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357 magnum ammo: old vs new

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by pokersamurai, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. pokersamurai


    Jan 11, 2008
    I recently purchased my first 357 magnum revolver, a 4" smith and wesson 686, and am looking for a self defense load. I have done quite a bit of research and can't make up my mind.
    On one hand I have looked at the older "proven" rounds like the Federal 125gr sjhp and the Winchester 145gr silvertip. These rounds have been used by law enforcement when they still issued 357s and have been used successfully on the streets, however they tend to fragment and don't exhibit uniform expansion, which (from what I understand) is looked down nowadays.
    On the other hand, you have the newer technology loads like the 125gr gold dot and the 125gr & 140gr solid copper xpb rounds that tend to penetrate more and retain more weight but don't create as wide of cavity in lab tests.

    My question to you is, if you were to carry a 357 magnum today what load would you choose the "old" technology or the "new" and why.

    Thanks in advance
  2. 9mm +p+

    9mm +p+

    Mar 1, 2005
    Old Dominion
    I've personally seen the 357 magnum at work, Fed or Rem 125's are what I run in my 686's. Don't worry about the jello BS, they worked very well in the pre-auto days and they still will.

  3. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    I agree. Furthermore, with all the modern ammo that's available, it just got even better.

    When I occasionally carry a revolver for whatever reason, it's always a .357 Magnum.
  4. Ak.Hiker


    Feb 8, 2005
    Homer Alaska
    I have shot up a ton of 357 Magnum ammo over the years. I always have several it seems. One of my favorite rounds. In fact I think if I could only have one handgun a 4 inch 357 Magnum would be a top contender. I pretty much got tired of all of the hype on what is best so I make it simple. Federal 125 grain JHP that I can buy off the shelf when ever I need a new supply is my number one SD load. It is in my 2.75 inch Security Six right now. This load along with the Remington and Winchester version has been getting the job done for years. If I need the 357 for trail use it gets loaded with a 180 or 200 grain cast load or the 158 grain Gold Dot depending on the gun and time of year.
  5. I went with the Gold Dot & Buffalo Bore 125g loads. Reason being that I couldn't find Federal at the time and Remington just wasn't as fast as I was looking for out of a 3" barrel.
  6. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    You are the man !

    Amigo, I have the 3 1/16th " Sp101, and for many many years the 4" S&W 686 the OP is talking about. I cannot add to a thing you said. The 125gr Federal has been my all time favorite and is plumb nasty to say the least. And I agree on the 200gr HC bullets for woods carry in 357mag.

    Right on, well said, good post, and I totally agree Pard.

    Go to talk with ya it has ben a while.

    You take care and stay safe my friend ! ;)

  7. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City

    I still think the best "all-rounder" is a 158 grain keith / swc.

    Then again, I don't carry .357 mag in town. Suffice it to say it has guts to spare. No need to overthink it.
  8. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Make it a 158grLHP & that is a pretty good around town load. Swap out solids for woods carry, what's no to like?:dunno: My 357snub load is the 145gr WSTHP, good perfromer in any bbl length.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012