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  1. #1
    USAFgsm is offline Member
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    Best type of .357 defense ammo for a short barrel

    Hey guys. This question is about bullet type, not necessarily brand.

    I'm wondering what kind of penetration can be expected from a .357 out of a short barrel. Would a 110 gr JHP penetrate enough? Would a 125 gr Jacketed Soft Point run the risk of over penetrating? Perhaps a heavier HP or maybe a 125 gr JHP .38 special +P? What do you guys think? Oh and the gun in question is a Ruger SP101 with the shorter (~2") barrel.

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  3. #2
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    If you can handle the recoil of any .357 Magnum round and get quickly back on target for follow-up shots, then I suggest looking into loads with the heaviest jacketed hollow-point (JHP) bullets you can find.
    But powerful, short-barrelled pistols are very hard to control.
    A better suggestion might be to stick with .38 Special loads with very heavy bullets, for instance 158-grain JHPs.
    Fast, light-bullet, .357 Magnum rounds may not only be hard to control, but may also over-penetrate the, um, target. Heavy bullets travelling slowly are more likely to remain in the, um, subject and transfer all of their energy in a more useful manner.

  4. #3
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    I really like my 125gr JHP's. But I have got some 180gr to test in the future.

  5. #4
    USAFgsm is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    If you can handle the recoil of any .357 Magnum round and get quickly back on target for follow-up shots, then I suggest looking into loads with the heaviest jacketed hollow-point (JHP) bullets you can find.
    But powerful, short-barrelled pistols are very hard to control.
    A better suggestion might be to stick with .38 Special loads with very heavy bullets, for instance 158-grain JHPs.
    Fast, light-bullet, .357 Magnum rounds may not only be hard to control, but may also over-penetrate the, um, target. Heavy bullets travelling slowly are more likely to remain in the, um, subject and transfer all of their energy in a more useful manner.
    I always thought the heavier bullets were more at risk of overpenetrating, is that not true?

  6. #5
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFgsm View Post
    I always thought the heavier bullets were more at risk of overpenetrating, is that not true?
    Big, heavy, relatively slow bullets tend not to overpenetrate. Instead, they tend to stop within the, er, target and transfer all of their energy to it (him, her). They act, so to speak, like sledgehammers.
    Light, fast-moving bullets do tend to overpenetrate, acting metaphorically like quickly-inserted needles or nails.
    Well-designed light, fast bullets fired from well-planned cartridge combinations, however, do not tend to overpenetrate, but instead they efficiently transfer energy. An example would be Hornady's Critical Defense line.
    There is a set of balances, ratios, or quid pro quos, to be struck.

    Here's a simplified explanation:
    A given cartridge is limited to a certain maximum pressure. That pressure may be achieved by firing light bullets at a fast-burn pace, or by firing heavy bullets with powder that burns more slowly, or by doing something in-between.
    The maximum pressure doesn't change, but the bullet weight versus the powder burn-rate does.

  7. #6
    Rupert's Avatar
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    I shoot Corbon DPX out of a Ruger SP101 with a 3 inch barrel, they are incredibly accurate, but I can't vouch for the terminal performance, although I've never heard anything bad about them.

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