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Old 05-14-2012, 01:26 AM
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Default .357 ammo for home defense?

New gun owner and new forum member here. I just purchased my first gun - a S&W 627 PC that will be used for home protection and need some advise on ammo. I did read several posts on this and other forums that .357 ammo is not ideal for home defense because they are very loud in a closed environment. Does this mean I have to use .38 special? How about the .38 special +P? Is somebody loading .357 in their revolvers for home defense? I am now in a situation that I have a gun and no bullets because I just don't know what to get - there are so many options out there. I would also appreciate any suggestions on what brand/model of ammunition should I get - my understanding is that hollow points are a beter choice for home defense (because of neighbors, kids in the house, etc.)

Any recommendations would be helpful. Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:24 AM
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Any name-brand .38 Special +P ammo will be just fine for inside the house. It's hard to tell you which because every gun is different so you will need to try a few and see which are accurate in your revolver. Accuracy is very important, more important than a few more fps.

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Old 05-14-2012, 02:34 AM
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Just buy you some good .357 mag hollowpoints and don't worry about it. Better to have some ammo in your gun than not and needing it.
In the event you have to shoot inside your home the last thing to
worry about is how much noise you will make. I just would'nt load
any full metal jacket loads to prevent over-penetration and possibly going through some walls and hitting an innocent.


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Old 05-14-2012, 02:35 AM
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Also consider the .357 Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel, which will be about 2-300 fps faster than the Speer .38 Special loading but nowhere near as fast (or loud, I would guess) as a full .357.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud333
Just buy you some good .357 mag hollowpoints and don't worry about it. Better to have some ammo in your gun than not and needing it.
In the event you have to shoot inside your home the last thing to
worry about is how much noise you will make. I just would'nt load
any full metal jacket loads to prevent over-penetration and possibly going through some walls and hitting an innocent.
I can not agree with that. Touching off a full power .357 Magnum round inside a small dark room will "flash-bang" you. It is not a pleasant experience at all and I highly suggest .38 Special +P ammo instead. I like the FBI Load for home defense. (158gr LSWC/HP +P)
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
I can not agree with that. Touching off a full power .357 Magnum round inside a small dark room will "flash-bang" you. It is not a pleasant experience at all and I highly suggest .38 Special +P ammo instead. I like the FBI Load for home defense. (158gr LSWC/HP +P)
The flashbang the bad guy gets is what is important.
You shoot 38's i'll shoot my full house .357 rounds.
In a self defense situation you'll never hear the round going
off due to adrenaline anyways. And the flash will be no more
than equal to the lights in the room being turned on.
To each his own. I personally prefer a .12 gauge anyways.


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Old 05-14-2012, 06:30 AM
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Shoot a guy with a .38 +P and he'll be just as dead as if you shoot him with a .357, and you'll have quicker follow up shots (that adrenaline you speak of doesn't improve your hit ratio.), without the flash bang effect and the BOOM of a .357. And not everybody who has been in a firefight has experienced the auditory exclusion that people tout as law on the internet. And even if they do experience it, the damage to you hearing is still done. You're well armed with a good .38 +P round.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:06 AM
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You need to practice with both loads and see what you can reliably hit with. If you are new then the 38+P would be my suggestion as many others have said. I have been shooting for too many decades and am still learning or re-learning what works for me. So if you miss with a 357 but hit with a 38 then the 38 was the right choice. Placement is everything.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:00 AM
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Remington 125 grain Golden Saber is a good medium-powered Magnum load. It is a nice compromise between +P and full-power Magnums. Golden Sabers have a reputation for accuracy and are reasonably-priced.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:23 AM
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One thing to consider is to pick yourself up a pair of electronic hearing muffs and store them near the gun. In the event you need to shoot in the house, wearing the amplified hearing protection will not only enhance your ability to hear after the shot, but will prevent the temporary (and to some degree, permanent, hearing loss) if you do need to shoot.

Plus, you can always use them at the range, too.

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Old 05-14-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
Shoot a guy with a .38 +P and he'll be just as dead as if you shoot him with a .357, and you'll have quicker follow up shots (that adrenaline you speak of doesn't improve your hit ratio.), without the flash bang effect and the BOOM of a .357. And not everybody who has been in a firefight has experienced the auditory exclusion that people tout as law on the internet. And even if they do experience it, the damage to you hearing is still done. You're well armed with a good .38 +P round.
EXACTLY my line of thinking. No reason to deafen yourself if you don't have to.

For this very reason, I have no clue why Homeland Security went with the .357 Sig. Someone shoots one of those in an airplane and dozens of people are likely to get some pretty serious hearing damage. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:57 AM
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"For this very reason, I have no clue why Homeland Security went with the .357 Sig. Someone shoots one of those in an airplane and dozens of people are likely to get some pretty serious hearing damage. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen." You must remember, the decisions of the folks in HS as well as TSA, etc. are not predicated on what will best serve the paying customers. The choice of the .357 Sig. follows the same lines as decisions about intrusive searches, failure to profile, etc. It's not about the customer.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
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"For this very reason, I have no clue why Homeland Security went with the .357 Sig. Someone shoots one of those in an airplane and dozens of people are likely to get some pretty serious hearing damage. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen." You must remember, the decisions of the folks in HS as well as TSA, etc. are not predicated on what will best serve the paying customers. The choice of the .357 Sig. follows the same lines as decisions about intrusive searches, failure to profile, etc. It's not about the customer.
Well, I don't want to derail this into an anti-TSA thread (personally, I take my hat off to most of those people for doing the best with what they can).

I just meant to say that the .357 Sig isn't a good choice for airplanes due to the noise level. I do feel it's a tremendous round for highway patrol, for example.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_NC View Post
One thing to consider is to pick yourself up a pair of electronic hearing muffs and store them near the gun. In the event you need to shoot in the house, wearing the amplified hearing protection will not only enhance your ability to hear after the shot, but will prevent the temporary (and to some degree, permanent, hearing loss) if you do need to shoot.

Plus, you can always use them at the range, too.

Lou
I am just afraid that the muffs will be the last thing I will be worrying about if I am in a "situation".
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:52 AM
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Thank you all for the replies, I think I will go with 38+P for now. I will experiment some more at the range and I may adjust in the future. For example I can load 5x.38+p and then 3x.357 "just in case". The 8 rounds of the 627 is one of the reasons I got this gun.

Regarding the FBI load 158gr LSWC/HP +P suggestion - does it really matter which brand I buy? I do not care about the price because this will be my home defense load. Most online threads suggests Federal, Winchester or Remington. Thanks again!
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:05 PM
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my 2 cents... hornady critical defense in .38 spl. +p. its my fav and works as advertized in all my guns. practice is the best ammo! a .22 will kill somebody just like a .454 casul...
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:10 PM
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Please watch this and other .38 test videos by Tnoutdoors9:

YouTube - Speer Gold Dot .38 Special +P 135 gr Ammo Test
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:21 PM
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Ooohh... I missed this earlier. I would carry the Golden Saber:

YouTube - .38 Special +P Remington Golden Saber Ammo Gel Test
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:28 PM
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This is a pitch for the electronic muffs from another angle--they will improve your hearing and possibly your situational awareness before any shooting starts. In reactive scenerio there may not be time for them, but it the event starts with, "Did you hear something?" they might be helpful. You are on the right track in doing your thinking early. The old flying axiom went "The more thinking you do before things get exciting, the less exciting things will get!" Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:29 PM
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Here is the bonded version of that Golden Saber for a good price. I have bought from SGAMMO and had good service...

25 rds - 38 Special +P Remington Golden Saber 125gr BJHP Ammo | SGAmmo.com
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldherkpilot View Post
This is a pitch for the electronic muffs from another angle--they will improve your hearing and possibly your situational awareness before any shooting starts. In reactive scenerio there may not be time for them, but it the event starts with, "Did you hear something?" they might be helpful. You are on the right track in doing your thinking early. The old flying axiom went "The more thinking you do before things get exciting, the less exciting things will get!" Good luck.
Thanks, I am doing all this thinking in advance because I am a new gun owner and trying to do the right thing from the very beginning. So the way those electronic muffs work is that they amplify all sounds except the "bang" from the gun? I did not even know that those existed What is the model/brand I should look for?
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:33 PM
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You bought a .357. Get a few boxes of .357 ammunition and learn to shoot the gun in the caliber for which it was designed. You will quickly become used to the recoil and "flash-bang" and maybe the perp won't. And you damn sure won't have to worry about penetration. You have a fine tool, learn to properly use and respect it and forget the Internet chatter.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:43 PM
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hey there.

i like and shoot 115 gr hornady 38+p or winchester 130 gr 38+p pdx1...both fire nicely from my 686-2 with little recoil. finding your defense ammo is part of the fun of gun ownership my friend. i'm on to looking for the perfect 9mm defensive carry load.


geno
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:50 PM
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My 686 is loaded with Federal HydrShocks..
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:08 PM
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While shooting my snubbie 66, I am more accurate with 38+p ammo, my 4" 586 sucks with 38 ammo.

Every gun is different, find the ammo that works for you. Almost any current production SD ammo will get the job done. Good placement beats magic bullets every time.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genojr1112 View Post
hey there.

i like and shoot 115 gr hornady 38+p or winchester 130 gr 38+p pdx1...both fire nicely from my 686-2 with little recoil. finding your defense ammo is part of the fun of gun ownership my friend. i'm on to looking for the perfect 9mm defensive carry load.


geno
This is something I did not think about - less recoil, which could be helpful until I get some more experience shooting on the range.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
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hey there.

i like and shoot 115 gr hornady 38+p or winchester 130 gr 38+p pdx1...both fire nicely from my 686-2 with little recoil. finding your defense ammo is part of the fun of gun ownership my friend. i'm on to looking for the perfect 9mm defensive carry load.


geno
I will try to remember to dig for the PDX-1 test in .38+P, but I think it fails to expand in simtest gel.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by play627 View Post
Thanks, I am doing all this thinking in advance because I am a new gun owner and trying to do the right thing from the very beginning. So the way those electronic muffs work is that they amplify all sounds except the "bang" from the gun? I did not even know that those existed What is the model/brand I should look for?
I've used Peltor Tactical 6S muffs for many years with no problems. They sell for under $60 these days. The nice thing about this particular model is that they are "slim" profile, and I can use them with long guns as well as handguns, since the "shell" of the earmuff doesn't interfere with a gun stock.

There are cheaper electronic muffs available these days as well, but Peltor has been around a long time.

Lou
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:12 AM
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Here's the .38+P PDX-1 failure video:

Winchester PDX1 Bonded .38 Special +P SIM-TEST w/Denim - YouTube
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:05 PM
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Regarding the FBI load 158gr LSWC/HP +P suggestion - does it really matter which brand I buy? I do not care about the price because this will be my home defense load. Most online threads suggests Federal, Winchester or Remington. Thanks again!
From a 4" or 5" revolver it won't matter which you use. From a 2" barrel the Remington load is best because the lead is softer than the others and will more reliably expand with the reduced velocities associated with short barrels. I happen to like the Federal FBI Load best because it's the most accurate for me but every gun is different.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:40 PM
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Ok, a quick update - my local gun store did not have any "FBI load" ammo and I got what the clerk suggested: Corbon 38 special +P 110gr JHP (velocity: 1050fps, energy: 269ft/lbs).

Is this a good choice for home defense? I am bit worried because those are light/fast bullets - will they penetrate a wall? Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:51 PM
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Ok, a quick update - my local gun store did not have any "FBI load" ammo and I got what the clerk suggested: Corbon 38 special +P 110gr JHP (velocity: 1050fps, energy: 269ft/lbs).

Is this a good choice for home defense? I am bit worried because those are light/fast bullets - will they penetrate a wall? Thanks!
Any projectile with enough velocity and energy to penetrate to FBI minimum depths will go through walls -- no getting around it.

The trick, where overpenetration is concerned, is to pick a load that is more apt to slow down considerably if it does go through a wall -- choosing a hollow point is a good start.

The CorBon DPX 110 grain .38 Special +P is generally considered an outstanding defensive round.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:54 PM
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My major concern with launching full power .357 loads inside a home are over-penetrating the target or missing it completely. Where's that bullet gonna go??

The .38 spl +P is a better alternative. But, I think if it were me, I'd opt for the Glaser safety slug in the magnum loading. It's a devastating round and is known for its tendency to NOT over-penetrate. I remember when they first came out with this round, years ago, they advertised, yes I said "advertised", "Any body or head shot to be 100% fatal." You Tube it, you'll be amazed........

Actually a 20 or 12 gauge with #7 bird shot would probably give you the desired result! Make sure you get a pump. I've heard that bad guys are really scared of pumps!
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by blujax01 View Post
You will quickly become used to the recoil and "flash-bang"...
I agree that with practice most people can acclimate to the recoil of .357.

But please explain what kind of practice inures one to a flash-bang experience in a dark, close-quarters environment (where most home defense encounters occur)?
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldherkpilot View Post
This is a pitch for the electronic muffs from another angle--they will improve your hearing and possibly your situational awareness before any shooting starts. In reactive scenerio there may not be time for them, but it the event starts with, "Did you hear something?" they might be helpful. You are on the right track in doing your thinking early. The old flying axiom went "The more thinking you do before things get exciting, the less exciting things will get!" Good luck.
I like the idea, but I find that I lose "directional" hearing when I wear mine; sounds are definitely amplified, but I have less a sense of where they're coming from.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by getoff View Post
my 2 cents... hornady critical defense in .38 spl. +p. its my fav and works as advertized in all my guns.
When you say "works as advertised", does that mean you've conducted your own tests?

If so, please post the results -- I'm always interested to compare real-world against factory numbers.

I'd like a definitive reason to buy more Hornady defensive ammo -- it's reasonably priced, always available, and sold at most major sporting goods stores near me (all of which makes me nervous).
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by play627 View Post
Ok, a quick update - my local gun store did not have any "FBI load" ammo and I got what the clerk suggested: Corbon 38 special +P 110gr JHP (velocity: 1050fps, energy: 269ft/lbs).

Is this a good choice for home defense? I am bit worried because those are light/fast bullets - will they penetrate a wall? Thanks!
I have a feeling the clerk suggested what he had a lot of or what cost the most or both. Most stores don't carry the FBI Load any more because everyone thinks they need the newest and in turn the most expensive ammo out there. I order mine online from Ammunition-To-Go. (and other online stores)
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:55 AM
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Just an FYI about the Critical Defense. At least one manufacturer of 1911's (Wilson, if memory serves) does not recommend its use in their guns. This is due to the rubber tip hanging on feed ramps, or something like that.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by baccusboy View Post
Just an FYI about the Critical Defense. At least one manufacturer of 1911's (Wilson, if memory serves) does not recommend its use in their guns. This is due to the rubber tip hanging on feed ramps, or something like that.
Id hate for the rubber tip to hang up on the feedramp of his revolver...
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:15 AM
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I would just rely on full power 357 JHPs in 125gr-140gr weight.
Probably my own handloads rather than factory. As to as the noise
factor, if you feel like your very existance is on the line are you really
willing to trade defensive effectiveness for less noise? Would you rather die with perfect hearing or live with slight hearing loss?
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:33 AM
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Has anyone here ever fired a full power .357 Magnum round in a dark enclosed space like a bedroom at night before?

All those who read on the Internet you won't hear the round go off and the flash won't bother you for sure have not done so. The flash from a .357 Magnum round being set off at 4AM in your bedroom is BLINDING and can not be ignored. The sound wave is also deafening and you will hear it. Not all Internet lore is true!

Now I'm not telling anyone not to shoot but a .38 Special will be much more manageable in all ways than a .357 Magnum @ 4AM in your bedroom.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapworth View Post
I agree that with practice most people can acclimate to the recoil of .357.

But please explain what kind of practice inures one to a flash-bang experience in a dark, close-quarters environment (where most home defense encounters occur)?
The range I belong to has a regular round of "Concealed Carry Leagues" where we learn to shoot in a variety of circumstances, including a weekly dose of shooting a T-Shirt covered target at 15 feet in near darkness. Other items are the "drop gun" portion where you shoot a firearm of the instructor's choosing, simulating what may happen if you lose yours in a fight and pick up the Other Guys'. It gets one used to an unfamiliar manual of arms.
It's run just like a bowling league, with handicaps being established, trophies awarded and a banquet at the end of the 10 weeks.
Great fun and educational at the same time, yes?

But to your (and Arch Angel's) point, it isn't going to do anything for the noise. I doubt it will startle me but it may well make my ears hum forever. Oh wait, they already do.
It certainly won't help matters though ...

Last edited by blujax01; 05-18-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEN L View Post
My major concern with launching full power .357 loads inside a home are over-penetrating the target or missing it completely. Where's that bullet gonna go??

The .38 spl +P is a better alternative. But, I think if it were me, I'd opt for the Glaser safety slug in the magnum loading. It's a devastating round and is known for its tendency to NOT over-penetrate. I remember when they first came out with this round, years ago, they advertised, yes I said "advertised", "Any body or head shot to be 100% fatal." You Tube it, you'll be amazed........

Actually a 20 or 12 gauge with #7 bird shot would probably give you the desired result! Make sure you get a pump. I've heard that bad guys are really scared of pumps!

I had a friend do a test with Glasser Safety slugs. He made two simulated walls out of 2 by 4's and sheet rock. The Glasser rounds went through both "walls" like a knife through butter.

It's better to test what you shoot yourself. his test was an eye opener.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:01 AM
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I have heard the warnings about .357 ammo for home defense so many times.......However, based on felt recoil and muzzle control on target I absolutely feel "they" have done it for us.

What do I mean....lol.....I mean I have been shooting .357 for over 30 years now. In 1981 when I started a .357 round was a HOT mamba jamba I think I remember stats like 1,800fps now the best of them are 900-1200fps. So IMHO any .357 round you buy today is pretty much just a 38+P anyway compared to what we all have learned to expect of the mighty .357
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbatime View Post
Id hate for the rubber tip to hang up on the feedramp of his revolver...
Kind of a rude way to treat someone offering a helpful tip; lot of us here shoot 1911s along with our wheel guns.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
As to as the noise
factor, if you feel like your very existance is on the line are you really willing to trade defensive effectiveness for less noise? Would you rather die with perfect hearing or live with slight hearing loss?
False choice: just because one uses .357 doesn't mean they'll live; and just because one chooses a smaller caliber doesn't mean they'll die.

Add a wrinkle: what if choosing .357 means a first shot that misses also jars your senses to the point that you can't shoot well on the followups and that kills you, whereas a smaller caliber with less flash, bang and concussion (in a dark, enclosed space) saves you because you can stay on target until it's down?

Things to consider...there's no perfect solution, only a series of compromises.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:32 AM
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To the OP,

I didn't see if you mentioned it, but do you have 5" or the 2.625" gun?

One of the numbers thrown around for getting good expansion from a hollow point is 1000 fps. That 2.4" of barrel could make a difference.

In any event, until you shoot .357 mag at a level that you are comfortable with, you should stick with 38 special. There are some "tactical" .357 loads (i.e. less recoail, flash, bang). As some of mentioned. There is also the buffalo bore tactical load (I have never used it).
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:24 AM
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Hap this " dark enclosed space " scenario may or may not depict reality.
Many burglaries and home invasions occur in broad daylight and involve
multiple assailants. I live in the country and the people that have come
up my long driveway and given me cause for alarm in the twenty years
I have been here have all done so during the day except for one stupid
young punk that had the gall to come to my door at 10:30 at night
pretending to be lost and carrying a small gym bag. When moving around the house, garage and yard I always have a handgun close by,
often a small one. But if faced with a real home invasion and given
the time to grab any handgun it wouldn't be one of my 357s. I'll grab
my 5 1/2" Ruger Redhawk 44 magnum that stays loaded with the
same full power hand loads I use for deer hunting. I'll take too much
power over too little any day. Not worried about follow up shots.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rw357 View Post
To the OP,

I didn't see if you mentioned it, but do you have 5" or the 2.625" gun?

One of the numbers thrown around for getting good expansion from a hollow point is 1000 fps. That 2.4" of barrel could make a difference.

In any event, until you shoot .357 mag at a level that you are comfortable with, you should stick with 38 special. There are some "tactical" .357 loads (i.e. less recoail, flash, bang). As some of mentioned. There is also the buffalo bore tactical load (I have never used it).
I have the 5" model, sorry forgot to mention.
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
I'll grab my 5 1/2" Ruger Redhawk 44 magnum that stays loaded with the same full power hand loads I use for deer hunting. I'll take too much power over too little any day. Not worried about follow up shots.
Now we are upping the need to a .44 Magnum? We are talking about the human body here, not a full size Brown Bear...
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