

I agree, most .357 magnum factory loaded ammunition is way underpowered.

Doubletap ammo is another story though. Velocities with 158 grain bullets were as high as 1520 FPS from a 6 inch barrel!

If im going to defend myself from two legged predators, I would take a 9mm. If I want to hunt four legged game, I would take the .357 magnum.

BTW how long is the HPs barrel? I never seen anyone get over 1280 FPS or so from a standard barrel length using midweight bullets. How fast was it going from the G26?

Hello. The Hi Power has a 4 21/32" barrel.

Here's a link to a few chronographed velocities from the Glock 26:


I seem to pick by the platform first and the caliber later. I've got a 1911 in 45 and an xd sub in 9mm for carry but have a 357 in the jeep. Went with the revolver due to reliability (and I didn't have one at the time
). Couldn't bring myself to get a 38 that was a little cheaper but I did have alot of 357 ammo sitting around...

I try not to have calibers that overlap around. It'd be nice to be able to afford to but can't justify it.

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GlockFan is definitely on target here. For whatever reason (I have my theories) the major factories are downloading the .357 Magnum to the point it isn't much hotter than a top end 9x19. Not long ago I chronographed some Speer Lawman 140-grain JHP's left over from the 1980's. How does an average of 1351 fps from a 4-inch barrel grab you? And that's after the .357's downward trend had already started.

Fast forward to today and try some Double Tap or Buffalo Bore loads. You're in a whole different world compared to ammo from The Big Three. 125's @ 1600+ fps and 158's @ 1400+ fps from 4-inch barrels are the norm.
A couple of years ago someone was selling Federal Classic 140 JHP in 20 round boxes really cheap.

I bought a couple for testing. They clocked 1370 in my 4" 66 and 1330 in my 3" M-13.

I have no excuse for not following up and buying every box that distributor had!
:(" title=":mad:" border="0"/>

I was amazed when I purchased a couple of fresh boxes of Federal 125 jhps and they dribbled out of the barrel at less than 1300 fps. The various 110 gr loads are even worse.

I am not sure that there is any method to this madness but it goes to show one cannot assume anything...a chronograph is a vital tool.

Press on,
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Hello, Jim. I agree on the chronograph thing. It's been surprising that between lot numbers of the same brand/load of ammunition, sometimes there's little difference. At other times, quite a bit.

I recall one batch of Federal 115-gr. JHP's that clocked a rather cool 1098 ft/sec compared to about 1170 ft/sec which has been more of the norm in tests of these rounds.

Likewise, one batch of Remington Golden Saber 230-gr. BJHP's barely did 800 ft/sec out of a particular pistol. A different lot number did about 860 ft/sec consistently. I recall that when this stuff first came out, I clocked extreme spreads much larger than what I'm seeing today.

It's interesting, but comparing some, not all, but some .45 Colt loads against .45 ACP, the former offers little over the latter...unless going with 250-grains and up. Handloads for the .45 Colt out of a Ruger are a different matter altogether.

I've had people who carry .38 Specials with 125-grain +P ammo tell me that my BHP is "inadequate."

Okay, let's see: the 125 +P .38 gives a velocity of 950 fps.

My 124-grain Hydra Shoks leave the muzzle at around 1,150 fps.

I also get 13 tries before I have to think about reloading.

The comment about choosing platform before caliber really resonated with me; I wasn't a huge Hi Power fan till I realized that the one auto I owned which NEVER fails is the beaten up old MKIII I bought on a whim several years ago. Once I started shooting it some, I discovered that it turned me into a really, really good shot. As many others have found, the thing points very naturally, almost as an extension of my hand.

Did I mention that I get 13 tries instead of five or six?
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It has been said that a big shot is just a little shot that kept shooting...those guys have to reload twice just to keep up :)

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