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Lets talk 357

104RFAST104RFAST Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
I stumbled upon a good deal on a Smith 686.(Sorry no pictures until it comes back from Smith after the L frame mod) I've been somewhat out of the 357 loop for 20yrs or so
and recently discovered the possibility that using 125 grain or lighter ammo can damage the forcing cone and torch the strap on 357 revolvers. I have a model 64 that was my Fathers (Miami police) that I haven't fired in at least 25 yrs. After close inspection of the 64 I discovered
minor torching of the strap but no apparent damage to the forcing cone, I've read that
the lighter loads were favored by LE during the 60's and my 64 has a few miles on it.
I also read that 125 grain loads that produce speeds of 1100 fps instead of 1300 fps
are ok, I have a supply of both. Your opinions please!
Hope everyone is in good health and enjoying the 4th with your family:iwo:


  • JLDickmonJLDickmon Posts: 1,726 Senior Member
    SAAMI has backpedaled on the pressures a little bit in 20 years, a couple of popular powders then have fallen out of favor.. a lot of what I'm reading lists Bullseye as being a no-joy for jacketed loads, and Blue Dirt is reputed to be a little spike-y pressure wise..

    and good luck finding small pistol primers...
    Never laugh at your wife's choices.
    You are one of them.
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    Haven't had a .357 in a lot of years. I have a very good friend who used to load his short blackhawk to a level that, while within acceptable limits in the manuals, was really a beast to shoot - with regards to noise levels. I've owned a lot of them over the years, but just moved in another direction. If I could find another 2.5" 66 Smith, I'd dig out my wallet again.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • wildgenewildgene Posts: 1,036 Senior Member
    ...like everyone else, it's been a while since I've played w/ the .357, & w/ lighter bullet weights I pretty much stuck to .38 cases to get a better fill ratio. As mentioned, some of the "old standby" powders, in particular, Blue Dot are not recommended for the .357 anymore, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're stuck w/ those miserable to shoot H110 loads. Some of the newer shotgun powders, in particular Lil'Gun w/ the heavier bullets (158-180gr) will get you the same or better MV's @ considerably lower pressures & less "flash"...
  • DurwoodDurwood Posts: 972 Senior Member
    After owning no less than 25 .357 Magnums, I've pretty much settled on shooting target velocity cast bullet loads in .38 Special S&W K Frames for fun. About the only .357 Magnum that would get my attention is an older 586 or 686~undecided on 4" or 6"...probably 4".

    This is my take: For general target shooting .357 loads are too punishing both noise and recoil wise (I typically shoot 100 rounds or more per session). Secondly, If I really need the power, I'd choose a .44 magnum or heavy loaded .45 Colt.
    You have the right to your own opinion, but you don't have the right to your own facts:guns:
  • NNNN Posts: 25,236 Senior Member
    .38 spl +P SWCHP is a good rnd for GP shooting in a .357.
  • justin10mmjustin10mm Posts: 688 Senior Member
    Please excuse my ignorance but what is an " L frame mod"?
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    When using " Hot " 357 loads it's possible the primer backs out of the case enough to prevent cylinder
    Rotation subsiquently locking up the gun. The Mod replaces the firing pin and bushing preventing the
    Primer from backing out enough to lock up the gun.The revolver is then redesignated 686-M. The mod only
    Applies to 686 & 686-2 I believe. Check with Smith for applicability. BTW, it's covered under warranty even though
    The recall was 1985. That's why I continue to buy S&W
  • Jim TomJim Tom Posts: 338 Member
    I've got a 7 1/2" barreled Ruger Blackhawk that's a pussycat to shoot with any level load I've ever shot in it, and I've shot some heavies. I have shot some 110gr XTP's loaded with Bullseye and didn't have any problem, but a Blackhawk may be beefier than an L-frame. I pretty much just shoot 150gr hardcast out of it now.

    I'm liking AA-9 and Enforcer for most of my magnum loads lately. Good velocity and accuracy without all the theatrics of H110 or 2400.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Posts: 14,104 Senior Member
    The L-frame (686) was designed to be able to stand up to a constant diet of hot, lighter bullet .357 loads via a beefier top strap and forcing cone. The .357 issues came from running those hot loads in K-frames.
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    A steady diet of the light fast nastiest loads..... will cause more wear to the 686....but less than it would to a K frame......that's why the 586/686/GP100 were introduced....... but unless you feel the need for 125s at 1400 FPS full time.....don't loose any sleep over it..... shoot the normal 38 Special....158 gr 357s.....and run the Goblin killers.....for Goblins.....Ken
  • justin10mmjustin10mm Posts: 688 Senior Member
    I've only ever shot one box of 125gr loads through my 686-plus, everything else has been 158gr or 180gr with a preference for the later. It was a box of Speer 125gr Gold Dots I bought the same day I got the gun, I remember them being much snappier than anything else I shot that day.
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    They are snappy...and good zombie killers.....so I save them for zombies....just shoot enough to maintain familiarity...and POI....and shoot the "Normal" stuff.... and let the grand kids worry about repairs.....Ken
  • Mrs_ChiefMrs_Chief Posts: 292 Member
    My early 686 only locked up with some very hot 158 grain Blazers in the 80s, no problems since with any factory ammo or my reloads, many a thousand of them since then. I never had the MOD.

    Blue Dot powder is not recommended for 125 grain bullets in the .357 Magnum anymore. It works just fine with with 158s and , in fact, we shot a bunch loaded with BD powder at the last SE Shoot, no issues. However, they watered down the loads/data from those of yesteryear.

    I think a gun scribe pointed out years ago he never saw a S&W K frame that wasn't shootable from excessive top-strap"Flame Cutting", cut yes, but not nearly enough to make it unserviceable using 125 JHPs.

    Loose from a steady diet (many thousands of hot/full house .357s of any weight) in a K frames..yes and that's an old debate as well. They way they load-down factory .357 anymore I wouldn't worry about it very much, especially with a newer revolver. Be a little concerned with an older S&W that fired many a thousand .357s , I'd keep any eye out from it getting a little outta timing/loose, but wouldn't worry about a catastrophic failure. just get it to a gunsmith or send it back to S&W fer a tune up when necessary.

    Big Chief
  • TeachTeach Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    The .357 is not now (and really never was) the T-Rex dropper it was hyped up to be when it was introduced. It's an order of magnitude above its parent cartridge, the .38 Special, just like the .44 Mag outpaced the .44 Special. Now we've got plenty of big bore hand cannons for the masochists who just have to brag about their tendonitis to shoot, so .357's with moderate recoil and muzzle blast have become the midrange choice for handgunners. No need to pack 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-lb. sack!
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Posts: 5,463 Senior Member
    But the 357 maximum was! :jester:
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • BufordBuford Posts: 6,724 Senior Member
    But the 357 maximum was! :jester:

    I had a chance to buy on of those but shyed away because of the flame cutting issue. Wish I would have gone for it now.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Posts: 14,104 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    I had a chance to buy on of those but shyed away because of the flame cutting issue. Wish I would have gone for it now.
    Which only happened if you used it to launch 125 gr. bullets at ludicrous speed. If folks had used the Maximum for its intended use (launching 180 and heavier grain pills at magnum velocity) things are less abusive.
  • jbohiojbohio Posts: 5,619 Senior Member

    My favorite 357 load is a 125 JSP over a healthy dose of Blue Dot. Not a max load, but it's FAST. 1525 out of my 4" GP100.

    Guess I'll have save them for the zombies, and switch to 158's and H-110
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    Got the 686 back from S&W after the mod so today I took the 64 & 686 out for a try. It's been at least 15 years
    Sense I shot the 64 and it's the first time for the 686. I used 125 & 158 grain in both guns and really couldn't
    Tell any difference between the two loads. The 686 performed very well and the trigger pull was much smother than
    I expected, however, the 64 just seemed to me to be the perfect size.Due to its size I think the 686 is more suited
    Open carry or a woods gun. The 64 loaded with 158 JHP will stay in the bedroom, the 686,well if the day ever comes
    I need something on my hip,perfect.
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    I have a couple of them, a six inch stainless Ruger Security Six and a six inch Colt Trooper Mk III. I will admit to have loaded some 125's over H-110, probably because of the simularity to 130 gr 30-30's, ballistics. At the time, I owned a .357 model 94 Rossi, a Winchester clone, until I gave it to my grandson. I have a fascination with havng a rifle and a pistol, that shoot the same ammo.
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • BufordBuford Posts: 6,724 Senior Member
    104RFAST wrote: »
    Applies to 686 & 686-2 I believe. Check with Smith for applicability. BTW, it's covered under warranty even though
    The recall was 1985. That's why I continue to buy S&W

    Also applies to the 586. I need to send mine in one of these days.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • NoeetticaNoeettica Posts: 21 New Member
    Are there some Hot loads suitable for the .357 Rossi Rifle ? that are too hot for a Smith 66
  • BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,863 Senior Member
    Can't advise you on the wear and tear issue aside from my gut reaction that you can do better things with that powder capacity than propel slugs just barely above the .380 class. The nice thing about the heavier bullets in the 158-200 grain camp is that you can load them light, get a load that is easy on both you and the piece, and still have plenty of momentum for penetration.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    For many years the the Remington 125 grain scalloped JHPs were THE load of choice for LEOs who carried .357s and had a stellar record above and beyond other loads for "Man Stoppers"

    Not for great penetration through car doors/walls/barriers or hunting anything besides thin skinned game or smaller animals you didn't want the pelts/meat from, but for delivering Hydro-static shock to the human target that would incapacitate them, not always killing them. Usually well up into the 90% tile as "One Shot Stops".

    Of course, since then bullets/powders have gotten better from a variety of makers and there is a whole line of Self Defense ammo on the market which give "Optimal" stopping power/penetration or, at least, what is touted to be. Good track record for the day, but many an argument about light and fast with violent expansion vs heavier/slower ensued.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
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