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ammo for new 357 wheel gun

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by smurf hunter, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    I'm the proud owner of a new Ruger GP100 I just got today. I've wanted a full framed 357 for a while, and found a price on a new one I couldn't walk away from. I feel like a kid that just bought a muscle car.

    In order to get familiar with the gun, I was considering starting out shooting 38spl rounds. I've heard many people say to train with the same rounds you'll use it real life - but given the vast price difference in the ammo this gun can use, seems that there should be a place for 38 special ammo. Once I'm ready to work on my groups and other serious training, I think it's wise to use the full power loads.

    There's a huge variety of ammo out there, and I don't want to go broke buying a box of everything. What ammo (type or specific brand) is recommended for:

    1) plinking, paper zombie targets and other novelty purposes
    2) serious range use where I'm working on consistency/accuracy
    3) home defense
    4) hiking trail (cougars, black bear)

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  2. dragonsden73

    dragonsden73 Salem, Oregun Active Member

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    For plinking I would use the less expensive rounds...38 sp to get a feel for the trigger pull, etc. You didn't say what kind of ammo stock you have as far as 38 sp or 357, or what is available in your area, etc.

    For home defense and/or country packing, get a nice defense round. ask 10 people and get 10 answers. But for defense and predators you'll be at very close range so the damage factor should far exceed accuracy issues with lesser quality rounds.

    I practice with Winchester, Blazer, Remington.....I carry Hydra Shok, etc.

    :twocents:
     
  3. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    This is what I've always done as well. I'd shoot some of the expensive stuff but for the most part use the cheaper loads/calibers.
     
  4. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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  5. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I have a 6 inch S&W 686 and it is mostly just a range gun but I have thought about employing it in various real world scenarios. Inside the house it is loaded with Magsafe frangible loads. These have incredibly destructive power but limited penetration through building materials. Against cougar or bear, I think the consensus is that you need penetration to reach vital organs. For this you would want 180 gr SWC lead bullets. 158 gr LRN bullets would also be a good substitute but would not penetrate as much. On the few occasions I have carried into the woods, I carried 158 gr JSP rounds. Cougars aren't as big as bears so less need for maximum penetration. The .357 magnum made its legend in law enforcement circles using the 125 gr JHP. This gave us the legendary 90+ percent one shot stops. 125 gr JHP loads even in a 6 inch barrel can have a lot of flash effect. Generally I use 158 Gr JSP or JHP loads as they are controllable in my 6 inch 686 and seem to be the most common load in the less expensive ammo lines.
     
  6. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Would something like the heavily advertised Hornady FTX Critical Defense be an example?

    Also, as a future consideration I can see myself getting into reloading. I'll be saving my brass in anticipation. Are there any brands or characteristics that are less desirable for reloading?
     
  7. TheDogFather

    TheDogFather Bellingham, WA Member

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    I probably spend about 70% of my range time shooting .38 special out of my N Frame .357 magnum, both standard pressure and +P, usually the 158 grain bullet. I will work in cheaper .357 mag ammo like CCI blazer or Magtech, again usually staying in the same bullet weight. My S&W Model 28 easily absorbs recoil from the lighter .357 mag loads like Remington Golden Sabre about the same as .38 special +P. I usually finish off with a few of my top shelf (semi-precious ha ha) self defense rounds like Speer Gold Dots. If cougar and black bears are a real threat in your hiking, you might want to consider a heavier lead cast bullet in the 200 grain range.
     
  8. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    It'd be rare, but if I'm ever compelled to pack along a 6" barrel on my belt, may as well load it for the task :)
     
  9. Stumps

    Stumps Ashford, WA Member

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    I see no issue with shooting 38 special for practice. I know some people say train with what you carry. But realistically you are going to go broke shooting HP 357 ammo all the time. There is usually a difference in the power, pressures and recoil associated with defensive ammo compared to ball ammo.
     
  10. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Like Dogfather most of the rounds expended through my Model 28 are .38 Special. For trail and other uses I prefer to use a .357 Magnum load with 158gr soft point.
     
  11. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    The two loads with the best street success are the Remington and Federal 125 grain JHPs. 94% and 92 % stopping power stats with one solid torso hit. They will work well on bipeds and big North American cats

    158 grain loads are a hunting load for deer. They do not expand anything like the 125 grain loads