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357 Bullet Recommendations ?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by KTM530XCW, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Finally getting around to adding 357 Mag to the long list of cartriges I reload and would like some input on a 357 bullet with good consistent expansion. I'm leaning away from the little 125 grain zippers and would like something 145 grain or heavier (158 is good).

    I'm not a fan of Hornady XTP, as all the ballistics gel results I've ever seen show it to expand poorly. (I will admit, however, that I'm basing this solely on what I've seen on the internet, and I'll acknowledge that web reviews are a horrible substitute for first hand experience).

    My current favorite cool-aid flavor, for hand gun calibers, is the Speer Gold-Dot. But those are damn hard to find right now.

    So... what do you guys use? What do you feel offers great expansion? Not looking for uber penetration like some do for medium game hunting, that is what the 454 is for. Just want something that will open up nicely, and consistently, on a torso-type object.
     
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't discount the XTP...just my opinion.

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/HornadyXTP.htm

    I've done personal tests of expansions, accuracy and reliability. I went and switched most bullets to Hornady TAP (.308, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .223, 12 Gauge Buck) or Hornady Critical Defense (.380 Auto) because of my personal tests...some people are just bias for or against certain rounds.

    I'll be honest, I'm bias for Hornady...but that certainly would change if any of the rounds fail me (like Speer Gold Dots or PMC Starfire rounds have).
     
  4. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Hornady does have some great stuff. I'm a 55g V-MAX fanboy. Not only will it kill jackrabbits at 100 yards, it also field dresses them at the same time.
     
  5. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    The 158 gr. Xtp opened up fine in wet telephone books we used one or two times--expansion results will vary because of a lot of other factors--not all necessarily taken into account by internet "experts" whose posts you might see. As an example, I might mention that this same bullet did not do so well in the wet books when fired as part of a .38 spcl. cartridge (not + P) and bullets that were allowed to impact the books at very close range did not expand as well as those that were allowed to fly 50 ft. when fired as part of a .357 mag cartridge (medium charge)

    There used to be a website worth looking at for data like this. It is/was called the" box o' truth" or something similar. I lost the URL, sorry.
     
  6. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if those guys have some sort of agenda or bias but they don't/haven't tested a single +P or +P+ 9mm.. though they've tested other (lessor.. lol) calibers with those qualifiers.
    I deem their work worthless simply upon that basis.. it's skewed.
     
  8. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Fair assessment
     
  9. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    Just my opinion: Save premium bullets for premium jobs. Practice with less expensive bullets of the same weight. Thus, I would be shooting a LOT of Zero, Precision Delta, or Montana Gold JACKETED bullets.
    Don't trust any ballistic gel tests--what have real hunters found and what are the statistics for real life shootings? 125gn JHPs have been the "gold standard" for decades.
     
    Certaindeaf likes this.
  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
    And not to risk the wrath of Deadeye, Norma, especially the 158/.357 and 240/.429's (.44) for generations have been the gold standard of not expanding/deep penetration. Code for you "use" them on griz or something and they still won't expand. A hard cast, full cutting SWC is way better on anything.. from griz to rabbits.

    I'd use an "old school" 125gr hp on 200lb varmints every day of the week.
     
    2ndtimer likes this.
  11. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    The 125gr is supposedly the magic bullet for the 357 Magnum, but it just seems too light for all of that case capacity and it takes more powder to get up to speed. I have no doubts about its effectiveness though.

    I've never been wow'd by any testing I've seen of the XTP, but it is still a great expanding bullet. Every hollow point has a velocity range over which it will have ideal expansion. Too slow and it fails to expand and becomes an FMJ, too fast and it expands so much that it doesn't penetrate very deeply, or so fast the thing breaks apart. Your barrel length plays a key role in the velocity and cannot be ignored. Unless you test your ammo from your gun on a simulated target you'll never know how well it will work.

    Some of the worst performing ammo I've seen tested in gel is the +P and hot stuff from boutique makes like DoubleTap. They get the bullets moving faster than designed which causes them to fail. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a +P loading outperform a normal pressure load when using the FBI testing protocol. For this reason I've not seen the Nosler bullets do well in testing, DoubleTap makes them too hot so they break up in gel. Personally I think they'd be a fine bullet and plan to start loading them.

    My 357 Magnum personal defense load choice for now is Federal 158gr Hydra-Shok, because they don't make them in HST. Don't discount the wadcutter or semi-wadcutter, Elmer Keith designed a SWC for handgun hunting.
     
  12. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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