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Old 10-02-2017, 01:25 AM
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Default Need ammo advice for my 19-4 K-frame

I recently aquired a minty 2.5" Model 19-4. I was advised by a local gunsmith to stay away from light weight bullets as they can cause problems with the forcing cone in K-frames. He recommended 158gr. ammo by Buffalo Bore. I'm not familiar with that brand, and when I looked it up, I see that they offer a 158gr. JHP "low recoil" round. Does anyone have any experience with this round? The stuff ain't cheap at $25/box of 20! What about lighter bullets in +P .38 Spl.? Does the same problem exist? I have some Federal 130gr. Low-recoil Hydra-Shok .357's. How safe would they be to shoot in my Model 19? Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.
Rich
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:36 AM
silversnake silversnake is offline
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I've shot that same Buffalo Bore ammo in my own K-frames, it's worth the money if you need a mid-power magnum in a short barrel. Any .38+P or "low recoil" magnum is fine.

BTW, the forcing cone thing is overblown in my opinion. I've put hundreds of rounds of 110 gr .357 magnum ammo through a K-frame and it still functions like new.
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:00 AM
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I generally avoid the lighter bullets and go with 158 grain .357 loads from any major manufacturer. Speer makes a specific Gold Dot load for short barrel revolvers which is a good self defense load for your 19. Of course, any 38 round will be fine in your gun.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:36 AM
Topsarge Topsarge is offline
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Why not kill two birds with one stone? Speer 135 Gold Dot short barrel ammo. Designed for short barrel magnums like yours. Comes in 38 also. That's what I use in my 686 2.5".
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:46 AM
apollo99 apollo99 is offline
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Hey Rich, for range stuff, any 158 gr magnum loads are fine. I find my 2 1/2" k frames shoot where they are aimed with the 158 grain loads, as far as for self defense, any factory hollow point in the same grain as you practice with will do.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:55 AM
reddog81 reddog81 is offline
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The Buffalo Bore would be fine but you can find regular 50 round boxes of .38 Special for half that price. There are plenty of places online where you can find 50 round boxes of .357 for under $20.

The safe practice is to stay away from full strength .357 Magnum loads with 125 grain or lighter bullets. Anything else should be fine.
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:08 PM
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The dealer is correct about staying away from light high velocity ammo in your K frame but there is no read on to spend all that money on specialty ammo either. 145gr Winchester Silvertip ammo and most 158gr ammo will be just fine. Speer, Hornady, Federal, Fiocchi and others all make good .357 Magnum SD ammo with bullets heavier than 125gr.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactuskid View Post
I recently aquired a minty 2.5" Model 19-4. I was advised by a local gunsmith to stay away from light weight bullets as they can cause problems with the forcing cone in K-frames. He recommended 158gr. ammo by Buffalo Bore. I'm not familiar with that brand, and when I looked it up, I see that they offer a 158gr. JHP "low recoil" round. Does anyone have any experience with this round? The stuff ain't cheap at $25/box of 20! What about lighter bullets in +P .38 Spl.? Does the same problem exist? I have some Federal 130gr. Low-recoil Hydra-Shok .357's. How safe would they be to shoot in my Model 19? Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.
Rich
I agree with your LGS. Stick to the Buffalo Bore .38 special 158 grain "Heavy" LSWCHP-GC #20A for serious work. Out of a 2.5" barrel that load will do an honest 1075 fps, won't beat up the gun, will out perform most 158 grain .357's from a short 2.5" bbl with out the huge flash, loud noise, and hard kick. IMHO 357 Mag's way under perform out of short barreled guns less than 3".

For Range and target shooting use any standard velocity 158 grain bullets you can get on sale or make yourself. I would not shoot stiff loads just to punch holes in paper. You can shoot a few dozen of the BB's for familiarization, but don't need to shoot them all the time. Use them for SD/HD.

IMO Buffalo Bore is extremely high quality, very accurate and consistent. It's one of the very few brands I've never had any failures with. They are a small manufacturer relatively speaking, when comparing them to Winchester, Federal or Remington and IMO their quality is also much higher than most large Company's and so their prices reflect that. Don't use it for plinking" - unless you are able to spend the money without cringing.
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Old 10-03-2017, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
I agree with your LGS. Stick to the Buffalo Bore .38 special 158 grain "Heavy" LSWCHP-GC #20A for serious work. Out of a 2.5" barrel that load will do an honest 1075 fps, won't beat up the gun, will out perform most 158 grain .357's from a short 2.5" bbl with out the huge flash, loud noise, and hard kick. IMHO 357 Mag's way under perform out of short barreled guns less than 3".

For Range and target shooting use any standard velocity 158 grain bullets you can get on sale or make yourself. I would not shoot stiff loads just to punch holes in paper. You can shoot a few dozen of the BB's for familiarization, but don't need to shoot them all the time. Use them for SD/HD.

IMO Buffalo Bore is extremely high quality, very accurate and consistent. It's one of the very few brands I've never had any failures with. They are a small manufacturer relatively speaking, when comparing them to Winchester, Federal or Remington and IMO their quality is also much higher than most large Company's and so their prices reflect that. Don't use it for plinking" - unless you are able to spend the money without cringing.
Just my $0.02. Shoot BB, Olin, Remington, Federal over a chronograph and look at the velocity and SD. Shoot it in the dark. That is what you are paying for, the consistency, the extra velocity without extra recoil, the decreased flash. BB is expensive, the best restaurant in town is expensive, so you don't eat there every night, save it for anniversaries, birthdays. And don't use WWB or Thunderbolts for SD.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:50 PM
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Here is what I have been using in my K frames.





and I have just made the decision to go with wadcutters as much as possible


in this case 148 grain that a fellow reloads for my LGS.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:34 PM
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!48gr HBWC over 3.3gr of Titegroup in a 357 case.

It's my practice and SD load for 3" 13-2 and 2 1/2" 686-4.I'll be trying them in a 3"66-2 soon.

I have 3 50rd boxes of Speer GD 135gr Short Barrel 38+P that are collecting dust now.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:53 PM
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The warning against lightweight bullets only matters with full-power, high velocity loads, i.e. 125gr SJHP @ ~1450fps. Something like WWB 110gr SJHP, which clocks in around 1250fps, if I'm not mistaken, is fine. Anything other than full-power .357 Magnum loads with bullets of 125gr or lighter should be fine. For range use, find whatever is cheapest that meets this parameter. For self defense, there are plenty of options. I personally like the Speer 135gr SB-GDHP in either .357 Magnum or .38 Special +P. Buffalo Bore's .38 Special 158gr LSWCHP standard pressure, or +P if you prefer more power, would also be a good option. Remington .357 Magnum 125gr Golden Saber JHP is a mid-range load and often comes highly recommended. In general, my preference for self defense loads is medium-to-heavy bullet weights, so in .357 Magnum/.38 Special I'd consider that as 125gr and heavier. Pick a good modern JHP, or a more traditional FBI load, that you can shoot well and you should be well-served.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:11 AM
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Carried a 2.5" Model 19 for years (1976-1990 or so). Best load I found for LE or defensive use was the Federal .38 Spl. +P 158 SWC-HP (so-called FBI load).

I learned to stay away from magnum ammo with the short-barreled revolvers. Way too much muzzle blast, muzzle flash, and recoil with no real increase in velocity or energy due to the short barrels.

A factor that is seldom discussed is the potential problem of ejecting fired cases from the snubby revolvers. Those shorter ejector rods can make it difficult or impossible to eject the cases of high-pressure loads due to the cases expanding under pressure and sticking in the chambers. I learned that lesson the first time I fired a cylinder full of Super Vels in my 2.5" Model 19, then had to go home, remove the cylinder, place it into a padded vice, and tap the spent cases out with a dowel rod and mallet.

Even in my longer and heavier .357 revolvers I seldom use magnum ammo. When I do it is my hand-loaded ammo at relatively modest pressures, nowhere near factory levels.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:58 AM
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Thats not true. there is quite a bit of velocity gain. Just got through reading on another thread chrono results in 2" barrel guns comparing 38 and 357.
357 still blows away a 38.
Hornady XTP's 158's seemed to work well in 2" 357. Good expansion yet plenty of penetration.
FYI you can get Fiocchi ammo loaded with XTPs for about half the price of hornady ammo loaded with the same bullet.
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