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Self Defense Ammo for 4" .357

6074 Views 29 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  oberstlt
Similiar thread on another board, discussing what .357 ammo would they recommend in a 4" bbl .357. It seemed to boil down to wither the Winchester 145 gr Silvertips or the 158 gr Speer Gold Dots.

I'll be running a box of Silvertips thru my 686+ this weekend just to try them out but am interested in other opinions.
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That's interesting. I thought the 125 JHP was considered the be-all/end-all for self defense in 357.
Hi there,

Like Parsons45, I always thought the 125 grain Federal Jacketed Hollow Point was the best proven combat round in the .357 magnum line?
This information was based on the statistical findings of Ed Sanow in actual shootings.

The 125-grain Remington JHP is virtually the only .357 factory ammo I ever buy, and the only gun I ever shoot it in is a 2 1/2" Model 66-1. Once or twice I've carried either a Model 520 or Model 28, both in 4" length, and I loaded them up with the 125s as well.
Hello. I 've seen mixed results with the 125-gr. JHP's but admit freely that they do tend to raise a great deal of hell in whatever soft target they encounter. I'm currently using Winchester 145-gr. STHP's in all my .357's when shooting a factory load. It's been consistent over the chronograph and has worked well in the shooting of thin-skinned animals for me.

;) I use either Winchester or Remington 158 gr. .357 ammo in my M66-1 2 1/2" , exclusively. I use the JHP's most of the time......but change to JSP for better penetration on big, four legged, critters (like bears). These are mid-range loads (1250 fps in a 4" bbl), and I don't expect to have trouble with the gun.......'till after I'm dead!!!!!
It's an old police gun, so it's probably seen a fair share of the 125 gr. NUKES, but I ain't gonna worry about it!!! S&W still rebuilds them ......don't they?
For most of my carry, I use an old M-36 with .38spl. +P. I feel well protected, in most cases, when I'm around town or in the local woods. Going out to the mountains or wild areas calls for the M-66.

In .357 I use a 125 grain JHP factory load from any of the "big three". I've never been disappointed. Mind you this is for self defense.
When I take it to the woods I use a hard cast 158 gr KTSWC.
That said, my prefered woods pistol is the .44 Colt Anaconda and 250 gr. KTSWC's at 950-1000 FPS.


I like 125gr SJHP Federals from a 4" tube.

This is my only experience. I traded the .357.

Josh <><
When I used to own and carry a S&W Mod 19 in either 4" or 2 1/2" configurations or a Mod 13 4" I always loaded them with Rem or Win 38 Spl 158 grain +P LSWCHP. Never felt like I needed more than this and the accuracy of those loads out of those guns was almost unbelieveable.
I have drifted away from the 125's. They are just too rude in 4" and shorter barrels. I think that load was just a bit oversold during the last big hurrah for law enforcement revolvers. It's got some negatives on the shooters side of the gun. The 145 ST's are manageable and they don't have the blast and flash of the 125's. I've also approximated them with 140's in handloads for practice. Even in short barrels they will make about 1150 FPS, and that's enough to give good penetration and at least some expansion. They may not give quite the statistical numbers of the 125's, but it's usually only a small percentage. For plinking and small game field loads I tend to use mild- moderately loaded 158 SWC's in all my guns regardless of barrel length. For carry during deer hunting I still like full house 158's in a JHP.(but usually in longer barrels)AW
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I use 158 grain Sierra jacketed hollow points over 14 grains of alliant 2400. That is a little under a max load but in a 45 ounce Model 27 they are controllable. In a lighter .357 I would probably down load them a bit more. I put a premium on controllability and these work well for me.
I've found that the 145 Winchester STHP works best in my 686 for recoil and expansio, penetration.
I tend to go with a bit more weight than 125 but I am fairly sure that the various 125s will do for well over 90% of self defense situations.

Typically I try to carry the 145 Silver tip in 4" guns (I very seldom carry a 4" .357 mind you). In my 2 to 3" guns it is either the Silver Tip or the Federal 130 H-S but the 125s, especially the bonded core types, make a lot of sense in them...taking note of the recoil and blast mentioned above.

Roll on
I'd carry 125 grain Hydra Shoks if I didn't have Triton Quik Shoks
Our large P.D. made us carry 145 sthp's and they established a great track record during the years we all carried revolvers. I know of quite a few shootings that were one shot stops with them. Several were shootings through windshields and they really shined in that area. A co-worker shot a guy through back window, 3 seats of a suburban, and still broke his spine and put him down (after he shot her with a .44 special). They did tend to exit on person to person shootings at close range. This is a good all around choice in a .357.
I use 158gr LSWCHP +P's in my 4" Mod 19

I'm just too lazy to practice enough with full house .357 Mag loads :)

I have used Federal 125 GR JHP .357 Mag before and would use it if I had to go to full house.
Contrary to what some "experts" will tell you -there is no Magic Load.Good shooting is the answer-shot placement! :)
Now Im cary 125grs Funnel Point (1475ft/s,handload) in my Ruger SP 101 but have plans to change it to a 140grs Sierra JHP. Beter to deep than than too shallow,right ?
I like the 125's, right up to the time I touch one off! As stated above, they have too much recoil, make too much noise for what little perceived performance gains they give. I'll stick with bullets in the 140-150 gr.
I use the Rem GS 125. in my 4" 686+. I did some research for penetration and expansion on this round and most came back with around 12" penetration and about .65 expansion. The recoil is such that I can get a decent follow-up shot after getting a master trigger job from the S&W Performance Center. However there are many brands and weights I would feel confident with; GS was my pick because of cost. 25 per box instead of 20
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